Wednesday, December 21, 2011

the quilt.

So, a very very good friend of mine is having a baby boy this spring. (We'll call him Dude Baby.) Since she is a very very good friend, I wanted to do something fantastic and magical for the little Dude, and I knew I wanted to make something for him, and preferably something that would be lasting, you know? 

Switch to quilting--I've been wanting to learn to quilt for YEARS. However, whenever I researched it, it sounded like an expensive hobby to get into, and one that would require personal instruction and the acquisition of a whole new jargon. It was intimidating. Also, for most of those years, I didn't have a sewing machine. 

After having a lengthy discussion with my friend K, I decided to give quilting a go, and just in time to make a quilt for the Dude Baby. Awesome, right? Forty plus hours later, the quilt is done, the Dude Baby's awesome mama has received it, and I'm posting photos for your viewing pleasure.

1. Laying out the squares; figuring out the order of the squares.
2. Yep. Barnyard awesomeness! (No monkeys allowed!)
3. To keep my rows in order, I made number signs.
4. Pinning the blue sashing onto individual squares.
5. Sewing said sashing.
6. Nine rows ready to be sewn with more sashing.
7. My excellent quilting sensei, K. See! She's smiling! That means she likes my quilt!
8. Layering the top piece with the batting and the backing. Nearly there!
9. Close-up!
10. Binding! Purple! Awesomeness!
11. Completed quilt in full.
12. Close-up of the corner. I used green and purple thread while performing the actual quilting. It looked super cool on the yellow squares, but the severe contrast made any mistakes noticeable.

Not shown is the yellow corner on the back fabric where I embroidered a heart and the year 2012. I would've embroidered Dude Baby's birth name, but just in case, you know? So, a heart so he knows his Auntie Audrey loves him.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

butternut squash soup (guest post...again!)

Missing Soup Week? guys know I'm friends with lots of good cook/chef/food people, right? Right. Well! Tonight seemed a good time to post this because I am staring at my fridge in wonder, considering and reconsidering what to make my dearest for dinner. And I have no ideas. I also have no butternut squash on hand, as they seem to think I'm evil and deserve evil in return. Still, I've had this soup, and it was tasty, so I highly recommend you make it, as long as butternut squashes don't consider you evil too. Apparently, this contrary vegetable considers me decent enough to devour it, so there you go. 

My friend John of Cornbread Fame sent me this recipe because he is nice like that. And I like choices, so you can either go with this soup (yum!) or my friends David and Karen's version (equally yum!)

In fact, I wish I had some now because then I could just eat THAT for dinner, and my dilemma would be solved. Alas, I don't, so I should go contemplate my fridge further.  


Roasted Butternut Squash Soup by John!
Original Recipe

Servings: 6-8


Approx 2 lbs butternut squash (1 large or 2 small squash)
Approx 32 oz vegetable broth
Approx 8 oz water
Approx 2 oz carrots (about 1 medium carrot)
Approx 1 oz onion
1 TB + 1 tsp olive oil or melted butter
Salt and black pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 F.

Peel the squash, remove the ends, and halve lengthwise.

Remove and reserve the seeds, and cut squash into 1 inch cubes.

Transfer squash to a rimmed baking sheet or oven-safe glass dish. Pour 1
TB olive oil or melted butter over squash, and season with salt and
pepper. Mix squash with hands to coat all cubes with oil.

Roast squash in oven for 30 min or until tender and slightly
caramelized, stirring once. Let cool for 10 minutes while preparing
onion and carrots.

(Optionally, wash and coat squash seeds in olive oil in a small
oven-safe dish and roast at 400 F for 15 minutes or until they begin to

Finely dice onion and carrots. Saute in large stock pot over medium heat
with 1 tsp olive oil or melted butter until onion begins to caramelize
slightly, approx. 5 min.

Transfer roasted squash and sauteed onion and carrot to a blender, with
8oz of broth and puree until smooth with no chunks. (Alternatively,
combine ingredients in stock pot and puree with an immersion blender,
carefully checking for chunks.)

Transfer puree to stock pot and add remaining broth. Add additional
water as needed to achieve desired consistency.

Simmer over low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add
additional salt and pepper (or other spices) to taste.

Serve immediately (optionally garnished with heavy cream and roasted