Jac o' lyn Murphy

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Creamy Tomato Herb Soup

I'm not going to lie, I love canned tomato soup.
It's warm, comforting and brings me right back to my childhood.
I also love fresh herbs, I seem to add them to anything and everything.
I decided to ditch the can and make an easy and flavorful 
Creamy Tomato Herb Soup.

The tang of the tomatoes, freshness of the herbs 
along with a touch of spice and cream make it a delicious bowlful of comfort.

It is perfect paired with grilled cheese or a salad...

or on it's own with a little fish!

Creamy Tomato and Herb Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 white onions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
Kosher salt
ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup torn basil
2 tablespoons chopped dill
1 tablespoon fresh oregano

additional herbs for topping
Parmesan cheese

In a large pot heat olive oil and onions.  Cook over medium heat until onions are soft, about 10 minutes, then add garlic and cook another minute or two.  Add tomatoes and chicken stock and season generously with salt, a few grinds of pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil then simmer on medium-low heat about 20 minutes.  Carefully place contents in a blender in small batches and puree until smooth.  Return to pot over low heat and stir in cream and herbs.  Let simmer at least 15 minutes before serving.  Top with fresh herbs and parmesan cheese. (or goldfish crackers!)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Goody, Goody... 5 fun things to do with Gumdrops

Gumdrops just make me happy.
They are bright, colorful and festive any time of year.
They are also one of the most versatile of all the goodies in candyland.
Here are some of my favorite ways to use them...

Yellow gumdrops with a sprig of rosemary make instantly festive pineapples.
Much more convenient than a trip to Hawaii!

Gnome matter how hard I try, 
I can not resist these legendary garden creatures...

A scoop of ice cream, sugar cone and strategically place gumdrops, 
turn an ordinary desert into a magical treat!
(I use Clover Sonoma Sweet Cream, 
not only is it the perfect color but I think it makes the perfect scoop.)

The word drop often has a negative connotation, 
"I dropped my phone", "She dropped the ball", etc.
But if you put the word after lemon or gum it makes everyone smile.
Why not combine the two into a happy hour crowd pleaser?

I shake together:
2 oz chilled vodka, 1/2 oz Triple Sec, 1 oz simple syrup and juice of half lemon
Garnish with floating slice of lemon and skewered yellow gum drops.
I make sure the gumdrops rest on top of the liquid,
 so the sugar from the candy dissolves into the cocktail!

Upgrade the gingerbread man's house to a sweet and colorful abode...

Nestle him in an acrylic house full of gumdrops 
and he'll have the most festive place on the block.

Lastly, gumdrops make the perfect wreath.

They are ideal for decorating cupcakes, cookies or simply on a plate...

Sweet holiday wishes!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Oh Christmas Cheese!

Cheese platters are a crowd pleaser, 
cheese platters are easy, 
cheese platters are delicious, 
cheese platters should never be boring!

I keep lots of cheese on hand during the holidays. 
It seems like someone is always stopping by 
or we need to bring something over to a friend's house.
Turning Christmas Cheese into Christmas Trees,
is my favorite way to make it Merry and Bright...

A flat wooden tree, topped with rosemary and battery operated led lights are all you need.
(I got the tree at Michael's last year, 
but you could also make a tree pattern out of the rosemary sprigs on a flat tray to lay the cheese on)
Once you deck the boughs...

add the cheese.
I decorated with Brie....

triple cream...

and manchego...

Rocking around the Christmas Tree, 
never tasted so good!

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