ease into it

no one is less happy about admitting that summer is fading fast, but I found a good Autumn soup to help ease into it instead of going head first into Fall like I do most things…

simple Autumn roasted pumpkin soup

Serving Size / Yield
6 servings
4 -5 C. diced peeled pumpkin
2 large carrots, thickly sliced
2 large thickly sliced parsnips
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1/2 head garlic, still in the skins
4 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 to 3 C. vegetable stock, enough to bring the puree to the thickness you prefer
1 T. smoked paprika
pinch ground paprika
2 T. chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, toss together the parsnips, carrots, onion, pumpkin, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place mixture in a shallow baking pan and roast for 40 minutes. Remove the garlic from the skins and place in a food processor with the other vegetables. Puree until smooth. Try adding some vegetable stock to help remove any lumps. Pour into a saucepan and add the vegetable stock, paprika, cloves, thyme, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately.


no idea what to do?

hi Mom, I never have free time and when I do I have no idea what to do. So I waste all my free time trying to decide what to do. What’s wrong with me?
Nothing is wrong with you, but your problem makes no sense. It sounds like you’re so used to working and having someone else tell you what to do that you can’t think for yourself when you have free time. Make some free time everyday and plan for it ahead of time. If you have to make a free time to do list…and enjoy your free time.

go big or go home

Mom, I’m a woman and I love sports, but I keep meeting guys who hate sports! What can I do?
Where are you meeting these guys? – try sports restaurants, go to sporting events and join some teams. If you’re still not meeting guys who like sports, move to Buffalo!

happy birthday to my amazing assistant who is the best part of everything

speak up

dear Ask Mom, I’m too embarrassed to ask someone to repeat something when I don’t understand something and then I just stand there smiling. What should I do?
If you feel bad asking someone to repeat themselves because you feel like it implies that the speaker does not speak clearly, put the responsibility on you. Say that you’re not sure that you understood exactly what they meant and repeat what you think they said. Let them correct you if you got it wrong.

choose your emergencies carefully

Dear Mom,  I don’t know how to set priorities. I do everything like it’s a huge emergency and then I’m always worn out and I can never relax. What’s wrong with me?
I think you already said it. Everything is equally important to you which means you’re panicking even when you don’t need to. It’s almost as bad as being too laid back about everything so nothing gets done. Try to limit your emergency response to once in a while, the emergency list should be very short and everything else will get done.

brownie heaven

summer is almost over- but, keep fighting the end of summer don’t give in… these great chewy brownies will help

Makes 16 2-inch-square brownies

Adapted from The Kitchn Cookbook

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), finely chopped
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Metal 8×8-inch baking pan
Baking spray or butter for greasing the pan
3-quart saucepan
Spatula or wooden spoon

Line a baking pan with parchment: Heat the oven to 350°F and move an oven rack to the center of the oven. Line a metal 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper so that it hangs over two sides of the pan. Lightly grease the pan and parchment with baking spray or butter.
Melt butter and chocolates in a saucepan: Melt the butter and both chocolates in a 2-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently.
Add the sugar: Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar and brown sugar. The mixture will be grainy.
Add the eggs: Whisk in the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, and then the vanilla. Whisk vigorously for about 1 minute.
Add the dry ingredients: Stir in the flour, salt, and baking powder, then fold in the walnuts, if using.
Spread the batter in the pan: Spread in the prepared baking pan.
Bake the brownies: Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until a tester comes out with just a few crumbs. The edges should look firm and well-baked, and the center should be moist but not gooey.
Chill the brownies: Immediately put in the refrigerator to cool. Chill for at least 1 hour before slicing. Brownies will be at their chewiest when completely cool. Store at room temperature for up to 5 days, well covered.

enough is enough

Dear mom, I helped a friend of a friend do something, It was very complicated and went on for a long time. They never offered to pay me or even thanked me. I was doing it for my friend so I never gave it two thoughts. Now the people that I helped contacted me directly and asked for help again and made a weak offered to pay me. Should I help them?
No, you did you a good thing when you helped your friend’s friend the first time. You really don’t owe your friend’s friend anything and you don’t have to keep helping. You can respond by giving them your best advice and nicely decline to help.

no questions allowed

Dear ask mom, I don’t know why but it seems like every time I go to a restaurant the service is not as good as it used to be. If I ask a question politely I feel like I should apologize to the server for bothering them. Am I doing something wrong?
Maybe it’s not that you’re asking a question that’s the problem, but the way you are asking it. If the server is speaking don’t interrupt him/her wait until he/she finishes speaking and then ask. Are you very very hungry when you are asking questions? Maybe you’re not as polite as usual. If you’re sure you’re not part of the problem try some new restaurants. Taking your business somewhere else always sends a message.


play with 5 pounds

 Mom. I’ve lost weight and I’ve gained weight. Right now I’m trying to lose weight again. I’m unhappy when I’m doing both. What can I do about it?
Not much, most of us live in the crazyland of up-and-down weight. Try to get within five pounds of the weight that you want to be. If you go up and down with those five pounds you’ll never have that much to gain or lose which makes it a lot easier to face dieting or if you accidentally happen to get below that five pound spread you can splurge a little…


don’t put it in writing

Ask Mom, I sent a friend of mine at work a private message asking her to help me make a connection so that I can get a new job in a while. She knew that it was a private message, but she showed it to her best friend at work who is also the boss! Now the boss hates me and I feel like I have to leave without a new job. What should I do?
Did you not know that there are big consequences when you send private messages, personal or not, at work? Nothing is really ever private, especially if it’s in writing, anyone can see it maybe even accidentally. You are too trusting. Try to explain your intentions to the boss and say that it’s something you have thought about down the line way in the future not now, but be prepared to leave.