Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Baked Potato Soup

A few months ago I was down with a broken ankle and a sweet friend brought me this soup. Our family loved it!. I just cooked it for the first time myself the other night, and it was a big hit once again.

Here are my tips for making this, which my friend passed on to me. Double the recipe and use a whole package of bacon. (It just wouldn't be as good without that whole bunch o'bacon in there!)

Quick Tip...from someone with burned fingertips). Cook the potatoes far enough ahead so they are cool when you need to peel them!


Baked Potato Soup

4 medium baked potatoes
2 slices of bacon
1/2 c. celery, chopped
1/2 c. green onions with tops, thinly sliced
1 can (14 ounces) chicken broth
1 1/2 c. milk
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 c. light sour cream
2 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)

Remove skins from baked potatoes. Coarsely mash potatoes.

In 4 qt. casserole, cook bacon over medium heat untl crisp. Remove bacon to paper towel to drain; crumble and set aside. Discard all but 1/2 teaspoon drippings in pan.

Meanwhile, chop celery. Thinly slice green onions. Add chicken broth, milk, mashed potatoes, celery, onions, garlic, salt and black pepper to drippings in pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes.

Stir in sour cream and reserved bacon. Ladle soup into 4 bowls. Shred 2 tablespoons cheese over each serving.

Thanks Jenny On The Spot!

Hairy Orange Juice?

Today, my little Levi, who is 3 and loves orange juice, was so excited that we once again had OJ in the house. He was casually sitting at the kitchen table, when suddenly he says "Mommy, this orange juice is hairy!- I don't like it!". I am like "what?". I knew my husband had just bought a new carton of orange juice, it couldn't possibly be moldy already! *Oh wait, orange juice doesn't get moldy, or does it?!*... What in the world could he be talking about?

I went over to set the record straight, and see what all the complaining was about, when it all came clear. My husband had bought orange juice with extra PULP! I tried the OJ myself and could see what this kid was talking about. The pulp from the OJ actually got stuck in my teeth and hung on my tongue just like when you get a hair in your mouth! So...Beware of hairy orange juice!

Friday, January 8, 2010

My Cottage White Dishes

I have been drooling over these dreamy white dishes. I had been searching for just the right ones. I suddenly landed on these Pottery Barn “Emma” dishes, and it was love at first sight. I knew I wanted to “find” a way to afford these beauties.

Voila, like a gift from heaven, I had a new idea! I had recently entered a web design contest, and found out that I won a whopping $500 just this month. The exact price of these dishes! I didn’t want just one set, but 3 sets of 4 , making a complete set,enough for 12 people! Pottery Barn has these discounted slightly (like 15% off) which helps a lot. They also have them in a few other colors, and just released a beautiful blue for spring. These are the perfect compliment to my cottage home and will grace my table for special family gatherings!

Just had to share my latest find. Go check them out at Pottery Barn in the tabletop section.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A New Year- A Fresh Perspective

Happy New Year!

A new start...
A fresh perspective...

Don't we all like a chance to start over, to sit back and evaluate what in life we are doing right, what things we want to change, and definitely what things we just would rather leave behind and forget?

This is why I love the New Year. It gives me an opportunity for a clean slate and a moment to reflect on my life.What things do you want to do this year? What goals and accomplishments do you hope to achieve? Whatever they may be, it is always fun to talk about some ideas. Since we are all Cottage Chicks together here, I thought I would share some ideas and thought about the idea of creating "cottage lifestyle".

How do we create a cottage lifestyle right where we live, whether it be a small farmhouse, a beach bungalow, or a city highrise apartment. Cottage life is a state of being and living. A place we come to that says"home". I am going to take bit of a departure and look at some simple things we can do to start "living" our dream cottage life, and putting the busy rat-race behind.

1. Simplify simplify, simplify
Whether it be schedules, in our homes, or in our families. Find ways to simplify every area of your life, and you will feel a new perspective. Make more time for the people and things you love, and try to cut off things that completely drain your energy. Sometimes this is as simple as a change in our schedule or a simple to-do list to help us focus on the things that we really want to be doing.

2. Declutter
Decluttering can be done in our closets, drawers, even our junk mail and email inbox,, and every other area of our life. Do you have any area of your home or life you would like to declutter? I know I would! This is a constant job and I look always perpetually for areas to clean out and create clean new space so I can function at a higher level of calmness. Everyone around me benefits as I do this. There is something about seeing cleaned out and decluttered makes me feel recharged and happy. It is quite addictive!

3. Feed your Senses
Through sight, sounds, color, and nature. Use your favorite color in your home in some way, or add in splashes of a new hue for your cottage home. Create serenity with quietness at sometime in the day. Put on some rejuvenating and restful music. Read a good book that takes you away to a place of escape. Go sit in a park or in your garden and enjoy listening to nature. Perhaps you can take a trip to the beach to hear the crash of the waves and feel the wind on your face.Nothing renews us more than taking in God's creation which was created for our pleasure.

4. Start a new project
Maybe there is something you have been putting off doing. This may be the year for starting something new. You might have a piece of furniture that could use a perk of new paint. Or a room in need of a fresh color change. What about a new craft project you would like to tackle? What about a new flower garden? Its fun to work with our hands, whether indoors or out. It is always good to feed the creative side of us. It is good for the soul.

5. Start something new, let something go.
This may be the year for you to start a new habit, or lose a bad one. Maybe you want to reconnect with some precious friends. Or is it a time for shedding some extra pounds? Getting up and moving more, and eating less? Be sure to look forward and not backwards. Keep your eyes on the goal and pressing on toward the new things you are starting and leaving the past behind.

6. Love yourself and love others.
There is nothing better than that! It is God's greatest and simplest command in the Bible. If we can do these two things, than all the rest will fall into place. Take time for yourself, your family, and friends. There is no greater treasure than our life and being surrounded by the ones we love. Cherish each moment you have and never take it for granted.

Happy New Year!