Creamy Leftover Mashed Potato Soup

So December 26th rolls around and you find yourself with 8 pounds of leftover mashed potatoes and half a ham.  What do you do?  Make soup!  I tried this recipe today and it turned out really good.  First, here’s what you will need for it.  It’s a pretty simple and straight forward recipe.  It’s not nearly as healthy as what I usually like to make up in a recipe but hey, it’s the holidays right?

Ingredients

6 cups leftover mashed potatoes

6 cups whole milk

1/2 cup sour cream

4 tbsp butter

1/2 cup chopped green onions

3 cups chopped leftover ham

2 tsp garlic salt

2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp black pepper

Step One

In a large crock pot, combine all the ingredients and set on high.  Gently stir it together.  If you have more than 6 cups of leftover mashed potatoes, just add an equal extra amount of milk.  You should always have equal amounts of milk and potato.  Then adjust the flavoring ingredients according to taste.

Step Two

After about an hour, come stir the soup again as the butter and sour cream should be melted by now.  Change the crock pot setting to low and stir the soup occasionally until ready to serve.

Step Three

Garnish the soup with your favorite cheese (sharp cheddar would probably be best) and serve hot with bread.

 

Like I said, this recipe is pretty easy and straight forward and a good way to use those Christmas or Thanksgiving leftovers.  Feel free to try it and leave a comment in the comment section on how you liked it or changed it.  As always, if you enjoy the blog and want to receive an email notification when I post something new, please click on the “follow” link in the lower right hand corner of your screen.  Thank you for reading and happy holidays.

Banana-Lime Blueberry Muffins

I like food.  Like a lot.  I probably even love food.  More so, I love food that has a lot of flavor.  I like cooking for people and making them feel happy through the food I cook.  However, I also hate that most of the baking recipes I find are loaded with sugars, oils, and butter.  For example, we had a few older bananas today so I just looked up banana muffin recipes.  Most of the recipes had almost as much sugar as flour in them and at least 1/2 cup of some kind of oil.  I just feel that is so unnecessary in baking.  There are so many other ways to add flavor in recipes, specifically baking, without loading it full of sugar.

Low sugar recipes are really a necessity if you have children…especially children like mine who are already very high energy.  So, instead of using a recipe on the internet, I just experimented with some new flavors to come up with these muffins.  They use much less sugar (still some sugar) and no vegetable oil.  Instead, I used applesauce, lime juice, vanilla extract, and cinnamon, to add moisture and flavor.  Enjoy.

Ingredients

2 ripe to overipe bananas

1/2 cup applesauce

1/3 cup sugar

3 tbsp lime juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup blueberries

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 2/3 cup flour

Step One

If you’re using frozen blueberries, take them out and get them thawing.  If you’re using fresh blueberries, just pre-heat the oven to 375*.

Step Two

Mash the two bananas using a fork in a large mixing bowl.  Add the applesauce, sugar, lime juice, eggs, and vanilla and stir with the fork until the mixture is generally smooth.  Set the wet mixture aside.

Step Three

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Slowly stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture until it is one smooth batter.

Step Four

Add the blueberries.  At this point, try to stir as little as possible while still getting a good mix so that the blueberries stay intact.

Step Five

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and spoon the batter into the cups until they are about 3/4 full.  Bake at 375 for 18-22 min or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean.

Step Six20181210_170514.jpg

Enjoy!!!!

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  It’s pretty easy and straight forward and the muffins turned out really good.  My whole family loved them.  The average consumption rate was about 45 seconds per muffin.  As always, thank you so much for reading.  I really appreciate your support.  If you want email notifications whenever I post a new recipe, book review, or crafting idea, please click on the link in the lower right hand corner of the page to follow the blog.

 

 

Kid Lit Book Review – The Little Labradoodle: Puppy Pickup Day

I know it has been a while since my last post and I apologize.  It has been a very eventful but rewarding holiday season so far but one that left very little time for writing.  I am excited to share with you all a review of another children’s book and one that is top notch.  The Little Labradoodle: Puppy Pickup Day is a delightful story and it was a pleasure to read and review.

Overview

The book follows the story of Brady, the smallest labradoodle puppy in the litter, on the day that families are coming to get the puppies to take them home.  The puppies are all washed and primped and ready for pickup.  As the puppies wait for their families to arrive, they play games.  For Brady, he is too small to be able to compete with his brothers and sisters.  So he wanders off to find other ways to entertain himself.  He is a curious and somewhat mischievous little fellow and soon gets himself lost as the other doodles are picked up.  However, with some help from his friends, he is able to make it back to the house just as his family arrives.  At this point, he is beset with fear and anxiety as he worries that his family will not be able to love him since he is so small and clumsy and is now covered in dirt.  However, his fears are soon put to rest as his new family accepts him exactly how he is and gladly takes him home with them.

Outstanding Points

  • The illustrations are some of the best available.  Len Smith, the illustrator, has a resume that is simply filled with high profile work in children’s literature and entertainment.  The Little Labradoodle follows suite and does not disappoint.  Both the characters and landscapes are bright, colorful, and engaging.
  • I like rhyming books.  As a former teacher, I like that you can use them to teach word families, rhyming and vowel patterns, and phonemic awareness in general.  They rhyming in this book is good and would make teaching from it very easy.
  • The book is complete with an activity and coloring book for children and also an adult coloring book as well.  The activities are fun and engaging as are the coloring pages.
  • The plot of the book is easy to follow and unified in its style and rhythm.
  • The book has a good message.  At the end, it is not physical characteristics or capabilities that matter to the people who love you.  They love you for who you are.  That’s what matters.

Teaching Points

This book lends itself very well to several teaching points.

  • As the labradoodle puppies are picked up, the book counts down.  This would be a good way to teach subtraction and counting back while incorporating a cross curricular engaging story in math.
  • There are several characters that Brady meets along the way.  Putting them in order would be a good way to teaching sequencing using the key words like “first,” “next,” “then,” and “last” or “finally.” The teacher could even use student coloring pages from the activity book to create a large version of a sequencing chart on the wall so that the students are invested in the visual aide.
  • The labradoodle puppy doesn’t have a name until the very end when his family gets him and give him a name.  Look at the illustration of the puppy then.  Compare that to the picture of him just before.  How does the puppy feel about getting a name?  Why is it important that his family gave him a name?
  • Make a prediction.  What do you think will happen when the family gets home.  List three things they might do.  (Remember, Brady is still dirty from his adventure).

Discussion Points

  • Feeling significant/ self-worth – The labradoodle is just one of eight puppies and is the smallest and clumsiest one.  Talk about how those things don’t matter.  Discuss how the puppy still had many people in his life who loved and cared for him.  Have students list people in their lives; friends, family, teachers, etc. who love and care for them no matter what.  Use this time to help develop students’ self-worth and self-esteem.
  • Perserverance – The labradoodle had a long journey to get back to his house and meet his family.  Talk about how he had a goal of getting back and how he kept that goal in mind.
  • Cooperation/helping – The labradoodle had friends help him on the way.  List all the friends who help him in his goal of getting back to the house.  Talk about goals that a class as a whole might have and how they will have to work together to achieve those goals.

Conclusion

Overall, I found The Little Labradoodle: Puppy Pickup Day to be a very easy and enjoyable read.  As I said, the illustrations are about the best you can get, the plot is unified and engaging, and the message is positive and relevant for young people.  I highly recommend this book and the activity book and coloring pages with it.  I hope that the author meant it when she said to stay tuned for more adventures with Brady coming soon.

Where to get it

The easiest way to get the book is directly from the website, thelittlelabradoodle.com.  If you buy the book there, you get not only the book itself, but a downloadable pdf of the book, and audiobook version, and the coloring and activity book.  They have a couple of different bundles to purchase that come with a plush little labradoodle toy that would be great for a Christmas or birthday present for a child.  If you already have an Amazon account though, you can find the book there as well. Again, the author is April M. Cox.

 

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this and I hope you enjoy the book.  As always, please subscribe to the blog by clicking on the link in the right hand corner to receive an email anytime I post something new.  Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.