Monday, December 5, 2011

Potato Soup

While I was home for Thanksgiving Mama made potato soup to take to a potluck dinner.  We always make this soup on Christmas day and eat hoagies, potato soup, and play board games with my Uncle Joe--kinda strange I know but what can I say, it's tradition.  Well, as I said Mama made the soup early this year--but then she gave it all away  :(   So, once I got back to Auburn I decided I would make a heaping pot of soup--just for me!  And boy am I glad I did.  I ate potato soup at least once a day last week and loved every minute of it!  I am telling you right now and you must trust me:  MAKE THIS SOUP!  IT is perfect for cool weather and is hearty enough to be considered a meal all by itself!

All you need for this potato soup is:

6 potatoes (washed, peeled, and diced-I like mine small, but whatever size you prefer)
2 carrots (peeled and chopped whatever way you prefer-I did round)
1 large onion (chopped)
2 regular sized cans of chicken broth
1 T parsley flakes
1/4 call purpose flour
1 cup 1/2 and 1/2
1/3 block of a small box of Velveeta (sorry don't remember the package size, but the small one-this really a preference thing too)

Simply put the potaoes, carrots, onion, chicken broth, and parsley in a crock pot on HIGH for 3 hours.  After 3 hours, mix the flour and 1/2 and 1/2 together.  Add the mixture to the crock pot and also add the Velveeta.  Leave in the crock pot for 30 more minutes, or until soup is at your preferred viscosity.  It is so yummy and makes your house smell so good!  Ahh, I love having this soup before Christmas because it puts me in the mood just that much more!

This was the most pungent onion I have EVER chopped.  I cried for at least 5 minutes.......for real.

I hope you are all having a wonderful and blessed holiday season so far.
May we all remember the true meaning behind this month of celebration and always live each day to fulfill our purpose for our Lord and Savior.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Day After National Pie Day

Well, I really wanted to bake a pie yesterday since it was national pie day (according to the e-mail I received from "Paula Deen").  But, I just didn't ever get the chance too.  Well, today I decided to reward myself for spending 6 hours in the library with a little bit of kitchen time!  Finals are next week, and unfortunately for me, that means I get to live in the library for the next week.  On the up side, I will be out of school for 31 whole days beginning next Friday!!  wahooo!

My all time favorite dessert for forever has been pecan pie.  It is such a classic dessert, but I absolutely love it.  Maybe even more than ice cream, but just maybe.  So, in honor of National Pie Day and in thanks for Paula's reminder of that great holiday, I decided to actually make my first ever pecan pie.  Kinda sad that it's my favorite dessert and I have never even made it myself.  Anyway, I found a recipe on that was promised to be wonderful (according to reviews and such).  Unfortunately mine did not taste as good as I was hoping!  It's not that it was bad, it just wasn't good.  haha.  I think I will try another piece again today though.  I was so full from dinner last night but I really wanted to try the pie so I did anyways.  I just felt ill after eating a few bites, and even threw away my piece!  I know right... who am I?!?  But like I said I was full on Outback's blooming onion, blueberry martini, steak sandwich, and sweet potato fries.  One of my roommates is graduating next Monday so we went out together in celebration of was so fun!  

Okay, I am here to report that I just tried another piece of the pie and it was delicious!  I think my recommendation would be to let this pie set over night , and to also eat a small dinner before indulging yourself!  My roommates all agree, and as a result there are only 2 pieces of the pie left.  Phwew, for a minute there I thought I was a bad pie maker!  haha.    

Now that I know it is not a fluke or a bad recipe, here is what you'll need:

One box Jiffy Pie Crust mix
4 eggs
1 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 T unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 cups of pecans (your preference)
whip cream/ice cream for serving
The pie would normally have been made in a 9 inch pie plate, but I could not locate ours, so I just used this square Corningware dish instead.  It turned out working just fine!  Heat the oven to 375 F.  Simply whisk all of the ingredients together, except the pecans.  Once the egg mixture is blended well, simply stir in the pecans and add the filling to the crust.  Place the pie plate on a cookie sheet, and put it on the lowest oven rack.  Bake the pie for 50-60 minutes. 

I love brown sugar!!

At the end of today, I can say that I am pleased with this recipe and I hope you will give it a try for your holiday this year!  I am so ready to be home for the holidays and to share with you all of our decorations and yummy Christmas goodies we make each year!  Happy Saturday!  and Go Pokes!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turkey Day Break

Well, I can hardly believe Thanksgiving has come and gone.  This past week was full of family, food, and lots of fun!  During my week away from Auburn and back in the big city of G-ville, I was able to see my sisters play their first basketball games of the season, watch Breaking Dawn with the girls, visit with my grandparents (only after they returned from camping, of course) and, I got to cook and bake ALL WEEK LONG!  Obviously I was in high heaven  :)

My sisters and I used to make these turkey cookies back when we lived in Monroeville.  This year we decided to bring them back.  It was so much fun reliving our sweet childhood times and getting to share these cookies with Maire for the first time :)  

T and Maire making the first turkey of the night

what's Thanksgiving without a little Christmas right  ;)

Ashton doesn't like help.....

we had some issues with the candy corn beaks, but they still turned out pretty cute

So, that is what we did for an hour or so one night.  These next pictures are proof that Southern girls love their cowgirl boots.  Check out this 6 year old's outfit for the movie theatre  ladies and gents:

is that not the most adorable thing you have ever seen??

And now, I will share a little bit of our Thanksgiving with you.  We had our family gather at our new house!  My grandparents came, as well as Uncle David and Heather and the boys (and the baby on the way!), and Heather's parents even came too!  We had quite a crowd in our little house, but it was so nice to see everyone together.    

My grandmother let us borrow her "duck" china for the day because it is so appropriate for the Thanksgiving holiday.  (this pattern was featured in the most recent Southern Living issue which I thought was cool!!)

We children had to eat in the breakfast room--on plain ol' boring china.....

 And finally, here is a look at a few of the items on our family's menu for the day--we did some work on all of the dishes!

What was left of one whole turkey

Aunt Heather's DELICIOUS brussels sprouts

the dressing

mmmmmm--My favorite part!!


this might have happened the night before.....but just maybe

 And I leave you with some pictures following our Black Friday trip to Montgomery from 1:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.   -note these pictures were taken at about 2 p.m. that same day  ;)

Do you see the family resemblance between these next two photos??  lol

she might hurt me for this one.....
I hope that all of you had as wonderful of a holiday as I did.  I was reminded that I am truly so blessed with a beautiful, wonderful, supportive family, precious friends, and of course an almighty Savior who loves me each and every day despite my many short comings.  I have nothing to complain about.  I should remember that more often.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wreath Making

So I am pretty impressed with myself.  So far, I am keeping my expectations to blog at least twice a week.  Granted I just set the goal last week.  Nonetheless, this is still quite the accomplishment considering my inconsistent blogging history.  My last few posts have been about baking (what else!), so I thought I would change things up a bit this time around.

During the holiday season, I just am overwhelmed with the motivation and excitement to spread cheer and joy and happiness all day every day in that special Christmas way.  So, when I found this project online, I of course decided I had to give it a try.  And I must say, I am quite pleased with the finished product.  What do you think?

I loved the idea of this project because it was simple, economical, and something I will be able to use for years to come.  I debated on what color ornaments to buy to make my wreath, and decided on these gold and brown ones.  I thought they were a great color scheme for fall (now), but would also be perfect for a subtle yet "glam" holiday decoration.  Now those of you who know me know that "glam", fashion, glitz, accessories, chiqueness,  etc. are all terms that do not refer to me at all.  BUT, I thought I'd give it a try anyways.  And let's be real, the whole wreath was about 12 bucks, if that gives you any idea as to what I consider "glam".  hahaha.  Anyways, back to the wreath construction process.  All you need is one wire hanger, between 40 and 50 regular sized non-breakable ornaments, and some ribbon for a bow.  Yep, that's it.  Simply unfold the wire hanger, string the ornaments on, twist the hanger back, and top it off with a pretty bow.

side note:  I bought this package of smaller ornaments to use as fillers in the wreath.  Once I got to making it, I decided I didn't really want to use them.  If you want to add some dimension to your wreath alternating ornament size and spacing would be a good idea.  fyi.

sorry the flash is so bright on this one


 Hopefully you feel inspired to scrounge up some old ornaments from the back of your closet, attic, basement, etc.  This wreath really is a fun accent to any door or wall space for this holiday season!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mini Fruity Cobblers

So today has been a great day!  I started off the morning with a 5K run to raise awareness for Women's Health and Wellness here in Auburn.  It was a little bit chilly getting started (granted it is November), but once we got to running, we warmed up in no time!  I ran with my good friend, Margaret.  This is my 4th 5K this fall semester, and the 3rd one that Margaret and I have run together.  We finished in just under 30 minutes which equals a pace of roughly 10 minutes per mile.  I know that this is no speedy gonzalez time, but it is a pace that I am comfortable with and can be consistent with throughout the race without losing my breath and having to stop to breath (it is pretty embarrassing to admit that I am that out of shape)!  Any who, we finished the race at a steady jog and it was great!

I felt so energized after starting the day out with a run.  I really should do it more often, rather than putting it off for the afternoon.  Margaret and I then treated ourselves to a Panera Bread breakfast...yummmyyyy!!  I had a cinnamon crunch bagel with plain cream cheese and a cup of hazelnut coffee.  Needless to say, I was smacking my lips for quite sometime this morning.

Then, I did some homework and some shopping.  In the meantime, I also decided to make these adorable mini fruit cobblers!  They were literally one of the easiest things I have ever made!!  All they require are one box of pie crusts ( 2 crusts per box), one 16oz. bag of berries, I used an assorted bag of blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries--you could use any fruit you prefer, fresh or frozen, 1/4 c. sugar, and 2 T butter.

 First, preheat the oven to 400 F.  Then mix the berries and sugar with a spoon, making sure to cover all of the berries.

 Using a cookie cutter, or a large mug-what I did, cut out 12 circles of dough for the bottom layer of crust for each fruit pie.  Add the fruit to the crust.


Next, top each filled crust with a top layer of crust.  I was going to make these with holiday shapes on the top, but I couldn't find my holiday cookie cutters.  So I settled for hearts.  You could simply just put another round piece over the top as well and seal the edges if you would rather.  But shapes are definitely more fun!

Then, drizzle each with a little butter and bake these suckers for approximately 25 minutes.  The end.

These are piping hot, right out of the oven.  If you look closely, you will see bubbles.  mmmm.

How could you not want to eat this??

And what is pie without ice cream??  I added some vanilla frozen yogurt to my piece before indulging in this happy little perfectly portioned fruity deliciousness.  I forget just how much I enjoy the tart flavors of berries mixed with the sweetness of pie crust and ice cream.  Pure perfection!!

AND, being the good little nutrition student that I am, I even calculated the calories and grams of fat per serving for you!  (not including the frozen yogurt/vanilla ice cream)

calories:  105 per mini fruit cobbler (not too shabby if you ask me!)
fat:  4.6 grams ( all in the favorite part...of course)

Go ahead, bake these cute little cobblers, impress your friends, and be guilt free about it!  All three of those would definitely qualify you as winning  :)