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2012 October

Pumpkin Parmesan Soup

As of today, I am officially back on solid foods: hurray! I had my teeth cleaned today as a victory lap for finishing all my cavity fillings, so now my teeth are extra shiny and ready to dig into things. However, this soup, which was one of my staples over the past week, is too good and too seasonal not to share.

Cavities notwithstanding, I really like soup, and I am sure that when I get around to making a recipe index (someday soon!), I will be astounded by the number of entries in that category. Just tonight, Eric opened the refrigerator and asked me for a quick run-down of which soups were which. This cracked me up to no end. But to return to the soup at hand, it’s actually pretty heavily adapted from our slow cooker cookbook, since I wanted to make it on the stovetop instead. It starts with a hearty handful of garlic.

Part of the reason for making this soup on the stovetop was that I really wanted to use our lovely Le Creuset. It just screams fall, and I never tire of its bright red color.

Part of the draw of this soup is that it’s so savory–no heavy-handed sweetness here, just lots of parmesan punch.

This soup is creamy enough to feel decadent, and pumpkiny enough to feel like a bowl full of fall. Hope you enjoy!

Pumpkin Parmesan Soup
Adapted from Art of the Slow Cooker 

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 1/8 inch dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz. pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
2 quarts water ( or vegetable or chicken broth)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp ground white pepper
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tbs. chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley (optional)

-Heat the oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion to the skillet, and sauté until tender (do not brown).
-Add the garlic and cook for a few seconds, until aromatic. Stir in the pumpkin, water (or broth), nutmeg, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil.
-Reduce heat and simmer soup, covered, for one hour, or until the soup has thickened to the desired consistency.
-Stir in the cream and Parmesan, and heat through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Purple and Pumpkin

I think I must have orange on the brain. I have a few of these amazing 80s blazers in crazy colors, and this is the one I grabbed out of the closet! I suppose I look slightly Halloweeny, but I have no problem with that.

I love the big buttons and the hemline, which is slightly asymmetrical.

This dress is as old as the hills, but I never get tired of its crazy print. I used to wear it all the time in grad school with red tights and boots. Boots and tights, I hope to see you soon! It was hot enough when we took these pictures that I couldn’t wait to take the blazer off. I know I sound like a broken record about the weather, but I think it will be turning cooler (hopefully permanently!) later this week.

I got these chartreuse earrings at a clothing swap in Oakland, wondering if I’d ever actually wear them, and I am happy to say that I do! Even with a casual outfit, you can never have too much sparkle.

Purple heels were, of course, in order as well.

This little bangle was part of my fifty-cent birthday stash!

I left my glasses on for this shoot, which is a little unusual, but this is their swan song. I got these glasses about two and a half years ago, and they just haven’t held up all that well. The lens coating is peeling, and they are scratched up like crazy. It has only become a major problem in the last few days, and by Saturday, I was ready to chuck them. My poor husband. He wakes up, unsuspecting, on a Saturday morning and is greeted thusly: “Hi! How are you? I love you! We have to do something about my glasses! Today!” And so we spent much of Saturday first trying to replace my lenses, and then learning that it would make much more sense to just get new glasses. Eric sat through the exam (How many doctor’s offices has he been to with me? I asked if if he was going for an even hundred. Have I mentioned that he is an angel?) and then helped me pick out new frames! I really like them, and the name of the frame is Acorn, which seems auspicious for a lover of all things autumn. I’ve always thought these glasses were too dark for my face, so I am excited to have some lighter ones. (In fact, there isn’t much I like about these glasses. The shop asked on their info sheet “What do you like about your current glasses?” I thought about it for a minute and then wrote down, “I can see.” When Eric saw that, he laughed so hard that he startled everyone in the shop. I love him so much.) The shop promised they’d put a rush on the order, so I should have my new glasses by Friday, just in time for Istanbul! I will be thrilled not to be staring at scratches all day! I hope you all had a lovely weekend too, preferably not spent at the eye doctor’s office, but if you did, then I hope you had someone there to make you laugh!

October 2012 Goals

My goals for this month are pretty low-key, since our trip to Istanbul is very much on the brain–can’t believe we’ll be there this time next week! Eric and I both love researching and planning trips, and it’s been fun getting closer and closer to our adventure. We were looking into whether or not we need extra memory cards for our cameras, and Eric found that mine will hold up to 3,000 pictures, so I think I’ll be good!

I also want to really savor fall–it is my favorite season, after all. I hope it will be much cooler when we get back, but today it is supposed to be 106 degrees. 106 on October 1! So, part of my celebrating fall goal is to create my own fall, if I have to! I’ll be drawing pretty leaves and baking pumpkin everything, even if I can’t wear sweaters yet. I am hoping we’ll go apple picking out east later this month, and I am so looking forward to that.

The Big Project is definitely coming along, but slowly. Every time I work on it, it goes more smoothly and is more fun, and now that I’ve really gotten going on it, I think the next step is to look at it with a wide lens and make a comprehensive schedule for it. I am so excited to go over all the pieces of it and put a plan in writing. It always seems to make things more real.

September was kind of a weird month, as I was transitioning into working from home. I’m doing my best to be compassionate with myself as I adjust, but I am really pumped to get cozy with the new routine I’ve put together for myself. Having a routine always makes me feel happier and more productive, but it will also ensure that I squeeze in some things that are important to me, like exercise and inspiration time and reading books on creativity.

And, of course, I want to keep working on my 365 project. I will be finished in mid-November, so there’s not much time left, but I’m excited about what I’m going to do when I finish it!

I’ll be back in November with an update, but, in the meantime, here are goals and updates from June, July, August, and September. I am so glad I am doing this!

(Also, the orange and black color scheme of this picture was entirely coincidental, but I love it! Happy fall!)

Update, November 2012: October was kind of a whirlwind of a month. The first week was pretty hectic with travel prep, and then we were in Istanbul for a week and a half. When we got back, I was wholly unprepared for how long the jet lag would last, and it was a long time before I was unzombified enough to do anything. If ever there were a month to have compassion with oneself for one’s circumstances, this was the month! So, well done on that one, even if this didn’t turn out to be the most realistic month to get into a new routine. The trip was everything we hoped it would be, and we saw all the things that we had really wanted to get to (not that there isn’t a lot more left for the future!) The best part was that I had Eric by my side, and there’s nothing better than that. Fall is finally here (or at least almost here!), and I am definitely enjoying the cool breezes and the pretty leaves, when I can find them. The Big Project schedule just did not happen this month, for the previously stated reasons, but I am just transferring that one right over to November.  On the 365 project I am woefully behind, but I am determined to finish it in November! And, even if we only count the pictures I took in Istanbul, tons and tons of pictures were definitely taken. 🙂

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