Weekend Toss

So, if you read my last post, just let me assure you that this week has been better, although there was a hairy stretch today while making soup.  Recipe below.

I have been busy finalizing shopping and what little bit of decorating I have done. There is a link-up next week I might join for a Tour of Christmas decorations hosted by the Nester, who gave us permission to Undecorate.  If I link up it will probably be either Monday or Tuesday.

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My Christmas Theme this year centers around Silent Night.  The words to that song have really been jumping out at me this year.  I plan to write more about that next week.  I really want to focus on the Holy Infant this year rather than all the hustle and bustle.  His tenderness , the love’s pure light.  So, join me next week as I take a day to reflect on this song and how it can impact your Christmas season.  Probably towards the end of the week.

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You may be interested in reading about Simple Gifts to Encourage The Soul by Emily over at Chatting at the Sky. Maybe some of them would be your favorites too!

Also, in the decor department you may want to check out Laura’s Kitchen renovation and Christmas Decor.  She has recently moved to a new home and has been sharing her renovations.  She has great taste and does everything on a budget, so we can all know that it’s not unrealistic to redo a room or two.  I think you will enjoy her style.

Speaking of decor, I finally painted the inside of my front door, which has sported various shades of sample paints for the past three years.  It is now all one color that may or may not last for the next three years.  Time will tell.  For now it works.  You may remember when I wrote about my Favorite Colors on Decor to Adore, that I mentioned my new favorite shade of Pink was Fruit Shake by Benjamin Moore and that pink might show up in my future decor.  Well, it has.  Not Fruit Shake though, but a color that is very close.

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It reads a little more sugary pink in this picture than it actually is.  In person it is what I call a grown-up, sophisticated pink.  I combined three samples I had – they were Glidden colors mixed with Olympic paint from Lowe’s.  The colors were: Pink Ballet Slipper (too pale), Deep Coral (too dark) and Red Grapefruit (Just right).  I didn’t want to buy a whole quart of the Red Grapefruit and by experimenting I found that mixing the three together was pretty close to the Red Grapefruit.  It was the shade my husband liked the best (my favorite too) so we went with it and now my door is all one color.

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I feel much better knowing this door has finally found it’s place in the world of color. In the above picture you can also see bits of my Christmas decor.  I put up a little four foot tree and decided that was just enough.

In other news, today, I made Cheeseburger soup which is going to be yummylicious. So, you will want to try this one.  I call it:

 TERESA’S YUMMY VARIATION ON EVERYBODY’S CHEESEBURGER SOUP

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You will need the following:

  • 2 pounds ground beef ( the leaner the better for your health)
  • 1 large sweet potato cubed 1- 1 ½ inch pieces
  • 5-6 med potatoes cubed 1- 1 ½ inch pieces
  • 1 med – lg onion chopped
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes – drained (optional)
  • 2-3 cups kale chopped, stems removed (optional)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic (I used 4 cubes of Dorot frozen)
  • 3-4 cubes of frozen basil (I used Dorot) = 4 tsp
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 T brown sugar (or honey, if you prefer)
  • Mustard, Ketchup and Worcestershire – a few squirts of each for a little added interest – I added these to my hamburger as it was browning – probably 1-2 T of mustard, ½ c of Ketchup and about 5-6 dashes of Worcestershire.
  • 8 cups of Chicken Broth
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups of any cheese you prefer ( I used a combination of Velveeta, cream cheese and cheddar – (approx. slightly less than ¼ box Velveeta, ½ block of cream cheese and ½ bag of shredded cheddar – so that may be a little more than two cups – you can’t go wrong with cheese – use as much or as little as you like).
  1. I chopped the potatoes and covered them with 4 cups of chicken broth and cooked long enough to make them firm tender – I added one cube of garlic and one of basil to add flavor and a little salt and pepper as they were cooking. When finished I transfer all, including liquid to my crock-pot.
  2. While the potatoes were cooking, I sautéd my onion in butter with 2 cubes of the garlic and 2 of the basil. When the onion was starting to get tender I transferred it to the crock-pot.
  3. I then used the same skillet to brown the beef – I added salt, pepper and all the condiments mentioned above and the brown sugar.  When the hamburger was almost done I added the diced tomatoes.  I then transferred this to the crock-pot.
  4. I then added another 4 cups of chicken broth.
  5. In the stockpot I used for my potatoes, I melted about 4 T of butter then added my chopped cheeses and the two cups of heavy cream. I started out on med heat and then turned to low, stirring almost constantly.  I also added a cup or two of my broth off the soup just for extra liquid to keep the cheese from sticking. I added the final garlic and basil cube to this mixture and some pepper.  Once the cheese was melted I added this to the crock-pot and gently stirred to blend all ingredients.
  6. I cooked on high for 1 ½ – 2 hours, then added the kale and turned to low and allowed to simmer on low for 2-3 hours. Once the Kale is tender and flavors are blended it is ready to eat.  But can be left on low for several hours until ready to serve.  Kale is similar to cabbage in flavor, but much milder – it is full of vitamins and adds a much better texture to soup than spinach – it holds together better and the taste is milder.  It really does not make the soup taste weird and it is a good way to add some vegetables.  So use it already!

I just kept checking and adjusting seasonings as I went, but pretty much following the above steps seemed to have a good balance on spice and flavor.

I plan to serve it with Mrs. Schubert’s Yeast Rolls.

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SOUP NOTES:  I doubled the recipe from what most called for, so that we could share with my parents and have leftovers.  I have a large (at least 6 qt crock-pot and it was full to the brim.  If you don’t have a large crock-pot, then just use a large stockpot and simmer on the stove.) If you don’t need this much, then just do half the ingredients more or less.

Also, you could chop the potatoes and add them to the crock-pot with the chicken broth and seasonings and cook them a few hours, then when they are tender, brown your meat and onions and add the other ingredients. (You could also do the onion and hamburger together.)  This would have saved me a lot of time and extra clean-up, but for some reason I like to make things hard on myself.

I would still recommend doing the cheese sauce separate and then adding it to the soup as it helps the cheese melt better.  Also, some people do a flour rue to help thicken the soup – I opted not to do this, as I don’t mind the broth being a little thin – it is so full of flavor that it doesn’t have to be thick.

I know I have a lot of notes etc, but this is really a very easy recipe and it would be hard to mess it up.  You can add or delete ingredients as you wish to suit what you have on hand and your taste.  Some people use carrots and celery; one recipe used corn.  As long as you are using the broth, beef, potatoes, cheese and seasonings, you’d have to be pretty incompetent to mess it up.  Cheese makes everything taste great.  I hope you try this soup and I hope you enjoy it!

I looked at several recipes online and Pinterest and then took elements from all of them to suit my taste and pantry. I found that they were all pretty much variations on each other.  Edie’s has the mustard, ketchup and Worcestershire and I thought they added interest.  I looked at Edie’s Cheeseburger in Paradise Soup, from Life in Grace, also Taste of Home and Buns in My Oven and Easy Cheeseburger Soup from Chocolate, Chocolate and More, which is the one I have pinned on Pinterest.

That is all for today – check back next week for more decorations and Silent Night reflections.

Savoring His Grace,

Teresa

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