The Weekend!

Happy Monday!

This weekend we visited some family friends of my parents. Such good people! Her husband is in the hospital and cannot speak but responds with body movement. I really enjoyed our visit with them. Such a strong woman in the Lord! It was encouraging to hear her reliance and trust in Him. Her attitude and hope is simply amazing. So much faith! It made me think of my own marriage and the “in sickness and in health” vow we have made to each other. So much unconditional love that could not be with the grace of God. Seriously, #goals.

rainbootsstanding

It has been so rainy here lately, which means so much splashing outside. ūüėČ The sound of rain against our windows is one of my favorite things about the spring. Sometimes we open our balcony door and the sound is amplified. I think we might even try to go mushroom hunting sometime. When I was a kid, we used to go out with my parents and pick morel¬†mushrooms. The best time to go is after a lot of rain. While¬†most wild mushrooms are poisonous, morel¬†mushrooms are not and are very delicious when breaded and fried.

fudge

And the rain means we make yummy food like this coconut oil fudge. So delicious!¬†And it’s actually healthy – the best part! I love chocolate. Sometimes I can get away with eating kettle corn¬†when I’m having a chocolate craving, but nothing else satisfies it other than chocolate. Will definitely be making that fudge recipe again. And again. And maybe again. ūüôā

Sunday night means women’s group which I love! We’re doing a Beth Moore study (gotta love Beth!) and we talked about friendships. So good! Some¬†issues she hit on: are we labeling our friendships properly (friends VS acquaintances)? What is a friend?¬†What does sharing your heart look like? Definitely spoke to me.

How was your weekend?

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Panera Bread Potato Soup

potato soup

Hey springtime! Where did you go?! It was so nice here until a few days ago when it got a little chilly, rained, and then got even colder. So much for playing outside with kiddos, right mamas? ūüėČ Well, unless we splash in puddles and have some hot tea when we get back in.

I decided to make soups this week and next since it’s supposed to rain the rest of the week and be in the low 60s next week, which means like in the 40s at night. Brr! Those cold nights chill our bones. Well, mine anyway. My hubby and daughter don’t get cold until it’s like 20 outside. Ha! (An inherited trait I suppose.)

But when it gets cold and he asks, “What’s for dinner, honey?” I reach for this recipe. Lemme tell you guys. This recipe. THIS ONE. Savory, filling, easy, inexpensive, versatile, comforting. It’s one that will have you coming back for more and more and more, which is why it makes it back into the recipe rotation every fall and winter.

Panera Bread Potato Soup

4 potatoes
1/4 – 1/2 yellow onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
1 package of cream cheese

1.) Wash the potatoes. Peeling them is optional.
2.) Cut up potatoes into chunks and dice the onion.
3.) Put potatoes, onion, broth, and spices into a sauce pan or pot.
4.) Cook on medium heat until boiling and potatoes are soft
5.) Mash the potatoes inside the pan or pot to release their starches, which will make the soup thick.
6.) Lower the heat and mix in the cream cheese, whisking until well combined.

I like to serve it with this bread. SO GOOD! I usually double or triple this recipe and mix cut up or frozen veggies at step 3 and cooked chicken at step 6. Probably Definitely my favorite soup recipe!

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If we were having coffee…

coffeepost

If we were having coffee…

one // This¬†classic cookie recipe¬†is one of my favorites.¬†They’re sooooo good! And you can also make it into¬†bars. I’ve never made them into bars but I bet they’re just as good as the cookies. And less messy, way faster, and easier! Also less dishes. What do you think – cookies or bars?

two // I’m super excited to try this¬†natural skincare line. The reviews are AMAZING and I’m really hoping it works for me! I don’t have terrible skin but I do have big pores (Thanks Dad.) and would love to have smoother skin. Me and every other woman, right? Ha!

three // I made this cucumber salad this weekend. Twice. Yep, so good that I made it two times. Easy, delicious, and it has feta cheese! I love feta you guys. So creamy and yummy and just plain good! AND I think it’s a salad that my family will actually eat. Yes, even my toddler!!! Well maybe not the feta but yes to everything else in it. ūüėČ

four // Speaking of food, I need to make this awesome slow cooker recipe again. The sauce is mouth-watering and I think it would be good in any stir fry dish. And HELLO! It’s a slow cooker recipe and all slow cooker recipes are welcome in our house. Less dishes, less time in the kitchen, more time with family. Um yes! Yes please!

five // These DIY mugs are gorgeous! Absolutely gorgeous! I really want to make some! I might give it a go this weekend. What color would you choose? I’m thinking about a purple and a green.

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Chewy Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies

cookie half

Yes, I know. Super late post! But hey! Did you read the title? Chewy, jumbo, and chocolate.

Anthony always says, “Find one recipe that’s good and stick to it.” Which makes sense, right? You find a keeper and you keep it, make it over and over again. Keeper recipes in our house go in my recipe binder. But there’s a stack of recipes from our wedding that I’m slowly going through. If they’re keepers, they get put in the binder. If they’re not, they get tossed. This my friends is a keeper.

Chewy Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 c. cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt (optional)
1 1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. white sugar
1 1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 12 oz. package semi sweet chocolate chips (Ha! I added a bag and a half.)

1.) Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2.) Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
3.) Combine butter and sugars in mixer and beat on medium speed, scraping the sides often, until creamy.
4.) Add eggs and vanilla. Continue beating on low speed. Don’t forget to scrape the bowl!
5.) Gradually add flour mix until well combined.
6.) Stir in chocolate chips by hand. This part is physically hard since the dough is so thick. Just work those arm muscles! It’ll be worth it!
7.) Drop dough by 1/4 c. cupfuls 2¬†inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Yes, take your 1/4 c. measuring cup and measure that dough out. I double-taked when I read that. But hey, they’re JUMBO cookies.
8.) Bake for 10-14 mins. Let stand 1-2 mins. before removing from cookie sheets.

Tips: You can make normal 2 1/2 inch cookies with this recipe. Just drop dough by the tablespoon but be aware that it makes 4 dozen cookies!!!

Enjoy!

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Artisanal Bread

great-nation-bread-edited

Okay, so we try to eat pretty healthy and are learning to portion control, buuuut we’ve kind of got this thing for bread. Does anyone else love bread as much as we do? I love seeing it in bakeries. And sometimes buying some for a snack. ūüėČ

brotchen

I enjoy making bread too. I make sandwich bread for the husband and now he said that he can’t ever go back to store bought bread. I guess I’m just stuck making sandwich bread the rest of my life. ūüėČ I’m glad to have sandwich bread around when everyone is craving sandwiches. PB & J, grilled cheese, Monte Cristo, BLT, Reuben, Club. Oh, and my personal favorite – a salowich, which is a word my neighbor uses to describe a salad sandwich (think spinach, tomato, bell peppers, etc.). I love me some salowiches!

Something else that I love is this artisanal bread. I’m not really a fan of sandwich bread, unless it’s for a salowich. But artisanal bread is my favorite bread so far. I found the original recipe here¬†and I’m so glad I did! Crispy, soft, fluffy, filling, tasty. Not only tasty but SO versatile. Italian garlic, jalapeno bacon cheese, sundried tomato and basil. Yep, you can make them all and more. With just this one recipe. Yuuuum!

Oh! And it’s only like 3¬†ingredients. Unless you count water as an ingredient.

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Homemade Kettle Corn

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Movie night! And with movie night comes popcorn. We LOVE popcorn at our house. Okay, actually I love popcorn. Anthony and Lilly just like popcorn. Unless it’s homemade kettle corn. Yes, that’s HOMEMADE kettle corn. Sweet, salty, just enough crunch, melt-in-your-mouth. And what’s even better? You can make kettle corn at home. In like 5 minutes. With 3-4 ingredients.

Homemade Kettle Corn

1/4 c. coconut oil
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. uncooked popcorn kernels
Pinch of salt (optional)

Melt coconut oil in large stockpot on medium heat. Add sugar, kernels, and salt. Put lid on top of stockpot. Shake stockpot in circular motions every 30 seconds. Dump into large popcorn bowl when kernels are all popped – if you let popcorn cool down in stockpot, it might burn! Put in desired mix-ins: chocolate chips, coconut flakes, almonds, M&M’s, etc.

I just wish I had this wooden bowl to hold our popcorn. So pretty!

*The original recipe I found came from here. I tweaked it a bit for our family РI use coconut oil and add salt. But if you Google homemade kettle corn there are a ton of recipes.

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