Sunday, October 30, 2011

Crock Pot Potato Cheese Soup

 I have been on a personal quest to find more recipes that are cooked in the Crock Pot. My first Crock Pot, a wedding gift in the mid 70's had an on/off switch and a non removable stoneware liner, the color was Avocado Green. It was not fun to clean! It was not my cooking vehicle of choice. I tried a few recipes over the years, they all taste pretty much the same, not terrible, just the same.
I'm happy to say Crock Pots have come along way. There are sizes to fit every family and any number of features. I have a 6 quart slow cooker, it's great when the family is here but much too large for my everyday use. I now have a 31/2 quart slow cooker, perfect for empty nesters. Your slow cooker should be a least 1/2 full for best performance.
This is probably too much info but I do have a great recipe for the slow cooker. This potato soup was delicious. I'm sure I will make it often this winter.

Crock Pot Potato Cheese Soup
6 slices bacon
1 1/2 cups diced onions
5 cups peeled diced russet potatoes
3/4 cup diced celery
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup half and half
2 cups shredded cheese--I cleaned out my cheese drawer and used several kinds
Fry bacon in skillet till crisp, remove from pan and drain. Crumble bacon and refrigerate. In the same skillet saute onions for 3 or 4 minutes. Put onions, celery and potatoes in slow cooker, add chicken broth, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for 6-7 hours. In a small bowl stir together flour and half and half, mix well with wire whip. Add mixture to soup, increase slow cooker to high and cook for 30 minutes until thick. Add cheese and stir until melted. Top soup with cooked bacon.
This recipe comes from Real Mom Kitchen

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Traditions and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Many years ago when our home was full of small children we tried to make holidays fun. Halloween deco consisted of a not so scary 'witch on a broom' and a smiling ghost trimmed in white lace. We made ghost suckers, pumpkin shaped sandwiches, jack-o-lantern cupcakes with candy corn faces. Simple yes, little ones are easy to please.
The Monday before Halloween was designated as a Family Home Evening Pumpkin Carving Activity. Just imagine 6 kids under 12 with butter knives trying to make the perfect jack-o-lantern. Greg and I were certainly out numbered but managed to keep it together long enough to have 6 smiling/scary/silly jack-o-lanterns. Candles were carefully placed in the pumpkins, the lights were turned off and the children giggled at the silly shapes on the wall.

I'm sure the next tradition was started by Greg, the fun parent. Lite Jack-o-lanterns were then placed in the children's bedroom. They watched the spooky shapes dance on the walls as they drifted off to sleep. Somehow we did this for many years without burning down the house. The kids loved it.

Halloween would not be complete without roasted pumpkin seeds. For some reason digging thru pumpkin 'guts' looking for seeds was fun. I roasted the seeds while the little ones slept (how many activities can you pack in one evening)?  They were excited to have a small baggie with roasted pumpkin seeds in their lunch the following day.
23 year old Max insisted on having a pumpkin carving, seed roasting activity. We played along, because traditions are important!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
2 cups pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
Rinse pumpkins seeds until pulp and strings are washed off. Boil seeds in salt water for 10 minutes. Dry seeds on a  paper towel
In medium bowl combine Worcestershire sauce, melted butter and salt. Add seeds, stir until coated with mixture. Spread on a baking sheet. Bake at 225 degrees for 2 hours. Stir often, seeds should be crisp.

Monday, October 24, 2011

TWD Ginger Jazzed Brownies

I joined TWD about half way thru the book, I have blogged about 53 recipes. 53 successful recipes that were delicious. Many recipes have become family favorites. But, I'm sorry to say I finally struck out. I was excited to make this recipe, I love brownies and I like ginger. Other bloggers said the ginger was too mild. Maybe my ginger was too potent, I grated my ginger instead of chopping it, maybe that made a difference. Whatever I did proved to make these brownies inedible. One bite was all it took--these brownies just screamed GINGER! I even drizzled a brown butter glaze over them. Didn't work, no one would eat them. They were beautiful but after sitting out for 3 days I finally trashed them. It was a sad day in my kitchen.
But one failure out of 53 recipes is great odds. Buy the book, Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. It is one awesome cookbook!

Secret Recipe Club Brownies

I was lucky enough to have two secret blogs this month. The Secret Recipe Club is a great way to meet new bloggers and try new recipes.  Wow! Can I just say I'm impressed. Danielle blogs at A Day In The Life. Her blogs is full of food, family and life. She has two darling little guys, I love her Wordless Wednesday posts. Nothing quite as cute as a toddler living life!
 Danielle is concerned about nutrition but admits to having a sweet tooth. I have several recipes bookmarked for future use such as potato soup in the crock pot, ham and cheese Sammie's and some yummy Asian dishes. Danielle's favorite dessert is cake. She has several cakes that would make a birthday person happy.
So what recipe did I choose? My blog title might give it away, 'getting thru life one brownie recipe at a time'.
Yes, I had to make brownies. Danielle recipe was Marion Cunningham's 'Parker Brownies. This brownie is everything I like in a brownie. Fudgy but not gooey, simple to make, only dirties one bowl and delicious. Hubby just said it is his new favorite brownie! I make a lot of brownies so this is quite a compliment. Thanks Danielle, we have a new favorite brownie!

Parker Brownie, or Danielle's Brownie (I always name recipes after the person I got it from)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, I used a Guittard baking bar
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Butter an 8 inch square baking pan. Gently melt chopped chocolate and butter in microwave. My new microwave has a setting for melting butter and chocolate. I love it! Stir in sugar and vanilla. Add egg, stir till shiny, add salt. Gently stir in flour and nuts. Batter will be stiff, spread in pan. I used an offset spatula for easy spreading. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes. Brownies are thin, perfect for tucking in a lunch sack. Dress the brownies up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a little hot fudge. Be ready for a new favorite treat.

Secret Recipe Club-- Date Nut Loaf

 The Secret Recipe Club comes around every month. We are assigned a blog to get to know and then create a yummy dish from their blog.
 I was assigned an amazing blog called Feast on the Cheap. This delightful blog is written by a mother daughter team. Mary Ann is a caterer and Mariel is a 'fledgling foodie'. I would say they both are amazing. You will find a wide variety of dishes on this blog. Something for everyone I'm sure. Some gourmet, others family fare. I was intrigued by many, I bought the ingredients for the French Onion Soup, I'll make it later this week.

 In my fridge I happen to have a 2 pound container of fresh dates. So when I saw a recipe for Nana's Date Nut Bread that has been in the family for years I had to try it. It was a simple recipe, ingredients you would have in your pantry. I chose to make some mini loaves and a small size bundt. I went to photograph the bundt and it looked naked so I had to drizzle a little browned butter glaze over it. This was one yummy addition. It takes a plain date loaf to an elegant dessert.

Feast on the Cheap is now on my reader, there are many dishes I need to try. The reason it is called Feast on the Cheap is that the cost per serving is given on every dish. That is assuming you have a well stocked pantry. And they will teach you just what is in a well stocked pantry. Yes, a very helpful blog. Thanks Mary Ann and Mariel.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Twice Baked Potatoes

Max's birthday dinner had to include Twice Baked Potatoes. Actually these potatoes are included in many family gatherings. You can easily make these a day in advance, perfect for busy cooks. 
Pioneer Woman's recipe is perfect. Use nice big russets, number ones and make a full batch. Leftovers make a great lunch. I always send leftovers home with the Grandmas. They are happy, you just don't make Twice Baked Potatoes for one!
This delicious dish is quite rich, make it for special occasions. Your guests will thank you. Here is the link to Pioneer Woman's Twice Baked Potatoes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blog Award

I have never been honored with a blog award! My blog started mostly as a place where I could catalog my recipes so my daughter would have easy access to them. But because of the wonderful web I have blogging friends all over. They cook, craft, sew, quilt raise cute kids, etc. This award was graciously given to me by Anita at Aunt Nubby's Kitchen. A blog where you always feel at home and there is plenty of wonderful food.


The rules for the Versatile Blogger Award are:

1.  Thank the blogger who awarded you and link back to them.
2.  Share 7 things about yourself
3.  Pass the award along to 5 other newly discovered blogs.

So here are the 7 things you may not know about me:
1.  I don't watch TV at all.
2.  I have 5 brothers and no sisters
3.  I think one can never have too many shoes or purses.
4.  I don't drink, not even a cup of coffee, I do like a Diet Coke with Fresh Lime--made at a local drive-in
      called the Purple Turtle.   
5. The only fast food I really enjoy is Chick-fil-a
6.  I have had 7 back/neck surgeries
7.  I cook because I can't afford to eat where I want to!

And the best part - 5 blogs to honor with the Versatile Blogger Award: