Wednesday, September 17, 2014

what's for dinner tonight {cheeseburger soup}.

i used to be the girl that never would go to a restaurant and order a burger.  ever.  i just never cared that much about red meat nor did i crave it.

until i met nick.

soon into our dating, somehow i was telling him how i had been anemic and he promptly declared "you need to eat more red meat", and all of a sudden late night dates for cheeseburgers became our "thing".  and ever since then, i love a good burger.  yes, i'm now that girl.  and i fully embrace it.

in fact, one of our favorite local pizza joints has a to die for big mac pizza on their menu.  it is one of my favorite things and we actually just ate it the other night: ground beef, lettuce, cheese, pickles and the sweet, tangy "big mac" sauce... i know what you're thinking: pickles on a pizza?!  you have no idea.  where was this pizza when i was pregnant??

it's been chilly here this week and that only means one thing: the beginning of fall/cold weather/comfort food cooking... and that means lots of soup and chowders.  i've made cheeseburger soup a few times, but our trip to our pizza joint and feasting on their big mac speciality just made me want to take it up a notch... and so i did.

i added pickles.

i used this recipe as my base, and then tweaked it a bit.  the end result?  absolute deliciousness in a bowl.  with cheese.  and pickles.

need i say more?

cheeseburger soup

* 1 lb. ground beef
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 carrots, chopped
* 2 stalks celery, chopped
* 1 t. dried basil
* 1 t. dried parsley
* 4 T. butter
* 3 c. chicken stock
* 2 medium potatoes, chopped
* 1/4 c. flour
* 1/4 c. dill pickles, diced
* a generous splash of pickle juice (sorry; didn't really measure...suit your taste!)
* 1 t. salt
* 1/2 t. pepper
* 2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
* 1 1/2 c. milk
* 1/4 c. sour cream

- in a large stockpot, melt 1 T. butter over medium heat.  add onion, carrots, celery and ground beef.  cook until beef is brown.
- add chicken stock, basil, parsley and potatoes and bring to a boil.  cook until potatoes are fork tender.
- melt remaining 3 T. of butter, whisk in flour and milk until smooth.  slowly add milk mixture to the stockpot, stirring constantly.  bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer.
- add in pickles, juice and salt and pepper.  stir in cheese until melted.
- stir in sour cream and heat through; DO NOT BOIL.
- serve with crusty bread and be happy.  it's delicious.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

farewell, summer.

it's a chilly day mid-september and i'm snuggled cozy on my couch under a pile of blankets.  the girls are sleeping, and i've just turned on the heat in my house for the first time.

summer is officially over.

i know, i know.  it's been over for a while now.  temperatures have dropped, short sleeves have been packed away, pumpkins are appearing on doorsteps and it's all-things-apple.  we've been back in the swing of school for a few weeks now, but i was pretty stubborn letting our beautiful little summer slip through my fingers.  it was just so lovely.  this year was the first time in all the years nick has been a teacher that he actually took his summer off... or most of it, anyway.  after a couple weeks of teaching summer school and some occasional work with a landscape company he's worked with before, it was such a gift to have this summer free from work, commitments, stressors or crazy schedules pulling us here, there and in every direction.  we packed a ton in and just enjoyed each other.  it was really, really great for our little family of four.

here are a few (okay, a million) of photos documenting some of my favorite moments:

very first day of summer vacation with my babes

liver life walk in portland in memory of my dad

blessed with the support and love of so many dear friends and family
seeing this sign still took my breath away... miss him every day

outdoor fun

backyard sprinkler
in a field of peas at treworgy's orchards
a pond & wildflowers
playing in the rain: one of our favorite things to do

strawberry picking

the girls first trip!
family fun
they ate more than they picked...

days at the lake...

the fourth of july weekend on portage lake
parks pond with meme's home church
cute cousins
portage lake with the rollins
sisters at dusk
moosehead lake late august

off to see our georgia family!

lots of outdoor work on our house...

hanging baskets
lots of flowers planted
two fruit trees in the backyard: one peach, one apple

a trip to york beach

beach day
fearless girl
best ice cream on earth

bella's first swim lessons

 cousin time!

emmy and baby cana: waaaaay better than a doll! ;)
what a crew!

our new hampshire adventure

emmy's first trip to the emergency room after a fall at the hotel pool...
santa's village!
family sleigh ride
feeding santa's reindeer
pumpkin coach
teatime with cinderella
my favorites

disney junior live!

family visits!

singing with aunt jayne
breakfast with papa
playing with nonnie
taking the texas fam to one of our favorites

bathroom remodel

papa to the rescue!!  he came up from texas to help nick give our bathroom a major overhaul
first bath in their new tub
 vacation bible school

local fun

at the folk festival
rolling in the grass at the festival...
atop cadillac mountain
ice cream cones at giffords

i apologize for the picture overload, but this summer was filled with so many precious moments that i want etched in my mind forever.  as the beauty of summer fades into the crispness of fall, i am so thankful for all of these blessings.  memories i will cherish for years to come.  photos that will make up the girls childhoods.  people that are so dear to us.  snapshots stitched and woven together that make up a beautiful life.  and i'm so grateful that it is mine.

thank you, jesus.  until next summer... there are more memories to make and moments to hold dear in all of the months in between.