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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Loaded Baked Potato Soup (

March 2, 2015: As you grow up, you learn that each of your friends is a part of your life for a very unique reason. For example, my friend Holly who I met through work will always listen to my crazy anxious thoughts as they pop into my head. My cousin, Ashlea, is my prayer warrior. Any time I need prayers going out, I shoot her a text. My friend Whitney and I will always be able to pick up where we left off, no matter how long it's been since we've seen each other. And my friend Keri, who I call "History" because she's my oldest friend, Keri was my baked potato peeler. 

Keri & Kate at Keri's wedding- November 17, 2012 

Okay, okay, let me explain. When we were little, Keri and I used to collect pop tabs to turn into the Ronald McDonald House for donations. The tabs are recycled for money, and they money go to buy toys for the children who are staying at the residence. Read more about it by clicking this link. For as long as I remember, Keri has been my friend, and also for as long as I can remember, I have loved baked potatoes. They're still one of my favorite foods- hence this recipe. In Lower School, we could get baked potatoes in the cafeteria, but the problem was that they were wrapped in foil and still had the skin on them. Being the high maintenance child that I was, it was quite the problem for me that my baked potato came with skin on it. "But at home, my mom peels them for me!" So Keri, being the smart, selfless friend that she is, offered to peel my potatoes for me for a small fee- pop tabs. Ten pop tabs got me a peeled potato, and we were both happy campers- we were in business. So when making my Loaded Baked Potato Soup, who better to tell readers about than my sweet friend, Keri, who you will soon learn is much more to me than my baked potato peeler. Below is my toast that I gave at Keri's wedding in November of 2012.
Whitney, Kate, and Keri at Kate's engagement party- October 26, 2013
"Hi, I’m Kate, one of Keri’s bridesmaids, and I have known Keri since we were four years old. Back in 1990, my parents and I were boarding our sailboat, Cracker Jack, in her slip at the Fort Worth Boat Club, when along came another little curly-haired girl and her parents.  Mrs. DeVos gave us a friendly, “Hi there!,” and the little girl waved and said, “Hello!”  The rest is history.

In fact, Keri and I call each other “History,” because, outside of family, we are each other’s oldest friend.  A year after meeting Keri on our boats, we found ourselves in Country Day’s Butler Kindergarten building, not only trying to pick whether to take French or Spanish for the next 13 years, but more importantly, what outfit to wear to the Kindergarten rodeo. 
Kate & Keri at Kate's Wedding- November 15, 2014
The Omni Fort Worth Hotel
Keri, I cannot imagine my past 22 years of history without you.  At sailing camp, there were many long summer days with no wind. At all. We were sweating in the blazing sun on Eagle Mountain Lake in our little Optimist sailboats, not going anywhere whatsoever- so what did we do? We “accidently” capsized the boats so we could fall into the lake, cool off, and laugh at how sneaky we thought we were.  But let’s be honest- we WERE kind of sneaky at times… 

My mom’s first memory of us was when she heard us in the Boat Club Ballroom, laughing hysterically. 
She opened the doors to find that we had tied cloth napkins to our feet and were pretending to ice skate around the room.  To make matters worse, we then blamed it on your dad, saying “Well, Mr. DeVos said it was ok!” Between shimmying up and down your laundry chute and ordering too many Shirley Temples & fried cheese sticks at the club- we were quite the pair.
Frances, Whitney, Kate, Keri, Samantha, and Kate- Kindergarten friends at Kate's wedding-
November 15, 2041 at The Omni Fort Worth Hotel

We’ve been through a lot together.  In fact, seven of us women here to celebrate have been friends for 21 years.  Being friends for so long means we have been through the good times and the bad, the wins and the losses.  We’ve lost adored pets, loved family members, and irreplaceable friends.  But what we haven’t lost across time and across the country, is our ever-lasting, unconditional support for one another.

Keri, you and I have shared almost everything.  We shared Camp Fire, lake days, and even the chicken pox.  We shared our singing debut in the Lower School Talent Show- a performance that was so memorable, in fact, that the song we wrote is performed annually at the Country Day Lower School graduation ceremony.  
Ziplining in Costa Rica- October 2013
In fifth grade, we spent countless hours sharing a pan of paper mache- carefully placing newpaper strips over chicken wire in order to make our Mr. & Mrs. Planters Peanut costumes for Halloween- time well spent, though, seeing as we won the costume contest.  We’ve really done it all.
Fossils & Footprints assembly (1st grade)
Mr. & Mrs. Peanut (5th grade)
Easter Egg Hunt at the Fort Worth Boat Club
Camp El Tesoro
In January 2005, we shared in our excitement for a football game.  The University of Texas Longhorns met the University of Michigan Wolverines on a football field for the first time in the programs’ histories.  In case you Wolverines have forgotten, the Longhorns were victorious that year in the Rose Bowl, scoring a 37-yard field goal as time ran out, winning the game 38:37. 
Kate, Keri, and Whitney at Keri's Bridal Lunch
The City Club, Fort Worth
November 16, 2012
Now once again, a Wolverine and a Longhorn are meeting, but this time, instead of at the 50 yard line, y’all are meeting at the altar.  Your fans probably won’t be chanting “Hail to the victors, Texas fight, or go big blue,” but we will, undoubtedly be cheering for your victory.

So raise your glasses to Keri & Bradley’s newly formed team- may your pep-talks to each other always be encouraging, your cheers for one another always be loud, and your victories always be celebrated with a touchdown dance."

Watching the sunset in Los Angeles, 2011

Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Servings: 6; Adapted from

Loaded Baked Potato Soup
  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled (but don't ask Keri to do it. She's peeled enough potatoes in her life :) )
  • 3 c chicken broth
  • 3 c fat-free skim milk
  • salt & pepper as needed
  • 1 c light or fat-free sour cream
  • 1 c reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 12 tbsp chives
  • 6 slices bacon
  1. On medium heat, add chicken broth, milk, and potatoes- bring to a boil
  2. Once potatoes are softened (appr 10-20 mins), use an immersion blender to puree until smooth
  3. Add sour cream, 1/2 the chives, salt, and pepper
  4. Cook on low for additional 10 mins
  5. Ladle soup into bowls, and use cheese, bacon, and remaining chives for garnishing
Keep on cookin'!

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