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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Creamy Broccoli and Cheese Soup

This soup is DELICIOUS! First, I have never made a true soup before, only a couple stews that I can recall. I tried this for the first time and it was excellent! Enough to fill me up for dinner and husband complimented the dish more than once. I really can't say enough about how much I like this soup!!!

Creamy Broccoli Soup

fresh broccoli, cut into small florets (I remove the majority of the stalk; about 2 cups florets)
1 cup shredded carrots (I cheated and bought the pre-shredded)
2 heaping cups vegetable stock (low sodium)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 medium-large onion, chopped
3 tbls. butter
3 tbls. flour
pepper to taste
1 cup half and half
1 cup gouda cheese, grated
3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (reduce if you don't like heat)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 bay leaves
a few leaves of fresh basil, chopped
a few shakes of red pepper flakes at the end

In a dutch oven, add vegetable stock, carrots, onion, broccoli, garlic, a little pepper and bay leaves. Put the lid on and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Give it a few stirs while simmering. When done, turn to low.

the beginning

When veggies are done simmering, make your roux. Combine your butter and flour in a small pot over medium-low heat. Add butter first. Mix to combine. When it is incorporated, add this into the vegetables in the dutch oven.

my first roux

Add the half and half, cheeses and remaining spices into the dutch oven and heat through (on low-medium heat) to melt the cheese, stirring constantly. Top with red pepper flakes and enjoy!

grated gouda

first heaping spoonful


I'm not just giving lip service to this soup. It's like a 9.9 :)

Notes: Husband put his Tabasco on top, but gave many compliments to the soup. You could add some tasty crackers, but stands out enough by itself. Such a great recipe for the fall!!!

Original recipe cred: Peas and Crayons

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Skinny Vegetable Pasta

This is a meatless dish that is a good, healthy side. We enjoyed it and it certainly makes A LOT so be prepared for the leftovers!

Skinny Vegetable Pasta

1 can artichokes, quartered
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 16oz. penne pasta
red pepper flakes
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (plus extra for topping)
6 cups fresh spinach, tear in half
1 egg white
pepper to taste
parmesan cheese
1 jar your favorite pasta sauce (or homemade if you have it)
olive oil

Cook the pasta al dente and drain. Splash with cool water; drain. Add back to the pot and stir in pasta sauce, artichokes and some red pepper flakes.

Heat a dose of olive oil on low heat and add the torn fresh spinach, cook down until wilted (only takes a couple minutes) and then add this to the pasta mixture.

Lightly grease a 9" x 13" baking dish and preheat the oven to 375. Dump 1/2 of the pasta mixture into the dish.

Now mix together the cheeses (except parmesan), egg white, pepper and a little more red pepper flakes (if you like). Fold to combine. This will be the 2nd layer. Add 1/2 of this mixture on top of the pasta in the dish. Repeat layers until you use all ingredients, ending with a cheese mixture layer. Then top the whole thing with a little extra mozzarella cheese (b/c I love cheese!) and the parmesan cheese. Cook uncovered in the oven for about 30 minutes. Let it cool for 5-10 and serve.

Notes: I think you could add just about any extra veggies you like and I think I would try it next time with maybe some mushrooms. Enjoy!

Makes about 8-10 servings
original recipe from  Ms. Skinny

Friday, August 2, 2013

Football and Crafting

OK, so football season is around the corner and if you're not aware, my husband and I are huge Alabama fans. He has ants in his pants counting down the days until the season starts and I am excited that we are going to the opening game!!!! So I got a little inspired. I am making a new wreath. An Alabama Crimson Tide wreath. Don't hate.

Also, please don't make fun of my craft skills. I am certainly an amateur crafter and cook. Here's the finished product. Feel free to laugh. Because you can. And it feels sooo good to laugh!

What I used:

18" wire wreath frame
about 60' of burlap ribbon, on sale :)
houndstooth ribbon (not much)
wood letters
red paint
hot glue gun + glue sticks
some fake holly-type stuff
wooden football decoration
thin floral wire (to hold the letters in place)
a little TLC

I bought just about everything from Hobby Lobby. God bless that place. Money invested: $40 (if you already have a glue gun and glue sticks, subtract like $5...yes, again, amateur crafter)

making the burlap base

painting the letters

almost finished!

This took me about 2 weekends to make. And the best part can make the burlap wreath as a background for just about any wreath...your favorite sports team, a seasonal wreath or just a pretty door decoration with your last name initial and some pretty flowers. The possibilities are endless.

finished product

There are some great ideas that I found on this website and a tutorial for the burlap wreath (which I mostly followed): fall burlap wreath

thanks to Top This Top That blog for the inspiration!

Can't wait for football season and as always, Roll Tide!