On Facebook the other day, my fabulous friend Stephanie posted that it was a cold and wintry day and perfect for potato soup. I asked in a comment for her recipe and she commented back with the process for making her soup. It sounded so easy and I had all the ingredients [BJs has the three packs of Applegate bacon and there was a sale on Maine grown organic potatoes last week! (ok, no chives, but I figured we could go without ’em anyway!)] and so last night I set out to recreate her Loaded Baked Potato Soup.

Applegate bacon and Maine potatoesI opened a pack of Applegate bacon and was only going to use 3 of the 8 slices, but threw 2 more in… browned them up with 1 1/2 onions that I diced. Threw in 2 stalks of celery, diced. Browned that for a bit with 2T of butter (because it was out on the counter and just screaming to go into the pot! LOL) I then added in 2 medium sized potatoes as well as 1 very large and 1 small one too. Next time I’ll toss in a few more potatoes.

I poured in 2 cans of chicken broth (had no stock on hand) + 2c water and set it on a soft boil to cook the potatoes. Meanwhile I cut the remaining strips of a bacon into small pieces and threw them in a pan on the stove. [Next time I do a package of bacon in the soup and fry up a second package for garnish – the big kid LOVED the soup but was upset that on his third helping he had to forgo the bacon crumbles! We’re such bacon lovers here!]

When the potatoes were cooked, I used my immersion blender and blended about half of the soup making sure that I didn’t blend all of the potato chunks.  It had been suggested to take out about half and blend in 1c milk and then add that back into the soup – but I didn’t want to dirty another bowl… I had plenty of liquid so I didn’t add any milk/cream/half and half – though if there were more potatoes next time with the same amount of liquid, I might add some half and half (this didn’t need it.)

Loaded baked potato soup with sour cream bacon and cheddar cheeseI did season it at one point with some fresh ground pepper and some Celtic sea salt though I have a head cold and realized later that bacon is salted to begin with so it might not have needed the extra salt (though big kid and DH said it was fabulous soup and neither complained about it being too salty!)

To serve, I ladled the soup into a bowl and dumped in a big dollop of sour cream and topped with both a handful of shredded cheese and some bacon crumbles. 

The big kid had three bowls, DH had two and the little one refused to try it.

Now that hubby is home from his trip, I feel comfortable sharing a bit about his week away.  Starting with the story of his travel TO Australia:

What was supposed to be a four legged trip to Melbourne from Maine. It was to start on Friday at 9am and arrive in Melbourne on Sunday at 1 — giving him time to acclimate to the new time zone and a bit of sight seeing… but there was a storm tracking up the East coast and the day didn’t go as planned and he came HOME for dinner! Saturday morning, trip take 2: already 24 hours delayed leaving Maine and then the flight from LAX to Sydney had delays… and then it was cancelled. DH spent the night in LA and flew to Sydney but missed the flight on to Melbourne and so spent a night there arriving in Melbourne 48 hours late.  He missed a day and a half of meetings out of 4 days. Ugh.

Australia is 15 hours ahead of Maine, so when the kids were going to bed one night (really late…) at 10:15pm, they asked Siri what time it was in Melbourne. She said “It is 1:15pm… tomorrow” 9yo thought it was the coolest thing that Daddy was already in the future!

The return flight: all on time, all fabulous. He left Australia at 11am on a Friday and arrive in Maine at 11pm that same day… ah, the joy of time travel!

For at least two weeks, my little guy has been sick. Low grade fever, snurgles in his head and a cough (barely noticeable during the day unless he runs around, but terrible at night to the point of sore chest and tears from exhaustion and frustration) During the day, I dosed him with Cold Calm and some Oscillo and at night he took Chestal. Around day 10, I gave him Children’s Nyquil (ugh. red40) but between the antihistamine and cough suppressant, he slept.  Two nights of that got him past the worst and he’s been cough free for almost a week now.

Then… last night, he mentioned that his ear had a slight ache but more frustrating was the fact that he couldn’t hear out of it…

Knowing that his head had been full of nasties (had hadn’t had a runny nose, only post nasal drip which in an 8 year old means that thick junk is close to the fluid of the ears), I felt it was “Salt Sock” time.  I tweeted about the salt sock and got a lot of questions about it, so here’s how we do it for a kiddo (for adults, we use more salt):

What you’ll need:

  • Salt
  • old clean sock – thick cotton is best but an old baby sock can work!
  1. Take about 1/2 c of course salt (totally wing it – there is no need for precision on this!) and pour into a pan on the stove. [I use a cast iron skillet though some people heat it in the microwave]
  2. Stir or shake the salt until its very warm/hot.
  3. Pour salt into the sock (I use my canning funnel!) and tie the top to keep salt from spilling. [I’ve also heard people use a rubber band]
  4. Place the salt sock on the kiddo’s pillow and lie with the ear on the sock.  If you use a thinner sock, you can place a towel between the sock and the ear – but its not as effective.

That’s it! Simple and effective The warm salt is comforting and the salt helps to draw out fluid which can be harboring bacteria and causing pain.

Repeat as needed during the day (and night if you’re awake!)
For other recipes for salt socks, you can google it

I am *so* excited for the lineup at the 2011 Natural Living Conference which will be held in Irvine, CA this year on October 1.

I’ve heard Robyn O’Brien’s TED talks and I’ve seen her speak in person last spring. She is passionate about bring attention to the foods we eat and the foods we feed our children and the effects our choices have on ourselves and our children. I’m excited to hear her talk about The Unhealthy Truth About Our Food.

I’m also looking forward to hanging out with Mayim Bialik, who will be speaking on Parenting by Intuition: From Hollywood to Holistic Mom. Not just that she’s amazing as Amy Farah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory (honestly, a favorite show of mine!) but that she is a *real* person who has *real* mommy issues and *real* dilemmas – like finding a holistic/green way to clean the toilet (as per her speech at the Down2Earth Festival in Boston where I was able to meet her in person.)

I am thrilled that I don’t have to choose between Robyn and Mayim as speakers; both are keynote speakers at the conference in the main hall!

I do struggle though in trying to choose between the four workshops offered:
I am also looking forward to spending the day with like-minded moms and dads, having an awesome lunch and spending time chatting and getting to know friends I only know online and… much to DH’s chagrin, I’m *really* looking forward to shopping at the exhibit hall! 

Learn more about the Natural Living Conference here and if you’ll be in southern CA in October, do not miss this awesome event!

    I’m gonna be honest. I don’t have time to blog right now… so I’m blogging because I’m procrastinating the other 9000 things I really *do* have to do right now.

    In the interest of truth (which is the topic of choice with my Dear Son lately) I will tell you that I cannot believe I haven’t posted anything since May – its odd that its been that long because I know I’ve composed MANY posts in the interim… I guess I need to type them, too.

    I will leave you with this thought: When will she post again? What will it be about? Who else at #HomeHer11 needs a cuppa coffee at 4:15pm…?

    We have pets.  They live in the basement. The kids love to feed them and care for them!

    So, why no names? Mostly because they’re hard to tell apart and because there are dozens of ’em!

    We have pet worms.  OK, maybe they’re more like indentured servants.  We do give them a nice home and all the food they can eat :)  The kids did try to name a few, but then they squirmed away and we’re not sure if the ones that they saw again were the same or not…

    That said we’re looking forward to doing a bit more gardening this summer so we can put to use all the good compost they’ve made for us!

    Our worms came from our good friend Mary who breeds them (HA! She simply has multiple worm bins and as a Master Gardener gives seminars around the area) Our bin is filled with shredded paper from the home office, scrap food waste and some coffee grounds and filters.  Definitely not as much coffee grounds and filters as we go through though… that is in another bucket on the back deck waiting to be dumped somewhere else as an outdoor compost area.

    Since we’re living in a townhouse without any space in which to put an outdoor composter or open pile, I’m still in a battle with myself over the desire to compost the grounds and filters and the reality of having no where to put ’em.

    Garden updates to come!

    It has been nearly a year since I created this video for the Holistic Moms Network.

    I still get choked up listening to Catherine Marie Charlton’s song Gouda and Grapes – because I can see the pictures of the moms in my head.  Pictures that moms from chapters all across the country felt compelled to send in for the video in response to one email asking to help support breastfeeding mothers everywhere.

    Moms who know and understand the need for breastfeeding support.  Moms who know and understand that the more breastfeeding is seen for what it is – feeding and nurturing a child at the breast – the more it will become commonplace and unquestioned… at Tavern on the Green, a children’s museum, a coffee shop, at the Acropolis, the Eiffel Tower!

    In solitude and in solidarity – WE MUST NURSE!

    Please watch the video – and share it with everyone you know – and those you don’t know – because breastfeeding is the way nature intended our future generations to be nourished and comforted and it needs to be seen (in videos, in private homes, in public places and on Facebook!)

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