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Entries in valentines day (3)

Saturday
Feb122011

For the Love of Soup

If I had to pick a favorite food group, it would have to be soup. From bisques to bouillabaisses, I love them all. So when it's cold outside, soup is often my go-to meal.

Matching the boundlessness of my love for soup is the boundlessness of the quantities of soup I tend to make. So I often have leftovers. Soup freezes well, but unfreezing a huge block of soup can take longer than simply whipping up a new batch. So, more often than I'd like to admit, I have found myself with three or four giant vats of soup in the refrigerator in various stages of petri dish.

Last year I volunteered to make cupcakes for my son's Valentine's Day party at school. Naturally, I wanted them to be heart-shaped. Naturally. I found a remaindered batch of silicone heart molds and had just enough to make 24 chocolate hearts. Awesome. But there was just one problem. Now I had 24 heart-shaped silicone molds.

But then I discovered that just as baked goods sprung magically from the molds, so, too, do frozen ones as well. Now, whenever I make enough soup to serve an army, I just put the molds on a sheet tray, ladle them full of soupy goodness, and pop them in the freezer to firm up. Then I can pop them out of the molds and into a freezer bag. When it's time to pack my lunch, I just pop a few soup hearts into a container--portion control is easy, and I don't have to worry that somewhere between my house and my office I'll end up coated in the leaked contents of last night's split pea soup. Score!

White Bean Soup with Kale and Sausage

This isn't so much a recipe as a formula for soup. Use what you have and what you like.

32 oz cooked white beans (navy or cannellini work well)
1 large head kale or mustard greens
1/2 lb Italian sausage (hot or mild), casings removed
1 shallot, finely chopped 1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 T olive oil (or bacon grease, if you have that lying around)
Water or stock

1. In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, brown the sausage in the oil. When the sausage is nearly cooked through, add the celery and shallot, stirring to coat with the oil. Add a pinch of salt and sweat the vegetables until they are crisp-tender.

2. Add beans, kale, and water (if you reserve the cooking liquid from your beans, through that in, too) to cover, about 2 quarts.

3. Simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

That's it! Hearty and healthy soup that is ready to serve or freeze.

Sunday
Jan182009

Giddyup, Valentine!

Giddyup! © 2009 Cameron BlazerGiddyup! © 2009 Cameron Blazer  I guess I'm on a roll, eh?

Here's my latest offering, designed to coordinate with the same envelopes that I created for the Dinosaur valentines.

Cowboys and cowgirls are just fun, right? I would love to learn to tie and throw (?) a lasso. Anyone who knows me even superficially will probably recoil upon reading that, given my legendary lack of physical grace, but, hey, a girl can dream! For the record, I'd also really like to jump a perfect triple Axel, but that's even less likely.

Once again, this downloadable PDF is two pages--a front and a back, with 9 cards on each, but you can use the front without the back.

Wednesday
Jan142009

Free Printable Valentines

ROAR! © 2009 Cameron BlazerCard back. © 2009 Cameron Blazer Well, I'm in a giving mood again. I was sitting here at my computer trying to get up the consumerist urge enough to write an "I want that" post, but I'm just not feeling it. Instead, I'm giving you something you probably didn't even know you wanted!

My printable 2009 calendar was such a hit (Thanks, tipnut!) that I decided to do another fun freebie for Valentines Day. Well, really I decided to do a bunch of freebies. But perfect is the enemy of good, so rather than waiting until I have four perfect designs in the can, I thought I'd share the one I've finished. Sounds good?

I drew this Valentinosaurus because I thought my son would like it, and it might save me from yucky mass-market Spiderman valentines. Still, I think it would be equally sweet coming from a little girl who's comfortable with her inner primal scream!

This downloadable PDF is two pages--a front and a back, with 9 cards on each. Really, if you don't want to worry about lining up the front print with the back one, your valentines will be cute as can be without the back side. The cuts for this printable are a little more involved, but I've provided cut lines to help you--each card is 2.5 in x 3 in, so there's no math test at the end, either.

I was thinking of doing a custom envelope template to go along with these...what do you think? Or would you rather have an alternate design?