Sunday, January 30, 2011

{NON PROCESSED} Cheese & Broccoli Soup

Aka.. no Velveeta in this soup. **

2 Tbs butter
1/2 onion, diced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, chunked
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
3 Tbs cornstarch
4 cups fresh broccoli, chunked in large pieces
1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped small in food processor
2 cups half-n-half
2 cups water
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
dash of sea salt
dash of garlic powder
1-2 tsp of fresh ground pepper to taste

1. Saute onion and mushrooms in melted butter in large pot.  {Saute just a few minutes!}
2. Add chicken broth and 1 cup water.  Bring to boil.
3. Measure cornstarch in separate bowl. Add a little broth to cornstarch, whisk together.
4. Slowly add into pot.  Stir in broccoli and carrots.  Simmer until veggies are tender {(5 min) - no mushy broccoli! Blek}
5. Add half-n-half, 2 cups water, and cheese. Stir in spices.  Keep stirring until all cheese has melted.  {Do not boil!}
6. Serve with hearty whole grain or rye bread {or croutons, like me}.  Serves 8.

**A little note about this soup: It is wonderfully fabulous immediately after preparing.  However, reheating this soup multiple times for leftovers, makes for soft broccoli and the cheese has difficulty congealing again. I recommend finishing the pot on the first go!  :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day Five Solo

Jarod has been gone for five days... and I am so ready for my husband to be home now.  AND he still has four more days of his trip before he's back in California with me.  Lame.

Tonight, I did all the things that usually happen on Friday evenings.  Things like walking the dog around the neighborhood, cooking a new recipe for dinner, watching the Office on, tidying up the house... but it's just 100% lame when I'm by myself.  I'm pretty lonely for him.  I've had a few friends call and ask to hang out tonight, but I'm just being mopey.  I miss my Jarod.

AND THEN, just a few minutes ago, in the depth of my misery, he emailed me this photo!!

WHAT?!?!  Apparently, when he was doing this:

 and this:
That would be ice climbing in Ouray, Colorado... 
a piece of ice fell and sliced his face.  


Can you see the ice in his beard?!  Goodness.  Tomorrow they are doing the big, last, final hoorah in Telluride, Colorado: Bridal Veil Falls.   Let's hope there's no more bloody faces.  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Crispy Baked Chicken

Whelp.  I haven't been in the kitchen very much.  Dinners have been uneventful salads for most of January.  Breakfasts are smoothies in the VitaMix.  And lunch consists of an apple and a LARABAR.  While this does keep my kitchen clean, it doesn't make for fun food blogs.  Boring.

HOWEVER, I did cook ONE dish this month: Crispy Baked Chicken.  It was pretty tasty. Jarod gave it two thumbs up.
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sea salt 
2 teaspoons chili powder 
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3 pounds chicken, cut up (I had 4 big thighs on hand and cut those into strips OR you could cut up a broiler-fryer chicken)
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup olive oil

Combine the first six ingredients. Dip chicken in milk, then roll in the cornmeal mixture. Place in a greased 9x13 baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees F for 50-55 minutes or until juices run clear.

This is a pretty easy recipe to whip together.  I served the chicken with Sauteed Yellow Squash and Sweet Potato Fries. (picture of fries coming soon :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Snaps of the Eastern Sierras

Snap shots from the base of Mt. Whitney
Lone Pine, California

Just a bit north is Manzanar Internment Camp.  We toured the Memorial.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jarod & Whitney

Mt. Whitney, that is.

Over the weekend, Jarod summited the tallest peak in the lower 48!  (Thats 14,505 ft--and in the middle of JANUARY, of all months to choose) Although mountaineering isn't exactly Jarod's forte... and by that, I mean, he tells me it's not challenging enough for him (what?!?!)  Ha.  He says, "You basically just have to keep walking, Brooke."  WELL, I am still impressed and I know he had a good time.  And, some of these photos are a bit more precarious that just "walking".  My crazy husband, he has one deep, "need for high-risk" cup.

These photos were taken by Andrew Summerset.  He is a friend of Jarod's who is climbing multiple 14-ers across the nation, and who invited Jarod on this trip.  

A little photo recap of his trip last weekend:
Mt. Whitney is the large peak on the right.
They camped up there two nights.  Remember the fab yellow tent? :)
I would like to call to everyone's attention that Jarod does not have an ice axe (necessary for all mountaineering trips).  What he does have (and is using) is a tent pole found en route.  Hmm.  Safe.  What?!?! 
I love these views of the Eastern Sierras.

Friday, January 14, 2011

IKEA in Action

Here are a few pics of my new IKEA shelves, hangers, clocks, tea towels and book cases in my apartment.. they are finally on the wall!!  For a closer look, click the picture.

For fun photos like these, go here to download!  It's a fun, free app for your iPhone.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sam's Throne, Arkansas

During our visit home, we set aside time for a day trip to Sam's Throne in Northwest Arkansas to do some climbing.  This year, my brother and sister-in-law got to come with my parents and us.   It was so fun to have them along!

Of course, we brought the dogs too... 

and those wild things loved it!  

Crazily enough, Austin had NEVER been climbing.  Here he is on his first route!

 Then Amy took her turn for her first send as well.
(Side note - gotta love that BLUE sky!)
Nice job.

Of course Jarod's laps up and down Windy Arm Buster. Where's Waldo Jarod?

Sam's is just too gorgeous.

The overlook is incredible from the top of the ridge.
I like that Amy and I have matching Marmot down jackets :)

Aww, Mom and Dad.

This is Jarod and I from our day trip in 2009.
And this is Jarod and I from the recent trip in 2010.
Aww, Sam's.  You make us so happy.