Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fine Dining and some family time

It's a baking day. Yesterday I got the laundry done and house cleaned, so there was nothing left to do today but make food.
I love it.
Here's dinner:

Baked Potato Soup

6 bacon strips, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 Cup. flour
1 Tablespoon fresh basil minced OR 2 tsp. dried basil
2 teaspoon fresh oregano minced OR 1/2 tsp. dried oregano (optional)
1/2 tsp. pepper (or more to taste)
1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
6 cups chicken broth (or 6 cups water with 6 bouillon cubes)
4 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
dash hot pepper sauce (optional)
Shredded Cheddar cheese

- In a large saucepan, cook the diced bacon until crisp. Drain - reserve about 2 tbs. drippings. Set bacon aside. Saute onion in drippings until tender, add garlic and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Stir in flour, salt, herbs, and pepper. Mix well. Gradually add broth. Bring to boil and stir for minute or two until thickened to taste. Add potatoes, cream, hot pepper sauce, and heat but DO NOT BOIL. Garnish with bacon and cheese (and parsley if you want).
- Note: I boiled carrots in the broth before adding to flour mixture. You need to make sure any veggies you want to add are already cooked before adding potatoes and cream.

Okay, we like our soup on the thicker side, so after going through all that above, I played around with the recipe a little more and ended up melting about 2 Tbs. butter in a pan, added about 1/4 C. flour, mixed up, added slowly some of the soup until I got a nice, thick mixture, then poured it all back into the main soup pot. Perfect.

Beautiful Bread
I got the original recipe from my friend Mary's blog, but then I tweaked it and ended up with the following:

10 C. Flour - (I used 1/2 whole white wheat, 1/2 bread flour)
3 Tablespoons instant or rapid rise yeast
1 Tbs. salt
1/2 C. sugar
6 Tablespoons lecithin powder (this is a lot less messy than the liquid stuff) - I know, it's a lot of lecithin. The package said to add 3 Tbs. per 4 C. flour, so there you go. I don't think you really need that much...
1/2 C. powdered milk (optional)
1/2 C. instant potato flakes (optional)

Mix all the above in a bread mixer or large KitchenAid.

While mixer is going, slowly add:

4 Cups of HOT water

Let dough mix, adding flour if it's too sticky or water if it's too dry, until it all comes together in a nice ball. Mix on medium speed for 5 minutes.

You can then form the dough into 4 loaves and let rise until dough rolls over the sides a little, or you can lift dough out of the bowl, spray w/cooking oil, put dough ball back and let it rest (covered w/soft cloth) and rise about 20 minutes (which I did because I had some other things I had to do right then), punch down, then form into 4 loaves.

Bake in pre-heated 350F oven for 25-35 minutes until tops are golden brown and sound hollow when you tap on them.
Remove from pans and let cool on cooling racks. You can freeze loaves for later.

Jeff took the boys to a Utah Jazz game on Saturday. They left in the afternoon (after their own basketball games), drove 3 hours to the game (picked up Uncle Jon on the way), watched the game, and drove 3 hours back (dropped off Uncle Jon on the way).
Basketball has become even more important since the Jazz game, oh - and there's also some guy named Jimmer the boys keep talking about...I guess he's pretty good. :) Go BYU Cougars!
It warmed up to, like, 25F outside. No need for winter coats - just go out in your fleece pullovers and shoot some hoops! The sun is a blessed sight.
Jeff and Oliver. Playing basketball. I bet you knew that.

While the boys were away, the girls and I walked over to Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Don's house (ALL the way across the street!), picked up Uncle Don, and walked all the way home with him. (See, the boys took off with Uncle Jon to the Jazz game, so us girls kidnapped Uncle Don. It was that kind of day, I guess). Eleanor and Charlotte put on quite the crazy mix of ballet, jazz, clogging, hip-hop dance show. I wonder if Don wished he was watching the Jazz....? Naw.

I love this picture. I think I'll call it "A Study in Technology - Or Male Bonding".

And I REALLY love this picture, taken this past October on our way back from the Grand Canyon. The kids, Jeff, and Jeff's grandparents (my kids' GREAT grandparents!) Ellis and Oda Rasmussen, two of the loveliest souls you could ever know.

Speaking of our trip to the Grand Canyon, I promised way back when that I would add pictures of our trip. I still plan on it...Really! But here's proof that we actually went. What an amazing place.

And we visited other beautiful places on our trip. Here we are just outside of Sedona, AZ. Slide Rock State Park. Because you slide down the rock. In the water. It was fun, but on the chilly side.

Reading: I finished, "The Help" and wanted to turn right around and read it all over again. I'm not, though. I'm moving on. I'm now reading, "Girl of the Limberlost" and "Cold Sassy Tree." I love reading. I'm not going to review the books in depth because it's late and I'm tired, but they're good books.


  1. yummy! i want homemade food and hoop-shooting time in the driveway!

  2. Oh, oh, oh, I am going to make that soup this week! and I can't wait to try the tweeking of the break recipe. Brilliant, sheer brilliance. And I must pick your brain about the grand canyon. WE're heading down there in July with jayne's family and I"m in charge of planning it . .. eek! One of these weekends you guys should come on down here! If not, we'll be up hopefully sooner than later.

  3. Stephanie -- I found your blog. Thanks for sharing. I am LOVING looking at the recipes and I will have to try a few. Thanks for inspiring me to try new things.
    And I just had to comment on this post. We used to go to Slide Rock all the time when I was a kid/teen. The water is always freezing but it is fun in the summer.
    I also wanted to say that 2 of the 3 books you mentioned are ones that our Book Group read. You need to come!!! We would love to have you. I love Girl of the Limberlost especially. We just watched the movie this week. It was cheesy but fun to watch.