Ital{yum} Soup...

Do you ever wish that there was an app on your phone where you could plug in the 5 ingredients you had and it would spit out the meals you could prepare with those 4 ingredients?  I do.  Stephen says I should invent it.  I'm sure someone much smarter than me has already done that.

Regardless, I had 3 green onions, a quarter of a white onion, chicken, and some zucchini squash. Oh, and literally a cup of shredded carrots in the bag.  The kind that comes shredded for you.  I'm lazy.

All on the verge of going bad if not used in the next couple days.

So I made an Italian soup.  Or Ital{yum} soup.  And it was pretty good!  I thought I would share my recipe.  And warning... I made it up on the spot.  But trust me, it's healthy and so yummy!

3 chopped green onions (including the greens)
1 quarter of a white onion chopped
1 cup of shredded carrots
Olive oil for cooking the onion
tsp of garlic
2 Zucchini squash, cubed
1 can of roasted tomatoes
1 box of no salt added chicken broth
2 chicken breasts
salt to taste
Italian seasoning to taste
Parmesan cheese to top (optional)

Grab your dutch oven and a non-stick skillet.  Season your chicken breasts on both sides with salt and Italian seasoning and a dash of olive oil.  Place in skillet and cook on both sides until cooked through.  Roughly 5-7 minutes.  Shred for the soup when it has cooled a little.

In your dutch oven, drizzle in enough olive oil to cook your onions, and garlic.  Wait until your onions are close to translucent and then add the chopped garlic.  If it cooks too long, it will burn and taste bitter.

Next, add the chopped zucchini squash that you cubed.  Sauté in the dutch oven with the onions for about 2 minutes, just to get the flavor going.  Season them a little at this stage if you would like.

Add in the box of chicken stock, can of chopped roasted tomatoes (I didn't drain mine), and carrots.  Cover and keep warm (if you aren't eating immediately).  Shred your chicken and add to the soup.  Cook long enough for the squash to soften.  If the liquids seem low, add water to the level you want.

When ready to serve, add a cup of pasta if you have it on hand.  A small noodle pasta.  You don't have to add it if you don't want to.

Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, and voila!  Ital{yum} soup.



Gold Coat and Bubbles...

When I look back to this winter... I won't think of her first Flu and then endless nights we stayed up worrying about her.  I won't think of her teething, or the sleepless nights.

I won't think of the bumps or bruises.  The tears.

I will think about her laugh.  Her gold coat that she wore.  I loved every moment she wore it.

I will think of her love affair with bubbles.  And how much she adored being outside with us, just playing and being silly.

I will think of how she holds her hands together and whispers prayers at the dinner table and then says "men" for Amen.  I pray for her relationship with the Lord and that it is always strong.

I will think about how her little voice would say "Momma, Daddy, Bubbles, STOP, Mine, UP, No no no, Ball, and most recently, "What's that, mama... I want that, mama". Her first sentences.  Such a smart girl.

I will think back to her sweet face and her precious curls.  And her little hands that wrap around our fingers to walk up and down stairs.

I will think back to her noticing that I'm always taking her picture and has recently learned to say "CHEESE" to see her picture on the back of my camera.  She has nick named my camera "Cheese" and goes to find it often.  Like mommy, like daughter ;)

I love this little girl so much.  I can't believe in just a few short months (5 to be exact) she will be 2 years old.  Praying our time before then is sweet, with lots of fun memories together.  We are so thankful for our sweet little Birdie.


Slow Cooked Pork Chops to make you swoon...

It's really cold here.  We haven't seen the sun in a few weeks and I'm about over it.  We had a snow storm today (read:dusting and sleeting) and now have school closed for the second day.  My sister who lives in Wichita with 9 inches of snow on the ground is dying laughing right now.  In the words of Miss Etta:  We're Shreveport.  We're different.  (you can say that again...)

So I needed something easy for dinner because when dinner time comes, I need a fast, easy meal that won't take me hours to prepare and clean up.  I don't know about you, but I'm torn at night.  I want a well balanced, healthy meal, that looks pretty on a plate.  Yet, I want it to be fast and relatively easy to prepare and clean up.  I feel like that's a constant contradiction but I think I've at least found one solid option.

Pork chops that actually have great flavor and aren't dry.

Annie Beth - My sioux chef...

Here goes.

Take your slow cooker, OR, I used my dutch oven.  I prepared mine at 3:30 really fast (took me literally 3 minutes to throw together).  You could put this on a few hours before dinner.  I preheated my oven to 300 degrees (convection) and I can say at 6:00 when we ate, our pork chops literally fell apart as we ate them they were so juicy.

Take your dutch oven, pour about 3 cups of chicken or veggie stock.  2 TBS of butter, 1/2 cup of white wine (I'm sure you could omit this step...).  Slice an onion (big slices, think QUICK) and place along the bottom of the dutch oven or slow cooker. to make a base.  Slice a lemon in half.  Place on bottom.  Season your pork chops with olive oil, salt and italian seasoning on both sides, place on top of the bed of onions.  I bought the thick cut chops... I don't think the thin chops would be good with this recipe.

Cut a few sprigs of rosemary, and place in the pot, and then pour enough water to bring the liquid up to the pork chop, but not covering the chops.  The goal (in my mind at least) was to steam the chops.

Here's my before and final plate pic.  I paired it with wild rice (that I prepared without the season packet to reduce the sodium) and steamed broccoli.

They were awesome.  I'm definitely making this again.  And the clean up was super easy.  Mainly because I didn't do it.  Stephen did. But I think he would say that it was quick.  ;)

What do you make that's quick, healthy and easy to prepare and clean up?  Because we have places to go and people to see and need some good ideas.


17 months going on 17 years...

I had an early wake up call this morning... as I had to be on the news for work.  As I worked at putting Annie Beth down early last night so I could get to bed early, we had some sweet moments I don't want to forget...

As I rocked her for just a few minutes, I whispered to her as I do every night...

"Mommy and daddy love you... do you know that?"

She nodded

"Mommy and daddy are going to be here when you wake up, after you sleep allllll night long (praying she would follow my hint)

She nodded

"Jesus loves you, Annie Beth"

She nodded and curled in a bit more

"Mommy is going to lay you down now"

She nodded and allowed me to lay her in her bed.  She didn't fuss.  She didn't cry.  She cuddled up with her bear and fell fast asleep.  Wow.  She surprises me so much sometimes.

As my sweet girl turns 17 months tomorrow, I will look at her still as a baby, as I know I'll look at her when she's 17 years old.  She's growing so fast.  She talks constantly.  "Let me see"  "I do it" "Thank you"  "Here you go" are her favorite sayings.  She knows her belly, eye, hair, toes and nose.  She will go get whatever you tell her to get from another room upon asking.  Yet, she's strong willed, determined, and stubborn.  Aren't we all?

We are having so much fun with her and enjoy dancing in the kitchen each night to blues or jazz music (her favorite).  I'm really looking forward to Spring and being outside more with her.  I'm so blessed to be her mommy... and know we have so many fun times ahead!


Sasha Malchi Home… My Best Friend's Masterpiece

When I was about 6 months old… I met a little girl that instantly became my best friend.  She and I have had more adventures, laughs, high kicks and dance routines than many have in their lifetime.  I have always known her amazing eye for design, groupings, and her attention to detail.  Well, now she's able to show the world with her very own store.  I've told her the next step is a book deal.  And I'd like to be the photographer. Hint Hint.

Her name is Sasha Malchi and she owns Sasha Malchi Home on Brookside in Tulsa.  Her store is nothing short of a masterpiece. Here is a little taste of her beautiful work.

And bonus… she has an amazing children's section.  Which Annie Beth LOVED.

And of course she had to wash her hands in the play kitchen.  Her favorite.

I'm so proud of my best friend.  Her store is amazing.  I know so many more great things will come.  But for now, I'm dreaming of some fun new items for my own home.  Best Friends discount?  Just kidding ;)

Love you Sash.