Friday, November 16, 2007


Rough-riding, July 1, 2006

The boys love to ride in their Jeep at Billy's parents' house. Jacob is so strong-willed and independent, I was sure he'd have been fighting Caleb for driving rights. Instead, he'd rather ride shotgun all the time. I'm sure Caleb's too big for it now, so I guess Jacob will have to learn to drive if he wants to ride anymore.

I asked him the other day if he was going to play with the Jeep when we're there for Thanksgiving next week. He said no because there are probably spiders in it. I told him I bet Papaw would get them all out for him. (Hint, hint, Papaw. Please check the fort, too.) ;o)

Check out more "travel"-inspired photos at Photo Friday.

Creamy Mushroom & Barley Soup

I've been following along with my soup-night plan pretty well. For various reasons it doesn't always end up being Wednesday night, and I missed one week, but that's fine. Of the 13 Soups I want to make this fall/winter, I've made 6: Vegetable Beef Soup, Chicken & Dumplings, Baked Potato Soup, Taco Soup, Chicken & Sausage Gumbo, and Creamy Mushroom & Barley Soup (in that order).

The Creamy Mushroom & Barley Soup was a new recipe - a combination of one I found at All Recipes and some of my own tweaking. Click the recipe link for the original; here's my variation:

6 Tbsp. margarine
4 c. chopped Baby Bella mushrooms (One package of pre-sliced mushrooms will do.)
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, pressed
4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 (14.5-oz.) cans chicken broth (or use your own if you have it)
1/2 c. quick-cooking barley (I added 3/4 c., which seemed a bit much.)
1 pint half-and-half
Tony's (to taste)

Melt margarine in 4-qt. soup pot over medium-high heat. Saute mushrooms, green onions, and garlic for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Mix in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in chicken broth. Bring just to a boil and add barley. Cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. After boiling ceases, stir in half-and-half; season with Tony's. Continue stirring until soup is heated through, but do not boil.

This soup was really quick and easy - and it has a wonderful flavor! With the barley, it's very filling, too. I doubled the original recipe, and we had enough for Billy to take leftover soup for lunch today. Billy, Jacob, and I loved it; Caleb wasn't impressed and didn't eat much of it.

We paired it with some Sunflower Bread from Panera Bread. I really wanted Asiago Cheese Bread, but they were out by the time we got there. I didn't want Tomato Basil again (which we had with our Baked Potato Soup), so I asked the lady helping us if she had ever tried Sunflower. She hadn't, so she offered to let me sample it. She put the loaf in the slicer and gave Caleb, Jacob, and me each a thick slice. The crust was crispy and sweet; the middle was soft and nutty. Caleb and I loved it. Not surprisingly, Jacob didn't. He likes nuts, but not mixed in things. I told her I'd take the rest of the loaf, but she insisted on slicing the other remaining loaf for me instead. Then she loaded us down with 6 huge cookies - for FREE! She said they had baked a little too long and would only have been put out if all the other ones had sold. We ended up with 3 Chocolate Duet with Walnut cookies and 3 Chocolate Chippers. They were a little crunchy, but still really good.

Tonight we'll use the extra package of mushrooms I bought, along with black olives and mozzarella cheese, on some delicious homemade pizza. I can't wait!


PoMonkey said...

Cha Ching! Ya can't beat free stuff!

Cindy Swanson said...

Ashley, this sounds so good! I'm going to print it. Barley is one of the 25 Magic Foods for Blood Sugar. I'm always looking for healthy recipes!