Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Acorn Squash Soup

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on less than $10/day.

As we all know, people who endeavor to paint over a room of wood paneling one day before their 10th anniversary and 6 days before their in-laws arrive in town are clinically insane of high moral character.

Fortunately for you I've provided a step-by-step guide for any others who wish to have turkey with me in the looney bin take the high road.

1. Get the wrong thing at Lowe's. The workers will most likely make this easy on you since they like to give you the wrong thing even if you specifically ask for the right thing. I got this taken care of on Monday and discovered it last night, so that I could run to Lowe's to rectify it this morning, which takes me to the 2nd step.

2. Run to Lowe's to rectify previous problem. Commit to buying extra of everything you could possibly need so that you won't ever have to return. Forget to buy extra of the thing you'll actually run out of.

3. Prime in the afternoon, racing to beat your piano students who will start arriving any minute. Mostly make it. Discover that oil-based primer that you had to use for wood paneling must be removed from your hands with none other than paint thinner.

4. Send your husband--quick--to Rural King to buy the thing you need that you ran out of.

5. Paint in the evening after putting kids to bed.

6. Think you're making really good time at 9:00pm.

7. Stop thinking that at 10:00pm. Wonder if it was the fumes from the oil-based primer speaking earlier anyway.

8. Start surveying room and wonder if you will actually like the color (cottage cream) that looked so beautiful and cottage creamy in your friend's house, but has started to look a little nicotine stain-y in your own room with the flourescent lights over head.

9. Enter denial. Express cock-eyed optimism. You're quite sure that that color will look just stunning in the morning with the sun streaming through. You're also purely confident that the one wall that isn't wood paneling--the one that had wall paper on it that you ripped off--does not have any residual glue that must be painstakingly washed off. You're perfectly confident that you can paint over it.

10. Console yourself that anything will look better than the wood paneling (true enough). And that things do brighten up when the trim is done.

11. Commit to purchasing a different kind of light bulb for overhead lighting.

12. Discover that you are a person of low moral character practical thinking because you are considering skipping painting the part of the wall behind the desk, which you cannot move.

13. Discover that you are a person of low religious character prayer because you begin praying fervently when you are in need that the paint will make it through that last wall. And also that the color will look a wee bit lighter when dry. It's not that you're saying there aren't more important things to pray about in this world. It's just that, in this moment, you may not happen to care one lick about them.

14. Ponder that you think the 10th anniversary is wood. How fitting that you are painting the wood paneling. Your spouse will be very pleased. If, of course, he is the type to consider good gifts those in which he is required to watch the kids all afternoon while you paint. If, on the other hand, he is the type that rather wishes you would just be bathed by the time the big day rolls around, well then, I cannot help you.

15. Discover wood is for the 5th anniversary. 10th is tin. Perhaps your brain will suffice.

16. Discover that your cheapskatery has a limit at washing out that roller that cost only a few bucks.

17. Consider that your carpet looks much better with your tennis shoe bottom imprinted on it in country cream. Perhaps you should leave it be instead of hastily scrubbing it out. I believe they call that art.

18. Remember how very physical painting is.

19. Do not put the furniture back. Do not pack anything for your big day tomorrow. Or wrap your spouse's gift. Or clean the house. Or write your dear friend, who is babysitting, a list of routines/things she might need to know for the day.

20. Eat something. (And for heaven's sake, go read a good book in a really hot bath.)

Which brings us here to this lovely, and I might add, soothing soup. You can even have it with some chocolate covered cranberries thereby. Not that I did, due to my high moral character and all.

Acorn Squash Soup
adapted from Koreafornian
Makes a good 8 servings
prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5-6 hours

3 acorn squash, halved, seeds removed
2 carrots
1 Korean pear, peeled cored and chopped (I sprang for this, but think you could get away with a regular pear)
1 onion, peeling and chopped
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
4 C chicken or vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
I also added a shot of cayenne pepper, which I really enjoyed
garnish with green onions if that's your thing

Note: Don't waste tons of time chopping since this is going in the crock pot. Just get things into big chunks.

Another note: I did the squash in the oven, but if you're crunched for time (like if you work or plan to be gone for the day), you can put these flesh side down (cut in half with the seeds out) on a plate with just a wee bit of water and microwave until soft (between 5 and 10 minutes most likely).

Preheat oven to 400.

Cut squash in halft and scoop out seeds and stringy stuff.

Lay on baking sheet (on parchment paper if you care about your sanity) cut side down and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Scoop out insides and put in crock pot.

Put other ingredients in crock pot and set on high for 4-5 hours.

Use your immersion blender to blend. I don't have one so I let this cool a bit and put it in my regular blender (you'll probably need to do 2 batches.

Warm again if necessary.

Eat. Then eat more.



  1. Looks delicious! And one of the most entertaining posts I've read lately :D

  2. This looks so delicious. Your story made me laugh but I feel for ya.

  3. Sorry about the paneling... we took on that project once as well. Such a sad time.
    How have you only been married ten years? That can't be right can it? I thought you had a child older than ours. You must have gotten bizz-ay.
    Oh and I must speak to you about piano.
    And thank you for the soup. I see the acorn squashes but never try them.

  4. Tonight I'm on to the trim if I can keep my eyes open.

    And, yup, 10 years. Mark was one of those surprise babies. He can to use a mere 10 1/2 months after we got married. We probably had people counting the months on their fingers:).

  5. Your post was hilarious! Thank you for recording it!



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