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the haas machine: November 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup with Gruyere Toasts

Real Simple is by far my most prized magazine for all sorts of things... ideas for saving money, new uses for old things, decoration ideas, & my all-time fav-- crazy fun & easy recipes! Over the last year or so, John & I have become very friendly with countless RS recipes, much like MtAoFC (Mastering the Art of French Cooking) became near & dear to our friend (not really) Julie Powell. I love sharing recipes... especially ones that might seem difficult because, if you know anything about me, you must know that I am not a wizard in the kitchen. In fact, I am horrible... even though I strive to be pretty great at all things in my life, somehow cooking accurately hasn't been on my radar for like, ever. So I know if I can do these recipes & have them turn out, anyone can!

We usually only pick recipes that include ingredients that aren't too expensive, uncommon, or really hard to find. Most of the stuff we purchase is through our local food Co-op because we like to shop as locally & as organically as humanly possible. Plus, I think it just tastes better (especially during Farmers Market season!) & it's seriously 2 or 3 blocks from our house.

This recipe for butternut squash soup was just made yesterday & it made the whole house smell amazing! I suggest that you try this soup out when you need to entertain a few guests... you will wow them with the smell alone!

Butternut Squash Soup with Gruyere Toasts
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups (1 whole) chopped onion (we used yellow)
1 tsp curry powder
6 cups (about 2.5 pounds) diced butternut squash
2 granny smith apples, peeled & diced
1/2 tsp thyme (i think I used more like 1 tsp because I am in love with thyme)
2 15-oz cans white beans drained & rinsed (we used "great northern beans")
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (we actually used chicken broth instead)
2 cups water
1 loaf of baguette
Gruyere cheese sliced

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. add the onion & curry powder & cook 3 minutes. Add the butternut squash*, apples, thyme, beans, salt, broth, & water. bring to a boil & reduce heat & cook until the squash is very tender (about 15 minutes-- hint: the smaller the squash the quicker it takes to cook).

Preheat the oven to broil. Working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blended until almost smooth. Place slices of the baguette on a baking sheet & spread the sliced Gruyere on the bread. broil the toasts for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.

*It was a little bit tricky to cut up the squash, & maybe someone knows a better way to do it, but I cut it in half, spooned out the goo in the middle, then sliced it. To remove the skin, I just cut it away (be careful!) I would recommend that you have all the squash cut up BEFORE you start the onion/oil/curry on the stove... I underestimated just how long it would take to cut up the squash!

Recipe taken from Real Simple Magazine

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Leg Three: (Near) Perfection

The bathroom is finished! The bathroom is finished! We had a really productive weekend... we hosted a volunteer appreciation for those who serve at church on Friday night, slept a full 10 hours that night, cleaned, did laundry, planned meals, put the finishing touches on the bathroom, delivered a meal to a family with a new baby, ran some errands, made dinner, put together a shelf for the bathroom, & then I got to take my very first bath (in over 3 months) in our new bathroom, complete with a little Bob Dylan & some wine. Talk about luxury!

We've already posted some pictures on facebook, but I need to complete our triathlon here, too. It's been quite a journey, this bathroom remodeling. It makes me never want to sell this house because I love it so much & I know what's gone into it. I can only imagine what it's like to build an entire house. Yikes! Enjoy these pictures, & if you're in the neighborhood, come on over & give our bathroom a whirl.
By far, we've been getting the most compliments on our shower curtain :) Thanks Ayres family! It's from Target online about a year ago, if you're interested. We also got our rug there.
New sink/vanity from Menards. That's also where we bought the mirror, lights, tile ("India Green") & the paint for the walls ("Dover Gray"). Tooth brush holder & soap dispenser from Target.
We needed to add some sort of shelf since we decided to opt out of the traditional medicine cabinet, so we went with this nifty one from Target. I love that place!
The old window is from my family's cabin near Superior. We have plans to paint something artsy on it soon, but just wanted to get it up in the meantime. Our towels are from Target.
One of my most favorite pictures from our wedding with all our family's/friends' loving words. I absolutely love reading that every day!