December 18, 2009

My fellow soon-to-be's

So one thing you should know about me is that I have always been surrounded by really strong, amazing, beautiful, smart, and all-around fabulous women in my life. I know everyone always says they have the best friends and family in the world, but in my world, it really is true. I think that I am really lucky to constantly be surrounded by successful women - and they all are truly successful in their own unique ways too. They are the ones who push me to be better and are the ones who listen to me moan and complain when I am having a hard time at work or school or life, and I am lucky to have found such an amazing group of ladies to surround myself with.

Additionally, one of the really nice things about being engaged right now is that I have quite a few friends who are currently going through wedding planning (plus one or two who have already gone to the big dance). They understand my pains, my moods, and my need to plan everything two years in advance, so that is kind of nice to have around. Plus, my friends are all so different, and it is nice to bounce ideas off of each of them because I know I will get different inputs based on their different styles.

That being said, I am crazy excited for this weekend. One of my darling former roommates is getting married next month, so we are all spending the weekend in Chicago to celebrate the end of her singlehood. And let's be clear, it's going to be a PARTY! (cuz that's how we roll)

I can't wait to see all of my girls :) Some fun to report on that when we get back!

December 16, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup

So cooking has quickly jumped to the top of my list of hobbies in the past year or so, and I've really been enjoying trying out new recipes. One of my favorite things to make is soup - I love soup. I could eat soup every day. We already have a few really yummy soup recipes in the rotation (french onion, broccoli, beer and cheddar), but last night we made butternut squash soup. I have to say, it is now officially in the rotation - I love it! Here is the link to the recipe (also below with my modifications): Giada's Butternut Squash Soup



2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 7 to 8 cups)
6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
Kosher salt freshly ground black pepper

1/2 baguette, sliced diagonally into 1/2-inch thick slices
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves (I did not put sage on there, but it's an option from the original recipe)
1 cup (2 ounces) grated fontina cheese
Kosher salt (and I also added pepper)


In an 8-quart stockpot, add the butter and oil and melt together over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the squash and the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the sage. Continue to boil until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Keep the soup warm over low heat.

For the crostini: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sage. Sprinkle the cheese on top and season with salt, to taste. Bake until the cheese has melted and the bread is light golden, about 6 to 8 minutes.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the cheese crostini.

Giada's Note: The cooked vegetable mixture can also be pureed (after cooling for about 5 minutes) by ladling, in batches, into a food processor or blender and blended until smooth.


December 11, 2009


So as Allen and I have started building our wedding plans, a few priorities have come out of what we'd like to see/have at the wedding. Surprisingly, we both have the same level of priorities for some of the big ticket items. Our list, so far, has gone in this order:

  1. The Bar: Anyone who knows us knows we like a good party, so that is probably priority #1 for this wedding. And nothing contributes more to a good party than the booze, let's be honest. I'm sure we'll be featuring some of our signature drinks at the wedding (car bombs anyone?), but if nothing else, just making sure everyone is properly hydrated is important to us :)
  2. The Photography: Since this is one of the major keepsakes that we'll have around forever and ever, this is not a place we plan to skimp on. Plus, I love me some good photography so on THE day, it's pretty important.
  3. The Music: We have both been to weddings where everything has been absolutely wonderful, elegant, and delicious...but a bad DJ just ruined the time for everyone. We will have a very thorough DO NOT PLAY list that our DJ will be required to follow (no chicken dance, macarena, and any other coordinated dance songs as far as I'm concerned). This is also where all of YOU come into play - visit the "music selection" page HERE to put in your request! (Although we do veto power).
  4. The Food: Allen and I are also very big food lovers (I'm such a fat kid at heart, let's be honest). So the food, while important, ranks lower than a few other items on the list mainly due to costs, but we'll make sure everyone has a full belly to keep up with the bar.
  5. The Invites: This last one is probably my own little priority in this wedding. I'm planning on designing and printing my own invites, and I want them to be fabulous. Others may say that this is just another added stress I'm bringing on myself, but I honestly think I'd be more stressed out NOT doing it myself.  Plus, as a self-proclaimed print nerd - my coworkers can attest to this - I feel that anything less than fabulous would not meet my standards.