Coconut Sweet Potato Bisque and the last vestiges of fall

Yes, I realize that fall isn't quite over, but I have to tell you. Fall = October. November/December = Christmas. And that's just plain fact.

My latest culinary obsession is the Tupelo Honey Cafe cookbook and the Coconut Sweet Potato Bisque recipe found therein.

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled & thinly sliced
4 cups and 4 1/2 teaspoons H2O
1 can unsweetened coconut milk (14oz can)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons REAL maple syrup (this ain't no place for Aunt Jemimah)
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
4 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (also known as a "dash")
Cutting knife
Vegetable peeler
Immersion blender
Large cast iron dutch oven
Tasting spoon

Wash, peel, thinly slice your potatoes.

Throw 'em in the pot with your 4 cups over water over high heat until they're boiling. Boil 20 minutes, or until you can easily break apart the potatoes with a spoon. Reduce heat to medium and if you have a potato masher, mash up the potatoes in the water. If not, a large spoon will do quite nicely. Add the coconut milk, sugar, syrup, honey, salt, pepper, and pumpkin pie spice. At this point, use your immersion blender to blend everything up together, being careful to keep the wand under the surface of the soup so you don't make a giant mess. If you do, it's ok though. Simmer for approximately 15 minutes and let it thicken.

In a bowl, combine the cornstarch and the 4 1/2 teaspoons of water to make a paste. Add to the soup along with the cayenne and blend again. This will thicken the soup even more to a deliciously creamy texture. Soup should coat the back of a spoon.

Permission to lose your mind granted. :)

Please note, if you do not have an immersion blender you can definitely use a food processor and work in batches transferring back and forth. I used to do that until I got an immersion blender and I can say with confidence it has changed my soup making life. This is the one I have.  Bon appetit!

PS, the Tupelo Honey Cafe is in Asheville, North Carolina, and if you ever have the chance to go, GO. Not an option.


I think I'm falling for you

To quote Colbie Caillat, and to jump on the trite fall sayings train, I'm falling for Fall. Since the first day of Fall, (September 23), after our impromptu Fall Festivous, our townhouse has been decked out. Not over the top, mind you, but simple things like mini pumpkins and a few wreaths just take us from blazing hot August right on to mild October.

[Sorry about the quality of the pics--iPhone will only get you so far.] Something I think is essential to winding your way from one season to the next...following your nose.

Please excuse the abrasive purple background. Yikes--but this candle smells amazing. It's definitely Fall, but with a hint of Christmas-around-the-corner. And now you know why I buy it year after year.
This one is a new one I picked up on a Target trip. Also known as a how-did-I-get-all-this-stuff-in-my-buggy trip to pick up "a few things". Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day soy candle in Orange Clove. AH-MAZING. I tell you, delicious.

[OK, this is more of an aside, but I have to tell you--Mrs. Meyer's countertop spray in Basil is likewise delightfully scented and will leave your kitchen smelling like you gave it a deep clean. Doesn't smell chemically, but light and refreshing.]

And, I know I'm biased, but how could you not love this sweet face?! I'm dying from the cuteness. 
[And, he's Fall colored. Win-win.]


Hold on to your hats, folks.

And, hello Fall! So nice to see you! I went a whole summer without blogging. And I'm sure my readers deleted me from many a bookmark. But just in case you didn't, I just wanted to drop in and say......I'm ba-aaaaack!!

So here are the highlights of my summer.

*moving day! Chapel Hill to Charleston [and a few trips to WalMart and Goodwill]
*went full time at work = [more dollars]

*Anniversary Numero Dos, [ice cream and cake and cake]
*Andrew started work at WaterMissions International as a Junior Engineer, [unfortunately, he does not drive trains]

*Andrew defended his thesis, [en garde]
*We got a Vizsla puppy and named him Diesel Leroy Chicken Wing Armstrong [love at first tinkle on my kitchen floor]

9,644 weddings [actually, three]
Barrett, my brother-in-law, moved in with us for a semester, [there's no such thing as leftovers]

*Nothing happened and it went by really fast [RULL fast]

Ah. Now you see? We are all caught up. And now it's mid-October. Practically Christmas, which you know just makes me all giddy with excitement.

And now, pictures of the puppy! True story, my first iPhone done kicked out after approximately two weeks so I lost all of the pictures of going to get Diesel at the dog show [fluff the tail, fluff the tail!] and all of his tiny baby Diesel pictures. So sad. But anyway, here's the ones I do have:

We went on a long walk and Diesel boy just plopped down in the grass. 

It's the wrinkles, I tell you.
Baby Diesel in the car on the way to Hendersonville last weekend.

Digging in the dirt at Alhambra Hall.
I do apologize for my tardiness in posting this. But it's going to be a wonderful Fall!


I gotta get this off my chest

1. Transition is hard. and good. It's both. Complexity, folks.
2. Money is hard. All at once we have too much and not enough.
3. Some days, I feel like I'm in a time warp. Age and innocence wrapped up in one soul.
4. We don't have cable. We don't need cable. But, man, I miss the Kardashians. {See number 2.}
5. I'm  l o v i n g  living at the beach again. But. IT'S REALLY HOT. yowza.
6. I'm so proud of my friends and of what each of them is accomplishing and attempting and learning and doing. And I'm learning to accept and embrace that we aren't all in "the same place" anymore. And that, my dear friends, is how we learn from the experiences of others. If we were all in the same boat, we would lack the opportunity to marvel at what God is doing new and different in each other. {See number 3.}
7. Some days I love my job, and some days I'm just thankful I have a job. And there ain't nothin' wrong with that.
8. It has been  h e a v e n l y  living with my husband again. I love him. And I'm reminded of the reasons why every.single.day.
9. I think about Christmas daily. It gives me the cool fuzzies. {See number 5.}
10. Peace, love, America.


So. I'm sorry? I made some lists...

I haven't written in almost a MONTH. a month. Sheesh. (But I was kinda busy. Not an excuse, I know. But I'm going to try and parlay it for one. 'Kay? Good.)

Also, my camera is on the fritz. Circling the drain. Headed south. That is, I've no pictures of our new abode as of yet. And I don't think you would want to see anyway because there's still boxes everywhere and pictures leaning against walls and a general disarray that lends no beauty to photographs. Unless it's like hipster messy. You know, like when artists are featured on a blog and they are trying to come across as so cool they don't even care if their bed is unmade? Yeah. It's not even like that.

Since the earlier part of May, aka the alleged date of my last post, we've done a lot of things. Even things before then that I didn't blog about. Like go see Noah graduate and get commissioned as an officer in the Navy. That was at the end of April. I didn't even tell you! Shoot. It was awesome. I loved America before, but boy do I love her now. Brought a tear to my eye. And I'm so proud of my big brother. So proud.

And then we moved. A week-long logistical extravaganza, you might say, that ended in sunny Charleston, SC. Since that day, Andrew has set a date for his master's defense and his start date at WMI. I've started full time at the hospital. (Hooray!) We've joined and plugged in to St. Andrew's City Church (total awesomeness). I helped throw a supercute (if I do say so myself) baby shower for Summer in Hendersonville. We celebrated two years of marriage (woot!). We're on the waiting list for a puppy (be. still. my. heart.) We've been to the beach, grilled out, gone for long walks, watched movies, hung out with friends, and generally enjoyed summertime and togetherness. It's been so good. This is the life.  One evening after dinner we were just chatting and cleaning up and really came to the realization of how good we have it. We have it so good. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you and Amen.

So now. Here's the goal over the next few weeks.
1. Finish the house. Maybe not like tooootally finish, but hang the rest of the pictures and get organized. You know. A house that's a home is never really finished, right?
2. Go to the beach 100 million times. This one's priority.
3. Paint some furniture. Pretty excited about this one.
4. Rest and enjoy life with my love.

It's a pretty good list. Not too lofty, but a few goals that need motivation and motion behind them. I've got a few other goals for the summer though, including but not limited to:
1. Purchasing a beach cruiser.
2. Obtaining some new furniture. I've got a list. It's a long one. Probably won't get it all this summer, but maybe a few pieces.
3. Couch to 5k.
4. Fishing
5. Make one of the more complicated homemade ice cream recipes with our ice cream maker.
6. Sew new throw pillows with some leftover fabric. Recycling. Ah.
7. Read books that make me smarter. But also that I enjoy.
8. Write a new song. Haven't done this in a while, but I think I'd like to give it a shot.
9. Beg, borrow, steal or buy a new camera. Hopefully not steal. That would be trouble.
10. Make more trips to GoodWill. Simplify is a good word to think on.
11. Keep up with blogging! YES!

Like I said, not limited to. And since I'm the editor of this list I can, of course, edit things out. Or in. :) I like being editor.

So there you have it. A small summary, but hopefully has y'all up to speed. Two things before I go:
1. I'm obsessed with Pinterest.
2. Congratulations and best wishes to Zach and Cristin on their engagement!!! Love you guys and can't wait to celebrate with y'all!



Wednesday, May Eleventh, Two Thousand and Nine

I'm still sweating and I haven't stopped. Between work, driving, the strange weather we're 'aving, mate, packing, laundry, errands--oh, the errands--I'm plumb wore out. And we haven't even moved in yet! Sheesh!

I feel like a horse at the Kentucky Derby, right before the gun, stuck behind the start gate. Not that I will ever know what that actually feels like, but this may be a tiny sliver of what it feels like. Holding pattern, I tell you. Holding pattern.

Thank goodness this is one of those times that, no matter how sloooow time is going, there will be a definite end to the waiting. Thank goodness.

I have so many ideas for crafty little home projects that I can't wait to get started on--but I have to move in first. And get organized. Organization is a must. After pretty much the opposite of organization for the last eight months, I think I would like organization to move in with us and become a permanent fixture around our house. Misery acquaints a man with strange bed-fellows, mmm? Yes. Do move in with us?

Here's the master plan:

Tomorrow after worksicle: UPS store, dry cleaners, then to the townhouse to CLEAN! I've debated this question for a handful of minutes here, and even though the place will indubitably get trashed by the very act of moving in, I would like to start out with my very own elbow grease rubbing the shine into the countertops, sinks, toilets, and at least to let my eyes rest on every little square inch of that place before I'm trying to shove things into the cupboards. (Out of sight out of mind? Not quite.) I want it to be spic 'n span. No, that is not product placement. But I do. Want it to be clean. Very clean.

Friday: Head 'em up, move 'em out. Lots and lots of boxes and thingssss at my parents' house will be loaded into Stella's spacious hind end (what? it's true) and unloaded in the New Place. These things mostly include kitchen stuffs and a random assortment of bedding, pictures, paintings, and otherthingsIstuckinboxes. My goal is to have everything land where it eventually will be living, as well as to totally unpack the kitchen and get rid of all of those boxes to make way for Prince Ali when he comes with the big furniture on Saturday. (Did you catch at Aladdin reference? Because I thought it was awesome.)

Saturdaze: Andrew + The Armstrongs-in-law will arrive at some point with a big ol' Pensky truck with the remainder of our worldly goods. We will unload said goods and start unpacking for REAL!

Sunday: Probably more unpacking. But I know one thing is for sure: my day will not include driving to or from anywhere. Unless it's to or from the beach.


Walk it out

A Springtime walk and some scenes from my favorite route in Chapel Hill.

A view up the road from our house.

Standing on the corner looking towards campus/UNC Hospitals. The cranes are helping build a new Dental school building. Gorgeous blue sky!

A house with heaps of potential, but coed residents keep it in a constant state of junkiness. Boo.

Another house with loads of potential.

Beautiful blooms!

From gloom to green in a few short weeks.

A little NC dogwood for you.

The Jimmy Dean Dome. (haha ;) )

Uphill. A.k.a. buns and thighs.

More potential.

The weirdest architectural design ever. It's scowling at me.


I have to tell you, it feels good to sit and take a breath! The last few weeks have been a whirlwind and the next few weeks are not looking to slow down either. We went to Rhode Island to see my brother, Noah, graduate from the Navy's Officer Candidate School (Delta Company ROOLZ.) And we went to Hendersonville for Easters. And then I got a horrible cold. And we worked and drove and packed and drove and packed some more. Our time of residence in Chapel Hill is coming to a close and just when we want to slow down and take it all in, everything goes to warp speed and it's over before we know it. Ain't that the truth? Pray for us in this time of transition, pleaseandthankyou.

Also, was the Royal Wedding not spectacular?! I loved it! AND my wonderful husband got up at 4am with me to watch it live so that I would not be oo-ing and ah-ing alone. What a peach. :)