Friday, December 30, 2011

Homemade Soup: Corn Cheese Chowder

I love soup, but I love homemade soup even more! I almost always have some of my homemade chicken soup in the freezer, and I like to try to make another kind of soup every few weeks. I can no longer eat soup out of a can! The taste is just not the same now that I know how yummy homemade soup is!

So what kind of soup am I making today???

It's a chowder...

A corn chowder...

But not THIS corn chowder that I've made and blogged about before.
(Today's chowder will feature many more pictures though!)

And instead of chilis...

Yup, you guessed it (smarty pants - it's in the title!) this chowder has CHEESE!!!! 

MMMmmm cheese.

Butter Melting.

Onions Sautéing.

Bacon Added.

Cook A Few Minutes

Add A Lil Green Bell Pepper

 And stir!

Now The Corn.

All Mixed Up!

Adding The Flour

Now The Chicken Broth

And Finally The Milk (or Cream!)

Stir it all up

Cheese Time!!!

Last but not least ... Add The Green Onions.

Serve and Enjoy!

And as usual - this recipe is a Pioneer Woman recipe. Oh how I love her food. Oh how I love her. HAHA. The recipe can be found here.  

Make it. Enjoy it. Share it. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hanukkah Latkes!

Hanukkah began at sundown a few nights ago and I've already enjoyed making and eating many latkes!

I made them two nights in a row for many different friends! I had to show off my champion latke making abilities!

I look forward to making them every year - even if my place smells like latkes for days. :)

I hope you got to enjoy some tasty fried potatoes with family and friends this year.

Happy Hanukkah!

Holiday Goodies!

In years past, I've dedicated an entire day to making holiday goodies to give to co-workers, friends and of course family! This year, after giving it much thought, I decided not to spend hours in the kitchen making multiple different types of cookies and other treats. While I love doing it, it takes a lot of time and it's super cheap either!  I knew I'd end up making a treat or two though - I just can't resist!!!

Even though I wasn't going to make much this year, I knew I HAD to make one thing and that was my Great Grandmother's fudge. I've loved it since I was a little girl and I'm sure I'll love it when I'm old and gray! (I'll do a more detailed post about this soon. Look for it after Christmas!)

While doing some grocery shopping, I decided on a whim that it'd be a fun idea to do some chocolate dipped pretzels to give out. I did a bunch of big ones, dipped in chocolate, chocolate and coconut and finally chocolate with green sprinkles.  Once I was done with the big ones, I decided to do small twists too! These were a hit and will probably be made every year now!

Forgive me - I forgot pictures of the large pretzels!

I recently tried out a recipe for gingerbread loaf and it was amazing. So amazing I had to make it into muffins and take into work. They were quite tasty and most people confused them for cupcakes because they had a cream cheese frosting too! What's the difference between a muffin and a cupcake anyway??? (I should know this...)

The whole bunch of goodies taken into my office!

And lastly, my office received a giant gift basket full of goodies the SAME day I brought in my treats. Oh well! Anyway - in the basket were individual baggies that contained something I'd never seen before but was so excited to try: Chocolate Covered Licorice! It sounds odd, and looks a little different too, but I LOVED it so I couldn't resist and made some myself! :)

That's it folks. No cookies, no bars, nothing besides what I listed above.

I hope you've all enjoyed some goodies and stuffed yourself silly. I know I have! 

Happy Holidays!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gingerbread House Construction

One of my closest friends recently said her boyfriend wanted the two of us to make a gingerbread house together. I hadn't thought of making one in quite a few years, but after just a little thought - I figured it was very festive and would be fun to do!

After decideing to make the gingerbread house, I next decided we would be using a kit! I've made a gingerbread completely from scratch before, but this time I wanted something quicker and easier. So the next day I picked up a gingerbread house making kit at Michaels. There were quite a few choices and to be honest,  I had a hard time choosing. I even called a few people for input!!!

Even with the kit it took a few hours to construct because we wanted it to look good. We weren't just going to slap the walls together, throw some candy on and call it a day. No - we were going to take our time to construct a gingerbread house that looked like two adults did it instead of two five year olds! 

Here's a look at the building process and the fun we had doing it!

The Kit!

Robin prepping the Gingerbread

Measuring the base.

Cutting the base!

Beginning the icing.

Adding the water.


Annnnnd mixed!

Beginning construction.

Putting up the walls.

And the roof is on!

Done constructing...

Time to decorate!!!

Robin beginning the decorating process.

Can't forget the front door! :)

Perfecting the window.

Roof decorated, now working on the front of the house.

The front of the house AND the front path are done!

Now - onto the back!


This is taking FOREVER!

Making progress on the back.

More decorations to the front yard! 

Finished product from the side.

And the completed back view!

Last but not least, an ariel shot! 

Making the gingerbread house was a long process, but a fun process and I'm very glad that I did it with Robin! Thanks for the suggestion Alex! 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fun With Pillsbury Crescent Rolls - Take 5!

I'm really starting to like making things with Pillsbury Crescent Dough. It's usually quite easy and the end result has always been quite tasty!  This time it was:

Chicken and Cheese Empanadas!

I recently made a batch of my Chicken Tortilla Soup and I made a little extra chicken in hopes of making something with it. After searching online for a few minutes, I found a delicious recipe that was VERY easy to make. 

I actually threw these together at a friends house after work one night so I forgot to take all my normal pictures. Sadly, a picture of the ingredients is one that was forgotten. Pretent it's here. Just picture the following ingredients:
  • 1 Cup Shredded Cheese
  • 1 Cup Shredded Chicken
  • 1 Serrano Chili Pepper - Diced
  • 1 to 2 Cloves Garlic - Diced
  • 1 Small Shallot - Diced
  • 1/4- 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 1 Tube Seamless Crescent Dough
I also forgot to take pictures or the empanada making process picture the following steps:
  1. Roll out dough into rectangle and cut into six smaller rectangles. 
  2. Mix the rest of ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Distribute mixture evenly on rectangles, fold in half and seal edges with a fork.
  4. Bake at temperature according to dough label for about 10 minutes total, flipping after 4 or 5 minutes.
Pre-Baked Empanadas 

Baked Deliciousness!!! 

The Wind & The Cold

In the past few weeks, both the horrible winds and cold temperatures have been wrecking havoc on my garden and balcony in general. For the most part, living in Southern California is WONDERFUL, but the crazy winds we had recently and the freezing, or close to freezing, temperatures we're currently getting are not cool. I'm really not a fan.

Here's a little look at what's the wind caused me to do!

My storage unity on it's BACK!
With the herb container on top holding down a tarp
and hanging window boxes are leaning up against the sides.

Lime tree and palm pushed into the corner for protection.
Other small plants getting out of the wind too.

Hanging planters taken down and 
and other plants are rearranged.

Another view of the tree, palm and storage unit.

My set-up after the winds finally died down a few days later.

Lime tree and palm are back in their places.
Christmas tree and Geraniums are moved to new spots
 and window boxes are rehung!

Storage unit standing up again and secured better than before!
Hanging planters are put back on their hooks too.

Lime tree, peppers and newly positioned strawberry plant.

The table set back up!

And after surviving the once in a century winds, 
I'm now having to battle the cold temperatures!

Here's what I'm doing almost nightly 
in hopes I save all my amazing plants.

Lime Tree

Herb Container

Table plants and hanging flowers moved under the table. 

Geraniums and Palm.

We're supposed to have more cold days coming up, but I'm just hoping my plants make it through the rest of Fall and all of Winter!