I love November. We start out remembering regular old folks like us who lived and died for Christ and became saints, and we end up eating turkey. The air gets nippy, we enter Advent, I turn another year older and we celebrate another year of being married. What more could one ask of a single month?
To celebrate, with each blog post this month, I'm going to write about a favorite saint, a blessing, and soup. It's the right time of year, and I'm a pretty good soup maker. Here we go.
My saint of the day: St. Ambrose. Smart guy, doctor of the church, my parish's patron. In celebration of our 150th anniversary, there's been a lot of sprucing up around our church. (I posted a little about it here.) This weekend, the stained glass windows which had been removed this summer were re-installed. While I have always thought they were the second-most beautiful windows in town (Trinity UMC has the first, IMHO), they are even more beautiful cleaned and re-leaded (is that a word?). The sun shining through them just makes the whole church sparkle. St. Ambrose wrote, "No duty is more important than returning thanks." So, I am so thankful for the blessing of St. Ambrose parish, Father Dan and my entire church family.
And, I'm thankful for the St. Ambrose Youth Ministry and Chris, our youth minister; the program has been so great for Will. Last weekend, they raked leaves for some of our older parishoners. I made soup. This soup:
Leaf-Raking Time Potato Soup
5 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
2 T. butter + 1 T. olive oil
1 pound bacon (ready bacon is just fine) fried and diced
2 quarts chicken stock
4 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
In a large stock pot, saute the onion, celery and garlic in butter and oil until onions are soft. Add potatoes to pot and chicken stock (add some water if the potatoes aren't covered). Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft. (I like to use a hand-held blender for this next part, but a regular hand masher would work just fine) -- mash up about half the potatoes, leaving as many chunky potatoes as you would like. Warm the milk on the stove or microwave (just to take the chill off) and add to the soup, along with the bacon. When the soup is heated through and ready to serve, stir in cheese. (If you use just olive oil, turkey bacon and low fat milk and cheese, this might just be halfway good for you!)