Butternut Squash Soup

I remember the first time I ate Butternut squash soup, I was at a Mother/Son luncheon.  I could not get enough of the soup; I ate my soup, my son’s soup, and the woman sitting on the other side of me, I ate her soup.  Needless to say, I didn’t eat the chicken entrée.  I think my son might have been a tad embarrassed.  It took many tries to come up with a recipe I loved as much as that first Butternut Squash love, but I finally got it.

It’s really is quite simple…


3 pound Butternut Squash peeled and cut in to chunks

1 large Onion cut in to chunks

Olive Oil

2 tablespoon Butter

3 cups Chicken Broth

1 tablespoon Pepper

1 tablespoon of salt ~Divided

6 dashes of Chipotle Tabasco

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the butternut squash and onion chunks with 1 teaspoon of salt and enough olive oil to coat all pieces.  Place squash and onion chunks on a foil lined jelly-roll pan (the foil just makes for easier clean up) and place in a 450-degree oven for 40 minutes, please keep a close eye on the vegetables as each oven is different.  When the vegetables are done roasting (they are soft and edges are brown), place them in a soup pot over medium heat along with any olive oil that may be left on the jelly-roll pan.

Add the chicken broth, pepper, remaining salt, and Tabasco to the vegetables.  Cook for 45 minutes.  With an immersion blender or a blender, blend the soup until you have a smooth consistency.  Once the soup is completely smooth, add butter and continue to cook for another 25 minutes.

…And now you have a cream soup, with no cream.  Enjoy!

Sausage and Onions

Not everyone in my family liked sausage and peppers when I was growing up, so my mom would make a sausage and onion version.

 I use to eat the caramelized onions right out of the pan while my mom wasn’t looking, funny, I still do that when I make caramelized onions, in fact I always put in an extra onion now.  This is such an easy week night dinner.

3 Medium Onions ~ Cut in half then sliced

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

2 tablespoons Butter

6 Italian Sausages

6 Soft Rolls

Heat the oven to 375 degrees

Spray your baking dish with a light coating of cooking spray, add sausages, cover sausages with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

Add olive oil and butter to a large sauté pan.  After butter has melted add sliced onions, cook on low/medium heat.  I know it will seem like a ton of onions, but they cook way down.  You will want to cook the onions rather slowly so the onion will caramelize properly.  This process takes about 20 minutes.

After the sausage have cooked for 40 minutes remove foil and cook for a remaining 15 minutes to brown.

Place a sausage in each bun and top with caramelized onions. Yummy!

California Chic Home Tour

Have you ever just walked in to a home that was so beautiful it took your breath away? I’m not talking about the largest home you have seen or the most elaborate home.  I’m talking just a beautiful decorated home with the same style carried in every room, every detail!  I think for most people who love to decorate, this is the ultimate goal, to have a beautiful style carried throughout our home. I am going to share with you a home tour I had the pleasure of being invited to recently.

This is the most amazing kitchen; I was moved by its charm from the moment I walked in, I was taken by the delicate chandelier hanging over the sink of the beautifully framed window.  I love the French inspired open shelving.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a window behind the stove, like in this magnificent kitchen? All the wonderful cooking aromas would make your neighbors wonder what you were making?  The hood is such a presence of elegance with the fleur de lis ornament.  Couldn’t you see yourself making napoleons for dessert?

When I first walked in to this master bath all I wanted to do was get into the claw foot tub and take a bubble bath.  The chandeliers add a romantic touch to this beautiful space.  I could just imagine how beautiful the room is in the evening, lit by only candles.

I found this chair in the daughter’s bedroom, which has hand painted walls of beautiful flowers that transports you to another time.

I love how the yard is divided in to several conversation areas, this makes it a  wonderful party area for small gatherings and large parties.  The day I was there it was a very cold, rainy day, well cold for California, we are wimps here.

I hope you enjoyed this beautiful home tour~

Thank you to the Jones family for inviting me in to their magnificent home and allowing me to share it with all of you.

Disclaimer:  I am not sponsored by The Jones Family. I am just a girl who likes beautiful homes and are giving you an intimate look in to their world.

Rainy Day Chili

Rainy Day Chili with sour cream and sharp cheddar cheese in a sourdough bread bowl

Try this wonderful chili on a cold winter night, it will warm you right up!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound of lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups of diced bell peppers ~ yellow, red & green
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 large white onions chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
1 teaspoon of pureed chipotle in adobo sauce
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 cans of stewed tomatoes
2 cans of black beans ~ rinsed
1 can of kidney beans ~ rinsed
4 cups of water
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Sour cream
Grated sharp cheddar cheese

In a large saucepan add olive oil to coat bottom of pan, add ground beef, use a wooden spoon to break up beef and cook until brown. Add bell peppers, garlic, onions and celery. Cook until vegetables are soft. Next, add chipolte, tomato paste, stewed tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, water, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 90 minutes until chili is thickened and flavors combine. Add a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheese to top.

***for the left over Chilpote and tomato paste. I put about 2 tablespoons of each in their own small plastic baggie and freeze until the next time I need it for a soup or stew.             It is easy and convenient to have it pre-measured and I throw it in what ever I’m cooking, frozen. The chipolte does not come pureed, I just use my immersion blender to do this.


Italian Melanzane (Eggplant) Stacks

These delicious melanzane stacks are perfect for the person who doesn’t think they like eggplant.  They are hard to resist once you have eaten these delicious stacks of melanzane goodness.  The perfect to meal to make vegetarians as well as meat eaters feel like they have had a satisfying meal.

Perfect to bring to a pot luck or they make an easy week night meal.

Give them a try, I know you will love them.

1 Medium Eggplant
1 Egg
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
3 tablespoon of olive oil
3/4 cup of shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese                                                                                          Fresh basil leaves (optional)

Slice eggplant into ½ inch slices. Beat egg in a bowl and add black pepper and garlic powder to the beaten egg. Dip eggplant slices into the egg and sauté eggplant slices in a frying pan with olive oil until brown. Place 1 eggplant slice in baking pan and top with mozzarella cheese, continue alternating eggplant and cheese until you have a stack of 3. Top with Mozzarella. Bake, eggplant stacks at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is slightly brown on top. Top with tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese and 1 fresh basil leaves.

Marinara Sauce
2 tablespoons of olive oil                                                                                                     2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon of dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of granulated garlic powder

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes.  Stir intermittently.

To make this for a weeknight meal make the marinara sauce ahead of time and you can have these melanzane stacks on the dinner table in about 30 minutes.

My favorite way to eat these yummy stacks?

The next day I love to eat these melanzane stacks cold right out of the fridge.


Until Next Time…