Friday, August 31, 2012

Crock Pot Potato Soup

I found a new potato soup recipe on Pinterest recently. With fall just around the corner I figured today was a good day to make soup! If you can open a can you can make this soup.

1 - 30 oz. bag of frozen, shredded hash browns
3 - 14 ounce cans chicken broth
1 - can of cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 - 8 ounce package of cream cheese (not fat free)
(You will add the cream cheese one hour prior to serving.)
Garnish suggestions:
Shredded cheese, sour cream, bacon bits, green onions, jalapenos.
I used sour cream, shredded cheddar and jalapeno peppers.
Place all ingredients, EXCEPT the cream cheese in the crock pot.
Cook for 6-8 hours on low.
One hour prior to serving, cut up the cream cheese and add to the soup. Continue cooking until the cream cheese if melted.
Garnish as desired and enjoy.
A pan of corn bread completed the meal.

This recipe makes a full crock pot of soup.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Beaver Lake

Last weekend we made a short trip for a brief visit with family on Beaver Lake near Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I had fun photographing the hummingbirds on the deck.

It is really difficult to catch them flying.
This one was too fast for me.
Finally I caught one in the air!
I think this one was watching me out of the corner of his eye.
View From the Deck
See how low the lake is?
The deer are plentiful in the Ozarks.
♥andPeace, Myra

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Windy City

The annual National Conference of State Legislatures was held in one of my favorite American cities this summer, Chicago. It was a brief but fun visit to The Windy City.

The view from our room at the Hyatt McCormick Place
(Convention Center)

In this direction Navy Pier was visible in the background.

Several years ago, while in Chicago, I took the Architecture Foundation River Cruise.
The tour lasts about 90 minutes and has a guide with information about the buildings and architects.
I decided to go again and asked a friend to join me for the morning boat ride.

Join me for a look at Chicago from the river.

I want to live here!

Trump Tower

Navy Pier

Following the architectural river tour my friend Sonja and I decided to walk to the Art Institute of Chicago.
We enjoyed a salad for lunch in a restaurant along the way.
We stopped at Millennium Park to photograph Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor.

 Here I am in front of Cloud Gate.
You can see the reflection of my back as well as Sonja taking the photograph in the lime green.

Under Cloud Gate

Also in Millennium Park is The Crown Fountain.

Water pours over the large rectangular structures.

Beautiful, functional public art!

The Art Institute of Chicago

American Gothic - Grant Wood 1930

Georgia O'Keefe - One of my favorite artists.

Sonja and I enjoyed the special Roy Lichenstein exhibit.
I regret that I didn't photograph any of his work for the blog.

I "experienced" lunch at the Billy Goat Tavern.
 "Cheezborger, cheezborger, cheezborger. No Pepsi. Coke"?
(John Belushi on Saturday Night Live)
Well, this is the place located on the underground Michigan Avenue.

 This is the order taker who calls out "Cheezborger, double".

Salpicon was the restaurant for dinner our first night in Chicago.
This turned out to be a memorable evening with a fun group and probably the best Mexican food I have ever eaten! The service was excellent.
I started with a spinach salad with goat cheese, toasted sesame seeds, caramelized red onions with chipotle-honey dressing. I guess I was too busy enjoying the salad and failed to photograph it!

 Did I mention the margaritas? Awesome.
Above is the grilled shrimp marinated in orange juice and chilies, with frijoles, avocado, plantains and herbed rice. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

And finally the sorbet with tequila and hot peppers.
I think it was lemon. Did I mention the margaritas?
I managed the first two scoops but had to leave the third scoop because my mouth was on fire.

This was Jim's dessert.

Dinner one night was at the Signature Room at the 95th located in the John Hancock Building on the 95th floor. The view was wonderful and the food was a definite "Ten". 


Walleye with squash and peas

Another view from the 95th

A lady in the elevator told me the best view is from the women's power room.
She was right.

Even though my visit was brief I enjoyed every minute in Chicago!

 I spent time with old friends ...

and even made a new friend.

♥andPeace, Myra

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hawk's Nest and the New River Gorge Bridge

While visiting West Virginia for the 66th Annual Southern Legislative Conference I took advantage of the day tour to Hawk's Nest State Park. When John Denver sang "Almost Heaven, West Virginia" he wasn't kidding! Hawk's Nest is perched on top of a mountain with a spectacular view of the New River.

Same location with zoom.

The park operates a tram ride down the mountain to the river.

At the bottom of the mountain we took a jet boat excursion upstream to view the New River Gorge Bridge. One day each year the bridge is closed for bungee jumping.

I had a difficult time getting a good photo while the boat moved about, sitting in a center seat, but this one captures the span and height.

This pretty old bridge is near the jet boat dock on the New River.

Looking down stream from Hawk's Nest

We rode the tram back up to the Hawk's Nest Lodge for lunch in the dining room.

Following lunch we boarded the bus for a closer look at the New River Gorge Bridge.
This is the walkway leading to the overlook.

The bridge from the observation deck.

The walkway branched off and went down under the bridge from this location.
It was rather steep, with stairs, so I decided this was as close as I needed to be.
There is a walkway underneath the bridge with a harness connection for those brave enough for a really close look!

We made a quick stop for shopping at Tamarack. Tamarack showcases arts and crafts of West Virginia as well as demonstrations by the craftsmen.