Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup

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{HAPPY SAINT PATRICK’S DAY}

I am Irish- like super Irish. My paternal grandma was actually born and raised in Ireland and my maternal side is just as equally sprinkled with Irishness.  I love it and am proud of my heritage.

Last year for the beloved Saint Patricks Day, I had THE worst head cold of my life. seriously. the worst. I didn’t cook a thing. I was couch ridden for like 2 days…. BUT this year I was debating between all the classics, such as my beloved late grandmothers authentic Irish Stew, or corned beef, or soda bread, or cabbage or potatoes, the list goes on and on!  But since the temperature took a dip this week here in Wisco, I opted for made this do.die.for. potato leek soup.

My mom used to make this for us when I was going up, and for some reason I didn’t really like it much until a little later on in my life. This was a little varied from the potato leek soup I grew up on, but equally delicious. Here is my recipe for a small little tribute to my wonderful, wonderful heritage. Slainte!

Ingredients:

8 potatoes (5 roughly chopped and 3 chopped into bite site pieces)
2 medium leeks
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
3 stalks of celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
Thyme (fresh or dried)
½ – 1 cup of water
3 tbsp. of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Half the leeks lengthwise and rinse, then thinly slice. Reserve about ¼ of the leek for later. Chop your onion and potatoes and mince the garlic. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot. Once heated sauté the onion, leek, and garlic until softened. Add the potatoes and 4 cups of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and let cook until the potatoes are soft (about 15 minutes).

Meanwhile, chop the rest of your potatoes and the celery and carrots. Sauté those in a separate pan with a the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil and some fresh(or dried) thyme.

Once the potatoes in the broth are cooked through and are soft, use an immersion blender (immersion is the way to go for this in my opinion) and puree/blend the broth mixture. However if need be, you could transfer the pot contents to a blender and do it that way, but be careful!). Blend until all chunks are gone and everything is blended thoroughly. This should create a creamy texture.

Now throw in your additional potato pieces, reserved sliced leeks,  the sautéed vegetables, and the additional water to the pot. I found I needed about ¾ of a cup of water, but really the water is just to get the soup to a consistency you are happy with, so this amount can vary. Just add water until it looks good :)

Bring it all to a boil and reduce heat. Cook for about 20-30 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally! Season with salt and pepper and ENJOY!!

Yummmmmmm.

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This soup is very low fat and chocked full of nutrients. I’m not sure if this would work, but I got the idea to do a sweet potato version of this. Not Irish at all but also maybe put a little mexican flare like adding corn, black beans, cilantro….? Sounds good to me! I’ll let you know if I get around to it :)

As always, thanks for stopping by! And I hope you all had a great St. Paddy’s Day!

xoxo

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Napkin Rings {Makeover}

Napkin Rings {Makeover}

RevampedSooo last week’s post talked about how I went a little spray paint crazy. It all started by wanting to try to paint some string lights gold (for the wedding) call me crazy but I thought it would look awesome (it does). But to see those, you’ll have to tune in next week! :) After spraying the lights and seeing how beautiful the gold paint went on and how glam it looked, I started rummaging around the house for other items to paint. Enter these napkin rings. Now you’re probably thinking “why do you have napkin rings” (I don’t know either) “do you really use napkin rings?” (like one time ever) – BUT they were my grandmas and while going through her stuff after she passed away, I came across these and thought they were rustic and cute and when if I have a dinner party then I’d use them. Then I thought I’d glam them up a little bit, also  my heart wouldn’t break if the grand idea didn’t work out anyway. So I taped them up: Both the inside and outside. I couldn’t decide on a pattern so I thought it would look cute if I did a variety. It was a little difficult to adequately tape the inside because it’s a circle and it kept trying to lift in certain places but it ended up working pretty good. I used a Qtip in rubbing alcohol to clean up some minor “leaks” in the tape and surprisingly that worked really good. DSC_9696 copyThere are 7 rings total (used to be 8 but I broke one by shutting a drawer a little aggressively one day) so I ended up doing 3 that I taped two spots like this: DSC_9704 copyAnd then two of 4 spots like this: DSC_9706 copyAnd two of 5 spots: DSC_9708 copyHonestly the one top one is my favorite (the two spots ones) and I half wish I would have done them all like that, but I also like the ones split in 4, the 5 is not my favorite. BUT I do like variety so I’m fine with it. DSC_9686 copyFor other tips and tricks on spray painting see HERE. So what do you think?!? Cute? Lame? I’d love your thoughts! I’ll just be sitting over here waiting to use these babies for all my non existent dinner parties :) HAPPY FRIDAY! Thanks for reading and checking out the blog. Have a great weekend!

xoxo

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New Spray Paint Obsession

Spray Paint Obsession

Gold Spray Paint

Happy Sunday! A few weekends ago I went a little spray paint crazy and was basically painted anything in  my house that wasn’t tied down.

It’s because I found the magic that is………. GOLD SPRAY PAINT.

It’s for lack of a better term, liquid gold, literally.

It started because I had a few things that I was test spray painting for my wedding and it was sooooooo amazing that I started painting other things too. Like lots of random things.

Which I’m going to share with you bit by bit here on the blog but first as this was my first time using and crafting with pray paint, I thought I would go over a couple basics.

First things first- which spray paint should I use? 

First of all I was primarily interested in GOLD spray paint. So I did some research on this and relied heavily on other bloggers testing out of spray paints brands to get the best “true gold” look.

Here, Here, and Here are my trusty sources- see for yourself!

So I purchased the Rustoleum Metallic Gold paint as well as the little sprayer nozzle thing. It’s worked great (HIGHLY RECOMMEND) it just was easier to handle and I felt made things go on smoother.

I also made this highly complex and state of the art spraying “station” out of old shoe boxes (I have a small shoe obsession) as seen here:

photo

*Sarcasm*

I was so desperate to paint I literally THREW this together. It worked great though!

Yes that is snow on the ground and no it’s not recommended to spray paint in very cold temperatures but believe it or not this day got up to like 40 degrees and lets face it I might not see those temps for a few more months so I had to jump at the opportunity!

Everything worked out just how I wanted. But I did learn a few things.

{Spray Paint Tips}

– With all the fumes that are just a part of spray paint, make sure you do it outside or in a HIGHLY ventilated area (like garage with the door open at a minimum) and also make sure to ware a mask or pant ventilator. For your own health, you don’t want to inhale that stufff.
– Make sure it’s not windy! Paint particles all over everything in your painting area is not probably how you want it to go and that WILL happen if it’s windy. Also you really shouldn’t spray paint below 50 (I did 4o) degree weather apparently this is because it makes it hard for the paint to properly bond and dry on the item(s)
– You don’t need a primer, most likely. Unless you are doing a super high glossy item or furniture with lots of nooks and crannies. I didn’t use primer for any of my items and they turned out great.
– A few thinner coats of paint are better than 1 or 2 THICK ones. Trust me.
– Prep your area that you’ll be painting in (see pic above :) ) and also make sure to test the paint before you start too. Just a test spray on your prep surface or piece of “junk” will do. You just want to make sure everything is working properly.
– SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE (it off- sorry couldn’t resist) that can. SHAKE the hell out of it before you start (I’m talking 2-3 minutes of good shake time) and then shake frequently throughout your project particularly if you take some breaks to rotate or move your item. It will make a world of difference

So now you have all the info you need to be able to do your own fun and gorgeous spray painting crafts and projects!  I did soooo many cute things with this paint….. but I’m going to make you wait a little longer to see what they all were :)

Check back soon to see how we painted some vases, some string lights, and some napkin rings!

Do YOU have any other tips or tricks to share? I’d love to hear them!

xoxoxo

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Chicken Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

Chicken Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

FOREVER

HEYOOOO!

It’s Friday again! I love posting on Friday. They are such a happy day and everyone is in a great mood!

Sooooo this recipe is a total copy cat of my major girl crush, Lindsay over at Pinch of Yum. If you are on Pinterest at all, I 100% guarantee you have one of her posts pinned to your recipe board. She is a source of never ending amazing, well, everything! Food, Recipes, pictures, helpful blogging tips and tricks, laughs, inspiration….ok, like I said, girl crush.

I get so many recipe inspirations from her! Her and her hubby, Bjork, started Pinch of Yum a few years ago as a side fun thing and it morphed into their full time job and all their dreams come true! They are like a blogging, social media, power couple- and I want them to adopt me. kidding.

So I saw this recipe in my inbox one day and it struck a chord. Jake is always saying how now that I focus on healthier food for us, he misses the cheesy casseroles and pasta and this and that. Well this looked like the perfect solution, keeps me happy with veggies and quinoa and only a little cheese and keeps him happy because it tastes amazeballs and he’ll think it’s loaded with cheese.

WIN.WIN.

It was really good! I had a little trouble getting all the water to absorb into the quinoa, but I just left it in the oven for a little longer until it looked the consistency I wanted. Of course I can never follow a recipe word for word so I made this my “own” in a few ways…. made this gluten free and used almond milk since my stomach can’t really do dairy milk. Also spiced it up a little by using red pepper flakes. I loved the way mine tasted but here’s the original Lindsay version.

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But here is my version. Deeeelicious. You have to try it for yourself.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond)
1 teaspoon chicken or vegetable bouillon powder
½ cup flour (I used GF all purpose)
2 cups water, divided
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
¼ cup already cooked and then crumbled bacon (optional but not really :) )
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons seasoning (I love Penzeys Mural of Flavor but any basic blend you like will work)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup shredded Gruyere cheese (although you can use whatever you would like)
3 cups fresh broccoli florets

INSTRUCTIONS
Sauce: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and generously grease a 9×13 baking dish (not kiddint- be generous, it really sticks to the sides). Bring the chicken broth and ½ cup milk to a low boil in a saucepan. Whisk the other ½ cup milk with the bouillon seasoning and flour; add the mixture to the boiling liquid and whisk until a smooth creamy sauce forms.
Put it all together: In a large bowl, mix the sauce from step one, one cup of water, the quinoa, and bacon and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Slice the chicken breasts into thin strips and lay the chicken breasts strips over the top of the quinoa mixture. Sprinkle with your seasoning of choice. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
Broccoli: While the casserole is in the oven, place the broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute until it turns bright green and then run under cold water. Set aside.
Bake: Remove the casserole from the oven, check the mixture by stirring it around in the pan, and if needed, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes to get the right consistency. When the quinoa and chicken are cooked and the sauce is thickened, add the broccoli and a little bit of water (like 1/2 cup) until the consistency is creamy and smooth and you can stir it up easily in the pan. Top with the cheese and bake for 5 minutes, or just long enough to melt the cheese. You can hit it with the broiler to get a pretty golden color if you want too. TADA

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And then eat it up! Sooooo tasty. And pretty relatively guilt free!

Eat Laugh CraftSo you have two take aways from today:

1) Make this recipe and come back and tell me how you liked it.

2) Go check out Lindsay and Bjorks site Pinch of Yum, if you haven’t already that is :)

OH and one last thing:

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY! <3 <3 <3 I hope you all have a fabulous weekend. As always thanks for stopping by!

xoxo

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*This post contains no sponsored or affiliate links. 

Morel Mushroom Risotto

Morel Mushroom Risotto

EDIT of DSC_8358So maybe I’m just desperate for Spring to get here but I was craving morel mushrooms! Usually early spring is Morel Mushroom season in Wisconsin but they were pretty late popping up around here last year due to winter that lasted into April………………………………….but they eventually did arrive! Hopefully I won’t have to wait quite as long this year!

Usually if we have a season where we have a LOT of them, my family will dry them or dehydrate them put them in a jar and we can enjoy them all year long. It’s simple to use them once they are dried- you basically just cover them with boiling water for about 10 minutes and let them reconstitute. This recipe can use both fresh or dried morels. If you use the dried, you use some of the liquid used to reconstitute the mushrooms as liquid in the risotto and it’s to.die.for. Seriously, love it.

If you’ve never tried morels you should! They look a little funky but trust me, they’re delicious! Now I understand that if you don’t live where they may grow wild they can be pricey (like $30/pound) so I give you permission to use any mushrooms you want for this one :) but if you can, try the morels!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 quart stock, chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup minced shallot, leek or onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups risotto rice (Arborio Rice)
  • 1/2 pound fresh morels, or 1 ounce dried
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives or parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese

 Instructions: 

FOR FRESH MORELS

  1. Pour the stock and 2 cups water into a pot and bring it to a gentle simmer.
  2. In another medium pot, heat the duck fat or butter over medium-high heat and saute the minced shallot or onion until it softens and turns translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic cloves, the morels and the rice and mix well. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often.
  3. When the liquid from the morels has evaporated, add 1/2 cup of hot stock to the rice and stir well. Sprinkle a little salt over everything. The key to making a great risotto is to constantly stir, or at least stir every minute or so. As each 1/2 cup of stock is absorbed, add another, then another until the rice is cooked through, but still firm.
  4. When you reach that point, add the grated cheese and a little more stock. Stir to incorporate the cheese into the risotto. Add the chopped chives and serve at once.

FOR DRIED MORELS

  1. Start by setting the morels in a bowl. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the morels and cover the bowl. Let the mushrooms steep for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Remove the mushrooms, squeeze them dry with your hands over the bowl, catching the juices. Chop the morels and set aside. Strain the soaking water through a paper towel set in a colander; you will be cooking with this soaking water, and you want it free of debris.
  2. Now follow the directions as above, but instead of 2 cups of water, use the 2 cups of the mushroom soaking water.

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TA DA! First of all, I loveeeeee risotto. So creamy and delicious and rich and did I say delicious already? Ahhhhhh. Now I’ve seen “cheaters” risotto out there where you don’t stir so much and you don’t add the liquid bit by bit, but personally I think the labor of love is soooooooo worth it, so I’ve never tried those. If this is your 1st time making a risotto, you’re probably going to think at some point…”um what? no way is all this liquid going in here” but it does! And the result is amazing.

So there you have it and fantastic weekend meal to try! Let me know how yours turned out! I love hearing from my readers! HAPPY WEEKEND!

xoxo

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