Sunshine, Ocean and Strawberries, Potato Soup, and Challah with Basil Butter

 I arrived home late last night after a beautiful weekend near Seattle with dear family and friends. :-) We all congregated at my brother and sis-in-laws house, pleased as punch for a gloriously sunny day so the grown ups could visit outside while the younguns tore around hollering, playing games and took turns pushing us on the swing. :-)

I love my sis-in-law Rachel's tulips clustered round the base of this big ol' tree.

 It felt so good to soak up sunshine and have such great visits and laughter with kindred spirits. There was much hilarity around the game tables as we played Speed Uno and Mexican Train, particularly since half of us didn't have a clue what we were doing. :-) It was grand fun! :-)

For lunch we gathered on the porch with steaming bowls of Mum's fabulous potato soup laced with cream, studded with farmer's sausage and flavored with onions and thyme. Sprinkled with sharp cheddar cheese, it was cozy and comforting. :-)

 Tara brought wonderful challah rolls that were so fragrant, tender and delicious, especially spread with Rachel's Basil Butter.

 We finished off lunch with luscious strawberries dipped in Tara's ridiculously good fruit dip made of cream cheese and marshmallow creme. Yowza!! We ate that stuff on everything! Strawberries, rolls, and Matt and Dana even frosted Rachel's Toffee Chocolate Chip with it!! :-)

 Later this week I'll tell you about the fantastic dinner Rachel made us that night. Oooeee! :-)

After the fun and hoopla of Saturday, we had a blissfully relaxing Sunday in our pjs resting, visiting and eating leftovers. :-) Then we hugged and waved good bye, and Mums and I headed for the ferry. We laughed at  how ridiculously excited we get about taking a ferry. :-) It feels like a REAL vacation somehow, like we've left reality far behind and are bobbing along the waves, watching the coast go by from our warm perch inside. I love it. :-)

How was your weekend? :-)

Basil Butter
(From Taste of Home)


1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 pound butter, softened
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

  1. In a food processor, chop basil.
  2. Add butter, lemon juice and pepper and garlic salt; blend until smooth.
  3. Store in container in fridge until ready to serve.
  4. OR - Drop by half-tablespoons onto a baking sheet; freeze.
  5. Remove from baking sheet and store in freezer bags. Use to flavor chicken, fish or vegetables.
Cream Cheese Fruit Dip
(From Cooks)


(32 oz.) jar marshmallow creme
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

  1. Combine the marshmallow creme and cream cheese in medium bowl.
  2. Blend with a mixer until it is smooth and creamy.
Mum's Potato Soup


1 onion finely chopped
2 stalks celery finely chopped
1 carrot coarsely grated or julienned
2 leaves kale chopped
3 Tbsp. butter
1-2 John Morrell smoked sausage, halved and sliced
1 quart water
1/2 cup real bacon bits
4 large red or gold potatoes, cubed
1 tsp. dried dill
1/2 tsp. dry thyme
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

  1. Melt butter in soup pot. Saute onion, celery, carrot and kale.
  2. In separate pan, fry smoked sausage. With slotted spoon transfer to soup pot.
  3. Add 1 quart water, real bacon bits, potatoes, dill, thyme,
  4. parsley, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil, simmer 'til potatoes are tender.
  5. Add 1 can evaporated milk.
  6. Lightly mash potatoes , just to thicken as desired.
  7. Serve with grated sharp cheddar cheese. 


    1. Oooh that is my kind of meal! I want it all. I so need to master soups like this since they really do make the best meals. Am definitely going to make basil butter when the basil comes out. But I want that soup recipe! (and I am NOT looking at that cream cheese/marshmallow cream recipe! No!)

    2. It's a rainy day here today, and that soup is calling to me; would be perfect right now!

    3. ooh how enticing! those strawberries look so good too.
      tulips are my favorite flower which means this is my favorite time of year!
      xoxo alison

    4. Isn't it great, Jamie?! :-) I just messaged my Mums to send me the soup recipe - so I will send it along to you as soon as I can! :-)

    5. It's pouring rain here too, Deb! :-) I will try to get the recipe from Mums and post it soon. :-)

    6. Thank you, Alison! :-) I'm so glad you like them too. :-)

    7. Ooooh, that basil butter sounds wonderful! And versatile. I bet it would be great melted over some fresh peas too. But I have what is perhaps a very silly question.... what is seasoned pepper?

    8. Hi cozy! It was SO yummy! :-) Mmm, it WOULD be good over fresh peas!! Seasoned pepper is something you can get in the spice aisle - it comes with various herbs and such, like lemon pepper or something like that. :-)

    9. Oooh yay thank you thank Mums! Excellent! I'll bookmark this! Delish!

    10. Your weekend sounds amazing chica! So comforting. It's always great to spend time with family like that.

      That basil butter looks delicious. I can't wait until basil is in season here so I can try it.

      I love your pictures of the waves. They make me feel so at peace :P

    11. I'll pass along your thanks, Jamie! :-) Mums will be delighted. :-)

    12. I'm glad you like the waves too, Joanne. They do the same for me, so soothing. I hope you enjoy the basil butter! :-)

    13. The soup, the strawberries, the waves...sounds like a vacation. Your photos are a great reflection. Have a good week as well! :)

    14. Oooh...that basil butter looks fantastic. Lucky that I have a whole plant of basil in my window that needs to be used up! Hmm...:)

    15. Thank you, dear Amuse! :-) I hope to have a very good week - planning little but enjoying it much. :-)

    16. It was super good, dear Bekah! :-) I just got a new basil plant myself, and can't wait to try it. :-)

    17. What a perfectly lovely lunch. I'm so glad you enjoyed your weekend. Have a lovely day...MaryJ

    18. I sure did, Mary! :-) And my day thus far has been splendid. :-) Grocery shopping for all manner of fresh things and new music to listen to. :-)

    19. Sounds like totally the right kind of weekend Krista! I feel the same way about ferries. I don't enjoy EXTENDED water journeys (start to feel claustrophobic) but the short ones are like little vacations! As they say in England, they "blow the cobwebs out". Thanks for sharing!

    20. Yes, Paradis, I know what you mean about claustrophobia setting in! I need to see land! :-) "Blow the cobwebs out" - I like that. :-)

    21. Oh my gosh my mouth was watering at the sight and sound of that food. You guys know how to enjoy some delicious fare!

      I know what you mean about the ferry :)

    22. Isn't it all so splendid, DJ? :-) It was jolly fun. :-)