I'm IMPRESSED! Bravo for getting all your shopping done AND signing up for Mint. Hooray! I'm so glad you like it. I love it SO much, and it really helps us live within our means, though December is always a wash!
Pretty funny you wrote about getting ahead of the game on holiday shopping, and I kept delaying writing this post to you! I had the best intentions, truly!
Also funny is that I wanted to write to you about how I too prepared ahead of time for something and it really paid off... but apparently I'm back to my natural state of procrastinating.
This past Friday Jeff and I hosted book club and since we both get off work around 6pm, I knew we wouldn't have time to come home and prepare food before everyone started arriving at 7pm. So in an uncommon wave of advance planning, I decided to make my favorite winter soup the night before. Because Jeff doesn't believe you can just serve people soup for dinner (grown men at least), we also served grilled cheese sandwiches with ham (made on Friday). I can't lie, it was delish and SO easy to prepare ahead of time, I even had time to take a shower before our guests arrived!
More stew than soup, it's uber flavorful and good for ya! Some tips... this recipe (below) makes way more than 4 servings. We served 8 people and still had leftovers for lunch on Saturday. I've also learned to substitute sweet potato for butternut squash because it takes too damn long to peel butternut squash, those ridges! While worth it, I find this recipe to be heavy on prep/chopping, so anything I can do to save some time (I'm not known for my knife skills), I'll do.
Jeff makes the grilled cheese in our house, it's a knack and one I haven't mastered. I asked the baker at our grocery store for a bread recommendation for grilled cheese and she pointed me to a lovely loaf of Pain au Levain. I don't know jack about bread except that I love it, and this definitely fit the bill. We added cheddar, swiss and some black forest ham... done and done!
You'll also appreciate that as I was ironing napkins on Thursday night, Jeff said "Let's just use paper napkins, you don't have to iron all those". My response: "Jeff, I blogged about it, our readers are expecting cloth napkins, we can't go back now!"
PS... GO CARDS!
PPS... We read The Devil in the White City for book club. We all agreed it was an interesting story, mixed reviews on style. I thought it was fascinating and also loved Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts.