Hello, friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I know some of you living
in southern California are still experiencing hot temperatures. I sure wish I could
usher some of our cool - okay, and downright cold a couple of nights this week -
air your way. It's now mainly in the 50's during the day with maybe a 60+ degree day
here and there. We're pulling up the down comforter at night and Zippo has started his
cold weather routine of sleeping under the covers all nestled between us for warmth.
This past Friday night, I traveled into Chicago to attend a friend's annual fall dinner
party. I didn't want to get stuck in rush hour traffic going down there, so I left early and
hung out in a little neighborhood by my friend's house. I took a nice walk and stopped
in a couple of shops. My first stop was Gene's Sausage Shop. I didn't buy anything, but
it was fun to look around. It's two floors filled with a butcher shop, deli, bakery, and lots
of European gourmet specialty products.
They had a pretty impressive wine section, too.
I ended up spending the most time at The Book Cellar - a great little independent
book store where I explored some pretty cool cookbooks.
And then ~ an awesome fall candlelight dinner with seven amazing ladies.
The soup that my friend made was out of this world. It warmed me from my
heart to my toes. It tasted like a rich (but it's not - no cream! In fact, it's vegan
if you choose not to top with goat cheese) bowl of creamy, earthy veggies. I can't
wait to make it at home.
My friend shared the recipe with me and I am sharing with you:
Winter Vegetable Soup
Recipe created by Lulu Powers--Madonna’s caterer)
For 6 servings
3 T olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 cup peeled, cored and coarsely chopped Granny Smith apple
1 cup peeled and coarsely chopped turnip
1 cup peeled and chopped butternut squash (seeds discarded)
1 cup coarsely chopped carrot
1 cup peeled, chopped sweet potato
** I also add 1 cup golden beets, peeled and chopped
5 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup maple syrup (I use half of that)
cayenne pepper (I use 1/4 teaspoon)
optional: 1 small baguette, 3 oz. goat cheese
optional: ¼ cup fresh chives, chopped and sprinkled on top of soup
Heat oil in large saucepan on medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent.
Add apple, turnips, squash, carrot, beet, sweet potato and sauté 5-10 minutes. Add
stock, bring to boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Add syrup and
cayenne peepper. Cool slightly. Puree with handheld mixer or blender.
If desired, toast slices of baguette and spread with goat cheese to float on soup.
I really do have the most awesome and talented friends. I've been adding touches
of fall decor around my house and when some of those things are handmade, they
add so much more to a home, don't they? This beautiful tea towel was made by Penny
She also gifted me with three autumn pillowcases. One was supposed to be for Tim,
but I forgot to send it back to school with him while he was home this weekend. Oops!
As you can see, my master bedroom is done in light blue (and that is definitely going to
change in the near future - it's the next room to work on), so fall colors don't really "go"
in this room, but that's OK. I think the colors add a little warmth and "oomph" to the
pale decor and besides, anything made by a friend deserves a very special place in
my home whether it matches or not!
I found some old Halloween lights when I was digging through my box of fall
decor, so hung those up around the fireplace...and I also added a very special
little something on my ladder bookcase. Do you see it?
It's the cutest fall banner made by none other than Judy from 20 North Ora!
Talented and crafty Judy also makes burlap runners like this pretty bird themed one
on my buffet. She also makes a lot of different pillows. Check out her etsy shop here.
Moving on to the kitchen...the shelves now carry a couple of cute ghosts and a
long ago thrifted autumn covered dish...
and the china cabinet got a makeover with owls and other assorted fall
goodies. The only thing "new" in this cabinet are the two little blue bird
salt and pepper shakers on the bottom shelf.
Aren't they darling? My mom was at my house one day last week and we went
to the new vintage shop in my town. This was all I bought ($4). Funds are tight and
I'm trying not to bring so much stuff into my house anymore. But these spoke to me.
Or chirped or tweeted or something like that.
Outdoor beauty...the maple tree across the street changes every single day.
I've been trying to remember to take a photo of it every day to document its progress.
From looking back at last year's photos, this tree should be at the height of its color
peek by mid-October. It turns a brilliant red, but it only lasts a few days. Next thing
you know, all the leaves are on the ground. So I'm savoring its beauty for a short while.
This is how it looks today.
And taking a walk around my neighborhood, this is a tree by a charming little house
on the next block. Not sure what kind of tree this is though. Oh - and this house is for
sale. Anyone want to move to northern Illinois and be my neighbor?
A few doors down from the house for sale - this mighty, brilliant oak.
As always, thank you for your visit and your lovely comments. They are always
appreciated and I reply on this blog to every one of them.