Finding My Passion

    A little bit about me (and this is so not about me.)

    Marcella, Nov 20, 2014 | Random Relevant Thoughts

    I was educated as a lawyer, and had a 25-year career doing tax work for a financial planning firm. About one year after our firm was sold, my husband Bob and I retired, at fairly young ages. Bob and I are baby boomers (and hopefully, all of you non-boomers won't hate us for that), and, after I retired, I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. I kept reading articles (yes, even newspaper articles) that talked about all the boomers who were retiring and "finding their passion." So, several times a week, I would look up from reading my cookbooks and cooking magazines, or from planning the menu for one of Lindsay's parties, and complain to Bob that there must be something wrong with me because I had no passion. Then, one day, six years in, I smacked myself in the head, called myself an idiot, and realized that my passion was entertaining family and friends, and making my home as comfortable and welcoming as possible. And, in order to justify spending enormous amounts of time "pursuing my passion", I decided to turn it into a business.

    Once I got the idea, I talked about it to my sister-in-law Pam, my step-daughter Lauren, and my daughter Lindsay, for two reasons. First, I enjoy them all tremendously, and thought it would be fun to work with them. Second, they all have strong skill sets in different areas, and we all complement one another.  So, the four of us started to plan All Toasty.  Along the way, we have added four more women:  my step-mother Marcia, my niece Bridget, and our very good friends Erin and Amy.  They also bring their own skill sets to the table (sort of a pun!) and hopefully, you will get to know all of us through our blogs.

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    Katniss's Carrot Soup

    Food for The Hunger Games

    Lauren, Nov 20, 2014 | Consuming Fiction

    Fans are gearing up for the newest film adaptation of the Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay Part 1, which is out in theaters this weekend. This installment follows Katniss’s arrival in the famed District 13, and the continuation of the rebellion against the Capitol.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading Collins’s trilogy and watching the first two films, but as is often the case, the first book was my favorite. I think that first books are often the most cherished because that first reading is when we fall in love with the characters and the exciting worlds in which they live.

    In Collins's first book, The Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta are served their first fancy Panem meal as they ride on the tribute train towards the Capitol to compete in the Hunger Games. Their first course? A "thick carrot soup" (Collins 44). With this in mind, I began searching for a carrot soup worthy of Capitol cuisine. William Sonoma's Carrot Soup with Bacon and Chestnut Cream fits the bill. It is absolutely delicious and would be appropriate gracing any Capitol table. This is a lovely choice for a book club meeting, viewing party, or brunch. It can be made twenty-four hours in advance of an event, and is sure to please any crowd.

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