KN, p.186 “Kerrian’s Pumpkin Soup”


Pumpkin SoupIMG_6202

Thanksgiving is coming! Thanksgiving is coming!  Yay!
Sheila and I were at the store earlier and picked up a few odds and ends – mostly the salad fixings, since the guests will be bringing some of the side dishes. I stocked up on the canned pumpkin.  I can never get enough pumpkin, so I am making pumpkin soup to go with my sandwiches both before and after Turkey Day.  🙂


This is a super easy recipe. No chopping! I use the pumpkin can to measure the milk, and all the ingredients go straight into the pot. Minimal cleanup and it’s ready in 15 minutes. Sheila says she likes the soup, but I have a sneaking suspicion that she likes the fact that all she has to do is show up to the lunch table and enjoy.  🙂


"Kerrian's Pumpkin Soup"
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1- 15 oz can organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Garnish - 1/2 teaspoon pre-packaged, halved pecans for each bowl.
  • Garnish - 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon for each bowl.
  1. Place pumpkin in a 2 quart saucepan.
  2. Add milk 1/4 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly.
  3. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, and brown sugar and mix together.
  4. Heat on medium heat until soup starts to bubble at the edges, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.
  5. Stir and cook for 5 more minutes. It will be thick and creamy.
  6. Divide equally among bowls and garnish with cinnamon or chopped pecans. (or both)

Happy Thanksgiving!

*Photo by Patti Phillips




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KN, p. 164 “Game Day Nachos”



The Big Game should only be watched with nachos in hand. That’s a given. But, what kind of nachos? Is there more than one kind? Turns out there are as many different kinds of nacho recipes as there are chili or stew recipes.


Movie nachos – the kind with the fake cheese poured on top of a mound of tortilla chips. Best I ever had were served in a theater in Texas. Soooooo good.


Home nachos – tortilla chips, salsa and shredded cheese piled on a plate, nuked in the microwave and then scooped up with the tortilla chips. Quick and easy; can be tossed together during a commercial break.


Party nachos – everything and the kitchen sink piled on a plate and scooped up with tortilla chips.


Super party nachos – a nacho casserole made with layers of anything the cook thinks goes together. Anything. The only constant being the tortilla chips at the bottom. You eat this with a fork. Or maybe a spoon.


Here’s our version – hearty enough to be a meal and taste tested by a few football pals, and me, of course. J

KN, p. 164 "Game Day Nachos"
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 to 6
  • 15 oz can Goya black beans
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/4 lb ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon chili spices (optional)
  • 2.25 oz can sliced olives
  • 12 oz. jar sliced Jalapeno peppers
  • 4 cups shredded lettuce
  • 4 cups shredded cheese (4 cheese Mexican)
  • 15 oz jar Pace chunky Salsa
  • 8 oz container guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Large bag tortilla chips, Mission or Tostitos
  1. Drain 1/4 cup liquid from can of black beans. Pour remaining beans and liquid into food processor and pulse 2-3 times; not as smooth as hummus, but a little texture is great. Set aside.
  2. Sprinkle sea salt evenly in the bottom of a large frying pan, add ground beef, break up and stir until browned. Drain off the extra fat.
  3. Add pulsed beans to ground beef, mix together and heat through, stirring frequently. This is the time to add the optional chili spices.
  4. While bean/meat mixture is heating, assemble the other ingredients and place in individual containers on the serving table.
  5. Guests will be able to add as much or as little of each to their pile of nacho magic.
  6. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the rest of the ingredients and stick in the microwave for twenty seconds. Make sure the plates are microwave safe.
Fresh salsa is great, but we can’t always get flavorful, ripe tomatoes this time of year. As for guacamole? Again, fresh is great, but sometimes the fresh avocados are rock hard.

Optional Cheese sauce ingredients: if you want a creamy cheese sauce to pour over the chips –

  • Use a medium non-stick sauce pan
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1.75 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded pepper jack or cheddar cheese



  • Add butter to the sauce pan and melt on low-medium heat.
  • Slowly add flour and stir until well blended. It should pull away from the pan when ready.
  • Add 1/2 cup milk at a time, mixing constantly to keep lumps from forming. Bubbles will begin to form around the edges.
  • Add cheese 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until smooth and creamy. Pour over chips while hot.






*Photos by Patti Phillips


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Kerrian’s Notebook, p. 139 “Irish Brown Bread”


Ireland is a fabulous place to visit from Spring right through early Fall. The country has plenty of top-notch scenery, challenging golf courses, stud farms, and castles galore. And, it has all that really great food. Sheila and I had loads of fun going from tea room to pub to restaurant, sampling traditional Irish dishes.


The one constant at lunch wherever we went was the dense brown bread. It varied slightly in taste with different bakers, but it was usually served with soup or at afternoon tea, with jam, butter or honey.


Of course, when we came back to the States, Sheila and I created our own version of the bread so that we could serve it on St. Patrick’s Day. Yes, it is on the table with the soda bread, giving our guests a chance to try both. To be clear, Sheila does the baking and I do the tasting and cleanup. We make a great team in the kitchen.  🙂 


5.0 from 1 reviews
"Irish Brown Bread"
Recipe type: bread
Cuisine: Irish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cold butter
  • 2 ¾ cups stone ground whole wheat flour, plus additional Tablespoons if needed
  • ¼ cup regular or quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 4”x8” loaf pan
  • non-stick cooking spray
  1. In a mixing bowl, blend all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt.
  2. Cut in butter until mixture forms pea sized crumbs.
  3. Stir in whole wheat flour and oats.
  4. Add buttermilk, using bread hook if available. If mixture is sticky, add in more whole wheat flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, just until the dough has a smooth, dry surface.
  5. Place dough ball on a lightly floured board and knead 6-7 times, shaping into a loaf.
  6. Spray 4”x8” loaf pan with non-stick spray and place dough in the pan.
  7. Bake at 400 until golden brown, about 45-50 minutes.
  8. Test for doneness with metal skewer.
  9. Remove from pan immediately and cool on rack.
  10. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Serve with butter, jam, or honey and enjoy!


*Photo by Patti Phillips


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