A Life Askew

Bumbling Through One Day At A Time

The best soup I’ve made yet.

I saw a video on FaceBook the other day. It was one of those recipe/food videos that speaks directly to your stomach. It was tomato soup bread bowls. I watched it and promptly forgot about it. Until the next day when I was thinking about what to make for dinner. And I remembered it and realized I had everything I needed to make it already.
The video didn’t have recipes for all the components, so I looked around and found a couple that I liked.

Then I changed them around to make them how I wanted them. (Cause why just follow a recipe?) And now I’m sharing it here because I wrote it up for a friend, and that turned out to be a lot of damn work. So, I’m making it worth the effort. And sharing it with more than just the one friend.

Everyone deserves to have access to this soup.

Also, I took a few pictures of the bread as I was making it, cause it was looking freakin’ awesome. I wasn’t, however, intending to make a blog post, so while I’m adding in the pics, they’re definitely missing steps, and other prep work (like cleaning up spills on the counter).

So without further BS ado:
Creamy Italian Tomato Soup Bread Bowls


It’s so much better than it looks, too.



2 pckges (.5 oz) active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water ~110 degrees
2 tbsp sugar or honey
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil
7-9 cups flour (all purpose will work, mixing in bread flour or adding gluten will make softer bread)
1 tbsp cornmeal
1 egg white
1 tbsp water

edit-loaf-picDislolve yeast and sugar in large bowl until creamy/foamy, about 10 minutes. Add oil, salt and half flour to mixture and mix well. Mix in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough is no longer sticky. Knead for ~10 minutes (low setting on a stand mixer works.) Let rest for 10 minutes, then knead again for another 5-10 minutes.
After kneading, lightly coat the bowl with oil and make a ball with the dough. Roll the dough in the bowl, coating it in oil. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 30-40 minutes. Punch down and divide into 6-8 equal portions. Form into round loaf and place on lightly greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. About 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, beat the egg white with the tbsp of water. Lightly brush the loaves with half the wash.

Bake in heated oven for 15 minutes. Brush with remaining egg mixture and bake 10-15 more minutes (add ~5 minutes for a batch of 6 loaves) or until golden. Cool on wire racks.

Creamy Italian Tomato Soup:

1lb sausage (optional- I used Jimmy Dean’s Country Mild)
1 tsp dried onion
2 15oz cans tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2tsp brown sugar
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
dash of hot pepper sauce

In heavy saucepan, add sausage and onion. Brown sausage. Drain if needed. Add remaining ingredients in saucepan and cook until heated through. Ready to serve when reaches proper temp.

Combining soup and loaves:

6-8 round loaves
enough sliced cheese to cover the insides of the bowls, ~3-4 slices per bowl
1in x 1in bread cubes (cut from the centers and tops of the loaves)
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
grated cheese to top bowlscut-loaf-edit
To make bowls, cut top 1/2 inch off top of loaf. Cut around the edge of the loaf, just inside the crust, without scoring the bottom. Use a fork or spoon to scoop out the center of the loaf, leaving it as in tact as you can. Set aside, do not discard.

Line the inside of the bowls with cheese slices. Place back in oven, @ 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Set to the side.

Take the tops and soft loaf centers and cut into 1in x 1in cubes. Place in large bowl. Drizzle melted butter over cubes while stirring/tossing until all the bread is evenly coated. Add in the basil, oregano, and garlic powder and stir again, until spices are evenly dispersed.

In frying pan over med-low heat, fry the bread cubes, in small batches, turning to brown each side. (I’m gonna be honest, I only fried enough to top the bowls. This is tedious as shit. But they’re freaking delicious.. so, your choice. I just ate the rest of the cubes. Well, what my helpers didn’t demolish when I gave them the green light on them.)

When ready to serve: Fill each bowl with soup, sprinkle some cheese on top, add a few croutons and enjoy. Serve those bitches immediately.

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He’s Gonna Miss Me…

Summer is (finally) upon us and we’ve been crazy busy around here. We’ve had road trips (that were awesome) and spring cleaning to be done. And through all of this, there is one particular song that keeps popping into my mind.
Have you heard that Brad Paisley song I’m Gonna Miss Her (The Fishing Song)? Well, my life is kind of feeling like that right now. Except, opposite. If I don’t go fishing soon I’m going to leave. I’ll just quit.
Actually, that is my plan tomorrow. I’m going to quit, for the morning at least. Which normally, I wouldn’t do. But after the following conversation, well..

Me, “Do you have any plans tomorrow?”
The Honey, “Yes.”

Me, “Uh, would you like to tell me what they are?”
Him, “Well, I guess I’ll just see what gets done.”

All this time, I thought women were supposed to be the ones to have the enigmatic answers that left you with more questions than you started with. I mean, that’s how TV portrays us… Anyhow, getting info out of that man is worse than having dental work done. And they don’t make anesthetics for his particular kind of pain, except booze.
Booze would work.
So, because he’s acting like a petulant child that is assuming you’re going to ask them to do chores before you can say anything, I’m taking the morning off.

When you’re fishing it’s never too early for booze anesthetic, right?

Which brings me to another confusing gender preconception. Aren’t men supposed to be the ones that are nuts about fishing? He refuses to go. Flat out refuses. I do all the stupid crap he wants to, but suggest spending a couple hours on a sunny day sitting at a calm lake and he acts like we’re talking about human sacrifice.
And I LOVE fishing. I can fish all day long, successfully or not. And with this weather and the proximity of some of the best fishing lakes in the state, well, it’s just about too much to bear.

So, while I’m sure running away won’t actually teach him anything, scoring some fresh fish for dinner will make me forget about being irritated all together.

And I might not share.

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They Called it Wildfire, And Not the Pony

Right now, all anyone is talking about, well, that I know, has been the fires here in Colorado.

I suppose that could be because I’m here in Colorado.  Point is, it’s a common topic.  It’s talked about, it’s on the news and it’s got everyone jumpy about another one starting any time, any where.

One town, so far (that I know of), has cancelled their firework display this year.  In addition to making sure the residents don’t put on their own…

However it is sad, and terrifying, and awful to see these fires burning up parts of our beautiful state.  I’m pretty heart broken about this.  Colorado is supposed to be known for it’s beautiful mountains and forests, and yuppies, not fires!! Right now, being worried for all those evacuating, and those waiting to hear if they need to has replaced being anxious for camping and rafting trips.

We should all be out hiking and fishing, instead we’re watching the news and being saddened by the homes being burnt down.

However, what saddens me the most is watching the videos of the homes burning and seeing how it could have been slowed, if not prevented altogether (not the fire, the burning of the homes).

SO, what I thought I’d do was explain a few things you can do to help keep your home safe.

One of the tips on a website, dedicated to helping the various agencies work in tandem in case of fires (and has been used for other disasters as well), was this, “Landscape vegetation should be spaced so that fire can not be carried to the structure or surrounding vegetation. ”

An elderly gentlemen I know had a fire near his property not too very long ago and was told, “Sir, if you want to keep your house, you’re gonna have to cut down the trees around your house.  About 100 feet out.”  He said, “Listen here, you little whipper snapper, I like those trees right where they’re at, and if my house burns down I’ll just build another one!!”  (Okay, the conversation was dramatized, a little, but you get the gist.)

That that means is clear the trees, bushes and various shrubbery (you’ve gathered by threat) away from your house so there is an area with nothing that will burn.  Common sense would dictate that, especially when there are strong conditions for fires, that you keep the ground between the house and vegetation well watered to keep it from burning very well.

Which means, “A garden hose should be connected to outlet.”  Keep water easily accessible.  Cause, I don’t know about you, but if a fire is licking at my yard, I don’t want to spend 20 minutes untangling the hose, dragging it to the house, mis-threading it 27 times before I get it screwed on right, and then fighting with the stupid spigot because it takes 7,000 lb.s of pressure to turn the stupid thing.  Just fighting with the spigot will be sure to waste more than enough time to put me at risk of heart failure.

“All combustibles such as firewood, picnic tables, boats, etc. should be kept away from structures. ”  Again, if it will burn, you probably don’t want it next to your house.  Makes sense though, no?

Obviously, these things aren’t a 100% guarantee that your house will be safe, but it can help the firefighters to concentrate on other areas of fighting the fire, like, oh, I don’t know, putting it out.

If you want to protect yourself 100% against fire, you should live in Antarctica.  Or an igloo, I don’t think they’re particularly flammable.

Other common sense preventions are:

Don’t throw cigarette butts, cigars, roaches, lit pipes (even if the cops are behind you, consider jail time a sacrifice for the safety of many), torches, flares or children out the window.  The last one won’t start a fire, it’s just bad parenting.

Don’t shoot off fireworks in dry conditions, you jerks.

Last but not least, make sure you know what fire restrictions, if any, are in place if you’re going to be out in the woods.  “I didn’t know!” won’t rebuild my house when you burn it down ’cause you wanted s’mores.  If you share the s’mores I won’t hold it against you though.

If you’re interested in helping supply the fire fighters, I believe Red Cross is making sure they’re fed, clothed, showered and supplied.  In addition, right now, there are tons of collections being taken for aid purposes.  So, hand over the loot!  There are people who are losing everything right now!!!  $5 could make all the difference to these folks.  And, if it were you I’d bet you want people to be doing the same.  You know I’m right, go give a fire fighter some money!  Well, not directly, those guys are hot, but they’re shifty…

And last but not least:  Please pray, cross your fingers, do a dance, wish, hope or anything else you can think of that this poor part of the country will get enough rain to help put out the fires that are going nuts all through Colorado, Utah, Montana, New Mexico, Idaho and every where else!!!!

That is it.  Hopefully this will either be entertaining or informative.  I hope it helps.  Following are a bunch of links for you.  Check them all out.  ALL OF THEM.

These information on fire prevention and awareness:


That site is where I got my quotes for prevention from.  They also have a lot of information on current fires, safety info, and links for specifics on each fire nationally. That is only a small part of what is to offer on their site.


This site is an oldy, but a goody.  They have easy to read info and activities to help kids learn more as well.


This is another that is offering specific information on the fires, evacuations, road closures, and shelter locations.


Should you want to make donations to help aid the firefighters or shelters here are more links for you:







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