Monday, November 29, 2010

December is right around the corner

Thanksgiving week seems to always rush right by leaving us with warm fuzzy memories of days spent together, games played (our yearly Rudolph Monopoly game was brought out early this year and Taryn kicked everyone's butts this time!), lots of snacking and basically more food than we care to eat again, at

least for another month when Christmas arrives and we do it all over again.

I'm not a big fan of Mondays.  Not a big fan of a new start to the week, even though new beginnings are good, no matter how you slice it.  It was apparent Saturday evening as I realized yesterday was Sunday and today I'd be getting back to the regular routine of work and being everything to everyone.  It's really easy going around here when I'm not fighting with work. So glad we only have three weeks until Christmas break.  I really love it when my kids are around.  There's never a loss of giggles, memories or of things to do.  I just wish the kids would quit being so darn picky when it comes to the menu.

I think I may have mentioned how much we've been cooking lately (or maybe I tweeted that, I can't remember) and my, oh my, I've been cooking up a storm again using the new love of my life, my Le Creuset pot.  That pot is completely no fail and so fun to use.  I'm on a soup kick right now and in the last 24 hours I've made homemade tomato basil soup via Jennifer Stewart's blog.....
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup (double the recipe and freeze some for another autumn night ~ it freezes wonderfully!)
4 c. crushed tomatoes (I like the brand Cento- yellow can)
2 1/2 c. tomato juice (I use an organic brand in a glass jar)
1/2 c. cream (I use half and half)
1/2 c. milk (your choice, but whole milk is creamier; You can use all milk and no cream if you prefer a lower fat version, just won't be creamy)
1 c. chicken stock
12 fresh basil leaves
1/4 lb. (1 stick) butter or margarine
salt and pepper to taste
fresh grated parmesan cheese

Simmer tomato juice and crushed tomatoes for 30 minutes in a large stockpot over medium low heat. Remove about 2 cups of the tomato liquid from the pot, pour into a blender, and add the 12 basil leaves, blending together until basil leaves are chopped. Add tomato mixture back to stockpot. (Alternative: If you have one of those hand mixers that you can stick right into the pot, use that to blend the basil leaves into the tomato mixture. Easier!) Add the cream, milk, stock, butter/margarine, and some salt and pepper to the pot and stir. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with fresh grated Parmesan sprinkled on top. Yum!
and the mushroom soup via The Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen site!  Oh. My. Gosh.  I think I have just died and gone to heaven.  This is so good.  (I just wish my photos were better....the lighting sucks in this house more than you could ever imagine.)

The Mushroom Soup!  = click on this link to be taken to the Tasty Kitchen webpage for this recipe


  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Small Carrrot, Finely Minced
  • 1 whole Celery Stalk, Finely Minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic, Crushed And Minced
  • 1 pound White Mushrooms, Sliced Thin
  • 4 ounces, fluid Chablis White Wine
  • 4 ounces, fluid Tomato Juice
  • 4 ounces, fluid Chicken Broth
  • 1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, Freshly Grated
  • 1 teaspoon Cornstarch
  • ¼ cups Water
  • 1 pinch Salt And Pepper, to taste

Preparation Instructions

Heat oil, over medium heat, in a large deep pot.
Mince the carrot and celery nice and fine. Too big and the soup will end up chunky. Toss into the pot and allow them to soften while you slice the mushrooms. (Please remember to clean the mushrooms first. You probably already knew that … I’m just sayin’.) Next, add your garlic, right as the carrots and celery start to cook down.
Add the mushrooms to the pot and allow them to reduce and soften. Pour in the Chablis, and let it cook with the mushrooms for a few minutes.
Add the tomato juice, and the chicken broth. Allow it to boil for about 5 minutes before adding the heavy whipping cream, and bring to a soft boil.
Grate Parmesan and add it to the pot. Let this cook for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted and blended with the soup. Add the cornstarch to 1/4 cup of water, then pour into the soup.
Lower the heat and let the soup simmer for about 10 minutes or so, until thickened. Salt and pepper the soup to your own tastes.
Serve with French bread or just plain ‘ol crackers. Whatever floats your boat!
Note: this recipe can be easily doubled, which you may want to do anyway, cause it won’t last long if you have to share it!

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