Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Cocktail - Cranberry Margarita!

The Headlines:



New Year's Eve is my least favorite night of the year to go out.

We stay home.

But a festive cocktail is certainly in order!

I have (another) recipe.


New Year's Eve… ahhhh… my most favorite holiday of the year… for staying home.  Really.  It's become just a super grand time to have a nice, quiet diner with BP (the husband) and afterwards maybe do some soaking in the spa to talk about the old while thinking about the new year ahead.  All the while, sipping on a festive cocktail.  Sounds like a supreme night.  Oh right, we do still have 2 kids.  They're here too.  Maybe watching more TV than usually allowed -  yea, everyone's celebrating tonight!

Anyways, here's what I don't like about New Year's Eve:  high expectations, crowds, prix fixe menus, over cooked food, scary drivers, over served people, expensive babysitters… I could go on but I won't.  The reasons above are why it's a great time to stay home and plan that dinner for two I mentioned or have a few fabulous neighbors and good friends over for the night.

Now, I am aware that other normal and oh so worldly, cool people will be doing the exact opposite which I applaud.  You are the movers and shakers who are ready to go out and party!  Many of you will do that in the bars and restaurants - and that is awesome for you.  But for those homeward bound party people like myself - I have a treat for you!

Oh, we're by no means boring just because we're staying home… we're making these

Cranberry Marg!

It's a Cranberry Margarita and it rocks.  Once again, the key to this cocktail, as in all cocktails in my opinion, is a fresh ingredient.  Mark my words, you can have a good cocktail recipe but if it has no fresh ingredients, it's just that - good.  I am One Picky Chick and I need A-MAZING.  Throw in something fresh and it become just that!  As for this cranberry marg… I bet you can guess which fresh ingredient we'll use -- DING DING DING DING -- cranberries!  

This is a cocktail made, easily, for 1 or 15 people.  

Here's what you need:
19 oz tequila (we used 1800)
1 can frozen cranberry concentrate (should be 12 oz)
4 oz orange liqueur (we used Cointreau)
2 oz lime juice
Fresh cranberries
Fresh Lime


Here's what you do:
Mix the tequila, cranberry concentrate, orange liqueur and lime juice up in a pitcher.  Then take about 6 ounces of that and put it into a blender - blend with 20 fresh cranberries.


Once that's finished, pour it back into the pitcher and stir.




That way, when you pour each drink you'll see small chunks of cranberries in each sip.  Catch that?  Look close.



Then, when you're ready… put ice into glass of choice, shake each cocktail individually and pour.   Garnish with a slice of lime.  Perfect for a party!  You can rim the edges with sugar… sometimes I do.  But it's one more step you may not want to bother with...



Super lovely, isn't it?  I really could just stare at its beauty for a bit.  Pause pause pause… okay down the hatch!

So as I said, this year, like almost every year… BP and I will ring in the New Year together.  We always cook lobster with butter.  Add an easy side and voila!  It's decadent, memorable and really no fuss.  We don't do desert (cocktails instead) and it's a mess free, easy date night that requires no driving or aggravation.  I used to actually try to get a little dressed up but that kind of failed after the first or second attempt.  It's a perfect evening at home (where are those kids again?) and I can't wait for it this year!

As long as I'm in bed snoozing by 10:30.  I know - total party animal.





Friday, December 27, 2013

I got a MOP for Christmas

The Headlines:

Didn't ask for a thing this Christmas.

I got a vacuum cleaner.

Is that a problem? 



BP (husband) and I have not actively exchanged Christmas prizes for a while.  We instead focus our efforts and money on our Christmas Eve party, the dinner we serve for 6-10 people on Christmas Day, the kids prizes and our parents.  Plus of course, Jesus' Birthday!  We figure, he and I can get what we want throughout the year.  Or at birthdays, anniversaries, that sort of thing.  Sometimes, though, we put a little something for each other under the tree.

Two years ago he bought me a house.  That was actually sort of a mutual gift.  Last year he got me my first crock pot.  I actually wanted that thing though... honestly.  This year, I was kind of thinking of a purse.  But I didn't ask for it... I actually asked for nothing this year.  But he got me something anyways.  This...


That is, what they call a Roomba. It cleans floors when you're asleep. Heard of it?


Yes, he basically got me a mop.  Which cost several hundred dollars.  It's the pet series.  Maybe that makes it pricier? I'm not sure.  It seems to be a nice piece of machinery.  Really.  I've heard lots of good things about them.  Yes, he said he wanted his wife to work a little less on keeping our nice, dark wood floors clean.  Or maybe he was sending me a big, fat hint.  Whatever he was doing, I appreciated it.

Right?  Wait, let me think about it.

He was doing something very sweet but does any woman really want to be given a mundane household item (outside of a crock pot) for  Christmas?  I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say no.  I realize, it'a a very short limb... because I think most women would not be excited to get a Roomba for Christmas. I know.  It pains me to say it when he was, I believe, really trying here.  But here's how I see it.  That black, Rebecca Minkoff purse I've been coveting for a while now is just a (couple) hundred dollars more.  And if I'm going to spend so much on something - doesn't a beautiful purse sound like more fun than... a self moving mop?  Or better yet, maybe donating that money to our church over a.. floor robot?

By the way, have I mentioned I clean the floors for free (outside of what I pay for Bona - a great wood floor polisher, fyi) - do I really want to pay a machine to do it for me?  Should we instead put that money to use elsewhere?  I'm not so sure.  I haven't said, definitively, I'm taking it back.  These are all questions I've been mulling over in my head the past couple days as I continually pass the big, un-opened box by the tree.

For the record,  BP always gets me my favorite prize every year.  The letter/card he writes me.  His kind words and loving heart are, by far, my greatest world-ly gift under the tree.  I am and always do feel so blessed.  So really - anything after that is just icing on the -vacuum cleaner- cake.
Therefore, it's hard to say, Roomba aside, that this Christmas was anything but a complete success.  Grandparents came.  The kids got way too much stuff.  The Christmas Eve party was enjoyed by all...  Jesus had a great birthday dinner.  And I got an electronic crumb eater.  Nothing to shake a stick at.

Now if you're at all wondering what I got for BP this year... he's been working so hard lately I thought a little something special was in order this Christmas.  So I got him a very nice wool oatmeal colored, hoodie sweater from Nordstrom.

And some bed sheets.  Hey, anything's better than a MOP!   

Monday, December 23, 2013

3 Ingredient - 3 Step Christmas Appetizer!

The Headlines:

It's Christmas.

You need an appetizer.

This has 3 ingredients, 3 steps and takes 3 minutes to prepare!



It's the day before Christmas Eve and you're throwing a party.  Wait that's me.  Because really, if you're throwing a party you probably already have your menu down.  Right?  I mean, hopefully.  Anyways, I am.  And I do.

So, it's probably more along the lines of, you're going to a party and you need to bring an easy app... but you haven't figured one out yet.  Problem solved.  This appetizer is very tasty, so easy and totally festive looking.  Red and white!

It's a crab dip.  But not the kind of crab dip we're all so used to these days... the kind with scallions and mayo and parmesan or gruyere cheese.. nope this is more old school.  And it needs 3 simple ingredients:

  1. cocktail sauce
  2. crab
  3. cream cheese.



Pretty right?  I wish I could show you the whole plate because - what a sight!  It's a beautiful red circle that's sort of outlined by white cream cheese.  Great lines and color.  But by the time I got to it, it was half eaten, so this photo was the best I could do!  Yea, it's a popular dish!  I found it, of all places, at my hair salon.  It was made by the owner, Sandy Barbetta, of Cosmos in Mesa, Arizona.  I've been going to her for 10 plus years but this is the first time she's shared this little secret of hers!  It's a recipe that she's been using for over 3 decades!  Every Christmas, when she makes it, she says she gets rave reviews!  I can see - and taste - why!   



Here's how she does it.  First, go to Walmart (yea, yea THAT place again!) and buy one can of Fancy White Crab Meat by Crown Prince.  She says it's way cheaper there than any other place at $5.  It's got a green label and it looks like a can of tuna.  Then, while you're there, grab a bottle of Heinz Cocktail sauce, original, with a blue label.  Pick up 2 hunks of cream cheese, some Ritz type crackers and you're set! 

Now, the 3 Steps:
  1. The night before your event open the crab meat and mix it with the cocktail sauce.  Then put it in the fridge overnight.  She says it acts as a marinade.  You could also then leave out the cream cheese overnight so that it softens which makes it more spreadable.  
  2. Then, the next day when you're ready to prepare it - take the cream cheese and spread it over a large plate, maybe even a medium to small sized platter.  It should pretty much cover the whole shape of the plate so don't make it too big of a platter!  
  3. Next, and finally, take the crab mix and dump it gently in the center of the dish with the cream cheese under it.  Then, carefully spread it out, leaving a thick line of cream cheese around the edge.  
And your work here is done.  Ready to go to that party now? It's simply impressive.


The best part, it took you all of like 3 minutes to prepare!  Perfect since no one I know has any spare time right now!

One more thing I had at Cosmos that I have to mention.  Now, I know you've probably tasted something similar to this before - but it may have been a while.  That's because it's totally retro - Sandy herself said she's been doing it for about 40 plus years now.  



Can you tell what it is?  It's that sherbet... (can I just say that I find it very odd that you spell sherbet without an R even though we all pronounce it sher-beRt.... sometimes the English language just floors me) so, yea, it's that sherbet punch. You must know/remember the kind, right?  Get a closer look.


Maybe you had it at a baby shower you attended with your mom when you were a kid?  I know I did.  And what sweet memories it brings back!  Not to mention a perfect and nostalgic addition to a holiday party!   

I also love that it's so easy to whip up.  
  1. Grab 1 gallon of lime sherbet (perfect color at Christmas - couldn't fit any better!)  Dump it in the punch bowl.
  2. Add a bottle and a half of squirt and half a large can of pineapple juice (give or take).  
  3. Enjoy! 
It's like a desert and a drink all wrapped in one.  Does that mean you can make one less cookie this Christmas?  Of course it does!

Bottom line, I'm so glad I got my hair done this weekend!  Not just because I desperately needed it - but because I learned some crazy cool, One Picky Chick worthy stuff!  Thanks to Sandy - the Italian mom, grandma, hair stylist and business woman - we're now all saying Bellissimo!  

Merry Merry to you and yours...  



Friday, December 20, 2013

The Making of a Tradition.

The Headlines:

Traditions.  Do or don't?

We didn't.  But we will.

Turns out they're important to kids!



If I am One Picky Chick than my mom, as I've mentioned here before, is Theeee Pickiest Chick on the planet.  For instance, vacations, growing up had to be different each year.  She could love, like looooove a place that we visited but because we had been there that one time - never going back.  Her theory: been there, done that. I get it.  I'm a tad like that now.

So, good or bad, we never really did any year after year traditions during the holidays (except going to church).  I think it was due to the same theory behind the no-repeat vacation.  Repetition, in that context, became boring to my mom.  Therefore, I am not used to traditions.  This last weekend my husband came to me with an idea.  His family, from what I can tell, utilized more "traditions" than us...  and he wanted to start one.  A simple one.  A good one.  He wanted the kids to make an ornament each year.  That way, they could have a concrete thing to look back at which would, hopefully,  help them remember that particular Christmas.  Or at least, the making of that particular ornament!

Yikes. The stress!  For someone not "kid crafty," like me, I started to panic a little inside.

But the bigger issue in front of me here was... it got me thinking: kids need and probably thrive through "traditions."  Why?  They like repetition, which provides security to them.  Each and every Christmas, making an ornament will be reliable, familiar and can provide moments of happiness which they will reflect on for a lifetime.  Wow.  All from a little ornament, huh?  Of course.  That's what childhood is... little snipets that either make you feel good or bad.  It's the memories that mold you.  Like: "remember when we made that horrible ornament with mom in 2013 when we started this whole thing!  What a disaster.  But it was funny!" That's what I'm counting on for this year.

Yea, because once I decided to make an ornament...  I really needed to make one.  Great!  As I hinted to above, despite what you may (possibly) think from this blog...  I am not very kid creative.  I have a vision for certain things... mostly adult things.  But there is a lot of good, kid-craft talent out there.  You probably have a friend whose super at this type of thing, right?  Actually, maybe you are her... there's probably a few blogs on it too for that matter!  You know the type... every time you go over to her house she has a cute little project for your kids to do and you, in turn, feel like this super inadequate/boring under-achieving mom of the year!  She doesn't do this intentionally - she's just a craft queen!  Anyways, this is the kind of mom I tried to channel this year.  I failed.  You could say miserably.

Yes, I chose the easy route.  The route I often choose to decorate my holiday dinner table - but for some reason it works better for that.  Huh.  I wonder why?  Anyways, I went outside.  I found some sticks and thought - ah ha!

We can make a cross! 

















I just grabbed those sticks, some thread and ribbon and went to town.



It was looking okay but when we wrapped that ribbon.... blah.


You can say it.  Okay I will, so bad!!!

SOOOO bad I actually took the ribbon off one of them and just left it as a stick version.  I thought it looked a little better.  It made my son cry.


Ironically, BP (the husband) was impressed.  Maybe he was just being nice.  Yea, look up again... he was for sure just being nice. And honestly, I thought, whatever.  We did something.  Next year I'll plan for a better ornament.  In fact, if you know of any (maybe you're that friend of mine whose super crafty - you know who you are) - please send me some ideas!  Totally serious here.  Send them now so I can file them away for next year.

For this years purposes, however,  our stick ornament will be just fine.  Because sometimes being picky, seeking perfection and making a perfect ornament... is over-rated.  It's the tradition that started over the holidays in 2013 -- that little stick cross that will hang on our tree year after year that will mean more to all of us in the end.




Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Baseball Barrel Head

The Headlines:

Homemade gifts rock.

Baseball decor is cool.

I have an idea for you.




Do you like homemade gifts?  If you ask me - I'd say it depends upon what it is.  Well, this a homemade gift that's... a home run.  Ha.

Okay, here it is.


Know what it is....?  It's a Baseball Barrel Head.  Now that's a major curve ball.  They're so easy - you can make 2 or 3... everything's always better in 3's! 





This is the barrel head of a wine or liquor barrel that makers use to age their wine (or whiskey or whatever the product).  Like this...


Okay, I'll back up a bit.  It all started when I was planning my sons new baseball room this summer. I was trying to come up with cool/different baseball wall art.  And nothing was working.  Because.. all together now... I'm PICKY! So I thought it would be cute to make large paintings of baseballs (circular ones) and put them up.  BP (the husband) then came up with the barrel head idea.  Heck, those were already round.  PERFECT!  I loved it.

WARNING, WARNING, WARNING!  This is a very simple project.  The hardest part here is finding the barrel head.  If you can do that, you're home free.  Then all you do is prime and paint the head white.  To make the red lines - find something circular in your house.  We used a kids table that was round.  In pencil, outline the lines on each side.  Then paint with a red paint from a crafts store.

























Use a baseball as your guide.

























Then in pencil again, do your arrows.  One line going up, one line going down.  Just like the ball!

This was our first attempt.  BP - not happy with it.  I was seriously just gonna roll with this one.  Not him.  He is... honestly... way more detail oriented than I am.  Maybe I should call him One Picky Dude?  Wait, I feel like I've used that before on here.  Anyhow, he thought the two curved lines on the baseball barrel head (below) were too close together.  So he gave it to his friend at work for his little boys' room.  A perfect gift.  They loved it.  Then, he made the 2 new barrel heads up top which are just right.  Hudson just started T-Ball so we'll put his number on the one that's blank.

Use this, obviously, in a a boys room but there are also so many other opportunities:  a nursery (so cute!), a play room,  a tv room/sports room/man cave.... even some living rooms, depending on your style.

Okay, you're up - go play ball!


Monday, December 16, 2013

Ooooey Goooey Sticky Buns

The Headlines:


Christmas morning is coming.

Let's make a Christmas Miracle!

Sticky buns recipe.



Okay... are you counting down like me?  I mean, my kids?  10 days until Christmas, 9, 8, 7... the funny thing is, when the day finally arrives, it's over in a flash.  The morning is like a blur.  And breakfast?  It's like the ONE time every year my kids don't even really need a breakfast... they're running on, I dunno, Christmas morning adrenaline!  But they need to eat something.  

SO how about this:


Yea, these babies are full of ooh, gooey goodness and - no joke - may take you 3 minutes to do.  Perhaps 5, tops. The NIGHT before.   And when you wake up you'll experience what I like to call a CHRISTMAS MORNING MIRACLE!  More on that in a minute...

My cousin made these sticky buns about 15 years ago for my entire family who had gathered in Lake Oswego, OR to celebrate my grandmothers birthday.  It really is the perfect thing to help feed a morning crowd.

Here's what you need: 
A pkg of Rhodes dinner rolls (in your freezer section)


1 pkg of jello butterscotch cook and serve pudding
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tblspn cinnamon

Here's what you do:
Find a large pan and grease it with butter.
Mix all the dry ingredients together.
Line the balls up in the pan. 18-20 of them.
Then pour the dry mixture over the balls.



Melt the butter and pour that over the balls too.




And this is where the Christmas morning miracle comes in: show your kids the balls the night before...


then show them what they become in the morning!  Holy smokes!  And this is not even as puffy as they usually get... often it's more poof!  Trust me, your kids will be impressed!


Now, I let them sit overnight in the oven, as seen above. But be careful with this... make sure the oven is cooled and don't use your oven in the meantime... then your Christmas miracle officially becomes a Christmas bust!

Next, (take them OUT of the oven) until it reaches 325 and pop those suckers (back) in! Let them cook for 30 minutes.  Take them out for 10 minutes before you turn them over in a large bowl.


Check it out... 18 mounds of yummy, melt in your mouth, cinnamon goodness.  Mmmmmm.  Here they are closer.  


This, my friends, is a MUST MAKE.  Your kids will think you're  better than Santa Claus.  And well, you are.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm................


Sorry I just fell asleep on my key board and dreamed a little bit.  Ho ho ho! Merrrreerrry sticky buns!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Pomegranate Mojito

The Headlines:

December is party time!

Make this drink for your next gathering.

It is major yum!  

And so pretty too!



If you read my last post, you know it was a total 180 from my normal ones.  But I felt as if the subject was more than appropriate to talk about this time of year.  I hope you did too.  But today - back to business.  The business of making a FABULOUS holiday cocktail!

I believe the difference of throwing a good holiday party and a GREAT holiday party is serving up a special and very yummy holiday-appropriate cocktail.  When you have a party, you don't have to have a full bar - really unnecessary actually - you want people to go home at one point!  But one special drink makes it just that - more special!  Just choose the drink carefully.  Two criteria here: one, color.  It really should be red and green or at least all red.  Hello - it's Christmas!  Do NOT serve a cantaloupe martini.  Even though it's amazing and the recipe is on this blog.  Orange doesn't work for this occasion.  Two, quality.  It has to be good.  All the ladies will inevitably try it first and they need to love it!

If you're now at a loss because your in home bartender/husband is only proficient at margaritas - fear not.  You will be making this.

Pomegranate Mojito

Here's what you need for 1 drink:

  • 2 oz pomegranate vodka (we used Stoli)
  • 1 1/2 oz club soda
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 12 mint leaves
  • 1/2 lime
  • splash of pomegranate juice

Basically, you muddle the mint leaves and lime.  Hint: doing it in the shaker makes it even easier...


then just add the vodka, agave nectar and pomegranate juice.  Put the cap on and shake.  Then pour in the club soda and stir.  Do NOT shake with the club soda inside or it will explode!  Not that we've had that happen to us before... ah-hem (we soooo have)!  Once you put the drink in your glass of choice (we used martini but a tall/highball mojito type glass would work great too)... add a couple cubes of ice, then some mint on top --- so so pretty!  And tres Christmas-ey!


Now, if you're doing this for a group of people, just do the above ten-fold (or however many servings) but stop before the club soda.  Put the mixture in a pitcher and then add club soda and the mint topper before serving.  Usually, people will only have one cocktail so you won't have to play bartender all night!

I always say - and I stand behind it - the key to a good cocktail - hands down - is fresh ingredients.  So while there's not a lot of obvious "fresh-ness" in this drink - the mint and lime do the trick.  Major yum awaits!  Just one more picture of this beauty.


Mmmmmm... enjoy!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Remembering the Holiday "Spirit"?

The Headlines:

Holidays are here.

Don't  stress out.

Don't throw a party (if you don't want to).

Find the spirit.


This blog post is different than my normal ones... I have no fabulous cocktail to tell you about (that's friday), there's no new decor score, I don't even have a yummy recipe to share.  But I hope you stay with me anyways and let me know, if you can, tell me how you're remembering the holiday "spirit"?  It's more important than picky purpose today.

The term "holiday spirit" is thrown around a lot this time of year.  But what, really, is it?  I guess it's what you want it to be.  To some it's lights and cookies.  To others, it's donating some gifts to a needy family.  For certain groups of people it may just be a feeling.  And then to others...  it may be what Christmas is named for... Christ.  Yea, Christmas is sort of the mother of all religious holidays if you're a Christian, less we forget.  It's, in its conception at least, not about Santa at all.  It's about Jesus being born.  If you believe that sort of thing.  If not, that doesn't change the fact that the holiday began due to the fact that Jesus was born -- but that doesn't matter to you.  It does, however, matter to me.  It is what the "holiday spirit" is all about in our home.

But sometimes... that's hard to remember.  When I moved into my first house and really started decorating for the season I kind of left out that it was about Jesus being born.  I was more motivated by the coolness of candy canes and wreaths (you know - all the stuff I've already showed you...) and this guy:


Man, isn't he adorable?  I can't get enough of the old fashioned Santa Claus look.  I mean, classic cute-ness!  Check out this one... I just got it at my favorite store (ha)... Walmart.  They have a couple of these old fashioned Santa looks right now.


Love it!  See, I'm doing it again.  My sense of style takes over and I just take a left turn from the road I'm driving on.  The road of righteousness! Nah... but it's true - I don't want to say I forgot the reason for the season because I really didn't.  We still went to church and prayed and remembered his birthday but I did forget to visually remind myself, my family and everyone who came into my home, for that matter, what - ultimately - we were celebrating during December.  Not to mention,  it could be so easily done by putting up a nativity scene.  Which I even had in my possession.  In fact, my grandmother, when she was alive,  as a pastor's wife, had made (painted) a couple... and yet every Christmas... they sat in a box.  The worst part: it was a conscious decision, of mine, not to put them up.  They sort of infringed on my style.  Talk about taking One Picky Chick to extreme.  I know, I'm terrible!  But last year... when we moved into our new house - enough was enough.  The nativity scenes came out.  And wouldn't you know...


my 6 year old daughter loved them.  And I remembered... as a little girl, I did too!  What's not to love?  Little people and animals and even a BABY! So we put this one in her room.  


Now, everyday, we are reminded.  Jesus was born on December 25th.  And that day is coming up.

I know so many women each year who get really stressed about this season.  This is hard concept... don't.  It so doesn't matter. Instead, this does.

Baby Jesus
If you put up a tree and a nativity scene - I promise - your kids will be happy!  The holiday "spirit" will be right there. And that's enough.

I happen to like to decorate for Christmas... fall, spring... summer.  Obviously.  The minute I'm not having fun doing it - I will stop.  I also like having a Christmas Eve party.  If it stressed me out too much... I wouldn't do it.   Jesus doesn't care about any of it.  I think he appreciates that nativity scene but I know he cares more about where my heart and head is... that's where my "spirit" really shows.

SO like I said at the top - the questions now is... how will you remember this years holiday "spirit"?  My sister in law has decided, this year, in her house, to make Christmas more "Christ centered"... she's trying to discourage so many prizes being given out in her home this holiday.  Another woman I've encountered through this blog actually, Heather Von St. James, is on a mission of "thankfulness" as she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer 8 years ago and given 15 months to live.  Read her story here: mesothelioma.com/heather  Then, a friend I've known since I was a young girl is trying to raise funds to go on a mission trip with her children to a Mexican orphanage.  You can see that effort and/or donate here: fundraisingwebsite

All of the above are finding their holiday spirit this December.   It's not in a box, or on some big, white bearded guy's lap at the mall, it's not even in the oven.  It's inside them.  Here's to you finding yours... Merry Christmas.



Monday, December 9, 2013

Get warm with Mushroom Soup

The Headlines:

It's cold.

Everywhere. 

Try mushroom soup to warm you up.

Or... save it for Christmas dinner!  


I am freezing.  I realize I live in Arizona but it gets cold here too, I swear!  We are freezing lately.  Like hard core chill.  And that's when I want to bring on comfy, cuddly goodness - in the form of food!  Like soup.  It just warms my insides and, in turn, makes my outside happy!  I have made a few soups in my time... and surprisingly... they usually turn out super great.  Since I'm not a real chef, I wonder... are they that easy to create?  Well, this one is.... and tasty too.

Wild Mushroom Soup
Everyone liked it.  Except my 2 year old.  He's not a fan of mushrooms.  I have no idea why.  It should be a kid friendly food, no?  Anyways, this soup is healthy and yummy plus... what a great side or starter to a decadent, Christmas dinner?  It's not a super rich, thick and creamy texture like some mushroom soups are... instead, surprisingly light and full of flavor.  It rocks.

Here's what you'll need:

  • 3 tblspns of butter
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 1 1/2 lbs of mixed wild mushrooms like cremini, shiitake and oyster.  Sliced up.
  • 1 tblspn fresh thyme
  • 3 tblspns flour
  • 7 cups lo sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (plus some milk if you want to add or combine)
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh parsley, chopped
First, melt the butter in a large pot.  Add shallots and saute for 3 minutes.  Add mushrooms and thyme and cook for 8 minutes.  Add flour and cook another 2 minutes, while stirring.  Add stock and bring to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Then stir in heavy cream and sherry, salt and pepper and simmer about 4 minutes more.



Top with parsley and serve.  Prepare yourself for warm happiness on your tongue and in your tummy!


We added some cheese (like a smoked gouda or a warmed brie would work well) and crackers too! Perfect-o! Enjoy!