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Friday, October 21, 2016

fall at the farmhouse and my roasted butternut squash soup

Welcome to fall in New Hampshire!  
We were a bit worried with the extremely hot and dry summer we had that the foliage might be less than, but it has turned out to be a spectacular fall- the colors do not disappoint.  I took these photos for you a couple of days ago late afternoon, so you will see the light changing throughout the photos.

You can see we still have some green on the sugar maples that line the gravel drive.  Our neighbors sugar maples always turn several weeks before ours and it is a magnificent show from our front porch.  The girls were helping me take photos, so you will see a lot of them playing!  This is 12-year-old Ella playing "get your gizzard" with 2-year-old Magnolia, and Ella can catch her!

The drive from the house down to the road.

The freshly painted house, sans shutters, with windows open!  The perfect fall day.

 The cushions on the front porch are feather/down filled and I change out the covers several times throughout the year.  Because the porch is covered and we do not suffer from extreme humidity on a regular basis they do great on the porch.

I see two tails photo-bombed this pic!

The front meadow.

We, along with an arborist, trimmed up all the sugar maples, that line the drive, this summer and we are loving the higher canopy over the drive.   We absolutely adore these trees and they are a very important component to our property, so not a single limb was cut without  our  my approval!  It's all about the health of the tree, of course, but also the aesthetic on what the view is looking out/looking in towards the house and the light/exposure that a cut will make.  I look at every single cut (and there were hundreds:) from many different angles and then will then go back to the front porch, since we sit there so often, to make sure the cut works from that important angle.  The perfect tree cutting job and the goal is always to say "What did we cut??" at the end since it still looks so natural and like nothing at all was really done! 

Love Ella chasing Magnolia in the background of this pic!

Louise is standing in front of the stairs off the back porch that we added this summer.

We love the new stairs- they just feel so right for the scale of the house and porch, and they are SO user friendly!  The dry-stacked stones still need to be worked and finished, but just so happy to have the stairs (they were my birthday present this year!!)

The sun starting to fade in the west.

The house as the sun was setting.

So happy and grateful to live here and call this farmhouse home.  The house lights are on, the candles in the front garden are lit, now let me get you a cocktail and we'll do our evening "walk about" around the property;  the girls, of course, will accompany and entertain us!

I love getting back in the kitchen with the arrival of fall, so I'll be sharing lots of my go-to recipes with you (I had a lot of requests to show you what was in my "go-to's" folder that you saw in my cooking file drawer from this post on my kitchen drawers HERE.)  I have been making this roasted butternut squash soup for a good twelve years or so.  I combined several recipes to make up this one and it is a fall/winter favorite.  Here I served the soup with an open face sandwich  made of multi-grain ciabatta bread, which I grilled with swiss cheese and sun dried tomatoes and topped with a spring mix of lettuces.  I've made this soup for many a fall lunches with guests, and it is always a hit!  The recipe is below.  
Also, if you missed my Italian Sausage Soup recipe you MUST try it HERE.  It is so good and so simple and perfect for fall.


1 medium butternut squash
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T. freshly grated ginger (I use a microplane) (or 1 t. dried, but fresh is preferred)
1 carton (4 cups) organic chicken broth
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1 T. kosher salt (my favorite is Diamond Krystal)
2 t. curry powder
pepper to taste
1- 3 T. honey (depending on the natural sweetness of the squash)
1 cup half and half

Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds ( I use a small ice cream scoop, but a large spoon with also work.)  Rub cut side, not the skin, lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (fyi- these ingredients are in addition to those listed in the above recipe.)  Roast squash cut side down on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for 50- 60 minutes or longer, depending on the size of your individual squash.  You want the skin to be very brown and dimpled.  Set aside and cool.  When completely cool, scoop the pulp out of the skin.

Cook the onion with the 2 T. of olive oil over medium-low heat until softened.  I make this in my LeCreuset dutch oven.  (I have several LeCreuset pieces so I always note which piece I use, black or green meaning large/smaller, on a given recipe- makes life easier when you go to make a recipe you might not have made in months!) 
 Add 1 T. salt, pepper , ginger, nutmeg and curry powder and cook an additional minute.  
Add chicken broth and squash pulp.  Cook over medium heat until hot (do not boil.)
Using a stick blender to puree.  If you don't have a stick blender you NEED one in your life!!! HERE
Add one tablespoon of honey.  Taste for sweetness and add 1-2 T. more.
Add half and half and puree again.  

A photo from several years ago where I served this soup for lunch with good friends.  
Rest in peace sweet Marcie...

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

a go-to fall recipe

It is a beautiful chilly (56 degrees), overcast fall day here at the farmhouse!  As you can see from the photo I took this morning from the front porch everything is still very green and the leave are juuuust starting to turn color.  

There are so many amazing foodie blogs and sites with great recipes that I only rarely post my go-to recipes for you.  When I do, please know that these are my ride or die/delicious/can't live without/simple recipes that I've been making forever!  In fact, I've been making this pot roast recipe for 13 years!  I found it on a cooking site years ago and it has never disappointed!  I am a make-it-from-scratch kind of cook, but this recipe (with it's processed soups... oh the horrors :O) still has me coming back over and over each season! :)

This was a casual Sunday night dinner with a friend joining us, so we were eating in the kitchen with the fireplace lit.  White mini-pumpkins grown and sold at a local farm stand line the kitchen mantel. 
Table set with
antique hotel silver forks/ antique sterling and mother-of-pearl knives/ napkins are actually dishtowels from Ikea in my favorite split-pea green/ wicker chargers from Walmart years ago/ green dinner plates from Crate and Barrel years ago/ antique wood column base as candle holder/ dried mung beans, again in my favorite split-pea green, hold the candle,  large unscented candle from Pier 1/ dirty martini from Stoli and my favorite, and only brand I like of jalapeno stuffed olives, Pearls ;)

I served the pot roast with mashed red potatoes (actually I whip the potatoes using my Kitchen Aid hand mixer) with gravy, and roasted carrots with fresh lemon-thyme from the cutting garden.

This simple recipe can be made either in a slow cooker or the oven- your choice.  I will list cooking times for both.   I generally make it in the oven.  "Fair Warning":) .... either way you decide to cook it the smell is intoxicating and will have you salivating the whole time.  It will seriously make you crazy and hungry all day!! :)  When done, the meat just falls apart and the gravy that the meat makes is fabulous!
Here's the recipe: 

for the love of a house fabulous POT ROAST:

Place a 3 - 4 pound Beef Round Eye Roast or boneless Chuck Roast or Beef Bottom Round Roast (I use the Beef Round Eye Roast which I find at Costco) in a slow cooker or dutch oven.

Add a can of undiluted Campbells Cream of Chicken with Herbs (yes, chicken ;) over the top of the roast and spread it over the top and sides.  

Empty one package of Lipton Onion Soup Mix over the cream soup but do not mix.  
Drizzle 3/4 cup of white wine (you can use red) down the sides of the slow cooker pot or 
That's it!  You don't add any additional water.  

In slow cooker-  cook on LOW for 9 -10 hours
In oven-  cook at 275 degrees for 5 hours or
325 for 4 hours

-You can also add 2 quartered red onions at the start and 5 large-sliced carrots 1-1/2 hour into cooking.  
-If you can't find the Cream of Chicken with Herbs, you can substitute the regular Cream of Chicken.
-You can substitute red wine for the white, or chicken/beef broth.  I have always used red/white wine.

Bon Appetit !


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