Spring Has Sprung

Hello, everyone.  And to those of you who enjoyed a week off for Spring Break last week, welcome back to reality!  😉

I had a lovely spring weekend.  (I know Spring didn’t technically start until today, but it might as well had started a couple of weeks ago ’round these parts.)  We went to an interesting wedding out in The Boonies.  The Hubs worked hard on our lawn, making sure everything was done perfectly in his OCD way.  And, he planted tomatoes and basil and jalapenos and some other goodies.  We put out our bird feeders, with two kinds of seed and some hummingbird food.  I washed our vehicles, which is almost a futile effort right now since as soon as you’re done, they’re pollen yellow again.  I got to visit with my seeeestur and youngest niece twice this weekend!  I made more progress on the Great Garage Sale Effort.  And, we made a pot roast and pineapple upside down cake.

So, I guess I can’t complain about much now that Monday has shown its ugly face again.  At least I feel rested and accomplished, and I have a lovely little view to go home to and look at tonight.  I hope y’all had an equally satisfying weekend.  Here’s to tackling this week and not letting anything drag us down!  Cheers!

Song of the Day

Down by Marian Hill.  I listened to this song several times this weekend.  You have to admit, it’s kinda catchy.

Book of the Day

Image result for 1q84

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.  I saw a poll on Book Riot earlier asking for the worst book you’ve ever read.  I nominated this one as did many people.  Apparently Murakami is supposed to be a bit of a literary genius.  This is the only one of his books that I have read, and I found it to be tedious, baffling, and very unsatisfying.  It is almost 1000 pages, and you’ll never recover any of that time and effort.  After reading other comments on the post, I have learned that perhaps I do not have the mental capacity to appreciate or understand 1Q84.  Perhaps not.  Or, perhaps they are book snobs.  If you had a different experience with this novel, I’d like to hear what you liked about it.  After all, as of the writing of this post the book has an average rating of 3.88 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.  Somebody out there must’ve liked it…..  (This is the book which, after reading, I first gave myself permission to quit a book without finishing it.)

Recipe of the Day

Beer Cheese Soup with Garlic Butter Crostini via http://www.foodnetwork.com.  I have a bag of shredded gruyere cheese in the fridge that I’ve been trying to find a use for.  I came across this recipe this weekend, and so I am going to try it tonight.  I’ve had beer cheese soup in the past and find it strange but delicious, so I expect to enjoy this particular recipe.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bottle pale ale, such as Pabst Blue Ribbon
  • 2 cups shredded sharp yellow Cheddar
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • Garlic Butter Crostini, for serving, recipe follows
Garlic Butter Crostini:
  • 1/2 baguette, sliced into 12 thin slices on the diagonal
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic

Directions

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large saucepot over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, onions, mustard powder, cayenne and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sweat the vegetables until tender, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Pour in the stock, mustard and Worcestershire and simmer until the veggies are very soft, about 15 minutes. Add the ale, simmer, about 5 minutes, and then puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Add the Cheddar, gruyere and half-and-half and stir until melted through and smooth. Adjust the seasoning and top with the Garlic Butter Crostini. Enjoy with a 30-pack of your favorite cheap beer.

Garlic Butter Crostini: 

Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Brush the baguette slices on both sides with the butter and sprinkle with salt. Grill the slices on both sides until grill marks form, about 3 minutes per side. Rub the slices with the garlic.

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