Posts Tagged With: creating

What’s Cookin’ Wednesday–When Life Gives You Snowstorms, Make Potato Soup

It’s been said that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

If that’s true, I’m doomed. At least as of late…

Take last night for instance. Cold  cereal. Cold Cereal. And…hot dogs. Yeah, I totally agree. It does sound like a disgusting combination. It’s embarrassing, really. I don’t even have a good excuse. I’m ashamed to admit that’s what went down last night at our house. As we brushed our teeth after the chores were done and the kids were asleep, my husband said, “I miss your old cooking. You know, like when you used to, I don’t know…cook?” I knew something had to change, and fast, because my love was certainly not getting through to his stomach with Raisin Bran and the amazing Applegate tube stake. For what it’s worth, my kids were in heaven.

So here’s my plan. I’m going to post a recipe on Wednesdays (What’s Cookin’ Wednesdays, clever, yes? Or…ok, just cheesy) from the good old days when I had my wonderful husband’s appetite won over. I’ll cook it beforehand and make sure it really is a winner, take pictures, and give you the recipe so, if you so desire to woo your family with a new recipe, you can do just that. Then I’ll have a bit of extra motivation. I hope I haven’t scared you off with my cereal and hot dog story. I promise, I really do pretty well in the kitchen when I actually try.

My absolute favorite dinner is potato soup. Especially when a snowstorm comes and makes you want to bundle up and stay warm (like it’s done here!). It’s my kids’ absolute favorite too. Can’t beat that, right? And this recipe is spectacular. It’s my mother-in-law’s and it honestly and truly can’t be beat. Even the five-star, rated-by-thousands-of-people Ham and Potato Soup on allrecipes.com doesn’t even come near it. This recipe is not only delicious, but it has NEVER failed me. I’m so glad I married into my husband’s family for many, many, many reasons, and this is one of them.

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Potato Soup

1 cup onion, peeled and minced
3 TBSP butter or margarine
6 cups potatoes, peeled and diced (I often use red potatoes and don’t peal them)
6 stalks celery, diced
4 ½ cups cold water (or 4 1/2 cups chicken broth, and omit the chicken bouillon)
5 cubes chicken bouillon
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp celery salt
1 cup milk
6 TBSP cornstarch
2 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon pepper

Add cornstarch to mild and stir to dissolve. Set aside.
Melt butter in large pan. Stir-fry onion in butter over moderate heat until limp.
Add potatoes, celery, water, salt, celery salt, and bouillon. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Gradually stir in cream, milk mixture, and pepper. Continue stirring to prevent lumping. Simmer uncovered, stirring constantly, 3-5 minutes, until soup thickens.

Scaled to serve 6—it’s a great leftover soup!

I hope you can woo some tummies, big and little alike, in your house with this recipe. It’s definitely a blue ribbon winner around here. Stay warm!

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Categories: What's Cookin' Wednesday | Tags: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

You can Create

“I wanna be a Brontosaurus!” “Mom, can I be a train conductor?” Thank goodness for pinterest, I thought to myself. A vague memory from the year before of me venting to my husband after all the Halloween festivities were over, “Next year we BUY the costumes!” floated back to my mind. I brushed it off, like I do every year. Eh, last year was different, and it really wasn’t THAT bad, was it? M, dressed up as the “Red Barron” even won the costume contest. That had to have been worth something. The hours and hours of work to create a plane out of cardboard boxes and duct tape resulted in one exhausted mom, three tuckered out kids, and a $5 coupon to the ice cream shop for winning grand prize. Totally worth it.

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We scoured pinterest for a couple minutes, and soon they’d decided on pirates. No, lions. Firefighters? Cowboys!! Cowboys. It was settled. R and N would be cowboys, M would be the horse, Dad would be the bad guy, and mom would be the “Damsel in distress?” I offered. “No, Mom. You can be the cactus.” Ok, the cactus. The cowboys we found in our closets, and the horse head we paper mached half of a milk jug and painted brown with a mess of yarn hot glued to the top.

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I threw myself on our couch and sat back to admire our work. Then, like every year, the thought came back. “Why do I go through this every single October? It would be easier, cheaper, and loads faster to just go buy them.” And then words from one of my favorite talks came to my mind.

The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.

Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.

Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty…”

It seemed silly, really. I’m just creating Halloween costumes, I’m not generating amazing pieces of art for the world to enjoy. I’m not serenading visitors with beautiful melodies flowing from my fingers or my voice.

You may think you don’t have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us. The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.

What you create doesn’t have to be perfect. So what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burned? Don’t let fear of failure discourage you. Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside.”

Creating is an inherent trait we received from the greatest Creator of all. Whether it is Halloween costumes, happy homes, loving children, meals for our family, or lovely paint strokes on a canvas. We often get down on ourselves and feel like we don’t measure up. But even when our contributions seem small, when our works fall short of a masterpiece, they still make a difference. And we must keep trying.

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Peggy is older and lives in a small house all on her own. Chances are you have never heard of her. I only met her a handful of times, but her story of creation will forever be with me. Gram would visit her often, helping with grocery shopping, housework, and whatever else she needed. That’s how her story became a part of my life. You see, she is completely blind. She was diagnosed with MS and has suffered for years from the effects, but that never slows her down. Even with her loss of eyesight, she continues to bake bread for those in her small town. Gram would often get phone calls from Peggy asking her to deliver a loaf of bread to this family or that, one having just returned from the hospital with a new baby, another simply needing a friendly gesture. Her bread doesn’t always look perfect, but her creations bless the lives of all who receive it. It’s a simple act of love that she shares with others. A few weeks after Gram passed away, we received a note in the mail. It was from Peggy, someone we vaguely knew. The writing was slanted and some words went over the others. She so kindly sent her sympathy and expressed her love for the amazing woman we all would so dearly miss. That simple note was not written with beautiful penmanship. It was difficult to make out the words as they jumbled together. But that card touched us so deeply.

If you still feel incapable of creating, start small. Try to see how many smiles you can create, write a letter of appreciation, learn a new skill, identify a space and beautify it…”

In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts, notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us, and let us be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to answer those prayers.”

YOU are an artist. You can create masterpieces, you can touch lives. Maybe you don’t feel like your medium is a paintbrush, a hammer, a keyboard, a cooking spoon, or the ivory keys of a piano. Start with a smile, and go from there. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect, if it doesn’t measure up to that of others. Even if our Red Barron hadn’t won the costume contest last year, it would have still been worth the time we spent together duct taping, cutting, and painting, laughing, working, and talking. Don’t allow yourself to feel like your contributions are small. Even if your efforts only touch one, that one is worth it. Even if that one is simply you.

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All quotes taken from a talk given by Dieter F. Uchtdorf (Happiness, Your Heritage October 2008)

A really great 2 minute video!! Please watch: Create

 

Categories: Life Lessons | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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