Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Butternut Squash Soup




It FINALLY feels like fall in Las Vegas and I'm so ready for a change of pace and weather. I never thought I'd be so happy for summer to be over. It's without a doubt my favorite season in California, but this Vegas heat--man it's something else and I never realized how wonderful it is to just be able to stand outside whenever you want to. 

For a couple years now I've been looking for a butternut squash soup recipe and I think this is the one! The next time I make it I think I'm gonna try adding some chopped potatoes in with the butternut squash, but I think it's a keeper as is. 

Butternut Squash Soup
Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: about 1 hour

INGREDIENTS:

6 tablespoons chopped onion
4 tablespoons butter
6 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (about 1 regular-sized squash)
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 8-ounce package cream cheese

DIRECTIONS:

In a large saucepan, saute onions in butter until tender. Add butternut squash, chicken broth, oregano, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. Cook 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.

Use an immersion blender to puree squash and cream cheese until smooth. (Alternately, you may puree in batches using a blender or food processor.) Return to saucepan and heat through. Do not allow to boil. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Night at the Bellagio

We live quite close to the Las Vegas strip so last night, we decided to take advantage of our proximity and make a quick visit to the Bellagio, one of my favorite hotels (and also one of the more kid-friendly hotels on the strip).  The Bellagio has a beautiful conservatory which they change up according on the season and it's currently decorated with a fall theme. There is a giant water wheel, a big scarecrow, lots of pumpkins, and even a talking tree. Oh, and tons of flowers which makes the space smell amazing! After walking around there for a bit, we stepped outside to watch the famous Bellagio fountain show to the tune of "Time to Say Goodbye". While we enjoyed showing Petra all these different beautiful attractions, I think she was most amused by seeing all the faces of tourists walking around and snapping photos.  Either way, it was great to get out and enjoy some quality family time.

We decided that we should take more outings to visit these fancy hotel lobbies while we live close. I think next up will be the Venetian!


[Gold buildings against an ombre sky.]


[Cruising the strip]


[Bellagio conservatory decorated for fall]



[Breaking the rules and letting her touch the flowers.]


[Vegas baby!]

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Petra's Nursery

Petra art print c/o Rifle Paper Co






As we've spent the last 8 months figuring out a new city, adjusting to a "non-travel" life, and running a new business, our lives have often felt muddled, with loose ends in just about every direction I look. While the chaos of life has felt completely overwhelming at times, I have been so grateful for this little space of earth, Petra's nursery, where everything feels right in the world. Petra is such a blessing and I want to remember this little corner of our house where so many joyful moments have occurred with our little girl.

There are still unfinished elements (like the hanging light I want to paint gold and the curtains I'd like to add), but I'm not sure if they will ever happen and I didn't want to miss the chance to document this space just because it's not "perfect". If there's one thing I'm learning since becoming a mother, it's that perfection is not something I create, it's a moment that happens when I'm in the right mindset.

Sources:

Petra art print - Rifle Paper Co
Crib - IKEA
Stuffed Elephant - Chatuchak Weekend Market (Bangkok)
Rug - Target
Dresser - craigslist find (re-painted white)
Mobile - DIY (from this tutorial)
Blankets on chair - IKEA
Hanging light - IKEA
Wooden elephant - somewhere in India
Frames - IKEA and Target
Heart print - DIY inspired by this Fluoro Heart Print
Bangkok print - Rifle Paper Co

Monday, October 19, 2015

Simple Rice Pudding


When I was in college, there was this awesome dessert place called "Pudding on the Rice" that served up all different flavors of rice pudding--chocolate, white chocolate/raspberry, vanilla bean...they were all so good. I've never been able to re-create the creamy goodness of their unique flavors, but every once in a while, I like to whip up a batch of this simple creamy rice pudding, with the perfect amount of butter and vanilla for flavoring. It feels indulgent, even though the ingredients are all quite basic.

Simple Rice Pudding
Yield 4 servings
Total Time: about 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup uncooked white rice
2 cups milk, divided
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, until water is absorbed and rice is tender.

In another saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups cooked rice, 1 1/2 cups milk, sugar, and salt. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup milk, and beaten egg. Cook 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla.

Serve warm and enjoy!