Thursday, November 29, 2012

Creamy Carrot Potato Soup

Soup. It's what you like to enjoy on a chilly fall or winter night. It's what you pair with an ooey gooey grilled cheese sandwich. Aaaand, it's what you crave when you're sick with a cold. That last point? That's been me for the past several days! I came down with a cold over the Thanksgiving weekend (don't worry; the cold didn't hinder my enjoyment of Thanksgiving dinner ;)). And let me tell you, it's been a doozy of a cold! It's been worse than any cold I've had in the past few years. So, naturally, I have been craving soup this week!

Lucky for me, Gina over at one of my favorite blogs, Simply Life, posted a delicious looking recipe for creamy potato soup this past Monday morning - and right away, I knew that's what I wanted for my dinner that night! I decided to change up the recipe slightly though by adding carrots. Otherwise, the recipe I made was mostly the same, aside from my omission of the red pepper flakes and scallions (simply because I didn't have them on hand). The soup came together in a flash, and let me tell you, it was just what I needed to help with my cold!

The ingredients below are what I used, but you can check out the original Simply Life recipe here.


-2 Tbsp. olive oil
-3 Idaho potatoes, cubed (I didn't peel mine but you can)
-3 large carrots, sliced in 1/2" pieces
-1 large onion, diced
-2 garlic cloves, diced
-salt and pepper, to taste
-1 tsp. herbs de provence
-4 cups low sodium chicken broth
-shredded cheese of your choice (I used monterey jack)


Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add potatoes, carrots, and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes or until onions are tender. Add garlic and cook another minute. Stir in salt, pepper, and herbs. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, 25 to 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and cooked through (you can easily test this by sticking a fork in the veggies; it should easily go through them).

Remove soup from heat. Using an immersion blender or transferring soup to a stand blender, blend soup until creamy and smooth. Return to heat. If soup is too thick, add 1 cup of water and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with shredded cheese on top. Enjoy!!



Mike and I both really enjoyed this soup. It had great flavors and was incredibly comforting...just what you want in a soup!

The next day I heated up some leftovers (which I think tasted better than the soup on day 1!), and along side it, I enjoyed some toasted baguette slices with melted cheese on top. Soooo good! I love making a "lazy woman's" grilled cheese like that sometimes. I simply put a slice of cheese on bread and throw it in the toaster. So easy and delicious!

This scene is what my days looked like earlier this week. Soup, tissues, a blanket, and my computer.... Colds don't usually get me badly enough to make me stay home from work, but this one did! Luckily I had some great soup to keep me company. And a cuddly, super cute kitty as well. :)

Definitely keep this soup in mind for an easy, healthy, yummy meal on a chilly winter's night!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Homemade Potato Chips (Made in the Microwave!)

I have a new favorite potato chip. And I can make it right at home!

A while back I pinned a recipe for microwaved, homemade potato chips. We received a mandoline as a shower gift this fall but had not used it yet. So when I had a couple potatoes to use up, I thought to myself, "hey, I should make those microwaved potato chips!" So, I did. ;)

This recipe could not be simpler. When I tried it, I had a sweet potato and a blue potato, so my chips were rather colorful! You can use any kind of potato you'd like though if you make these.

The recipe I followed is from The Kitchn (and no, that's not a typo - it's actually the Kitchn!).


-olive oil
-salt and pepper


Line a large microwaveable plate with a couple layers of paper towels. Wash and dry your potato (or potatoes). Using a mandoline or a good knife, slice your potatoes very thinly (ideally, between 1/16" and 1/8"). Rinse the slices in cold water until the water runs clear. If you have the time, soak your potatoes for a few minutes in a bowl of cold water also. Dry the potato slices between two towels or by using a salad spinner (I used the salad spinner method, and it worked great). Arrange the slices on the paper towel-lined plate, fitting as many as you can on the plate but being careful not to let the slices touch (they will stick together if they touch). If desired, lightly brush the slices with olive oil, and season as you'd like (salt, pepper, other spices, etc.).

Microwave the slices at 100% power for 3 minutes. Flip each slice over, and microwave again at 100% power for 3 more minutes. If any chips are getting very crispy or browned, remove them. Any remaining chips that seem to need a little more cooking, cook them in the microwave at 50% power for 1-minute intervals. Remove when they are done to your liking. Let cool and enjoy!

Oh my goodness, these were sooo good! Most of the chips I made only took about 6 minutes total (3 minutes on each side). I had sliced mine pretty thinly, so that's probably why they didn't take any longer than the 6 minutes. I seasoned mine with a touch of olive oil and salt and pepper. Delicious! Next time I think I'll try some different spices.

I can't decide if I liked the blue potato or sweet potato chips better. Both were excellent! The hubby enjoyed both kinds too! These did not last long in our household...

I reused the paper towels for multiple batches. There really wasn't a need to use new paper towels each time. One note of caution: it does take a while to make these chips since each batch takes 6 minutes, and depending on the size of the plate you're using, you may not be able to make too many chips in one batch. And one potato is going to make quite a few chips, especially if you slice it thinly!

As you can see, a few of the sweet potato chips I made got a little more browned than is probably ideal. However, they still tasted great! They didn't taste burnt at all. So, no worries if your chips get a bit too browned or crispy. I bet they'll still be delicious. ;)

I wish I had taken better pictures of these chips. Sorry I didn't! I made them in the evening, when the lighting is horrible. And Mike and I may have eaten them there were none left the next day to photograph in the daylight. Whoops!!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi friends!

Alas, I do not have a recipe for you today. But, I do have warm Thanksgiving wishes for you all! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year, and I am really looking forward to tomorrow. I love that Thanksgiving is focused on family, friends, food, and taking time to count your blessings. There is honestly nothing better in my mind!

Although I don't have a recipe for you, I have two ideas for fun ways to arrange your veggie tray on Thursday...

I mean, how cute are these?!

I have so many things and people to be thankful for this year....and of course, one of those is my new husband!! I totally feel like the luckiest gal. :)

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving! I hope you all have restful, enjoyable holidays.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Our "Mini-Moon" in Maine!

This past weekend, Mike and I spent two nights in Kennebunkport, Maine for our mini honeymoon (i.e., "mini-moon" :)). Since Mike works in a school, our availability to take a longer honeymoon is limited to the summertime, so our big one will be next summer (Belgium and France!). It was very convenient that a long weekend, Veterans Day weekend, fell one week after our wedding. It provided us with the perfect time for a brief, relaxing getaway!

The hubs (!!) and I stayed at an amazing bed and breakfast in Kennebunkport. It was the Bufflehead Cove Inn. Friends, this place was the best! We absolutely loved everything about our stay and would return there in a heartbeat. For folks in the New England area, I would highly recommend checking it out! Bufflehead Cove was recently named one of the Top 10 B&B's in the United States for 2012 by What an honor! Very cool.

Since this is a food blog, I won't go into too many details about the non-food aspects of our stay, but in general, just know that the hospitality, comfort, charm, cleanliness, and friendliness of this place were top notch! And the food?! Oh man.

We had two wonderful breakfasts during our stay at the B&B. Everything was simply delicious! Mike and I are definitely "foodies," so we greatly appreciate a meal that's done right.

The first morning, we started off with grapefruit. It was prepared in a way I've never heard of - it had been broiled with coconut and brown sugar! Very creative. And very delicious!

We also had a very refreshing orange banana smoothie with breakfast. I loved that they were served in champagne flutes!

The coffee was awesome too. Mike and I really love our coffee and appreciate quality coffee, so we were very happy. :) And note the fresh flowers on the table too. It's small touches like that that go a long way, in my mind!

And the main course for our first breakfast was waffles! They were served with fresh strawberries, fresh homemade whipped cream, toasted almonds, and real maple syrup. And we also had the most delicious side of bacon. Everything was seriously so good!

 The waffles were cooked perfectly, and the homemade whipped cream was just sweet enough but not too sweet. I can't say enough good things about every part of this breakfast!

Morning view from our private balcony. :)

I just thought this little duck napkin holder was the cutest thing and couldn't resist taking a picture.

This is the dining room where we enjoyed our breakfasts. Coffee and tea were available around the clock too, which was really nice.

Oh, and each day at 5:30 pm in the living area of the B&B (shown below), hot apple cider, cheese, crackers, and fruit were served for guests. Such a nice touch! Mike and I enjoyed that both days.

Breakfast #2! I forgot to take a picture of the chalkboard for breakfast #1.

Along with what's listed on the chalkboard, we also had a strawberry mango smoothie. Another delicious and refreshing one!

The melon dish was seasoned with lime and ginger. So much better than just plain melon!

Now, onto the main part of breakfast... The quiche. Quite possibly the best quiche I've ever had! The crust was so flavorful and flaky in the right way. It's a good thing I was way too full at the end of the meal to eat more. I would have loved a second piece!

Along with the quiche, we also had homefries made with baby red potatoes and a side of asparagus (both so good!). And a nice, sweet addition to the meal was a fabulous lemon blueberry cake.

I was so sad when we finished this meal! It was amazingly good. We made sure to eat slowly so we could savor everything. :)

Below are a few more pictures of random other tidbits of our weekend. There were so many memorable aspects of our mini-moon! 

The B&B had the most comfortable bathrobes I've ever tried on. Wow.

There was turndown service in the evening with chocolates and chocolate covered strawberries! In my mind, it is these thoughtful little touches that truly "make" a place. Bufflehead Cove thought of everything!

Our very clean, comfortable, and charming room.

It was complete with a cozy sitting area, gas fireplace (which we used and was awesome!), spa tub, and a private balcony.

Mike and I went for an awesome sunset walk along the beach one evening. It was beautiful!!

A view of the town of Kennebunkport from the B&B in the evening.

The B&B at night.

We had such a wonderful weekend!

 Now one of these days I'll actually share a recipe on this blog... ;)