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Sunshine, Ocean and Strawberries, Potato Soup, and Challah with Basil Butter

 I arrived home late last night after a beautiful weekend near Seattle with dear family and friends. πŸ™‚ We all congregated at my brother and sis-in-laws house, pleased as punch for a gloriously sunny day so the grown ups could visit outside while the younguns tore around hollering, playing games and took turns pushing us on the swing. πŸ™‚

I love my sis-in-law Rachel’s tulips clustered round the base of this big ol’ tree.

 It felt so good to soak up sunshine and have such great visits and laughter with kindred spirits. There was much hilarity around the game tables as we played Speed Uno and Mexican Train, particularly since half of us didn’t have a clue what we were doing. πŸ™‚ It was grand fun! πŸ™‚

For lunch we gathered on the porch with steaming bowls of Mum’s fabulous potato soup laced with cream, studded with farmer’s sausage and flavored with onions and thyme. Sprinkled with sharp cheddar cheese, it was cozy and comforting. πŸ™‚

 Tara brought wonderful challah rolls that were so fragrant, tender and delicious, especially spread with Rachel’s Basil Butter.

 We finished off lunch with luscious strawberries dipped in Tara’s ridiculously good fruit dip made of cream cheese and marshmallow creme. Yowza!! We ate that stuff on everything! Strawberries, rolls, and Matt and Dana even frosted Rachel’s Toffee Chocolate Chip with it!! πŸ™‚

 Later this week I’ll tell you about the fantastic dinner Rachel made us that night. Oooeee! πŸ™‚

After the fun and hoopla of Saturday, we had a blissfully relaxing Sunday in our pjs resting, visiting and eating leftovers. πŸ™‚ Then we hugged and waved good bye, and Mums and I headed for the ferry. We laughed at  how ridiculously excited we get about taking a ferry. πŸ™‚ It feels like a REAL vacation somehow, like we’ve left reality far behind and are bobbing along the waves, watching the coast go by from our warm perch inside. I love it. πŸ™‚

How was your weekend? πŸ™‚

Basil Butter
(From Taste of Home)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 pound butter, softened
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, chop basil.
  2. Add butter, lemon juice and pepper and garlic salt; blend until smooth.
  3. Store in container in fridge until ready to serve.
  4. OR – Drop by half-tablespoons onto a baking sheet; freeze.
  5. Remove from baking sheet and store in freezer bags. Use to flavor chicken, fish or vegetables.

Cream Cheese Fruit Dip
(From Cooks)

Ingredients:

(32 oz.) jar marshmallow creme
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

Directions:

  1. Combine the marshmallow creme and cream cheese in medium bowl.
  2. Blend with a mixer until it is smooth and creamy.

Mum’s Potato Soup

Ingredients:

1 onion finely chopped
2 stalks celery finely chopped
1 carrot coarsely grated or julienned
2 leaves kale chopped
3 Tbsp. butter
1-2 John Morrell smoked sausage, halved and sliced
1 quart water
1/2 cup real bacon bits
4 large red or gold potatoes, cubed
1 tsp. dried dill
1/2 tsp. dry thyme
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in soup pot. Saute onion, celery, carrot and kale.
  2. In separate pan, fry smoked sausage. With slotted spoon transfer to soup pot.
  3. Add 1 quart water, real bacon bits, potatoes, dill, thyme,
  4. parsley, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil, simmer ’til potatoes are tender.
  5. Add 1 can evaporated milk.
  6. Lightly mash potatoes , just to thicken as desired.
  7. Serve with grated sharp cheddar cheese. 




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