Soup's On: Baked Potato Soup

Happy Leap Day and Welcome to the Soup's On Recipe Link Up!

I am excited to share this recipe with you, it is DELICIOUS!
Baked Potato Soup
Here is what you need:
4 russet potatoes
8-10 slices of bacon
6 cups of milk
1 can Chicken broth (14 oz)
1/4 c flour
2 cups cheddar cheese, divided
3 stalks of celery
2 Tablespoons Butter
Chopped onion/garlic
Green onions
Salt & Pepper, to taste.

First you need to prep your potatoes. I wrapped mine in foil and baked them for 1 hour in a 400 degree oven.
After they cooled, I scooped out the insides of the potatoes & set them aside in a bowl.
But, next time I make this soup, I am going to prep my potatoes differently.
I am going to peel my potatoes, dice them in 1 inch cubes & then boil them for 20-25 minutes.
So, it is up to you on how you want to cook your potatoes, either way is fine!

As your potatoes are cooking, cut up your bacon into pieces.
Cook your bacon in the pot that you are going to make your soup in.
When your bacon is done cooking, place it on a paper towel to cool.
(Leave some of the bacon grease in the pot)
Dice up the celery.
And, dice up the onion & garlic.
I am a cheater & have sensitve eyes, so I always buy the pre-packaged diced up onion & garlic.
Put the celery, onion & garlic in the pot with the bacon grease.
Saute' for 10 minutes until the veggies soften up.
Once they are cooked, set aside.
Get your milk out & measure out 6 cups.
(I like a creamy soup, so I did 4 cups of milk & 2 cups of half & half.)
You can use just milk if you prefer. 2% milk is fine to keep it healthier.
Non-fat might not be creamy enough, in my opinion!
In your empty pot, add 2 TB butter & let it melt.
Then add 1/4 cup flour & a splash of milk.
Whisk together on low heat for a few minutes.
The flour is a thickening agent for the soup. Whisk until there are no more clumps.
Slowly add more milk if you need to.
Add in the rest of the milk & pour in your can of Chicken Broth.
Heat for 10 minutes until bubbly. Stir every few minutes.
Turn heat to simmer & add celery/onion mixture, potato chunks and salt/pepper to taste.
Add 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese to the soup.
Stir until melted.
Once the cheese has melted, your soup is ready to serve!
I top the soup with a little more cheese, the bacon & diced green onions.
It's like a loaded Baked Potato. Yum.
I like serving this soup in Bread Bowls!
Go Big or Go Home!
This soup is DELICIOUS.
It is a little more time consuming then most of my recipes, but it is SO worth it.
It is a hearty meal, perfect for a rainy day (that we are finally getting today!)

Now, it's time to link up YOUR recipes!
Grab a button & be sure to link back.

Go visit others who have linked up, it's always fun to get new recipes!
Leave some comment love for people you visit...let them know you stopped by!
I can't wait to see YOUR recipes!
The linky will be open until next Wednesday March 7th.


Insta Re-Cap

Here is what we have been up to the past week, via Instagram pics.
Last weekend we had a 4 day weekend for Presidents Day.
I decided to take advantage of the time off & take the girls to the movies!
It was Claire's 1st time to the movies & Kate's 2nd time.
(Last year, I took Kate to see Tangled. It was a bust & we left after 30 minutes. You can read about it here).
They were SO excited!
We saw Beauty & The Beast in 3D.
(And my girls consumed more popcorn than I thought possible)
The girls loved it & we stayed for the whole thing!
It was a girls outing, my sisters came with us. My girls are so lucky to have Aunties who love them so much!
We finished the 5th & Final Season of Friday Night Lights.
I cried. And cried some more. And then that night I had a dream about the show. Obsessed much? Yes, I am. Can't believe it's over :(
Pancakes for breakfast...I love slow mornings.
Rebecca & Jason brought us back some cookies from Apple Farm in San Luis Obisipo.
That was a FUN surprise! Yum.
It was a big week...I had my first Starbucks of 2012.
And, I went to Target for the first time this year.
I have saved so much money! Seriously!
I needed new sunglasses (I lost my other ones). Holla for $6 Target sunglasses on clearance!
I needed sunglasses because because the weather has been in the 70's all week! Spring is coming and we never had winter this year in California!
Our pool is taunting me...I am dreaming of summer:
Kate was proud of her artwork she made in school:
We got the girls Lady & The Tramp, they love it!
This weekend I cleaned out my clothes, closet & drawers for my 40 Bags in 40 Days Lent challenge. I have 3 big bags of clothes to donate. I am so disgusted with myself & how much "stuff" I have. Ugh.
I needed a treat to get me through all that cleaning...See's candy to the rescue. Saving the best one for last. Bordeaux. Yum.
Tonight, I made my soup recipe for this Wednesday's Soup Link Up!
It was so good. Can't wait to share it with you. We give it 2 thumbs up!
Hope you had a great weekend!
Hope to see on Wednesday for Soup's On!


Soup's On!

We have had an unusually warm winter here in Northern California.
In fact, I wouldn't even call it winter.
It has been in the mid 70's all week! It has only rained a few times since November.
While this has been great, I have actually missed colder weather.
I don't think I have even worn a jacket yet!
We need rain desperately! Keep the drought away!
But, the good news is that we are supposed to get rain a few days next week!
When it rains, I am all about cozy comport food, like soup!
I have 2 main soup recipes that I usually make:
Taco Soup
Chicken Tortilla Soup
I have really missed having soup this winter & there is a new recipe that I have been wanting to make & I can't wait to make it next week & share it with you guys! It involves bacon. YES.

So, in honor of this "possible" rain and my new soup recipe, I thought it would be fun to do a soup linky!
(Like I have done in the past with Crocktober & The Cookie Exchange)

So, next Wednesday on February 29, 2012 {LEAP DAY}, come link up your favorite soup recipes & check out other recipes!

Soup will be On our stove & dinner table next week! Will it be on yours?

Grab a button here or on the side bar!

I just love getting recipe ideas from YOU guys!
I can't wait to see what you link up!


40 Bags in 40 Days {Lent 2012}

Tomorrow is the first day of Lent.
Every year since high school, I have "given up" the same thing for Lent.
I have given up all dessert, candy & sweets.
If you know me, you know how much I LOVE my desserts.
But, this year, I am not doing this for lent. It has become "too easy"
I have done it for over 15 years & I feel like it is time for a change.
I needed a challenge & something for me to re-focus on during Lent.

So, starting tomorrow, I will be doing a 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge.
I read about this on a blog (can't remember which one) a couple years ago & knew that I wanted to do it for Lent one year. Well, this is that year. No more procrastinating.

The idea is that during Lent (40 days) rid your house of 40 bags of "stuff".
This "stuff" can be things you don't use... junk, clothes you don't need/wear, clutter, old toys, etc.

Why have I decided to do this?
A few reasons...
If you look at my house, it is very clutter free....that is until you look in the closets & drawers.
They are SO unorganized & full junk. Seriously, it is scary what my closets & drawers look like.
It reminds me of how we all appear sometimes. Good on the outside & messy on the inside.

To me, Lent is a time of prayer, self-reflection, sacrifice, self-control and renewal.
To me, a good home de-cluttering can go hand in hand with the Lenten season, just like our houses/blogs may look put together on the outside, on the inside we are a mess and need an intervention & de-cluttering ourselves.

Our house is decently sized, but our storage is limited, it is time to
It is kind of gross how much STUFF we have, that we don't even need.
The amount of clothes I have, but haven't worn in months/years is embarrassing.
They need to be given away to people who need clothes.
We have more than we need..it's time to SIMPLIFY.

It sounds overwhelming to get rid of 40 bags of stuff, but I know how much I need to do this.
Over the weekend, Kevin & I did some re-organizing of our garage. We found 1 box that we never unpacked (from when we moved 20 months ago!)
In that final box that was never unpacked, it contained items from our "junk drawer" in our old kitchen...there was a $30 Target card, $25 Target Card, $15 ITunes Card, $20 Peets coffee card, $25 Pottery Barn Kids Gift card and $25 in movie dollars..among other treasures. And, we found things that were still wrapped up in newspaper from our 2004 move to that house! It has been boxed up for 8 years & I haven't missed it. GROSS!
This is one of the reasons that motivated me to want to do 40 bags in 40 days....I know I have stuff in drawers/closets that need to find a new spot in my house (or at the Good Will).

I wrote down a list of 30 areas that I wanted to clean out & organize.
Even though Lent is 40 days, I know some of these areas will take me longer than 1 day.
I also know that some of these areas (like my clothes) will be more than 1 bag.
I figured I will do 30 areas & that will also give me some "spare" days if I don't have time one day to clean out an area.
I can't wait to SIMPLIFY our stuff over the next 40 days.
It is going to be a cleansing of sorts & I dreading this task, yet excited about it at the same time.

I know how much better I feel inside (& out) when my house is organized.
Life feels less chaotic.

I would LOVE it if you joined in...Let me know if you need to GET RID OF STUFF.
We can do this together!

This blog will help me stay accountable & I plan on doing photo updates over the next 7 weeks as I CLEAN OUT CRAP that I don't need. I will try and do some before/after pictures on some of the areas.
"LESS of me & my stuff and MORE of JESUS"
This shall be my mantra this Lenton Season.


Valentine's Recap & Recipes

We had a fun Valentine's Day passing out cards & treats to our loved ones & neighbors.

Cupid stopped by our house & gave the girls a gift:
One of my favorite parts about Valentine's Day is making goodies for family & friends.
I love anything Peanut Butter & Chocolate, so I made peanut butter cookies, but instead of a hershey kiss in the middle, I added a reeses peanut butter heart to the middle after the cookies were done baking. I thought they turned out so cute!

 Here is what you need if you want to make them:
1 can sweetened condesed milk
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups Bisquick
1 teaspoon vanilla
Bag of Reeses Peanut Butter Hearts

Heat oven to 375ºF.
Mix milk and peanut butter in large bowl until smooth.
Stir in Bisquick and vanilla.
Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls (I use my cookie scoop)
Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Do not over bake or they will be too dry!
Immediately press 1 chocolate heart into top of each cookie.
They are so yummy & so festive for Valentine's Day! I made these for our Small Group & they were a big hit!

Another treat I made for our neighbors was Pretzel Hugs & Kisses.
So easy to make. All you need is a bag of waffle pretzels, a bag of Hershey Kisses or Hershey's Hugs and m&m's. I was making a lot, so I used 1 bag of Kisses and 1 bag of Hugs.
The hardest part of these is unwrapping all the candies...but I put the girls to work & they unwrapped ALL of them for me. SCORE!
Line the pretzels up on a baking sheet & then place the kisses/hugs on each pretzel.
Bake at 250 degrees for 8-10 minutes. The candy should be soft.
As soon as you pull them out, press an m&m on top.
I then put them in the fridge to set for about an hour.

Another treat I made for Valentine's Day is Peanut Butter Ritzies.
Recipe HERE
We bagged up some of the goodies for our neighbors & attached the girls Valentine card to it.
Then we went door to door via Pink Jeep and passed out the treats to our neighbors.


10 on 10 :: February 2012

10 pictures on the 10th day of the month!
{Document a snapshot of your life & find beauty among the ordinary things in your day!}

Happy Friday! Fridays might be my favorite day of the week.
I just love Fridays...they are the gateway to the weekend. And, the end of the work week.
My Friday morning started off with breakfast & staring at my lovely tulips, I just LOVE tulips!
At school, with one of my favorite Starbucks mugs, circa 2005.
Every Friday, we have Staff treats in our Teacher Lounge.
These grocery store Valentines Cookies were brought it...I don't like store bought cookies, but I do love these every once in awhile!
Sneak Peak of a mini Valentines photo shoot I had with the girls when I got home. We had to be quick because it was starting to drizzle.
Bribery for the Valentines Photo Shoot. Hot Coco with Heart Marshmallows.
My "LOVE" stone that we got as a wedding favor at a wedding last August.
Then we made a heart pizookie for dessert tonight!
Cute Love sign I got at Joanns on clearance, FTW!
And of course, Friday night means Pizza Night!
Can't wait to put the girls to bed because you know what that means....time to watch Friday Night Lights!!! I think we are going to finish the series this weekend. So Sad.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Linking up here:
ten on ten button


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