A Crafty Post

So today I will take a brief break from food posts to share some fun projects I did with Alice (my 2 year old) in the last week.  Alice turned two in October, and she goes to daycare 3 days a week (M-W-F).  Her daycare is an amazing place on the campus of my husbands college.  By a total fluke she was put in a class where she is the youngest by about six months, but due to her advanced nature she has flourished and grown beautifully.  Some of her favorite activities include visiting the library and museum, singing and dancing, counting (she counts to ten in English and to about 8 in Spanish) and doing any sort of art project.  Since I spend the remaining two days (Tuesday and Thursday) home with her one on one I often try to find projects I can do with her between trips to the library and museum and playing outside.  After spending sometime on Pintrest (where some of my best inspirations come from!) I found a few handprint art projects that were perfect!!  The first one we made for my brother and his wife and son-they have a house on Flamingo Lane, so it was a perfect fit!

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The second project we did was for Grammy!

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Both projects had “special” supplies needed-acrylic paints being the main thing I wasn’t interested in buying.  I decided to make the best of what I had which was Crayola brand washable pants.  I headed off to Target and while searching around I found that Crayola makes board canvases that are meant to be used with its paints!!  They were about 4.50 for a pack of 2, they are 9×12 and the best part:  If you use Crayola washable paints THE PAINT WIPES OFF WITH A BABY WIPE!! YEP. Thats right. Smush a hand print? Wipe it off. To much paint? Wipe it off.  I had to take some time to get Alice’s handprint just right and was so glad that I was able to wipe it off so that way I didn’t end up wasting the canvas boards!  Of course in between projects I let hand finger paint on some paper I had spread on the table! She had a blast and so did I!!

Chicken Tortellini Soup

So, after the cheese burger soup debacle, I decided this weekend was a good weekend to try again with a new soup.  After spending some time on Pintrest I found a recipe for Chicken and Gnocchi Soup (its a “copy cat” recipes of the Olive Garden version!).  After doing some in depth reading and thinking I decided that with a few tweaks I could make this soup into Chicken Tortellini Soup very easily.  I will include the link to the original recipe at the bottom of this post but will put my version (with notes!) up for all 🙂

Ingredients

4 T butter

1 large yellow onion, small diced

1 C celery, small diced

1 C Frozen Corn

2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup flour

1 quart half and half (the original source of this recipe recommends using

2 cups 1/2 + 1/2 and 2 cups Milk for a lighter version)

3 cups chicken broth

1½ cup carrots, finely shredded (I used a bag of matchstick cut carrots from the store)

1 cup fresh spinach, roughly chopped

¼ teaspoon thyme

½ teaspoon parsley

1 teaspoon dill

1 cup chicken, cooked and diced (I bought a roasted chicken at the store-i cleaned the whole thing and use some of it in the soup and used some to make lunch for the hubby!)

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese – for garnish

1 package Dried Tortellini  (I use Barilla brand you should find it near the pasta in your store!)

salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
**Before making this soup, cook your tortellini for slightly longer then half of the package time-my package said 12 min, I cooked them for 7**
  1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and lightly browned around the edges, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds.
  2. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the flour until there are no more lumps and simmer until thickened.
  3. Slowly whisk in the half and half and simmer until thickened, about 4-6 minutes. Whisk in the chicken broth and simmer until thickened again, about 2-4 minutes.
  4. Add the Carrots, corn, spinach leaves, thyme, parsley, chicken, and tortellini. Continue to cook until all the ingredients are just heated through.
  5. Season with salt and pepper,  top with Parmesan Cheese and serve.

Hope you enjoy!!!!!

( Here is the link to the original recipe:

http://foodfolksandfun.net/2011/01/chicken-and-gnocchi-soup-olive-garden/

Cheeseburger Soup (The Aftermath)

So.  I made the cheeseburger soup.  Yesterday it was looking like it was going to work out well-it had thickened nicely, I had kept out the cheddar cheese thinking I would add that before serving.  Put the pot in the fridge. And from there it went to hell.  Pulled it out in order to reheat this afternoon.  Asked hubby to turn it on-he says I said medium, I am fairly sure I said low-but either way it was turned on medium with boiled the heck out of it-reducing it to watery sludge since most of the potato sank and caught on the bottom.  I added the cheese to try and help and it didn’t go well-left the soup with a gritty texture from half melted cheese.  I will have to try this recipe again in the future now that I know how I screwed it up-and I would def follow the recipe all the way through to the end the first day and then figure out how to reheat!  Sometimes I let my brain get ahead of me! Oh well.  At least hubby ate it!

Cheeseburger Soup

Given the time of year I have once again returned to making soups.  After a string of frigid days with sub zero wind chills I decided that today, while I was home alone would be a good day to make some soup.  After some looking and some thinking I settled on cheeseburger soup.  Below is the recipe, with my notes and modifications in bold.

CHEESEBURGER SOUP

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 35 minutes

Total Time 50 minutes

Yield 4 servings

All the flavors of a cheeseburger in a creamy, comforting soup, topped with crisp bacon and hamburger bun croutons!

INGREDIENTS

3 hamburger buns, diced into 1-inch cubes

4 slices bacon, diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 ounces ground beef

1/4 cup unsalted butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, grated

1 teaspoon Worcestershire (I was out so I just used a bit of A-1 instead!)

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

2 cups milk, or more, as needed

2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (honestly, I would skip the potatoes, while they give the soup a bit more hearty feel, I don’t think they really added to it over all)

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons chopped chives

1 Tablespoon Dill

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place into oven and bake until crisp and golden, about 10-15 minutes; set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.  (An alternate option is to bake the bacon until crispy-I find it to be less time consuming and I can pop it in and then work on chopping veggies, or peeling potatoes!)

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; drain excess fat and set aside.

Melt butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, celery, carrots and Worcestershire and dill. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes.

Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in potatoes.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 12-15 minutes. Stir in ground beef, cheese, salt and pepper, to taste. If the soup is too thick, add more milk as needed until desired consistency is reached.

Serve immediately, garnish with croutons, bacon and chives, if desired.

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I didn’t make the croutons right away because I wasn’t serving my soup until the next day!

Since I was serving this the next day, I didn’t mix in the cheese until I heated it up the next day.

I originally found this recipe on Pintrest which took me to a website called damndeliclious.net which has some great recipes, but tweaked it a bit!

Enjoy!

A year later

Well, it has been a little over a year since my last post and once again I find myself promising myself that I will do more blogging.  I have a HUGE backlog of recipes, craft ideas and projects and stories.  So much has happened in the last year.  In February of 2014 we took a huge family vacation which was CRAZY-drove through a huge snow storm to get to the vacation and then I got sun poisoning on the way home.  In March my “boyfriend” (more on this later) and I decided we would be moving to Rochester in August for him to complete schooling.  After a visit to Rochester in May, we also decided it was time to GET MARRIED!  We planned our wedding in 68 days, and on August 2nd 2014 we finally tied the knot!  Two weeks later we moved to Rochester.  I have a gotten a job, my husband is doing a Co-Op at a local company and Alice who is now 2 (!!OMG!!) is attending daycare 3 times a week and doing AMAZING-she is just the smartest little thing!!  Right now, while still tough in some aspects, things are going great!!  And hopefully with this post,  I will start a new time of remembering to blog!!!