Sunday, November 25, 2012

Another must-make soup - Ribollita

This time of year I always find myself looking for super healthy and easy soups to make that can last for more than just one meal.  My friend Allison made this soup for me back in September when I was recovering from my surgery, and it is AMAZING.  I loved it so much that last week I asked her if she minded if I blog post about her recipe, and she laughingly admitted that it's not's from the Barefoot Contessa!  The recipe gets 5 stars on the Food Network site and rave reviews.  

But of course!  You MUST make this asap, it's so good!  I froze half of it while we were gone for Thanksgiving and thawed it out for lunch today and tomorrow.  

Here's my soup bubbling:

And here is the picture from the Food network:

Ribollita Recipe
 - Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa


  • 1/2 pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 1/4 pound large diced pancetta or smoked bacon
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (3 carrots)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (3 stalks)
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped or shredded savoy cabbage, optional
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 4 cups sourdough bread cubes, crusts removed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, for serving


In a large bowl, cover the beans with cold water by 1-inch and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to soak overnight in the refrigerator.  ** I did not do this for the sake of time  - I simply rinsed and drained the beans in a colander and moved on to the next step.
Drain the beans and place them in a large pot with 8 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the beans are tender. Set the beans aside to cool in their liquid.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large stockpot. Add the pancetta and onions and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, 1 tablespoon of salt, the pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the tomatoes with their puree, the cabbage, if using, the kale, and basil and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for another 7 to 10 minutes.
Drain the beans, reserving their cooking liquid. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree half of the beans with a little of their liquid. Add to the stockpot, along with the remaining whole beans. Pour the bean cooking liquid into a large measuring cup and add enough chicken stock to make 8 cups. Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
Add the bread to the soup and simmer for 10 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve hot in large bowls sprinkled with Parmesan and drizzled with olive oil.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Star Wars + Hanna Andersson = Super Cool Jams

I don't know how i missed this one - a Star Wars collaboration with Hanna Andersson on jammies!  Genius.  I know Hanna's are not inexpensive - but let me tell you, they are worth the money.

They never pill, they never get crusty (I hate when cheap cotton starts to feel crusty from too many washings), and they don't shrink.

Having a little boy means anything superhero, Star Wars, or Lego related is what it's all about right now.  So when I saw this announcement on my Facebook feed today, I was so excited.

 All of the long johns sets are $42, and the short johns are $36.

Here are all of the long john options - and if you like these, I would get 'em fast!  Good Hanna jams sell quickly, especially during the holidays.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kohl's Fame

Normally I would not post about this, but I had to share this darling picture today.  My son, who is 4, does some occasional modeling through Ford Modeling Agency.  I hesitate to share this fact because I know there are people who may roll their eyes and think that I'm a crazy stage mom or something.  

But I'm not.  This is just something we do for fun, and the minute it isn't fun for him we won't do it anymore.  For now, the money he makes goes straight into his college fund.  

And the pictures are priceless for his wedding montage someday.  Ha!

Here he is in today's Kohl's ad.......(in the yellow shirt):

In Mom's (very biased) opinion, those girls are going to swoon someday!  

Friday, November 9, 2012

Weekend is here!

Weekend is here.  It's Joe's birthday, a rather big one at age 35, so we're heading downtown in a limo with another couple for a fun night!  No one has to drive, therefore everyone can enjoy themselves! we all took it for granted in our early 20's living downtown.

First up, I've decided to make us all a St Germain cocktail for the limo ride downtown.  I got this cute recipe from a friend's 40th birthday party.  Not only was the cocktail GREAT, but what a cute idea for a party favor (everyone brought home a cute silver tin bucket with mini versions of the cocktail ingredients inside).

Next, we're headed to Drumbar for drinks.  It's on the rooftop of the Raffaello hotel in the Gold Coast, and has a great view.  The vibe is that of a speakeasy, and the rooftop deck is a great place to be in the summer.  We are supposed to get some mild weather today and tomorrow so if they have heat lamps maybe we'll be having drinks outside!

Finally it's off to Joe's Stone Crab for the birthday dinner.  Enough said there.....MMM!

So in thinking of what to wear tomorrow night (you'd think it was MY birthday, right?), here are a few things I can't get off my mind lately.  All of which would be great for this upcoming holiday season's parties and soirees.

J Crew Crystal Colored Statement Necklace, $138

J Crew Trompe L'Oeil Lace Blouse, $135

Botkier Trigger Frame Bag, $195
Heidi Skirt, Club Monaco, $249

Micaila Dress, Club Monaco, $199

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Best Butternut Squash Recipe EVER!

Ok I MAY have overstated the title of this post.  But while home in Kansas City a few weeks ago, my Mom made a great butternut squash soup.  Waaaaay better than the recipe I made last year.

I took her recipe and tried it out for myself, and yes, it's a keeper.  Thought I should share!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

~from the kitchen of Cherrie Lucas

  • 3 to 4 lbs butternut squash, peeled and seeded
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 apples (any kind, my Mom used McIntosh, I used Honeycrisp)
  • 3 T good olive oil
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 4 C chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Cut squash, onions and apples into 1 inch cubes.  Place in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, 1tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Divide between two sheet pans and spread in a single layer.  Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, until very tender.

Here are is what your veggies will look like after roasting.....and the house will smell SO good!

When veggies are done, put in a food processor, adding some chicken stock, and coarsely puree.  Place in a large pot and add enough stock to make a thick soup.  Add curry, 1tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.

Serve hot some some yummy bread!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Post Op Present?

Whew!  One week post surgery and I'm feelin' slightly back to normal.  Not normal by any means, but I'm sitting here in front of my blog with both kids at preschool, and I have 2 hours to myself.  What to do with this time since I can't work out for 5 more weeks?  Blog!!

I've been sneakily thinking.....what can I reward myself with for going through this un-fun surgery process (which ended up being not one, but two surgeries in two days because of a slight complication)?  My mind of course goes straight to shoes and handbags, because if I'm going to drop a pretty dime on anything, that's the place to do it.  

At the top of my list would definitely be these nude Christian Louboutin pumps.  I may or may not have blogged about these before on Style Spies.

Christian Louboutin Bianca

But then I saw these.....which ups the price a teency bit (ok, a lot) but also ups the 'wow' factor by a lot!

Christian Louboutin Altipump Spikes

Topping the list at a close second, I would love a new tote bag.  A Gucci tote to be exact.  The clean lines and design make this bag a classic that I know I'd have forever and hand down to my daughter Gemma.

Dressage Original GG Canvas Tote

Another tote I think would fit the bill - the LV Palermo PM.  You can carry it on the shoulder, across the body, or just by the handles, and what I like about it is that it's different than the 'Neverfull' that everyone else seems to have.  And, it's more structured so your items aren't lost forever down the rabbit hole.  I know you know what I mean.
Louis Vuitton Palermo PM

Finally, I am need of a new evening bag.  I feel like I've outgrown a lot of my clutches and bags for a night on the town.  Of course a Chanel Flap Bag would be the ideal go-to, but at aver $4000 a pop, there is no way that's happening.  

What I did find though is this beautiful little Michael Kors Collection bag, in Python.  It has a long strap so you can wear it cross-body, too.  Still expensive, but would go with everything and a lot less than $4000!  

Michael Kors Collection Python Clutch

And that's it!  I'm so low-maintenance, isn't that what you're thinking?  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mix n' Match Textures/Prints - Fall '12

As you might have noticed, I'm all about Polyvore lately.  I'm having a ton of fun creating looks and putting together outfits for my readers, my Style Spies clients, and friends.  

Is there a trend that you want to try but aren't sure how to pull it off?  Let me know, I'd love to create a board or look for you!  

This look is all about mixing and matching patterns, prints, and textures.  It's a look that could get dressy quickly with a cute pair of heels and swapping out the denim shirt for a crisp white blouse.  

Mix n' Match Textures/Prints - Fall '12