Friday, October 3, 2008

Finally Friday!

I can't describe how happy I am that it is Friday. We do have a lot going on this weekend, but my brain is fried. I need a break. This weekend I plan to make some new jewelry, pull the rest of the basil from my garden and make a final batch of pesto, put together my new nightstands (even though the bed isn't complete yet), and get some cleaning done. Somewhere in between all that (or maybe vice-versa) I have date night (oooo! we're going to my favorite steak place with a couple of friends), and have a birthday party at the MIL's.

BUT! And there is always a 'but', isn't there? Something recently occurred to me. When I started this blog, I intended to use it to post lots of recipes and talk about food. And, clearly, my household projects, while very worthy of mentioning, have taken over. Well, the cold weather has begun to set in, and the urge to cook is taking over again. I'm not a great photographer, by any means, but here is what I did last night:

Cheeseburger Soup
Why we started calling it this, I don't know, because it doesn't even remotely resemble a cheeseburger. But, the hubs loves it, it is fairly easy, and very comforting on a chilly evening.

2 pounds lean stew meat
1 TB minced garlic
oregano, basil, parsley, about a teaspoon each or 1 TB Italian seasoning
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
5-6 potatoes, cubed
3 cups chicken stock
4 TB butter
1/4 cup flour
8 ounces Velveeta
1 1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper
In a large stockpot, brown the meat in the garlic, and set aside.
In juices, saute herbs and onion until onion is translucent.
Return the meat to the pan and add potatoes and broth.
Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are just tender.
Melt butter and mix into the flour - add the slurry to the soup and return to a boil (add more slurry, if necessary to thicken).
Add cheese, milk, salt and pepper.
Cook until cheese melts and soup reaches desired consistency.

Also, I found out yesterday that we were having food at work today for my Aunt Patti, who also works in my office. Birthday food is a HUGE tradition here. Asking her what she would like me to bring she didn't hesitate in saying, "OH! Your Pecan Pie Bars!"
One of the first things I made when I became part of the family, and still her long-time favorite. SO, who can say 'no' to a woman on her birthday? Not me.

Pecan Pie Bars
1 ½ cups flour
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
2 eggs, beaten
2 T flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
Combine 1 ½ cups flour, ¼ cup brown sugar and butter in bowl. With fork, mix until consistency of fine corn meal. Press mixture into ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Combine 2/3 cup brown sugar and maple syrup in small saucepan. Simmer 5 minutes. Carefully pour over beaten eggs, stirring constantly. Be careful to add the syrup slowly, so as not to cook the eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients, except nuts. Pour mixture over baked crust, Sprinkle with nuts and bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes. Cool in pan. Cut into bars.


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