Winter Days + Cheddar Broccoli Soup

Cheddar Broccoli Soup

 

With a new baby, we had lots of family visitors coming to see her in the month of December. My oldest sister made us a copycat of Panera’s Cheddar Broccoli Soup – and James has already requested it a couple times since, so we have eaten it plenty lately. Turns out, the leftovers are great over a baked potato too!

I am more of a dump and pour cook, so I don’t exactly measure everything out exact each time. We also put the carrots and broccoli in the food processor to chop it up and make things quick and easy.

After a handful of requests for the recipe (after posting about it on Instagram) – Here you go!:

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • ½ medium chopped onion
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ lb fresh broccoli / about 1 cup – (I process some fine and leave some larger pieces chunkier)
  • 1 cup carrot, julienned (or throw it in the food processor and pulse chop it a couple times like I did)
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
 Cooking Directions…
  1. Saute the onion in 1 TB melted butter and set aside. In a large pot make a roux by whisking together the melted butter and flour over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes (this is what will thicken your soup as it cooks).
  2. Whisk in slowly the half & half and chicken stock. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the veggies! broccoli, carrots, and onions. Let them simmer on medium low for about 25 minutes until tender.
  4. Add nutmeg, salt & pepper, and sharp cheddar cheese. Let the cheese melt and then serve with some warm crusty bread for dipping!

 

You can tweak it too – add cubed potatoes. Add more cheese or different varieties. Add more or less broccoli and carrot. Maybe top it with some crispy bacon crumbles when you serve it?? YUM. Though I guess these things make it less of a Panera Bread copycat recipe. Whatever.

 

Maybe with the new year I will FINALLY catch up on some blogging? Maybe. Maybe not. I have tons of pictures of this new sweet babe of ours that need to be posted!

Happy Winter

xoxo

 

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First Day of Spring 2014

Happy Afternoon!

Being the first day of spring, I thought it so appropriate that the sun finally came out & we have clear blue skies! This last week of frigid rain and wind has been the dumps. Our Georgia winter has been so unpredictable this year. I’m glad it’s over. *finger’s crossed*

Other than the weather, this last month brought a lot of unpredictable news. I received news that my dear uncle passed away in a car accident – an early AM drive home in the weavy-windy mountainous roads of Arizona took him from us.  It was shocking and emotional news to hear, but what a blessing to know my uncle’s heart and have so many wonderful memories! Apart from the burnt remains of the vehicle, only a little slip of paper was found close to the wreckage – written in my uncle’s script, Philippians 2:12 and “Have Christ in my thoughts and actions…today.” Some of my aunt’s family had it embroidered on a handkerchief for the immediate family.

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My Uncle Andre was my mom’s youngest brother – 58 years old. Born and raised in Mexico, he was a farm boy, hard worker & lover of life! The man had the ability to make friends with everyone he came across. It was heart-warming to see the hundreds of faces that showed up at the funeral proving that to be true. I still get emotional thinking about it today & how much he genuinely cared about everyone – especially as a niece of his. He would give the shirt off his back without a second thought.

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(^^Grandma and her brother, Gary^^)

He brought smiles and joy into every room – – and I can’t help but smiling when I think about the two things he loved most… babies and food! Andre’s business partner and workers insisted on grilling carne asada and a meal to go with it for everyone at the funeral. EVERYONE! They staked out in the parking lot for a few hours cooking it up. It was delicious and perfect… exactly what Dre would have wanted.

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I am very blessed to have been able to make it to AZ for the funeral. Funerals are always beautiful family reunions! Only a few cousins couldn’t make it. We enjoyed family time, sharing memories, getting caught up, and of course…. good Mexican food all weekend!

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family

My heart is full of love, appreciation, and admiration for my Uncle Dre.

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When in AZ, I can never get enough of my sister’s little Conrad! Him and his Papa Tutt ….

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While I was in AZ, I also got to find out some exciting news! My dad’s brother is an OBGYN & was very excited about his new ultrasound equipment. He invited my sister and I to come in and take a peek at our babies! We found out that Tamaron’s little one is due only TWO days after my baby! – August 3rd for her. We also found out that she is having her second little boy : )

When it was my turn, I had to be sure to record all of the ultrasound videos on my phone so that James would be able to see. He does NOT like missing things like that! My uncle was the best to also take a peek at the gender, but not tell anyone. He wrote it down and put it in an envelope for James & I to open together. Having to wait to open that envelope until I got home was killing me! After picking me up from the airport, and laying together in bed that night around midnight – we opened it. Our unexpected news:

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I say unexpected because I was SO SURE we would have a girl. That first night I had trouble falling asleep (the time change didn’t help) because, as I told James, I wasn’t prepared for it to be a boy. Haha! I was excited and AM excited, but I needed time to change my thought process from baby girl to baby boy. I spent the next day at baby stores looking at all things little boy. We cannot wait for our little bundle of joy to come this summer!

Today, the first day of SPRING, I had James take a picture for me… at 21 weeks… Apart from the photo above, I haven’t taken any “belly pics” and I suppose I should have a couple, right?

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As of the last couple of weeks, I am officially a stay-at-home mom-to-be. It has been great to have time to keep the house in better order, actually stay on top of laundry, and get caught up on photo editing & projects. I had the opportunity to teach a photography class at a Women’s Conference for church this last Saturday. I’m glad I had the appropriate time to get that together. It was blast a to do and by the compliments I received, I’d say it went very well!

With spring approaching, I’ve been antsy to play with Mother Nature. Unfortunately with the cold weather lately, I’ve had to dabble in my own ways. I decided to start some herb, veggie, and flower seeds. I’ve been having to pull them in and out from the weather.

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Some daffodils have found their way up, and I’m LOVING my cheery snapdragons. Having color and plants is my latest obsession, so I’m hoping the weather cooperates!

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James is staying busy with work and school. I often find him here, doing his thing…

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Kitty also love the warmer weather. I find her playing around the windows and patches of sunlight all day long…

kittywindowNow that I have a little more time on my hands, I’ve been attempting meal planning and being more “domestic”. Ha! Last night I opted to use our overripe bananas in a new banana bread recipe. I chose to modify them into muffins and top them with a crunchy cinnamon streusel I saw the Pioneer Woman make on the Food Network this last week. I was proud of how well it all came together. They were the perfect breakfast today!

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Cinnamon Banana Streusel Muffins

Ingredients

    • 1 egg
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature (though I used salted & ended up over-melting mine in the microwave and it still turned out!)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 2 overripe bananas, mashed (I used 3!)
    • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Streusel Topping:
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted (my butter was salted because it’s all I had)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

In a large bowl of a mixer, beat together the sugar, egg and vanilla until combined. Add the butter and mix until smooth. Add in the milk and bananas.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet until all the flour is incorporated.

Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray – or use paper liners. Recipe yields enough to make 12 full muffins.

For the topping: Combine the sugar, flour,  & cinnamon into the melted butter. Using a spoon, crumble the mixture over the batter in the pan. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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This week I attempted starting a baby registry at Buy Buy Baby. Can I just say that it is more overwhelming than fun? Yikes! The amount of baby products, paraphernalia  and brands is unbelievable. I feel like so much of it is unnecessary too. I’d prefer to not have a baby gadget for every little thing filling all the space in my home! So to you mom’s out there… what couldn’t you live without? What brands do you recommend? Or any thoughts for a first-timer would be appreciated! Thanks 🙂

love,
Whit

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food obsessed

what a great resolve…

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so i’m a little obsessed with this easy peasy “Crusty Bread” and keep baking it…

(horrible phone pic….but always consumed in a day or two via my roommates and i…)

no kneading, no fuss, i like to make mine with cheese…

my friend’s mom (who has the BEST cooking blog) made some while i was staying at their house. i was in love. she put pepper-jack in the particular loaf i ate…

anyway…check out the recipe. it’s a quick and DELISH hit!

http://simplysogood.blogspot.com/2010/03/crusty-bread.html

i don’t have a fancy pot like she uses….so i take the inside part out of the crock pot and use that. works just as well!

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i came upon another LEGIT mexican food joint….with some killer tacos and a salsa bar!

not to mention a slice of mexican chocolate cake to DIE FOR (mexican chocolate = moist with cinnamon included)

Tarahumara Cantina

i kind of got way excited when i saw the name of this place. i often saw Tarahumara Indians in Mexico when we’d visit my grandparents in the summer down where my mom grew up. they wear the most colorful clothing and big skirts and dresses…and weave beautiful bracelets (because i bought a few off of one once). anyway…it made me happy!

great food!

and like 25 fresh homemade salsa options!

about 20 minutes up Provo Canyon and in a town called Midway.

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so, i’m officially back in school and the term is almost over already! goodness…only about a week and a half left of classes. finals coming up. ooooh boy…

love, whit

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autumn is coming!

i love georgia because it has all four seasons.

and it has a very beautiful FALL! i am getting very anxious for this time of year and all it brings.

cider in an apple mug?! YESplease!

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fall fashion. boots, cardigans, tights, and scarves!

i have to mention that this last week, i just happened upon some excellent clearance at Target – woven/knit/patterned tights for $2!! knee socks for my boots, too. $2. i love a good deal. and yes, i stocked up for the season.

thai spiced pumpkpin soup

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on a different note. Dieter F. Uchtdorf is the man.

his inspiring words from this last weekend’s conference…

love, whit

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the weekend

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my weekend had me thinking about a few things.

1. in the words of justin bieber, “never say never”  (great documentary, bee-tee-dub) – life has curve balls. plans can change. time will make things happen that you might have never anticipated…i mean, five years ago had i been asked that infamous question, “where do you see yourself in five years?” – this is not entirely what i would have pictured…

…so,

2. prepare. to take on whatever. go forward with faith. no, maybe you don’t have all the answers, and things are unsure – but go forward anyway.

3. TiME. time does so much to a person. a relationship. a block of cheese. it takes times for something to be ripe enough for the picking, but with time, the same thing can also go rotten. i may be only 24 – but sometimes i feel like i’m ALREADY 24. time is slipping away. things need to happen! i feel behind. stuck. as though i’m on pause but the world around me and the clock keep ticking. i get anxious and frustrated. then i have CARPE DIEM moments of caring less about any time-table other than fitting in as much as i can and enjoying life while i am still young and single and life is full of options and opportunities. i guess regardless… time: don’t waste it.

ps – i’m SO ready for full-time school again in january.

again, go forward.

i guess my #3 really goes with #1…and #2. whatevs.

4. thanks to a great lesson in sunday school – the Lord’s wisdom and the world’s wisdom are not the same. a reminder of the constant need to re-evaluate priorities, what’s most important, and my motives.

5. maybe North Point is a good idea. (Paige, if you read this, let’s not jump the gun though)

6. i’m glad i called elissa

7. two words – apple festival

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caramel apple cheesecake bars

um, YES!

love, whit

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today i just want my bed

i made crepes for the first time! no, this is not my picture…i was too lazy to make a visual production of my food – though it was the photo that inspired my craving…and the recipe (found here), which i will also share below.

yes, crepes are easy. and delicious. why haven’t i made them before? no idea, really. though i’m glad i did. SOGOOD! and foolproof.

Ingredients: 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 cup (5 ounces) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk (2% worked just fine for me, too.)
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Sugar (to sprinkle on afterwards, if you want)

Directions:

1. Place oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet and heat over low heat for at least 10 minutes.

2. While skillet is heating, whisk together flour, 1 teaspoon sugar, and salt in medium bowl. In separate bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Add half of milk mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add butter and whisk until incorporated. Whisk in remaining milk mixture until smooth.

3. Using paper towel, wipe out skillet, leaving thin film of oil on bottom and sides. Increase heat to medium and let skillet heat for 1 minute. After 1 minute, test heat of skillet by placing 1 teaspoon batter in center and cook for 20 seconds. If mini crêpe is golden brown on bottom, skillet is properly heated; if it is too light or too dark, adjust heat accordingly and retest.

4. Pour ¼ cup batter into far side of pan and tilt and shake gently until batter evenly covers bottom of pan. Cook crêpe without moving it until top surface is dry and crêpe starts to brown at edges, loosening crêpe from side of pan with rubber spatula, about 25 seconds. Gently slide spatula underneath edge of crêpe, grasp edge with fingertips, and flip crêpe. Cook until second side is lightly spotted, about 20 seconds. Transfer cooked crêpe to wire rack, inverting so spotted side is facing up. Return pan to heat and heat for 10 seconds before repeating with remaining batter. As crêpes are done, stack on wire rack.

btw: this crepe cake looks heavenly…my next “crepe project” to try:

have you ever been to FOODGAWKER.COM ?! oh my…it’s amazing. just go…and you’ll find yourself craving everything you see. i especially like looking under popular and favorites. SO MANY THINGS TO TRY! not enough time…or dinero.

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this is how i feel today:

last october i had bronchitis. for a whole bloody month i had this horrendous cough! it sounded like death. though i didn’t realize it was bronchitis until i went to the doctor two weeks into the never-ending coughing. it was strange to me that i wasn’t congested, my nose was fine – and i felt pretty ok – just coughed. it got nasty though. low fever and feeling achy and tired. and the hacking my lungs out – horrible and painful at times. and exhausting.

anyway…for the past few days…i’ve had this “cough”. nothing else, just coughing. and progressing. the past couple nights it’s made it impossible to sleep well. and today, i feel like a zombie. tired. bags under the eyes. slight headache. slightly feverish, but i’m not positive. i don’t want to go all HYPOCHONDRIAC – but i reallyreallyR E A L L Y  hope it’s not the ol’ bronchitis again. BOOOOO!

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thought for today:

i do like miss swift. there’s something admirable and real about an artist that writes all their own music.

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rad photo-manipulation for the day:

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and, along with the food-bit of this post, a neat shabby/chic DiY food display out of tins and candlestick holders! ingenuity – i love it.

and… HEART ENVELOPES! cute.

now i just need someone to write a “love note” to.

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i officially suck at my photo challenge. i work 9-5. come home and usually head to the gym. by the time i get home i’m tired, needing a shower, and it’s too dark to take pictures. excuses? yeah, maybe. whatevs.

and really, today i just want to go home and take a nap. or curl up with a good movie. or even better, with one of the 6 books i have in my room waiting to be read.

yes.

love, whit

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