Recipe: Easy Baked Potato Soup

OK, I totally admit I got this idea from my real-life friend Bek (who is an awesome cook and fellow foodie) at Ignore the Crazy– then I just winged it, and it came out super-fantastic, so lest I forget exactly  what I did (Yeah, ’cause that never ever happens…) I’m commiting it to posterity here and now.

 Awesomeness Baked Potato Soup

  • 4 medium large baking potatoes, baked.
  • 4 T butter
  • 4 T flour
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced so the kids don’t notice it
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 strips on bacon, crumbled and crisped
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • sour cream
  • green scallions
  1. Bake potatoes until tender, set aside.
  2. In a large soup-ish sized pot, saute onion over med-high heat in butter until soft and golden.
  3. Add the flour, making a roux with the onions and butter, and stir 2-3 minutes until roux is  toasty and yummy smelling.
  4. Add the milk and chicken broth to the hot roux, stirring thoroughly to smoosh any lumps. Lower heat and bring to a soft simmer, stirring. When soup is simmering, it will be thickened properly.
  5. Scoop out the insides of the baked potatoes and smoosh them, adding them to the simmering pot. Small chunks are good, giant chunks, not so much. I used, glory of glories, my potato masher.
  6. Scoop into soup bowl, top with cheese, scallions, bacon crumbles and a dollop of Daisy.

Everyone gobbled it down, with the exception of Bean, who hid under the table because he wanted Ritz crackers and peanut butter. He is now in his room protesting. Can’t win ’em all.

Busy Busy Busy

This is what I’m doing today. And probably tomorrow, too. Any maybe even the next day- the wedding is Friday at 1… I plan on staying locked in my sewing room until they’re done. Or until tomorrow when I have Beanie’s intake meeting for the AIM program- and I may be covered with dupioni threads when I show up.

Sounds of Silence

It’s Sunday school right now, and I ran home and am blogging! It’s the first time in months I’ve been all. by. myself. in. my. home. Honestly, there is ALWAYS someone here. My excuse for running home during SS was to pick up the new visiting teaching assignments- I have to hand them out today- it’s my calling (job at church). I should get dinner started. Or do the dishes. Or start a load of laundry to give myself a hand later- but instead, I may sit on the couch and stare at the wall for exactly…23 minutes. It takes 4 minutes to get to church- Ahhhhhhhh. Silence. Is there any sound sweeter? (yeah, yeah, I know, when I’m old I’ll miss it… but not today.)

Random Crap: T2 Edition

Holy crap, what a freaking week. And it’s not even over yet- today is teacher-prep day, and the kids are all home from school, too. What? Because the teacher needs a quiet extra day with no kids to get anything done? I don’t understand. Have mercy and let me have a mama-prep day!

T2 has been a pretty good kid, and other than the furniture moving episode of day 1, he’s been great. He and Beanie are more than the sum of their parts, but that’s typical for two little boys. They’ve gotten up on the counter and raided the candy jar, but dumb-on-me for having a candy jar. They’ve played outside in their jammies before I even woke up one morning, but the only casualty from that was socks that will never, ever be white again.

I went to the Temple Tuesday night, and it was the only peace and quiet I’ve had all week.

Last night was my quilters-guild meeting, and I had forgotten that this month was AT MY HOUSE. Yes, last night, eighteen ladies met in my living room, complete with petit-fours and hors d’oeuvres. I ran around like a chicken with my head off yesterday, between carpool, soccer practice, cleaning the house, managing four kids and a husband without a job.

Yesterday I got up at 4 a.m. because Abby had peed the bed and was cold and wet- so I took advantage of being up and went to the market to get all the stuff for my little forgotten party. Can I just give a shout out to Sara Lee cheesecake bites? Yum, cheating, and easy. My kind of snack. I never did get around to sewing my part of the quilt this month, so I promised to do it today and hand deliver.

Before next Friday, I have two bridesmaids dresses to make. I haven’t even started cutting them out. Guess what I’m doing this weekend?

Beanies meeting was this week, too. That wasn’t emotional at all. I’m fine.

Jeffrey had two field trips at school, and the teacher send home a note begging for a chaperon. Sorry, but something had to give, and I’m afraid it was my will to chaperon. He came home fine, so I’m assuming someone stepped up who was not me.

There was a bridal shower for a friend that I totally forgot about until it was over, and my other quilt group is having it’s annual retreat at a cabin out by the lake this weekend. While I originally signed up to attend, I’ll be a no-show. There is just no way I can take off for the weekend, leaving my husband to tend the house and hearth. He’s almost as ragged as I am- not that he is stressed about anything at all. Oh no. Ten months and counting today… The weight of the world my friends, the weight of the world.

Pieces of the Puzzle: Beanie

School pictures were this morning, and classrooms were mixed up, so I found myself with knees close to my chest as I sat in a too-small kindergarten chair and listened to a team of psychologists and specialists finally supply me with hope. As they lined out the scores and explained numbers, percentages, and the AIM program he would be in, tears of relief and joy rolled down my cheeks.

For all of Beanies life, I’ve known something was different. He was perhaps 6 weeks old when I first took him to the doctor- nothing terribly particular wrong, but nothing terribly typical, either. He couldn’t suck well, cried almost constantly, and nothing that soothed other babies made him happy. Even changing his diapers was alarming to him. Bathing and riding in the car, rocking and swinging, music and bouncing on my shoulder- all these things made him panic; I would weep with him, as I wondered how to soothe and calm this baby who was such a mystery.

Anyone who has a spectrum kid knows the journey we have been on. You second guess yourself. The pediatrician tells you it’s teething, or gas, or allergies, or growing pains, or colic, or you just need to be more consistent, you need to discipline more, you need to cut out wheat, or sugar, or red dye… You look for answers, you try a million things, and you cry. A lot.

So on that day you sit in that kindergarten chair, and three specialists tell you their test results show that not only can they help, but that they are uniquely trained in helping children like yours, you cry again. You cry sweet tears of relief, relief so big your breath catches in your chest and you cannot focus for a moment. It’s not allergies, it’s not wheat, red dye, sugar or your parenting style- your child is special, his mind is wired differently than a typical person, and these teachers are trained to help him learn how to use his gifts. The gratitude is overwhelming.

We are learning a new language. We are learning to throw “normal’ out the window, to embrace the spectrum of who and what kids with sensory and perceptive differences can do. We are learning. We are moving in the right direction. This morning I was given a little piece of the puzzle that is my youngest son.

Hunkered Down

I have Thing 2 here from Mo Mommy for the week while she is off enjoying Flat Daddy’s four-day furlough. The very first morning, I found the dining room table (which is enormous and very heavy) pushed all the way across the room in an attempt to reach the safety lock on the doors and escape. That is all. I’ll post when it’s safe again. How are you?

Milestones: Beanie

Before the chaos of the week gets hold and I forget…

Yesterday, for the first time ever, Beanie drew a picture with recognizable shapes and images. Huge, gigantic big deal if you have a kid who has never, ever, ever drawn a picture of a flower, cloud or house. Yesterday we got versions of all three, plus cars and a river. I practically jumped for joy.

Also, today, he ate a peanut butter sandwich, and got peanut butter on his cheeks. Anyone with a spectrum sensory kid knows that just doesn’t happen! He didn’t notice at first, and when he did, he wiped his mouth on his sleeve! It was so cool! No crying, no running away, no hiding- it was awesome!

He took a bath with bubbles and didn’t complain. He said he was OK with them being in the water, he just didn’t want them all over his skin. This type of reasonable compromise is a huge jump for us!

He ate a new food. Yes, he ate something beside peanut butter- he ate a cinnamon roll. Ok, not the best food choice, but the fact that he not only was willing to try it, but he actually ate the whole thing- huge!

Oh, happy day! Hooray!

Stair Surfing

Conference is on, David and I are sitting in the living room, and we hear this enormous crashing, banging, thunking thud from the stairs. Seasoned parents, we look at each other and wait- Bean’s shouts of joy reassure us all is well, and we turn back to the TV. Slowly, I look again towards David, “I know what he just did…”

“He got the Costco box from the hallway and went box surfing down the basement stairs.”

“Yup,” David creens his neck to looks down the hall, “the box is gone.”

We turned back to the TV and held hands, to the sounds our our kids thunking and bouncing down our stairs.

Happy Birthday To Me Photos

   

This is what I woke to- Abby had taken my desk chair and scooted it into the kitchen, and was sitting on the counter eating Hershey’s kisses from the canister. And yes, that is a giant chef’s knife on the far left- where I thought she couldn’t possibly get to it. Thankfully, the kisses were more interesting than cutting herself to ribbons.

Up next was a hairdo and color with Mo and Christina at the salon. Christina had to cancel to go to an appointment, but she and Mo had already arranged to have my salon trip already paid for- my eyes teared up when I realized what they had done. I was also treated to lunch, and a new luscious lipgloss from the Clinique counter- and a new princess coloring book. While in the chair with foil all over my head, looking quite like a Tudor torture victim, this bouquet of balloons was delivered to the Salon- for ME!

 

Jeffrey and Abby have been fighting over them ever since, and the card simply says “from a friend”- so I don’t know who to thank, but I have my suspicions!

When I got home, a bouquet of chocolate strawberries was waiting for me, from the wonderful ladies at MMW. Beanie and I have been gorging on deliciousness. When it came, it was not half-devoured. Really.

So the hair. First, let me say, Mo’s girl rocks. Really, it’s the best haircut I’ve had in a long time. Historically, people are either afraid of my hair and thus nibble and twiddle away on it, leaving me with a thick, unruly thatch, or they jump in with gusto, not knowing what they are doing and leave me with an overly layered, fuzzy mess. This chick was not intimidated, and as a matter of fact, cut three other people while still working on me- she clipped and nipped with confidence, and she foiled it chunky and yet prettily- and she did it quickly. I’ve had it take more than two hours before just for the foil- nope, we were done in an hour. And it looked better than it has in a long time. She left it curly, and I’m fighting wanting to tie it up in a knot, but that’s mostly because I’m just hot- as in sweaty, not as in cute. So, this is what happens when you ask your little kid to take a picture of you:

 

Not sure what was happening here- but that’s my hair! And here I’m reaching to help Bean push the button. Excellent angle. Fantastic. Curly hair obviously photographs beautifully. It really does look good- I swear. I don’t look like the Swamp Thing, really…

  

And here we are trying to all get the auto click to get us in the same frame. It’s the best I could do. Thanks to all of you for helping make it a special day- thanks for the well wishes and the kind words and thoughts. I really appreciate the community we make here;  And Mo, you rock.  But you already knew that…

Happy Birthday to Me

Whoop-de-do. I’m fighting feeling sorry for myself- I mean, birthdays are so not a big deal when you get older, and yet- waking up to whiny kids wanting breakfast, a husband who has a stomach bug, dishes in the sink and close to 10 months of unemployment is, well, almost tear-inducing.

When I told my boys it’s my birthday, they gave me big hugs and asked when the party started. Uh, yeah- about that? Well, when mom makes all that happen, and it’s her birthday, well… so, um, no party.

Man, what a great big steaming-pile-of-poo attitude I have today! Wow. Usually I do am better than that. I have so much to be grateful for- We still have our home, our kids are healthy, I have a family and friends that love me, I have strong faith and I have been gifted with many talents. And hey! We cashed out our 401k months ago- aren’t we the lucky ones! Who knew? Ah, again that “faith” thing percolates to he surface.

So today. I’m thinking of throwing caution to the wind and charging a trip to the salon. I need a haircut and maybe, if I really feel like blowing it, a bit of fun color, . I noticed a few tiny little silver strands hiding under the curls, and unless they go pure white like my grandma, I’m coloring those babies.

Other October 3 Birthdays: Gwen Steffani, Tommy Lee, Neve Campbell, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Al Sharpton, Lindsay Buckingham, Gore Vidal, Chubby Checker.

Also, on October 3: OJ Simpson was found not-guity, even though he totally murdered his wife; Sinead O’Connor ticked off most of Catholic-dom by tearing up a picture of the Pope on SNL; The Wall comes down in Berlin, reunifiying my ancentral home into one fabulous Germany; Bobby Thompson hits the shot heard round the world, and the Giants beat the Dodgers to win the Pennant in 1951.