Monthly Archives:

November 2014


It’s Charlie!

Hello everyone and Happy Thanksgiving! Biz is still on break and we still don’t have any updates on Tony. But that’s no reason I can’t hijack her account to and post something too.

Today I bring you my semi-famous Potato Soup recipe. I came up with this maybe a decade ago and although I keep promising myself that I’ll improve it someday, that never happens. So I do believe this is now the definitive version of this recipe!

First, the ingredients:

  • 12 medium Russet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of ham soup base
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 5 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • fresh ground pepper

The recipe is pretty simple:

  1. Peel and cube the taters.
  2. Sauté diced onions and celery.
  3. Boil the taters in eight cups of water, with ham base.
  4. Heat dairy products to 175 or so.
  5. Melt remaining butter, add flour, salt, and pepper.
  6. Combine dairy products with the roux.
  7. Pour the cream mixture into the tater pot.

From start to finish, it should take between ninety minutes and two hours. If you happen to be in a hurry at the moment, go! Go now and just start cooking. You should have all the info you need above. On the other hand, if you’re just sitting at home right now, killing time, and watching the Macy’s parade, read on.

Begin with a dozen potatoes. Don’t worry too much about the sizes, it all works out in the end:

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could peel potatoes that quickly? Once they’ve been skinned, chop each potato into six or eight parts. You want to make them small enough to cook quickly but large enough to survive the journey. I recommend an eight-quart pot for this.

Next, the onion, celery, and garlic. Hoooo boy, I’m getting excited already just thinking about it. I recommend one medium onion, a couple stalks of celery, and as much garlic as you want. I use at least two cloves.

You can chop these up by hand or take the easy way out. Guess which one I chose.

Now sauté in two tablespoons of butter. I love this step. I’d be happy just chopping up onions, celery, and garlic, throwing it in a hot pan, and sautéing all the live long day. There should be a word for this.

In another pan, mix five cups of skim milk with one cup of heavy cream. Or six cups of half and half. Or whole milk. Or all skim milk. It’s really your choice. Heat this to around 175 degrees. Why? I have no idea, to be perfectly honest. John? Any thoughts?

Boil four quarts of water and add to two tablespoons of ham soup base. Or, if you happen to have four quarts of prepared stock, use that. Chicken stock would work too, but heck, you use chicken stock for everything. Use a little pig juice for a change.

Pour that over the taters and add another four cups of hot water. You should now be looking at something like this:

Bring to a boil and cook for thirty minutes. Oh, go ahead and add the onions and celery now too:

Now it’s time to melt a half cup of butter then add a half cup of flour, doing the usual panic stirring to avoid lumpage. Once it’s mixed and bubbly, add one tablespoon of salt and as much pepper as you can grind before the roux burns.

When the milk is hot and your flour hasn’t burst into flames yet, add about half the milk mixture, again with the panic stirring. (Do you have any idea how hard it is to stir flour and butter, pour milk, and take a picture at the same time?)

Once mixed, pour this new stuff back into the milk mixture.

Get out your whisk and stir until: 1) no lumps and 2) it gets thick. Be patient. If you get bored during this step, take this time to ponder why my thumb looks so huge. Or why the whisk looks so tiny. This doesn’t look like an eight quart pot. It looks like a teacup.

Next, add the Nestle butterscotch morsels.

Wait a minute. What am I talking about?! Don’t do that. Never add butterscotch morsels to your potato soup. I recommend the chocolate mint chips instead.

When the taters are good and cooked and the sauce is good and thick, put the two together, again taking care to not drop the camera in the pot.

Cook for another five minutes to two hours on low heat. Honestly, it’s about done at this point, but I’m usually busy with other things, so it generally sits on the stove at least another half hour.

Did I say done? Not a chance. Sure, you can go ahead and pour yourself a bowl right now, but it’s actually relatively bland at this point. But that’s by design because what sets Charlie’s Creamy Potato Soup above the rest is the stir-in. Bare minimum: grated cheddar cheese. My favorite is hot sauce and taco meat. Yes, taco meat. I also highly recommend chopped bacon. Use your imagination. Just don’t use butterscotch morsels.

And the damage? Pre stir-in, not too bad, actually:

This makes about a dozen twelve-ounce servings. For me, that’s three ladles: about a half cup per pour. Of course, any decent stir-in will probably double these stats, but you’re still looking at a great big bowl of yummy for around 300 calories total.



It’s Jennifer!

I’m filling in today for my twin sister Biz.  I was thinking that a lot of her regular readers would want an update on everything going on.  Still no news to share about Tony.  But they are appreciative of all the thoughts and prayers people have offered!!

AND…with everything going on, she still wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

She will be taking a blog break while Tony is still in the hospital and will be updating everyone on Monday.


So what are some of the things you are making for Thanksgiving?  What’s your favorite side dish?  Mine is hands down super creamy mashed potatoes and gravy.

Do you have any funny mishaps in the kitchen?

I only started cooking an actual turkey about 3 years ago.  We’ve always gone somewhere where someone else cooked it (my Mom or mother-in-law, sister-in-laws).  So the first time I made a turkey, I was so excited.  It smelled great while cooking, looked gorgeous when it came out.  Then my husband started carving it and realized I left the “packet”  of pieces parts in the turkey!  The neck, the giblets and other guts (I don’t even know all the stuff in there!).  How gross is that?  Not the most pleasant thing to yank out at the dinner table!  LOL

So, from Biz, and me and our family – HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!






Still waiting.

So I wrote yesterdays post the night before (Sunday night) before I actually spent the night in the hospital with Tony.  I had a recliner chair to sleep in.  I thought it would be fine.  They gave me a couple blankets and pillows.  No worries!  Long time readers know that I sleep like the dead.  Pretty much anywhere.  I was confident that would be the case at the hospital.  Except for a couple things.  Turns out my recliner tried to close in on me like a clam shell every time I tried to make it flat like a bed.  And it was noisy.  Think sitting down on a leather couch in the summer noisy.   Another variable?  Routine rounds of blood pressure, oxygen level and temperature every two hours.

Tony likes to have the t.v. on at home so at the hospital I expected it.  I zoned out the t.v. and was almost asleep when a tech came in, around midnight, into a dark room with no lights, turned all the lights off and declared “I am here to check all your vitals!”  Tony, who hasn’t spoken strong at all for the last couple weeks, distinctly said “hey, can’t you see my wife is trying to sleep there!”  Oh my word, I puffy heart that man to the moon and back.  I love how he stuck up for me, even in his weakened state.

I actually don’t know how much sleep I got on Sunday night, not enough, but at around 7:00 we were both awake.  At around 8 I went down to get coffee and breakfast before Tony got sent on his heart catheterization test.  I was impressed that the hospital had Intelligentsia coffee!  I got the dark roast.

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So I accessorized my breakfast with what I saw.  Scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, English muffin, baby spinach and cheddar cheese – all from different parts of the cafeteria, but I knew I could make it work.  Interestingly enough, there were chicken wings next to all the breakfast items, but then I realized that for some people working the 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. shift, that could be their dinner? I was so close to getting the corned beef hash, but I decided against it.

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My breakfast all together, with hot sauce on top for good measure.

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I ended up microwaving this for like 20 seconds to melt the cheese, I took it out of the microwave, and a woman next to me said “where the hell did you get that!” 

This was so filling that it was basically breakfast and lunch, and I had a snack later on, which was so good and only $1.88 – not too bad!

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Tony was pretty busy with his tests.  One took longer than expected, so that threw the whole day off.  He didn’t end up going to dialysis until nearly 5:45 last night.  It lasts anywhere from 4-5 hours so I ended up coming home (so I could get a good nights sleep!) and I have to work tomorrow.  While it breaks my heart to leave him, it’s just not possible, so I am trying not to let the guilt get to me.

When I got home I had some loot in the mail!  I am so grateful to people who send me stuff to brighten up my spirits.  I remembered back in January when so many people sent me DVD’s to donate to the children’s ward of the hospital, and how readers sent me stuff.  And even with everything going on with Tony, I am still blessed.  I got this loot from blog reader Jaclyn.  I love how she had a little note on everything and what’s it’s purpose was!  Thanks jaclyn!  Even socks to keep Tony’s feet warm. Love it.

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And my blog friend and friend in real life  Jacky sending me granola bars and a cookbook – so fricken thoughtful!  Once things settle down, we will meet for drinks and dinner!  I miss your blog posts.  Just sayin’. Open-mouthed smile

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And then my long distance blog friend Fran sent me a card!  It’s funny, because when I brought in the mail I thought what a pretty stamp it was, not even realizing it was from Fran!

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And then my brother and his wife sent a card too – so nice!

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So since I got back home earlier than usual, I decided I need to make myself dinner.   Not a frozen pizza, not fridge diving to see what I could come up with.  I’ve been craving beef for a while, and stopped at my store on the way home to pick up a steak.  As luck would have it, they had filet mignon on sale 2/$10 bucks, so I bought one for $5.  I already had potatoes in the pantry and rosemary in my fridge – so rosemary butter steak and rosemary sea salt pomme frites were quickly on the menu.

This is seriously about a 15 minute meal.  It helps that my deep fridge was still on the counter.  I’ve mentioned it before, but the secret to good fries or pomme frites is to deep fry them first at 350 until they are JUST beginning to brown – you almost want them all to be white still.  Drain on a paper towel.  Cook the steak using my 2x2x2x2 method on an indoor grill.  Two minutes in one direction, two minutes on the other side in the same direction, then do the opposite for the other four minutes.  On the last flip, sprinkle some rosemary and a pat of butter on top. 

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Now that beats hospital food any time of day.  I just wish Tony was home where he belongs, yelling at me from the living room “what smells like ass?!” when I cook Indian food in the kitchen while he’s watching Sunday football.  I want my life back.  I know it will get there, but I know we have a long road ahead of us.  I know Tony will appreciate all the comment on here and on Instagram when he can read them, so thank you to the moon and back for the support these last few weeks.

Make it a great day!  Hugs!