Feb 27, 2006

Creamy Potato Soup

Due to popular demand...

Here is the original recipe:


1/4 c. butter
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/4 c. flour
2 c. water
2 large carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 tbsp. dried minced garlic
Salt & pepper to taste
1 c. milk
2 tbsp. chicken boullion
1 c. warm water
5 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 bay leaf
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
6 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion in butter until translucent. Stir in flour until smooth, then gradually stir in 2 c. water, carrots, celery, garlic, salt and pepper. Heat through, then stir in milk. Dissolve chicken boullion in 1 c. warm water and pour into vegetable mixture. Place potatoes in slow cooker, and pour heated vegetable mixture into potatoes. Place bay leaf in pot. Cover and cook 5 hours on High or 8 hours on Low. Remove bay leaf; puree about 4 c. of the soup in a blender or food processor, then stir pureed soup into contents of slow cooker. Stir in cheese and bacon until cheese is melted.

My Comments: When I think of crockpot, I think of EASY. Throw the stuff in and let it go for several hours. Then serve and eat. EASY. Now since the above recipe called for a lot of cooking, I did not think that was EASY. I have my own stovetop creamy potato recipe, if I wanted to do the extra cooking. So here’s what I did with the above recipe to make it EASY.

Chopped the onion, carrots, and celery. Put them in the crockpot. Omitted milk and chicken boullion. Peeled and chopped up potatoes. Put them in the crockpot. Mixed together two cans of cream of mushroom soup, a can of chicken broth, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour into crockpot and stir. Put in bay leaf. Cook on high for 6 hours or so. Added crumbled bacon and cheese. It seemed a little too thick so I added water. Next time, I think I’ll add milk. Serve it up!

Have I said that I think crockpot cooking should be fast and EASY?? LOL

Feb 26, 2006

Yum-Yums, High Speeds, and A Finish

On your mark! Get set! Go!

Friday afternoon, enter IT tech from the local ISP to install... what? High speed internet! ~Woo Hoo~ Hello faster downloads, hello faster uploads, hello faster emails, hello faster surfing... and hello $12 extra a month. Goodbye slow internet, goodbye dial-up and goodbye landline!
As you can guess, I made the jump to high speed internet and did away with my telephone service completely. The only thing I ever used the landline for anyway was internet. My calls are always make from and to my cell phone. Plus I save $12. Can't beat that!!

I finished the Love scissor fob kit today. It's by Shepherds Bush (by the way, their customer service is excellent!!). I must say that the colors turned out darker than I envisioned and darker than what the photograph shows on the front of the chart. It's still nice, though. It's stitched on 32ct Savannah Rose Linen with DMC and Weeks Dye Works floss. The kit also included the scissors in the pic. I had a few firsts with this project:

• First try at linen -- not bad, not bad at all

• First try at making cording -- used the cording drill I bought a month ago on one of my stash hunting trips. A bit tricky, but not bad.

First try at using invisible thread -- thought I'd pull my hair out! I did manage to get the cording sewed on and it DOES look nice. Need lots 'o patience to use invisible thread and be sure to anchor it to the needle. Reminds me of fishing line. Prolly is... they just package it differently because they know us stitchers will buy anything! LOL!!

Any Mayberry fans out there? Did you hear about the passing of Don Knotts? I can see his expression and bugged out eyes even now. LOL He'll be missed, I'm sure.

Found out I have new neighbors: a single lady with her 8yr grandson. I hope they work out better than the two gay (Oh, excuse me... "homosexual") guys that use to live there. For those of you who aren't aware -- I live in a 2-family townhouse, which is basically a two story house with a wall to separate us. Anyway, at least I know she likes kids (The gay guys didn't.) . Plus the grandson is the same age as my nephews... playmates!! They should fit in since there are a lot of kids in this neighborhood. Time will tell.

Now I bet you're wondering what this "Yum-Yum" stuff is all about? I've been on a 'cooking with crockpot' kick the last few months. After reading it over and the receipe calling for 'saute this, cook that,' I thought "What's the point of cooking it in the crockpot if you have to cook everything first?" Too much work! So I did my own version of the recipe by throwing everything in the crockpot and altering the ingredients. It turned out sooooo good! "What is it?" you ask? Creamy Potato Soup! It has carrots, onion, celery, bacon and cheese in it. I've never made a potato soup with carrots and celery before, but it's really good! Easy and so filling! Yum-Yum!!!

Well, I'm off to watch the closing ceremonies of Olympics. Go USA!

Feb 20, 2006

Lorri Birmingham Designs

When I was out shopping with my niece on Saturday, I found some things I just *had* to have. I didn’t realize it until today... I like Lorri Birmingham Designs! Between the LNS and Hobby Lobby, I bought 4 kits by Lorri Birmingham. When I bought them, I didn’t look at the designer’s name, just the project photo. Here’s what I came home with:

Bees & Clover Scissor Fob Kit

Stitchers Scissor Fob Kit

Simply Elegant Scissor Case & Fob Kit

Joy of My Heart Flat-Fold Kit

I got a couple other things as well:

Love Chart by Calico Crossroads

Love Scissor Fob by Shepherds Bush

Now the question is... Which one do I make first?!?

P.S. Did I mention ALL of these were on clearance?!!

Feb 19, 2006

Have I Created A Monster?

My sister says I’ve created a stash monster. Who? Me? My niece spent another weekend with me and boy did we have fun on Sat! We spent the entire day shopping. I was *such* an enabler! We started out at the LNS – My niece had never been to one before. She made lots of comments such as “Oh, look at this!” “This is cool!” “Is that blue part stitched, too?” She was asking all sorts of questions as to what things were and trying on magnifying glasses until she found a pair she could see out of. LOL She even asked the clerk if they had any “easy sports kits or charts”. She found one that was right up her alley – A leaflet with lots of basketball motifs.

Then we were off to Michaels, JoAnn Fabrics, and Hobby Lobby. The whole time, my niece was planning her sampler basketball project in her head -- what was going to go where and what color changes she wanted to make. She is going to give it to her coach as a present. She even thought about how she was going to frame it – a frame from the thrift store decorated with 3D basketball stickers.

I asked her how she wanted to store her floss – on bobbins like mine, or in baggies (and showed her the floss baggies). Guess what she opted for? The baggies!! She thought it was cool how they fit on the little rings and flipped around. When it was all said and done, she had her own little stash bag (A suede and leather cow spotted bag, which she thinks is the coolest thing), a hoop, floss bags, chart, needle threaders, scissors, highlighter, sleeve protector for her chart, and needles.

When we got home she and I went through my stash of extra floss and matched up colors she needed. She labeled all the baggies and put her floss in them. I helped her get started on stitching – taught her the “loop” method, how to end off, and running the floss under the stitches on the back to keep it neat. She also had her first frogging experience which she was not happy about. She was very proud of the progress she made!
My sister’s little stash monster…. LOL

Feb 17, 2006


Ever notice that the words “The” and “IRS” put together spells “Theirs”? LOL Did you know the IRS is trying to simplify the tax forms?

I thought that’d be a good opening line for this... Have you filed your income tax returns yet? Prior to this year, I always filed mine over the telephone. The IRS discontinued it this year, so I did them online. It was so easy and free, of course. I got my refund deposited into my bank account within 7-10 days, both for the state and federal. I used TurboTax online and one tricky thing they do that I did not like was: It’s free to file your federal tax return, but if you want to use their system to file the state return it’s $24.95! So what did I do? I filed my federal return and then went to my state’s website and filed my state return there for free! I don’t know if every state has a website that allows state return filings, though. Anyway, I just thought I’d share my experience in case anyone wanted to do it for themselves.

OK, keep in mind too that I have a strong background in accounting and I am very computer literate. So if you don’t know what you’re doing please take it to a professional!

Is It Friday already?

Is it Friday already??? On Monday, temps were 50 degrees. Today it is about 15F with sub zero windchills and the sun is shining! Crazy stuff! With that said, I’m sorta wishing I had the day off work because with ice being on everything it would make some fantastic photographs!!!

What have I stitched this week? I have set aside Japanese Garden once again because one of the threads is on back order, and it’s come to my attention that I forgot to order a couple of others. So, while watching the Olympics – Go USA!!! – I stitched on my soldier memorial project. Yesterday, I received a package in the mail for a bookmark RR I’m in so I started that last night. It’s my own design and it’s turning out really cute (if I do say so myself... LOL).

Feb 16, 2006

Ice Skating Anyone?

You would not believe the weather we had here today! Snow, sleet, rain, lightning and thunder! By noon, there was 1/4" of ice on my windshield and side windows. The roads were nasty and most all the schools were closed by 11am. By the time I left work at 5pm, there was 1/2" of frozen ice on the trunk of my car. When I got home, the entire driveway was nothing but ice! I bet there is at least an inch if not more on it. You could ice skate on the driveway if you wanted.

Feb 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!

What a day... What a day! In honor of Valentine's Day, my employer treated the office to TWO chocolately desserts: Black Forest Cake and Chocolate Cream Pie! Both were very, very scrumptious! SO had these sent to my office and I was the envy of every woman there (and some clients too!):

What's Valentine's Day without Valentine cards?? The orange one was hand-made by my niece especially for me! The stitched one came all the way across the Atlantic from the UK, also hand-made. Aren't they great?!?

Feb 10, 2006

Playing Tricks On Mother Nature?

Anyone remember the TV commercial that said: “It’s not nice to play tricks on Mother Nature”? I think it was a margarine commercial. Wait... Am I dating myself? Anyway, what about Mother Nature playing tricks on us?!?

Brrrr! Mother Nature has us spoiled! With the warmest average January temps in the recorded 110-year history, we definitely have been thinking thoughts of Spring! Wrong. It snowed night... just enough to dust the ground.

In my American Literature class, I turned in my 3 question essay quiz over “Ethan Frome”. It ended up being 3 pages long. Took me 3 hours to write! I have an essay response paper due in a couple weeks... over two short stories we read for this week’s class discussion. Plus, there’s packet of poems the instructor passed out in class that need to be read.

I’ve been a bad girl this week in regards to getting to the gym as part of my Get Fit program. I have just been SO tired! I know… no excuse!


In yesterday's mail, I received 4 pieces of Jobelan that I bought off ebay for a total of $4.88 and that includes shipping! All new, still in the package. The colors are very pretty, too! Here's what I got:

• 25ct - Cherub Pink 16x18"
• 28ct - Honeysuckle Pink 18x18"
• 28ct - Antique White 18x27"
• 28ct - Water Lily 18x18"

I'm on a stash high.... ahhh!

Not only that, I was the high bidder (all of $13 including shipping) on 5 hardcover cross stitch books:

• Famous Paintings in Cross Stitch – Retails Used $24
• Cross Stitch Fairies by – Retails New $24.99 ($4.99 Used)
• The Encyclopedia of Stitches – Retails New $19.95 ($9.95 Used)
• The Cross Stitch Motif Bible – Retails New $29.99 ($15.95 Used)
• The Cross Stitchers Complete Companion – Retails New $17.95 ($4.48 Used)

Did I say I was on a stash high???! LOL

I’m sure you all think I sit around being high all the time, but I do manage to get some stitching done! I’ve gotten some stitching done Japanese Garden by Chatelaine Designs. I really like how it’s turning out. I have the rock garden at the 12 o’clock location almost done. Once I finish that and then the bonsai trees to the right of it, I’ll be posting a pic. So stay tuned!!

Another accomplishment this week: After of months of frustration, I have figured how to get rid of the red cast that occurs when I use my Epson 1270 photo printer!! It’s back to normal and boy do I have a LOT of photos to print up. My next task is to figure out how to get rid of the BLUE cast that occurs when I use the 2200 photo printer. You can’t imagine how relieved I am to have figured out these problems!

Did I tell you I’m on a stash high??

Feb 5, 2006

GENTLEMEN! Start Your Engines!!!

Ladies & Gentlemen, Children of all ages... Welcome to the Thunder Nationals Monster Truck competition!! It’s an hour and a half of eardrum vibrating... fuel inhaling... testosterone pumping… 10,000 lb. monster truck action! Sat night, I celebrated my nephew’s 10th birthday by taking him to the Thunder Nationals Monster Truck competition. It’s an annual tradition now, since I’ve taken him for the past 5 years for his birthday. Fans had the pleasure of witnessing Brutus losing control and flipping over, crushing the roof and body of the monster truck favorite! After the show, there was the ritual of standing in line and getting autographs of the drivers. As if that weren’t enough… One of the drivers had a new sponsor: Mt Dew... and was handing out free bottles of Mt Dew MDX. For those of you who aren’t familiar – it’s one of those drinks that contain enough caffeine to wire you up enough to want to run laps around the stadium yourself! I told my nephew he best not drink that until the next day. (Let his parents deal with him bouncing off the walls) LOL!

Feb 2, 2006

Happy Ground Hog Day!!

I am soooooooooooooo glad that January is over! It was such a stressful month at work. In the 8 years I’ve been with the firm, this one was the worst!

Hmmm... What’s new with me? LOL, let me tell you how my day started out. I got up early to throw together a recipe for the crockpot. What was the recipe, you ask? Chicken Livers. (Do I hear ‘ewwwww’? LOL) I got them out of the freezer the other day and put them in the refrigerator to thaw out. I went to the store last night to get the two ingredients I needed that I didn’t have. Which brings me back to this morning. I washed the crock and started frying the bacon that was to go with the livers. I get the “liver” out of the refrigerator for prep and I find out it is NOT liver! It is rhubarb. Now, I did wonder why the liver was a bit off color as it sat in the refrigerator thawing, but attributed it to being a bit freezer burnt.

OK, so I’m not making Crockpot Chicken Livers anymore. I think to myself, “Well, I can cook the bacon and make some scrambled eggs – for breakfast.” While I am checking a couple emails, I end up BURNING the bacon! The entire kitchen was hazy. So much for breakfast! 2 and 0. I put the bacon on the back porch so it stops smoking up the house, turned on the exhaust fan above the stove, and went to take my shower before going to the dentist, whom I hadn't seen in a year.

LOL, are you thinking to yourself... “Uh-Oh”? I’m surprised I didn’t get chewed out for not making my last dental visit since my dentist likes to see his patients every 6 months. X-rays, Cleaning, Check-up. No cavities. All right!! Take good care of your teeth and they’ll last a lifetime! Think I got off easy? Nope. I have some abrasions/ulcers on my upper right gums. I noticed soreness earlier this week but attributed it to burning my mouth with soup I had. The dentist told me the medical term for it, but I don’t remember. I asked him to explain it to me and tell me what caused it. Well, well, well... He said one of the causes is stress! Me under stress???? Heck, I just finished a January from hell. What stress?!? He prescribed a cream and if it’s not better in 3 weeks, he wants to see me. So it’s off to the pharmacy for me.

When my SO called to talk to me this morning, he fell silent after I regaled him with my tales of woe. He paused determining whether or not to laugh and take the chance that it may ignite the fury of my irritation he dared think it funny. Sensing his dilemma, I laughed and announced it was indeed amusing. Sighing with relief, he laughed with me.

Great way to celebrate Ground Hog Day, don’t you think? My favorite sister (She’s my ONLY sister… so of course she’s my favorite!) and I were having a discussion about this whole hulla-bul-lu about the ground hog in Pennsylvania seeing his shadow. My pondering was this: The whole city makes a big deal about Phil seeing his shadow. They all get up early... Some even dress in top hats and tails... they wake Phil up early (He's a rodent for goodness sake!)... like he really wants to leave his warm comfy bed for this? and then they wait with anticipation in cold weather to confirm if he indeed sees that dark silhouette of himself indicating 6 more weeks of winter. It’s such a production with bright lights shining upon the place he calls home. Bright Lights! Of course he’s gonna SEE his shadow!! My sister’s pondering was this: Ground Hog Day is on Feb 2. Spring is Mar 20. How many weeks is that?? 6!! I think those people in Pennsylvania have too much time on their hands. LOL!

For those of you who believe in Phil, believe in what he stands for, and agree it’s the right thing to rouse a poor furry creature from hibernation... Happy Ground Hog Day! I hope I don't wake up tomorrow and today repeats itself all over again (Like in the movie, Ground Hog Day).