Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheddar Soup


So, you know that super thick broccoli cheddar soup you get at some of those all you can eat chain restaurants?  The one where there it is so thick that your spoon practically stands up by itself in the bowl and the broccoli is so cooked that it is one with the soup?  This is not that soup.  Nope.  This is a lighter version where the soup is a gentle creamy cheddar broth and the broccoli florets are cooked separately so they have a nice little crunch.  And even better, most of it happens in the slow cooker, one of the most magical appliances in my kitchen.  Let’s go make some!
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Chocolate Dinner Mint Cake

Okay, we are heading straight into the home stretch of Tis The Season, and one of things I am always doing this time of year is looking for the perfect combo of show-stopper and easy when it comes to that big holiday dinner dessert.  You know, the one that is going to get you a round of oohs and aahs when you bring it out, and then has your dining room settle down to delirious quietness because everyone is eating in happy holiday bliss…but also the one that is not going to keep you in the kitchen for hours.  Welcome to that dessert!

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Pear Butter

I am in a fruit butter kind of a mood these days.  I can’t stop making the banana jam recipe I wrote about a few days ago (mmmm, banana!), and now my fridge is chock-full of pear butter.  Think sweet, spicy apple butter…only with, yep, pears.  It’s perfect warmed up and spread over toast, or blended into a smoothie, or yes, eaten directly out of the jar.  You can put it in a bowl if you want to be extra fancy.  And if you put it in a pretty mason jar and tie a ribbon around it, it’s the perfect little holiday gift.  Let’s make some!

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Avocado Hummus

I don’t know about your house, but mine is a whirlwind of red and green this time of year, with some gold and silver sprinkled on top.  I’m deep in the sea of wrapping and decorating and card-writing, and as a result there are some nights when the Southern husband doesn’t get a regular cooked dinner on a plate.  Nope, there are some nights when I whirl up avocado hummus in the food processor and serve it up with some tortilla chips and a swirl of Sriracha sauce on top.  Hey, it’s red and green!  And he never seems to mind.

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Peppermint Snowballs!

It’s Christmas cookie time…the most wonderful time of the year!  I do love making cookies at this time of year, not only because, well, COOKIES, but also because it is a traditional part of how we ring in the the holidays at our house.  From the chocolate chip cookies that I’ve been making for my brothers and sister since we were all kids, to the peanut butter cookies that Grandma makes for the Santa cookie jar, cookies are an essential part of Christmas around these parts.  And we always love to add new ones to the list.  I’m particularly happy about these buttery, sugary, easy, peppermint snowballs!

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Easy Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

I am firmly on the side of those folks who think chicken soup is the cure for whatever ails you.  From the flu to a cranky mood, chicken soup can fix it…or at least make you feel a lot better.  And if regular chicken soup is good for whatever’s wrong, creamy chicken soup is, well, magical.  Especially if the creamy chicken soup doesn’t have any actual cream in it.  Good, good for you comfort food…you’re feeling better already, right?  Me too!

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