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Tuesday, 05 March 2013 17:19

Ultimate Comfort Food: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

At first I was hesitating about posting one of winter's all-time comfort foods because it is March, after all. But, since it's dreary and kind of snowy here today, this is actually the perfect meal for today! I can't wait to get home to make this for myself tonight. There is nothing more comforting than the ultimate kid food-- grilled cheese and tomato soup-- just tailored a little to suit our grown up tastes.

Enjoy! xoxo.

colleen

 Grownup Grilled Cheesegrilled_cheeseIMG_1219
by Colleen Reilly and Stephania Stanley

What you need: 

  • Fresh sour dough bread, cut into eight slices
  • 4 thin slices of cheddar cheese
  • 4 thin slices of Pawlett cheese (or another raw cow’s milk cheese)
  • ½ cup goat cheese
  • 4 tbsp butter
 

What to do:

Spread ½ tablespoon of butter onto one side of each slice of bread.  Divvy up each type of cheese onto the unbuttered sides of four different slices of bread.  Complete each sandwich with the top slice of bread making sure the buttered side is on the outside.  In a large skillet cook each sandwich over medium low heat.  Flip after five minutes, or until golden brown.  If the bread is browning before the cheese has begun to melt, lower the heat some more so that the outsides cook a bit slower.  Remove from heat when both sides of the sandwich are golden brown and the cheese is melted.  Repeat for all four sandwiches.

 

Soothing Tomato and Basil Soup
by Colleen Reilly

tomato_soupIMG_1293

What you need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups low-sodium veggie broth
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
  • 3 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained (or a combo of canned tomatoes and fresh ones, chopped)
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, sliced thin

What to do:

Heat oil in a large sacepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about 45 seconds, stirring continuously. Add broth, salt, red pepper flakes and tomatoes. Stir and bring to a boil.  Simmer over low heat about 20 minutes. Stir in half the basil. 

Using a measuring cup or a ladle, place half the soup in a blender and process until smooth. Pour blended soup into a large bowl and repeat blending with the other half of the soup, and add to the bowl.  Serve soup into individual bowls and garnish with remaining basil leaves.  Serves 4.

 

Jeanette's Healthy Living: Grilled Cheese With Kale Artichoke Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Cooking With Elise: Inside-Out Grilled Cheese With Bacon
Red or Green?: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Red or Green-Style
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
Weelicious: Kentucky Hot Brown Panini
Virtually Homemade: Grilled Cheddar, Apple and Arugula Sandwich
The Sensitive Epicure: Individual Goat Cheese Mac & Cheese (Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free)
Devour: Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese
Thursday Night Dinner: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
The Heritage Cook: Open Faced Grilled Halloumi Sandwiches
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Muhammara Grilled Cheese
Daily*Dishin: Grilled Jarlsberg and Black Forest Ham With a Surprise
FN Dish: Grilled Cheese Goes Beyond Cheese

Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Tuesday, 08 January 2013 18:10

If You Need Me, I'll be with my Potato Soup

Ok, yes, it's winter again. So that means it's cold, I haven't seen the sun in about 4 days, and I'm pretty serious when I say that all I can think about is summer and lying out in the sun reading a great book. However, if there's one thing to be adored about winter, it's the indulgence in comfort foods that comes with the season. This recipe that my mom taught me is one of my all-time favorite winter comfort foods. And, of course, I love anything that will make enough to last several meals-- or enough for one get-together.

Enjoy!
xo,
colleen

If You Need Me, I'll be with my Potato Soup

by essie reilly

What you need:  potato_soup_copy         

  • 10-12 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 6-8 green onions, chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, diced (you can use 1 1/2 onion if you don't have green onions)
  • 4 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 3 vegetable bouillion cubes
  • 1 onion buillion cube
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 4 cups warm water

What you do:

    Melt 1 tbsp butter in soup pot and sauté onions & celery until soft. Add four cups warm water and vegetable and onion bouillon cubes to soup pot and stir to dissolve. (If the bouillon cubes are unsalted, add 2 teaspoons of salt and increase amount incrementally to taste). Add pepper. Put potatoes into soup pot and boil until potatoes are soft, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Lower heat to medium low.

    Remove half the soup and mix in a blender until you have a mashed potato broth (or use a potato masher in the soup pot). Don’t blend entirely— you want the broth to remain chunky. Add the mashed broth back to the soup pot and return to a boil. Add the cream. Spoon remaining butter on top of the soup and stir throughout once it has melted. Serve immediately or lower to simmer until serving. (Photo by Stephania Stanley).

    Top with chives, sour cream, and or chopped bacon pieces. For a vitamin A boost, add chopped carrots when you add the potatoes to the soup pot. Make sure the carrots are chopped really tiny because they cook very slowly.

    Serves 6-8

    Jeanette's Healthy Living: Grilled Smashed Baby Potatoes With Green Harissa Sauce
    Devour: 5 Ways to Cook Potatoes
    Haute Apple Pie: Twice-Baked Southwestern Sweet Potatoes
    Napa Farmhouse 1885: Healthy Warm Potato Salad With Onion and Vinegar
    Red or Green?: Spicy Baked Sweet Potatoes
    And Love It Too: Sweet Potato Hasselback Potatoes
    Virtually Homemade: Twice-Baked Potatoes With Cheddar and Caramelized Onions
    Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Crispy Potatoes With Baked Eggs and Pesto Yogurt
    Cooking With Elise: Vavos Stewed Potatoes
    The Heritage Cook: Potato and Sweet Potato Gratin With Bourbon-Laced Cream Sauce
    The Cultural Dish: Garlic and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
    Thursday Night Dinner: If You Need Me, I'll Be With My Potato Soup
    Feed Me Phoebe: Baked Sweet Potato Fries With Rosemary
    Add a Pinch: Loaded Smashed Potatoes
    From My Corner of Saratoga: Garlic and Herb Infused Cheesy Potatoes
    FN Dish: Well-Loved Potato Sides

        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Friday, 23 November 2012 12:42

        The Next New Thing: Tandem Soup Cooking

        Happy Friday! We hope that all our of lovely readers had a most excellent Thanksgiving and are spending some chill-time with family and friends. Today Jana is introducing us to a cute new concept that she has come up with to try to win her neverending battle of trying to eat dinner before 10 o'clock: tandem soup cooking. Read on to learn more about it.
        Enjoy!
        xo,
        colleen
        *********************************************************************************************************
        jana_stove
        Tandem Soup Cooking

        If tandem soup cooking is not a thing, then I'm officially making it so.  We have a goal in our house - to eat dinner before 10pm.  It's nearly impossible.  My husband Kelly gets home at 7:30, sometimes later.  By the time we've fed, bathed and put the baby to sleep, cooked dinner, changed our clothes and sat down to relax...it's 10 o'clock and we're eating late yet again.  One day recently, I decided to tackle dinner a bit differently.  I wanted to try and make two big pots of soup at once so that we could have dinner already made for the next day.  I understand that leftovers are not really a novel concept, but doing this by myself would've taken twice as long and been half as fun.  Luckily, Kell was in the mood to help out and our daughter Josie, was in the mood to play with her magnetic refrigerator letters while we cooked.  I chose two recipes using items I had on hand - Corn and Butternut Squash Chowder for me and Leek Potato Soup for Kell.  We got to work cooking, and as I peeled, cubed and wrestled my butternut squash, Kelly was able to chop an onion for me while peeling and cubing potatoes and chopping leeks for his own recipe.  Miraculously, we both ended up at the, "simmer for 45 minutes," point at the same time.  Both soups were absolutely delicious, and we were so relieved that dinner was already done for the next day.  Plus, Kelly cleans as he cooks, which I do not, so the kitchen was clean when we were done.  So, we spent time together, made multiple meals, had dinner on time and a clean kitchen...win-win.  TSC, it's a thing and I'm totally a fan.

        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Monday, 12 November 2012 21:34

        Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

        I can't believe that next week Thanksgiving will be upon us yet again! For Thursday girls, this holiday is one of our absolute favorites-- a holiday that is solely about food and family, what more could you want from a day? So, over the years we've amassed a nice collection of Thanksgiving-appropriate recipes from our friends and family. Since I'm not a meat-eater, the side dishes have always been my favorite part of Thanksgiving and I think it's very important to pay just as much attention to the supporting dishes as the main star-- the turkey (or tofurkey, in my case.) To help jumpstart your Thanksgiving meal planning, here are some of our favorite recipes for you.

        Enjoy!

        colleen

        ******************************************************************************************

        thanksgiving_saladSalads and Veggies

        Aunt Patsy's Spread Salad

        Cozy Roasted Cauliflower

        Pennsylvania Dutch Succotash

        Mom's Sweet Potato Casserole

        Squash It Out Fritters

         

        Soups

        Asya's Thanksgiving Butternut Squash Soup

        Pumpkin Spice Soup

        Down Home Tortellini Soup

        Desserts

        Great Grammy Alice's Apple Cream Pie

        Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cake

        Apple and Maple Bread Pudding

        Figgy Biscotti

         

        thanksgiving_drinkDrinks

        Mulled Wine

        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Wednesday, 24 October 2012 15:47

        TND: Fall Style

        Happy last Thursday in October! I can't believe how fast this, the best month has flown by. I hope you have taken some time to slow down and enjoy--and perhaps photograph--the loveliness around you. 

        xo

        colleen

        ohh, poor me. here's the view off our deck...

        fall_out_deck

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

        speaking of the deck. look how nice it looks freshly painted a normal deck color (it used to be blue) with fall leaves, and red toes...

        fall_feet

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         


        here's a PERFECT fall meal to get you into the mood of the season....

         Pumpkin Spice Souppumpkin_soup_4
        by La Reina Bates

        What you need:

        • 1 medium sugar pumpkin (approximately 4 lbs., also called pie pumpkins)
        • ½ cup water (put in oven with roasting pumpkin)
        • 1 large onion chopped (white or red is fine)
        • 2 large carrots peeled and chopped
        • 3-4 garlic cloves chopped
        • 1 bay leaf
        • 3 tbsp olive oil
        • 1 tsp salt
        • 3 tsp ground cumin
        • 1 ½ tsp ground coriander
        • ½ tsp ground ginger
        • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
        • ¼ ground black pepper
        • 4 cups veggie broth
        • 2 cups water (or more if needed)
        • 2 tbsp fresh orange juices

        What to do:

        Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the pumpkin in half from stem to bottom and pull halves apart. Scoop out seeds and pulp from each half with a spoon. Season each half with salt and pepper and place on a cookie sheet, rind side down. Place a glass cup filled with ½ cup of water on the cookie sheet with the pumpkin. Roast for 45-60 minutes, or until tender (line sheet with foil for easy cleanup).  When cool enough to handle, run a knife through the insides of the pumpkin in roughly 1” pieces and scoop out insides.

        After pumpkin has been roasting for about 20 minutes, start on the rest of the soup. In a large pot, sauté onion, carrots, garlic, and bay leaf in olive oil over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add salt, cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper and stir until everything is well coated, about 30 seconds. Add broth and water, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer partially covered about 15 minutes. Add pumpkin pieces and simmer for another 15 minutes. Add orange juice and simmer for 2 more minutes. Discard bay leaf. Transfer soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Transfer back to the pot. Add water to the soup if you prefer a thinner consistency, and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

        Serves 6-8.

        Editor’s note: When I added the pumpkin pieces to the soup, I placed the pumpkin seeds in the oven on a baking sheet and baked them according to this recipe. I sprinkled toasted seeds over the soup when I served it.  I was out of coriander, so I used 6 cloves instead. I simmered them with the soup the entire 30 minutes and removed before I blended the soup.

         

        And here's my latest crafting craze...

        Rolled magazine frames. Our craft get-together at this week's Glue Gun Mafia was these frames and we had a blast! I'm definitely making these for holiday gifts this year. I love gifts like this, that can be done on the cheap but that look nice and have a personal touch-- be sure to fill the frame with a photo that the recipient will like. Go here to learn how to make these. And here and here. Have fun!

        magazine_frame_jd

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

        magazine_frame_flower

        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Monday, 03 September 2012 20:06

        Beet Carrot Cashew Ginger Soup

        It's no secret that I love beets and everything about them. Most weeks, I roast a few beets and take them for lunch and eat them for dinner, so I'm always looking for new ways to use them. Now, this soup makes me feel like I'm cheating big time...Ok, I am cheating big time. But, hey, we're all busy and I love super simple meals to which I can add my own little touch. This recipe gives a little boost to a ready-made soup and I'm excited to eat it for leftovers all week long (it'll be all up to me because my husband won't touch anything with beets in it).

        Enjoy! 

        xo,

        colleen

        Beet Carrot Cashew Ginger Soupbeet_soup
        by Colleen

        What you need:             

        • 1 medium roasted beet
        • Olive oil
        • 1 12 oz container of ready-made carrot cashew ginger soup (I used Pacific brand)
        • Fresh ground black pepper
        • Dash of hot sauce (I suggest Cholula)
        • Walnuts or cashews for garnish

        What you do:

        Preheat oven to 365 degrees F. Cut off beet greens from medium sized beet. Place beet inside a square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil. Wrap beet in foil and place on a cookie sheet in the oven. Roast beet for 45 min-1.5 hours. Begin checking beet at 45 minutes. Remove from oven and poke with a fork. When the beet is tender, it' ready to be removed from the oven.

        When the beet is ready, remove from oven, unwrap and allow to cool slightly. When it's cooled enough that it can be handled, peel beet with your fingers or a pairing knife. I wear kitchen gloves to keep my fingers clean.

        Cut beet into chunks and place in blender. Add soup and puree until smooth and it becomes this beautiful reddish pink color. If you aren't sure you want the whole beet in the soup, add just a bit at a time and puree and taste as you go.

        Pour pureed mixture into a pot and heat thoroughly over medium-low heat. Add pepper and hot sauce to taste. When heated, ladle into a bowl and garnish with walnuts or cashews.  Serve with warm, crusty baguette slices smothered with goat cheese. Yum!

        Feed Me Phoebe: Grilled Eggplant Baba Ganoush
        Jeanette's Healthy Living: Asian Grilled Eggplant With Soy-Sesame Sauce
        From My Corner of Saratoga: Ratatouille Fresh From the Garden
        And Love It Too: Slow-Cooker Paleo Eggplant Parmesan
        Big Girls Small Kitchen: Homemade Baba Ganoush
        Made by Michelle: Eggplant Zucchini Muffins
        Cooking With Elise: Stuffed Eggplant
        Virtually Homemade: Layered Ratatouille la Ratatouille
        Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Eggplant and Peppers Dip
        HGTV Gardens: Garden-to-Table: Eggplant
        Thursday Night Dinner: Eggplant Flatbread
        Healthy Eats: Going Meatless With Eggplant
        Devour: Giada's Rigatoni With Eggplant Puree
        Cooking With Books: Sriracha and Honey Eggplant Rice
        FN Dish: Eggplant: Champion of the Meat-Free Meal

         

        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Thursday, 27 October 2011 15:53

        Pumpkin Spice Soup and a Cute Chalk+Bulletin Board

        It's feeling like fall here in Louisville. The leaves have finally begun to change and the weather has gotten out of the 80s (not that I would complain if it got back in the 80s). Even though I don't like declining temperatures, I do love snuggling up with a nice bowl of cozy soup. When our reader La Reina posted a status on Facebook a couple of weeks ago about a pumpkin soup she was making, it was as though she had been reading my mind. I had been looking around for days for a pumpkin soup I wanted to try. But when I'm cooking with an ingredient I don't have much experience with (that ingredient in this case being pumpkins), I like to use a recipe that's been tested by someone I trust.

        Often on Thursdays when the girlfriends get together, we are starving and want something that we can make and devour quickly. But I find it's also really fun sometimes to make a dinner that takes awhile, so you can sit together in the kitchen sipping on a glass of wine, catching up on the week's goings-on while the food cooks (especially something that smells as delicious as this soup). If your friends like to keep their hands busy, I recommend sitting them down with one of these crafts while waiting on dinner: Beaded Wine Charms or Buttoned up Cloth Napkins.

        Much thanks to La Reina for sending me this recipe. It's one of my new favorites.

        ENJOY! 

        colleen

         Pumpkin Spice Souppumpkin_soup_4
        by La Reina Bates

        What you need: 

        • 1 medium sugar pumpkin (approximately 4 lbs., also called pie pumpkins)
        • ½ cup water (put in oven with roasting pumpkin)
        • 1 large onion chopped (white or red is fine)
        • 2 large carrots peeled and chopped
        • 3-4 garlic cloves chopped
        • 1 bay leaf
        • 3 tbsp olive oil
        • 1 tsp salt
        • 3 tsp ground cumin
        • 1 ½ tsp ground coriander
        • ½ tsp ground ginger
        • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
        • ¼ ground black pepper
        • 4 cups veggie broth
        • 2 cups water (or more if needed)
        • 2 tbsp fresh orange juices

        What to do:

        Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the pumpkin in half from stem to bottom and pull halves apart. Scoop out seeds and pulp from each half with a spoon. Season each half with salt and pepper and place on a cookie sheet, rind side down. Place a glass cup filled with ½ cup of water on the cookie sheet with the pumpkin. Roast for 45-60 minutes, or until tender (line sheet with foil for easy cleanup).  When cool enough to handle, run a knife through the insides of the pumpkin in roughly 1” pieces and scoop out insides.

        After pumpkin has been roasting for about 20 minutes, start on the rest of the soup. In a large pot, sauté onion, carrots, garlic, and bay leaf in olive oil over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add salt, cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper and stir until everything is well coated, about 30 seconds. Add broth and water, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer partially covered about 15 minutes. Add pumpkin pieces and simmer for another 15 minutes. Add orange juice and simmer for 2 more minutes. Discard bay leaf. Transfer soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Transfer back to the pot. Add water to the soup if you prefer a thinner consistency, and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

        Serves 6-8.

        Editor’s note: When I added the pumpkin pieces to the soup, I placed the pumpkin seeds in the oven on a baking sheet and baked them according to this recipe. I sprinkled toasted seeds over the soup when I served it.  I was out of coriander, so I used 6 cloves instead. I simmered them with the soup the entire 30 minutes and removed before I blended the soup.

        and for the craft.......

        For a couple of years, I have been eying this cute Chalk+Bulletin board that Emily made and has hanging in her kitchen. Here's how she made it.

        Country Framed Combo Chalk+Bulletin Board
        by emily ross

        bulletin_board_chalk_board_2_resized

        What you need:

        • Chalk board
        • Cork board (sold in rolls or squares at the craft store)
        • Spray adhesive (if the cork board you buy isn't self-adhesive)
        • Frame
        • Pencil
        • X-acto

        What to do:

        To save yourself some trouble, buy a frame that is the same size as your chalkboard. Emily used one that she's had since she was a kid. Lay the backboard of the frame on top of the cork and trace with a pencil. On a flat, protected surface, cut cork down to the correct height with X-acto. Emily decided to make her board half chalk board and half cork board, so she cut hers accordingly. You can do the same or place your cork wherever you like. If the cork board is not self adhesive, spray the back with spray adhesive and attach to chalk board. If it is self-adhesive, remove backing and attach to the chalkboard. Place in frame and close up (don't put the glass in the frame). Emily found that the cork board wasn't thick enough to hold push pins, so she added some cork coasters by spraying their backs with spray adhesive and attaching to the cork board. I think the circles add a nice touch.

        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Wednesday, 19 October 2011 17:19

        Three Essentials to the Perfect Cozy Fall Dinner

        After our big shoot last weekend (lots of cocktails coming to the site!), and my approaching deadline from a recent photo job, I have been working from home doing some mega editing and retouching.  I'm always excited about the thought of hunkering down and working from home, but after day three I start feeling like I have the case of cabin fever (thank you, Paul, for the video link!).  Today is day four and thankfully I am venturing into the city for a day of errands and an evening of tastings for the lovely, Harvest Spirits.  Thursday Night Dinner is sounding particularly needed this week.  Caitlin has hunkered down herself studying for the GRE's so it is high time for us all to just hang out, drink wine, and make a scrumptious dinner.

        Its been a stressful week all around for our Thursday Girls so I'm thinking that tonight calls for our Soothing Tomato Basil Soup and our Grownup Grilled Cheese Sandwich.  For the craft (something equally as cozy) Emily's snood.  Emily and I were introduced to the term snood about four years ago during our trip to Amsterdam.  We met this Manchester lad (I don't know why, but he just needs to be described as a lad) and he was telling us this hysterical story about his sister buying him some horrible looking snood that probably cost her 50 quid.  When we got back home, we immediately googled "snood" and found that it can actually be quite cute.  For those of you who have not been introduced to this hood, turtleneck, scarf type accessory, you are in for a special treat. 

        ENJOY! 

        Stephania

         Grownup Grilled Cheesegrilled_cheeseIMG_1219
        by Colleen Reilly and Stephania Stanley

        What you need: 

        • Fresh sour dough bread, cut into eight slices
        • 4 thin slices of cheddar cheese
        • 4 thin slices of Pawlett cheese (or another raw cow’s milk cheese)
        • ½ cup goat cheese
        • 4 tbsp butter

        What to do:

        Spread ½ tablespoon of butter onto one side of each slice of bread.  Divvy up each type of cheese onto the unbuttered sides of four different slices of bread.  Complete each sandwich with the top slice of bread making sure the buttered side is on the outside.  In a large skillet cook each sandwich over medium low heat.  Flip after five minutes, or until golden brown.  If the bread is browning before the cheese has begun to melt, lower the heat some more so that the outsides cook a bit slower.  Remove from heat when both sides of the sandwich are golden brown and the cheese is melted.  Repeat for all four sandwiches.

        Story:

        Sometimes you just need an excuse to have a grilled cheese sandwich. We often have these when we “accidently” forget to pick up ingredients for a more complicated dish. This sandwich has a gourmet taste with a fraction of the time and effort.  -Stephania

         Soothing Tomato and Basil Soup
        by Colleen Reilly

        tomato_soupIMG_1293

        What you need:

        • 1 tbsp olive oil
        • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
        • 3 cups low-sodium veggie broth
        • dash of salt
        • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
        • 3 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained (or a combo of canned tomatoes and fresh ones, chopped)
        • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, sliced thin

        What to do:

        Heat oil in a large sacepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about 45 seconds, stirring continuously. Add broth, salt, red pepper flakes and tomatoes. Stir and bring to a boil.  Simmer over low heat about 20 minutes. Stir in half the basil. 

        Using a measuring cup or a ladle, place half the soup in a blender and process until smooth. Pour blended soup into a large bowl and repeat blending with the other half of the soup, and add to the bowl.  Serve soup into individual bowls and garnish with remaining basil leaves.  Serves 4.

        Story:

        I really don't like tomatoes (texture thing?), but I love anything made from tomatoes. This soup is perfect to me because there are no chunks of tomatoes and you get a slight kick from the red pepper flakes. There's no cream involved in this recipe, so it's much healthier and easier on the tummy. And there's nothing more satisfying to me than dipping a toasty grilled cheese sandwich into a bowl of tomato soup.-Colleen

         SnoodsnoodIMG_0813
        by Emily Ross

        What you need:

        For snood:

        • 1 skein (color of your choosing)
        • 1 set medium gauge knitting needles (9mm minimum)

        For flowers (optional):

        • Medium sized crochet hook
        • 1 skein (color of your choosing)
        • Buttons (match the number to the number of flowers you make)
        • Thread (matching flower skein)
        • Needle

        What to do:

        For snood:

        Cast on 45 stitches.  Emily made this for an average neck size, so feel free to add or subtract the number of stitches to your liking. Knit and pearl in the round for approximately 15 inches.  This will create a circular knit piece.  The snood will fit snuggly, similarly to a turtleneck neck.

        For flowers (optional):

        Using your crochet hook, make about five chains (it should measure to six inches).  Loop the first and last chains together to make a circle.  Double crochet 14 into the center of the loop.  Hook the two loops together.  Now in the first hole do the following-1/2 double stitch, 1 double stitch, 1 triple stitch- now in the next hole… 1 triple stitch, 1 double stitch, ½ double stitch.  Chain one, then make a loop stitch through the next hole.  Repeat for five petals.  Stitch a button in the center of the flower and use yarn to attach through the flower and onto the snood, tying a knot in the inside of the snood.

        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Thursday, 13 October 2011 09:43

        Orange Week Continues: Down Home Tortellini Soup

        I arrived in New York Yesterday and have, as usual, been greeted by overcast, sort of drizzly weather. We're hoping the weather pulls itself together in time for our big photo shoot on Saturday. Steph and I are gearing up for the big DailyCandy Start Small, Go Big party tonight to help celebrate this year's winners. And by gearing up, I mean we're both sitting at our laptops on our third cup of coffee talking about how we should probably go get manicures this afternoon.  

        Since we aren't really doing Thursday night dinner tonight in a traditional sense, I thought I would at least share with you this yummy tortellini soup recipe to help warm you up on a brisk fall evening (we call it "tort soup"). When I was in grad school at Rutgers, far, far away from home, I would often go home with my dear friend and roommate, Erin, whose parents live in upstate New York. Erin's parents are two of the cutest people in the world and they live in an old family home on a bunch of land in the country with their two golden retrievers, Bear and his slimmer brother Tigger. It was always like a mini-retreat to get away from the hustle and bustle. When I would go home with Erin, we would spend a lot of time around the house in our pajamas while we did our laundry and caught up with her folks and her sister. Sometimes we would venture out and traipse around their property or the little town and at night I would sink blissfully into the coziest guest bed on the planet, complete with down pillows and an electric blanket. In the morning, I would awake (at like 10 or 11-- I was catching up on missed sleep!) and her dad would be making some kind of delicious and aromatic breakfast and there would be four different kinds of coffee creamers lined up on the counter for me to choose from. Heaven.

        This is one of my favorite recipes that Erin's dad would often make for me when I would come to visit. I made it the other day for the first time, and I was so pleased with myself that it turned out so deliciously. I just had to share it with you.

        Enjoy!

        xo, colleen

        ***************************************************************************************************

        Down Home Tortellini Souptort_soup

        from erin marean, via her dad

        What you need:

        • 1 pound sausage (omit to go vegetarian) 
        • 2 tbsp olive oil
        • 1 cup onion, chopped (red or white is ok)
        • 2 garlic cloves, minced
        • 6 cups beef, chicken or veggie broth
        • 1/2 cup red wine or water
        • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
        • 14 oz can diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
        • 1 cup sliced carrots
        • 1 cup sliced celery
        • 1 medium green pepper, chopped (Dad doesn't do this because he is allergic, ha)
        • 1/2 tsp dried basil
        • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
        • 3 tbsp dried parsley
        • 8 oz package of tortellini (Colleen used frozen, three cheese)
        • Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

        What to do:

        If going for the meat version, brown sausage in a large skillet over medium heat.  In a large, deep pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic till tender.  Add broth, water, wine, crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce, carrots, celery,  basil, oregano, and sausage.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 min.  Stir in tortellini, parsley and green pepper.  Simmer covered 35-40 min.  Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Serve with warm crusty bread.

        Easily made vegetarian by using vegetable broth and omitting sausage. Experiment using other veggies (or whatever you have in the fridge). Broccoli, beans and Lima beans come highly recommended.

        Serves 6-8.
        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Thursday, 29 September 2011 07:25

        Red Week Continues: Help Me Figure out My Next Craft

        This week the Louisville crew gets a special little surprise in the form of Stephania! She's in town from NYC for a couple of days, so we get to relive college days when we all got to do Thursday night dinner together every week. We're having one of our favorites, Yiayia's Quick Bean Soup (recipe at the bottom). And, yes, we know we've posted it before, but that's what's for dinner!

        But, I do need your help with the craft I'm working on tonight. As you know, it's Red Week at Thursdays, so this little red heart fits in perfectly. My husband and I moved into our house just about a year ago, and we still have pretty much zero wall art. We don't have the money to buy unique pieces just yet and we don't really want to cover our walls in stock art, so we've just left them empty. But the bareness has started to get me down, so I've decided that I'm going to start making our wall art for us.

        These little hearts are going to go into our book nook in our bedroom. I'm going to make two of them-- one will have a fabric heart sewn onto a piece of cardstock with words on it (you know, words for the book nook), and the other one will just be the sewn outline of a heart. Does that make sense? Anyway, I need your help in deciding which looks better for the first one I make. Should I sew the hearts onto a burlap sqaure first?

        Which do you like better?

        Option 1: Large heart in center of 5x7 frame. (What do you think about the words being crooked? I kind of like it)

        heart_big_center_sm_fram

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

        Option 2: Small heart, positioned left in 5x7 frame

        heart_sm_left_sm_frame

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

        Option 3: Large heart in center of 8x10 frame

        heart_lg_center_lg_frame

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

        Option 4: Large heart, positioned right in 8x10 frame

        heart_lg_right_lg_frame

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

        Option 5: Small heart, positioned right in 8x10 frame

        heart_sm_right_large_frame

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

        Which do you like better? Suggestions?

        Yiayia's Quick Bean Soup
        by nancy christy

        What you need:

        • 1 large red onion, diced
        • 1 small green pepper, diced
        • 2 tsp vegetable oil
        • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
        • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
        • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
        • 2 cans stewed tomatoes, undrained
        • 1 can chicken broth
        • 1 cup picanté sauce
        • 1 tsp ground cumin
        • 1 tsp cayenne

        What to do:

        In a large pot, sauté the onion and pepper in the vegetable oil over medium high heat.  Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

        Serves 4-6.
        And then I usually serve my bean soup with this cornbread. Sometimes I'll add some shredded monterey jack cheese and/or chopped scallions to the batter for an added somethin' somethin'.

        Sweeten Me Up Cornbread
        cornbread

        What you need:

        • 1 cup all-purpose flower
        • 1 cup corn meal (usually cornbread calls for yellow, but I only had white, and it turned out well)
        • 1/2 cup white sugar
        • 1 tsp salt
        • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
        • 1 egg
        • 1 cup milk (I used lactose-free)
        • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

        What to do:

        Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray or lightly grease an 11x7" baking pan or muffin tin (I made muffins!)

        In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk and vegetable oil until well combined. Pour batter into your baking dish or muffin tin. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes (baking pan) or 10-15 minutes (muffin tin) or until a toothpick comes out clean.

        Serving suggestions: Slice muffin in half, spread a dab of butter on both halves and drown in honey. Crumble into your favorite soup. Eat just the way it is.

        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
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