Baked Potato Soup (YUM)

I love potatoes. I love potato soup. And THIS is a sort of spliced together recipe that I make when I want some serious comfort food.

Baked Potato Soup a la Me

Potatoes (1 large per person or just a BUNCH if you want leftovers)
Half and Half (or whole milk)
butter
salt
onion (half diced OR you can flavor soup with onion salt/powder)
celery (2-4 stalks diced thin optional–just adds flavor)
grated cheese
crumbled bacon
green onions (diced)

Peel and dice your potatoes like you’re going to mash them. Slice and dice your onion and celery and add to potatoes. JUST cover with water, then boil and bring to a simmer to cook with lid on the pot. After potatoes have softened, blend with hand mixer or mash with masher. DO NOT DRAIN WATER–leave it in there. You will have some very thin mashed potatoes or very thick soup when you’re done. The onions will be all mixed in with the potatoes and add flavor–the celery may remain a little chunky, so you can delete that if you like, but it adds flavor as well. Add butter (1/4 to 1/2 cup), half and half/milk (1 cup to 1 pint depending), and salt to taste (it will take a lot) until it is still thick but more of a soup-like consistency. It should be hot enough that you don’t have to reheat it. Top with grated cheese, green onions, and bacon.

DELISH. Hearty. Warm. EASY. Great for this time of year.

Uh. . .YUM!!!

Victoria made cookies last weekend. . .traditional peanut butter Hershey Kiss blossoms, and she also made the recipe on the back of the Candy Cane Kisses bag. We just did a partial recipe, because we didn’t know how they would be. Actually, SHE did them–I just took them out of the oven.

Anyway. They were GREAT. They are ESPECIALLY good warm. We left some of the Kisses whole and spread others while they were melted to get some of the gooey peppermint all over the chewy sugar cookie. The little red sprinkles are actually peppermint sprinkles that are inside the Candy Cane Kisses. We opted to roll them in plain granulated sugar rather than the colored sugar. These are a keeper.

So. . .I know it’s December

We finally got our tree up Thursday night and halfway lit Friday night and decorated Saturday night. It’s an evergreen–not deciduous, so you don’t have to worry about me being amazed at how GREEN it is. We found a new tree farm–great place. . .and we literally walked up to this tree, looked at it, and said “This is it.” First time EVER.

Victoria's mad photog skillz at work. . .

What Tony and Thad did while Victoria and I decorated the tree. Again--Victoria photographing.

My sweet girl with her new ornament.

Victoria's photo of her new ornament. . .love the bokeh of Granny's chair in the background.

One of Thad's Santas.

Victoria's favorite angel ornament.

Merry Christmas!

Tonight

Tonight I had a bunch of teenagers I love come to my house and eat baked potatoes and sing songs (acapella) in our clearing around a campfire laid by my own (Eagle Scout) husband. There were Christmas lights lining the path to the clearing and some lanterns with tealights as well (it’s dark out here). . .and I invited OTHER people besides teenagers (it was REALLY the teen devo and ornament exchange) and THOSE people came. It was wonderful.

Now Victoria is asleep–I’m not sure if she is getting sick or if it’s just 13 1/2, but she ALSO took a nap this afternoon–and Tony and Thad are watching some (cool) science documentary on United Streaming while I sit here with some tired feet but a very, very full heart.

What a lovely night.

Indian Autumn

Yes. . .I know the actual terminology, but this lovely fall we have is still showing off. Victoria and ran into Magnolia today, and I took these photos on the way. I would apologize for MORE autumn tree pictures. . .but they are JUST SO PRETTY. I can’t help myself.

At our neighbors' house. These leaves look like poinsettias!!!

Again with the oaks that aren't "Red Oaks" turning red!!!! SPEECHLESS. And this tree is HUGE.

We pulled into the driveway of an abandoned house so I could go back to photograph the huge oak with all the red leaves, and found this patch of clover. See what I mean? AMAZING. Clover. And RED LEAVES. In December. (I also forgot to mention that our neighbor delivered a home-grown watermelon from their garden to our door step last Sunday while we were at church. So add watermelons in December to the list.)

Victoria wanted to run through it. . .and I said, “Go for it, girly.”

Lovely, lovely day.

Phone Call Photos

Earlier I had a long talk with my friend, Carolyn. As we talked, I made the bed and walked around and folded clothes, and then went outside to take some photos for her. And here they are. . .explanations will follow. . .or you can just make up your own. (But she will understand them.)

Obviously, greenery on front porch rails. . .methinks we need some red bows though.

Afternoon kitty-cats

THERE are the red bows. 🙂

We hope the holly tree will survive. . .there are some green leaves still. Fingers crossed.

More colors. . .including a big ‘ole patch of some tender, green ground cover.

Not sure what it is, but it’s BRIGHT. I did NOTHING to that photo but take it.

Tony is building Thad his long promised and awaited fort. It’s TALL (10 feet clearance) and BIG (100 square feet). If Tony can survive building the stairs and the railing, we will all be happy.

The path the kids cut from the house to the fort. The entry to this path is very near the entry to the official path, but THIS path makes a bee-line to the fort. . .they will eventually be able to run down the trail and up the stairs at speed.

This is going FROM the clearing TO the house on the official trail that Tony and I cut three years ago. The clearing is a natural one–a low spot in the land, so it is where the rain water collects when there is any.

Yaupon is a type of native bush/shrub that grows all over the place out here. THESE yaupons have obviously become more like trees and are years and years old.

These last three are on the trail back to the house but looking back toward the clearing. The close-up yaupon photos above are of the clutch to the right.

Have I mentioned that I love where we live?