Simple advice for a better life.

Cream of Potato Soup 2During my childhood, soup was part of our daily menu.

Sometimes it was the only thing on the menu, especially at lunch time.

My mom would cook some kind of soup every single day, so we all grew up loving and craving soups.

Soups are actually very good for you, since they contain so much liquid, plus a variety of veggies.  Eating soup on a cold day makes you feel so warm and fuzzy, inside and out.  Don’t you agree?

Today I will share a recipe for a Cream of Potato soup, which for most part is based on a recipe from the The Pioneer Woman, but I doctored it a little, to suit our taste.

This recipe makes a large pot of soup; about 8-10 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices of bacon, cut to small pieces (I used Oscar Mayer center cut)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 large carrots, cleaned and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (used my favorite gadget)
  • 6 medium Russet Potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 32 oz Chicken Broth (I used Swanson)
  • 4 cups of water, mixed with 3 chicken bouillons
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1% fat)
  • 1/2 cup cream (I used Half & Half)
  • Salt and Black Ground Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 2 Tbs. fresh Parsley, chopped (my favorite is Flat Leaf Italian Parsley)
  • 1 tsp. fresh Dill weed, chopped
  • Grated cheese or dollop of sour cream for garnish (optional…I used grated Swiss)

Directions:

  1.  Heat up a large soup pot, add chopped bacon, and cook until all fat is sizzled out and bacon is crispy.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon bits and set aside.
  3. If you have a lot of bacon fat, remove most of it, except for 2 Tbs.
  4. Add chopped onions, carrots and celery to the fat and cook, stirring often, until veggies are translucent (5-10 minutes).
  5. Add chopped garlic, and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add the chopped potatoes, and cook 5 minutes longer, stirring often so veggies do not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  7. Pour in the broth, and water/bouillon mixture.  Mix well to loosen up the bacon particles off the bottom of the pot.
  8. Add bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Cook until the potatoes are almost done (10 minutes)
  10. Pour 2 Tbs. of milk into a cup, add the flour and make a paste.  Mix in the remaining milk, and add to the soup.
  11. Cook for 5 minutes.
  12. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
  13. Using a slotted spoon, remove about 3/4 of the veggies from the soup, into a blender or food processor, and process to form a creamy paste.
  14. Pour this puree back into the soup pot, to combine with the rest of the soup.
  15. Add the paprika, and additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  16. Stir in cream, 1 Tbs. of Parsley and dill.  Save 1 Tbs. of Parsley for garnish.
  17. Serve hot soup in bowls, garnished with Parsley, bacon bits, and some grated cheese or sour cream (optional).

I liked the crispiness of the bacon bits in this soup, used for garnish.

Nice piece of fresh bread makes an excellent accompaniment to this delicious, creamy potato soup.

Yum!!

Diaper Cake - right side view 2I was very excited about an upcoming baby shower for someone at work, and decided that it would be fun to make another diaper cake.

The first ever diaper cake I made, was for my daughter’s baby shower, almost 7 years ago.  If you are interested in my cake assembly instructions, you may click on the link above.

A couple years later I made a diaper cake for a baby shower for my daughter-in-law, so this time I was excited to make my third creation.

Since it has been said that pictures “speak a thousand words”, I will share my cake pictures from several different angles.

The diapers and the accessories for this cake were part of the baby registry, so it was very easy for me to put it all together.   I also crochet a blanket for the baby, plus a tiny one for the puppy placed at the top of the cake.

Hopefully you will find these pictures enjoyable, and will be encouraged to create one of your own, for someone special.

 

Diaper Cake - right side view 3

Diaper Cake - left side view

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diaper Cake - first layerDiaper Cake - front viewDiaper Cake - top layer

Diaper Cake - back side - Blanket

The baby blanket was draped over the back of the diaper cake, as in the above picture.

If any of you made diaper cakes before, and would like to share your pictures with me via email, I would love to post them on my blog.

Thank you!

Super Heroes Birthday Cake stationI am delighted to share with you a bunch of pictures from another Birthday Party I recently attended.

This one was very creatively designed and planned for a 4 year old boy, with Super Heroes theme in mind.

Super Heroes might be more popular among boys, but all the little girls who attended this party did not seem to feel left out….they also had lots of fun with all the activities, and proudly wore their capes.

Statue of the Birthdy Boy

I was admiring the above Super Hero statue, made specifically for the Birthday Boy, based on a picture of him provided by his parents.  Quite interesting, don’t you agree?

News Release  3 - Super Heroes

News Release  1 - Super Heroes

 

 

 

News Release 2 - Super Heroes

These  ”news articles” were created by the Mom of the Birthday Boy, to add some super feel to his party.

He still is enjoying hearing them over and over again, making him feel like a real hero.

Super Heroes Capes for boys

Super Heroes Capes for girls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each Super Hero attending the party, received a personalized cape, customized according to gender.  These were creatively constructed by Mom again, keeping a tight budget in mind.  Nice job!

Super Heroes Obstacle Course 1

Super Heroes love being very active and helpful…so an outdoor activity was just the right thing for them.

An obstacle course was prepared for fun and challenge, for these Super Heroes.

Super Heroes Obstacle Course

Super Heroes Obstacle Course - part 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Heroes Obstacle Course - part 3

Super Heroes Obstacle Course - part 3 B

Here is the obstacle course in sections, for a closer view.

Party Pooper Poster

 

Party Pooper is getting a makeover with a silly string spray

Party Pooper after the party

The Godfather of the Birthday Boy contributed to the party, by drawing a poster of The Party Pooper.  The Super Heroes did not waste any time to give the Party Pooper a make over, as you can see in the picture above.

No Party Pooper was present at this Birthday Party, that’s a sure thing.

Super Heroe in action- start of obstacle course

Female Super Heroe in action- start of obstacle course

Super Heroe in action- half-way through..

 

And the race is on……watch them go…..

One year-old Super Heroe likes his cape this way

One year-old Super Heroe graduated to the traditional cape look

Even the youngest Super Hero (1-year old), was eager to join in the fun, however he was not sure which way to wear his cape, for movement ease and comfort ……:-)

He sure used all of his super powers to guard his snack cup…..notice the super grip on the handle??….LOL

Goodies Bags

After lots of fun activities, food, cake and cupcakes, all the Super Heroes were getting tired, still decked out in their capes, they headed home for a nap.

As a token of appreciation, they received a personalized Super Bag, filled with lots of goodies, and craft projects to enjoy later.

Nuwave oven - Banana Bread 2You  heard about the Nuwave oven I recently purchased, so now I am testing different recipes to decide if this purchase is a keeper.

I already made a vegetable dish, a meat dish, and this time a traditional dessert.

I followed the ingredients in the recipe, as printed in the Nuwave cookbook, with an exception of decreasing the salt, and adding vanilla extract.

The Banana Bread turned out very moist and tasty, however it took a little bit longer to bake, than originally stated in the recipe.

After the original 45 minutes, it was still quite soft in the middle, so I baked it another 15 minutes on High power, and let it cool off under the dome, before taking it out.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup shortening ( I used butter)
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions: 

  1. In a medium bowl, place the measured and sifted flour.
  2. Mix in the baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy.
  4. Add one egg yolk at a time, mixing well after each (keep the whites in the fridge for now)
  5. Mix in mashed bananas, and vanilla extract.
  6. Add dry ingredients all at once.
  7. Stir enough to moisten the flour.
  8. Beat the egg whites, until stiff peaks form.
  9. Gently fold into the batter.
  10. Grease a loaf pan with Crisco shortening, and flour lightly bottom and sides of the pan.
  11. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  12. Bake on a 1″ rack for 45 minutes on HI power level.
  13. Top will be browning a bit, so you may cover it loosely with foil paper.
  14. Pause and test with a toothpick.
  15. If necessary, bake another 15 minutes.
  16. Once done, let the bread rest under the dome for few minutes.
  17. Remove.  Cool completely before slicing into serving pieces.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Potatoes  Au-GratinI have been testing several different recipes in my Nuwave oven, and will be sharing some of them with you.

Today I will post a recipe for a vegetable dish, Potatoes Au-Gratin, which was very simple to prepare, and it turned out to be a delicious side dish.

This recipe was posted in the cook book enclosed with the Nuwave oven shipment, so I will post it for your convenience, in case you have not decided yet to add this kitchen gadget to your collection.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups small red potatoes, washed, and sliced very thinly
  • 1/2 cup red or white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream (whipping cream)
  • 3 Tbs. Parsley, chopped (0r 1 Tbs. dried parsley flakes)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Wash and slice the potatoes, and place them in the bowl.
  2. Add chopped onion, butter, cheese, cream and spices.
  3. Mix to coat the potatoes evenly.
  4. Scoop into a 10 inch baking dish, gently pressing them down into the pan.
  5. Place on 1 inch rack, and cook on HI power level, for 20 minutes.
  6. Let it rest for 2 minutes with dome lid on.
  7. Serve hot, as a side dish with your favorite meat.

Enjoy!

« Previous Entries  Next Page »