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these days.

hmmm, maybe these are just going to start being a saturday thing. i kind of love a saturday morning spent sitting with a candle lit, and a blanket on my lap, blogging while the husband putzes around the house. it’s my happy place.

there is a lot going on around here, in life that is, so writing has taken a bit of a backseat. and that’s okay. life is meant to be lived, and the more i live it, the more inspiration i have to write down the line.

i hope that your weekends are wonderful. love on your family and friends, and have a cocktail for me. hugs and kisses to all of you reading this.

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these days i’m…

eating lots and lots of popcorn. Mister Man has a pretty terrible travel schedule this month, so there have been a lot of single lady dinners to be had around these parts. the silver lining is that i’m all caught up on my tv shows since there is no one to snuggle with in the evenings….

trying to wash my hair less. so far i’ve been going at least 2-3 days without shampooing, and my hair is so healthy right now! normally on day three i just throw it up into the ol’ blogger topknot (does anyone want a tutorial on that one?) but i wore it down in tribute to amber’s lion hair habit. big hair is happy hair!

watching the harry potter movies. or rather, re-watching them. because obviously i’ve seen them before, who do you think i am? i don’t think ashten and i could be friends if i didn’t like hp. MM and i are starting from the beginning, because this weather means mandatory viewings of those wonderful movies.   

wearing my winter coat. while crying tears of sadness for the cold being here so dang early.

praying for family that recently went through a terrible loss, the kind that no one should ever have to endure. praying for their healing, for peace in their hearts, and strength.

drinking coffee again. don’t judge me, i know i said i was off it, and i’m still off it most days, but let’s be honest, a girl needs her latte on a friday afternoon from time to time!

loving that i get to see my sister and her new apartment tonight! she’s a teacher in a town about an hour and a half northwest of us, so i don’t get to see her very often, and it’s going to be an epic girls night with dinner, cocktails, and hocus pocus. whoop!

also loving this special mail delivery from my girl alicia (or etley, as she’s also called). seriously, this girl is so wonderful, and has been an amazing far away friend to me since we found each other in the blogosphere. she is funny, gorgeous, and the sweetest person. love you lady!

working on getting our gosh darn lawn ready for winter. i have been cutting back plants, raking and pulling weeds for what seems like the last three weeks straight. i thought living in the city with a tiny yard meant i’d have LESS yardwork, not the crap-ton i’ve been doing.

(p.s. in honor of the cold weather arriving, for the rest of october i’m offering my monster squawker ad spots for 50% off with the code “sweaterweather”. with this spot you get social media love, an intro in one of my daily posts, and even a guest post opportunity if you’d like! go here to get your spot, they fill up fast! doesn’t nikki from rural rookie look so good over there on my sidebar?)

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recipe: grandpa’s pumpkin soup.

oh grandpa. you’ve done it again.

if you’ve never had pumpkin soup before, please do me a favor and make this one the first one that you try. it’s one of those things that you taste, close your eyes and savor, and then want to put a straw in the pot and drink the rest of it up in one sitting. it’s that good. and it’s perfect for the fall.

(me in my natural state, getting ready to dip my personal loaf of bread into my soup.)

hanna came over to help me out with this one, and we also whipped up some brussels sprouts with toasted, slivered almonds and dried cranberries. for dessert we had stracciatello gelato topped with some raspberry compote she made herself. (yea, the cooking thing runs in the family.) it was the most wonderful monday night i can remember in a long time.

i think grandpa would love that his recipes are not only feeding his family now that he’s not here, but that they’re also bringing his family together as we cook them and remember him while we do it. that’s why he gave us the cookbook. so we’d remember him, and we’d do it together.

there are lots of ways you can make this soup your own; you can use different types of broth for a different flavor, you can leave the cream out or lighten it up with skim milk, you could even use some different herbs or add a spice if the spirit moved you. just make it. i promise that all your fall meal dreams will come true when you do.

pumpkin soup makes a large pot of soup, enough to serve 4-6 and freeze half

  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 C. onion, chopped
  • 2 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 C. chicken broth (note: we used 1 part chicken broth, 3 parts beef broth, and it was awesome! use whatever you want, it’ll work great)
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2-4 small bay leaves
  • 2 C. light cream (can substitute whole milk or more broth)
  • 1/2 C. dry sherry (optional…we did not use)
  • chopped chives or parsley for garnish
  • crusty bread for serving.

melt butter in large saucepan. add onion and saute for 5 minutes on medium-high heat. stir in pumpkin, broth, thyme, salt and bay leaves. bring to a boil. reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. remove from heat remove bay leaves. cover and refrigerate if not using immediately.

when ready to finish the soup recipe: bring the pumpkin mixture to a simmer. add cream (or broth) and sherry (optional). cook, stirring often until hot. ladle into serving bowls, garnish with parsley or chives and serve with hot crusty bread.

prep time: 10 min. total time: 40 min.

[note: the le creuset pot that you see in the photos for this recipe was given to me by my late grandmother as a wedding gift. i decided that a good time to break it in would be in cooking a recipe that belonged to grandpa. it brought a little magic to my cooking today, i’m sure of it]

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don’t forget to enter the giveaway that’s still going on! i think we could all use a cute new mug, don’t you?

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these days.

this week was simultaneously the fastest and the slowest week i’ve had in a LONG time. i’m pretty sure i woke up thinking it was friday at least three mornings out of the last five. so now that it’s here, i couldn’t be happier! we’ve got a fun weekend planned, with a wedding and a workshop and my baby sister is in town from school. so if the next 8 hours could go really fast, that’d be great. please and thank you!

this week, i want to introduce you to another one of my sponsors.

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stacie from happiness in bloom is just a darling person. she is so genuine and friendly and sweet, that you can’t help but want to read about her life with her sweet little dog and her guy down in florida. i personally am jealous of the fact that she lives in such a gorgeous place where it’s warm ALL THE TIME, but i don’t hold that against her at all. i’ve also been fangirling all over her little home with the front porch of my dreams…her blog’s got a little bit of everything, and i bet you’ll find something to fangirl over too.

Hey y’all! My name is Stacie and I blog over at Happiness In Bloom! In a nutshell my blog revolves around finding happiness and beauty in every day life. If you love laughing, a little sarcasm, and a positive perspective, come on over and hang out with me! I love meeting new people and can’t wait to meet you!

you can find stacie at her blog, happiness in bloom, and also on twitterbloglovin’, and instagram. head over to get a little dose of positivity and sunshine (and tell her that erin sent you).

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these days i’m…

eating oatmeal, oatmeal and more oatmeal. prepared for me by my husband every morning this week, because i haven’t been getting my butt out of bed early enough to make my own damn breakfast. and i’ve decided that oatmeal tastes better when someone else makes it for you.

making my first project from darby smart. this company is brilliant. you can order boxes full of everything you need for some incredible craft projects. you can order one project just for yourself if you’re feeling like you need some creative jumpstarting, or (and this is my favorite thing) you can order “girls night” boxes that have enough for you and some friends as a fun thing to do while drinking your wine at girls night. i’m participating in the “polish challenge” they’re throwing this month and just got my box…now i’m trying to get my creative juices flowing to see how i can create something cute and crafty with the supplies and julep nail polish they sent!

wearing tights and booties! because it’s sweater season, yes, but tights are the sweaters of our legs, and so it’s tight leg sweater season too! i’ve been put on a boot-buying hiatus (an unwilling one!) by my husband, because of our lack of closet space, but i might need ONE MORE pair of booties in taupe. because look at them! (i’m thinking something similar to the ones chelsea is wearing here…)

(dress: CAbi, booties: target via hanna)

drinking wine with some bloggers. if you missed the blitz on social media about #happyhourhangout the last two days, 1) you’re following the wrong people, and 2) read here for more info.

planning how i’m going to survive my sugar detox that starts next week. i’m going to the moon river wellness “replenish, relax and renew: 7-day mind, body and spirit detox” kickoff tomorrow morning, and then starting my detox on monday. not going to lie, i’m pretty nervous. i’ve already kicked caffeine, and i eat pretty healthy anyway, but there is something about the idea of giving up sugar entirely that gives me shivers. updates will be given if i survive.

listening to Mister Man’s wise words during a “this is our life” conversation yesterday. you know how sometimes us ladies just want the guys to shake their heads yes, and tell us they understand how we’re feeling, but not give us any advice? yea, i’m like that too a lot of the time. (“just support me!”) but there are times when he knows (and He knows) just when i need to be given some actual words of wisdom to make me feel better. so i’m listening.

working on the house, surprise surprise. take a look at my hot demolition man. he cleaned out the 85 year old garage and now you could eat off the floor (if you were into that sort of thing). i made him take the necessary safety precautions, and now i have this amazing photo. pretty happy that i have him to do the (literal) dirty work for me!

loving that i get to have a little lunch date with mama hools today! i haven’t had a chance to sit down and talk to just her in weeks, and i’m so excited to get away from my desk for a little break as well.

not loving: not applicable this week. i feel super content and i like that.

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recipe: grandpa’s potato-leek soup.

first of all, i want to thank everyone who made my grandpa’s tortellini soup that i posted a couple of weeks ago. it warmed my heart to see people loving his recipe and keeping his spirit alive through cooking. that’s why we pass down recipes, and i’m so thankful to be able to share these with all of you!

last week i asked the wise people of facebook and twitter what soup i should make next out of his cookbook. the overwhelming response was for this one, potato-leek soup, also known as vichyssoise (pronounced vishy-swah). pumpkin soup came in at a close second, so for all you pumpkin lovers, get ready for that one in a week or two!

this recipe is one of the easiest soups i’ve ever made. if you don’t count the seasoning and the garnish, there are literally only four ingredients. FOUR! i mean, even if cooking scares you, you can handle four ingredients, can’t you? i think you can, you’re the best!

one of the best parts of grandpa’s cookbook is that on many of the recipes, he adds a note. most of them talk about where he first found the recipes, and some of the good memories attached to it. and don’t we all have those notes for the food we make? we all remember the first meal we cooked for a dinner party or significant other, or the recipe that our mom passed down to us, or even the one you randomly found online and never stopped making because it was so good. grandpa wrote his memories down for us, so we can add those to the memories we make with his recipes. i’ll be sharing these notes at the bottom of a recipe when grandpa included one.

making this soup was extra-special for me because both my sister and my cousin stopped by while i was cooking, and we got to talk about grandpa and remember when he made certain soups for us. i’d forgotten eating a lot of these when i was little, and their memories helped jog mine. if i had any doubts about working my way through this cookbook, they’re gone after making this one.

if you’ve never had potato-leek soup, you might be like “wtf erin?! you want me to eat soup made of potatoes and onion-type things??” just trust me on how good this is. potato-leek soup is a creamy soup, with a light flavor of potato and leek, but it’s not too onion-y. it’s incredibly easy to eat, and best served with some crusty bread to dip in it. i hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

 

potato-leek soup (aka vichyssoise) makes a large pot of soup, enough to serve 4-6 and freeze half

  • 4 C. potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped (i used six medium potatoes, because i wanted it thicker)
  • 3 C. leeks (white part plus 2 inches of green), thinly sliced (note: you can also substitute 3 C. thinly sliced onions)
  • 2 qt. fresh chicken stock or chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 C. heavy cream
  • 3 T. fresh chives or parsley, finely chopped

in a heavy, 6-qt. saucepan or soup kettle, simmer the potatoes, leeks, chicken broth and salt partially covered for 40-50 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. use an immersion blender to blend the vegetables until the soup is smooth. you can leave some potatoes and leeks whole, at your preference. (if you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer the soup into a blender and blend it smooth, then transfer it back into the pot. caution: be careful when transferring hot liquids!) [note: grandpa’s original recipe said to “force the soup through a food mill or sieve into a large bowl and then pour back into the pot.” thank goodness for electric blenders, huh?]

season the soup with salt and pepper, and stir in the cream. before serving, return the soup to a simmer. ladle into a soup tureen or  individual soup bowls. serve garnished with fresh chives or parsley, and with some hot, crusty bread. this soup can also be served chilled.

note from grandpa: “we first served this soup on new year’s eve in the early 1960s after acquiring the Time Life International Cook Book series. we all enjoyed it so much that from that point forward, it became a tradition and always appears on our new year’s eve dinner menu.”

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humpday happy list.

when i sat down to write this humpday happy list for september, i looked back at my past lists to see how often i had posted the same things. it turns out that this week marks the one year anniversary of my humpday lists. and what a year it has been.

these lists have brought me so much happiness over the past 365 days. i started writing them because i realized i needed to focus on the good more than i focused on the bad. and when i had crappy weeks, these lists got me focusing on the things that inspired me instead of the things that were bringing me down.

sometimes it felt almost impossible to come up with five things that made me feel good. but i forced myself to look for inspiration in what was happening around me (or on pinterest). and it helped. it always helped.

here’s to another year of humpday happy and looking for the good around us!

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1) humpday seasonal cocktail: caramel apple vodka.

okay, so i don’t know what could be a better fall cocktail than caramel vodka and apple juice over ice. maybe a hot version? yea…a hot version in a travel mug smuggled into a late season baseball game. i think i could get into that.

2) humpday recipe: iced pumpkin coffee cake.

and sally does it again. i have made a couple of her recipes, including her original super crumb coffee cake and her chocolate covered strawberry cookies. she is a baking wizard, and has a cookbook coming out soon, so you should definitely keep an eye out for it…except make sure you have people to share with, otherwise you’ll eat it all yourself, and that can’t last very long.

3) humpday style: this fall outfit.

is this not PERFECTION?? keri russell can do no wrong. and this outfit can do no wrong. and now i need to go buy oxfords so i can be this comfortable and fall-chic. the end.

4) humpday obsession: you know what.

i’m sorry, but at least one humpday happy list per year needs to include this candle. don’t hate, i have a problem and i’m in no rush to fix it.

5) humpday fun: twins game this weekend.

Mister Man and i get to have a little date this weekend, in the fancy seats at target field (the tickets were a gift from his boss…thank you dave!). you guys, the fancy seats are right behind home plate and include free food and free drinks!! i am going to eat my weight in popcorn and brats and maybe even licorice. who knows, stuff could get crazier than i expect!

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