Monday, November 28, 2011

Gobble, Gobble, Pepper Spray!

I was so full from yummy Thanksgiving food, I couldn’t even make it to the computer to blog about it!!  For the past couple of years we have had a pretty small Thanksgiving family (small because there are only like 15 out of 1039230943409582304 family members present).  Well, this year we had a bit of change… up to Greene County (looks sophisticated, pronounced like gray-na kay-nee as the locals do it).  Got to start off the day by listening to the “shoot-em up house” (as my mom calls it) hunt for their turkey (or squirrel or sister/wife or whatever they were after).  Nothin’ like some shot gun blasts to start off the day!  Long story short, had a great feast with some great Marshalls and Thompsons! 

Best part?

TOY STORY! Yahzee with Bailey.

Fully tummy, lots of sleep, final hour of Gone with the Wind, day is done!  Then Black Friday happens… Black Friday is what I think hell is like.  A bunch of people fighting each other over crap that doesn’t matter and totally forgetting any sense of decorum and humanity.  I don’t care if the 300” Plasma is free, you will never find me in line at Walmart at midnight (or ever anyways…).  No siree!
About mid-day I had a massive need to decorate for Christmas, an activity I refuse to do before December 1st.  I decided it would be morally appropriate to put up some lights outside (after all, they just say “shiny and pretty” not “Jesus season”) and make some kind of winter festive center piece.  Being that I had neither, I thought I’d venture out to find some lights.  I figured I’d drive by Target and if they were crazy I’d just go to Ben Franklin or somewhere less “black Friday mania”.  Well, Libbie Target at noon looked like Libby Target any old day, so I ventured in!  Not only were there plenty of their big ticket sale items left, but the store was so nice and calm!  I skipped over the electronics and just went for the Holiday Décor section (with a short detour through kitchen goods).  I made it out with being beat-up or pepper sprayed... I guess the Commonwealth really does have more class than those crazy Californians (they are lovin some pepper spray in LA this week!)  I got some outdoor lights, a sparkly table runner, some random festive décor, and candles to make a holiday centerpiece.  Lights are up, center piece is made, now I just need to get y’all some dang pictures!

(Come back later peeps for some pictures, dang!)

I’m now officially excited for Thursday night when I can watch my main man Dwight Shrute while I decorate the house!

For now, I think I’ll get back to work before I get caught blogging on the job J

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's a BEAUTIFUL day in the Commonwealth!

If you don’t live in Virginia… you have no idea what you’re missing this time of the year!  Sure, the weather can have Bipolar features at times (80 one day, snowing the next)… but it’s days like today that remind you why Virginia is the best state around!  I think those Jamestown folks settled here because of the weather (or maybe the friendly natives, fertile soil, and flowing rivers could have had something to do with it too).  It’s 70 degrees outside, a subtle breeze, and sunny skies!  The trees that still have leaves are on fire with color and look amazing.  Then there are the leaves on the ground, not so amazing :o(

So, I figured I’d capitalize on this nice day and rake and bag those unsightly dead lives on the ground.  Nice way to spend the day outside, but boy am I tired now!!  I only did the backyard- 7 bags worth… the front yard is an entirely different story… I’ll save that for another day.

After a hard day’s work, I needed to refuel in preparation for my difficult afternoon nap (haha!).  Yesterday I slaved away in the kitchen for a few hours and made Gluten Free Banana Nut Bread (yum yum yummy!) and a HUGE pot of squash soup.  IT IS AMAZING… between the soup and this weather, I’m in fall heaven today!  Here’s the recipe, I highly suggest giving it a whirl, it’s more than worth it!

Creamy Squash Soup, serves 8

1 butternut squash, cut lengthwise
1 acorn squash, cut lengthwise
4 tsp olive oil
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
   salt & pepper to taste
¾ tsp cayenne pepper
6 cups vegetable broth
8oz whipping cream
3 tsp fresh cilantro, lightly chopped

1.   Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Drizzle insides of squash halves with about 2 tbs olive oil, place face down on baking sheet, and bake for about 35 minutes or until tender.  Remove from oven to cool.  Scoop meat from squash when cooled (this part can be done well in advance, just refrigerate until ready to make the soup).

2.   Sauté carrots, celery, and onion in remaining olive oil in large stock pot until tender.  Add garlic and season with salt and pepper.  Add cayenne pepper.  Sauté 2-3 minutes.

3.   Add squash and vegetable broth to stock pot, stir.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
4.   Use an immersion blender, food processor, or regular blender to puree entire pot.  Return to pot and stir in whipping cream (or leave this out for a lower calorie/fat version).  Keep on low heat until ready to serve.  Top with cilantro.
5.  Package and freeze the remainder for yummy goodness