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#FYL Blog Hop Pumpkin Mushroom Soup and a Side of Friendship

Monday, October 10, 2011

Friends You Love

Welcome to the second week of Friends You Love Monday Blog Hop!

This week's friend is Kim from Foodies Unite.  Just by the title of her blog you can tell why I love her right?  She's a fellow FOODIE!  My favorite kind of people!  Kim shares some of the most lovely pictures of some really TASTY recipes!  Also, she loves wine, and martinis and fine dining experiences.  If she lived closer, we would certainly kick it at the most trendy food spots!  Uh-huh! Kindred spirit she is for certain!  Without further adieu....

I am so tickled to be posting here with Think Tank Momma!  She is a blogger that knows about community and setting up great friendships here in the blogosphere.  When she asked me to guest post, I wasn’t sure what to write about but since we are in the harvest season, I wanted to share a special recipe with everyone - Pumpkin Mushroom Soup.

I grew up in a Foodie household.  My parents were either out to dinner or entertaining and the house was always a bevy of activity that centered around the kitchen and what was cooking.  We lived out of the city in northern Delaware with one stoplight, but we had a restaurant and shop that made up for being completely off the beaten path - The Back Burner.

Our family were regulars at the Back Burner and their signature soup was Pumpkin Mushroom Soup and it was divine.  My Mom used all of her skills to reproduce it but it was always just short of all of the ingredients.  After much wheedling, the chef shared and this soup became a tradition that is almost 30 years old now in my family.

Pumpkin Mushroom Soup says harvest and autumn but it is also one of those soups that travels well to take to a friend’s house for dinner or to invite everyone over for a cozy evening by the fire.  Although I have lived in some very warm places (like South Florida and Arizona), I still make this every year in October and November and I have passed the recipe on to countless friends.

So here is the recipe and I hope it is one of those that makes great memories and friendships for you - Thanks again to Think Tank Momma - she rocks the universe and always makes me laugh out loud...really!

Throw some butter and garlic in a pan with some day old bread cut into crouton size and make your own yummy croutons to top off the soup!

        2 TB butter
        1/2 lb sliced mushrooms (or more if you would like - I do up to 1lb)
        1/2 cup chopped onion
        2 TB flour
        3 cup chicken stock (or vegetable)
        2 cup pumpkin (canned pumpkin is best)
        1 cup cream (half and half works well too!)
        1 TB honey
        1 TB curry (or more to taste)
        Sour Cream
        Croutons (NOT package – make your own!!)

In soup pot, saute mushrooms in butter and then remove - reserving liquid as well..
In same soup pot, saute onions and then stir in broth, flour and pumpkin and bring to a boil.
Add honey, curry, S&P.
Return mushrooms AND liquid from mushrooms.
Add cream and then heat on low to medium heat.
Serve with spoonful of sour cream in center and croutons.

Thanks for being here today Kim!  Thanks for Sharing and your friendship!  

Lovable Labels Back to School Review & Giveaway

Monday, October 3, 2011

I am not exactly the most organized person on the planet.  I mean let's face it, ADHD and organization are not exactly two things one might consider synonymous.  Getting back to school and keeping up with the kids and their stuff is tough for me, and for them.  Three ADHD people trying to get ready for school and out the door is laughable at best most days.

My boys get it honest at least.  I can't very well expect them to be any better about keeping up with their belongings when most days I have misplaced my keys, my glasses, my purse, my mind, etc..  One of my boys is notoriously bad about leaving his jackets, shoes, shirts, anything not physically non-removable.  Thank goodness he can't take his brain out and play with it.  Sheesh!

I was thrilled when I was offered the opportunity to review Lovable Labels and the Back to School pack.  I quickly labeled everything that belongs to one Kamden Romano!  His back pack, his lunch box, his shoes (which are always missing at some neighbors home), his jacket, his shirts.  Everything has a label now!  It's come in handy too, I have be able to retrieve, not one, not two, but three articles of clothing from the Lost & Found at school.  Not. Even. Kidding!  Yep, in the five weeks the kids have been back to school, I have visited three times to retrieve items that have been "lost".  Thanks to Lovable Labels they were "found"!

You can get your very own Back to School Pack too!  They are awesome.  I have washed items several times and been pleased to find labels still attached!  They have stayed in the shoes my child seems to leave everywhere except his feet or closet.  And?  There is no more arguing in his class about who owns his lunchbox since several children have the same lunch box.  Kamden's now sports a nice shiny tag with his name on it!

Here's what The Back To School Pack includes:

  • 15 Regular sticker labels
  • 80 Slimline sticker labels
  • 48 Press n' Stick Clothing Dots
  • 12 Shoe labels
  • 2 Mini-Metal Tags
  • 12 Square labels
All of this with the name YOU choose!  SCORE!

Lovable Labels has generously supplied us with a "Back To School Pack" for one lucky winner!!  Thanks Lovable Labels!!!!

Mandatory Entry:

Visit Lovable Labels and tell me which of their amazing products is your favorite!  (I'm drooling over the spice labels!)

Additional Entries:

+1 Follow @mylovablelabels on Twitter.
+2 "Like" Lovable Labels on Facebook (leave your FB name below)
+3 "Like" Think Tank Momma on Facebook

HURRY!  Contest ends Friday 10/07/11 at midnight EST.

Contest open to US and Canadian residents only.

*I received no monetary compensation for this review.  All opinions are mine.  To facilitate review, Lovable Labels provided me with a personalized Back To School Label Pack.

Friends You Love - Monday Blog Hop - Mo' Betta

Friends You Love

Guess who's back?  Back again?  Shady's back...tell a FRIEND! maybe it isn't least not the real Slim Shady....BUT, it's Friends You Love!

Last year Friends You Love was such an amazing event we brought it back. The friendships forged between women deserve to be celebrated.  In fact, it takes a whole month to celebrate just how special those bonds are!  We have all sorts of amazing things lined up for you all this month so stay tuned!

The rules of the blog hop are simple...I deviate from them of course...rebel that I am.  You are supposed to reach into your followers/subscribers ask someone you don't know that well to guest post to make new friends.  I on the other hand like to highlight people I have come to know and love, hoping that you will love what I do!

I thought I would share with you my most faithful Share a Spoon contributors!  Kicking that off...I give you Kim from Mo' Betta!  

I was so excited when Think Tank Momma asked me to guest post for Friends You Love!  I never expected that I would develop friendships with people I've never met when I started my blogging adventure, a little over a year ago.  It's definitely a great perk, and motivating reason to keep at it!  My name is Kim, and I blog over at Mo'Betta.  My blog centers around mommyhood x 3, and all the drama that entails!

I try to prepare healthier meals for the fam, while dealing with my 3 y/o's food allergies (eggs, peanuts, tree nuts) and my husband's diabetes.  Not to mention my kids are notoriously picky!  That being said, today's recipe has nothing to do with any of that :)  This is a cake I made for my Grandmother's birthday this weekend, and I fully believe that calories do not count when eaten on a special occasion.  (This explains why my jeans are too tight.)

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake with Creamy Pumpkin Glaze adapted from Dine & Dish
*my changes are in italics

2 cups granulated sugar  *1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened *1/2 cup Smart Balance butter, 1/2 cup olive oil
4 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup sour cream *1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour *2 cups AP flour, 1 cup white whole wheat
1 tablespoon cinnamon *1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan.  *I used Pam Spray, flour, then sprinkled some cinnamon sugar in the pan.  Add sugar, oil, and butter to a large mixing bowl.  Beat on low until light and fluffy.  Slowly add the eggs, one at a time, and continue mixing until well incorporated.  Add the pumpkin, sour cream and vanilla, mixing on low speed until well blended.  While mixer is still going on low, add the flour, one cup at a time.  Then add spice, baking soda, and salt.  Blend until well incorporated.  Pour cake batter into prepared Bundt pan.  Bake for 60 minutes or until knife inserted into the center comes out clear.  Mine took about 50 minutes.

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk *I used fat free half and half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons pumpkin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon *I added an additional 1/8 tsp. 
dash of nutmeg and ground cloves
2 tablespoons butter - melted and cooled *omitted

Whisk all the ingredients together and spoon over cooled cake.
I almost omitted the pumpkin glaze altogether, because I found a Cinnamon flavored Cool Whip (one of their seasonal flavors) and I was just going to use that.  However, the cake looked a little plain, so I added the glaze, and I'm so glad I did!  I think it adds a lot, and the cinnamon Cool Whip complimented it nicely.  And as a side note, I added this Cool Whip to my 'cafe mocha' (which my quick and easy version is brewed coffee mixed with a half packet - or more - of reduced sugar hot chocolate.  Can't afford have Starbucks all the time!) and it was the BOMB.  It rivaled anything I've had at a coffee house.  So, I'm really hoping the Wal-Mart doesn't run out of this cool whip anytime soon.  (I'd bet money they will be out when I go back and it will not get stocked again.  But that's a whole different rant post.)

So, anyways, the verdict?  Pumpkin awesomeness.  Fall on a fork. (hmmm, that sounds weird.  Fall as in Autumn, not fall as in crazy women with raging PMS wishing you bodily harm. That's later in the month.)  Sorry, TMI.  Anyway, Granny said it was the  Okay, she didn't really say that, but isn't that a pretty funny mental picture?  She did like it however, as did everyone else who tried it.  Unless they were just being nice, but in my family, we're known for being pretty brutally honest.  Gotta have a thick skin to hang with us.  My poor little I'm-allergic-to-everything-boy couldn't have any b/c of the eggs, so I brought him some egg free cupcakes that I keep in the freezer, just for situations like this.  I recommend you go make this, and then sit back with a cafe mocha, a nice thick slab of cake, and a best bud, and talk about how hard y'all just worked out and how much you don't need to eat this cake ;)  (Is it just me that eats cake after a workout? I need to refuel ya know!)  Of course, I eat cake when I don't work out too.  To help ease the guilt.  It's a vicious cycle.

Thanks to the Momma for allowing me to high-jack her post today, and y'all feel free to stop by!  Who are the Friends You Love?  Give them a shout out!

Share a Spoon Theme - Fall Favorites

Sunday, October 2, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon Theme

"Fall Favorites"

Images provided via Google Images.

There was the first inkling of Fall in the air here in the Sunshine State this weekend!  It was wonderful.  Chilly at night and in the morning.  Sunshine in the afternoon with a light breeze and no humidity.  You could smell Fall in the air.  I picked up Kooper from a birthday party he attended Saturday night and we rode home with the windows down.  The smell of bonfires and grilling filled the car as we drove and I drank it in. 

I thought this week I would open up Share a Spoon to you all to share your favorite tastes of Fall.  It can be anything you like, a Fall squash recipe, PUMPKIN anything.  Sweet potatoes, potato hash, baked goods, whatever screams Fall to you.

We spent the evening making sugar cookies.  Pumpkins, owls and brooms, cats, witches and Fall leaves.  So much fun.  The kids had a blast cutting out the cookies and painting them orange with icing.  Those are the things I love about this season.  It's so hot in the Summer we can't bake without sweltering.

Thursday bring your FALL FAVORITES out and Share with us!!