Beer & Bratwurst Cheese Soup

This took a few tries based on a few other recipes until I decided for sure how *I* liked it. Even my husband who doesn’t like soup loves this one.

Beer & Bratwurst Cheese Soup
2 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp butter
16oz bratwurst
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
3 cups potatoes, microwaved until 1/2 cooked, cubed
2-12 oz bottles of beer (fall beers worked great so far)
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup flour
10oz block aged cheddar cheese, shredded in food processor
1 cup heavy cream

In a deep soup pot, melt 2 tbsp butter. Add bratwurst links and brown. Remove from pot and slice about 1/2″ thick rounds. Return slices to pot, stirring until brown on all sides. Remove from pot, cut to smaller pieces if desired (to match the size of potato cubes), set aside. Add 2 tbsp butter to pot, melt and saute onions, garlic, carrots and celery until onions are soft. Add beer, spices, potatoes and bratwurst. Simmer 5 minutes. Add broth. Simmer 10 minutes. Remove 1 cup of liquid, whisk with flour. Return to pot. Stir until combined and thickened. Add cheese, stir until melted. Stir in cream. Serve hot with soft pretzels.


Reviving this blog

So I have this blog… heh. It’s pretty neglected. So neglected that when I logged in today the 2011 Pittsburgh Marathon post was still on the front page. That’s pretty sad.

I’m working out a plan to resurrect it. Life is pretty different around here than it was when I wrote about my first 26.2 a year ago. I’m running my first ultra in 3 – THREE – weeks and am signed up for my second marathon in August with plans to annihilate my PR. I’m considering strongly also running my 3rd marathon in August. I want to chronicle my training for those and how they turn out. The kiddo has taken up racing – and playing hockey – so there is a post coming up about that, too. Hopefully with a few revisions I’ll be able to spend less time fighting with WordPress and a little time writing.

What do engineers do?

Tonight I was asked a question that stopped me in my tracks.

“Mom, what do engineers do?”

This should be an easy question, being an engineer and being married to an engineer. I know what we do, but how do you explain it to a 4-year-old? In 9th grade my CAD teacher told us on the first day, “Engineers solve the world’s problems.” That answer has always worked for me but I didn’t think it would fly for the little man. I thought about it for a few minutes and gave him this answer:

“Engineers figure out how to build things, how to build everything in the world. Buildings, bridges, houses, roads, cars, toys, TVs, food, your shoes, your hockey skates, everything. We figure out what material their parts should be made of and the best way to put those parts together. Then we draw pictures or write instructions so that the people who build all of those things know how to build them.”

His answer? “OK, but I already know how to make all ‘dose things.” Alrighty then…

New Running

So how behind am I on blogging about running? Months. Several seriously crazytown months.

There really isn’t any way of explaining everything that has happened since I last wrote about running so I’ll give you the short version. The short version… is long. Very long. I said it would be a really long time before I ran another marathon… and I meant that. It will be a while before I run another road marathon. I’m training for my first trail ultra. When? Which one? I haven’t completely decided. I’m averaging more miles per week (50+) than I’ve ever run before. I ran 150 miles in February, the highest mileage month of my life. I’m loving this mileage. It takes a while but it feels good.

To be continued…

Honey Beer Ham Apple Cheese Soup

OK, so the name needs a little work…

Yesterday I randomly recalled a ham & cheese soup that I thought my grandfather used to make and bring up to us from near Uniontown when we were kids. I wasn’t able to find a recipe that was close and couldn’t actually confirm that my memories were accurate about who made the soup. After some thought into how to recreate this without a recipe, I wandered from that and created this. It’s sweet, tangy, savory & completely yummy. If ham didn’t have so many nitrates, it might even be good for you! (does there exist a ham that doesn’t have nitrates? or is that just not ham?) Without further ado…

Honey Beer Ham Apple Cheese Soup (or Name to be Determined)
2 cups ham, 1/4-3/8″ cubes
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup bell pepper, chopped (I had 1/2 cup red & 1/2 cup green in the freezer)
1 cup Granny Smith apple, chopped (peel if you want, I didn’t)
1/2 tsp salt
1 12 oz bottle of beer (we had a bottle of Water Gap Wheat by Appalachian Brewing in the fridge, anything sweet & not hoppy would work. thanks @unclecrappy for your help choosing a beer!)
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dry mustard
2 cups plus 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup honey (might leave this out in the future if we found a honey wheat beer to use instead)
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 cup butter
4 cups half & half
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
4 cups sharp cheddar cheese

Cook the ham in a large soup pot over med-high heat until it begins to crisp and the pot is coated in grease. Add chopped vegetables and apples, with salt. Cook until soft.

Add beer, pepper and mustard. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. Add 2 cups of water and honey. Simmer 3-5 minutes.

Combine 1/4 cup water and corn starch and stir into soup, simmering until it begins to thicken, about 2-3 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted. Reduce heat and slowly add half & half. Stir in cheeses slowly until melted.



May no act  of ours bring shame
To one heart that loves thy name
May our lives but swell thy fame,
Dear Old State, Dear Old State
-Penn State alma mater, Fred Patee

Penn State plays Nebraska at home today. I’ve been looking forward to this game since it was announced last summer that Nebraska was coming to the Big Ten. Then, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, our world was shattered by a monster. And I’ve been trying to will time to fast forward to the kick-off to this game more than any I can remember. I will watch it with my little boy, with the sound turned off and Penn State radio turned on. And maybe, just maybe, for a few hours, things just can be about football.

I have a few new heroes after this week of most unimaginable evil. I can’t write about evil anymore so, please, let me tell you about them instead.

First and foremost, the children. The ones who stood up and said this had to stop. The ones who have come forward and told the terrible truth that no one wanted to believe. The ones who haven’t come forward yet.
Ben Jones, a student who, through his Twitter feed, showed the world how things really were on campus. Special shout-out to the Penn State sports outlet where he writes, the Black Shoe Diaries and another student outlet, Onward State.
LaVar Arrington, for his comments, commentaries and this speech.
Joe Posnanski, for a post that explains, better than any anywhere exactly how I feel. And why I have not given up on the man who has given his life to the institution of higher education that I have loved for all of mine.
Sara Ganim and her colleagues at the Patriot News in Harrisburg, for their brilliant investigation and reporting of every angle of this story including reports like this.
And Joe Needel. An alum who stepped up and did what so many of us wanted to do but hadn’t yet figured out. Because of his foresight and faith in our community, has raised $250,000 for and counting, in 3 days.

I learned a lot about who my real friends are this week and saw a lot of others’ true colors. My true color, Blue, is bluer than ever. It is the color of my literal and figurative family (my brother is safe after Wednesday night, thank you for those who asked). We are a strong community that is tighter than ever today.

We are Penn State.
The lawn of Old Main during last night’s candlelight vigil.
Fight on, State.

Beer Cheese Soup

Here is the beer cheese soup recipe I created this morning & exactly as it was made. If you dice faster than I do, this is pretty quick & easy. It was a combination of a few other recipes, adjusted & tweaked to our tastes. Luckily I remembered to write down what I did as I made things up this time! Enjoy!

Beer Cheese Soup
(8 servings)
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup onion, diced
1 1/2 cup carrots, diced
1 1/2 cup celery, diced
2 tsp garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 cups beer (I used Yuengling Black & Tan)
3 cups chicken broth (I used low sodium this time because it’s what I had, not necessary)
2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups half & half
6 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used 2 cups sharp, 4 cups mild)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 cup water

In a large (at least 5 quart) heavy pot, melt butter over med-high heat. Add onions, celery, carrots & garlic and saute until onions are soft. Add Worcestershire sauce and beer. Bring to boil for 3-5 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and spices. Simmer for 3-5 minutes.
Reduce heat to med-low. Stir in half & half. Toss flour with cheese in a small bowl and add to pot in small batches until cheese is melted. Whisk corn starch with water and add to pot. Heat & stir until thick. Serve hot.

My Faborite

This weekend we hit many picnics and parties. A typical summer weekend.

At my dad’s union picnic the kiddo and I sat with an old friend who had never met the kiddo before but had seen pictures. She commented that the pictures of him in hockey gear and skates are super cute. She asked him if he liked skating and hockey. He said yes. I asked him who his favorite hockey player is. I fully expected him to exclaim “DIDNEY CWOZBY!” (Sidney Crosby, for those who can’t translate kiddo) but he had other ideas.

“My dad is my faborite hockey pwayer.”

I am still a puddle of melted mush…

Pittsburghese is confusing when you’re 3

I love listening to the kiddo ramble on and on with one thought. I love listening to his views of his world. Here is an excerpt from this past weekend.

“Mom, dese are called wubber bands. Dey not called gum bands. Gwandpap say dey called gum bands. He say some people fwom Pitt’burgh say dey gum bands. I not going call dem gum bands. I going call them wubber bands because dey made of wubber. Dey not made of bubble gum so I not going call dem gum bands. I going call them wubber bands. OK, Mom?”

OK, buddy. That’s fine by me.

June 100 Challenge

As mentioned on dailymile, I haven’t run much since the marathon. Between aching hips, life in all its chaotic glory and the lack of a solid plan, I haven’t done but a few random miles. I decided that since today was the first of June, I would set up a little challenge for myself.

The June 100 Challenge a la *me*

Run 100 miles (but 1 mile on trail = 1.25 miles on road)
Bike 100 miles (to ensure lots of cross training but noting that I don’t have as much time to bike) (1 mile pulling the kiddo in his trailer = 1.25 miles without)
Starting the 100 pushup challenge and 200 situp challenge.
Drink 100oz water per day.

Got out for a few hot, crummy garbage miles today. But they were miles toward the 100. Took the initial challenge for the pushup and situp challenges. My arms are puny weak (6) but my abs are pretty good (86). Took on W1D1 of the pushup challenge. Will try W1D1 of situp challenge tomorrow. And I was successful in reaching 100oz today. I don’t plan on blogging each day of the month like some other pretty neat challenges, but I will try to check in often so I don’t give up before 30 days are up.


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