Aunt Patty’s Baked Potato Soup Recipe

Back in January, I mentioned something on my Facebook wall about making Baked Potato Soup, and several of my friends or fans or followers or what-have-you commented and/or emailed me asking for the recipe, and, because I like to keep my word even if it takes me eight weeks to two years, I am giving you that recipe today.

Baked Potato Soup

Image courtesy of Lindsey Turner

*****

Aunt Patty’s Baked Potato Soup

Prep Time: 1.5 hours       Cook Time: 45 minutes       Difficulty: Medium         Serves: 6

Ingredients

4 pounds of Russet potatoes (5 or 6 big ones)
2/3 cup butter (for best flavor, I recommend real butter, not margarine)
2/3 cup flour
6 cups milk (whole milk is best, otherwise soup takes FOREVER to thicken)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 green onions (scallions)
12 slices bacon
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
8 ounces sour cream

Preparation

Bake potatoes and let cool. Once cooled, cut each lengthwise and scoop out pulp. Fry bacon on stovetop, using a skillet or griddle, until very crispy. Set potato pulp and bacon aside.
Chop green onions.

In stockpot (5 or 6 quart will work), melt butter over low heat. Slowly add flour, stirring constantly and until smooth.

Increase heat to medium and gradually add milk. Continue stirring until thick and bubbly (be patient, it takes a little while).

Stir in potato pulp, salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of the green onions, 1/2 cup of the bacon, and 1 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese. Set aside remainder of those for garnish.

Stir in sour cream and cook until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently.

Serve in bowls and garnish with remaining bacon, onion, and cheese.

*****

Just think, if I were The Pioneer Woman, I would have pretty pictures of the ingredients and the process to show you. Of course, if I were The Pioneer Woman, I would also have eleventeen thrillion readers a month, a bestselling cookbook, and a movie deal with Columbia Pictures, but I’m not bitter because I have a DELICIOUS! BAKED POTATO SOUP RECIPE!

And now so do you.

WE WIN.

The Big Blue Whale of Catoosa

Route 66 Attractions :: Blue Whale, Port of Catoosa, Oklahoma

For much of my childhood, my Grandma Jean lived in Claremore, Oklahoma, about a forty-five minute drive from our home in Tulsa. Probably once a month, my parents, my brother Jeremy, and I made the trip there to see her and my Grandpa Bernard. During the car ride, my brother and I would measure how near to Claremore we were by keeping watch out for the Big Blue Whale in a Catoosa, OK pond just off of Route 66.

Route 66 Attractions :: Blue Whale, Port of Catoosa, Oklahoma

By the time I was a teenager my grandparents had moved out of Claremore, so whale-sightings became few and far-between. Still, even as an adult, I have had occasion to pass by the pond, and seeing the whale always makes me think of my Grandma and Grandpa, our midnight Uno games, crappie fishing, and jelly-roll baking lessons. For many years, I have wanted to take some pictures of the whale, since, for me,  it symbolizes so many happy memories. The other day, I made the trip to Catoosa to do just that.

Route 66 Attractions :: Blue Whale, Port of Catoosa, Oklahoma

The Big Blue Whale, now an official Route 66 Roadside Attraction, has an interesting back story. A love story. And, while there’s no longer swimming allowed at the whale pond, it’s still a great destination for a Sunday drive with the kids.

Free Printable Coloring Pages :: Rio Movie

Rio Movie :: Luiz + Blu

The girls and I are on our way out the door to see the new animated feature Rio, which just opened today in theatres. We all loved the Ice Age movies, so we are pretty psyched about Rio.

To celebrate, here are five free printable coloring pages of the characters from the movie Rio. Just click on each image below to be taken to the pdf pages for printing.

Rio Coloring Page :: Blu

Free Printable Coloring Page :: Rio Blu

Rio Coloring Page :: Jewel

Free Printable Coloring Page :: Rio Jewel

Rio Coloring Page :: Luiz

Free Printable Coloring Page :: Rio Luiz

Rio Coloring Page :: Nico + Pedro

Free Printable Coloring Page :: Rio Nico + Pedro

Rio Coloring Page :: Rafael

Free Printable Coloring Page :: Rio Rafael

Have a great weekend!

50 Shades of Grey Is the New Black

50 Shades of Grey, E L James

For the past couple of years, I’ve made many (many, MANY) choices about the books I read (and the TV shows I watch) (and the kind of lipstick I wear) based on recommendations I get from Google searches, Facebook friends, Twitter conversations, and blog posts.

Not that I can’t make decisions for myself, just why waste time wading through all the options out there? Someone, somewhere has already tried everything, and posted online about it.

After gorging myself on novel after novel during the holidays last year—most of them recommended by The Internet—I finally burned myself out. I hadn’t picked up my Nook in months.

Last week, my internet friends changed all that.

Early in the week, I started seeing mentions of the book 50 Shades of Grey on Facebook. Just a few comments at first, sprinkled here and there in my News Feed. But by the end of the week, chatter about the book had reached fever pitch in my social network. I had to find out what all the fuss was about.

So on Saturday, I downloaded the book and started reading it, nestled into my spot on the chaise section of our sofa, my two youngest daughters on the floor next to me, playing Barbie Monopoly.

By page 60 (and 75) (and 85) , I realized I must not have paid enough attention to exactly what everyone was saying about the book, because what I read would have me putting it away until the girls were safely and soundly asleep in their beds later that night.

I had assumed 50 Shades of Grey was another young-adult fiction selection turned grown-adult obsession, à la Harry Potter or the Twilight series.

Expecting ABC Family, I got HBO After Hours. Times a thousand.

This is what has Facebook abuzz? I wondered. Page after page of graphic, hot, rough, steamy, bubbly, naked, sexy sex? I blushed a little at the thought. (But kept reading.)

Recent sales figures are proof positive that the book is definitely hot in more ways than one. By the week ending March 3, it had rocketed to No. 1 on the New York Times e-book fiction best-seller list and No. 3 on Amazon’s best-seller list.

But 50 Shades is not without its critics.

Frank Santo of the NY Daily News wrote,

I can’t believe anyone would argue otherwise, 50 Shades of Grey is pornography, plain and simple. [It is] not a good book in the same sense that a monster truck is not a good car: in both cases the art is in the deviation, and the audience’s collective roar in response.

(Another columnist suggested that a much better option for steamy fiction is Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.)

So, why the viral popularity of a book that’s been simplified as “Mommy Porn”? I think Brittany Gibbons, the Barefoot Foodie, perfectly sums up the book’s appeal:

50 Shades of Grey gave me what Twilight and Hunger Games didn’t. Hot sex. Not vague or obtuse vampire honeymoon sex. The dirty kind of sex real people have.

What do you think about this so-called “Mommy Porn” genre of fiction? Is it a new twist on modern erotica, or just the usual romance novel, re-labeled to amp-up its image?

Will you be reading?

(source) (source) (Some of the above are affiliate links.)

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