Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Broccoli Cheese Soup: Now With Potato and Bacon!

A week or so ago, I was catching up on my Pioneer Woman episodes off of my DVR. In one of the episodes Ree made Broccoli Cheese soup. It looked so delicous! I was very excited to make this, as I have finally gotten the husband to eat soup, which he always claimed to dislike. The White Bean and Collard Green soup I made was the first one he really enjoyed.

Anyway, I decided to scale Ree's soup down, mainly because I did not want to buy as much milk/half and half as the recipe called for. I was also not toally certain that my pot would be big enough for the whole recipe (it would have been fine.) Turns out that this soup is so yummy that I wish I had made a whole batch so I had more to freeze for later. Oh well.

I also made some changes in the form of additions to the soup. The husband and I love bacon, and it goes so well with broccoli and cheese. I also like to add potatoes to soup to make them a little more hearty. Thirdly, I used only whole milk because I was on a budget and it was cheaper to buy three cups of milk than to buy milk and half and half. Aside from that, the recipe is the same.

Before I give you the recipe, here is a shot of my lovely soup in my homemade bread bowl:


Approximately 3 strips of bacon*

1/2 and onion, diced

3-4 Tbsp Butter

Almost 1/3 cup flour

3 Cups Whole Milk

2 Heads Broccoli florets, chopped

2 Potatoes, cubed**

1 1/2 Cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large pot (I used a 7 quart stock pot) cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Place on paper towels to drain.

Add the butter, melt, then add the onions.

Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until translucent.

Sprinkle the flour over the pot and stir. Cook for at least one more minute until thickened.

Pour in the milk and stir to combine.

Add in potatoes and broccoli, stir.

Turn stove to low, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes*** or until vegetables are tender

In the last 10 minutes or so, add the bacon back to the pot

Add cheese and stir until melted. Taste and add salt and pepper.

Ladle into bowls or hollowed out rolls.

*I bought bacon ends from Albertson's so I cannot give an exact amount of bacon

**I used red potatoes and they were only ok. I would suggest white potatoes

***My potatoes took forever to cook (one of the reasons I would not use them again,) just keep checking your vegetables for doneness

Albertson's had this bread called "Mini Boules" looks about what restaurants use for bread bowls so I bought them. they were very tasty, but I think it made it too much food. I might use Kaiser rolls next time so as not to have any waste.

I will leave you with a close up of this delicious soup and hope you will all make it in the near future!


It's Wednesday and I am finally mostly recovered from this past weekend' s convention. Strategicon held Orccon 2012 February 17-20. I took a ton of photos and am working on my article on the convention for I will certainly let you know when the article is posted. I will also be doing a blog post about the convention, which will include more photos than the article and let you know what games I played and how great of a weekend I had :) Talk to you again soon!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Nagging Observation

Do you show people you care with food? I certainly do. We have friends over and I want to cook them dinner. Friend's having a hard day, I want to bring them cookies. But...I have this issue. Maybe issue is too strong a word, I am not bothered by it, merely curious. I love taking care of people (not the issue.) I love feeling like I am making someone else feel better. If you are my friend, and you are hurting, I just want to give you a big hug. I love knowing that people find comfort in the food I give them.

Here is the "issue": I love my female friends, I really do, but show me a male friend who is hurting and I am overcome with a wanting to make it all better. I'm like a mother hen. I want to hug them, give them cookies, anything to help. I don't know if this is because I am a heterosexual female, or something else. Is it some sort of biological need that I have? No idea. Is it an unconscious desire for affirmation that I am a good person? No idea, but if this was so, why would I not feel the same way when my female friends need comfort?

Or, is this a result of years of living and socializing with testosterone? I have two younger brothers, most of my friends are male (this is not new, in elementary school I had almost all male friends,) I spent over two years almost every day at a game store where most of the patrons were male, most of my roommates have been male. The first roommates I had (including my husband) I was fiercely protective of, they were my boys and it was my job to take care of them.
I know plenty of women, but more of them are acquaintances than friends. And I would do everything in my power to help them, or comfort them, but the interaction for me is different.

I am very interested to hear any and all thoughts on this...issue...observation...whatever it is.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Red Because of Lots of Food Coloring Cake

It's almost Valentine's Day, and you know what that means-Red Velvet EVERYTHING! Red velvet cakes, red velvet cupcakes, red velvet see my point. I have never been a fan of red velvet. Semi-chocolate cake? Boring. I don't much care for regular chocolate most of the time, because it is always so one note: chocolate cake with fudge frosting. There's no variation, no contrasting flavors.

Anywho, I have tried red velvet cake several times and never seen what all the fuss is about. When I put the word out to the internets in the form of Facebook, I got several responses. Some love red velvet, some, like me, don't understand what is so great about it. One friend gave me her recipe for real Appalachian red velvet cake. I think I should give it a go and see if I really don't like it, or if I have just had inferior red velvet cakes in the past. When I do, I will post the recipe and photos here and give my verdict on the subject.

Til we meet again!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

On Why Plays are Awesome

Friday night I got to meet Jim Beaver for a second time. For those of you not aware of this wonderful actor, Jim is known most for his role as Bobby Singer on the CW's Supernatural, and Whitney Ellsworth on HBO's Deadwood. The best part of these meetings (besides meeting Jim, obviously) was the fact that I did not have to pay premium prices to get into a convention. No, instead I went to plays.

A few weeks ago Jim mentioned on his Twitter that he was directing a play reading. It sounded interesting and my friend asked if we wanted to go. I figured, why not? The reading was free, as it was at the stage of not really being a play yet, so that helped. The ability to interact with Jim in a normal setting was a big plus to me, as fandoms tend to drive me crazy.

The reading was for a two act play called A Season for Vivaldi. The audience had the job of writing notes about the play so that the playwright could have a chance to see how we responded to it and take in any criticism we had. The writing and acting at this reading was superb! The play had plenty of wit, humor, and real emotion. Sadly, the playwright recently died (he was 83,) so now there is no word on whether or not this play will ever get made.

After the reading, my husband, my friend, and I waited around and had a chance to talk to Jim about the performances and other such things. Let me tell you, this man is quite the gentleman! He was so nice to us and let me take a photo with him (instead of paying stupid convention prices for a photo op!)

I had so much fun at this event that I could not wait to go to more plays. Then, shortly after the reading, Jim mentioned he would be doing a short run in Madame Butterfly. As soon as I read this I asked my friend if we were going to go, and she immediately responded that we were.

Friday the three of us set off to Glendale to see Madame Butterfly. None of us had ever seen the play or the opera before so we didn't really know what to expect. The theater was very small, maybe forty seats? And the "stage" was pretty much just the floor 2 1/2 feet in front of us in the front row. I was terribly excited by this, as I love to be up close at any show.

Some information on Madame Butterfly: The opera with which we are most familiar (at least by name) is based off a one act play, of which we were to see tonight. The basics of the plot are: A Japanese woman is waiting patiently for the American Naval Lieutenant whom she wed some months before. He had told her that he would return when the robins begin nesting again. We find out that she has had a child with this man and when he does return we discover he has a new, American wife.

All of the actors did a wonderful job. The play was both funny and sad. I, for one, was riveted. After the show we all had a chance to mingle with the actors, and the playhouse provided some snacks in the chip and dip, crackers and cheese range. It is so nice to be reminded that actors are regular people, just like us. We stood and talked with Jim for a while (I think we were among the only people there who had come specifically to see him,) told him how much we enjoyed the performance. Before we left I asked for a second photo, the one from the reading was very dark. Never once did he seem to busy or important not to talk and interact with us.

All in all, these past two play goings made me realize how much I love plays. I used to go fairly often as a child and always had a good time. I want to thank Jim for giving me a reason to go see plays again!