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Holly’s Weekend Hermit Guide: November 15, 2013

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Sometimes it’s no bueno to go out on the weekend especially when the weather isn’t cooperating. Here’s some stuff you can do at home this weekend to read, watch and cook and you’ll feel all cozy. I also recommend a fire and a small brown dog, but those components are not totally necessary.

Read:

Red Rain

Photo courtesy: Touchstone Books

“Red Rain” by R.L. Stine

All the fun of the scary R.L. Stine you loved reading as a young adult, but now for grown-ups because he has peppered in the eff word a bit here and there!

This novel is about a travel blogger who visits a remote island when a hurricane hits and she ends up adopting two cute, but creepy, twins and brings them back to the states to live with her husband and two kids. Then stuff gets real.

There’s some supernatural stuff, some eerie stuff and suspenseful stuff but nothing too gory or gross to give you nightmares. In all, it’s worth the read.

An interesting long article for the weekend: “I challenged hackers to investigate me and what they found is chilling” makes you think twice about information you share online… and information you don’t share online that can still be found online.

And read what happens when a BuzzFeed staffer sits down for over a day of video games in “I finished ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ in one 38-hour sitting”

Watch:

“Exit Through the Gift Shop” is a documentary about the underground street artist movement created by Banksy, but then the documentarian turns the story around on himself when he becomes a pop artist without a whole lot of talent—he just knows how to work culture. It streams on Netflix so you don’t even have to leave the house.

Don’t forget, the Seahawks play the Vikings at 1:25 PM (PT) on FOX.

Eat:

Creamy Reduced-Fat Potato Cheese Soup

I got this from a cookbook my friend Sue had and then added some stuff, so I can’t credit the recipe, but I feel like I’ve added enough extra to make it my own-ish. This soup freezes great to have for lunches throughout the week and is AWESOME on a rainy fall night!

3 tbsp butter

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 large potatoes, unpeeled and coarsely chopped

2 large carrots, unpeeled and coarsely chopped

1 yellow squash, coarsely chopped

4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped

3 cups chicken stock (I like sodium-free so you can add salt in at the end. You can also use water or veggie stock if you are trying to go meat-free)

2 tbsp fresh dill (I use freeze-dried dill and it works great)

4 oz Neufchatel cheese (this is basically low-fat cream cheese. 4 oz is half of one of those little bricks. In a pinch I have also used four wedges of Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss cheese.)

1 ½ cups milk (I use 1% to keep the fat down)

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (the better the cheese, the better it works, I use Cracker Barrel extra-sharp cheddar)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: In a large soup pot on medium, melt the butter and sauté the garlic for about 30 seconds until fragrant then throw in the onions until they are translucent. Add the potatoes, carrots, squash and celery and sauté for about 8 to 10 minutes longer. Add the stock (or water) and dill and simmer until all the veggies are tender, maybe 10-15 minutes.

Strain the vegetables by pouring stock into a separate pot reserve the soup liquid. Puree the vegetables with the Neufchatel cheese and milk in a blender or food processor. (Or if you have an immersion blender, you can just blend all in the pot without straining out veggies first.) Return everything to the soup pot and TASTE IT BEFORE YOU SEASON with salt and pepper. Stir in cheddar cheese and reheat gently over low.

Serve each bowl with crostini made from baguette slices brushed with olive oil and garlic powder and put in the toaster oven for about 8 minutes and/or bacon bits sprinkled on top.

Pair With: Sam Adams Juniper IPA which tastes like winter in a beer. It’s a little bit berry, a little bit pine and tastes awesome with the sharp cheddar cheese in the soup.

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