Friday, January 28, 2011

Potato Soup

I've been home from Jon and Marie's a week now.  I always feel so torn when leaving any of my family on either end of where I am.  I think it is a mother's dilemma.  What a wonderful time I had with them.  I  got a full dose of filling that hole in my heart where they belong, and even though I know it won't be long before that hole will need filling again, I praise the Lord for being able to be with them and drink in the bliss of it  for that moment. For those of you who don't have grandchildren yet, just you wait; your going to love it... it really is wonderful and special.

Since being home, I have been inspired to clean out and reorganize my kitchen.  Got the pantry, refrigerator, tupperware cabinet (does that one ever stay cleaned out and organized... I don't think so), spice cabinet, dishes and pots and pans reorganized. I love doing that (I have to be in the right mood to get it done though).  Went to town and restocked the groceries (the cupboards here were like ol Mother Hubbard's if you know what I mean).    Have been working on cooking up a few comfort foods around here, to bring in some cozy winter cheer, and bless my hubby and Luke and Eddie.  Incidentally, My hubby missed me greatly and said he would "rise up and call me blessed"....  Love him so much.  Its nice to be missed and valued.

This morning as  I post it is delightfully sunny, but there have been a few snowy days  since I got home, and those days always call for soups.  Thought I would post the potato soup recipe that I made for Jon and Maire.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone.
Much Love, Pam

Creamy Potato Soup

8 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large onion peeled and diced
2 cups diced turkey ham or ham
  3-4 cups chicken broth or potato water or both
1 4 oz stick of butter
1/2 cup of flour
2 cups cream, half and half,  or milk ( I usually use mostly milk with a little cream)
1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
2 or 3 Green Onions Chopped
Croutons (homemade are easy and taste the best)

Place potatoes in a pot of water and boil until tender. Drain desired amount of water and add broth to potatoes.  Add chopped ham and onion. In a skillet, melt butter, stir in flour and then add milk to make a roux.  Gradually add the rest of the milk over medium heat until you have a thickened sauce.  Slowly pour into potatoe soup.  Simmer gently for a few minutes.  Spoon into bowls and top with croutons and chives.  If you like a thicker soup, increase your flour in your roux, if you like a thinner soup, increase your broth.  Mmm Mmm good. 
Note: you can add cheddar cheese, bacon bits, and sour cream to this recipe and it would be delicious.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Comfort Food

We are often told in magazines, by all the "experts" that we should think about our motives behind our eating and in doing so we would better be able to manage our eating.  I am inclined to agree with them... at least from my own perspective.   Food is something of an issue at our house; Steve and I were just talking about it the other day, saying "what in the world is up with all the food issues we often seem to have at our house".  Much of that conversation stems from our last 3 children, who came to us as adolescents, bringing with them pain and fear from their own heartaches,  resulting in a huge barrage of emotions that often exposed themselves through food.   It made me think about our emotional connection with food.  I know I certainly have an emotional connection  with it; especially when it comes to chocolates and sweet treats ... and I am one of those people who loves to eat when I am happy and loves to eat when I am sad.  Certainly a quality that can make me fat, and believe me I have had my own "battle  of the bulge" because of it.  But, with that said, how can you remove yourself from that emotional connection with food?  Of course we must eat to live,  nourish our bodies etc..  but I believe that we were created with the emotional connection to food.  Babies are soothed as soon as they are born with their first little portion of Mama's milk, all the great moments of our lives are celebrated with it, even the death of a loved one is mourned with it., and  in heaven, there is wonderful wedding feast being prepared for us.   For me personally, "Comfort Food" is a delightful thing to share with those I love.  It connects our hearts with good feelings and happy memories.

So yes, we do indulge in comfort food in our home, and we let it soothe hearts and comfort us when the occasion comes around;   It has been an important factor in helping our adopted children, and is an important factor in many occasions of our lives.   Having babies is certainly one of those "occasions".    I thought I would share some of the comfort foods we have been eating  here at Jon and Marie's.   I was able to help Marie put some of these meals in the freezer for future dinners, and give her a little extra help now, especially when there are two babies.  I remember the days of having more than one baby.... lots of work.  Something that "comforts" my heart, is knowing that Marie and Jon and the babies will have meals already prepared on those busy and hectic days.  I have links to most of the recipes if you want them.

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stuffed Shells

 Here is the Stuffed Shell recipe that I promised you.  This is a delicious, classic recipe.  It is a very basic recipe, but a winner every time at our house.


Stuffed Shells

2 large boxes Jumbo shells 
32 oz Ricotta Cheese
5 cups  shredded Mozzarella Cheese (reserve 1 cup to sprinkle over the top)
1 cup Parmesan Cheese 
Marinara Sauce (follow recipe below)

Marinara Sauce:
Olive oil
1/2 medium onion chopped
2-3 cloves fresh garlic crushed and chopped
1 28oz can tomato sauce
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes 
fresh or dried basil

For Sauce
Saute onion and garlic in a liberal amount of olive oil until slightly soft.   Add tomatoes and tomato sauce and basil.  Simmer gently 15- 20  minutes.  Pour over pasta

Cook shells in boiling water until soft, but still slightly underdone.  
Drain and cool.
Mix together all the cheeses then stuff all the shells.  Placing them one at a time in an olive oiled baking dish. Spread sauce liberally over shells.  Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees until bubbly (about 30 minutes)  Sprinkle with reserved mozzarella and bake uncovered 10  minutes more.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Baby Ezra

December was a non stop chaotic month for us,  sweetly finalized by the birth of a baby; our 5th Grandson  (No Granddaughters yet....).  The birth of a baby always reminds me that hope is eternal and is one of 3 important things we are told in Corinthians that we should abide in (Faith and Love being the other two).  To me each new life that is brought into the world is a reminder of the blessings of a precious baby that came into the world 2000 years ago: God coming in the likeness of man, that we might be transformed into His likeness.   Wow. Eternal hope.  I cling to the hand of hope every day.

All Grandmas are given bragging rights, and I am no exception, and this little guy is no exception either. He is beautiful, not to mention sweet;  he makes us all feel peaceful.   I am chomping at the bit for Steve to get here so he can have his portion.

I have been enjoying my moment in time with Marie and baby Ezra, Jon and baby Zane, and  (not to be left out)  Strydiss, the giant dog.  We have been peacefully keeping house, taking care of baby and eating some of the delightful meals the Church has brought over to bless Jon and Marie.

Marie took these wonderful pictures, and I have the privilege of using them. 

More pictures to come, when Marie gets a chance to help me.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Years Eve Surprise

 Announcing the arrival
Baby  Ezra Wyatt Marius
8 pounds 11 ounces
21 inches long
Mother and baby are doing well

Our New Year's Eve was more special than any other we have ever had, because we were given the gift of a New Grandson.  Grandson number five to be specific. Praise the Lord.  We are abundantly blessed.  And now this Grammy will be leaving in the morning to go to Jon and Marie's and try to be a bit of a help, and to get a hold of that new baby and baby Zane.