Family’s Comin’ Over: A Thanksgiving Playlist for Everyone

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Nov 202013

thanksgiving playlist 2013 collage

I love making playlists – I absolutely love it. I could stay up until the wee hours of the morning the night before a party or holiday working on the perfect playlist, but luckily this year I’ve got my Thanksgiving playlist done a week ahead of time. We’re spending Thanksgiving with some immediate and extended family so I wanted music that would be fun and accessible for everyone invited.

You’ve got to check out the funky version of This Land is Your Land from Sharon Jones, and one of my favorites for the kids is Gobble Gobble by Nooshi. Of course for our family Thanksgiving we couldn’t go without a bit of latin flair, so there’s Bien Sabroso from the great Pancho Sanchez and Sweet Tater Pie by Mongo Santamaria. I could listen to Take My Hand by Ben Harper with the Blind Boys of Alabama all day long, and Jack Johnson’s Home hits me right in the heart. Finally, what Thanksgiving playlist wouldn’t be complete without Everytime You Go Away by Paul Young from Planes, Trains and Automobiles – that’s required viewing every year!

If you’ve got a favorite Turkey Day song I’d love to hear it – maybe it’ll make it into next year’s rotation! Check out the complete playlist below (all 32 songs – that’s 1 1/2 hours of music for your listening pleasure) on iTunes.

The iTunes link above is an affiliate link and if you purchase music I’ll receive a small commission and be ever so grateful!

 I’m sharing this post at some of these great link parties – check ‘em out!

Microblogging with Amazon Grocery at IFBC

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Nov 202013

IFBC amazon collageClockwise from large image: Scharffen Berger Single Source Peruvian Chocolate, Navitas Naturals Dragonfruit Slices,
Trio of yummy IFBC swag snacks, Brookside Dark Chocolate Acai + Blueberry, Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks,
Lindt Chocolate Truffle, Fever Tree Ginger Beer, Sahale Snacks Glazed Almonds & Cranberries.

It’s been a few months since IFBC in Seattle, and one of the sessions that I continue to think about was the microblogging with Amazon Grocery. It was an interesting concept – 1.5 hours to try out 16 different products available through Amazon Grocery. Each company sent along a representative who had 5 minutes to introduce their product and take a few questions from the audience while we sampled their product. The most engaging presentations came from the people who were involved with the creation of the products – although the marketing executives were polished and knew the right things to say it was the inventors talking about their babies who caught the audience’s attention and their passion showed through. It was also a low-key and fun way to get to know the other bloggers at the table – as the session got going we all shared samples, comments and more than a few laughs.
Since the conference I’ve had a chance to sample most of the products again, and share them with friends, and a few favorites stand out then and now. The chocolate from both Scharffen Berger and Lindt were delicious and I’ll buy them again for sure. Sahale Snacks were already a favorite and I was happy to see a hometown brand get more recognition in front of the international audience. The Fever Tree Ginger Beer was delicious and had me dreaming about summer cocktails, and my kids loved the Yum Earth Fruit Snacks. I’m hoping to attend IFBC again in 2014, and I’d love to see another microblogging session – it was great fun!
Here’s the complete list of products in the order they were presented (all of these links are Amazon affiliate links – click through and order from this site and we’ll receive a small portion of the sale):
 Disclosure:  This post was written in part to take advantage of the IFBC discounted rate for bloggers – but all opinions are my own! For more information about the IFBC blogger program, check out the  Registration page from this year’s conference.
Nov 192013

    Butternut soup squash bisque title

Butternut Squash Bisque is one of my favorite soups, and luckily it’s super easy to make. I’ve been making it for about ten years now, ever since we went to spend Thanksgiving at the beach with my family and I set out to find the perfect squash soup to bring along and share with them. After a lot of testing I came up with this recipe, which is very versatile and easily adapted.  This soup is so easy and comforting – perfect for a dreary fall day, silky smooth and creamy even without dairy.

Curried Butternut Squash Bisque

1 butternut squash
1 red onion (large, about 2 cups chopped)
1 TBS olive oil
2 TBS curry powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3 cups water

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

butternut soup roasted squash front

2. Slice the squash in half lengthwise, empty out the seeds from the hollows and place face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or tinfoil (to make cleanup easier). Bake for about 40 minutes until the squash is soft when poked with a fork. Remove it from the oven and when its cool enough to handle scrape out the squash from the peel and set it aside.

butternut soup roasted squash back

3. Chop the red onion into pieces (since you’ll be pureeing the soup later you don’t need to worry about having a neat uniform dice).

4. In a heavy soup pot (I like to use a dutch oven) heat the olive oil over medium high heat, then add the onion and salt and saute until the onion has softened and started to brown.

butternut soup onions

5. Once the onion is cooked, add the curry powder and cook for a minute or so, stirring so it won’t burn.

butternut soup onions curry

6. Next add the squash and the water, stirring well. Allow the soup to boil gently for a few minutes – since everything is already cooked you don’t need to cook it too long at this step though. You might need to add more water, depending on how big the squash was to start.

7. Now you need to puree the soup. I love using an immersion blender for this, because you can do it right in the pan while the soup is still quite hot. If you’re using a regular blender you might want to let the soup cool down some so you don’t blow the top off the blender (ask me how I know this). Return the soup to the pot, heat it up again and you’re done!

Butternut soup squash bisque

Now this is the simple, easy, straightforward version – here are some ways to adapt it to make it even better:

  • The recipe as written is vegan, but it tastes great if you use chicken stock instead of water.
  • When you roast the squash, try chopping the top off of a head of garlic so the cloves are exposed and sticking it under one of the squash hollows to roast – when the squash is done you’ll have a head of mild, nutty creamy roast garlic that you can squeeze right into the soup when you add the squash.
  • Use a bit less water and add a half cup or so of coconut milk to the soup – you’ll have Curried Coconut Squash Bisque.
  • Add a small can of diced green chiles before pureeing, or saute a mild chile along with the onions for a spicy kick.