Deuce Cities Henhouse

Sweet Potato Bisque with Bleu Cheese Croutons

Spicy Sweet Potato Bisque with Bleu Cheese Croutons
Hi. Make this.

That’s right guys, I’m back with another recipe, sorry. I know, I know, there have been a lot of food posts lately, but give me a break. I’m in a crazy nesting way, squirreling away and canning stuff for the winter. Our fridge is full to the brim with the last of the CSA winter veggies, it would be a waste not to use ‘em all up.

Considering I have about a bizzillion jillion sweet potatoes, I was really happy to find this delicious recipe. There is a thin line between sweet potato soup and baby food, the key is to make it spicy. Babies happen to hate spicy stuff, so adding cayenne pepper will make it totally palatable for grown people. Put some bleu cheese croutons on top and your six year old will go eat dinner in the other room, cause your soup is just so stinky and delicious. Seriously, can you really go wrong with bleu cheese croutons? Nope. I’m making this again next week. Believe that.

Spicy Sweet Potato Bisque with Bleu Cheese Croutons

   
 

Sweet Potato Bisque with Bleu Cheese Croutons
Recipe from Driftless Organics

Ingredients:

▼ 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & cut into 1” chunks
▼ ⅛ – ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
▼ 1 tbsp olive
▼ 2 tbsp butter
▼ 1 large onion, diced
▼ 2 cloves garlic, minced
▼ 1 tsp dried thyme
▼ 6 cup chicken or vegetable stock
▼ 1 cup half & half
▼ Freshly grated pepper & nutmeg
▼ 1 cup stale French bread, cubed
▼ 2 tbsp olive
▼ 1⁄4 c. crumbled blue cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss sweet potatoes with oil, salt, & cayenne & spread on a baking sheet (line with parchment or tinfoil for easy clean up) & roast for 40- 45 minutes, until soft & caramelizing on the edges (use convection if you’ve got it, but it won’t take as long). Meanwhile, heat butter in a heavy-bottomed soup pot & sauté onions until translucent. Add garlic & thyme & sauté until golden. Add roasted sweet potatoes & stock & bring to a boil. Lower heat & simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat & puree soup with an immersion blender or food processor in batches until smooth. Return to low heat, add half & half, stirring frequently, until it returns to a gentle simmer – do not allow it to boil. Add freshly grated pepper & nutmeg to taste, cover & keep warm while you make croutons. Heat oil in a skillet & add cubed bread. Stir until starting to brown. Turn off heat & sprinkle with blue cheese. Cover for a minute to melt cheese. Ladle soup into bowls & carefully place some hot cheesy croutons on top.

Spicy Sweet Potato Bisque with Bleu Cheese Croutons

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in Eats

Painted Dresser

Vintage Makeover : Blush Painted Chest of Drawers
Well Guys, I’m making some progress in the bedroom. Like I mentioned last week, I’m taking the bedroom makeover pretty slow right now, I want to make sure that I am living in the space and making the right decisions about it before committing to big purchases or making bad design choices. I am really happy with how things are coming and I am very happy with this new addition.

This dresser was a hand me down from my Aunt, it had seen better days and needed a bit of love. I got to town sanding it (after testing for lead of course) and over the courser of a few weeks I was able to make it pretty again. I love the simple lines of this piece, the details of the rails especially – in between the drawers they curve in slightly and have my heart. I’m pretty sure the dresser is made of maple and even has cedar lined drawers. I’m sure it was a nice piece of furniture it’s heyday.

I could’ve painted it white, but I thought this was my chance to add something kind of sweet and awesome to our room. I painted the dresser in the best shade of light pink/peach with slight grey undertones – Benjamin Moore’s Peach Cloud in the Satin Impervo. The Satin Impervo is an oil based paint. I would always recommend an oil based paint when painting furniture because it doesn’t dry as fast and levels out beautifully. Leveling out means that you don’t see brush strokes as prominently as if you were to use latex. It applies wonderfully – like butta – like, I kind of love painting with it just for fun. Of course it’s a bit more complicated to clean up, you need to use mineral spirits and make sure to dispose of the paint properly. To make things a bit easier, if I’m in the middle of a painting project and I have to take a break I’ll just toss my brush in a jar of mineral spirits which keeps it from drying out. Once I’m ready to paint again, I just have to quickly wipe the brush down with a paper towel when I’m ready to go. Anyway, in my opinion, furniture painting calls for oil based paint.

BEFORE : Vintage Makeover : Blush Painted Chest of Drawers
The obligatory before pic. Woof.

Legs from Pretty Pegs
I’m still considering adding these legs to the dresser from prettypegs.com. The legs are broken on the back side of this dresser and they wobble a bit.

Vintage Makeover : Blush Painted Chest of Drawers
I’ve painted furniture a lot in my day. A long time ago when Jeff and I got our first place I painted a whole set of shabby old bedroom furniture white. We were just out of college and didn’t have any money. There was no Twin Cities Ikea back then, and I wanted to use a color to pull the bedroom together. I decided to paint all of the furniture. My folks’ neighbor just happens to be a pro painter – he is a wise old chain smoking sage wizard and guided me through my first furniture painting project. I still follow his lessons anytime I take on projects like this, and I thought I’d share with you guys.

Tips on Painting Vintage Furniture:
Test for Lead
Pick up a Lead Test Kit at your local hardware store before starting your project. If there’s lead, you should probably look for a different piece of furniture to paint or proceed with extreme caution, do a bit of research and try out one of these lead stripping kits
Sand or Strip the paint
Determine the quality of the paint job that is there, if it’s in really rough shape it would be best to strip the piece of furniture. If it just needs a bit of help, sand the layers down using a heavy grit paper until smooth to the touch.
Patch holes and imperfections using bondo
Bondo is a two part filler that long been used to fix auto body repairs. It works great patching holes in furniture too. Use it especially if there are holes from hardware you want to fill in. After patching dings and holes you’ll have to sand down the excess dried bondo until the surface is smooth. Bondo dries pink, and is good for furniture you plan on painting not staining.
Use a Tack Cloth to Clean up small dust particles after sanding
If you want your paint job to be smooth and blemish free make sure to use a tack cloth immediately prior to painting surfaces. It’s tacky (duh) and dust particles stick to it like glue.
Use a good brush
I use a professional grade 2″ tapered brush for my furniture painting projects. A good brush is a good investment in your DIY tool belt.
Prime with Oil Based Primer
This is a good thing to do even if you decide to use latex paint. Latex paint does not adhere to oil based paint, so if the paint that was previously on your furniture was oil based the water based latex will bead up and not go on smoothly. However, latex paint does adhere well to oil based primer, using the oil based primer insures you’ll get it right because it works well covering both oil based and latex paint, and your fresh paint will adhere to it no matter what you’re using.
Sand with fine grit sand paper (220) between paint layers
Good sanding is key to nice smooth surface. Use a high grit sandpaper and don’t forget to wipe down after with tack cloth. Use it after the primer layer too!
Paint with Oil based paints
Like I said above, I think oil based paints are best for furniture surfaces because they have a long drying time, allowing more workable time during the application. Also, it levels beautifully and reduces the amount of visible brush strokes.

*Don’t sand your final coat!

Vintage Makeover : Blush Painted Chest of Drawers

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in Around the House, DIY

The Prettiest Bottle of Gin, Ever

Solveig Gin
Look what I see buddies, it’s the prettiest bottle of gin ever made, and it’s made right here in Minnesota. Can you even believe it? Goodbye Hedricks, hosta la vista Bombay Sapphire, from this day forward I’m shacking up with Solveig Gin. I promise there will never be another bottle of gin sitting on my bar cart – except for the raging parties, then I’ll bring out the cheap stuff, har har.

Our good pals, Matt and Katie brought us this pretty bottle as a hostess gift a couple of weekends ago. I was smitten by the bottle of course, but even more happy to find out about this brands local roots. Based in Northern Minnesota’s Skane Township, right near the Canadian border, Far North Spirits Distillery started farming and production a year ago. Hazlet Winter Rye seed is planted and harvested up on the family farm, (now in it’s fourth generation of farmers) and harvested and distilled in the same area. Bringing craft spirits from farm to glass, including bourbon, rum and of gin. You can find Solveig gin at many local Twin Cities liquor stores, as well as in New York, New Jersey and North Dakota.

Skol!

Solveig Gin with Rosemary and Grapefruit

Solveig Gin with Rosemary and Grapefruit

Solveig Gin with Rosemary and Grapefruit

   
 

Fancy Gin & Juice

Recipe (for 1 cocktail)
▼ 2oz Solevig Gin
▼ 1oz Rosemary Simple Syrup
▼ 2oz Carbonated Grapefruit Juice
▼ Rosemary Sprig Garnish

To make simple syrup combine 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar and 4 sprigs rosemary. Bring to boil and let steep for 45 minutes. Fill chilled cup with ice, add gin, simple syrup and grapefruit juice. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary. Skol!

Solveig Gin with Rosemary and Grapefruit

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in Cool Things, Eats

I’m Blushing


Via Dressed and Educated
Guys, there is something you should know abut me. I’ve spent a lot of my life avoiding the color pink. Why? Because it’s what we’re supposed to like, you know? When I was little I was super shy, any extra attention put my way was embarrassing, and doing girly stuff made me uncomfortable. I just didn’t feel super cool about calling attention to myself, and I felt like that was what the color pink was good for. It was like saying “hey, I’m totally a girl, look at me”. Even thinking about being that age and feeling that way makes me cringe now. I grew up a tomboy trying desperately to get as far away from anything pink as I possibly could. Boys were just funner, and more competitive, and I liked trying to keep up with them.

My distain of pink didn’t end in childhood either, it continued into my twenties. I was tramping around the country with my husband’s band and there was no room for any pink in a van with four boys. I dressed in jeans and black hoodies, and didn’t wash my hair for days at a time just trying to fit in with the bros.

It wasn’t until mid-way through college that I met my first real-deal best girl friend, and she wasn’t that girly either. However, she did know how to dress cool, and have awesome hair and girl stuff like that. I’ve learned a lot about being a girl from her. It took me awhile to warm up to this whole idea of being a girl with girlfriends and doing girl stuff that didn’t involve trust games in weird hotel rooms with boys at 2am.

It’s funny to me. Here I am in my early thirties and for the first time in my life I can honestly say that I am embracing being a girl. I go shopping for clothes every once in awhile and I try and make my hair look cute. I wear heels when I go out and I ask my friends for fashion advice. I feel like I’m trying to play catch up. I have no idea what looks cool with what, and I still don’t know how to put on make-up properly. Honestly, I am really loving it though, and I feel more confident in myself because of it. I have no idea what took me so long.

So since I am a girl now, I’ve been really coming around to the color pink, specifically a very pale shade of it. I like that tone of pink that incorporates a bit of yellow and a touch of grey undertones. This is that unsaturated light coral color that the folks these days are calling blush, and I love it.

I don’t know why this is happening really. I think part of it has to do with realizing that pink doesn’t have to be that stereotypical bold pink that you see splashed over everything in the girl section of department stores. Pink can actually have a lot of dimension and depth. I’ve found that there are a lot of wonderful tones of the color and it doesn’t have to be that bright gross pink that makes me gag.

So I’m growing up and embracing this thing that maybe I should have been all along. Or, it could just be that I live with 3 other boys and my paint brush and I are so raging against this dude-house-machine.

So here I go, a few of my favorite blush toned interiors on the internets.


Via Bells and Feathers


Via HGTV Blog


Via Damask & Dentelle


Via Glitter Inc


Via Black.White.Yellow


Via Flodeau

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in Inspiration, My Life

Peeñed Up Jam

Peeñed Up Jam
Hey Guys! My favorite thing about fall is very intensive meat and cheese boards, ya know what I am saying? Very delicious and fatty meats hanging out with lots of stinky cheeses, and a suitable amount of beer to wash it all down. My usual platters consist of tons of arugula, spicy mustard, pickled veggies, maybe a piece of fruit or two, butt loads of crostinis and some sort of sweet and savory jammy jam.

Last winter our good buddy Matt, gifted us the best homemade cheese accouterment ever! Guys I’m about to share with you “Uncle Matt’s Peeñed Up Jam” recipe. Oh man, my eyes are watering just thinking about it, partly because I’m crying out of love and adoration, and partly because my house is full of habanero fumes and my eyeball skins are big babies.

Anyway, just get wild with your cheese plates, you guys!

Peeñed Up Jam

Peeñed Up Jam

Peeñed Up Jam

Peeñed Up Jam

   
 

Peeñed Up Jammy Jam

Ingredients:

▼ 1 1/2 lbs sweet peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces (6 cups)
▼ 2-3 red habanero peppers
▼ 1 cup apple cider vinegar
▼ 3 tablespoons Sure-Jell less pectin
▼ 3 1/4 cups sugar
▼ 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
▼ 3/4 teaspoon salt

Sterilize jars and lids:
Put empty jars rings, and rings on a rack in a boiling-water canner or a deep 8- to 10-quart pot and add enough hot water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, covered, then boil 10 minutes. Remove canner from heat, leaving jars in water, covered. Keep jars and lids submerged in hot water, covered, until ready to use.

Making da Jelly Mon:
Pulse sweet and habanero peppers in a food processor until finely chopped. Combine pectin and 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl. Stir together pepper mixture, vinegar, butter, salt, and remaining 3 cups sugar in a 5 quart heavy pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then continue to boil vigorously, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Gradually add pectin mixture, whisking constantly. Return jelly to a vigorous boil, stirring constantly, and boil, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes (mixture will thicken slightly). Remove from heat.

Leaving 1/4 inch of space at top. Run a clean plastic spatula between jelly and sides of jars to eliminate air bubbles. Wipe off rims of filled jars with a damp clean kitchen towel, then firmly screw on lids with screw bands.

Seal and process jars:
Put sealed jars on rack in canner or pot and add enough hot water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a full boil for 15 minutes. Transfer jars with canning tongs to a towel-lined surface to cool. Jars will seal.

Let jar cool 12 to 24 hours, Jelly keeps in sealed jars in a cool dark place 5 to 6 months.

Peeñed Up Jam
Yo, Dawgs: Make sure to pay attention to your measurements and time, too much or too little sugar won’t allow the pectin to set up and over cooking it will lead to rock candy. Also, if you don’t want to process the jars just fill clean jars and store in the fridge for up to six weeks!

Also, I did a half sized recipe for the photos above :)

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in Eats