Friday, October 28, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

This is a very simple flavorful hearty meal that is great on a cool or rainy evening. The key to making this meal flavorful in adding layers of flavor. One of the most important steps it to make sure to saute the vegetables to bring out their flavors. The cream and butter add a layer of richness, flavor, and a creamy texture to the meal. 

Baked Potato Soup


  • 6-8 strips of bacon, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups chicken stock, or enough to cover potatoes(or water)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large heavy bottom pot or duch oven cook the bacon over medium heat until done. Remove bacon from pan, and set aside for garnishing the top.

Chop onions, bell peppers, and celery, add them to the bacon drippings and begin cooking until onion begins to turn clear. Add the garlic, and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes. Chop the cubed potatoes, and add them to the pot and saute for 5 to 10 minutes in order to begin browning them. Add enough chicken stock to just cover the potatoes. Cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender and the soup has thickened to the consistency you like. Add butter, cream and seasoning.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with cheese, sour cream, bacon, chopped green onion or any other toppings that you enjoy on your baked potatoes. Serve with pieces of crusty French Bread.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

For those of you who responded to the soap sample give away, Thank you very much. Because there was such a low turn out each of you will get a sample for playing. :) Tiffny Stewart, Loretta Reece, Michelle Muse, Laura Manley Schlett, and Angela Smith Elledge I will be sending you each a sample of our new Chocolate Almond Oatmeal soap.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls

There is nothing better than a warm gooey cinnamon roll fresh and hot out of the oven. Most people don't think they have the time for that anymore, but it really isn't that difficult especially if they are prepared the night before. It has taken me quite a while to get this recipe to the point where I am happy enough to share it. We love to make these on Saturday that way you can fix the cinnamon rolls in the pans and put half of them in the refrigerator overnight and you have an almost instant Sunday breakfast treat. Take them out, let them come to room temperature they rise while we are at church and when we get home  we pop them into the oven and breakfast is ready.

Cinnamon Rolls
3/4 c milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup butter
2 packages yeast
1/3 cup warm water(for yeast)
3 eggs room temp
5 1/2 - 6 1/2 cups flour

1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of flour
1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 stick of butter
2 cups of powder sugar
milk or half and half(enough to make it liquid enough to spread but not to liquid.)
vanilla or other flavor

Heat milk and butter(I use the microwave) until the butter is melted but not hot.
Dissolve yeast and add to milk mixture.
Put 5 cups of flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl add the milk mixture and the eggs. Mix and let rise for 30-45 min. Add more flour to make the dough workable and knead for 10 minutes, put in a oiled bowl and let rise 1 hour. (If you have a mixer skip the kneading and let the mixer do it.)

Divide into two roll out one section at a time into a rectangle-ish shape and put filling. Roll up cut into sections 1-1.5inches wide and put in a baking pan cover and let rise for 20 min. Bake just until the top starts to turn brown 15-20min? -ish?

soften butter mix with powder sugar and milk until you get a good consistency to pour on top add vanilla and spread on top before they cool too much.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gumbo Z'herbs

This is a wonderful recipe for anyone who is vegan, vegetarian, or enjoys meatless meals on occasion. Traditionally it is made on Holy Thursday to be eaten on Good Friday because it is a day of fasting and abstinence for many Catholics. It was a meal that came about in New Orleans because although the No-Meat-On Friday Rule for Catholics was usually not a problem for most, this particular day posed a problem because it is a day of fasting. So for many who do not agree with the Friday seafood feast it can be toned down with this meal in keeping with the tone of the day.

All of the greens listed do not have to be used, but the more variety you have the more layers of flavor you will get in your gumbo.  This gumbo is also a great way to use all those tops to your root vegetables that you thought had no purpose. Carrot tops are actually quite tasty like a mixture of parsley and carrot.

A note on pepper grass. This is actually a weed found growing in fields, edges of woods and abandoned lots. I can remember chewing the seeds as a kid because of the distinctive pepper flavor that they have. It is not necessary if you do not know what it is or can't find it, but it is a nice addition if you can get it.So don't be afraid to try it you probably won't even miss the meat.

 Gumbo Z'herbs(Green Gumbo)
  • 1 bunch collard greens
  • 1 bunch mustard greens
  • 1 bunch turnip greens
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 1 bunch beet tops
  • 1 bunch carrot tops
  • 1 bunch radish tops
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch chicory
  • 1 bunch pepper grass (if you can find it)
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 1 bunch sorrel
  • 1 bunch dandelion greens
  • 8 or 10 sprigs of tarragon
  • 1 head romaine, green-leaf or butter lettuce (not iceberg)
  • 1 green cabbage
  • 1/2 bunch green onions
  • 1 gallon water, salted
  • 1 large smoked ham hock (optional; omit if you want it strictly vegetarian)
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2/3 cup oil or butter
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves(optional)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme (please try not to use dried for this dish)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 whole allspice berries
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 6 cups cooked rice
Wash all greens thoroughly and remove all stems or hard centers. Chop finely and put aside. In a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot make a brown roux of the flour and oil or butter (or a cup of purchased roux). Add 4-6 quarts of water and bring it to boiling. Add the ham hock Let it continue to boil while you chop your onion, bell pepper and celery and sauté for 10 minutes.

The Ham can be taken out at this point since it is used as a seasoning to flavor the gumbo only(and saved for another use), added to the pot if desired, or omitted completely for a completely vegetarian meal.
Add the onions to the roux and water. Add the greens, herbs, spices, and seasonings. Simmer on low heat for 1 hour 1 ½ hours. Adjust seasonings as necessary.

Serve in large gumbo bowls. Put 1/2 cup of rice in each bowl, and ladle generous quantities of gumbo over it. Optionally, you may season each bowl with gumbo filé. Yield: 12 servings

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chocolate Almond Oatmeal

As delicious as it sounds, it is not breakfast, fudge, or a new granola bar, although I am quite tempted to try it. It is my newest soap scent. I think it came out quite nice. The scent is very strong in almond, which may need a little adjustment, and then the chocolate comes through. It is a nice warm scent. 

If you are interested in trying out this new scent, I am giving away 4 sample sizes. All you have to do is post in my comments and let me know if you have tried any of my soap before, what are your favorites, and follow our blog to get future updates and giveaways. I will randomly draw 4 names to receive a sample of this new scent. If you know of anyone who would be interested in natural soap send them a message, if your friend wins I will send one to you and the friend.

So here's your chance to try a new scent on me.
Good Luck!

I will pull names on Tuesday October 25th.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Realigning Priorities

Apologies for my absence and negligence. I always intend to make sure a post gets done and somehow it just hasn't gotten done.  I find it interesting how being intent on something and having good intentions are so far removed from each other. One is an action and the other is a dream that will probably never be. I say this because lately my life has been flooded with good intentions that I just have not attended to. It is wonderful to have hopes and dreams, but action has to come in order to make it a reality. Unfortunately my good intentions in the last few months have been just that because of inaction. It  begins to permeate other aspects and before you know it life is swirling around you waiting for you to grab hold and take control. The time has come...

Ok, so yes I have started reading a new book that has inspired action...What's this great book, you ask? It's Dave Ramsey's newest book EntreLeadership. I began reading this book because it is time to go forward and make more out of this little business that we have started. Actually, I am really needing to go forward in so many aspects of my life and it is interesting how this book has set that in motion. Although it is a book about business, and Leadership and guiding a team, Mr. Ramsey's words are very far-reaching and can apply to so many aspects of life, not just business. I am about half way through the book and I can't wait to get to the end. The book serves as it's own work book that directs as you go so just like his other books, they can be life changing but it requires work. So thank you Mr. Ramsey for yet another book to ponder and work toward setting new life goals.

So here's to putting dreams into actions, setting goals and putting life into motion again instead of standing in the center of life's tornado watching it go by. One of my first goals again it to give our blog more attention and be more active in posting. So see you soon with another post.

Other books that I am in the process of reading right now: How to Win Friends & Influence People, and Guerrilla Marketing: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business. What are you reading right now?