Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Easy Homemade Potato Soup

I don’t know about you, but I’m completely 100% beyond ready for fall. The colors, the smells, the decorations, the food, all of it. I’m smitten and already struggling with not setting out my fall decor! (That’s a joke…kinda). So, instead of pulling out all of my decor I decided that a simple favorite comfort food of ours would hold me back, for at least a little while longer.
I’ve used this recipe for awhile because it’s easy and doesn’t involve peeling potatoes! There’s something about peeling those babies that I’m not fond of, unless it is absolutely necessary, and for this recipe it’s totally not necessary!

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  • 2 cans (14 oz each) chicken broth
  • 1 block (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced into small pieces
  • 1 bag (30 oz) frozen hash browns (I use cubed ones, because I prefer the texture and chunks of potato)
  • 1 TBSP garlic, minced (or more, if you love it like Hubby and I do!)
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • shredded cheese for topping (optional)
  • bacon bits for topping (optional)
  • ground black pepper (optional)

  1. In a large stock pot mix together your chicken broth and hash browns, let cook over medium heat stirring occasionally.
  2. Melt butter in a small skillet and cook garlic and onions until tender (3-4 minutes, or until onions are translucent).
  3. Stir onion and garlic mixture into stock pot with your potatoes and broth. Allow to cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Add cream cheese to soup, mixing well. Allow to cook until your cream cheese is melted and mixed in thoroughly. Season with pepper (if desired, sometimes I add garlic salt, or sage as well). Top with shredded cheese and bacon bits!
If you’d like to make this in the crock pot, it’s definitely possible and turns out just as tasty! To do so just place all of your ingredients in the crock pot and cook on low for 7 – 8 hours or high for 4 – 5 hours!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Our Honeymoon {in Review} pt. 1

Our honeymoon was the trip of a lifetime. While we were in San Diego over Christmas in 2012, Graham and I decided that we would take a road trip for our honeymoon, knowing we would enjoy the freedom it offered, and give us the ability to see so much. We figured that once we have A LOT of babies, a road trip won't be as appealing and that a tropical vacation could be taken at any time.

Our planning didn't begin until mid-March (yes, we're last minute, we know), and even then, we didn't plan much. Our goal was to make it to the Pacific North West, but enjoy as many places as possible on our way there and back.

The result of our honeymoon was 12 states in 13 days, and well over 5,000 miles.. America is beautiful, and this is how we explored it.

June 1, 2013 - Our Wedding Night

Sunday, June 2nd - We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at our hotel that morning, and then decided to take a few shopping trips before heading back to our house to pack (last minute, remember?)

Before we left town we stopped and saw both of our parents and got on the road, headed north towards Kansas by about 7:00pm.

We stopped in Wichita, Kansas for dinner at a fantastic diner downtown... we definitely recommend it if you're ever passing through!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Recipe: Simple & Delicious Ranch Pasta Salad

My husband isn't a fan of the boxed pasta salad mixes you can buy at the grocery store, he says they're bland. I grew up eating them (and love all things pasta) so I had to figure out a way to make one that he would like. Pasta salad is a great side dish to any meal, and this version is super easy and delicious!

  • about 3 cups of uncooked pasta (we used spirals and a little cheese tortellini)
  • 1 cup of corn, frozen
  • 1/4 cup bacon bits or pieces
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • *Dry Ranch Dressing Seasoning mix (packaged from the grocery store, just one pouch. I hardly ever by the premade kind when I'm at the grocery store, my favorite homemade dry Ranch mix is below).

*If you chose to make your Dry Ranch Dressing Seasoning from scratch, you will also need these ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp dry Parsley
  • 1 tbsp Dill
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion flakes or dry minced onion
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. About 3 or 4 minutes before your pasta will be done, add your frozen corn to the water. Strain pasta & corn mixture, set aside.
2. Mix your ranch dressing seasoning mix or package in a medium bowl with mayonnaise. Pour over pasta and corn mixture and stir until well blended. Mix in bacon bits.
This pasta salad can be served immediately after preparing or you can refrigerate it for a few hours and serve it cold.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Recipe: Crock Pot Pulled Pork Sandwiches

My husband LOVES almost anything barbeque. I, on the other hand, am very picky about eating meat. I like chicken, but most other meats are really not my thing. This pulled pork is something we both love and it's a simple (only 5 ingredients and 10 minutes of prep!) dish that is perfect for summer cooking, when it's just too hot to want to spend any time in the kitchen.

  • 2lb. pork roast
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 TBSP. garlic, minced (or more, if you love the stuff like we do!)
  • 1 can Dr. Pepper (12 ounces, ignore the jumbo size one in my ingredient picture below, I didn't use the whole can in this recipe)
  • approximately 2 cups BBQ sauce

  1. Place diced onion inside crock pot, in a single layer. Stir in minced garlic and spread evenly over the bottom of your crock pot.
2. Place pork roast on top of the onion and garlic mixture, then pour approximately two cups of your favorite barbeque sauce over the meat, covering it completely. Then pour your can of Dr. Pepper around the outside edges of the roast.

3. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or high for four to six. Either way is fine, I've yet to have mine be over cooked. About four hours in I shred the pork with two forks and recover it, allowing the meat to soak up even more flavor. If you can't do this during the cooking process because you're at work or out of the house try to do it at least 30 minutes before you'll serve it.
We toast our hamburger buns in the oven and top it with even more barbeque sauce!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.