Cooking, Crafting, Creating, Living

Cream of Butternut Squash Soup with Tomato December 21, 2011

This simple, delicious soup is the perfect pairing of sweet butternut sauce and tangy grape tomatoes.  


1 whole Butternut Squash

1 small Sweet Onion (diced)

3 cloves Garlic

2 Celery Stalks (chopped)

2 large Carrots (chopped)

2 tbls butter

1 1/2 cups Golden Cooking Wine

1 tbls. grated Ginger

1 tbls chopped fresh Basil

1 tbls chopped fresh Parsley

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 cup heavy cream

Combine carrots, onion, celery and garlic in a large soup pan with butter.  Begin to saute until onions are softened, being careful not to brown.  Ad cooking wine and squash and cook until squash is tender.

Add basil and parsley.

Transfer soup to blender and puree until smooth.

Return to pan and add heavy cream, ginger, salt and pepper.

Bring to a slow boil over medium high heat.  Cook an additional 10 minutes.  Allow to cool and serve.


Southern Style Sweet Potato Casserole November 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — berkshiregirl @ 7:11 pm


  • 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (4 medium baked)

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1/2 cup melted butter


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1/3 cup flour

  • 1/3 cup melted butter

  • 1 cup chopped pecans


Bake sweet potatoes in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and peel away outer skin.  Mash in butter, brown sugar, milk and eggs.  Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish and set aside.  Combine the brown sugar, flour and pecans with the melted butter and sprinkle over top of the casserole. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot and browned.
Serves 6 to 8.


I’m Thankful For CHEESECAKE!!! November 22, 2011

Filed under: Recipes,Uncategorized — berkshiregirl @ 2:40 pm
Tags: , ,

I know, I know this is a duplicate recipe.  But who doesn’t love cheesecake!!!

Amanda’s New York Style Cheesecake

(It’s in the oven, check back soon for a photograph.)

Crust –

  • 1 1/2 cups original almond biscotti (crumbled)

  • 1/2 cup ground raw almonds

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup salted butter (melted)

  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)

Filling –

  • 4 8oz Packages Philly Cream Cheese (room temp)

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 3 tbls. flour

  • 5 large eggs (room temp)

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

  • 1 tbls. lemon zest

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Topping –

  • 1 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 3 tbls granulated sugar

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 tbls. lemon zest (optional)

Start by combining biscotti, almonds, brown sugar, almond extract, and butter in a medium mixing bowl.  Make sure that butter is fully incorporated into crumbs.  Transfer to 9″ springform pan and press into bottom and about 1″ up sides of pan.  Refrigerate.

Next, in a large mixing bowl, combine softened cream cheese, flour and sugar.  Mix until smooth.  (I don’t have a stand mixer or electric mixer so all of this is done “by hand”  I use a wooden spoon and a bit of brute force, but manage to make a very smooth cake. ) Now add eggs, one at a time, stirring each in completely.  Add heavy cream and extracts and stir until incorporated.  Pour over refrigerated crust and place in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes lower oven temperature to 250 degrees and continue to bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove cheesecake from oven.  Cake should be firm on the sides and only slightly “wabbly” in the center.  Set on wire rack while you prepare the filling.

For the filling, combine sour cream, sugar and vanilla.  Spread topping over cake and bake and additional 15 minutes at 250 degrees.


Baked Brie with Cranberry Orange-Ginger Relish

You can make this tart ruby-red relish up to three days ahead of the feast.

Cranberry Orange Relish


  • Zest and juice of 1 orange + fruit of second orange set aside
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 cups fresh cranberry
  • 1 tbls fresh grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or almonds


In a medium saucepan, heat 1/2 cup water with the orange zest, orange juice, sugar and salt over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes.  In a food processor chop cranberries and pecans (coarse).  Stir in the cranberries and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the cranberries soften and sauce has thickened slightly, about 7 minutes.  Sweeten to taste with more sugar.  Let sauce cool and stir in the fruit of the second orange and chopped ginger.

Serving suggestions:

Serve chilled over baked brie, garnish with pecan halves or slivered almonds and orange slices.

Baked Brie


  • Round Brie (Presidents Brand works great)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Unwrap Brie.  With hand held grater, gently remove outer most rind so only a thin layer remains.  Be careful not to remove too much.  Rinse under cool water.  Pat dry.  Place on baking sheet with wax paper.  Bake 10-15 minutes until softened.

Serve with cranberry relish and hard crusted bread.


What the FUDGE!!! November 21, 2011

Seriously the BEST melt in your mouth PB fudge you’ve every tasted!!!


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2  cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3  cups confectioners’ sugar


  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and milk. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter, honey and vanilla.  Slowly sift in confectioners’ sugar. Beat until smooth.  Pour onto a flat cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Chill until firm and cut into squares.

Sweet Home Alabama November 19, 2011

Filed under: Change is Good,Uncategorized — berkshiregirl @ 9:52 pm
Tags: , , , ,

It’s been quite awhile since my last post.  I apologize for that, but life got in the way.

We’ve had a very wonderful, crazy, amazing past few months and things are finally settling down.

We left our beautiful Berkshires and have started fresh in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

We’ve been here since late September and are settling in.

A few things I’ve learned:

#1. Proper use of Y’all is mandatory and oddly habit forming.

#2 A winter hat is called a “Toboggan” or simply “boggan”

#3 A shopping cart is a “buggy” and a  bag is a “sack”

#4 There are genuinely nice people, and lots of them!!! Go figure!

#5 Football is a way of life!!!  ROLL TIDE!


Thanksgiving – Southern Style!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — berkshiregirl @ 3:57 pm

The Great Turkey Debate

There are a lot of us.  Myself, my husband Brandon, my mother Kay (Grandma Kay, Mom), my sister Kim and her husband Gary (The stuffing master), their two daughters Tyler and Maxine and Tyler’s son Cameron, my brother Eddie, my brother Peter and his wife Jamie and their son Jacob, Jamie’s mother and Big Kim and Louie.

Because of this we’ll need a LOT of food.  I’ve already confirmed we’ll need to cook two turkeys.  As well as all the fixins’.

Last year we cooked our Turkey in a Hole, and since none of the Alabama family got to have it Kim thought that would be a great thing to do this year.  Brandon was all for it, I’m up for anything creative, so I thought it was settled.  In the mean time Peter offered to buy the Turkeys and some of the fixins’ (super thoughtful) BUT when I told him about the Turkey in a Hole he said he’d like to try to deep fry.  I also thought it would be a good idea being a true southern tradition here, but told him either way would be fine with me.

So….. we have Kim and Brandon who are “In the Hole”, and Peter who wants to “Go Deep”.  And me, I’m Switzerland (neutral). No Schnitzel.