And the Mystery Gadget is…

mystery gadget 4The latest mystery gadget is a “banana slicer”. I am wondering if you figured it out because of the color. They do many kitchen items in their “main” color according to what it is used for. Keep that in mind for the next mystery gadget and be sure to submit your guess!!

My Famous Cheesy-Bacon-Potato Soup

Many years ago I was sitting with my son at the doctor’s office flipping through some magazines and saw a couple of recipes for potato soup. Two different magazines with two different, but similar recipes. I kept thinking about those recipes for weeks. At the follow-up doctor’s appointment, I looked for those magazines and couldn’t find them. Even though I was frustrated, I pulled an envelope out of my purse and started writing down the ingredients I could remember from both recipes. I played around with this recipe for a couple of years before I finally got it where I wanted it. Though this is the first time I have really written it down. It’s been a favorite in the family for years and I am sharing it with YOU! Welcome to the family.
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Cheesy Bacon Potato Soup

6 potatoes, peeled and cubed

8 slices bacon

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 can whole kernel corn, drained

Chicken stock, enough to cover potatoes

2 cups milk

1/4 cup flour

3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Fresh ground black pepper

Place cubed potatoes in stock pot and cover with chicken stock. While the potatoes are cooking, fry bacon in skillet. Remove and drain on paper towel. In grease from bacon, sauté onion and carrot until onion is tender. When potatoes are cooked, add bacon, onion, carrot, milk and corn and reheat. In bowl add flour to shredded cheese and toss to coat. To heated potatoes, add cheese and flour mixture and stir until thickened. Add pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

I have wonderful memories of making dinner for my mom, even when I was young. She was a working mother and I know at times it was hard to come home and have to fix dinner for us kids.  One of my earliest meals was tomato soup. She ate whatever I cooked and always told me it was wonderful. I’ve come a long way from opening a can of soup!

Here is one of my newest recipes that I have gotten confident enough to post. It’s Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup, and also one of my favorite soups. Please let me know what you think after you have tried the recipe.

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Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

2 pounds on the vine tomatoes

4 tablespoons olive oil

5 cloves of garlic – chopped

4 cups of chicken stock

Medium onion – chopped

1 cup of fresh basil leaves – chopped

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon butter

2 15oz. cans of fire roasted tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatoes on baking sheet with rim. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes. In stock pot saute in 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter chopped garlic, onion and red pepper flakes until tender, about 7 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, including oven roasted tomatoes and any liquid in the pan. Cook uncovered, for an hour. Use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree soup to desired consistency. Enjoy!

 

Recipes, Recipes, Recipes!

I have spent the last couple of months working on some new recipes. I have a couple of new ones I will be posting in a week or so. One is my Cheesy Bacon Potato Soup and the other is a Roasted Tomato Soup. Made the potato this week, and doing the tomato one next week. I have played with many new recipes lately, and hope to be adding these soon and more as soon as possible. Now if only there was a “scratch and sniff” button I could put on here!

What a Month December was!

Wow, what a month December was. I know I was going to be posting more, but time got away from me. I baked, I shopped, I wrapped, and I shopped and baked some more. Plus almost a week in the Chicago area visiting youngest son and shopping kept me busy. But I had a blast! One day I went to Ikea and checked out all three floors and made some great buys. That store is one of my favorite stores in the world! Another day I spent downtown shopping and visited all four stories of Crate and Barrel! Finished that off with Giordano’s Pizza and total exhaustion! Thought I’d rest once I got home but that didn’t happen. I did a total of 18 stockings for the family, plus gifts and still had to make more cookies, banana nut bread, fudge, and other Christmas favorites. Plus more mixes! But I love it all!!

Mixes, Mixes, Mixes

I am posting a picture of some of the gifts I gave to some family and friends over the holidays. I made them with love and had such fun designing labels and packaging. Bath salts, body scrubs, candy-infused vodka, hot chocolate, Chai tea, homemade Kahlua (thanks for the recipe Jude!) and so much more! I used some recipes I have had and I found a few on the internet. I tinkered and tested, and my neighbor Rosemary tasted. I think I was totally successful from all the comments I heard and the requests for more!
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Look What I Found! A New Mystery Gadget!

Look what I found shopping on Black Friday! Yes, it’s a __________?? Oh wait, I can’t tell you yet! Right now it’s just a “Mystery Gadget.” Can you tell me what this is?

It was one of my last purchases as I hit Macy’s a second time. I didn’t make it to the kitchen section on the first visit and I always have to go there. I keep hoping to run into Martha Stewart while I am there!

The First “Mix”

As I posted earlier in this blog, I was working on some homemade mixes to give as gifts. I have been in my lab (kitchen) the past couple of weeks playing with a variety of mixes. I am posting one of my favorites, that I am using quite often, Taco Seasoning. I use it for tacos, enchiladas and more. Mix it with re-fried beans for a great dip! Play with it and enjoy!

 

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

1 cup chili powder
1/2 cup onion powder
1/4 cup cumin
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
2 Tablespoons sea salt
2 Tablespoons paprika

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Put in gift jars or bags and add a tag or label. Three tablespoons is the same as a packet (4 oz.) of store bought taco seasoning.

Sage, the Thanksgiving Herb

 

From Wikipedia: *Salvia officinalis (garden sagecommon sage) is a small, perennial, evergreen subshrub, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers.

This being November, (where did the other ten months go already?) I knew I had to blog about what I call the Thanksgiving herb, sage. It is one of the herbs used in the traditional Thanksgiving stuffing in the United States.

Sage has a slight peppery flavor, and it enhances meat and poultry, as well as vegetables. It is used in Italian dishes, cheese, baked goods and marinades of all kinds. Culinary sage is very abundant in the vitamins A and C.

Fresh sage is far less bitter than dried sage but in either form, a little goes a long way.  It is not particularly palatable fresh so add it sooner in the cooking process rather than near the end as with most fresh herbs. Sage will stand up to long cooking times making it a natural for stewed or braised dishes.

The Nutcracker

It’s the holiday season and out come those gadgets we have only for the holidays, including my nutcrackers. There are dozens out there but I still use the old fashioned ones my mother and grandmother had. You know the ones I mean, the metal ones that came with the picks also.

 

There are many more out there, and I have a couple of them. Mine are simple and can be used for seafood also. But there are some shaped like people and various animals, such as a squirrel. I even saw one that looks like Darth Vader and a former president. And of course the wooden soldier that comes alive at night and dances!

 

have fond memories of sitting around the table talking with my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents during the holiday season and there was always a bowl of nuts on the table, along with the cookies and candies. And there never seemed to be enough nutcrackers!

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