Thursday, December 9, 2010

Share Our Holiday Table - Potato Leek Soup

Click The Logo and Help A Hungry Child Today!

Many of you reading this blog today are doing so as a part of Share Our Strength's Share Our Holiday Table...I commend you!  For those of you, however, that may have stumbled here by the graces of fate, please know that you are taking part in a phenomenal virtual dinner comprised of 50 bloggers from across the country designed to help raise awareness for childhood hunger in America and Share Our Strength, the nation's leading organization committed to ending childhood hunger in the U.S. by 2015.

The hope is that each reader will not only find wonderful recipes, but gain the knowledge and understanding of an enormous problem our country faces...childhood hunger.  More than 50 million Americans struggle to put food on the table. More than 17 million of those affected are children.  I ask that you take from this blog, a recipe yes, but more importantly the knowledge that you too can make a difference.  I encourage every reader to explore the campaigns Share Our Strength offers.  You will find that there really is something for anyone who wants to make a difference be it attending a Taste Of The Nation or Great American Bake Sale, eating at a favorite local restaurant as part of Great American Dine Out or being involved online through the No Kid Hungry campaign.  Childhood hunger is a problem that can be fixed.  We at Cookie Central have taken the No Kid Hungry Pledge... will you?
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog and thank you for participating in Share Our Strength's Share Our Holiday Table.

Warmest Regards,
Michele Gorham

I believe that no child in America should go hungry.
By pledging today, I add my voice to the
national movement of people committed to
ending childhood hunger in America by 2015.

Potato Leek Soup
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Serves: Many!

With the holidays in full swing it's my pleasure to share with you a recipe that has meandered it's way into the hearts of my family and friends and is a staple to almost every party I host....Potato Leek Soup!  My love affair with this soup started almost 10 years ago in an Irish pub tucked down a city alley.  For almost a year, I would sit every Saturday morning dipping brown bread into an enormous bowl of this rich and creamy goodness.  The pub eventually closed, leaving me feeling a little lost...and very motivated.  I spent months trying to replicate the soup I loved, until I eventually stumbled across a recipe that surpassed that of my beloved pub soup.

This exquisite little soup can appease everyone from the guys tailgating before a great Pats game, to a house full of guests, to my mother-in-law (a feat in itself).  You'll find this recipe is not only easy, but will give you an opportunity to invite your children into the kitchen which is how making this soup became a tradition in our household.  I welcome you to save, share and love this recipe as much as we do!

  • 4 Sticks of Unsalted Butter
  • 4-5 Leeks (depending on size) cleaned and sliced
  • 5lbs. Yukon Potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 2 Qt. Chicken Broth
  • 2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
  • 2qts. Heavy Cream
  • Scallions, sliced (for garnish, optional)
  • Crumbled Bacon (for garnish, optional)
  • Kosher Salt & Cracked Pepper 

  1. Melt 2 sticks of butter in a LARGE pot over medium heat. Add leeks. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are tender; approximately 10-15 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.
  2. While leeks are cooking, stir together cornstarch and chicken broth. Add broth and potatoes to leek mixture and season with salt & pepper. Bring to boil.
  3. Add cream. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are fork tender; approximately 20-30 minutes. Blend, baby, blend!
  4. Season (for the last time I promise), garnish with scallions and serve hot!

Big Kids Can Help With A
Kid-Safe Peeler!

Little Fingers Can Be Kept Busy
With A Wet Paper Towel!

  • Clean those leeks well! Do this by separating the leaves and wiping them down with a damp paper towel or soaking them in potable ice water for 5-10 minute (don't forget to dry those suckers before you drop them in the pot!)
  • Trim off the tough, bitter green parts of the leek
  • Having a handheld blender is handy is you want a nice smooth soup (although the old-fashion hand masher works just fine)
  • You will season the whole way through, so easy does it!
  • Freeze it! This recipe make quite a bit. You can cut it down, but I always opt to go with freezing some for a later day. Remember when freezing to leave about 1/4 or so of the container empty to account for the soup's expansion.

Share Our Holiday Table: Build An Incredible Meal With These Links
Appetizers (12/6)
Gluten Free: Wenderly, La Fuji Mama

Drinks (12/7)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Big Fat Thank You To Spokane Grapevine!

I would like to send out a huge thank you to Monte Tareski, owner of Cascading Creations and blogger extraordinaire for Spokane Grapevine! 

Regardless of the nearly 3,000 miles that separate us, Monte opened his blog to help us promote our portion of Share Our Strength's Share Our Holiday Table. It is because of the willingness of people to get involved, help spread the word and make a difference that Share Our Strength is the successful organization that it is today. 

Thank you Monte, your support is invaluable!

Learn more about Cascading Creations, a family owned hardscaping and excavation company, or Spokane Grapevine, whose mission is to promote local businesses, artisans and events!

Airway Height, WA

Spokane, WA

Sunday, November 28, 2010

We're Gearing Up For Share Our Holiday Table

Monday, December 6th will kick off Share Our Strength's week long campaign Share Our Holiday Table. This virtual dinner will be comprised of over 40 food bloggers across the country working together to raise awareness for childhood hunger in America and Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign by blogging their favorite holiday recipes. The dinner will feature 7 Courses: Appetizers, Drinks, Salads, Soups, Entrees, Sides and Desserts with 4 Tracks: Gourmet, Gluten Free, Family-Friendly and Vegetarian. Each day of the event will feature a different course.

We will be blogging Thursday, December 9th with our favorite Potato Leek Soup Recipe and welcome everyone to read the blog, save and enjoy their recipe and learn about how Share Our Strength is working throughout the year to end child hunger in the U.S. Cookie Central will also be providing links to other participants in the event so readers can have access to multiple complete 7 course meals. Find more information and keep up-to-date with the event by visiting the Share Our Holiday Table page at 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Do More With Your Holiday Order!

Share Our Strength Holiday Gift Tags
are now available with all Cookie Central orders!

By purchasing one of these $10.00 gift tags you are letting your friends and family know you too are making a difference in the fight to end childhood hunger in America! 

100% of all sales will help feed hungry kids!

Complete with a matching envelope, these 5x7 tags have room to write your own personalized message making them the perfect addition to any gift.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

We Will Be Sharing Our Holiday Table!

This year Cookie Central will be participating in Share Our Strength's Share Our Holiday Table. This virtual dinner will consist of bloggers from across the country working together to raise awareness of child hunger in America as well as funds for Share Our Strength.
Starting Monday, December 6th and running through Tuesday December 14th bloggers will cover 7 courses sharing stories, recipes, information on the No Kid Hungry campaign and links to those who are participating.
We encourage any blogger who has a passion for food and the want to help end child hunger in America take part!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Share Our Strength's Conference of Leaders

This year I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak on the "Social Media For Social Good" panel at Share Our Strength's Conference of Leaders in Washington D.C. To say the event left me inspired and humbled would be an understatement. I encourage everyone to watch the speech Billy Shore, founder of Share Our Strength, made during the awards ceremony. It encompasses everything that Share Our Strength is and works to achieve in this country everyday. Watch Billy Shores Speech HERE, get inspired then share with everyone you know and love!


During the social media session of the 2 day conference, our panel of 5 spoke to the attendees of this phenomenal event about the impact social media has had on Share Our Strength, new social media platforms we have discovered and utilized and our plans for the 2011 season. As a representative for Great American Bake Sale I focused on The Bake Sale Neighborhood, the new social media Ning network introduced to GABS by Share Our Strength just this year, as well as MerchantCircle, the primary site for all my marketing and promoting for my events.


The session was a success and I hope the attendees left with a better understanding of what possibilities are out there for participants and organizers for all of the SOS campaigns.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cookie Central is Headed For Washington!

October 17th & 18th, 2010
Cookie Central will close our doors and join
Share Our Strength has introduced a new social forum this year called The Bake Sale Neighborhood. This forum has been a platform for Great American Bake Sale participants to meet with others, share their knowledge and experiences with GABS and seek advise on every aspect of hosting a bake sale. The Bake Sale Neighborhood has been a huge success!
It is because of our involvment with The Bake Sale Neighborhood, Great American Bake Sale and the fight to end child hunger that Cookie Central (me :D) has been invited to join the panel of speakers representing The Bake Sale Neighborhood at this year's Conference of Leaders!
It is an honor that I have graciously accepted .

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The city of Methuen that has been facing mass layoff of civil service workers. In fact, just two months ago 33 firefighters in Methuen held pink slips in their hands, unsure of what the outcome of the city budget would be....still they donated!
The generosity of the union during such a hard time shows their dedication to their community and the importance of our cause.
I would like to send a special thank you out to my husband Fred, a Methuen firefighter. With the $200.00 donation made by his Local 1691 Share Our Strength will be able to fill the backpacks of 50 children full of healthy food to feed them and their families for over a weekend!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Thank You To Everyone Who Attended Our 2010 Great American Bake Sale
It was in the 90s, but still you came!
We had an amazing turnout, selling just about everything on our table! The days totals were almost $400.00 bringing our season total to over $2000.00, all of which will help feed hungry kids in America! We are looking forward to selling off the last of our product today and will update everyone with our final totals once we have them.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Success at the MFA!

As I had mentioned in an earlier post...
The instructors and recruit class 187 of the Massachusetts Fire Academy in Stow, MA have joined our fight to end child hunger in America. This was only possible because of the involvement of the fabulous people at Jake's, the food service providers at the academy!
Jake's very generously offered to display our baked goods and signs in their shop, selling and collecting money brought in by the employees and recruits.
Over the course of a week we raised $115.00!
As if their (Jake's) assistance wasn't enough, they offered to donate the money from their desserts sold the final week of the session!
I am proud to announce they raised an additional $126.00 this final week!!
It is wonderful to have such great people stand behind such a great cause!
With their help our total raised is now just under $1700.00

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Join Us!
Cookie Central's 2010
Great American Bake Sale
Sunday, July 4th
The North Andover Common
100% of Money Raised Will Help Feed Kids
Find samples from our menu, a raffle to win your very own cookie basket and leave knowing YOU helped to end child hunger! This bake table will be the final event of our four month long campaign to help raise money for after school and summer food programs.
Help us to help feed the nearly 17 million children at risk of hunger!
Cookie Central's 2010 Great American Bake Sale is a partof Share Our Strength's national campaign to end child hunger in America by 2015

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thanks To The MFA, Recruit Class 187 & Erin (from Jake's)

As many of you may already know, my husband Fred is attending The Massachusetts Firefighter Academy in Stow, MA.
As part of Team Cookie Central, Fred agreed to ask Erin from Jake's (the food services for the academy) if she would be interested in helping to sell baked product to end child hunger. Erin was not only willing, but has gone above and beyond letting me send down cookies and brownies on multiple occasions.
The instructors at the MFA and Recruit Class 187 have been extremely receptive to our cause, many donating a little more than asked or even without purchasing at all! All of us involved are incredibly excited to see the results and I will post as soon as we have a definite number!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cookies & Sheep Update!

I am pleased to announce that Cookies & Sheep has added an additional
$255.00 to Cookie Central's 2010 Great American Bake Sale!
The festival was full of food, family fun and cookies (of course)!
The biggest seller of the day were our Classic Brownie Boxes, with the Chocolate Chip Cookie 3 Pack close behind. My wonderful children and their friends danced The Cotton Eye Joe and we learned a little more about the importance of tents at outdoor festivals!
Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time to help us!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Don't Forget To Join Us!

Sunday, May 23rd
The North Andover Sheep Shearing Festival
The North Andover Common
Enjoy sweets, treat and nearly 100 local crafters, pony ride and yes! Sheep Shearing.
20% of all sales will help feed hungry kids
Cookie Gift Boxes and Mini Butter Rum Pound Cakes
available 100% of which will
be donated to Share Our Strength

The Wonderful K and K Kreations!

Carolyn from K and K Kreations
has joined the fight against child hunger in America!
K and K Kreations will be providing the ribbons and bows for our Cookie Gift Boxes. Carolyn will also be helping to spread the word about Share Our Strength and The Great American Bake Sale throughout her hometown of Duluth, MN!
To find out more about Carolyn's handmade artificial silk floral arrangements/wreaths, or custom bows and boutonnieres please contact them at:
K and K Kreations
3721 Lavaque Rd.
Duluth, MN 55810

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Huge Thank You To My Friends!

On April 10th Cookie Central celebrated being one year older with friends and family at
The Boardwalk Inn & Cafe
Hampton, NH
We are pleased to announce our friends and family joined together to donate $290.00 to our 2010 Great American Bake Sale. With this money
Share Our Strength will be able to feed 11 hungry children for an entire summer!
These donations have also put us just $110.00 away from last years total!
An enormous thank you to everyone for such generous donations.
It made my birthday that much more special ~ Michele :D

Friday, March 26, 2010

We Have a Sponsor!

We are pleased to announce BJ's Wholesale Club of Haverhill will once again join us in the fight against child hunger!
BJ's was a sponsor to our 2009 Great American Bake Sale and has confirmed they will be providing us with baking supplies for our 2010 Great American Bake Sale. We are thrilled to have such a prominent part of the community backing our event and look forward to selling custom decorated BJ's logo cookies at our sale!
BJ's Wholesale Club of Haverhill has been a long standing supporter of fundraising events within the community. To learn more about BJ's please visit the corporate website at

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thank You to the Winner's Circle Running Club!

We would like to extend our thanks to the
Winner's Circle running club
Members generously donated to our bake sale and
purchased gift boxes of cookies
from team member Sharon Yu at their last member meeting
The money raised would buy almost 25 bags of food for a family at a food bank!
The Winner's Circle
is a running club with runners of all abilities, from casual to Olympic qualifiers.
The club puts on several road races every year
the Hangover Classic
the April Fools Race
Run For the Roses, which is a women's race
Trav's Trail Run
the Turkey Trot in Maudslay on Thanksgiving Day.
The "Circle" has always donated generously to various charities over the years.
To learn more visit the Winner's Circle Website

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Share Our Strength's Taste Of The Nation

April 8th, 2010
5:30 VIP/ 6:30 GA
Hynes Convention Center
900 Boylston Street
Boston, Ma 02115
April 14th, 2010
Radisson Center of Manchester
700 Elm Street
Manchester, NH 03101
100% of ticket sales support Share Our Strength's efforts to end child hunger!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Vote For Share Our Strength!

"Since 1992 Share Our Strength and American Express have partnered to fight hunger. Now anyone can join in our partnership by voting for Share Our Strength in this year's Members Project from American Express and Take Part. Members Project is an online initiative that provides those with a passion for philanthropy and interest in giving back, an opportunity to take small steps to make a big difference. The program encourages everyone, whether a card member or not, to do their part by providing numerous ways to get involved, share stories and inspire others. Every three months 5 charities will be chosen to receive $200,000 in funding from American express. Join Members Project at
and vote for Share Our Strength

Monday, March 8, 2010

Selling Cookies & Sheering Sheep!
Cookie Central has reserved a table for the
North Andover Sheep Sheering Festival
Sunday, May 23rd
The Old Center
North Andover, MA 01845
Cookie Central will donate 20% of all we sell to our bake sale!
Please join us for early morning sweets......and sheep!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Please Welcome Our Newest Team Member!

I am pleased to say Sharon Yu has joined our team!
Sharon will be selling gift bags and boxes of cookies to help raise money for our bake sale.
100% of the money Sharon raises will be donated to
Share Our Strength, a national organization commited to ending child hunger in America!
Not going to see Sharon?
Donate on her behalf at

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thank You to Platinum Web Marketing

We would like to give a big fat thank you to Anthony from Platinum Web Marketing & Design for an incredible donation to our bake sale!
Platinum Web Marketing & Design
2510 E Sunset Rd. Suite 5-421
Las Vegas, NV 89120
Platinum Web Marketing & Design
A Las Vegas based internet marketing company, providing local online marketing, internet marketing, internet advertising, search engine optimization, web marketing and web design services to all businesses nationwide that need or want to be found on the internet!
Thank you Anthony for such a generous donation! ~ Michele :D

Thank You to The Cupertino Soap Company

We would like to say thank you to The Cupertino Soap Company! Your donation yesterday has brought us that much closer to our goal :)
The Cupertino Soap Company
Cupertino, CA 95014
The Cupertino Soap Company
Our natural soaps are hand crafted using only the finest ingredients and supplies available. Our hand crafted soap is not only beautiful, but wonderful for your skin. There are over 70 soap fragrances with aromatherapy

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Big Thank You To The Staging Fashionista

We would like to thank Mannie Tantawy "The Staging Fashionista" for making the first donation to our bake sale!

The Staging Fashionista
"Dressing Homes To Sell"
Alexandria, Va

The Staging Fashionista provides professional and affordable staging services to homeowners and realtors. We declutter, depersonalize, accessories and rearrange a home to make it more attractive to potential buyers.

Mannie, Your contribution was so generous! Thank you for participating :D

Please Welcome La Physique' Slimming Spa

Cookie Central is proud to announce La Physique' Slimming Spa has joined our team! The lovely Julie Johnson will be selling cookie gift bags and recruiting new volunteers and we are thrilled to have her as our newest team member :D
La Physique' Slimming Spa
24720 B HGWY 17
Waynesville, MO 65583
Click on La Physique' in our Businesses involed to be taken to their website!
A Note From La Physique'

Hello! My name is Julie Johnson, and I established Young at Heart in 1995, and the La Physique' Slimming Spa, in 2004, after realizing what a great addition slimming spas were to training!

La Physique' Slimming Spa is a full-service slimming spa located in Waynesville, Missouri, and is co-located with Young at Heart Personal Fitness Training. We have FDA approved slimming spas, such as Cellulite Abatement, Slimming Parafango spa, Mandarin Exfoliation spa, and incredible spa packages. We also have a dry-infrared sauna, shower facilities, lounge area, full on-site store and more!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

We Are Registered!

We at Cookie Central have been known to buy sugar on occasion. I've always noticed on the Domino Sugar bag a promotion for The Great American Bake Sale. I never thought much about it until the day my husband came home and mentioned the meal center next to his warehouse had a line out the door (it was 4:00). Parents and children waiting in line for something so many of us take for granted....a meal. The times have been hard on our entire country.

It's become common to hear stories of layoffs, foreclosures, and bankruptcy. Many of us have sacrificed luxuries; that shoe fetish has been wained, the annual vacation cancelled, and maybe those brand new golf clubs are no longer a necessity. For many, though, the sacrifices have been severe. Mortgages, rents and the now required health insurance rates have risen. For many people it's a choice between their home and their dinner.

Any parent who has had trouble knows the fear of not being able to provide for their children. Now, for many, it's not a's a reality. There is hope. People working together can do great things. So we at Cookie Central have decided to host (yet another) Great American Bake Sale in hopes of giving a Little to those who need a lot. Currently we are looking for people to join Team Cookie Central and help in our cause! Please help us do great things for the great people who need them. For more information or to get involved please contact me! Michele Gorham 978~423~1215 or

"Share Our Strength is the leading national organization working to make sure no kid in America grows up hungry. We weave together a net of community groups, activists and food programs to children at risk of hunger, and ensure they have nutritious food where they live, learn and play." To learn more about Share Our Strength visit their website