Hi and welcome to the blog! Winter is back in force. The picture above was taken at the Wapsipinicon River Dam in Anamosa. In a few months pal Elijah and I will be fishing there. It’s always a soothing drive along the river to check out the scenery.
In recent days we got about six or so inches of snow. On Friday we’re set to receive anywhere from 3 to 6 more inches of the white stuff. With temps hovering near freezing the air can hold abundant amounts of moisture. When old man winter gives a puff of his cold breath, we get accumulating snow. It’s kind of pretty at least.
Jenny and Duke and I have been inside quite a bit lately. Following that last camping trip we’d had a nasty cold blast of arctic, sub zero degree air. In the meantime, I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning on the home base. On these winter evenings it’s nice to settle back and enjoy some belly warming food. Toward the end of the post is a recipe for some delicious tomato soup that I’ve been making in the slow cooker.
By the way, here’s a late Christmas present for the fur pals. For about 10 bucks this cat toy was ordered from China. A USB cord goes into the belly of the fish for recharging. Though normally dormant, when Jenny slaps the fish, it wriggles on the floor and she goes crazy. Click on the picture below and check out the amusing video of Jenny as it appears on Facebook. She’s part of an international group of fans who love our tortoise shell (“tortie”) cats.
During the chilly weather I’ve been crocheting up a storm. A friend’s mom gifted a big box of yarn and I’ve been cranking out lots of potholders. A couple of them just got sent to buddy Johnnie. I’m now making some extra durable ones for camping – quadruple strength! I’ll show pictures on the next post. They should work great for handling grill parts, hot Dutch ovens, etc.
There have also been some cooking projects. Here are a couple of fun meals that have been enjoyed of late…
The five bluegills pictured above were caught at Jim’s pond this last fall. With a little olive oil and kosher salt, they grilled up very nicely in the George Foreman grill at home… and came out healthier than deep frying. Kitty Duke was a fan.
Below is a tomato soup recipe that I’ve been working on. I love it because the cayenne pepper adds a wee bit of heat and some extra flavor. The tomato paste adds a robust, tangy kick. It might be too strong for some – you can cut back on the paste or try more half-n-half. A person could also add in a lot of yummy things like sausage balls, tortellini, other pastas, you name it! The thing I like is that the soup can all be mixed in a bag and cooked at the campground in a crockpot. If a slow cooker is not available, try simmering everything (except for the half-and-half) in a saucepan about 45 minutes on medium-low heat.
Brad’s Easy Crockpot Tomato Cream Soup
1 – 28 ounce can of Hunts Crushed tomatoes. (Hunts is my favorite)
1 small can tomato paste
1+1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
4T real butter
1+1/2 cups half-n-half
2 tablespoons chopped garlic (or to taste)
1T Italian seasoning
1t Old Bay Seasoning
1/2t black pepper
1/4t to 1/2t cayenne pepper (optional)
Put all except the half-n-half into a crock pot. Cook on low for 5 hours
stirring every hour or so. After the onions are soft, puree the soup
in a blender or with an immersion blender. I like to leave some
small bits in there. Stir in the half-n-half and cook another half hour.
Well, that’s all for now! We’ve got another storm on the way tomorrow. We’re used to it in the Midwest! Eventually the weather will moderate and some camping will occur again. In the meantime, have a safe and happy rest of the winter. Enjoy the superbowl!
Brad and Jenny and Duke
Jones County, Iowa
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