Welcome to Cook with Me!  This is a new blog I'm starting (and I've started quite a few and not kept up with them so we'll see how this goes) coming from my other happy place (other than music)--Cooking!  I hope from time to time to come here and add a recipe that I have found exceptionally good.  

Making Snow! 

Well, we don't really expect snow here in the Phoenix area!

But I found a really easy recipe for making it!  I know this is a cooking blog so let me be clear--THIS IS NOT EDIBLE! 

You can, however, make it in your kitchen.

All you need is a big box of Baking soda, Hair Conditioner, and optionally some white glitter.  

Mix in a bowl 3 cups of baking soda with 1/2 cup of conditioner.  Use your hands and fluff the mixture.  If it seems too gloppy, add soda.  If it seems dry, add a little more conditioner.And very important--choose one with little or no fragrance!  We had to do ours over because our Christmas decorated house was filled with a coconut and pineapple tropical cloud.  

You will probably want to wear gloves.  Not that the ingredients are toxic. but the baking soda is drying to the hands.

You can make as many batches as you need, and as far as your box of baking soda will take you.  There is a HUMONGOUS box at Walmart if you need a lot. 

Once it is mixed you can use it however you want.  Dump it into a cookie sheet.  You can make little snowmen and decorate with little black rocks for eyes and a painted orange toothpick for a nose. Use little figures and cars to make a winter wonderland!  Legos.  Whatever you like!  

Here's a link to a YouTube video that you might want to watch. 

We used this snow in a little project with Christmas Trees. We sprinkled the glitter on after we were all finished.   Pictures below.  Enjoy and let me know what you made with it in the comments!

So fun!

Butternut Squash Soup! 

As temperatures get chilly, who doesn't like a bowl of butternut squash soup?

This one is so easy, and you likely have most of the ingredients in your pantry!  (An immersion blender makes it so much easier than a blender btw!  Splurge if you don't own one.)

So...Just peel and scoop out seeds of a medium to large butternut squash.  Cut the peeled squash in 2-3" chunks. Peel and chop two large onions,  Smash about 4 garlic cloves.  Peel and chop about a finger sized ginger root.

Saute the onions and then the garlic in some butter or oil.  I like to use ghee for this. When onion and garlic are translucent, add the squash and enough water to cover the veggies.  Add in the chopped ginger.

Bring to a boil, and then simmer until the squash is soft.  Probably about 30-40 minutes.

Blend with immersion blender until it is your desired consistency.  I like it silky smooth, but you can leave some chunks if you like!

Salt and pepper to taste. 

Notes:  If you don't have ginger but you do have one of those cans of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (find in Hispanic food section)  you can add one chipotle pepper plus some adobo sauce for a smoky, spicy flavor. Add to the pureed soup and cook a bit longer, until the chipotle chili breaks up. Go easy because these little chaps are hot!

You can top the soup with whatever you like--some of my faves are pumpkin seeds, sour cream, roasted, salted seeds from the Butternut  squash, avocado, cheese, or fresh tomatoes and parsley or cilantro.  

One cool thing you can do with this soup since it's so thick is to put some thick chili in a bowl, keeping it to one side.  Fill the other side with the squash soup. Half and half!   It looks like one of those double soups that California Pizza Kitchen used to sell (do they still sell them? Haven't been in ages.)  It 's a fun marriage of soups because the flavors work well together.



Puffy Pizza Crust  

I call this recipe Puffy Pizza Crust because it reminds me of the crust that you can get at a restaurant here called North Italia.  But  it's official name is "Crispy, Chewy, Bubbly Crust" and it is that! Just click the link and it will take you to the recipe.

The directions seemed funny to me at first--and I've made a lot of dough (I mean real dough, not $ dough, LOL!).  It requires pinching, folding, sliding, stretching. It's a fairly dense dough which I was not expecting.  I weighed the flour (4.25 oz= 1 cup) because I tend toward too heavy cups of flour. I would recommend weighing the flour because it could be too dry if you don't.

I also doubled the recipe because there is just no point going through all the steps for a couple of pizzas.  Doubling it makes 4 crusts, and I froze two of them.  They freeze well! 

Back to the denseness of the dough--I did splash a little water in it while I was wetting my hands and doing all the things to it.  It softened it a bit and and it came out fine.  Yeasted doughs are pretty forgiving in my experience. 

You need to start this a day in advance though, because it needs a long, slow rise.   

If you make this great crust, let me know how it turned out!