Thursday, October 30, 2008

Butternut Squash Cream Cheese Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

6 tablespoons chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons butter
6 cups butternut squash, cooked
3 cups water
4 cubes chicken bouillon
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese

In a large saucepan, saute garlic, onions and seasonings
in butter until onions are tender.
In a blender, puree cooked squash, water, bouillon and
cream cheese in batches until smooth.
Add squash mixture to seasonings in saucepan, mix well
and heat through. Do not allow to boil.

*If you (or your family) do not like onions, you can blend the onions/seasonings in with the squash and they won't even know they are in there!

I didn't grow up eating butternut squash. The first time I realized I liked, was when I ordered butternut Squash ravioli with cream sauce at a resturant. It was years ago and I still remember how much I liked that meal.
My daughter Jade is the one that found this recipe. I am a soup lover anyway but this one over the top. You have to try it to believe it. She even worked out the calories on a cup of it and it is only 180 calories. I still find this hard to believe because the cream cheese makes it so thick and creamy. She also mentioned how few of us eat yellow veggies.
She brought this over the other day in a crock pot to a family gathering and I fed it to my grand-baby. It makes a great baby food too.
This recipe is great for this time of year!

I just made this soup and tried a new technique. I cut the squash in half, cleaned out the seeds, put back together and wrapped in foil. I cooked them at 350 for an hour and 15 min.

After they cooled I peeled them. It was similar to peeling a peach, very soft.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Painted Furniture

Here is my daughter painting her furniture.

For about $5.00 worth of semi gloss paint, we took a pretty ratty looking dresser and made it quite pretty.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Keeping America Free

I was taught by my mother what a blessing it is to be an American. I grew up with a reverence for this land and a love for our country.
I grew up in a home where I was taught constitutional principles. It was in an era where we didn’t know if the communists would take over America or if we would win the cold war. My father was constantly reading political books and discussing the topic with any who would listen.
My father is now 78 and was in the hospital for open heart surgery a few months ago. He told me that he enjoyed asking the different nurses their take on issues (he enjoys debating).
He was talking to one nurse. She was really curious about all the things he was saying. She asked him how she could learn more. He said the first and best step would be to read the constitution. She said, ”Who wrote that book? Who’s the author?”
This was hard to hear. He knows that America will not stay free if it’s people don’t even know about the document that created our Republic.
Have you ever watched Jay Leno when he does man on the street interviews? He will ask someone questions like, who is the Vice President or why do we celebrate the 4th of July? It is frightening. People can answer pop culture questions, but none about politics or history.
"The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced. The arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced, if the nation doesn't want to go bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance. Who said it, George Bush, John McCain, or Newt Gingrich?
No, that was said by Marcus Tullius Cicero in 55 BC. Just before the Roman republic fell to Julius Caesar and the long decline of Rome began. About the same time the delegates were debating the limited powers of our Republic in Philadelphia, a scholar of the ancient world, Alexander Tyler, warned of the dangers of democracy and the arc of civilizations, when he said this: (the origin of the quote is disputed, but the logic has a razor sharpness.)
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can exist only until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment the majority always votes for the candidate who promises to give them the most, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship".
The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence:
From to spiritual faith;
from spiritual faith to great courage;
from courage to liberty;
from liberty to abundance;
from abundance to selfishness;
from selfishness to complacency;
from complaceny to apathy;
from apathy to dependence;
from dependency back again into"

My father quoted me this last paragraph after he told me the story about the nurse. He had forgotten who the author was. I was able to find it on the internet. I agree with my father that we are heading from apathy and complacency to dependency.
"In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all; security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was the freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again."
If you enjoyed the indented article above you can read it in its entirety on this blog.

This is a painting called The Old Man Wept by my favorite artist Del Parson. If you click on the picture to enlarge it you can see tears coming down Benjamin Franklins face.
If you want to read the constitution go to

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Message for all women

This was emailed to me. I googled it and was unable to find the original source. I hope the author doesn't mind me sharing it.


This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; they lived only 90 years ago.

Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking 
for the vote. 

And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. 
Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing 
went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 
'obstructing sidewalk traffic.' 

(Lucy Burns)
They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above 
her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping 
for air.

(Dora Lewis) 
They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her 
head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, 
Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. 
Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, 
beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.
Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, 
when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his 
guards to teac h a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because 
they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right 
to vote. 
For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their 
food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.

(Alice Paul) 
When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike,
they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured
liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks 
until word was smuggled out to the press. 

So, refresh my memory. Some women won't vote this year because- 
-why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? 
Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining?

Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO's new 
movie 'Iron Jawed Angels.' It is a graphic depiction of the battle 
these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling 
booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.

All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the 
actual act of voting had become less personal for me. 
Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. 
Sometimes it was inconvenient.

My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women's history, 
saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk 
about it, she looked angry. She was--with herself. 'One thought 
kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,' she said. 
'What would those women think of the way I use, or don't use, 
my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just 
younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.' The 
right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her 'all over again.'

HBO released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in 
their curriculum I want it shown anywhere else women gather.
I realize this isn't our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think 
a little shock therapy is in order.

 It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul
was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy.

 The doctor admonished the men: 'Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.' 

We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so 
hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party - remember to vote.

History is being made.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Chewy Chocolate Brownies

My daughter just made these brownies from a recipe at . She loves this website and has found some really good recipes! Check it out!

Man-Catcher Brownies
3 cubes unsalted butter
2 cups cocoa powder
6 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
2 Tbs. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. kosher salt

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Mix together the eggs, sugars, vanilla and cocoa mixture. Add flour and salt and stir until combined. Don't overmix. Spread batter evenly onto a greased jelly roll pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350, or until a toothpick, inserted into center, comes out clean.

*She cooked these in a 9X13 pan which made them very thick. It takes about an hour.

This is the best brownie recipe I have found.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Organize your Refrigerator

I have these turn tables in my refrigerator. It allows me to move the shelf way up and put more things on that shelf.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Forever Strong

Forever Strong, is an inspiring movie worth supporting. I for one have a hard time giving Hollywood my money just to watch religious bigotry and no moral values portrayed on the screen. This movie shows accountability for bad choices, character, high values, forgiveness, and taking a higher road. It doesn't have bad language and has a very good message especially for teenagers. (Don't drink and drive, do , cheat on tests, and dishonor your family)
It is based on a true story of a coach that didn't want to just turn out good athletes, he wanted to turn out good human beings.
This movie opened in select cities last Friday. Hopefully people will support this good movie to send a message to Hollywood that we would like more movies like this one.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Christmas Tip #6

Here is my theory on wrapping paper. Costco or Sam's club usually has wrapping paper that isn't all the way Christmas. It is usually silver, cream or gold. I buy the huge bolt of it, not the cheap rolls that wrap one gift each tube. I leave it in my gift wrapping area and use it year round for weddings or showers. I like the simplicity of one paper and not having to store Christmas paper year round in my storage room. This year I bought gold. It might not be as fun looking as all the different papers, but it does look uniform and classy. (I think.)
When I was young, I knew a lady who rewrapped all the gifts that came into her home with the wrapping paper she used for her gifts, so every gift under the tree matched. Believe me I don't care that much about uniformity . It is the simplicity that I am looking for.

I also use Christmas gift bags year after year. What I do is leave that gift in the bag that it came in and knot it closed. I then put it in a plastic grocery bag and tie it closed. It is almost impossible to untie those bags. This helps keep the gifts a secret. It is like a little padlock. I put tissue paper over, to cover the tackiness of a grocery bag so it looks nice. At my house if I put an item in a bag and just put a piece of tissue paper over it, my kids would peek.

Here is the damage I have done so far. I will put bows on them when I am ready to put them under the tree. I am already feeling in control of the Christmas season instead of it controlling me.
Good Luck with your preplanning.