Creamy Mushroom & Onion Soup

Today I want to share some delicious mushroom and onion soup that I’ve now made quite a few times!  We love it and it’s been on regular rotation since the weather has turned.  Although I haven’t figured out the exact calories, overall I would rate it as healthy.  As a bonus, it is gluten free and freezes really really well!  Oh and did I mention how easy it is?

The original recipe calls for sour cream to add the creaminess, and it tastes good with sour cream, but it tastes really good with half and half instead.  And I figure since this recipe makes at least 4 servings, the additional calories from choosing half and half can’t be THAT bad, right?

Creamy Mushroom and Onion Soup (loosely adapted from The South Beach Diet Supercharged)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • pinch cayenne
  • salt & black pepper (to taste)
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  • 16oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup half and half (or sour cream)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

In a large pot heat olive oil.  Add onion & spices, cook stirring occasionally until onion is soft.  Add mushrooms and stir-fry until mushrooms soften.  Add chicken broth.  Bring mixture to a boil, & simmer for about 15 minutes.

Use a stick blender to blend soup to desired consistency. (Alternatively, transfer half the soup to a blender and puree until smooth.  Return blended soup to pot).  Add green onions, 1 tbsp of lemon juice and stir. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if needed. Add 1/3 cup half and half to pot right before serving.  Enjoy!

I am linking this recipe to Miss Flibbertigibbet and the Home for the Holidays: Holiday Recipe Link Party.  I’m a few days behind (but that seems to be the theme around here …) so you should check out all the other delicious recipes people have already posted!


Happy Holiday Table

Today I’m participating in the Home for the Holidays: Tablescapes link-up.  Kristin from Bliss is hosting today’s party, so make sure to hop on over there and check out all the awesome ideas!

On Tuesday I shared my red and green table with my DIY table overlay and DIY chalkboard chargers.  You can check out the details on how I tackled each DIY project here.

I though it would be fun to stick with the same general idea, but change up the look of the table by changing out the table overlay. Here is my green and blue Christmas table. I think adding some navy sashes to the chairs would be a great touch, but since I don’t have those, I left the chairs naked.

To tie in the lime green in the overlay, I added some bright green pillows from the living room, and flipped the teal chevron pillows to their black and white polka dot sides.  Although I changed up the colors, I kept the gnomes on the table because they are just too adorable not to snap photos of!

Lastly, I want to share a fun everyday table setting with you.  Although I’m not usually one to throw fake dinner parties, I like having my chargers out on the table during the holidays.  Also, I feel like I can leave the table set up in this way without making it difficult to actually eat dinner here.

How do you feel about leaving the table set all day?  (I have a feeling this is one of those strangely polarizing questions…)

I’m linking up at Bliss & the Home for the Holidays link-up.

Modern Christmas Tree

We picked up this modern spiral (flat-pack) Christmas tree from Ikea last year.  Although I can’t find it on their website, rumor has it that they have it at some Ikea stores again this year.  As I’ve mentioned before, we collect snowmen ornaments, so this year the tree is green and snowmen.  I think it looks very festive, although I’d love to figure out a way to add some lights!


The red “tree skirt” is a just-for-now solution.  I think I’m going to try to DIY a felt tree skirt, but lets finish those felt stockings first, hmm.

Here are the two latest additions to our snowman collection.  Aren’t they cute?  The first one we picked up on our Thanksgiving trip to Massachusetts, and the second is our 2012 ornament (from Michaels). We’re loving the dangling legs lately – you can see 2010 hanging out in the background.


Penelope has been pretty good about not barking at the tree.  For those of you who don’t know her well – she barks at things that she thinks are out of place – so clearly she approves of the tree.  She hasn’t tried to remove any of the ornaments, although she does lick the lowest ornaments.

Dare to DIY: Christmas Table

I’m a little late to the party – blame it on a post-Thanksgiving fog or something… I did steal some time to start the Christmas decorating yesterday, so I can finally partake in the Dare to DIY challenge, hosted by Decor and the Dog, Maybe Matilda, Newly Woodwards, and Two Twenty One!

I (like Michelle) set the table for a fake little Christmas dinner party.  I like that I don’t have to be practical.  No silverware, no glasses, no space to actually put food on the table.  Details, details. I did set the table with my DIY chalk board chargers (details below), our Christmas plates (from Bed Bath and Beyond about 5 years ago, although Target has similar ones but with snowflakes), my DIY Christmas tablecloth overlay, red cloth napkins with silver edges (thanks Mom!), and our Nambe salt and pepper shakers.  I also added red vertical sashes to our chairs, (faux) red covers to the teal chevron pillows on the bench (I plan to make real ones soon!), and some red sashes to the curtains.

Of course, part of the challenge was actually to DIY something.  Now I do have a little confession to make, I DIYed most of this last year.  But since I’ve never shared it, it should count, right?

I painted some cheap Michaels chargers with chalkboard paint. I learned a lot about chalkboard paint through this process.  I first primed the chargers with some oil based primer.  Then I painted the chargers with Martha Stewart chalkboard paint.  Easy, right?  Except not.  It took about 10 coats per charger (the paint is thin and wasn’t giving good coverage).  It also did NOT look good when I wrote on it with regular chalk.  Ugh.  So I got some chalkboard spray paint, which worked MUCH better. Next time I’ll start with the spray-paint!  For this table setting I grabbed my chalkboard pen and wrote some Christmas-sy words at the top.  I really love how the chalk pen looks on the chargers!

Also, how cute are those World Market Christmas nutcracker gnomes? (These are last year’s models).  I also made a fun Christmas overlay.  As you can probably see if you scroll back up, I HATE ironing my white table cloths, so this is an easy way to hide the wrinkles!  I found this fabric at JoAnn’s last year – it’s home decor weight.  I simply had them cut a piece that was the same length as the width of the fabric (so that I had a square of fabric).  Then I sewed a narrow hem all around the fabric, and ta-da!  Overlay!

So that’s my table for a little faux Christmas party.  Perhaps I’ll have to invite some people?

I’ll be linking up at:

Christmas Tree Farm

We had an awesome Thanksgiving weekend in Massachusetts visiting some relatives.  We had lots and lots of great food, and lots of fun times with their 4 and 8 year old!  Penelope was so exhausted from all the playing, that she spent ALL day Sunday sleeping, waking only to eat and run outside to pee.

We took advantage of a absolutely beautiful day on Friday & after lunch we headed to the Christmas tree farm to help them pick out a tree. We had a lot of fun hunting for the perfect tree! Cutting it down was much easier than I thought it would be.  Here are the boys carting the tree back to the barn.

Although we didn’t get a tree for our house, we had a great time helping to pick out a tree! We got some blueberry wine, blueberry jam, blackberry jam, and even Penelope got some blueberry dog biscuits!  So that definitely makes up for the lack of a tree.  (Side note, while driving back home, we saw someone with a tree on the roof of their car & they weren’t just on the freeway for a few miles either. Poor windblown tree.)

Do you have a tree yet?

Gift Wrap Pinspiration

Yes, yes, I know.  It’s not even Thanksgiving yet.  But you have to plan ahead! (No?)  Remember when I said I wanted to decorate our Christmas Tree in blue, green and silver.  Well then I ordered a 6.5 foot Christmas tree and guess what – it’s WAY too big for our house (diameter-wise).  Anywhoo… It’s back to the drawing board on that one!  We have the modern Ikea tree at least (and that fits in our apartment!)

I also received a pretty awesome package in the mail (thanks Mom!) with lots of red Christmas accessories (fabric napkins, sashes, and runners).  So I’m changing course and going red!  (Sorry alternative Christmas color lovers!)

To help with the sadness form having to return the Christmas tree (anyone have a good, affordable sources for a skinny Christmas tree?) I found some present wrapping pinspiration! (Each link should take you directly to the pin & you can get to the original source from there).

Doing things in reverse

Yesterday I posted about all the felt I got at JoAnns (with my coupons!) & I shared some of my favorite felt projects.  I’m seriously IN LOVE with Jackie from Teal & Lime’s Helvetica Reverse Applique Stockings.  Oh and if you’re currently trying to (or may ever need to) turn builder basic into beautiful, you should definitely follow her blog!  Here’s a close-up of one of her stockings.

I plan on shamelessly copying her gorgeous stockings for our own home.  We have some pretty burlap w/ green ribbon stockings from West Elm a few years ago (which I got on their after Christmas sale for a steal) but since Penelope must have a stocking & Andy and I don’t want to share a stocking (ala the Petersiks) I’m taking to DIYing some.

Before tackling the more advanced stocking-making (Teal & Lime has a great tutorial on this BTW), I decided to try my hand at a Christmas pillow for the guest room.

What do you think?  The front of the pillow is some light grey synthetic felt I found in the remnant bin (score!).  The fabric peeking through is navy blue cotton, and the back is an envelope closure of the same navy blue fabric.

I used PicMonkey’s “Sketch Block” font.  I created a blank white page in the “Create a Collage” option, saved it, then imported it into the “Edit a Photo” option and added the text.  Then I saved it and simply printed it out on my printer.  You can either print it in reverse (if you remember) or tape it to the window backwards and trace it onto the HeatnBond that way.

Is it perfect?  Heck no!  But I’m glad my first try was on a non-stokcing project.  I definitely learned a few things.  1. While the sharp pointy scissors are great for cutting out the letters, my regular fabric scissors are better for cutting the felt in general.  2. Use the paper letter to determine exactly where the little cut-out pieces (like the dot of the “R”) should go.  3. When ironing the backing fabric to the felt, press from the back (not over the cutout letters).  I think I’ll also take more time to ensure that my letters are crisp before ironing the backing fabric on next time.

And one last picture of how it looks against the blue and yellow bedding in the room.  The grey striped duvet cover is currently on our bed (it has the winter weight duvet in it), so instead of having the yellow duvet folded at the foot of the bed, it’s on the bed now.  And I flipped the king size pillows to their blue side since it was TOO much yellow with the chevron and the circles.

Have you ever tried your hand at reverse applique?  I love that the felt doesn’t fray – it’s the perfect fabric for this project!  (Thanks to Jackie for the wonderful inspiration!).



I’ll be linking up to these great blogs:

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