Potato Soup Weather

It snowed today. For real.  Yesterday, it was in the 60s, tomorrow will be in 60s, and Sunday might even hit 70, but today, it sleeted then snowed.  It didn't stick to anything, but still!  Craaaaaazy.

My favorite thing to make for dinner the first time the temperature plummets is potato soup.  I don't use a recipe.  I vary things, like herbs.  I am not a chef.  I'm not even a food blogger.  I don't even take good pictures of food.  Please be kind and don't laugh at me, but I'm sharing this anyway, because it just tastes good.

My Potato Leek Soup "Recipe"
  • First, I peel some potatoes - this time, I used 7 big russets - and cut them into chunks.  (You might have guessed that much.)
  • Then, I take a bunch of scrubbed leeks, and slice the white and light green parts.  These, I saute in some olive oil.  Or butter.  Or half oil, half butter.  
  • Next, I add a little garlic. 

  • After the garlic starts to brown, I add 6 cups of veggie broth and my potato chunks.  
  • Now it's time for salt, pepper, and dried herbs (if I'm using dried).  Bring it to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, simmer until the potatoes are very soft.  
  • Now, if I use fresh herbs, like I did today, I add those to the pot.  This time, I used fresh chopped sage, rosemary, and thyme, because I had them.  
  • I like my potato soup creamy, but a little chunky, so I use an immersion blender to puree the soup.  I leave some chunks, though.  Sometimes, I use a potato masher instead, and leave it a lot chunkier.
  • The last thing I do is add a generous helping of cream.  I go by the color of the soup.  I want it to look less brown, more dark, creamy off-white.

I usually make a plain Jane Irish soda bread, but we had some Samuel Adams Oktoberfest ale around, so I made beer bread instead, using this recipe.

Yes, this is a lot of simple carbs, but sometimes, you're just too cold to care.

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Wobble, The Witch Cat

I don't know why, but I don't think I have never posted about my love for Roger Duvoisin before.  I love Roger Duvoisin!  He is one of my favorite illustrators of children's books.  [See Pinterest board here.]  I first knew his work through The Happy Lion books, on which he collaborated with his wife, Louise Fatio. As an adult, I fell in love with Petunia and Veronica, and his Caldecott-winning illustrations for Alvin Tresselt's White Snow, Bright Snow are stunning.  

Yet my first Roger Duvoisin post is about a book I found just this week.  Wobble, The Witch Cat [William Morrow & Co., 1958] is a cute little Halloween story by Mary Calhoun.  I was exploring our library's website, trying to find old Halloween books I hadn't heard of.  This was one of several I requested from storage.  I found a few listings online for reissues up through 1968, but I think this one has been out of print for a long, long time.

This is Maggie, "a fat chuckling old lady with short, gray hair."  Maggie, we are told, is a very good witch and Wobble, her cat, "was as cross as he was black."  He is cross because last Halloween, Maggie got a new broom.  This broom had a very slippery handle, and poor Wobble fell off.  The other witch cats made fun of him, and now that Halloween was approaching, Wobble had become a very grumpy kitty indeed, running under Maggie's feet, knocking the jack-o'-lantern off the window, and spitting at the poor witch.

Then Wobble thinks of a wonderful idea.  He throws away the offending broomstick!  Now he won't have to worry about falling...  but what will Maggie do?

Well, the broom shared the closet with the vacuum cleaner.  Oh, those magical newfangled appliances!  

As you can see, the book has a happy ending.  The vacuum bag turns out to be an ideal seat for a witch cat.

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Oklahoma Trip

We took a little trip this weekend!  The girls were out of school for inservice, so we roadtripped to Oklahoma to visit my mother.  We actually met her at the Oklahoma City Zoo, where we spent a few hours before heading to her place.

I love the Oklahoma City Zoo.  We have a fabulous zoo in our own town, but the OKC Zoo is so old and pretty, and the animal selection is different there.  Unfortunately, the sea lion show is over for the season, but since the last time I visited, they've added a stingray pool!  You can pet stingrays and sharks!  

We spent the rest of the trip at my mom's house in a small town east of the city.  I came home with a box of linens that had belonged to my great-grandmother and her mother, and some old family photos.  We also visited my grandpa at his nursing home.  

Instead of heading home our usual way, I veered straight north in order to hop on old Route 66.  Along Route 66 is Arcadia, Oklahoma, home of this beautiful Round Barn:

and home to Pops, a store (and restaurant, although I haven't eaten there) that carries more soda pop than you ever knew existed.  I don't drink soda much, and I have rules about the girls drinking it, but this was a special occasion.  The girls chose fruity Japanese sodas, I had a butterscotch soda, and we brought Mr. B a six-pack of old-fashioned Dr. Pepper, made with real sugar.

This was our second road trip in three weeks, so I thought I'd share what we listened to in the car to pass the time.  The girls and I have enjoyed some great audiobooks lately!  On our trip to Kansas City, we listened to Stockard Channing read Ramona Quimby, Age 8, and on our way home, we listened to Elaine Stritch read The Best Halloween Ever, another sequel to The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.  On this trip, we listened to the audio cd of Wait Till Helen Comes, which the girls loved and declared "not really scary," and on the way home, we enjoyed Sutton Foster's reading of Betsy-Tacy.

It's cooled off here at home.  It rained yesterday, and I've been sick.  I had planned to do the Historic Midtown Home Tour on Sunday, but I stayed home instead.  The good news is that I've noticed more leaves starting to change.  I hope to feel better soon so we can go leaf-gathering!  Hope everyone is fine where you are!

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Tilly Witch

Here it is!  The sequel to 1959's Space Witch by Don Freeman.  Tilly Witch was first published by Viking Press in 1969.  This edition, which was deep in the basement storage stacks at my library until I requested it, is from 1969.

As you can see, this book is a bit more colorful than the black-white-aqua Space Witch.  

Tilly Ipswitch, Queen of Halloween, is in a very good mood.  Such a good mood, in fact, that she can't stop smiling and dancing and picking flowers.  Her cat, Kit, is worried about her.  Tilly is getting worried, too. After all, she's the Queen of Halloween!  She is supposed to be scary!

She hops on her new surfboard and flies across the skies to meet with the Witch Doctor.  Her cheerfulness freaks the Witch Doctor out!  He tells her she must go back to witch finishing school.

Tilly flies to Miss Fitch's Finishing School for Witches.  Miss Fitch is appalled by her smiling demeanor.  Tilly has trouble fulfilling simple witchy tasks.  She smiles through class, and she adds sugar and instant pudding to her cauldron!

She is finally plopped in the corner with a dunce cap on her head.  Thinking about Halloween and her recent failures at witchiness, Tilly starts to grow angry.  And scary...

Cured of her sweetness, Tilly races home for Halloween!

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