Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Soup

Cheeseburger Paradise Soup

Today is the last day of August, an unofficial fall begins tomorrow.  I know it is still plenty hot in most places, but here in Winnemucca, we can feel fall in the air once in a while.  And in  the way the shadows fall as well as the earlier sunsets.
I might  get in trouble, but..... I love it.

What I love most about it is being able to try some new soups---and old ones too.  This was a new one for us, from the Taste of Home Magazine.

The Handyman LOVED this soup....and he is not a soup lover (he puts up with me because I do love it).   He raved about it, which can only mean a couple of things:
1.  It was really good 
2.  It was filling and hearty
 (emphasis on the filling, because that is his beef with soup usually.  He feels it's more of a first course)

He said, and I quote:  it has beef, potatoes, and cheese and bacon, what more do you need?

He is right.
What more do you need?

Okay, if you really feel you need a bit more, read the directions below.  Because you really do need the broth and seasonings---just makes it a bit better all the way around!

Cheeseburger Paradise Soup

Taste of Home


  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds beef
  • 1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 5 cups 2% milk, divided
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (16 ounces) process cheese (Velveeta), cubed
  • Crumbled cooked bacon


  1. In a Dutch oven, bring the first nine ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and mushrooms in butter over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add to soup. Stir in 4 cups milk; heat through.
  3. In a small bowl, combine flour and remaining milk until smooth; gradually stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; stir in cheese until melted. Garnish with bacon. Yield: 14 servings (about 3-1/2 quarts)

I am going to link up to 

what is Souper Sundays?
Well...taken straight from the horses--I mean blogger's---mouth:
What is "Souper Sundays"?: 
Souper Sundays is a weekly blog event that started because of my love of soup and a desire to work through the many soup and soup-like recipes in my cookbooks and magazines, I set a goal to make a soup or "soupish" dish each week and post it each Sunday and invited others to do the same. I do a round up of all the participants each week on Sunday afternoon (Hawaii time!) with a description of their entry and link back to each participant's blog and their post

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Friday Friend Recipe #21-- Brandied Steakside Mushrooms

 If there is anything harder to take a photo could be mushrooms. I did my best tho.  
The Handyman grilled a  Tri-Tip roast the other day.  I understand that Tri-Tip is strictly a  western cut of meat, because the rest of the world has never heard of it.  It's beef.

The tri-tip is a cut of beef from the bottom sirloin subprimal cut. It is a small triangular muscle
 Often labeled "Santa Maria steak", the roast is most popular in the Central Coast of California and Central Valley regions of California,and has begun to enjoy increasing favor elsewhere for its full flavor, lower fat content, and comparatively lower cost.

It's good and easy to grill and sliced.   I said 'roast' but some people call it a Tri-Tip steak.   We grill it and then slice it.  Perfect for mushrooms.
These were really good too.  A bit different than my usual, butter and garlic salt rendition.
As you's from the Friday Friend Cookbook, and this one is from my friend Theda.  (Please read here all about  her and all the other Theda recipes)
She's one of my oldest and dearest friends.

The reason these are a bit different is because they have brandy in them. And for some strange reason I have Brandy just sitting around.  I have no idea why as the Handyman and I are not ones to sit around in our dressing gowns with a snifter of brandy in the winter evenings.
I don't even own a dressing gown.
Or a brandy snifter.

I loved these mushrooms!
They are a perfect side dish anytime, but very fancy when you have company.
I am not going to retype the recipe because I think you can see it here well enough.

From the Friday Friend Cookbook:

And now, Theda!
I have a fear of repeating myself when it comes to FF Stories.

A few years ago,  My parents and their friends floated down the
Grand Ronde river in North Eastern Oregon and they invited us to go.
We in turn, invited Theda and her husband John.
The four of us were the youngest on the river trip.... and we are all over 50!

It's like where's Waldo in this picture.   I mean for finding the 'youngest' ones. All of the sudden we don't look so young.
How did that happen?

It was a lot of fun.

This was a July 4th weekend.  Look at all that snow in the mountains still.

John and Theda getting their safety gear on, so they don't drown if they fall out of the boat.

Relaxing during a lunch break.

These mountain goats watched us float by.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A night with the Lit Wits

Book Club!
It always re-energizes me.
It feeds my soul.  
Okay, that sounds a bit dramatic, BUT, it kinda really does.
I LOVE all the ladies at all my book clubs.  What happens and what is said in book club, stays in book club.
(which means we've had some crazy, crazy book club meetings thru-out the years)

Lit Wits is the dinner/book club.
Hosted by Ann last week.

Here we are...
....enjoying a nice summer evening outside.

With  cocktails of course!  
Fruity Yummy Cocktails!

We read Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King.
Not all of us are Stephen King fans,  but we all enjoyed this book.
It was funny---not the book---but the fact that all of us read it and enjoyed it.
I guess it was time for a little summer suspense.

(Robin was sharing Joyland which she also enjoyed)

Speaking of Robin---
---at our first meeting of the year,  we gave everyone a 
Book Bingo card 
and the first person who had a Bingo, won a Greatest first lines ever coffee mug!
Robin won!
She had to read  (outside of book club) different types of books.

I can't find a copy of the exact book bingo cards we used, but I did find this one on Stephen King books:

Robin would have won that bingo too, as she is a huge Stephen King fan!

Ann made us some poisoned hamburgers --to go along with the theme of the book, and a couple of great salads.
She's a great cook!

Great book discussion,
Great conversations about life, love and whatever.

I really wasn't lying when I said it feeds my soul.
It really does.
It does a body good!!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Jalapeno Rye Rounds--Friday Friend Recipe #20

There are approximately 130 pages in the Friday Friend Cookbook--and approximately 3 recipes per page----er,  (doing math in my head), that means just around 400 recipes.  I am on #20!!  And they thought I couldn't do it!

One of my favorite Sister-in-laws, Meghan  (see all her FF recipes here) is a great cook.  I love all her recipes.  I especially love when she entertains because she is a great hostess as well. 
Don't tell, but sometimes when we are visiting them in CA and she hosts a family party,  I will steal all her ideas and come back to NV and host my own party --- taking full credit for all the wonderfulness. 
People think I'm awesome!

One of the recipes she sent in for the Friday Friend Cookbook was this recipe for Jalapeno Rye Rounds, but I couldn't find any Rye Rounds in my little town, so I bought rye bread and cut them up and toasted them before making this appetizer.  It would have looked much better on a 'round' than on an 'abstract rectangle', I'm sure.
They tasted just as good tho.
Everyone at my little party loved them.
Told ya....they think I'm awesome!

Jalapeno Rye Rounds
FF Meghan Stone

Sliced Rye Rounds
1 brick jack cheese
1 can diced Ortega chilies

Shred cheese. Add in bowl with chilies.  Mix in mayo--start with 1 T and add more till you have a good spreading consistency.  Maybe 2-3 T.  Spread on rye rounds.  Bake at 350F for 10 minutes--then zap with broiler to get top bubbly and crunchy!
Eat with caution, as they are initially hot!

And now, my FF and sister-in-law, Meghan!
(and cute little niece Devin)

I think the picture above is just the cutest!
But look below... and you will find something quite different.
Their personalities come out....

At a family gathering a couple of years ago, (why does everyone always hang out in the kitchen?) I took ONE of the Handyman and Meghan.
 One of them.
They wave across a crowded room when they notice the camera is pointed their way.

Then I decided to take a photo of my brother-in-law, Mike (Meghan's husband) talking to his mother and across the room, you can see the Handyman and Meghan. 
Rich (Handyman) begins to wave and Meghan is pointing at him like  "wth?  Look at him, thinks he's getting his picture taken"

So then the two of them begin to PHOTO BOMB the pictures.
Before we knew what photo bombing was... 
(I should have taken more, but I didn't know they were doing that until I got home and looked at the photos)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Saturday Snapshot

 My Saturday Snapshot!

Why are the Handyman and friends making faces? 
Because they thought they were getting some really good champagne.
Some Dom Perignon.

And.... um, you can tell by their faces.... it wasn't very good.

In fact, we didn't finish it.
But it was fun giving it a try!

It was given to  my friend Robbie by a good friend of hers for their anniversary ---or birthday or something--whatever it was, it was a celebration!
This great vintage of 1995.....or is it 1985?
The bottle didn't match the box.
Maybe it was re-gifted?

Every Friday night we have dinner with our friends, The Miltons.  Unless one of us is busy of course.
We've been getting together on Friday nights for the last 17 years.
Sometimes our kids join us, this night at their house, their son and his girl friend were there to help us taste the spoils.  (that's almost not a joke!)

We always have a great time.
All we do is have dinner---sometimes we/they have even gone home before 9pm.
We just eat and have great discussions around a beautiful table.

I am linking to Saturday Snapshot.
Be sure and stop by to check out other Saturday Snapshots at West Metro Mommy Reads.

Friday Friend Recipe #19 Layered "Taco" Dip

I feel as if I always need to explain myself  (the 3 people who read this blog might get tired of this explanation, BUT, I live in fear that a new person might happen along and say  WTH is she talking about!  so.... )

I know that my blog has an interesting name.  A name/title that no one gets, because there are no 'friends' writing posts every week. There is only me. 

Long before I knew what a blog was, I had a group e-mail forum that included my friends from near and far...and originally I would ask them a question on Fridays, cut and paste their answers and  share with all.
We made a cook book---yada yada yada.....
and I am making all the recipes from it!

Now, to get on with my post for the day....
Friday Friend Recipe number nineteen!! 
from Barbara Brown---who happens to be the editor and publisher of the cookbook  (I compiled and begged for people to send me recipes.  Some sent many, some sent one.  She typed them all up!  Man, what a job!)

Where was I?  Oh yes, Barbara Brown  (see ALL Barb's FF recipes, so far,  here) called this Layered Dip, but I added the Taco to it, because it is a taco dip.
Some have called it  7-layer dip, some call it  walk-away-taco dip, but whatever you choose to call it, this is a good one!

Layered 'Taco' Dip

FF Barbara Brown, Buckeye, AZ

1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can refried beans
1 tub guacamole (homemade is best)
4 oz can chopped olives
4 oz can diced green chilies
1 small bottle of taco sauce
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
3 chopped green onions
1 cup shredded jack cheese
3 med tomatoes, diced
sour cream

Mix taco seasoning with beans and spread on platter or in baking dish.  Next spread guacamole over beans. Sprinkle with olives and chilies.  Layer on remaining ingredients, dividing taco sauce in half or thirds.
End with sour cream on top.
Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. 
Serve with taco chips.

**I got a bit out of order with the layering AND I dotted the sour cream.
As well as used olive wedges instead of chopped.
Forgive me Barb. 

It's soooo good!

My good friend Barb!
Game player, quilter, beach lover, book reader.
Good cook too!
Fun fact?   She has two kids, but they are 18 years apart in age.

Here she is 2nd from the left.
With other Friday Friends at Wallowa Lake, OR.  Summer 2011
Susie, Barb, Mitzi, Sally
(this is the first time, and only, they have met---It was my 'near and far' Friday Friend forum, get together)
They live in: Washington, Arizona, Minnesota, Pennsylvania.
(just for the record)

I am also linking this to Weekend Cooking.  
At Beth Fish Reads.

Friday friend recipe number 274 and 275-Grapefurit Shrimp Salad and Crispy Potato Chicken

  My Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown #274 and 275 My Mother-in-law's Grapefruit Shrimp Salad and Crispy potatoes . and you know all th...