Tuesday

Beer Cheese Soup Recipe

Okay. The beer cheese soup.

It is seriously one of my favorite parts about chilly temperatures.

Two years ago, I was sitting up at the bar of an Irish pub at Chateau Elan, a winery outside of Atlanta GA. I was traveling for business -- I don't normally seek out Irish pubs mid-week, ha. It was rainy and gross outside, and a bowl of hot soup sounded just about perfect. 

When I tasted their beer cheese soup, I seriously considered ordering a second bowl. It was that good. I hesitantly asked the bartender if she would see if there was any way that the chef would share his recipe.

Next thing I knew, he was out of the kitchen, standing in front of me and writing down this recipe on some receipt paper. He scaled it down from the large restaurant portion to one that will easily serve two with lots of leftovers. Everything got scaled down except for the heavy cream as you'll see in the photo below. More on that later.


With a name like beer cheese soup, you know that the beer taste is a pretty distinct one. The chef called for "2 bottles Bud" but I decided last week to use some local brews in mine -- OMB's Mecktoberfest. 


Beer Cheese Soup
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 bags shredded cheddar
2 bottles beer
1/2 pint heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

So, you'll start off by making a roux. I shied away from anything that mentioned "roux" for years and years. But no need to be be shy like I was; a roux is a fancy word for just mixing equal parts of a fat with flour over medium heat. In this case, you just melt the butter then whisk in the flour. Simple.

The roux acts like a thickening agent for the soup. Once the roux is mixed in your big pot, add in the garlic and onion.

When the garlic and onion are golden, add in the cayenne, beer, and the cheese.

Ignore the 4 quarts of heavy cream in the handwritten recipe -- about half of this pint will be all you need.


 The soup will be this yummy golden color and a nice consistency.


Season it up with a little salt and pepper to taste. I like mine pretty salty. I added in ten little pinches of salt until it tasted "right." This may be too salty for you.

 

We go pretty simple with ours -- a hunk of bread or a biscuit is all you really need to make a fantastic meal of it.


Please let me know if you make this ... I'd love to hear what you think!

Monday

Weekend Notes

We had such a fun weekend ... fun times out and about AND low-key time at the house. A great balance.

Ian and I have talked recently about the importance of good family time together and what sort of memories we want Camille to have. Two Fridays ago we picked her up from daycare and went on a walk around the lake at Freedom Park. This past Friday, I brought her home and we all spent some time together on a blanket in the backyard enjoying the weather. I know at five months old, she is not going to remember these exact moments, but she can still tell when she is having fun with both parents right there with her. 

After she went to bed Friday, Ian and I had Chinese takeout and watched American Horror Story ... so spooky this season and we love it. 


Saturday, we went out to the barbeque competition in uptown Charlotte where we got to hang out with Christina and Caroline for a bit. The main part of the barbeque festival was super crowded and we had our big stroller, so we navigated instead over to the Epicenter where Ian and I had a great lunch at IOS Greek Kitchen (yum!) while Camille took a little stroller snooze.

On the way home we picked up dinner ingredients and then just hung out at home the rest of the day. We really enjoy our nights on the patio and our video monitor has a great reach so we can watch and hear the baby! Ian grilled burgers for us and we had some oven fries. I had a pumpkin beer and just messed around on my iPad while Ian watched football. 


Sunday we met some friends for an outdoor lunch at Village Tavern in Southpark. The husbands grew up together and now we both have little girls. 


Later that evening, we had a babysitter come over which was a little nerve-wracking for me ... the first time anyone other than a family member has stayed with Camille! I bought Ian tickets to Scarowinds for part of his birthday present ... I hadn't been to Carowinds in well over twenty years, and we've been talking for years about how badly we wanted to go when they were all Halloweened out. He LOVES Halloween and was so jazzed. Two of our friends went with us and we ended up buying the fast-passes so we just walked right up to the rides and hopped on.

Let me just say this ... I have always been absolutely terrified of roller coasters, but last night was huuuuuge for this girl. I promised my roller-coaster-loving husband that I'd try at least one. I think we rode six or seven! I conquered that fear, and it felt good!

Dare I say I even enjoyed them?!

Even old dogs can learn new tricks, I guess.

Friday

Five on Friday

Time for Five On Friday and I hope you'll link up today with me, Darci, Christina, and Natasha!

Remember, all you have to do is post about five things on your mind, add our logo (bottom of the post), and join the party using the linky tools below. Easy and a great way to find new blogs and be found.

O N E
Time to announce our big giveaway winner!

Congratulations goes to ... Jen of Life, Love and Puppy Paws who was randomly chosen from all who linked up for Five on Friday for winning the giveaway! Please contact one of the Five on Friday hosts to claim your prizes. We hope you love all of your new fall goodies, and thank you again to all of our generous giveaway sponsors!




























Whatever Is Lovely Print

T W O
I had a great lunch the other day and so enjoy working at home so I can work on fridge leftovers so easily. I had leftover beer cheese soup, homemade chicken salad with crackers, and honeycrisp apple slices. Delish.


T H R E E
I'll admit it ... I am newly obsessed with 19 Kids & Counting. Who am I?!?! Ian just shakes his head ... I think he's scared it's making me want eighteen more babies. Mmmm ... maybe not. But seriously, I just love how sweet this family is, and I have to say that a wholesome show like this is a welcome breath of fresh air from the other shows I watch where every third word is often being bleeped out.


F O U R
Any fellow Keurig owners? And are you a member of Amazon Prime? A few months back I signed us up for a monthly recurring shipment of 72 Donut Shop K-cups through Amazon Prime. By using their "Subscribe and Save" program you save a certain percent off (I think 5%) and it just bills us monthly and the coffee show up at our door. Today is coffee delivery day for us which is great because only three pods remain from our last shipment ... soon to be two.

F I V E
My husband's birthday was Wednesday and we had a great time celebrating him. His evening started off with a massage I booked for him at 5:00. When he got back to the house, we did cards and presents. Mom was in town, so she gave Camille her last bottle before bed and Ian and I had a great dinner at Fig Tree while she stayed with the baby. It was my first time eating at Fig Tree, and it was delicious! We used Uber to get to and from dinner and that was a nice treat.


Happy weekending to you and yours, and hope you'll link up with us ... it makes our day!


Thursday

Honeycrisp Apple Sangria {Revisited}

This time last year I was almost three months pregnant, so honeycrisp apple sangria was off of the weekend menu. Well ... it's back. :)

I once followed a recipe for this drink but now I just sort of eyeball it. Today you'll be getting the "eyeball it" version of the recipe!


As a base, I used a pinot grigio. I wanted the wine to pick up on the flavors of the honey and cinnamon sticks, so a heartier wine like an oaky chardonnay may not have worked as well as a lighter one, in my opinion.

I felt sort of skeezy uncorking the wine at 7am on a Saturday morning, but the longer you can let it sit, the better.

In a large pitcher, I added the wine, some honey, a few dashes of peach schnapps, honeycrisp apple slices and cinnamon sticks. The skeezy feeling crept back as I was adding alcohol to alcohol, but don't worry, you'll cut it with seltzer before serving which will bring the alcohol content back down to a non-skeezy level. :)

So after that all sits all day long in a pitcher with those delicious fall flavors "mingling", you'll wet the rim of your glass with water or a lemon slice and invert it on a saucer holding a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Don't be tempted to skip this step, it's the best part! Then just pour in the sangria and top your glass off with some apple slices and seltzer water to get it nice and fizzy.


You can use plain seltzer water or a flavored seltzer ... I found this grapefruit and lemon version which gave it a really nice flavor.


So that's it! Fall in a glass. 
Cheers!

Tuesday

Our Pumpkin Patch Trip

If you live in or around Charlotte, you may already know about Hodges Farm and Pumpkin Patch. It's about a twenty-five minute drive from our house and a cute way to spend an October morning.


Last year was our first trip to Hodges. And just when you start to think that one year flies by so quickly and  doesn't make that much of a difference...


A big difference indeed! Now we have the most adorable pouty pumpkin ever.


Ohhh, that little one. She is a trip. She seemed pretty interested in the big orange round things all over the ground. Crazy to think that next year she'll be able to walk around on her own!
















Our little pumpkin ... she sure is something else. :)

Monday

Monday Notes

How do we find ourselves at Monday so quickly?!

Another week starts and man oh man, this is a dreary one here in Charlotte. Grey skies and just yucky. Plus I'm off to the doctor today as I've caught a little sickness that I would have hoped to kick by now. Whomp whomp.

On a happier note, we had a nice weekend and even fulfilled the cliche new parent duty of taking some adorable photos of Camille in a pumpkin patch!

Yesterday we attended a birthday party for a 2-year old. It was horse-themed and precious. Camille's first birthday party of many.

Last night we made beer cheese soup and I will definitely be sharing that recipe soon. It's a must-make for the fall.

We chose a winner for the Five on Friday fall giveaway and we will announce who it is in this week's link-up, so make sure to stop on by. One of you will be VERRRRY excited to see your name!

Lastly, thank you to all of you who contacted me about our dog Drake. I'm so happy he is in better health now and it seems as if some of you fellow dog-mamas know exactly how painful it can be to see your pet aging. Pulls on those heartstrings.

Hope your weekend was a lovely one!

Friday

Five On Friday

Happy Friday, and who's excited about the big link-up and fall giveaway today?! We showed off the goodies we have up for grabs last week, and now we are here to offer all these amazing gifts to one of you.

The rules are simple:
1/ Link up with us using the Linky Tools feature below
2/ Mention the Five on Friday giveaway, display our logo, and link to all four of our blogs

We will use random.org to select a winner and verify they have completed the steps above. Good luck!


O N E
Last night after work, I ran to the drugstore with Camille and then decided to hop over to the mall with her to walk around a bit. As I approached Belk, I noticed it was teeming with ladies and they were enjoying passed hors d'oeuvres and wine. DJs were playing really fun music on turntables. Umm, what's going on and how can I be a part of this?! Turns out it was "girls night out" and everything was 20% off.

I was THRILLED to run into Whitley of The Queen City Style. We have been chatting through our blogs and email for years now and when I saw her mingling with a group of ladies I straight up butted right in to "formally" introduce myself! I just couldn't help myself and she was as sweet and friendly as I knew she'd be. She snapped the funniest pic of me talking to Ian trying to describe to him where to find a recipe he was looking for.



T W O
One of my favorite home decor blogs is Copycat Chic. This ingenious site finds lesser-priced "copycat" versions of home decor items. I was floored Monday with this chandelier score which I now see is backordered (worth keeping an eye on, though) and am also loving this oyster wall sconce and the mirrored table!

Lighting Connection Blue Beaded Chandelier

Wisteria Oyster Shell Sconce


T H R E E
An awesome score is this Aldi vinho verde ... it is only $4.99 a bottle and it has such a crisp and yummy taste. The label on it at the store says "limited availability" and I'm seriously considering buying a case of it. It is THAT good. Run and get you some.



F O U R
Today I am majorly thankful for our dog Drake. Early last week he was not in good health. I was with Ian at the vet in tears and we were wondering what in the world happened to our dog, who was suddenly hit with disorientation and couldn't walk well. I am so pleased to report that with some new pain meds, he is back to his normal self and I'm just so happy. He is so important to us.

F I V E
This has been a long time coming, but I never shared Camille's birth announcement! I used my favorite site for invitations and cards, Tiny Prints, and created this little storybook announcement for her. I wanted something different than the "typical" announcement and the sweet theme of this one was perfect for her little personality. Here is the one we went with and they have boy versions and non-photo versions as well.

I did also add on the option of pre-printing our return address on the envelopes which was a huge time-saver ... definitely worth the extra little bit.


I loved the way they turned out and have always been so pleased with everything about Tiny Prints -- ease of ordering, customer service, printing quality, and shipping times. As we gear up for Christmas card time, I will definitely be checking out their selection.

Good luck in the giveaway and thanks for linking up!



Here's what you can win (clockwise):

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