Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Baked Potato Soup

Soup is one of my most favorite things to eat. If I could pick only one thing to eat for the rest of my life soup would be up there on my list. I don't know if that is a fair answer since soup is a broad category in and of itself but we are going to go with it. 

With the weather turning cold, I am even more excited about eating soup.  Plus if you make a big pot over the weekend it will last you all week long. Three cheers for easy leftover meals. 

Mr. J doesn't have nearly as much enthusiasm for soup as I do so I really have to talk it up ahead of time. This baked potato soup didn't take much effort.  Thick chunks of potatoes loaded with cheese, bacon and scallions.  Totally man soup.  

The first bowls were paired with grilled cheese sandwiches.  And now we have lunch all week long. 

Baked Potato Soup

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: saute soup/stew bacon potatoes
Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 7C potatoes (or roughly 6 medium)
  • 1C yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 32 oz chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 C plain yogurt
  • 3 slices thick cut bacon
  • Shredded Cheese of your choice
  • Chopped Scallions
Prepare potatoes by peeling and chopping into small chunks, roughly 1" in size.
Place a 8 qt pot of water on high. Bring potatoes to a boil and cook for 8-10 minutes until just soft. When done, drain and set aside until onions are cooked.

Meanwhile, in another large soup pot over medium heat cook bacon. Drain on paper towels. Use a paper towel to careful wipe up some of the bacon grease, leaving just enough to cook the onions and garlic. Chop bacon, set aside.

Add all vegetables to pot with bacon grease. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook on medium low until the onions soften, about 10-15 minutes. Pour in chicken stock and add potatoes to pot.

Remove 1/3-1/2 of the soup mixture to a blender. Blend until smooth. Return to pot. Stir and cover, continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes or until heated through.

When ready to serve, garnish with shredded and bacon, and scallions.

May be stored chilled for up to several days.
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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Donuts with Cinnamon Sugar

Taste the essence of fall with these apple cinnamon donuts with cinnamon sugar.

Happy Sunday!!  This is the first weekend in a long time that we were home. Just the two of us. With no major projects to get done.  And beside the cold temperatures and rainy weather it was wonder.  Even those things weren't too bad. Bring on the soup, sweat pants and movies.  

Mr. J loves apple cider donuts.  Heck, he loves all donuts but in the fall he really loves these.  We have an orchard quite close by and he tends to drop in often to get his fix.  Sadly a lot of the time they aren't hot.  When it comes to apple cider donuts they need to be hot in my mind.  I guess I am picky like that.  

So as a special treat I decided to bake up some of our own apple cider donuts.  Enjoyed (maybe a bit too much) straight out of the oven.

These donuts come together super fast and don't requite any fancy ingredients. Unless of course you count apple cider as super fancy. I used the cider from our local orchard. It is so thick and flavorful I probably could have skipped the instructions below for reducing the mixture. 

We had our fill and then ate the rest the following morning.  A few seconds in the microwave do the fix if you like them warm like me. 

Apple Cinnamon Donuts with Cinnamon Sugar

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: bake breakfast apple fall
Ingredients (18 donuts or 36 donut holes)
    For the Donuts:
    • 1 and 1/4 cups apple cider
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 large egg, room temperature
    • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    For the topping:
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    First, simmer apple cider over low-medium heat in a small saucepan on the stove for 15-20 minutes until reduced. You will need 1/2 cup of reduced cider. Transfer cider to a separate container and allow to cool in the refrigerator as make the donuts.

    Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Spray a mini muffin pan or donut pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

    Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.

    In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until smooth. Whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, and 1/2 cup of the cooled apple cider reduction.

    Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and very gently mix together with a whisk. Whisk until all ingredients are just combined. It is OK if small lumps remain, but not many.
    Pour the batter into the mini muffin pan, filling 3/4 of the way full. You'll only need a couple teaspoons of batter for each. Do the same if you are making whole donuts. 

    Bake the donut holes for 9-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The donuts will take the same amount of time.

    For the topping:
    Mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Dip the donuts all the way into the cinnamon sugar, using your hands to mix it around so the entire donut hole (or donut) is coated generously. Repeat with all the donuts.
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    Thursday, October 9, 2014

    Baby Update: Week 19

    I have wanted to make a post of thoughts since even before the announcement went out but my head is  literally all over the place.  I can think of a list of things I want to mention and if I don't write it down immediately I will forget.

    Being pregnant is different than anything I have ever experienced or expected. Let's just say it is not like in the movies where a woman finds out she is pregnant. She grows a beautiful belly and in about five minutes she is at home caring for her lovely baby. Not that I expected exactly that but seriously...not even close. 

    I feel like I have been pregnant FOREVER and I am not even halfway there. Dear lord!  I didn't really get morning sickness. I haven't felt great for the last four months or so but I wasn't never really sick. Just tired.  Always. The most indecisive ever. Completely indifferent about food.  Uncomfortable. 

    I am a doer and not having the ambitious to do anything for hours, days, weeks and at this point months is just weird.  

    Given that I haven't been sick I feel lucky. Given that we just had the anatomy ultrasound and our little baby has 2 feet, 2 hands, a heart and brain I feel incredibly lucky.  

    My clothes just started to not fit. I put on the one pair of pants I thought I could wear on Monday only to dread that decision by 3 pm.  If only sweatpants, yoga pants, and sweatshirts were acceptable for all occasions.  I have a dress and one pair of non-maternity pants with an elastic waist that I wear to every single business meeting. My office is pretty causal so maternity jeans are totally OK.  I have a few more skirts and dresses I will wear as long as it doesn't get too cold. 

    I haven't had food cravings or aversions. Anything I didn't like before I still don't like. I still eat anything I used to eat if it isn't banned. Do you know the restrictions for pregnancy now?  Pretty much everything.  Not that it is that big of deal.  Like I said, I am more indifferent about food than anything. No energy to make dinner grilled cheese, cereal simple things are the most appealing. Of course if you want to bring me a salad or anything else I will eat it...as long as I don't have to do the dishes too. 

    I still go to the gym most days.  I try to walk 60 minutes each day. It ranges though from 30-60 minutes and my speed has gone from a 4.0 on the treadmill to 3.8.  I always walked fast.  Mr. J says I am slow now but that my slow is really normally speed for most people. I guess that should make me feel better.

    The main project right now is getting the nursery in shape.  The baby room is the room we haven't touched since we moved in a little more than a year ago.  We have some projects to tackle in the next few weeks and I am hopeful that by the end of the month it will be in a spot where I can actually picture a baby. 

    So that's it for now...I haven't decided how often I will being doing these updates.  But hopefully you won't mind of few posts about the baby here and there.  

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