Saturday, October 29, 2011

winter squash soup

I was watching Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network this week and saw this recipe and I just had to make it! It's pretty easy, and very fall-ish. I already had everything I needed, so it was perfect!

melt butter and olive oil in a big 'ole pan

chop up your onion until your eyes just can't stand it anymore. 

saute saute saute. until the onions are translucent (about 10 min)

peel (with a veggie peeler) then chop your butternut squash. just scoop out the seeds with a spoon.

add butternut squash, pumpkin and chicken broth to the onions. cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

this is the part where if I was a real chef with a big kitchen, I would pull out my fancy food mill or immersion blender and whip this soup up. I, however, am a seminary student with a blender....

add the mixture to a food mill, blender (whatever!) and blend it up to combine everything together 
this is what it should look like when you're done blending

now add the half and half (I used fat-free and couldn't tell)

now, it has a more velvety texture. I added more chicken broth at this point because it was too thick.

finished product topped with a little bit of cheese!
well friends, there you have it. here's Ina Garten's recipe below. enjoy!

Winter Squash Soup


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 1 (15 - ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut in chunks
  • 3 cups homemade chicken stock or canned broth
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup half - and - half
  • Creme fraiche, grated Gruyere, or croutons for serving (optional)


Heat the butter and oil in a heavy - bottomed stockpot, add the onions, and cook over medium - low heat for 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add the pumpkin puree, butternut squash, chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer over medium - low heat for about 20 minutes, until the butternut squash is very tender. Process the mixture through the medium blade of a food mill. Return to the pot, add the half - and - half, and heat slowly. If the soup needs more flavor, add another teaspoon of salt. Serve hot with garnishes, if desired.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


A year ago this week, a friend, mentor, and hero of the faith went home to be with Jesus.

Michael Smith's life was one that was lived well and lived to the fullest. He was a man of integrity who loved the Lord first and foremost, but right behind it loved his wife Kim and daughter Hannah. Although we weren't friends for a long time, it felt like it had been forever. Michael and Kim moved to Colleyville in 2007 while I served on the Student Ministry staff, and they quickly became some of my dearest friends. Hannah adopted me as her "big sister," and they just let me be a part of their family. We served together for the next year until the Lord called me to a church in Austin. Even after I moved, I still kept up with the Smiths and we got together often. Michael would always tell me, "one day, I'm gonna have you on my team again." Michael came to my church in Austin as our Disciple Now and Camp speaker in 2009, and I still got to be involved in their lives and ministry. 

Michael loved telling people about Jesus, and he lived out the Gospel in his life. He was an evangelist, and he loved teenagers. Countless students (and adults) were saved through his ministry, and I have met so many people over the last few years whose lives just aren't the same because of Michael's life. I know my life won't ever be the same because of Michael's impact and influence.

So many times over the last year, I started to call him up on the phone and tell him a crazy story or ask for ministry advice. I've literally pulled out my phone more times than I'd like to admit before I realized that I couldn't. Those have been tough moments. Michael's response would have been one filled with wisdom and a smart aleck remark. He would have said "holla," "get in their grill," and "what up, girl!" somewhere in that conversation. 

I've had the privilege of spending time with Kim and Hannah several times over the last year, and we've had so much fun. They truly are family to me, and I am so thankful to call them my friends. I stayed with Hannah last year during Michael's funeral, and I have some really sweet memories with her from that day. I'm still honored that Kim would ask me to keep Hannah, and I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else. 

Rob and I have talked several times over the last week or two and just shared Michael stories and laughed together on the phone. I know that for the rest of my life, every time I used powdered creamer in my coffee, buy a can of Yuban coffee, see a pair of Nikes, eat a piece of Johnny's Pizza, see someone "chunk the deuce," and so many other things, I'll think of Michael Smith. 

I'm a part of Michael's legacy. I will be one of the people who reminds Hannah about how much her dad loved her and share some crazy stories with her. I want to further the Gospel and make an impact that will last longer than I will. I hope that one day, people will look back on my life and say that I left a legacy of faith. I know that the Lord has called me to minister to students, and Michael's legacy is being carried out in my life and ministry. 

The greatest hope in all of this is that Michael is spending eternity with Jesus Christ, and I know that I'll be there someday too. If you don't know Jesus personally, I would love to tell you the story of how he has changed my life. It's why we have hope - Jesus conquered the grave!

"Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, 
always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
(1 Corinthians 15:51-58 ESV)

{above and below: with Michael on a church-planting trip in Costa Rica}

{you know, chunkin' the deuce.}

{Rob and Michael at Johnny's Pizza}

{Rob chunkin' the deuce}

{with Rob and the Smiths at the Fort Worth zoo for Hannah's birthday!}

{with Hannah - Spring 2011}
One of my favorite quotes will always remind me of Michael - 
"Man has begun to understand the meaning of life when he begins to plant shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit."
-Elton Trueblood
That's exactly what he did. 

For more information about Michael's life and legacy, visit One Epic Life.