Gifts from Bend, OR

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Meatless Monday: Cauliflower & Cheddar Soup

Image courtesy of Martha Stewart
You know it's fall in my house when my husband start requesting soup on Sunday. Yes, Souper Sunday IS BACK! I love fall mainly for the sweaters I get to wear and the fall bounty of vegetables, many of which, make awesome soup dishes. His first request was this soup cauliflower soup. I've featured one of my favorites here before so I thought I'd share our other favorite soup.

I'm not joking when I say I go NUTS for cool kitchen gadgets as gifts and my immersion hand mixer has to be one of my favorites and most used.

This soup is easy to make and pretty much done in 20 mins. I did add a 1/2 cup of cream to make it more velvety ... is that a word?

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups low-sodium veggie broth, plus more if desired
5 1/2 ounces sharp cheddar, grated (1 1/2 cups)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup of half n half or heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a large pot, melt butter over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 minutes. Add cauliflower and cook until just beginning to brown, 12 minutes. Add broth and 1 cup water; bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower is very tender, 20 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

In batches, fill a blender halfway with mixture and puree until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return pureed soup to pot and add more broth or water for a thinner consistency, if desired. Heat over medium until warmed through; add cheese and stir until melted. Stir in 1/2 cup of cream or half n half. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with cayenne.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

No sew octopus Halloween costume

Oh hi! I seemed to have skipped September and now we're onto October. I've made one of my personal goals for November to be post a blog entry each day. I have a lot to say but no time to say it but I'm determined to make time! Early mornings, late nights, lunch breaks ... here we go!

If you don't know me personally, you probably aren't aware I ended up going back to work at the end of August. Silence explained. The new gig is a step up -- more responsibility, more hours, a chance to work in tourism and broaden my marketing skills from  locally marketing to nationally marketing a product. That product is a resort and convention center. I'm super excited! And it's been fun too.

But that's not why I'm here today. I'm here to talk to you about my son's latest obsession -- anything that has to do with the ocean. For months, Benjamin has told me he wants to be a stingray for Halloween. Since I don't sew and have no intention or time to learn, I googled several various of "how to make a no sew stingray costume." Nothing came up. Then two weeks ago later he tells, he wants to be an octopus! Whew! That will be easy to do.

no sew octopus costume
This no sew octopus costume is easy to put together
Saturday, while my husband was working, Benjamin and I tackled the no sew costume and were done in under 30 mins.

Here is what you'll need:
1 hooded sweatshirt, color of choice, 1 size larger than your child normally wears
8 knee high socks, color of choice
stuffing for the legs (we used plastic bags)
felt, we used black and white for the eyes
fabric glue
8 safety pins

optional: felt furniture pads (for the tentacles)

Start by stuffing the eight knee high socks and get the kids involved -- Benjamin LOVED this part. If you're using the felt furniture pads, attach them now.

Next step is safety pin at desired length to the inside of the sweatshirt -- now you know why you bought a sweat shirt one size bigger than your child normally wears.  Cut circles out for the eyes and glue them to the sweatshirt. PRESTO! You have a homemade octopus costume.

I've had to hid this costume for now, otherwise, he'd wear it night and day -- to school, to bed.

What's your favorite no sew Halloween costume?


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