Before I forget, very happy birthday wishes go out to our dear friend, Chris. Whether it was celebrating our wedding day with us nearly nine years ago, or enjoying many weekends away together, he’s been a great friend. Unfortunately he moved out of state a few years ago, so we don’t get a chance to see him as often anymore, but maybe this will finally pull him out of perpetual lurkdom. Happy, happy birthday, Chris!
Nicholas and I spent our day alternating between running errands and relaxing. Had The Neighbors over for dinner tonight, and it was the ideal day, weather-wise, to kick off soup season, going with a tried-and-true, Cheeseburger Soup. One of the few reasons to keep Velveeta on hand – the soup is hearty, tummy-warming and perfect for taking the chill off your bones. We paired that with a batch of A-16 Sandwiches, Seven Layer Dip and Taco Dip, keeping things real casual. A perfect relaxing night with easy-to-eat munchies.
Not to be outdone, The Neighbor Husband turned to his favorite, ahem, cook, Sandra Lee and made mini pizzas. Unfortunately we were all so stuffed that we didn’t get a chance to try them, but divvied them up for snacking tomorrow. The Neighbors finally caught a few recent episodes of Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade Cooking and finally understand why so many of us scoff at her show. I mean, really, tune into her Halloween episode, and you’ll see no further explanation is needed.
For dessert, I took some help from Costco with their uber-fresh cream puffs. Again, no room for them by the time we got to dessert, so tomorrow night we’ll indulge. We also had a new cocktail tonight, Apple Martinis, from the November issue of Cooking Light magazine. The Neighbor Wife has declared that this might possibly take the place of our “Mom Juice,” it was that good. A gorgeous green color, it’s velvety smooth and goes down incredibly easy. Too easy. ;) If you get a chance, I urge you to try this one – you won’t be disappointed.
I had designated tonight’s Weekend Dog Blogging as our Halloween costume edition, but that seems to have scared off most of our usual participants, with only a few that were brave enough to partake. Below are the three that joined in the fun. Vote for your favorite (one vote per person please – honor system. Picture with the most votes in the comments section gets a cookbook. Eli will be appearing in his Halloween costume on Tuesday.
A year ago today… a delicious dinner.
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup vodka
1 cup apple juice
1 cup apple liqueur (such as Sour Apple Pucker)
Combine water and sugar in a glass measuring cup. Microwave at HIGH 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves, stirring once; cool. Combine sugar mixture, vodka, juice, and liqueur in a pitcher; stir to combine.
Place crushed ice in a martini shaker. Add vodka mixture to martini shaker in batches; shake well to chill. Strain about 1/2 cup vodka mixture in shaker into each of 10 glasses; repeat procedure with remaining vodka mixture, refilling ice as necessary. Serve immediately.
Yield: 10 martinis (serving size: about 1/2 cup)
1/2 lb browned hamburger
4 cups diced potatoes
3/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup shredded carrots
8 oz Velveeta
3/4 cup diced celery
1-1/2 cup milk
1 tsp dried basil
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup sour cream
Saute onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 1 T butter for about 10 minutes. Add broth, potatoes and hamburger. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt about 3 T butter. Add flour and cook, stirring, for about 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to soup. Bring to boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.
Rocco from Is It Edible?:
The devil from Experimentation of Taste:
Oliver from Culinary Adventures strikes a pose:
Bear from Farmgirl Fare forgot all about the Halloween festivities, so instead of dressing himself up, he dressed up the leaves in Autumn colors.
Ziggy from Soul Fusion Kitchen pretends to be one of his favorite Superheroes: