wanted: thanks to my swap buddy - you rock!!!

Virginia7074October 17, 2006

I woke up with sinuses too stuffy for contact lenses. Plodded off to work on a dreary, gray, drizzly day. The school day was a blur. Plodded home over piles of wet, soggy leaves and decided that I really, really could use a 20-minutes power nap on the downstairs sofa. Ha! The 20 minutes stretched into 45 and Cloud, the amazing half-Bass wonder dog, took up her usual position on the loveseat for her very own power nap.

When I woke up, I dragged myself upstairs and noticed 2 VERY LARGE boxes next to the front door. At first, I assumed they were for my son, as he sometimes shops online. Moving closer, I noted that they'd been mailed from PORT ST. LUCIE, FL. OOOOOO-EEEEEEE!!!! Must be my swap goodies!!!

I photographed the boxes on the floor, the boxes on the dining room table, the wrapped contents, the unwrapped contents and then had a little fun with them.

My swap buddy done good. The first package I pulled out was clearly some sort of ladle encased in bubble wrap. The largest, heaviest package - also bubble-wrapped - appeared to be a soup tureen. These were followed by a rectangular package beautifully encased in gold foil and tied with an elegant pumpkin ribbon. Hmmmmm - looks suspiciously like a cookbook. Next to come out were 3 cute little Chinese takeout style containers, each decorated with a fall motif and encased in gold ribbon.

I decided to open each in the order I'd removed it from the boxes. First was a loden green pottery soup ladle. Next, of course, was what proved to be a tureen. It's a beautiful shade of loden green, heavy pottery with a cream interior, and has a ribbed pattern. I was so excited! I've always wanted a soup tureen and this will be perfect for fall and winter. I could immediately picture it on my Thanksgiving table with pumpkin soup. I'd also been entertaining thoughts of inviting friends over for the OSU-Mich game and soup or chili would be perfect!

Soup and bread recipes will not be a problem, because I'm going to be busy trying the recipes in my new "Dairy Hollow House Soup and Bread - A Country Inn Cookbook" by Crescent Dragonwagon. (I just love that name - Crescent Dragonwagon!) The intro says that Dairy Hollow House is a country inn and restaurant in the Ozark Mountains. It was started over a decade ago by Crescent Dragonwagon (there' that cool name again!) and her husband, Ned Shank, and Bill Haymes, a long-time friend. A first glance tells me there are some killer soups in there - Minestrone, Creamy Garlic Soup and White Wine, Oven-Baked Onion and Leek Soup Gateau, as well as a bunch of recipes for breads and cornbread.

I couldn't imagine what was in the cute little Chinese takeout boxes. But my swap buddy was way clever. Each contained a Penzey's soup base - Vegetable, Beef and Chicken. I made a pilgrimage to a Penzey's store in Columbus, OH, this summer and it was nirvana! I didn't look at the soup bases, though, so this is a double-good discovery. Everything Penzey's makes is wonderful and I'm sure that these will be no exception. By coincidence, when I slip-slided out to the mailbox on soggy, fallen leaves tonight - lo and behold, there was a Penzey's catalog in the mailbox. Now is that weird, or what??

I think my swap package and my swap buddy are the bestest! I love, love, love the tureen and plan to use it often. I'm taking the cookbook to bed with me tonight; it's the kind of folksy cookbook you can snuggle up with. And I can't wait to try the Penzey's soup starters. I only wish I'd made black bean soup today - that thought had crossed my mind, but come this morning, I was too tired to carry on with it.

Okay, now I do have one confession to make - I can't exactly figure out who my swap buddy is. I think it could be Adele, Alison or Andi - but help! - I'd like to be able to thank you by name and I haven't been able to sleuth out your identity.

I've uploaded the photos to Yahoo and Photobucket, but am trying to figure out how to link to the album. As soon as I crack it, I'll post the photo link. (I tried doing the links in here, but they're really small - like thumbnails. Must be doing something wrong.) Hopefully, it will be momentarily. :)

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LOL! Well Virginia, you had the "A" correct. Your very generous swap partner is Andi.

What a wonderful theme. Well done Andi.

Can't wait to see the photos. If you need help posting them you can email the photos to me and I will post them for you.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 10:30PM
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OK, here's the first attempt. All but 2 of the pics were in RAW image format and when I open them in my editor, it says they're only 160x120 pixels. No wonder they're thumbnails! I'm going to take them to school tomorrow, because I know that PhotoShop reads RAW, so hopefully I can resize them in to something useful.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Swap Photos

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 10:39PM
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Virginia -- I remember the name Crescent Dragonwagon from when I worked in a library. She also writes wonderful children's books. How nice to have her cookbook. That name is unforgettable.

I adore soup and the ladle and tureen sound like the perfect complement to a hearty soup.

The Penzey's items sound inviting, too.

Your day sounds like my day -- dreary and I have a sore throat. What a wonderful bright sunny ending to a gray day. Congrats to Andi! Lucky you. I can't wait for the pictures.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 10:41PM
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And there the pictures are -- all sorts of sizes. LOL. The soup tureen is fabulous.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 10:46PM
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Soup sounds wonderful right now, a cold a dreary day here as well. What a great idea to include Penzey's soup bases so you can make the recipes in the book easily. Enjoy Virginia, good job Andi!!


    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 10:59PM
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As one of the potential A's, I wish it could have been me. I am still struggling over #3 for my swap. That is another story. But WOW -- great job Andi! Besides bread, I am a true soup lover - great swap. (The picture thing really ought to be simpler) Adele

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 11:12PM
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Virgina, have fun reading the cookbook, I'll bet its a good one. Love the tureen iy will make all soups taste wonderful!

Nice theme Andi!


    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 11:41PM
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Aha! Based on plant hardiness zones, I was thinking it was probably you, because on your page, your zone is 9 and Port St. Lucie is 10. I figured that was close enough. I have a friend here who used to live in Port St. Lucie. My sister lived in Vero Beach for about 5 years, which isn't too far north of you, is it?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 11:51PM
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The soup tureen looks lovely. Your partner must read minds ;-)

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 3:55AM
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Whoah. A perfectly executed theme, appropriate for this time of year. Penzeys - what could be better? I have a soup cookbook somewhere on the bookshelf, gotta go find it!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 6:21AM
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Great boxes of goodies Andi! I love the tureen also. I don't have one but I think I should.

Enjoy Virginia!


    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 6:24AM
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I've got that cookbook! Great recipes and fun reading too. Very nice tureen - I need to use mine more often.

Now where is that Penzey's catalog.....

Terrific swap choices, Andi! Nicely done!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 7:05AM
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Virginia, Perfect gifts for a gray, drizzly day.
Andi, Good job!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 7:27AM
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Your day just got better and better didn't it?

I too think the Tureen is the pie de résistance!
It looks very nice w/ your other dishes also.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 7:40AM
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Ooooooh, the soup tureen with the ladel is lovely and paired with your dishes is double lovely!!

Andi, great job!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 7:52AM
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Andi what a clever swap package, clever and creative ! The tureen is lovely , how lucky you are Virginia.

Great job.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 8:06AM
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Nice job Andi. virginia, I also love that soup tureen. I have a pumpkin tureen that I just love. I am sure you will use it often. I think your swappy partner did a great job.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 8:32AM
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Virginia, I love the soup tureen. I have a bit of a fetish for them, probably 'cause I make so much soup. Yours is peerrrfect for fall/winter. I can smell the bean/ham or creamy pumpkin from CT.

With the cookbook, you'll have a never ending supply of new and creative soups for your tureen. And, of course, bread to dunk in the soup! What's a better meal than that?

I'm just starting to use Penzey's products (thanks to this forum). So far, I'm impressed so I imagine your soup bases will be great. You'll probably get hooked on them.

Very nice job, Andi! And, lucky girl Virginia! Enjoy..


    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 8:45AM
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Andi that was really a super put together swap package!! The tureen is so nice, Virginia, enjoy your goodies!!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 8:54AM
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well, I am impressed. With only 3 items, and the "theme" pretty much already spelled out by the specificity of the items...you STILL managed to come up with a wonderful theme, Andi!

Everything is absolutely lovely and can't wait to see pics of the tureen in use - as you have figured out the photo posting mystery Virginia. I also loved your description.


    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 10:00AM
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What a gorgeous tureen! I'm looking forward to seeing it in use on your Turkey Day table!! ;-)

Great job!


    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 11:46AM
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Lovely tureen and it goes so well with your plates! How did she know. Hope your book is as great as the soup and bread one I got from craftyrn in my first swap. I need to make soup today., better go pick out a new recipe from it. Great package.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 11:54AM
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As the third potential "A" -- I wish I'd thought of that! The tureen is lovely -- and so nice to also have every thing you need to keep it filled for years to come.

Wonderful package!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 12:11PM
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I absolutely love the color of the tureen. What a great them. Great job, Andi! I love the chinese food containers. Enjoy, Virginia:)

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 12:39PM
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I also think the soup tureen is lovely and perfect for this time of year.

I use Penzey's soup bases all the time and really like them, they're not salty and have a definitely "meaty" flavor, very, very good.

That's one great swap package!


    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 12:45PM
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What a great package -- I love the fact that Andi managed to tie all three items into one theme! The tureen is perfect and I can't wait to hear about the soups you serve in them Virginia. Yum!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 1:16PM
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What a beautiful tureen, and i love the theme--it's coming up on soup season, sure is. Great package! Wish i had a Penzey's...I've never even seen one!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 2:06PM
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Beautiful tureen. You must be so excited to put the whole package together and enjoy some nice soup. It's definitely soup season here. Can't wait to see some recipes. Creamy garlic soup sounds like something we'd love.

Andi, very nice job.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 2:22PM
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Beautiful swap package. The soup cookbook sounds great and I love the author's name--how unique!
I think you will love the Penzey's soup bases. I use them a lot and love EVERYTHING Penzey's.


    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 2:29PM
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Oh, I especially envy people that are not "theme challenged" like I am! Great job, Andi! I love that tureen and can't wait to see some of those recipes posted!

Ain't it fun how these packages always seem to arrive on the "perfectest" days, Virginia?



    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 3:19PM
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Glad it arrived to cheer you up Virginia! That looks really nice, the tureen is really beautiful.

Good job Andi!


    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 6:45PM
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Very nice swap package Andi! I love the theme too, given the season that's upon us. I really like the tureen and ladle. The soup bases look good too. And I'm curious about that cook book, bet it's got some great recipes in it.

Lucky you, Virginia! Glad you're feeling better!


    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 7:16PM
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Virginia, I'm so glad everything arrived safely and on a day that you needed a "pick-me-up". The "man in the brown shorts" who packaged the items obviously omitted the card from the box. I'm sorry you had to unravel a "swap mystery".

The cookbook is one of my favorites. Many years ago, I dined there and fell in love with their soups. I am so pleased that you will use the tureen for the OSU/Michigan game - OSU is my alma mater!! May I add, "GO BUCKEYES"!

This was my first swap and I enjoyed the research and the shopping!

I live 15 miles from Vero Beach.......

Cloud is adorable!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 7:22PM
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What a lovely grouping of items! That pottery tureen is gorgeous, and you can't go wrong with stuff from Penzey's. I'm going to look up that cookbook. It looks like a winner.
Please don't forget to post a recipe or two that you think we might like. I can't wait!
Good job, Andi!!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 8:53PM
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Well, Andi, we have in common the fact that we are both OSU alums. Yes, I second "GO BUCKEYES!" Then it's a done deal - soup in my lovely new tureen, made from one of Crescent Dragonwagon's recipes with a Penzey's base. Buckeyes for dessert. (I would love to be a part of the thundering herd of 100,000-plus at the 'Shoe on the 18th!)

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 9:32PM
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Very nice Andi-- it all looks perfect for Virginia-- & perfectly Fall .

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 11:02PM
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Way cool package, Virginia, you lucky Swapper! Andi, that tureen is SOUPer! It really would have looked GREAT on MY table. And I have never had anything Penzy's so I think those mixes should also have come WEST. Great cookbook too. WAAAA! Should have been MINE! I want I want I want I need I need I need...

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 12:15AM
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Great package! I've seen that cookbook, too, and it definately looks like a good cookbook. What a beautiful Tureen, too. All in all, very nice.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 9:37AM
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Carol Schmertzler Siegel

Nice gifts! The soup tureen is so pretty! Enjoy your gifts, Virginia. Lucky you, Penzeys! Great job, Andi!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 5:50PM
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How Lovely!! Andi, what great choices! Virginia, I might be inspired to hold an OSU-MICH party, too!! (but I'd be routing for UM!!)

And the cookbook! How cool. Makes me want to check the place out! I love soup!!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 6:01PM
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Wow that's a great package! I love soup!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 6:44PM
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That soup tureen is gorgeous! From your photos, it looks like it matches your dishes perfectly. I love winter if only for the soup. Nothing says comfort like a nice hot bowl of thick soup and a slab of fresh from the oven bread. Andi, you really put together a nice package. Can't wait to see a soup recipe from the book Virginia!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 4:09AM
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I love the soup tureen, and the soup cookbook is perfect for the upcoming "soup" season. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 6:17AM
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Great expression of a theme! Gotta love that! Can't believe how well that tureen goes with your china. Enjoy it, Virginia!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 3:17PM
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What could be more perfect for fall than soup and bread and a wonderful tureen to serve it in. I'll bet you'll be using it this weekend - even if it's only partly full for your family.

Can't wait to see what you make first to put the tureen.


    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 10:42PM
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I missed this one last week but what a great theme! I know you will enjoy it all Virginia. Penzy's spices are my newest addiction. I'll have to get some of those soup bases.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 3:16PM
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Hey, I must have missed this thread last week! This is a wonderful package.

The soup tureen is beautiful! Did you use it this past weekend?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 3:51PM
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Souper package Andi. Everything is great and a great theme too. Soup is the supreme comfort food and I bet Virginia makes great use of your gift.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 7:58PM
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I love the tureen too - especially since it has a lid. Too bad you didn't get the accompanying note. Was the tureen local or handmade? I'm thinking it is probably both.

I love making soup, and the soup bases will be a great help. I haven't tried Penzey's (only Minor's) soup bases, but I imagine that are very flavorful. I frequently use soup base when making jambalaya or dirty rice, in addition to soups.

I'm looking forward to finding out what soup recipes you will use from your new book! Sounds delightful.


    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 8:16PM
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The tureen is beautiful. Very cute idea with the Chinese take-out boxes! The cookbook sounds great, too. Wonderful package!

Super job Andi!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 10:40PM
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I too somehow missed this thread until I saw the pics of the Black Bean Soup. I love the soup tureen!

And I really do need to make a trip out to Penzey's, out jessy's way. I'm trying to figure what day/time would be the best, as far as traffic is concerned. Maybe an early Saturday morning run...


    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 10:19AM
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I love, love, love the tureen! What a beautiful package!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 11:48PM
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oh, now that is cool - how everything works together...the tureen is just gorgeous.

What an incredible swap!


    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 9:40AM
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