A Birthday, Ball Game, and Broccoli-Cheese Soup

First of all, how do you like the new look? Simply Divine got a make over all around! For my birthday, Andrew got the blog spruced up for me and gave me my own domain! We are no longer http://www.marykwhite.wordpress.com, we are www.thesimplydivineblog.com! If you follow me by e-mail, nothing has changed. You will still receive updates!

Since last Wednesday, our family has been quite busy! Between the ‘B’ words in the title you can also include this one: break-in. That is right! We had quite the scare last Thursday night at our home. That is another blog post for another day! We are all fine, and we are thankful it was nothing more than someone that wasn’t in the right frame of mind if you know what I mean. Thus, it is the cause for quite the story which I will tell soon! In the past few days, the girls have received their four-month vaccinations and successfully made their first of many road-trips to Duplin County!

IMG_1879On Friday morning, my friend Jenna and her son, Carter, came to visit us. We met this sweet family during our time in Chapel Hill. It was so great being able to catch up with Jenna and see how well Carter is doing! Ironically, Jenna was a former ‘Ms. Wuf’, so we took the opportunity to snap a photo of the babes together on game day! I think it played to our favor because later that night we sent Syracuse back to New York. Now, that was a great game! Aunt Ashley came into town on Friday afternoon and brought some goodies along with her… by no means am I complaining that my birthday presents have turned into practical gifts. I was extremely happy to receive a box of diapers and wipes on the girls behalf, and no one should complain when they don’t have to buy paper towels or toilet paper!

Saturday morning, we all traveled down to good ole’ Wallace to celebrate my birthday with family. On Saturday, Andrew and I were able to go see Matt play at Brooks Field! We have been anxiously awaiting the day we would get to see Matt play. The girls stayed with ‘Mama Neva’ in Wallace while we ventured down to Wilmington! It isn’t quite time they can go watch Uncle Matt play, but we are super close!

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Carol Luanne’s niece, Willa Grace, made a ‘Flat Stanley’ for class! Stanley had an exciting weekend too!

Saturday night we all got together to celebrate! It was so wonderful to see everyone, and especially see those that had yet to meet the girls in person. No one could fathom at how big they have grown since our NICU days! We enjoyed each others’ company by munching on some delicious food. This trip to Wallace was so special for me. Not only to have the opportunity to celebrate my birthday with family, but to be able to bring the girls to Wallace for their very first time. Year #23 has some pretty big shoes to fill compared to year #22, but it had a perfect kick-off celebration!

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On Sunday, we relaxed and enjoyed our family time by watching UVA win their first ACC Championship title since 1976. What a great game! The girls were able to meet their Great-Great Grandmother. Yes, you read that right. We are so fortunate that our family is one with five generations. In today’s world, you don’t see that too often. I am so happy that my ‘Ahma’ was finally able to meet the girls. Now, let me tell you something about my Ahma. She cooks the best vegetable soup in the entire universe. Her pecan tartlets are my absolute favorite (they don’t necessarily need to be my favorite right now…hello post-baby work outs!)… and her hard-working hands have stitched and crocheted many quilts. On Sunday, she and my grandmother gave me quilts for the girls that she hand-stitched herself. She has been working on these quilts for four months! What an absolute treasure. These are the type of things that you put down to want to save in a fire. There is nothing quite like a treasured family heirloom!

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While I didn’t spend my birthday at the ACC Tournament or with my mascots, this birthday was pretty hard to beat. What can I say besides the fact it was just simply divine.

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It is ‘Tasty Tuesday’ on the blog today, and I am finally doing ‘Tasty Tuesday’ on a… Tuesday!

While this winter weather is continuing to make its presence known, I will provide you with a recipe that is sure to warm you up! There is nothing quite like a good bowl of soup on a cold evening. If you are like me, a good bowl of soup means only one thing. Panera Bread. Broccoli-Cheese soup in a bread bowl can simply not be beaten. Here’s the thing about having two babies: in the winter, staying at home is inevitable and going out to eat is impossible. So, you make do with what you have at home! This has actually been good for me because I have been able to learn to cook different things besides: brown rice, green bean casserole, and BBQ Chicken. The trifecta to a southern girl’s menu.

A couple of weeks ago, all I wanted was a good sandwich and bowl of soup. It was so tempting to forgo our ‘winter season rules’ and take the girls to Panera Bread. Why? We had everything we needed to have our own Panera Bread at home! So, I took a deep breath and tried to fix Broccoli-Cheese soup just like Panera. It’s impossible…theirs is the best, but this turned out pretty darn good!

Broccoli Cheese Soup

(Sorry I don’t have a picture, we were real hungry and the camera battery was dead… and I didn’t know where my phone was at the moment. I ended up finding it in the linen closet! Pure chaos around here.)

Who do you think I looked to for a Broccoli Cheese soup recipe? None other than the Pioneer Woman. This recipe is in her Holiday cookbook. You can check out her recipe here. I changed it up a little bit due to time, we are only two people, and adapted to what I had in our pantry.

Ingredients:
1 16 oz. bag frozen broccoli florets
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 stick of butter
1 yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups of whole milk
1 cup of half and half
1 cup of chicken broth
3 cups of grated cheddar cheese (I used a combo of Mild Cheddar and Sharp Cheddar)

1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Then add the diced onion.
2. Stir it around to cook, 3 to 4 minutes approximately.
3. Sprinkle the flour on top on the onion. Use a whisk to work in the flour. Once it’s combined, cook the onion-flour mixture for 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Then add the milk and half-and-half, whisking constantly until combined.
5. Sprinkle in the salt and pepper.
6. Then add the broccoli florets.
7. Stir them into the soup. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low, then simmer the soup until it’s thickened and the broccoli is tender. For frozen broccoli, it took about 25 to 30 minutes.
8. Stir in the chicken broth and check the consistency. The soup should be thick, but if it still seems too thick, splash in a little more broth.
9. Then throw in the cheese! (My favorite…sometimes I choose cheese over chocolate. I have a problem!)
10. Sit it in until it’s melted, taste and adjust your seasonings…(I actually ended up throwing a pinch of garlic powder at the very end!)… and serve it up!

The Pioneer Woman served her soup Panera Bread style with bread bowls… we didn’t get that fancy. We had a turkey sandwich and soup on the side!

This made more soup than we needed for left overs, and so I portioned it into different containers and put it in the freezer. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it froze! These days I am all about stocking the freezer when I can. It makes the days you don’t feel like cooking a lot easier!

Hope you enjoy this recipe! It’s the perfect thing to fix on a night like this!

Love,

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3 thoughts on “A Birthday, Ball Game, and Broccoli-Cheese Soup

  1. Althea says:

    What a joy to read!!!!!!So happy for you and your family and you celebrated your birthday in Wallace!!! To God be the Glory!!

  2. Sharon Moore says:

    Girl, I think you have found your calling! I love reading your blog – it always picks me up somehow. I am so proud of you!

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