Thursday, October 13, 2011

Follow up Soup Recipe....and a Goodbye, for now.


First, I want to share the scrumptious soup recipe I spoke of weeks ago (so sorry for that time lapse), it was quick and easy to make (the chopping of ingredients took up the most time), and was amazingly tasty and filling, I dearly hope you can find the time to try it out for yourself!

Secondly, this will be my last blog post for a long time. I have been thinking, thinking, thinking about this, and after much consternation and deliberation, I have decided to temporarily stop blogging. I feel that at this chapter in my life, I am so short on time, energy, and causes to post that I really need to just call this quits for awhile and stop worrying about how very little I do get around to posting.

I do very much look forward to eventually being at home in a few years (hopefully with my own cute little munchkins), testing and sharing new recipes weekly, accomplishing small tasks which I may share (like tons more knitting/crocheting/sewing projects, among other things), and just posting about daily life with my husband and (hopeful) children. Right now I just feel like I am extremely limited on what I may post; I can't really speak much of the children I nanny due to privacy reasons, and I honestly don't do very  much besides work. I love my life, and am extremely happy with where I am right now, but I usually have to really rack my mind for posting ideas.

Thank you all so much for the love, friendship and good humor you have shared with me, I will still pop in and read each of your blogs every now and again, and I fervently hope that eventually, you won't be afraid to come back to mine once I open it back up again. God Bless you all in everything you do, thank you for taking the time to take a small peek into my life!


Now, here is the marvelous recipe, I do hope you'll try it! :o)

Chicken and Potato Soup with Bacon

Serves: 4

you will need:

1T Butter
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1 Onion, sliced
9oz./250g smoked lean Bacon, chopped
2 large Leeks, sliced
2T all-purpose Flour
4 Cups Chicken Stock
1lb. Potatoes, chopped
7oz. skinless Chicken Breast, chopped
4T Heavy Cream
Salt and Pepper
Cooked Bacon and sprigs of fresh flat-leaf Parsley, to garnish.

~*~*~*~*~

Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, until slightly softened. Add the chopped bacon and leeks and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring.

In a bowl, mix the flour with enough stock to make a smooth paste and stir it into the pan. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Pour in the remaining stock, then add the potatoes and chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, until the chicken and potatoes are tender and cooked through.

Stir in the cream and cook for another 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with the cooked bacon and flat-leaf parsley and serve immediately.

There you are! I hope you'll enjoy it! We did enjoy the bacon garnish, but found that the soup tasted just as good without it. I also left out the parsley garnish, as I didn't have any in my kitchen and figured it wouldn't make a very noticeable difference.

If you enjoy this soup, I would highly recommend the book I posted about previously, from which I took this recipe: 100 Best Fresh Soups: the ultimate ingredients for delicious soups including 100 tasty recipes. The book has no one author, but was put together by the "Love Food" organization.




Enjoy your evening, and thank you again for all the love you've shown!

Many Blessings to you,



Sunday, September 25, 2011

It's a soup kinda day

Here's what we will be feasting on today!  It's a rainy, breezy day here,  perfect for a sumptuous soup like this one!  This is Chicken and Potato Soup with Bacon,  and it contains several other nummy ingredients (like leeks----oh yum!) as well! After we sample it this evening I will be sure to report whether we liked it or not, and I will share the recipe with you.  I hope you are having a blessed Sunday!

~Just a Girl



Thursday, July 14, 2011

Number Seven, the end of something amazing!

I'm sharing this from my phone; my husband, my two sisters and I have been waiting since 4:00 pm this afternoon at Cinetopia (an amazing luxury movie theater) to see "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two." This film is the very last of eight movies representing J.K Rowling's Harry Potter books, and I can't wait to finally see it tonight at midnight!! Yes, we are crazy, and my poor man has to get up to be at work tomorrow by 8:00 am. I can't remember the last midnight showing I went to, so this is kind of a fun ordeal for me. Anyway, I hope you all are having a lovely evening, I am passing the time by reading and chatting with everyone here. :o)

Have a wonderful night

~ Just a Girl

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Wonderful Read!

Good Morning! :o)

I must make this post brief, as I am about to head out the door to join my little sisters for an afternoon of gift-shopping for my wonderful Mom's upcoming birthday, but I have been meaning to share this book with you and will do that now!

I was looking for a good book to read the other day at Barnes & Noble, and remembered several (probably about five) friends recommending this book, "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett, to me. So, I sought it out, enjoyed the first few pages enough to purchase it, and I devoured the book within one week! I would highly recommend this great novel to each of you. While it is a bit lengthy, it is what I would call an easy read, and it is written so very well. 

I would also tell you to go look for it at Target, as they are selling it for about $5 cheaper than anywhere else I've seen.



Click HERE to read a quick summary about the book. :o)

Let me know if you read it, I really loved it!



I'm sure many of you will have seen the recent trailer for the upcoming film based upon the book, but if not, you may watch it below! In all honesty, I don't think the movie will even come close to how great the book is; It looks to me like the writers have turned it into more of a humorous film than the serious and sometimes humorous story that it is. Enjoy!





Have a wonderful day!





P.S. I'm sorry if the video is cut off; if it is, you should be able to go to the original page by clicking on the video itself. Or you can also go to youtube.com and type in "The Help." :o)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"It was a Hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."

I have often thought that I might make a very good Hobbit. There are few things I enjoy more than sitting down in my nice, clean little home and listening to the sounds of the birds and the rain outside while I enjoy a hot cup of tea and some eggs or toast. 

Today is very much so a "Hobbit" kind of day. Yesterday I was finally able to clean up some odds and ends that had been lying about and bothering me in our living room, kitchen and bedroom, and this morning I am enjoying sitting in my nice dark living room with a steaming cup of tea, while I listen to the sound of Northwest summer rain outside my windows. I've been wanting more sun these past few weeks (I am on vacation until August 1st, yay!), but God is so good to send us this cleansing, cool rain.



 My indoor plants enjoying the cool morning air through the screen


My tea (green ginger) waiting to be all drunk up


Rain on leaves outside my window....


My silent wind-chimes, taking a rest


And my cozy little living-room, welcoming me in. Please don't mind our wrinkly carpet, or bed-sheet curtains. ;o)


I hope you have a restful day as well, or that you enjoy the business you will be experiencing today!

~For my Gratituesday post~

I am thankful for:

1. This cooling rain

2. Time off from work

3. Friends to chat with

4. The sound of silence

5. Time with which I may do whatever I want!



Thanks for stopping by, have a lovely day! 




Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Well, I was headed off to bed a few minutes ago, and remembered that I still need to make my Gratituesday post! :) I am actually posting from my phone, so this won't be anything flowery unfortunately.


I am thankful for:

1. A husband who is peppy and silly even when he's just as exhausted as I am (hey, it could be worse, he could be grumpy!).

2.  My loving Mom who calls just to say hello, even if there isn't really much to chat about.


3. Little Black dresses! Every woman needs at least one dress that makes her truly feel shiny. ;o)

4. Warmer late Spring weather. No, it's not the warm gentle summer breezes and sunshine yet, but 65 degrees with no rain is pretty nice!

5. Chocolate. What would I do without that melty goodness? It often lifts my mood throughout each day.

Okay, I know, some of these weren't all that serious, but I am still thankful for each of them, they make up little (and big!) parts of my daily life. ;o)

Have a wonderful night!

~ Just a Girl

Monday, June 13, 2011

~Long Overdue~

Hello all! I know I've been extremely absent for about a month; my apologies. Sometimes life is just so full and busy that I have to practically force myself to open my laptop! I know a lot of people struggle with exactly the opposite, but I guess I'm just an old-fashioned girl born into a childhood from whence I draw memories that just don't involve personal computers....and those peaceful memories have stuck with me ever since. ;o)

Today I simply want to share two wonderful recipes with you! These are long overdue as they were prepared and enjoyed on Easter weekend, but I have not forgotten them, and I do hope you'll try them at some point.

The first recipe is: Easy Pavlova ---click here!

I was originally going to make a Ghirardelli Chocolate Coconut Torte, but didn't have all the ingredients I needed. Then my husband's amazing cook/baker of a Grandmother looked through what I did have, and saw that I had all the ingredients to make Pavlova, a fluffy, creamy Australian cake named after the famous ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova.

The recipe sounds like it might be difficult, but once you get going it really is very simple! Just be absolutely sure not to allow any water/grease/yolk to mix into your egg-whites.

here you go!:

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 6 kiwi, peeled and sliced (I used Strawberries, sliced vertically instead)



Directions 

1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 9 inch circle on the parchment paper.  

2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add in the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Overbeaten egg whites lose volume and deflate when folded into other ingredients. Be absolutely sure not a particle of grease or egg yolk gets into the whites. Gently fold in vanilla extract, lemon juice and cornstarch.  

3. Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Working from the center, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building edge slightly. This should leave a slight depression in the center.  

4. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack. 

5. In a small bowl beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form; set aside. Remove the paper, and place meringue on a flat serving plate. Fill the center of the meringue with whipped cream, sweetened if desired. Top whipped cream with kiwifruit  (or strawberry) slices.



My husband's Grandmother and I also decided to follow a commenter's (tassygirl) handy tip and leave the meringue in the oven to cool overnight:

 "FANTASTIC. Growing up in Australia this dish was part of our national identity, but here in the US I could just never get it right. This recipe is just as it should be. We always let this dish cool in the oven - just turn the oven off at the end of the cooking time and leave it there (even overnight!). For those who have found that it sometimes sticks, in Australia we would coat the paper with a thin dusting of corn starch before spooning the mix onto the baking tray."


I do hope you'll try this recipe! It's fairly easy, delicious, and quite light on the stomach after a large meal. 

Here is what mine looked like once it was finished!






















The next recipe I'd like to share with you is Braided Easter Egg Bread.




I made this bread sheerly for the fun of it, and also because I've never made a loaf of bread before. My wonderful mother-in-law (thank you so much L.!) helped me to figure out the dough consistency before I let it rise, and I think it turned out to be very pretty and tasty! :o) I hope you'll try this one as well, the bread turns out rather sweet and cakey, and goes well with dinner! I also made a small change; I didn't dye the eggs (mostly due to a lack of time), and I mixed a bit of honey and water together for a glaze once the bread was done baking. Oh, and I couldn't resist adding sprinkles. ;o)





Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 whole eggs, dyed if desired
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted



Directions 

1. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast; stir well. Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan; heat until milk is warm and butter is softened but not melted.  

2. Gradually add the milk and butter to the flour mixture; stirring constantly. Add two eggs and 1/2 cup flour; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.  

3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.  

4. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal size rounds; cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each round into a long roll about 36 inches long and 1 1/2 inches thick. Using the two long pieces of dough, form a loosely braided ring, leaving spaces for the five colored eggs. Seal the ends of the ring together and use your fingers to slide the eggs between the braids of dough.  

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place loaf on a buttered baking sheet and cover loosely with a damp towel. Place loaf in a warm place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Brush risen loaf with melted butter.  

6. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until golden.




And here are some pictures of my bread before and after baking! :)

















Have a blessed evening wherever you may be, thanks for reading!