Warm, buttery, flaky croissants at home.

I am, no question, a complete sucker for laminated pastry. I love tearing a horn off a croissant and biting into  There is a small French bistro-type franchise in East Cobb called La Madeleine, that Mom and I must go to in order to have a proper visit over lattes and croissants, maybe a quiche. For a franchise, its pastries are delightful, thankfully fresh-baked every day. The Bunnery in St. Augustine, FL has every manner of pastry and baked sweet I could want; their croissants are as big as an appetizer plate, and you have to get there early to appreciate them fresh and warm from the oven. (Their coffees are equally huge-sized, and the specialty beverages artfully done.) I have yet to find a local (Athens-area) bakery that I can rave over for their pastries and atmosphere, but I haven’t been looking too hard, especially after recently I made up my mind to tackle croissants at home.

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No Yeast Required Cinnamon Rolls

I’m not sure I fall under the category of “normal” pregnancy. Yes, I’m hungry often, but not for weird food combinations (any weirder than usual, anyway, if you ask my husband – who else eats ketchup on scrambled eggs?), or really for anything in particular. Except for sushi. I am all about some sushi. But anyway. I don’t really want chocolate, ice cream, or sweets in general; more likely, I’m in the market for some chips, super-buttery-salty popcorn, or something else savory/salty.

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Big life-changing announcements!

Bugaboo, here I am. Full of Christmas cheer and apologies for being a bad blogger. Over a month has passed since my last post about broccoli soup. And it will be quite a bit more time before I post any more food-related bits. Alas! However, I have a good reason for both of those things.

Why haven’t I posted in over a month? Well, because the thought of food, much less the smell of anything cooking, made me very sick. I couldn’t even look at my RSS feed without feeling a little green. I finally went to the doctor at the beginning of November and – surprise! I am happy to announce that we are expecting our first child in mid-June 2012! I am now to the point where I can at least stand to smell a working kitchen again, and carefully eat small meals – both of which meant Thanksgiving wasn’t a bust, a major concern – but I won’t be doing much cooking for a while. And that is because…

After living in Kentucky for a little over a year, we have had issues finding full-time employment and benefits. The economy here just isn’t what we expected when we moved up, and it’s not improving. No benefits = no insurance, and that isn’t something we can accept now that we have a baby on the way. So on the 15th of December, we will be putting all our kept belongings into a Uhaul trailer and various vehicles for the not-so-terribly-long drive back to Athens, Georgia. We can get the husband back behind the wheel of a police cruiser, where he belongs, and… well, we’ll figure something out to do with me.

In any case, the next two weeks will be full to the brim with obstetrics appointments, packing what we want and tossing or donating what we don’t, cleaning house, split shifts at work and preparing the dogs for a long-haul trip, I won’t have much time to myself before the move. After the fact, I don’t expect to be able to do much until after the holidays, what with settling in and the general holiday madness. So, barring the odd picture or comment, don’t expect to see much of me until after the first of the year. Have a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, until we meet again!

Quick and Easy Cream of Broccoli Soup

Seriously, the title doesn’t lie. This soup takes only slightly less time than opening a can o’ soup and heating it up; even better, it tastes a thousand times better and doesn’t have the host of ingredients that stuff with the red and white label does, in addition to doing away with the allergens in that soup in a can. Did you know Campbell’s isn’t gluten-free? It contains wheat flour, in addition to 14 other ingredients. You can make your own in minutes, and do it to suit your preferences or needs. Need a dairy-free / gluten-free / vegan / soy-free / MSG-free soup? This is the recipe for you. Just substitute the cream for coconut or almond milk if you’re dairy-free or vegan, and the rest of those allergies are already taken care of. No gluten, no whey, no MSG in this pretty green meal.

Better yet, you can save on dishwashing if you do like I did, and drink it from a mug.

Cream of Broccoli Soup
yields 4 servings

ingredients:

1 ½ lb broccoli florets, frozen
1 medium onion, diced
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter, separated
pinch of nutmeg

directions:

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a 3-quart saucepan and sauté onions until golden and softened. Add 1 cup of stock, deglaze if necessary, and broccoli. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until broccoli is tender. Remove from heat. If using a standard blender or food processor, allow to cool for a few minutes and puree in batches to desired consistency. Return the puree to the pan and add the remaining 2 cups of stock, as well as the nutmeg, remaining tablespoon of butter, and cream. Stir gently over medium heat until soup is heated through. Serve plain, or with shredded cheese, sour cream and chives, or whatever your heart desires.

*Note: I’ve found that a couple of tablespoons (roughly) of white wine added to the soup after pureeing gives it a nice bit of extra body. (I keep leftover wine in the freezer in Ziploc bags for adding to soups and stews; it usually ends up as less of an ice-pack and more of a wine slushy.) However, if you’re not interested in the alcohol, leaving it out won’t hurt a bit.