Thursday, January 9, 2014

An Invigorating Run

I'm not gonna lie...yesterday's run was COLD! Even though I had on two pairs of socks, my toes were frozen by the end of my first mile. I was *warm* otherwise and I did make it to 3 miles so mission accomplished. I might go for a run later this morning but since temperatures are predicted to be in the low 30's - low 40's on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I am tempted to just wait and run in the warmer weather. 

Last night's Chicken and Green Chile Enchiladas were delicious. 
The filling.

 Ready to roll. 
 Ready for the oven.
And ready to eat!
During the week, we are now eating dinner between 7 - 7:30 pm which is much later than I like. However, Caitlynne has crew practice every day until 6:30 pm and, depending on who is the car pool driver, usually doesn't get home until at least 7 pm. One of the benefits of eating later is that, most nights, Kevin is able to get home from the office in time to eat with us. Or at least catch the tail end of dinner.

As scheduled, yesterday afternoon we had the gas logs and the piping for our fireplace replaced. I was way too excited for this work to be done - it almost felt like Christmas! 

This is where I will be until Spring!
I think this fireplace is just screaming for a mantel. Don't you? Pinterest, here I come!

To do this work, I used Williams Services, Inc., a company that I found on Angie's List. They had received outstanding reviews and, now having had the work completed, I would highly recommend them for any gas fireplace, piping or appliance needs. They were prompt and personable, did great work and gave us a great price. I had contacted another very well-known company in the area and their quote was almost double the quote I received from Williams (and their Angie's List ratings were not all that great). 

Angie's List is a review service for companies that, among other things, offer home repair & maintenance services and health/dental/pet care in over 700 categories. I don't know if Angie's List is available just in the metropolitan Washington DC area or if it is nationwide but, in addition to the fireplace repairs, I have used it to find a plumber, a groomer for the dogs and someone to power wash the exterior of our house. There is a fee to join (I think about $25) but there are also special deals  and discounts offered on many of the services and we off-set our fee with a discount on the first service we used. 

As I was enjoying my new-to-me fireplace last night, I went through a pile of unread magazines that have somehow accumulated over the last few months and spotted this recipe in Southern Living. 
Photo of the Loaded Baked Potato Soup Recipe

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

From the kitchen of Julie Deily, Orlando, Florida,
"Baked potatoes are a big favorite in our house, so I decided to turn them into a soup. This was a huge hit and added to our regular rotation. Tempering ensures the cream mixture doesn't curdle."
Southern Living JANUARY 2014
  • Yield: Makes 6 cups


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium-size russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups frozen broccoli florets, thawed
  • Toppings: chopped cooked bacon, sliced green onions, and shredded Cheddar cheese


Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add onion, and cook, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle onion mixture with flour, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Add potatoes, and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Whisk together heavy cream and sour cream in a bowl. Gradually stir about 1 cup hot potato mixture into cream mixture; add cream mixture to remaining hot potato mixture, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup Cheddar cheese and thawed broccoli florets. Cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Top with chopped cooked bacon, sliced green onions, and shredded Cheddar cheese.
It looked so yummy (and not all that difficult to make) so I am making it for our dinner this evening. I looked for other similar recipes on-line but a few required the potatoes to be baked before putting in the soup (I did not want to do that) or called for some kind of canned cream soup (and I want to avoid using processed foods) so this will be the recipe I use. There were quite a few crock pot versions as well but for now I am going to make it on the stove top and see how it goes. It is certainly not low-fat but I think if I use half & half, light sour cream and reduced fat cheese and maybe even substitute turkey bacon for pork bacon, it will be a bit healthier and still taste fine. 

Have a great Thursday!

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