Loaded Baked Potato Soup

  Now that cold, chilly weather is in full effect, all I want is comforting and warm food to feed my belly. This soup fits the bill. It is thick, creamy baked potato heaven, garnished with bacon, cheese and green onions. Soooo good!

   If you plan a day in advance, and bake the potatoes a night ahead, this soup is perfect to make on busy weeknights. If not, save it for the weekend and you'll be glad you did. It is nothing short of pure deliciousness! (and makes for amazing leftovers!)

Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Serves 6

4-5 medium russet potatoes
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
6 cups milk ( I used 2%)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup light sour cream

Sour cream
Shredded cheese
Chopped green onion
Chopped cooked bacon pieces

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork and then place on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven, and let sit until cool enough to handle.

Scoop the insides of the potatoes into a large bowl, discarding the peels. Take a knife and break apart the potatoes into small chunks.

In a large dutch oven or pot, melt the butter. Add 1/4 cup of flour into the pot and whisk into the butter. Cook, and whisk constantly for 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Whisk in the milk and the rest of the flour. Cook until thick and bubbly, about 10 or so minutes. Mix in the potato chunks. Whisk in the salt, pepper and cheddar cheese. Continue to whisk until cheese is melted.

Remove from heat, then stir in sour cream and green onions. Serve immediately. Garnish with extra sour cream, cheese, green onion and bacon, as desired. Enjoy ♥

Recipe Source: For the Love of Cooking


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

  I'm off work today and about ready to start on my preparations for the Thanksgiving feast tomorrow. I'll be making our favorite dinner rolls and the famous shredded apple pie my family loves! Can't wait for tomorrow!

  But first, I wanted to share these amazing Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars with you. They are pumpkin heaven, with swirls of cream cheese, and milk chocolate chips. They are soooo good. I decided to deliver them to friends and family because I knew if I kept them at my house, I would have eaten them all....

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

1 1/2 cups sugar
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
3 Tablespoons water
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Cream Cheese Filling:

8 ounce block of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.

In a bowl, with an electric hand mixer, beat sugar and butter on medium speed, until combined.
Beat in eggs, pumpkin and water until blended.

Add flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder and soda to the mixture. Blend on low speed until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spread 2/3 of the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan.

For the Cream Cheese filling:

In a bowl, with an electric hand mixer, beat together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the pumpkin batter in the pan.

Drop spoonfuls of the remaining pumpkin batter all over the cream cheese mixture. Then using the back of a spoon, spread out as much as you can.

Using a knife, swirl the top layer of pumpkin batter, and cream cheese batter together.

Bake for 35 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched. Cool completely before serving, then cut into bars. (I cooled mine on the counter for 45 minutes, then I covered and placed them in the fridge)

Store bars in the refrigerator.



Pumpkin Rolls

   Pumpkin Rolls remind me of my Mom. I give her all the credit for my love of cooking. Growing up watching her in the kitchen, and helping her make all kinds of yummy things, are memories I will cherish forever.

   She would make these rolls every year around Thanksgiving and Christmas. She would sometimes wrap them up and tie bows on the ends, and deliver them to neighbors and friends. It's a tradition I am proud to have carried on.

  Thanks for the memories and this amazing recipe, Mom! ♥

Pumpkin Rolls
(makes 1 roll)

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper. Spray generously with non-stick spray.Set aside.

Beat eggs with an electric hand mixer, on medium speed for 1 minute. Add sugar, pumpkin and lemon juice. Beat until smooth and combined. Stir in flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt, until just combined.

Pour mixture onto prepared cookie sheet. Spread out into a thin rectangle. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until cake springs back when touched.

Generously sprinkle a clean dish towel with powdered sugar. Then turn out cake onto the dish towel. Carefully peel off the wax/parchment paper, and then gently roll up cake, starting at one short end. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour or more, until completely cooled.

Cream Cheese Filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions: Combine all ingredients into a medium bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer, until smooth and combined.

Unravel cooled cake from the dish towel. Carefully spread cream cheese filling, evenly onto the entire inside of the roll. Roll up cake again, and tightly cover with saran wrap. Return roll to refrigerator or freezer. Once chilled, cut into slices and serve!


Mexican Rice

   This Mexican Rice is so delicious! It's a perfect side to complement any Mexican inspired dish! (I usually like to serve it with my Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas) Yum!

  My little Kallen LOVES this rice. He can never get enough! It's always a big hit with the rest of us as well. From start to finish it's ready in 30 minutes! Perfect for busy weeknights :)


Mexican Rice

1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
2 cups chicken broth
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup salsa
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Directions: Combine all ingredients into a medium, non-stick skillet. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove lid, and fluff rice with a fork. Serve!

Fan Appreciation Giveaway WINNERS!

   I was blown away at how many people entered the giveaway, and want to thank everyone that did! I wish I was rich enough to let all of you win :)  I appreciate all of your love and support!

The winners were randomly selected. Randomly, as in, I let my kiddos draw the numbers from a bowl.
Now let's see who won!  Drumroll please.......

1st place ($50 Visa gift card):
Comment #307- Jen
Jen said, "I am most thankful for my family"

2nd place ($50 Visa gift card):
Comment #2- Ashley
Ashley said, "I'm most thankful for my Mom. She gave me life and is my best friend."

3rd place (Chinet bakeware):
Comment #233- Anonymous
Anonymous said, "I am thankful for my family, and my grandchildren. I am also very thankful for my dogs, Zues, Bo, Bailey and Brooklyn.

 CONGRATULATIONS to the Winners!

I have emailed each of you, letting you know you won! If I don't hear back from you within 48 hours to claim your prize, I will announce another winner. Thanks!


Fan Appreciation Giveaway!

   I am SO excited (and kind of still in shock) to announce we reached 5,000 Facebook Fans! 
To celebrate, and like I promised, I am giving away TWO $50 Visa Gift Cards and one free set of Chinet Bakeware just to say THANKS to all of you!

   Cooking and blogging are obviously my biggest passions, and it's such a dream come true to have such great success with it. Never in a million years did I think I would be able to do the things I have, like work with major companies, create a cookbook, and meet such great people. I am truly so thankful, and would like to give back. That's why I'm doing this giveaway! :)


All you need to do is leave a comment, telling me what your most Thankful for.

Your family? Your kids?

Your job? Your dog?  :)

That's it, and then you're officially entered!

PLEASE, only one comment per person. Duplicate comments won't count.
If you do not have a Google account, then comment under 'Anonymous' and leave your name and email address, or some way for me to contact you!


The Giveaway ends this Friday, November 9th at 10:00 p.m. Pacific time.

I will announce the winners, Monday November 12th!
(1st and 2nd place Winners will recieve the Gift Cards, and 3rd place will
receive the Chinet Bakeware!)


Menu Plan Monday #23

  Happy Monday, everyone! I'm sharing Menu Plan Monday today because it's been forever since the last one I posted, and I know there's at least 1 or 2 of you out there that like to see them.... 

  I think.  

  My hubby and I just got back from a get away weekend! It was HEAVEN... to say the least. We went to the cozy little town of Springdale, Utah. It's right outside Zion National Park. We had two nights and two days... totally alone! We dined, hiked and relaxed in our beautiful lodge. It was perfect.

   It's always nice to have some alone time to reconnect again. I believe every married couple should do this, as often as they can. For us, it's only about 2-3 times a year, but I think that's what makes us enjoy it all the more! :)



~Leftover Taco Pizza~


~Kitchen's Closed~
Take out!

~Kitchen's Closed~
Taking another night off :) 

*New recipe*
Pork Chops*
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans


Weekend Potluck #41

   Welcome back to Weekend Potluck! I apologize for being late to the party... again. : /

Now, let's take a quick peek back at last week...

The recipe with the most clicks was ~

Crock pot Sloppy Joe
Crockpot Tavern Sandwich by Sugar Cookies to Peterbilts

Recipes that caught our attention ~

Smothered Ranch Chicken
Smothered Ranch Chicken by I Thee Cook

Cowboy Casserole
Cowboy Casserole by Crafty Home Improvement (Mis)Adventures

Your hostesses ~

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