Broccoli Cheddar Soup With Crispy Pancetta

Now that the weather is getting colder (or, per usual, in North Carolina...flip flopping daily) soup is making its way into my dinner repertoire with a vengeance. This is one I had been playing around with for a while and finally made it happen one afternoon when I was craving something simple and filling. This recipe fits the bill on both counts. 

This is when I should admit that this may be the first time I actually ate my broccoli. Covered in cheese, cream and the addition of crispy pancetta. And it was worth every caloric bite. 

I also didn't use flour in this recipe so as long as you use gluten free stock, you can make this gluten free. 

This was best served immediately, if you have leftovers and want to re heat, add a little more cream and cheese as it heats.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

3 cups cheddar (shredded)
1/2 cup colby jack (shredded)
2 cups cream
1/4 cup stock
1/4 cup chopped pancetta (crisped)

Heat the cream on medium until it begins to bubble, add in the cheese and stock. Whisk continuously until it begins to thicken.  Add pepper and salt to taste. 

Ladle into bowls and top with pancetta. 

This got my husband's seal of approval and surprisingly...mine 

My New Car Is Saving My Marriage

Ok, slight major exaggeration but due to the fact that it has dual climate control there are literally no telling how many fights it is staving off in the future. I am one of those people who like to have my heat going full throttle in the car. Almost burning I am so hot. 

My not that person and we frequently take long trips. Problem now solved;) 

I realize I am probably late to the whole butt warmer craze and all but my previous car had absolute zero bells and whistles and was solely to get me from point a to b. It wasn't a clunker or anything but had seen its day. I had wanted a new car for a while but mine really had no problems... it was just getting on up there in the miles. As in over 165,000 miles. And I like to travel. 

This is not a new car, it is used but has less than 20,000 miles and has another few years on the warranty, but it is *new to me* and that's all she wrote.

It also got me around 41 miles to a gallon and had been paid over for over three years. Car payments suck. 

But we bit the bullet and got one right before Thanksgiving...and I am in love! 

My favorite things about it are far too numerous, but these are the ones that stand out. 

Sunroof. I have always wanted one. I have had it for two weeks and I keep forgetting about it and then when I remember it I get entirely too excited;)

Bluetooth. Being able to listen to my Texas Country from my phone is fantastic. Maybe one of the best parts. Still getting used to the whole phone ringing and talking, but I am sure I'll get over it quickly;)

Smooth Ride. It really does pretty much hug the road and it drives so smoothly that I almost don't even realize how crappy the roads are around here. Almost. 

Butt Warmer. I mean...self explanatory. My bootie has never been happier. Ok, maybe that time I fit it into a fabulous dress.

Dual Climate. Ok, I rode on a twelve hour car ride with the mister and I never once got cold. In thirteen years this has never happened. I am telling you that VW is to blame for my now perfect marriage. (oh, wait...there is not dual climate control in our house)

Anyways, I promise not to talk about my car all the time or be ridiculous about it but I am pretty excited. We got a great deal on it and there is so much room! My 6'5 husband has insane leg room! 

Vermont Mornings

When it comes to the fall, one of my favorite flavors is maple. We have been to Vermont for trips a couple of times and maple always reminds me of our visits. Maple syrup flows up there like sweet tea does down here.  I love working it into recipes.  I love how it parlays into the winter months as well. I was playing around with different ideas for a breakfast get together and after a few trials, this one ended up being my hands down choice. 

The maple and bourbon played off the distinct taste of the coffee really well. It added just the right amount of sweetness to the drink. The homemade whip cream was the perfect addition and while not, should make it if you can! I could have eaten it with a spoon!

If you are looking for a concoction for Christmas morning or maybe while you watch a movie at night instead of hot cocoa!

Vermont Mornings
1 oz cream
1 oz bourbon
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
2 oz brewed coffee
*maple candy (optional)

Stir together the cream, bourbon and maple syrup in a mug then pour in the coffee while still stirring. Top with the maple bourbon whip cream and enjoy!

To make whip cream

1/2 cup cold whipping cream
2 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tbsp bourbon

in a mixer, beat the whipping cream until it starts to thicken. Slowly add in the maple syrup and bourbon and keep whipping until very thick.  ( you could also add in more sugar if you want it sweeter)

linking up with the Pin Junkie, made by you, flour me with love, holiday best, ladybug blessings
pint sized baker

Headbands Of Hope

Having been away for the last two weeks, I still have lots of catching up to do around here. I will share all about our trip and a few recipes here soon enough. In the meantime, I wanted to share a few photos from one of my favorite organizations, Headbands Of Hope. If you are still looking for gifts, they have the perfect selection!

Headbands of Hope came about when founder Jessica Eckstrom did an internship with a wish granting foundation. She discovered that girls who were losing their hair to cancer really loved wearing headbands and in turn, launched Headbands of Hope during her junior year of college. For every headband you buy, $1 is donated to the childhood cancer organization of your choice. And a headband is donated to a girl with cancer. They also recently started a boys line of buffs. To date, they have donated over 20,000 headbands to hospitals around the country. 

Jessica is local and graduated from NC State and one of my best friends works for HoH, so I have gotten to see first hand what they accomplish, not only in our community, but around the country. They recently got to dress up as princesses and deliver headbands to some children at Duke Children's Hospital in Durham. 

Here are a few photos of the "Princess Distribution" all photos are via Headbands of Hope. The three ladies who passed out the headbands last nights are (L to R) Elsa ( Lauren) Cinderella ( Jess, the founder) Snow White (Nicole,  one of my besties!)

Here are a few of their headbands, buy yourself something cute or grab a gift for someone this Christmas!!

Please follow this great company on facebook and instagram and if you are looking for any gifts, be sure to check them out! 

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