Soup’s On!

I love soup! I love to MAKE soup! Even more, I LOVE to eat soup!

It doesn’t really matter what kind of soup, I like most of them, thick enough to hold up the spoon, or thin, it doesn’t matter. Given a preference though, I would choose a thicker soup, sort of between stand-the-spoon-up-in-it and runny.

Today I decided, though it is 1 degree above zero (perfect for soup, don’t you think?) and a bit windy, I will make Soup-to-Share.  Going out in the cold isn’t at the top of my list of things to do, but the sun came out, the sky is a beautiful shade of blue, the snow is sparkling and I am going to do this! Besides, tomorrow’s high is supposed to be below zero, so the soup will taste even better!

A couple of days ago I saw an old friend I hadn’t seen in awhile and discovered in visiting with her that she and her husband have had some health problems. They have no family nearby. I told her then next time I made a pot of soup to big for me to eat, that I would bring them some. I hope they like the kind I made.

Well, what kind is it, you ask?? I like to use whatever I have on hand when I make soup, unless I am using a specific recipe. Oh, yes, I do use recipes. Not always, but I do find them at least a good starting point. I do not have my mother’s talent for just throwing things together.

How does Smoked Salmon Chowder sound to you? I don’t know if it is really chowder, but that is what I am calling it. This is a hearty dish, so one bowl will be plenty.

You can make yours however you wish, but I prefer fresh ingredients when I have them. Shortcuts are nice, and I am forever thankful for whomever discovered preserving our bountiful harvest through canning and freezing (and dehydrating) for those times when there just isn’t anything fresh available.

Let me state here that ‘available’ means whatever is in my kitchen, not in my local grocery 13 miles away, or the specialty stores, a drive of 60 miles.

Begin by finely chopping or dicing 3 russet potatoes, carrot sticks left from the relish plate (enough to make about a cup), 2 stalks of celery (throw in the tops for flavor-you can fish them out later), and half of a large onion. Now, for this chowder, I like the vegetables pretty small. So, in this case, diced is about 1/4″-3/8″. No one is going to measure, so if just want to chop into small pieces, go ahead.

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Dump these in a 6 quart stock pot with a quart of chicken broth.

Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper (I don’t like pepper, so use very little) 2 teaspoons dried dill weed and l clove garlic minced.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the secret ingredient…instant mashed potatoes, about 1-1/2 cups. This thickens the soup.  You could add more, or less, or not at all. If you want your soup thicker and don’t have the potatoes, use a bit of flour mixed with water and add it to your soup. Just be sure it thoroughly cooks or it will taste like raw flour. Fish out the celery leaves. (Or, if you have leftover mashed potatoes you could add a cup of those instead of the instant).

Add 2 cups whole milk, 1 cup whipping cream and 2 cans evaporated milk. You could use all evaporated milk, but I had milk and I had cream. And, if I didn’t use them they might go bad in a few days, so, in they went. One bowl as shown below is VERY filling. So, it doesn’t really matter that you are using all the BEST ingredients. This is NOT the place to substitute skim milk or 2% for the milk and cream! Trust me.

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You can substitute all you want. However, if I say ‘use butter’ and you use something else, well, darn! It just won’t taste the same! I hear this all the time, “Mine doesn’t taste as good as yours.”

Hello! Substitutions make it taste different. (‘Course you aren’t tasting mine, so maybe it doesn’t matter at all) Skim milk just won’t cut it for this soup!

Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Add 1 can cream style corn and 1 POUND of Norwegian smoked salmon. Yep, a pound. The kind I buy is sliced, ready to put on a platter and serve, so I just cut each slice in about 6 pieces. (Do the whole filet at one time, not individual slices!) If you don’t have access to a filet of smoked Norwegian Salmon, you could just use a can of salmon instead.

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Now, I could have been totally selfish (I was tempted) and devoured the whole pound myself and called it dinner. But, I thought it would taste good in the soup, and IT DOES!

I hope you enjoy this soup. Normal type of recipe follows, minus my meanderings.

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Recipe for Smoked Salmon Chowder


3 Russet Potatoes, diced

1 cup diced Carrots

2 stalks Celery, diced

1/2 Large Onion, diced

1 Clove Garlic, diced

1 Quart Chicken Broth or Stock

1 t. Salt

1/8 t. Black Pepper

2 t. Dried Dill

1-2.75 oz. box instant mashed potatoes (about 1-1/2 cups)

2 Cups Whole Milk

1 Cup Heavy Cream

2 Cans Evaporated Milk

1 Can Cream Style Corn

1 Pound filet Norwegian Smoked Salmon, cut in small pieces


Add the vegetables and seasonings to the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add instant mashed potatoes, stirring well.

Add milk, cream and evaporated milk, heating to near boiling. Do not boil.

Add the corn and salmon. Heat through. Serve.

Makes ABOUT 15 cups. How many servings you get from that is up to you. The bowl shown above holds one cup, and was plenty for me.


Stampin’ Up! Painted Harvest tags

I Thought the Painted Harvest bundle would be appropriate for the tags I wanted to attach to some jars of “Harvest” that I will be giving to a friend. She and her husband were kind enough to not only give me their excess tomatoes, but they picked them as well.

You know, canning the produce takes time, and I enjoy doing it. I enjoy it even more when someone else did the backbreaking work of weeding, tending the plants and picking the produce. I get to have the benefits of the fruits of their labors. It is especially appreciated in the dead of winter, when all I have to do is go to the storeroom, grab a jar, open it, heat and eat it. Yum!

As a result of that, I thought the least I could do would be to give them a couple of jars of their processed tomatoes. This is the second picking they have given me, totaling more than a bushel.

From them, I have canned my own version of V-8 vegetable cocktail juice. It really does have 8 vegetables in it. I think it is very tasty. Not a copy of the commercial V-8, but something quite similar and different than plain tomato juice. I have canned plenty of that also.

I really didn’t think a plain old canning jar, even one with juice in it, was a very nice gift, so I proceeded to make a tag for it. Using the Scalloped Tag Topper punch (retired), I cut two tags in Very Vanilla. The Painted Harvest stamp set is great. There are so many possiblities for these stamps. I first stamped the bigger sunflower (this is a two step stamp) in Crushed Curry then over-stamped it with the smaller design in Cajun Craze.The center is stamped in Chocolate Chip. These are photopolymer stamps, which means they are a clear stamp as opposed to the red rubber kind. When you use them with a clear acrylic block, you can see where you are stamping, making it pretty easy to get the registration correct. I don’t always succeed in getting it perfect, but, hey, it’s art, right? Who says it has to be perfect?

Using one of the leaf stamps (also a two-step) I first stamped the solid image in Lemon Lime Twist, then over-stamped in Always Artichoke. Do you see that we have a lot of food going on here? Chocolate Chips, Tomatoes, Artichokes, lemons and Limes! Almost makes me hungry. I chose the LLT, not because I like it (quite the opposite!), but because it looks better with Always Artichoke than any of the other greens. (I must have food on my mind….salad greens too?)

The sentiment is also from the Painted Harvest and is stamped in Cajun Craze.

The second tag was stamped with the same sunflower in the same colors (I think a gift should be coordinated, don’t you?), and the leaves as well. This tag uses a sentiment from Beautiful Bouquet and is stamped in Chocolate Chip.

Both tags are attached to the jars with a brown ribbon from my stash, just to make it look more like a gift than a canning jar. This one contains the vegetable soup mix I call ‘End of the Garden Soup’. It really was from the end of the garden at this time of year back in the day with all the children at home and me being a stay-at-home mom to be able to help my farmer husband. One of the ways I helped, rather than bringing in another income, was to cut down on costs by canning and freezing almost everything we ate. Nowadays, some of it is from the garden, and other vegetables are purchased to fill out the variety a bit. It tastes so good when the snow is flying. One can heat and eat it as is, or add broth and your choice of meat to stretch it further and feed more mouths.

I hope my friend and her husband like this as much as I appreciated their gift of the tomatoes. Oh, and they also gave me some bell peppers as well as a few hot ones. I only used 1/2 of a hot one, seeds removed, for a batch of the vegetable cocktail. My daughter, who likes things spicy, would use the whole pepper, maybe even two!

Thanks for stopping by today. Tomorrow you will see the card I made to go along with the tags. sneak peek

Host Code good through tomorrow EAJGJ9ND

If you don’t have a demonstrator, I would be happy to help you. Please, just click on the shop online button at right to order from me.

Here are two great ways to earn free stamps and merchandise when you place a Stampin’ Up! order with me:

If you apply that Host Code to your online orders under $150, you’ll get a free gift from me. If your order is over $150, please don’t apply the hostess code (you’ll miss out on your own Stampin’ Rewards/Hostess $$ if you use it), but you’ll still get the free gift, too!

Wild Wing Creations Bird Egg Rewards:

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Qualify to earn FREE Stampin’ Up! product from ANY current Stampin’ Up! catalog or promotion!  The Wild Wing Creations Bird Eggs Rewards Program is my way of personally saying “thank you” to my returning customers.

For the details on both reward plans, click here.

For the tags: Very Vanilla: cut one strip 2″ x 8-1/4″. Punch both ends with the punch. Cut in half.

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Busy Times! So, just a recipe.

Good Saturday morning folks! Whew! Sometimes I feel like a dog chasing its tail!

How in the world do we get so busy anyway? I have been told I don’t have the proper vocabulary, which I guess is supposed to include the word “NO!”

Or maybe I am just too nice? Not. At any rate, whatever the reason, I sometimes find myself busier than I would really like to be.

At the moment I have tomatoes at my house waiting to be canned, my niece is visiting from out of state, I am working 3-8 hour shifts out of 4 evenings as a volunteer for our local Kiwanis club, I am having company and 2 meetings next week, my house is dirty, the garage needs cleaning, and my card making space is a cluttered mess.

So what? you may say. And rightfully so, as I know you all are busy too. I just tell you that so that you might not be too upset when you expected to see a new card, or a new technique and it isn’t here. There are days that there just isn’t time to make a card, photograph it, then write about how I put it all together. On those days, I promise to try to at least do a written blog. Today is one of those days. I hope you will bear with me.

I mentioned the tomatoes that need canning. My daughter has the garden these days, but when the children were small and I was a stay-at-home-farm wife/mom, I had a huge garden. I spent the summer canning and freezing our winter’s supply of food.

This time of year brings back memories of going to my basement room where I stored the crates of potatoes and sweet potatoes, the onions were hanging and the jars of produce already canned were resting on the shelves.

The garden was nearly finished except for tomatoes still on the vine, a few carrots not yet dug, and perhaps a late head of cabbage, or two, and maybe some green beans that had not been picked while they were green beans and are now ready for shelling.

This produce, along with some of the potatoes and onions, became my “End of the Garden Soup”. It is a little different now, but I still call it that, and try to can some of it for the grown-up children and grandchildren. It is SO handy to have for drop-in company, or just when you want a quick meal. It is good on its own as a vegetable soup, or with your choice of meat added. I have made it with hamburger, leftover roast, stew meat, venison, chicken and sausage. It is good any way you fix it.

The tomatoes waiting to be canned will go into the soup. This year we did not plant potatoes, so I had to purchase them and the carrots. Here is how I do it.

Sterilize and keep 7 jars (all that my pressure canner will hold) jars hot. Also, the rings and flats need to be sterilized and kept hot. Fill one jar at a time, wipe the rim to be sure it is clean, add the flat and ring and tighten. Place filled jar in about 3 inches of water in the canner, which has been heating. When canner is full, place the lid and tighten. When steam begins to shoot at a good force from the vent, add the weight.

Then you need to wait for the ‘jiggler’, the moveable vent, to shoot enough steam to pop up and stay. That is when you need to start watching the pressure. For the soup mix, I can under 10# pressure for 45 minutes. Watch carefully and adjust heat to maintain pressure.

After the allotted time, turn off heat. When pressure is at 0, begin releasing the steam by removing the weight. ONLY after all steam is released is it safe to remove the lid.

What goes in the jars:

  • 1 teaspoon canning salt
  • 1-3 tomatoes depending on size
  • 2 carrots, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1-2 potatoes, depending on size
  • a couple of chunks of cabbage small enough to get in the jar, or shredded
  • 1/2 large onion or 1 small, cut in half
  • Celery if you like. I never had celery in my garden, but it is good in soup
  • any other veggie you like in your soup

I put tomatoes in first and add the rest, packing down after each addition. If there is not enough juice coming out of the tomatoes to fill the jar to the neck, add some boiling water. Usually this is not necessary, but if it is, ok.

Proceed as above, clean the rim, add the lids and process.

I have made a card with veggies stamped on it and attached to a jar of this soup to give as a gift. (I guess that is today’s card idea)

I hope you are not disappointed that there is no card, and that you find some use for the recipe. Please leave comments below, and if you try this, I would be happy to hear your results. Even if you don’t try it until January, I would still be interested in hearing your results.

Thought for the day: A man should never plant a garden larger than his wife can take care of. T.H. Everett