Behind My Red Door

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's All About the Girls!

Remember back here when I went to a baby shower for DD's friend Lani? Well I am so excited to introduce you to 10 day old Linnea! Isn't she the sweetest thing you ever saw? (I don't have grand kids of my own yet so I get to say that!!) I had the pleasure of holding her and cuddling her this afternoon. Here's Jen, Lani and Linnea

Lani and Linnea
And sweet little Linnea with her head of thick black hair!!
It was so much fun! I brought the new mom and her dear hubby some dinner so they will have full bellies tonight - just like little Linnea.

Last night I had another one of my gatherings with my former school teachers and moms. And we had a great time. I had fun using my fall design disposable plates, cups and napkins that I bought on clearance at Target a few years ago. I think I paid 25 cents a package. They have the cutest pumpkin and crow design. The ice bucket is ready. I use this covered crock for that.

The pumpkin soup (recipe to follow) and chili are hot!

The buffet table is ready for the rest of the food to come....
And the candles are lit and just waiting for the party to begin.
In addition to my pumpkin soup, chili, and hot mulled cider, we dined on spinach dip in a hollowed bread bowl, broccoli salad, corn bread, almond cake and pumpkin walnut bread. It was delicious!!

Many years ago, I helped a friend cater the ordination for the associate minister at her church. We decorated the church hall with pumpkins, gourds, mums and cornstalks and that set the mood for the menu. When Deb told me the main course was to be pumpkin soup, I thought she was nuts! I knew I would love it but I figured half the guests wouldn't even try it. Boy was I wrong! We made gallons and gallons of it that day, and come that evening, we were scrapping the last bits out of the bottom of those huge pots. It was a huge success! And whenever I serve it now, it is almost always the favorite thing on the menu. The trick is that is has a chicken, apple and onion base and cream is added at the end so it does not resemble pumpkin as most people know it. And it is the prettiest color too.

It is easy to make and can be made up until just before you add the cream and then frozen. You will need:

2 cups of cooked mashed pumpkin or one can of pumpkin (you can use butternut squash instead if you want)
1 medium onion minced
2 apples peeled and diced small
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp frozen apple juice concentrate
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup light cream
salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste

Saute onion and apple in butter until very soft - but don't brown. Add the pumpkin and stock, juice, and simmer for 30 minutes or so. At this point, I use my immersion blender and puree it in the pot. You can skip this all together or you can puree some or all of it in batches in a blender or food processor. BE VERY CAREFUL doing that to hot soup - let it cool a bit. When it is the consistency you like, add the cream and salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste and carefully reheat to serving temperature (the cream will have cooled it down). Enjoy!! I always do!

Until next time - hugs, Linda