Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It's Soup!



The 4 seasons are all wonderful in their own way but fall is hands down the best of all. I know I have said this before but I have to say it again. I love fall, the days are shorter, it is slowly getting cooler,( I like that a lot more then slowly getting warmer) the colors are so spectacular it is hard to stay on the road when driving. Not stopping every few feet to take a picture is a true challenge for me. Sneaking out for a quick ride this morning was no different but I resisted the urge and just enjoyed all the excellent art work nature was displaying around every turn. I allowed myself an hour round trip in the early morning sunshine. When the hubby called this morning to say hi and see how I was all I could say was "Happy" and I was as I sailed down the road singing with the radio and laughing at Getty as he put his face in the wind and let his ears fly backwards.
 Monday and yesterday however I was playing in the kitchen. Monday was chopping, mincing and putting it all in the crock pot for 6 hours. 

The soup was dinner for Tuesday and thank goodness I planned it that way because I didn't think the potatoes were soft enough and the soup seemed a little thin. Tuesday afternoon I pulled the soup out of the fridge poured it in to a dutch oven and brought it to a boil uncovered on the stove top. I lowered the heat and let it simmer another 2 hours and I was much happier with my concoction. I used the immersion blender only slightly after I was done cooking the soup and the results were outstanding. 

2 bowls later and the Husband was still singing my praises. This is one soup that is more then enough to be a complete meal all by itself, something I don't normally think about soup.Still I needed something simple easy and tasty to go along with all that goodness in a bowl. Biscuits kept popping in my head and when they popped in there with cheese and garlic added in I was sold.

  The soup started with this recipe I found on Allrecipes
 and then I made my changes.
 Potato and Leek Soup
 8 small to med potatoes cubed
 3 good sized leeks cleaned cut in half length wise then slice in half moons.
 1 small onion ruffly chopped
 4 or 5 cloves garlic minced
 1 cup bacon bits 3/4 for adding to the soup and 1/4 cup for topping when serving ( I didn't think of it until after I had served the soup.) 
 3 tablespoons of flour
 1 tablespoon of ranch dressing mix
 salt
 pepper
 dried parsley
 5 cups chicken broth
 2 cups half and half
 shredded cheddar cheese
 chopped green onion
 Coat the potatoes in the flour and layer on the bottom of the crock pot.Layer the leeks on top of the potatoes then sprinkle the onion, garlic, bacon on top of all of that. Sprinkle with dressing mix and pour in the chicken broth.

 Turn the crock pot on high and cook 6 hours or more. I added the half and half 15 minutes before I was going to shut off the crock pot, but then I cooked it another 2 hours the next day so adding the half and half I really think can happen any time. 
 This is where the cooking should have ended. As you read it isn't where the cooking ended. I added more liquid then the original recipe called for because 3 cups of liquid didn't even come close to covering the veggies. Then our friend and neighbor Tom was standing next to me when I was adding the cream and he convinced me just put the whole container in. This may be why the soup seemed too thin although when I cooked the soup on the stove top it thickened very nicely. The potatoes soften up very well also once I transferred to the stove. I only needed to use the immersion blender very slightly to give the soup the texture we all like and are use to. That being said save yourself some time and trouble and just start the soup on the stove top to begin with. Cook it low and slow and as always soup is always better the next day. Serve hot topped with cheese, onion and a little bit of bacon bits.( home cooked bacon bits are best.)

 To make the delicious biscuits you see accompanying and dressing up the already pretty soup, all you need to do is use your favorite drop biscuit recipe and add fresh minced garlic and shredded cheddar cheese to the dough.

 However you cook this soup you won't be disappointed once it is all done and sitting on your dinner table.
 Happy Wednesday! Thank you for stopping by.  
  

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Sandwich That Makes Soup A Meal !



The other day my darling husband made a pot of his famous refrigerator soup. So named because he cleans out the fridge and makes soup with all the goodies he finds in the vegetable drawer. This particular soup enjoyed the addition of ginger and rosemary giving the soup a french feeling. He made the soup one day and put it in the refrigerator for the next day. We all know soup and chili's are always better the second day.
 I am one of those people that don't find soup to be a complete and satisfying meal even if the soup has meat in it. Knowing my sweet husband would want his delicious soup for dinner I woke up that morning thinking about sandwiches.

 A simple grilled cheese wasn't going to cut it, this soup as fancy as it tasted needed something real special. All morning I drew a blank and then all of a sudden it came to me right out of the bleu. I wasn't sure exactly how I was going to make it work but I had an idea. What did we do before the internet and Google? After Googling my idea and seeing hundreds of photos I knew it would work. I closed down the laptop and went to the grocery store. I had no actual recipe just an idea and a list of ingredients I thought would make my sandwich great.
  Do I have you on the edge of your seat wondering what I came up with? Well it isn't an original idea as the internet search proved but it still was a darn good idea.
 Well I won't drag this out any longer. Drum roll please
 Cordon Bleu Grinder.

One very delicious sandwich that is made to impress. 
I used a fresh loaf of French Baguette, thin sliced tavern ham, a roasted chicken breast, lots of Swiss Cheese, and a honey mustard dressing. I started with 3 slices of cheese on the bread then thin slices of chicken breast, ham slices on top of that the dressing went on here more sliced chicken and then 3 more slices of cheese, top it all off with the top half of the bread. Place it in a 400 degree oven until the cheese is all melty and the bread is crispy crusty.
 I will make a few changes next time and there will be a next time. Just a few small changes like putting the dressing on the bread, and using chicken that has been lightly breaded.
   This sandwich will make any occasion even better. From tailgating to showers and everything in between this sandwich will be a real show stopper. As easy and quick as they are to make they will disappear even quicker, so make plenty. 

 Have a cheery Monday! Thank you for stopping by.      

Saturday, October 25, 2014

fall Colors & Spicy Dessert!


 Good Saturday afternoon and a very good Saturday it has been. With the sun shinning and the day turning warm I rushed through my chores and flew to my car. I have a project I am working on and today was the perfect day to go on a hunt for my subjects. I found a few as well as some beautiful fall colors. the colors I can share but the project isn't ready yet.
 As hard as I tried to get lost on the road today I just kept finding myself. The colors were so vibrant I had a hard time keeping my eyes on the road. Good thing I was using back roads with little or no traffic. As always a ride like that brings about a calm serenity with in me allowing me to just open up and enjoy. I do some of my best thinking then and always come back home energized ready to face what ever comes my way.
 Today what was coming my way was this post. I spent my drive thinking about what I wanted to write today. A very pleasant way to spend my ride,thinking about chocolate cake and ice cream. 

  As you may recall when I started playing once again in my kitchen I was trying 2 recipes from an old Bisquick cook book. The first was a peach cobbler that was just so so. Not bad really just not great. Well the 2nd recipe was for a chocolate and cinnamon cake. The idea of chocolate and cinnamon used together sounded almost sexy so I gave it try. The cake itself was beyond dry but the flavor was so awesome. spicy and full of flavor. I love the little bit of bite each mouthful gave you. I like the combination so much that I will try this again with a different chocolate cake recipe.

  I am going to share the recipe with you even being what I consider a flop. someone better then me at baking may know how to make the recipe into a moist rich and happy dessert.
Chocolate Cinnamon Dessert
 1 1/3 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa 
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
3 tbsp butter or margarine softened
1 pt Vanilla Ice Cream
Chocolate Cinnamon Sauce
Preheat oven to 350
 Blend all ingredients except ice cream and sauce with a mixer on low for 1/2 then beat 4 minutes more on medium speed.
 Pour into greased & floured square pan 8 inch
Bake 30 to 40 minutes until tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
 Chocolate Cinnamon sauce
 Mix 1 cup chocolate sauce with 1 tsp cinnamon.
 In the end I threw the cake away and used the very tasty chocolate cinnamon syrup on ice cream. Vanilla, chocolate, and cinnamon who knew it would be such a winning combination.

 As I leave you today let me share my favorite fall color combinations. Standing under the tree leaves blowing all around me taking pictures. There are very few moments in life better then this.


 Have a wonderful weekend! Thank you for stopping by.    

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

More From the Kitchen


 Spending the afternoons playing in the kitchen really does have its benefits. Number one being some real good food. Don't get me wrong I have made a few stinkers too. some bland recipes and one recipe that no matter what I did I just couldn't make it work. Mostly however We have been enjoying some really good dishes. like the one I am sharing with you today.
  So far this recipe has to be my favorite.An exotic twist to an old favorite. So much wonderful flavor, the texture is perfect rich and warm, the aroma so inviting. With a good crusty bread this soup makes the best cold day dinner. 

  To make this heaven in a bowl all you need are a few simple ingredients, a crock pot and 6 hours to let it cook. There is very little prep work making this not only the best bean soup it is also the easiest. 
   Curry Lentil Soup
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound), diced into ½ inch cubes
  • 1½ cups dried brown lentils
  • 1 large diced tomato
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ tbsp. fresh grated ginger
  • ½ tbsp. Ancho chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice (about 1 lime)
  •   Put everything but the lime juice in a crock pot and cook undisturbed on high for 6 hours. Stir in lime juice and serve warm.
  •   I got this recipe from a blog I found on the site Food Foto Gallery. I tried to follow the recipe exactly as written only I didn't have a few things on hand so I subbed a little here and there. Above is how and what I used to make this recipe and below is a link to the blog and recipe I was following.
  • Curry Lentil Soup

  

  •  Happy Wednesday! thank you for stopping by. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

8 Years Of Love & Travels


 Saturday was our 8th Anniversary. After the house was cleaned the laundry done and all the hubby's chores were done too we packed our over night bags got someone to stay with Mom and we were off. The lack of a Saturday post was due to an anxious need to get on the road and let the honeymoon begin.
  We headed less then an hour away from home with just 2 things on our minds. A romantic dinner and Wheaton Village. We decided that Sunday would be the day we would visit the village and Saturday evening and night would be reserved for enjoying one of the best indoor pools we have ever had the pleasure of swimming in, dinner, and enjoying each others company all alone. As far as I am concerned it was the perfect plan. I came home Sunday afternoon relaxed and so very happy. I am sure you understand when I say I was too busy being in love Saturday night and never gave the camera a thought. Just imagine two people smiling, laughing, even giggling at times as they enjoyed good food, floating around in warm blue water and falling in love all over again, and you have the picture.
 Now Sunday and Wheaton village and pictures, you don't have to imagine a thing. I have plenty of pictures. When I planned my day this morning I made the decision to wait until I was done my daily chores before I wrote this post. I like to write as much I like to cook and almost as much as I love to take pictures. It takes a little bit of time to write a post,a few hours at best and well some times I feel more pressure then pleasure when I sit down to write and my house is not in order. I figure I would enjoy writing more if there was no pressure, and I really wanted to enjoy yesterday one more time.
 The weather changed on Sunday, the  temperature dropped and the wind kicked up it was down right chilly and good windbreakers were absolutely needed. My first view of the Village was not as impressive as I thought it would be. It took more then a few steps into the village before I even thought about taking out my camera. Once my eye was caught however I quickly became enchanted with my surroundings and settled into enjoying it completely.


Mostly I am going to let the pictures take you on the tour. I have been wordy enough already. 
 Our first stop was the pottery shop where you see pottery in every stage from beginning to end. There was even a few glass displays thrown in for good measure.








 Next we sat in on to a glass making demonstration in the glass studio.





 Weeks before there had been a competition for young children. They drew bugs and the winning pictures were going to be made into glass. We lucked out and got to see one of the winning drawings being made. Pardon the big bubble on the winners face, I forgot to ask permission to use the winners picture. Let me just say the caterpillars smile was made to look like the winners big bright smile.











 Next it was the glass museum. I could have spent hours taking photos, instead I enjoyed looking and only taking pictures of my favorite and what I thought was the most interesting.








 Next came shopping,

I put my camera away and 
fully immersed myself in all the glass trinkets and novelties made just for our pleasure. I love glass of all colors and shape so even the shopping was like being in the museum except now you could touch and get up close and personal.
  After a delightful lunch in a local Irish pub, we headed home happy and content with smiles on our faces.
  Hope you had a cheery Monday! Thank you for stopping by.