Monday, October 6, 2014

My Recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

October has arrived and autumn is upon us! You know what that means, right?   It's soup season! The cooler temperatures have me craving homemade soup, so a few days ago I made my favorite - butternut squash soup!  This time, however, I did something different.  I roasted the squash in the oven beforehand, instead of cubing it and boiling it into the soup like I've done in the past.  Roasting the squash really brings out the flavor.  I will definitely be preparing it this way from now on.

I love roasted butternut squash and thus, was unable to stop myself from sneaking a few bites before scooping the flesh into the soup!  I took inspiration from a multitude of recipes and adapted this one to my liking.  The soup turned out delicious; my husband hasn't stopped talking about it since!   I was asked to share the recipe, so here it is:

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup 



Makes 6-8 hearty servings . You can half the recipe to make less, of course!


Ingredients

2 medium butternut squash 
1/4 cup butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
up to 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper (more or less depending how spicy you like it)
salt to taste 
1 pkg. cream cheese (8 oz)

Directions

  • Half squash lengthwise; remove seeds and stringy pulp.  Roast cut-side down on a foil-wrapped baking pan at 400F for approx. 45 minutes, or until fully cooked and soft.  Allow to cool. Scoop the flesh out and reserve. The two squash should render six cups of flesh, more or less.
  • In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic.  Sautee until onion is translucent. 
  • Add chicken broth, reserved butternut squash, black pepper and cayenne pepper to the onion mixture. 
  • Take care with the cayenne pepper!  I added 1/4 tsp because we like our soup a little spicy.  If you don't care for spicy, then just a pinch will do! 
  •  Raise heat and bring to a boil.  Taste the soup for salt and adjust to your liking.  You may need to add a teaspoon or two of salt, depending on how much salt your chicken broth contains.  Continue to simmer soup for approximately 15 minutes.
  • Remove pot from heat.  Break up the cream cheese and add to the soup. The cream cheese is what gives this soup its delicious, creamy texture.  DO NOT BOIL THE CREAM CHEESE! 
  • Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth and creamy, making sure to blend in all the cheese and butternut squash.  If you don't own an immersion blender, you can place the soup in a food processor (in batches) and pulse until smooth and creamy and return to the pot. 

If you want to make the soup look pretty, like I did,  add some sour cream to a plastic squeeze bottle and dilute it with a bit of milk.  Shake and decorate any way you like!  

If you do try this recipe at home, I would love to know how it turns out!  Your comments are always appreciated. 

 Happy Monday, friends!  Wishing you all a happy, cozy week ahead! 




Thursday, October 2, 2014

All the Magic and Splendor of Autumn

Hello friends!  Let me start off by wishing you a happy October and a fun, festive fall!  I am so fond of the changing seasons. Each holds its own beauty, no doubt, but for me, the most special of all is autumn.  Nothing can quite compare to the landscape of glowing red, orange, and yellow maple leaves in the autumnal light. Ahhh,  the nip in the air, sweater weather, the smell of wood smoke, cozy fires, apples, and pumpkins!  Who can resist pumpkin season? I know I can't.  Pumpkin spice anything is fine by me!

Last Friday, Nuno, took an unexpected day off work.  Our girls didn't have school that day and the local fall color report listed that the foliage at Algonquin Park was at its peak for viewing, sooo my darling husband whisked us off for a surprise overnight getaway!  If you've never heard of Algonquin Park, I can tell you that it's probably the most famous provincial park in Ontario, as well as one of the best places to admire fall foliage at its peak.  Tourists come from all over the world at this time of year to see the vibrant red and sugar maples of this region.  We are lucky we live just a wee two-hour drive away.  It makes for a perfect day trip!


I would love to take you along on our leaf peeping drive through Algonquin Park.  Would you like to join us?  There's plenty of room for all!   Nuno will drive and all we have to do is sit back and enjoy the scenery.  It's a perfect day for it; endless blue skies and warm sunshine!  You don't even need to bring your sweater; just a pair of comfortable walking shoes.  Have I convinced you?  Yes?  Well then, hop in and make yourself comfortable.  Here we gooooo!


The fall colors along both sides of the Highway 60 Corridor are so vibrant!



And through the magic of the Internet...




Here we are at the park gate, safe and sound.  Yippee!  Let's get out and have a little stretch.  That's better.  Let's make our way, shall we?



Our first stop is less than 10 km into the park.  Look at this view!  Doesn't it take your breath away? The lake is so still and smooth as glass. The sky is the prettiest shade of blue and the fall colors are spectacular, don't you agree?



Look at this splendid scene!  It looks like something out of the cover of a magazine!



I am in awe of the magnificent backdrops that surround us here!



We should probably stop a while to fully appreciate the view.  It looks like our driver has found a perfect little spot to cast his line.  



Follow us as we hike the 2 km Lookout Trail   It's a steep climb to the top, but the scenic lookout promises to be well worth it!



And so it is!  We're up so high!  Careful! Don't get too close to the edge of the cliff!
Ahh!  This incredible vista was worth the effort, don't you think?


We should probably head on back to the car now.  My feet are getting tired and I'm sure yours are too!  Thank you so much for coming along with me.  I had such a good time!  I hope you did, too!




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Friday, September 19, 2014

Sweet September Days


"September days have the warmth of summer in their briefer hours, but in their lengthening evenings a prophetic breath of autumn..."
Rowland E. Robinson


Good morning, friends!  Happy Friday!  There is definitely a nip in the air here in Barrie, Ontario.  It is currently only 4 degrees Celsius (39 degrees Fahrenheit)!  The days have shortened and the nights have cooled.  Signs of autumn are everywhere, although fall doesn't officially begin for another four days.  I am so looking forward to it.  Don't get me wrong, all four seasons are splendid, each one special and unique, but autumn is my absolute favorite!  I love the coziness of it all...the sweater weather, the changing foliage, crunchy leaves, pumpkins, golden hues, bountiful harvests, and crackling fires.  


Here is a peek at the past month...


September 2nd  My girls on the first day of the new school year



Changing leaves




Early foliage drives




The return of the blue jays to my backyard








September 8  The spectacular full harvest moon 
(photo taken with my phone through our telescope viewfinder)




Adorable Chippy stuffing his cheeks with peanuts to hide away for the winter 




 Chopping firewood to fill the woodshed and our wood-burning stove




Roasted butternut squash 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Brush the squash with butter and add a teaspoon (of butter) into the cavity.  Season with sea salt.  Roast for approximately 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size. Remove the squash when it's golden brown and tender,  I like to sprinkle cinnamon all over, and have some butter nearby.  Enjoy!



I hope September has been good to you!  Wishing you a wonderful weekend and a happy almost-fall! 











Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Exciting News about My Latest Venture!

Good morning friends!

It probably doesn't come as a surprise to you when I say that I love taking pictures.  You could say that I'm a bit obsessed with photography (everyone at home seems to think so!).  The capturing and preserving of a particular moment or occasion, never to be seen exactly the same way again, is part of the allure for me.  Rarely does a day go by that I don't pull out my camera for one reason or another; be it to capture the birds visiting my feeder, flowers blooming in the garden, wildlife, full moons, sunrises, sunsets, road trip adventures, even the food on my plate! 

I thought it would be a wonderful idea to combine my passion for nature and photography and pair it with my love of old-fashioned letter writing.  Although snail mail has become somewhat neglected in today's fast-paced world; with speedy emails and e-cards chosen as an alternative, it is still my preferred method to keep in touch with friends and loved ones.  Nothing says personal like a hand written letter or greeting card.  I mean, who doesn't enjoy receiving a greeting in their mail box?  There really is nothing like it.  

So, with that being said, I am delighted to inform you of my latest little venture.  My beloved photographs-turned-greeting cards are now available for purchase, if you so desire.  I have introduced four images to start and will be adding more collections in the months ahead.

All photos are original and taken by me.  Each greeting card has been professionally printed on heavy, glossy card stock with my personalized digital signature on the front.  For more information and to see the cards available, click on the tab "Photo Greeting Cards" at the top of the page.

I have also opened up a my own little Etsy Shop, LaVieEnRosinda , where you can find my photo greeting cards for sale, as well. 

Thank you for stopping by!  Comments are always welcome and appreciated.  Have a lovely day!



Friday, August 15, 2014

Remembering My Father-in-Law

Hello friends,

Thank you for stopping by to catch up with me. So much has happened in the weeks following my last post. The most poignant of all, was the passing of my dear father-in-law.  His influence was so significant in my life, I wanted to share more about this wonderful man, for those of you who didn't know him.

Exactly one month ago today, my father-in-law lost his battle with Glioblastoma, a terminal brain cancer, which he had been fighting for nearly two years.  He was and continues to be an inspiration to me, and to so many others. 
Miguel was a passionate man; overflowing with love and pride for his family.  He loved the outdoors.  Fishing and hunting were his favorite pastimes. Sadly, he was diagnosed with cancer in December, 2012, at the age of 56.  He embraced life and lived each day to the fullest.  Never did he dwell in sorrow or feel pity for his circumstance.  He battled on like a soldier, brave and hopeful, even on the darkest of days.  One could always find a smile on his face, and a kind word on his lips.  He was a loving husband, a wonderful father to his three children, a best friend to my husband, an affectionate grandfather, a kind and caring father-in-law to me. Miguel touched the lives of so many people.  He was friendly, funny, hard-working, and always wanting to help anyone in need.  He loved to talk and make new friends.  He laughed and joked with his nurses and caregivers.  He had a genuine spirit and a heart of gold.

I feel his absence daily; in the most mundane situations.  Everything reminds me of him...Foods and desserts he liked to eat, (he certainly wasn't picky), the empty chair beside my mother-in-law when she comes to visit, the absence of that quiet knock on the door when he stopped by for an unexpected visit, not seeing his car pull up in front of the house, our akin passion for gardening, the Rose of Sharon bush he gave me, now almost ready to blossom.  I could go on and on.

Although my father-in-law is no longer with us, his spirit lives on in my heart and in the hearts of all those who loved him.  Till we meet again...




God Looked Around His Garden
God looked around His garden
And found an empty place.
He then looked down upon the earth
And saw your tired face.
He put His arms around you
And lifted you to rest.
God's garden must be beautiful
He always takes the best.
He saw the road was getting rough
And the hills were hard to climb,
So He closed your weary eyelids
And whispered "Peace be thine."
It broke our hearts to lose you
But you didn't go alone,
For part of us went with you
The day God called you home.