Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Comfort Food & Christmas

Broccoli and Cheese soup, anyone?

I made this soup in the crockpot this weekend and we loved it. It's pretty easy to make, tastes fresh and has WAY less sodium/preservatives than the stuff in cans ;) This recipe is from A Year of Slow Cooking blog. She used her crock pot every day in 2008 and has some seriously good recipes for the crock pot! She's written a few books since then too...

--1 qt chicken broth (or vegetable)
--2 cups milk (I used 2%)
--2 10 oz bags of frozen broccoli florets
--1/2 diced white onion
--1/2 t black pepper
--1/2 t kosher salt
--1/2 t ground nutmeg
--3 cups shredded cheese; I used a 4-cheese mix and cheddar

I didn't want HUGE chunks of broccoli so I chopped mine

Mince the onion into really small pieces. I used my Pampered Chef chopper for this. The onions are going to soften in the milk and the broth, and need to be small so you don't crunch on onion pieces in your soup.
Add the onion to your crockpot, and top with the milk, broth, and spices. Stir in the two frozen bags of broccoli.
Cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 4-6. The broth is done when the onion is cooked nicely.
20 minutes or so before serving, shred all the cheese you are going to use, and stir it in.

Photo adding the cheese before I stirred it. Then let it cook for 20 mins. We loved this soup! The texture wasn't a blended texture like many super creamy broccoli/cheese soups, but the flavor was amazing and I'll definitely make this soup again.

Next up... dessert... Fudge Revel Bars!!!
These bars are a happy marriage of an oatmeal cookie bar and fudge. Can't stop eating them. Seriously. The recipe from a guest post at Or So She Says (you've got to check out her mouth watering pictures of a batch she made - they sold me to give the recipe a try!).

Cookie Bar
1 c. Butter
2 Eggs
2 c. Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda
2 1/2 c. Flour
2 tsp. Vanilla
3 c. Quick Oats

Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and eggs. Add the vanilla. Add the salt, baking soda, and flour. Mix. Add oats and mix well.

Press 2/3 of the dough into a greased cookie sheet (or use parchment paper like I did - SO easy to clean up!).

Fudgey Goodness
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 pkg (1 1/2 c.) Milk Chocolate Chips
1 Tbsp. Butter
1/2 tsp Salt

Put all into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute and stir. Keep cooking at 30 second increments and stirring until melted. Pour over the dough and spread out. Sprinkle the rest of the dough over the fudge. Bake at 350 for 20 min.

Before baking:

And after:

These are SO good. I'm taking them to a Christmas cookie/treat exchange at work next week and had to try out the recipe this weekend to see how it went. It's a definite keeper!

CHRISTMAS! My fav :) I wanted to share some of the ornaments on our tree, some Nick made when he was a little guy. I'm not one to only put up the store-bought ornaments, bring on the weird home made ones! haha Our tree has character and I love it :)

Old sugar cookies, anyone?! Just kidding.. :)

I found this one this year and LOVE it! It must be from Diane's tree...

The award I won last year ;)

I've started collecting ornaments of places we visit - this one is from our honeymoon and will always be a special ornament to hang!

My view from the kitchen :) I love the huge mirror there to reflect all of the lights on the tree too.

View from the living room... loveliness!

P.S. Today's high in DFW.. was... 75 degrees!! It was amazing to feel that fresh warmth on my skin. Our "cold front" (I say that because it's nothing compared to what we had in MN or the midwest) comes back tomorrow I hear, so we've got to be thankful for today! :)

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