Monday, January 31, 2011

Soup's on.

Potato soup. 






Warm. Chunky. Cheesy. Comforting. Delicious. Dinner!


It was freezing today - and snowy blizzard-y (yes, Mrs. Campbell {former English teacher} that's a word out here).


Note the current temperature in Cheyenne!


I had no choice but to make potato soup. 






First, compile ingredients. Then get to crackin' on those potato skins...




Once the potatoes are shiny, repeat with carrots and then dice into bite-size cubes {and rounds, of course}.






While cubing and rounding, bring a pot of water to boil.  


*Don't forget to salt the water! 9 times out of 10 people neglect to salt their potato/pasta/rice water. This is a crucial step, for it is the only chance to really flavor the potatoes/pasta/rice. So next time you're boiling water for potatoes/pasta/rice, be kind and salt the water. 




Once the pot is boiling and salted, {carefully} drop the potatoes and carrots in to cook until tender.


While the potatoes are boiling, prep the rest of the ingredients... leeks, celery, garlic, and bacon. Yum.





Just a note about leeks. Cut off the big green stem-y part. Gross. Then slice in half and give the halves a good wash under running water, separating each layer. Leeks have a tendency to be very, very sandy/dirty. 





Ok. 8-10 minutes later, the potatoes are tender and ready to drain. *Be sure to reserve just a little bit of the starchy cooking water for later before you dump the potatoes*


Add a tbsp of butter to the hot pot and add in the diced bacon. Cook until crunchy.




Strain out the bacon and set aside. Toss the leeks and celery (even the leaves) in to pot. Saute until translucent then add in the garlic. Cook for one minute more.






Once the veggies are cooked up, add a little flour. This will help create a roux which will thicken the soup (along with the starchy potato water). Let the flour cook for a minute then pour in potato water.




Once the roux has thickened a bit, add 2-3 cups of chicken broth.




Then back in go the potatoes and carrots.




A little milk and splash of cream give the soup that comforting taste.






Salt and pepper to taste. Let the soup simmer on low for a few minutes - gotta give those flavors time to marry! While the flavors do their thing, chop up some fresh parsley, along with any toppings you might like.




The parsley goes in the soup at the very last minute before serving. Gotta keep things fresh with some herbs.




Add desired toppings then give to husband and make him happy :)






Potato Soup

5-6 Potatoes, Peeled and Diced
3 Carrots, Diced
1 Leek or Medium Onion, Diced
1-2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
3-5 Slices Bacon, Chopped
1/4 c. Parsley, Finely Chopped
1 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Flour
2-3 c. Chicken bBroth
1/2 c. Reserved Potato Water
Splash of Milk
Splash of Heavy Cream
Salt and Pepper to taste
Toppings: Chives, Cheese, Sour Cream, Bacon, Avocado

Peel and dice potatoes and carrots. Bring pot of water to boil. Salt the water. Boil potatoes and carrots until soft, 8-10 min, drain and set aside.  *Reserve about 1/2 cup of the starchy potato water. While potatoes/carrots are cooking, dice leek/onion, celery, bacon, and garlic. Melt butter in pot on medium heat. Saute bacon until browned. Strain the bacon and set aside, reserving the grease in pot. Add onions and celery. Saute for 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add flour until slightly brown. Add reserved potato water and stir until thickened. Pour in 2-3 cups chicken broth. Add the  potatoes/carrots, milk/cream, and salt/pepper to taste. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add more chicken broth or water if soup is too thick. Before serving, add finely chopped parsley for freshness. Serve immediately with preferred toppings and enjoy!



Sledding.

At the end of every month, Andrew has to do inventory at the store. He goes in late on inventory days, because he has to stay late. What to do with spare time? Go sledding!

Andrew and I drove out Happy Jack Road to some old ski slopes that are now available for sledding and other shenanigans.  We had a blast... maybe slightly bumped and bruised, but it was fun fun fun.

Snowy trees

Part of the slope we went down - yes you had to hike up to the top

The usual

Post-sledding... brrr it was cold!
Beautiful snowflakes on the windshield 

More snowflakes on the windshield - I just love it!

For your viewing pleasure...

video


If you're wondering about my heavy panting... hahaha... it's because I just finished hiking up the hill. 

video


Note Andrew's commentary as I'm sledding. That is probably the funniest part :)


In regards to the "wipeout, major wipeout," this particular hill had little jumps, so at the very bottom I hit a jump and went airborne for a couple of seconds. That one left a mark.

We have had such a wonderful time out west... we have laughed so much and have made many memories. I would give anything for you all to be out here to share some laughs. Miss and love you all!


CFA Par-tay.

Yesterday, Andrew and I hosted a party for all of the Frontier Mall CFA employees. We rented out the leasing office from our apt building for the afternoon. We had about 20 people come (almost the whole gang), and we sat around eating snacks, playing board games and the Wii, and exchanging gifts (yes, we are aware that it is the end of January...). It seemed as if fun was had by all. Andrew and I were pooped by the end and were glad when we were cozied up in our apartment with our furry friends.


Here are just a few pics... I'm afraid I'm lacking in the picture dept from the evening.


The snacks

Anya, the night manager, made this cake :)

Alishia, another manager, was in charge of the gift exchange

Battle of the sexes - AJ's favorite game... my least. ;)


Well that's seriously it. Sad, huh? Not many pics, but the party was fun.


Next post... Sledding!


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

Steamboat Springs

Andrew and I got away for a few days to Steamboat Springs, CO. It was a beautiful three hour drive from Cheyenne. We enjoyed soaking up God's beautiful creation as we chatted and listened to some good tunes.


We stayed at the Steamboat Grand, located at the base of the mountain... we just had to take steps to the main ski lift. Nice! The resort was spectacular... spa, heated pool and hot tub, multiple restaurants, Starbucks, etc. Our studio room was cozy, and the tub was awesome. I was able to totally submerge myself in steamy water after a day of skiing.


We had two full days of skiing. The weather was partly cloudy most of the time, but we had a good deal of snow the last afternoon. The slopes were thick with powdery snow. It was great. 


Andrew {the ski guru} refused to take a break either day, even for a little coffee break, so I sent him on his way and had myself a good cup 'o joe each day. Overall, we had a blast and we only ached a little when it was all said and done. :)


On our way!

The mountains so far away...




Super excited.


Getting closer!

Snow always blows across the road - spooky.

More spooky.

Mountains at our finger tips.

Starting through Medicine Bow National Park

Driving through Medicine Bow National Park... snow covered the ground

Passed through the national park - getting closer!

Cool lighting on the mountains

Sun setting - looks like waves :)



Last leg of the trip... so close! 
Our stellar bathroom

Even the toilet paper made you feel welcome!

Howdy from the bathroom!

AJ checking out the local activities

Cute little kitchenette and our stash of food



First day on the slopes

Snow covered trees everywhere


Our splurge of the trip... my FAVORITE - creme brulee






At one of the highest points - over 10,000 ft

Looking down over a slope

For you, Grandaddy Jones. (Andrew's childhood nickname)

Check out how far AJ's ski pole went in to the snow!




The snow on the side of the road - so high it covered road signs!


Boo - time to go home

The pups were so glad we were home!





A typical evening before bed at the Jones' - spoiled dogs.


Well that was trip one of two for this season. Next stop is Winterpark with Andrew's cousins, Josh and Ryan. We can't wait to have some visitors!!