Sunday, October 13, 2019

Too Much To Describe In One Title

It's fall now, thanks be to God.

But BEFORE it was fall, we decided to get the heck away from the mosquito-infested summer that would never, ever end by heading up to Acadia National Park in Maine. And just like last year, we rented a house, but unlike last year, this one wasn't haunted.

Well, there was the huge heating grate in the front hall, that Susie swore Pennywise lived in.

All it needs is a red balloon...

But otherwise, it was just about perfect, especially one particular picture in Susie's bedroom that we discussed slipping into our suitcases, we loved it so much (but we didn't, because a life of crime just isn't our thing).

Something about the colors - this photo doesn't do it justice

We hiked, we ate doughnuts, we gloated over the fact that we were missing the 96-degree weather back home. Susie ate blueberry ice cream (too cold for me). Rachel didn't come with us (something about college applications, senior year, blah, blah, blah), which suited her just fine, as she got to stay at a friend's house and enjoy what was essentially a week-long slumber party.

Did I mention we hiked?

There was some color up there

So, the day we were supposed to leave for this escape-from-mosquito-hell getaway, Larry said, "I'm just going to do a couple of things out front." And I said, "Sure! I'll finish packing up here and we'll go!"

People, THREE HOURS LATER, we hit the road. Because it turns out that Larry had decided to complete his entire landscaping project (remember the landscaping project?) in the front yard before we went on our 11-hour road trip. And didn't tell me.

Have I mentioned that communication isn't our strong point? Oh, yes, I guess I have. Okay, then...

So he finished the yard and then we spent the entire vacation week worrying that everything had died, because 96 degrees and NO RAIN. And, hey, I'm no master gardener, but maybe it isn't a good idea to plant new things and then not be around to water them, Larry? Sheesh.

Thanks to the heroic efforts of Theo (who stopped by on the weekends) and a neighborhood teen, however, we came home to everything being pretty much alive. I must say, our neighbors still aren't used to our yard not looking like an abandoned lot or a construction zone, but I guess they'll just have to find something else to talk about now. At least until Larry comes up with his next home improvement scheme, anyway...

So vacations are wonderful and exciting and all, but here's the most amazing thing that has happened  lately:

Portrait mode - it blurs out the mess on my counter

That's right. I'm showing you a picture of cut-up butternut squash. EVERY YEAR, I see all these recipes for butternut squash soup and think, "I should make that!" After all, I have 2 vegetarians in the household and wouldn't they just LOVE some warm, cozy vegetarian soup? And wouldn't I just be the greatest mom if I were to make them some? So then I go buy a squash, and it ends up sitting on my counter until it rots.

Every family has its traditions. Ours are just stupider than most.

But this year? This year, it was different. I cut that butternut squash up last night like a boss (no, I don't know what that means, really) and today...(insert trumpet fanfare here)...I MADE SOUP.

Alas! I didn't really like it. Neither did the vegetarians. If anyone has any idea what is missing from that recipe I linked to, please let me know. Because I still cannot quite give up on the dream...


  1. What's missing from the soup? Meat, probably (ha!).

  2. Those vacation pictures are amazing! We are national park people, but not sure if we will ever make it to Acadia. Quite a trek. Plus, we are getting old. We plan to repeat a trip to our favorite this summer: Yellowstone. I am not much of a butternut squash fan, so I would not be able to come up with a missing ingredient - unless it included making chili and not squash soup. Great to hear from you!

  3. When I make the soup, I go for ginger and other warm spices, or I go heavier on the herbs. Sage should be in there. I never use broth, it interferes with the butternut flavor. I drizzle with a very nice olive oil or sherry vinegar depending on what I'm going for.

  4. This is Beth, BTW. The grate reminds me of my grandmother's house, where I used to stand on top of her grate to feel the warm air, much as you might draw close to a fireplace.

    This is my go to butternut soup, it is a favorite here. Hope you like it

  6. At first glance I thought that was a measuring cup full of chopped butter.
    Or cheese.
    But squash is okay too, I guess.

  7. Your scenery pictures are gorgeous! The butternut squash soup I enjoyed last night was creamy and delicious; it included sweet onion, apples(!), white wine, and other wonderful ingredients.

  8. The pictures look amazing. The soup is missing an acid of some variety: splash of wine, squeeze of lemon, dash of apple cider vinegar. Something to brighten the flavors.

  9. LOL Did you have to drive after he got done working in the yard? Looks great and sounds like maybe less people complaining while you were on vacation :)

  10. Acadia National Park is stunning! Beautiful photos. Hope to see some of the landscaping project too. :)

    Can't help with the soup, as I'm not a fan of squash of any type. Well, maybe spaghetti squash but that's about it.

  11. I do love squash, but it's a pain to cut up. I give you credit for following through.
    That's a gorgeous vista, glad you had a grand vacation!

  12. Amazing photos! And I recommend squash risotto for all that nicely cut up squash next time. Twice baked squash is also really good.

  13. "Every family has its traditions - ours are just stupider than most" made me snort in amusement AND recognition. My butternut squash soup is generally very well-received but I don't really have a recipe, so here goes: cut up the squash and saute it in the soup pan in butter and olive oil with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and cinnamon. Chop up an onion or two and saute it in butter and/or olive oil long and slow. Chuck the onion in with the squash and add chicken stock to cover, along with wine if desired. You could add the apples in at this point if you wanted to. Bring to boil then simmer, then add milk or cream or not, and blend. If you ever manage to cut up the squash again (no judgment) you can give it a whirl. :)

  14. For the soup: curry powder, tumeric, garam masala, cumin powder, corridander powder, fresh ginger and/or garlic - I fry them all with the onion (if I have them all, otherwise whatever I've got) then add the butternut squash; once I've pureed the soup I add more of the spices if the taste is still too bland. Also: you don't need to peel the squash. Biggest time saver ever :) And: you can chop up a heap of squash in advance, and freeze it for the next time you want to make soup. Next biggest time saver ever.