Saturday we headed to Rocky Springs located off of the Natchez Trace Parkway.
We wanted to try out our new camping gear: a Big Agnes tent, Thermarests, sleeping bag for him, and headlamps. The weather has been proving to me why people love living down South in the winter. It’s the perfect time to camp.
Clearly many others shared the same sentiment because the free campsite was nearly full. We managed to get a spot next to a man in his 80s driving a mini van complete with bed and port-a-potty, and an Indian family reunion.
During our short day at Rocky Springs we hiked on some trails, waded through a sandy creek, set up our tent in under two minutes (sweet!), burnt our stew, biked to a waterfall and ate s’mores. I needed to get out, we both did. The simplicity of preparing a place to sleep, cooking over a campfire and taking in nature, brings your perspective back into a peaceful focus. Besides s’mores are just about the best thing on earth.
We returned unscathed, tired and somehow six bug bites richer. I must have stepped into a small fire ant hill, because my right foot puffed up into a giant, itchy blister. My third and fourth toes are now puffy Vienna sausages. Sexy.
To amend for the burned beef stew, I made potato soup tonight (Ben helped). I love when he cooks with me.
He said “You better know I really love you, because I’m cutting potatoes and the Saints are on.”
If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.
Baked Potato Soup
1 lb. bacon
3 T. unsalted butter
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
8 potatoes (bake ahead of time, cut into bite-sized pieces)
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
4 c. chicken stock
1 c. half and half
Serve with: shredded cheddar cheese, crackers, scallions (optional)
Heat the oven to 400 degrees, line a pan with foil, lay the strips of bacon on it and bake for 20-25 minutes or until crispy brown. This is the best way I have found to cook bacon. You can roll up the foil and throw away the grease when it cools.
In a large stock pot, saute the celery and onion with the butter. After those has softened, mix in the flour and cook for a minute. Add in the garlic and potatoes. Next pour in the chicken stock and half & half. Bring the mixture to a boil and let thicken.
Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve this soup with shredded cheddar cheese and bacon sprinkled on top.
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