Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Potato Soup

Oooh, this one's a goodie. Even though it should be called "Your Cardiologists Nightmare!" Great comfort food for a wintry mix day like today. Cold and wet=soup!
Potato Soup

1 lb. peppered bacon
5 lb. bag Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 gallon of milk
2 sticks of butter (or a small tub)
cheese (to garnish)
extra bacon (to garnish)
sour cream (to garnish)

Fry bacon until crisp and drain. (Not sure why you have to drain it because you will need to save that grease to put into your soup!)

Peel potatoes and boil until soft (approx. 40 minutes); drain. Return to stockpot, add butter and stir. With hand mixer (OR the imersion blender you got for Christmas) blend well, like mashed potatoes. Slowly add milk to desired consistency and mix until smooth. Chop bacon until fine and add to soup.

Add a little bacon grease too. The more you can stand to use, the better your soup will be, I promise. The crumbles are the best part, so make sure you at least use those.

Simmer on low; salt and pepper to taste. Put a few shots of Tobasco in there too.

Garnish with cheese, sour cream, and NO chives!

(Makes a lot, invite your neighbors over!)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I've Decided That I Need...

Le Creuset pieces! They're expensive, yes, but I'm hoping to start a collection. Funny thing about me is that I want all different colors, not all the same color (like you would think I would). Maybe it's because they're so pretty. I have Greta to thank for this need. This year at the top of my list is a 6 3/4 French Oven. In carribean, flame, or lemongrass.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Warm and Cozy

We all love to be cozy and my son appreciates it more than anyone. To him, cozy is snuggling with a blanket--the green one, taking of his shoes and socks, and sitting right next to someone he loves.

This recipe makes me warm and cozy. I grew up spending so much time with my grandparents and my grandmother made batches of Spiced Tea for friends to share during the holidays. When I went to college, she had to make a batch for me, it was a special treat as a little girl that made me feel grown up, like their coffee. As I got older, it was something that warmed me up from the inside out and reminded me of my Nana with every sip.

I wish I could share a cup with her right now. It's a windy, cold day and who couldn't use a little warm and cozy?

Spiced Tea

18 oz Tang
1 cup instant tea
2 1/2 cups sugar
20 oz. instant lemonade
2 tsp. powdered cloves
2 tsp cinnamon

Blend all ingredients carefully and store in airtight container.
Add 2-3 T to a mug of hot water.
There you have it, warm and cozy. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Other than onions, which I simply despise, there are some things I won't cook with. Not because I don't like them, because I'm afraid of them.

1. Yeast
2. Meat, with bone in it
3. Anything my family does well--Nana's Chicken and Dumplin's and Mom's Choclate Meringue Pie, for example. I have worked through my nerve and made a fabulous pot of our family spaghetti recipe (Uncle Roy, Nana, Papa, and Mom have added to it and each do it their own way basically following a recipe) once. And I've made a pot of Dad's famous pinto beans too, which always intimidated me. He walked me through and they were fantastic!
4. Pie crust (Pillsbury works for me)

I'm sure there are more, but Greta and I briefly had a conversation about this today and I've actually thought about it before. Now it's official, I posted it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Crunch

I'm craving this stuff and can't wait to get home and make a batch. For the last few years, my high school helper has given me this Christmas goodie as a gift before the holidays. It never seems to make it home, I just pick at it until it's gone. I finally had to make my own and share it with my family--it was a hit! The kind of thing people say, "Get this away from me" about--and it's a good thing!

Christmas Crunch

1 box Crispix cereal
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup peans (I substitute pretzels)
1 bag popped microwave popcorn
1 lb. butter (I use 3 sticks instead of 4)
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups brown sugar
*optional: red and green M&M's
*another option: pistachios and dried cranberries

Mix Crispix, almonds, pecans, and popcorn together in large foil roasting pan. Set aside.

In sauce pan, heat sugar, butter, vanilla, syrup, and baking powder. Cook until boiling. Boil 5 minutes (or until glossy). Pour over cereal; mix. Bake at 225 degrees for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Wish I had some so I could post a photo for you. And eat, of course.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mother Load Pretzels

I made these last year for my friends at school and they were a hit. Take it from me, I ate plenty along the way! Greta made them this year...and shared them with me (thank you)! I was reminded how good they were and that I never got around to posting the recipe.

Mother Load Pretzels

1 package (10 ounces) pretzel rods
1 package (14 ounces) caramels
1 tablespoon evaporated milk
1-1/4 cups miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butterscotch chips (I substituted peanut butter chips)
2/3 cup milk chocolate toffee bits
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

With a sharp knife, cut pretzel rods in half; set aside. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt caramels with milk. In a large shallow bowl, combine the chips, toffee bits and walnuts.
Pour caramel mixture into a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Dip the cut end of each pretzel piece two-thirds of the way into caramel mixture (reheat in microwave if mixture becomes too thick for dipping). Allow excess caramel to drip off, then roll pretzels in the chip mixture. Place on waxed paper until set. Store in an airtight container.

(Makes 4 1/2 dozen)
(From Taste of Home magazine)