Recipe – Cheddar bacon potato soup

This weekend put me into full fall mode. It was chilly, we hosted a bonfire for my two bro-in-laws’ birthdays, and I’ve busted out the hoodies and sweatpants. The walnuts and hickory nuts are starting to fall from the trees.

And when it’s autumn, I want soup.

This cheddar bacon potato soup is a recipe I adapted from a ham soup recipe that was featured in a local senior living magazine. (Don’t ask why I had a senior living magazine.) It’s a favorite with my husband, family and friends. I’m often asked for the recipe.

Give it a try and let me know how you liked it!

Cheddar bacon potato soup

  • 3 1/2 cups diced potatoes (I cheat and use frozen Southern-style hash browns sometimes)
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup diced onion or leek
  • 3/4 cup cooked bacon
  • 2 Tbsps. or 2 cubes of chicken bouillon
  • 3 1/4 cup water (or use chicken broth and skip the bouillon)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, optional
  • 1 tsp. black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 cups milk
  • 5 Tbsps. melted butter
  • 5 Tbsps. flour
  • Cheddar cheese to taste (I usually toss in one to two cups.)

Combine all but the last four ingredients and the meat in a stock pot on the stove and cook until veggies are tender. When veggies are tender, turn down the heat and add the milk and meat, stirring frequently. Melt the butter in a small dish in the microwave. Stir the flour into the melted butter with a fork. When the butter/flour mixture has been well blended, add to the soup. Continue cooking until soup has thickened and heated through. Add cheese just before serving.

Since this is a milk-based soup, you want to avoid bringing it to a boil so the milk won’t scald. Cook it on low to medium heat and stir frequently.

If you’re feeling fancy, top the soup with chives.

Comparing apples to apples

So my friendly neighborhood apple guy sent this beast of fruit home with my husband last night:

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That’s a normal, lunchbox-size gala on top and the monster apple on the bottom.

That monster apple in the bottom of the photo that’s dwarfing the gala is a Wolf River apple. This is a new apple variety to me, but according to Orange Pippin, it’s a baking variety that was named after the Wolf River in Wisconsin. It’s been cultivated since the 1870s.

Just to give you another visual comparison, here’s how the apple stands up to a pint jar:

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Whoa, right?

I’ve been told that Wolf River apples make darn good dumplings. Are any of you familiar with this apple variety, and how have you used them?

A hand-me-down Hoosier cabinet

A few weeks ago my paternal grandmother asked me if I was interested in an old cabinet she purchased years ago that was now in possession of my great-great-aunt, her mother’s sister. At first I wasn’t sure if I had room for it in my tiny kitchen, but after some mental rearranging I told her I would take it. With the exception of our bed and our love seat, every piece of furniture I own either was a gift or a hand-me-down, which suits me just fine.

From her description, I knew it was a large cabinet with lots of storage space, which is something I always need for the food I buy in bulk or for kitchen knickknacks.

Here’s what I inherited:

My wonderful, new-to-me cabinet!

My wonderful, new-to-me cabinet!

After some research, I discovered that this cabinet is generally known as a Hoosier cabinet. Cabinets like these were manufactured by several companies in Indiana (hence Hoosier) and were used in kitchens before built-in cabinets were around. There aren’t any markings on this cabinet, but based on online pictures from the Amish Acres Historic Farm & Heritage Resort, I think this is a Coppes Napanee cabinet from the mid-1920s.

My grandmother bought this in the mid-1950s and she told me it was an antique then. She used it in her farmhouse kitchen for a few years until her built-in kitchen cabinets were put in, then it was passed to my late great-grandmother. My great-great-aunt got it in the 1970s and has had it ever since. My great-great-aunt is in her late 90s now and is downsizing, so she wanted to pass it back to my grandmother since she was the original purchaser. My grandmother passed it to me.

I think it’s in pretty good shape for its age, don’t you? I’ve washed it off and given it a good polish, but it still needs a little TLC. The tambour door needs repaired and the bread board needs reglued, but everything else seems to be OK. The porcelain enameled top still slides out for extra counter space and the bottom right drawer is the old tin bread box.

This cabinet came with the part of the old flour bin that fits in the left cabinet on the top. It’s missing the sifter and the glass window on it and it’s also pretty rusted. I’m trying to find a replacement online because I would love to use a bin, but I’m only finding bins that are for decorative purposes and not for food use. Can anyone guide me on that?

I know it’s an antique and probably is worth something, but I don’t care about that. I’m proud that I’m the fourth generation to use this cabinet and I hope it serves me for years to come!

Summer’s winding down and the canner’s heating up

I feel like August has been nothing but a food preserving marathon!

I’m just finishing up today’s pickle palooza. I keep forgetting how many pickles just a small amount of cucumbers can produce! One paper grocery bag full gave me four quarts and 14 pints of bread and butter pickles and nine half-pints of sweet relish, with leftovers. I’ve only gone through 10 pounds of sugar today. Whew!

I find that I have a few must-do every summer canning recipes: apple butter, apple pie filling and some sort of pickle. Do you have those in your recipe box as well? What are your staples?

Pinspiration Wednesday: Black-tipped French manicure

Let it be stated for posterity that I am not a pro at painting nails. I usually stick with one color, be it funky or vanilla, and call it a day. For example, my toenails have been glitter-fied enough to make a disco ball envious. That’s about as funky as this redhead gets.

I was feeling girly Thursday and found this pin of a black-tipped French manicure. Nude-color polish is my current fascination but it can be a bit blah against my already pale skin. But adding black makes it edgy, right?! (Sidenote: Can I still get away with this at 28?)

So while binging on a multiple replays of my favorite The Piano Guys┬ávideos on YouTube and staying up way past my bedtime, I gave this manicure a shot. Here’s what it looks like today:

Nothing says redneck glamour like a nail shot with a mason jar...

Nothing says redneck glamour like a nail shot with a mason jar…

I know you all are so jealous of my blue Ball Heritage Collection jar turned drinking glasses. For the record, that’s water in the bottom, not moonshine.

Now, the one pro tip I can offer – the only reason this looks half-decent is because I used reinforcement labels as guides. You know, those little stickers that I commonly call doughnuts that are used around the punch holes of loose-leaf notebook paper? Cut those suckers in half and stick them on your dry nails before painting the tips. That’s the poor girl’s way of doing a manicure!

I really didn’t raise a lot of eyebrows with this manicure. The best comment came from my dad, who jokingly (I think) said that it looked like I had grease under my nails. Specifically, that grease was “Valvoline with about 500 miles of dust” in it. I died laughing at that.

So, what do you think? Do it again with a steadier hand or leave it to the teenyboppers?