Of Chicken Soup and Missing Forks

I can’t believe that we are 10 days away from Thanksgiving! And finally, we have weather that actually matches the season. We’ve had temps in the 80’s for weeks on end and little to no rain since July. We are finally having night time temps in the 40’s, and we actually got 1/4 inch of rain yesterday. I know that isn’t much, but we’ll take it!

One of my favorite activities with my children when they were small was the time spent reading aloud. I loved reading out loud to my kiddos! We read book after book each morning after we had our Bible time and before we started our school lessons. One of the series of books I read was called  The Borrowers by Mary Norton. It was a fun series to read. I thought of these books recently when I discovered that some of my forks are missing. Seriously, why should my forks be missing? It makes absolutely no sense at all unless my house is infested with borrowers! Years ago, my parents bought me 12 place settings of my flat wear. They did it over time…a place setting for my birthday, another one for Christmas until I had the complete set including the serving pieces. Over the summer, I began to think that I was missing some forks. I mean, really…there were only 2 of us living here for over 3 months when Sam was deployed, but I noticed that I didn’t have all the forks. I  searched other drawers thinking that someone had put them in the wrong place, and that gave me one of my dessert forks, but the dinner forks are short by 4. Instead of 12, I have only 8. And even the 2-piece child set of spoon and fork that I used with my own children, and carefully saved for my grand babies is now missing the fork. It was not missing the fork 3 months ago! It has to be the borrowers, I tell ya!

One more thing before I share the new recipe for chicken soup. This, ya’ll!!!

14938137_10154241893022950_8872454894829809836_n

I am beyond excited to have a new little pumpkin join the family in April!!

Ok, now to the recipe. I found this recipe in our local paper a few weeks ago. It is actually supposed to be chicken in a sauce to serve over pasta or rice, but as I read the recipe, I realized that it would make a wonderful creamy chicken soup…and it did!

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 large shallots, chopped

2 c. chicken broth

1 c. heavy cream

1 tsp. minced fresh oregano (I used dried)

1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme (dried)

1/2 c. cream cheese

1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan cheese

2 c. roughly chopped spinach

1/2 c. chopped tomatoes

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sear the chicken for several minutes on each side, or until browned and just barely pink in the center. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Saute the shallots for a few minutes until they start to become tender. Add the broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in the cream, oregano, and thyme. Heat until the edges of the sauce start to bubble. Stir in the cheeses until they melt. Stir in spinach and tomatoes and lightly simmer until the spinach wilts.

Return the chicken to the pan and allow it to heat through. If soup is too thick, add more chicken broth. If it isn’t creamy enough for you, add more heavy cream. Adjust flavors to your taste with salt and pepper!

 

A New and Better Egg Salad

Welcome to November! I find it hard to believe that we are in the final 2 months of 2016! The year has just flown by! We are finally seeing fall colors here in the South, but our temperatures are still summery. We’ve had temps over 80 degrees every day for the last 2 weeks or so, and more are ahead this week! And it is so very dry! We’ve not had significant rainfall since July.

Before I share my creation for a new and better egg salad, let me share some news! My oldest son and his wife are now home owners! We are thrilled for them! There is quite a bit of work to be done before they can actually move in, but many hands make light work, and we are all doing what we can to help them on this journey!

fullsizerender-24

And, of course, I simply must add a new picture of my sweet little grandman. I can’t wait to squeeze him at Thanksgiving!

img_0647

Last Saturday morning the ladies of our church prepared a great breakfast for the men who had been having a special service. I enjoyed working with friends to make the breakfast happen! We had very little left over when the 70 men were finished, but there were some bacon bits, grated cheddar cheese and chopped hard-cooked eggs. I decided that they could be used to make sandwiches for the church-wide fellowship we were having on Sunday evening. When I told my youngest son what I planned to make, he said that it sounded pretty good!

I don’t know amounts because I didn’t measure the ingredients, but I will give estimates.

  • about 2 cups chopped hard-cooked eggs
  • about 1-1/2 c. chopped cooked bacon
  • 1 c. grated cheddar cheese
  • mayonnaise–just enough to moisten the ingredients and hold them together
  • salt to taste

Mix all these ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Spread on Wasa crackers for a great THM lunch!  I used a good wheat bread and made sandwiches for our church supper. My youngest son said that they were just amazing! I think that we have a new egg salad recipe that I will probably use from now on!

Roasted Cauliflower

Last week was a whirl wind of activities! We learned that our deployed son was coming home! Now, we were already planning for his return, since we had a window when he told us he was coming. However, that window closed and he was still on the other side of the world. So when we got the new date, I didn’t tell a soul for fear that it would change again. It didn’t, and I finally got my hug!

14695416_10154202870262950_7132157750731921141_n

Then the next day I was totally surprised to have my 2Lt show up at my door!!! It seems that everyone in the family knew he was coming except me. That’s ok, because I just love surprises like that!! He came to surprise his girl who was playing in her first university symphony orchestra concert. He had to tell her though, because she already had plans for the weekend!

14572306_10154206559922950_3165269281071125495_n

I just love having my family come home, and my heart was almost full!  I was totally missing my girl,  but I am thankful that she and Sammy should be here for Thanksgiving. I can’t wait to squeeze that little man again!

This recipe was originally created for potatoes, but I used it last week with cauliflower. It turned out great, and the hubby loved it. It could be used as a potato substitute or as a veggie side dish.

1 large head cauliflower

1/4 to 1/2 c. water

1 tsp. garlic powder (or fresh minced garlic)

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. sea salt

1/2 c. dried parsley (I used dried cilantro since I had no parsley)

1/4 c. butter, melted

Cut the cauliflower into small pieces and place in a microwave-safe dish. Add the water and cover. Microwave until mostly tender. Strain the water and gently squeeze the cauliflower to remove any extra water.

Lightly spray the dish and return cauliflower to it. Sprinkle the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and parsley or cilantro over the top of the cauliflower, and gently stir to combine. Pour the butter on top of the mixture.

Place in a 350* oven and bake uncovered until cauliflower is tender and slightly golden, about 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Overnight Oatmeal

I’m back!!! I am finally taking the time to share a new recipe with you! Sorry it’s been so long…no real excuses…just haven’t done it. Oh, well! Here I am!

First a few updates on the family…I miss this little dude terribly! I hate that he and his parents live so far away!! I can’t wait to see him and his mommy at Thanksgiving! Grammy will do a whole lot of spoiling!!

img_0590

I also miss this “baby!” He’s been on the other side of the world for over 3 months now, and could possibly be home THIS weekend!!! I can not wait!!! I know that a 3-month deployment is not considered very long, but in the eyes of a mama, it is terribly long!

img_0293

This little munchkin is growing up so fast! I love that she lives nearby and that I can see her almost everyday! She loves trying to say new words and is quite the little yack-back.

14203097_10154056713562950_570760350441844400_n

We got the news on Saturday that my dear Aunt Margie passed away out in South Dakota. She had recently turned 88 years old. Although her hubby was not much of a traveler, he didn’t mind if Aunt Margie traveled, so she and my Aunt Kay would often drive across the country to come south and visit with my mom, their older sister. I am so thankful for those visits! My children have wonderful memories of visits with their great-aunt! Aunt Margie was the 8th of 10 children born to my grandparents. I can’t believe that only the youngest 2 are left! I miss all my aunts and uncles, and of course, my own mom who passed away 9 years ago next week. They were a special bunch and had great love not only for their own families, but also for all the nieces and nephews. This picture is of Aunt Margie, Uncle Jim and me at a family reunion back in 2008.

1930367_22691832949_3262_n

Last week I had a most embarrassing moment when I locked not only my keys but also my phone and wallet inside my van at the gas station! Now, I’ve been driving since I was 15…got my “Cinderella License” at that time and could drive by myself from sunup to sundown. In all these years I have never locked my keys in my car…until last week. Thanks to some extended Citadel family members, I was able to get the situation taken care of…but that’s another story!

Now to the recipe! I love oatmeal on cold mornings, and we have finally gotten cooler mornings here in the south. It has taken several weeks longer than normal, but I’m happy that it is finally here!

This recipe is just amazing! And if you forget to make it the night before, you can easily cook it in the microwave in the morning. It makes a great E breakfast if you follow THM.

1/2 c. old fashioned oats

1-1/2 tbsp. cocoa powder

2 tbsp. peanut butter powder

1/8 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. sweetener (I like Pyure)

2/3 c. almond milk

1/3 c. plain Greek yogurt

Mix the dry ingredients in a medium-sized cereal bowl. Add the almond milk and yogurt and stir well. Feel free to add a little more almond milk if the mixture looks like it is too dry. Cover and put in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, stir the oatmeal and zap it in the microwave to warm it up. Add more almond milk if needed or top with low-carb spray whipped cream. Enjoy!

New Recipe Coming Soon!

A friend reminded me the other day that it’s been a while since I shared a new recipe here. I guess time has gotten away from me! I promise I do have a new recipe to share. I’ll give you a hint…if you like chocolate-peanut butter cups, you will like the new recipe!!

In the mean time, enjoy this recipe for pumpkin snicker doodles!  We all love pumpkin at this time of year!

Nutritional Yeast, Turmeric, and Integral Collagen

We’ve had almost 10,000 visitors to the blog!

fullsizerender-23

If you’ve been reading this blog for the last few years, you know that I have been eating the Trim Healthy Mama way for over 2 years now. I love the way that I feel when I eat according to the plan. I can fudge a bit for maybe a day or so, but if I go much longer than 2 days, I begin to have joint pain and feel sluggish and puffy.

Following THM is very easy and doesn’t require a lot of extra foods that I need to purchase. I seriously don’t think that I’ve spent a lot of extra money on special ingredients! I do try to be more careful in what I purchase and read labels for certain ingredients that I don’t want in my diet any more.

There are however, 3 items that I have begun using in my diet on a regular basis. These are nutritional yeast, turmeric, and integral collagen. I have found these ingredients to be very helpful in helping me to feel better. Over the last months of adding these to my daily diet, I have noticed that my joints don’t hurt nearly as much as they used to…especially after physical activity. I have little to no inflamation in my ankles and fingers, and my lower back pain has all but disappeared.

Nutritional yeast is an ingredient often used in vegan diets. We do not eat vegan in the Gardner household!! However, nutritional yeast is high in the B vitamins. It is also gluten-free; sugar-free, and low in fat and sodium. Nutritional yeast can be added to a wide variety of foods. I enjoy adding it to scrambled eggs, quiches, and other egg dishes. For more information, visit here.

Turmeric is another ingredient that I have added into my diet. I always add it to my lemon drink. I also add it to scrambled eggs, pasta dishes, and chicken salad. Turmeric has many good health benefits, one of which is that it is anti-inflamatory. You can read more about it here.

The third ingredient is integral collagen. I began adding this to my hot tea each morning about a year ago. It took about 6 months before I began noticing a difference…mainly in my hair health and my fingernails! I actually have new hair growth at my hairline! And my fingernails are much stronger than they used to be. This page has more information.

I hope you find this information helpful, and that you research these items for yourself.

**Disclaimer** The links that I have used here are just ones I found on the internet that help explain more about these ingredients. I do not support these websites in anyway!

 

A Little Bit of Random Thoughts

OK, so it’s been over 2 weeks since I’ve shared anything at all here on the blog. Sorry about that! But, life does get busy….

I recently returned from spending 10 days with my girl and her little man. I loved getting to hold, cuddle, and love up on this little guy!

fullsizerender-17

You’d think that my girl and I would have cooked up some recipes while I was there, but no such thing happened…at all. Baby Sammy and painting took most of my time! I was able to help Barbi finish painting her dining room; the trim in her living room, and the downstairs half-bath!

Last week I discovered another blog here on WordPress. It caught my attention since it is not only for the military, but also for those of us who knit or crochet. Since I have 2 of my 4 Blue Stars deployed right now, this sort of thing is very close to my heart. Take a peek here, and then get out your yarn and hooks or needles, and make some scarves for our service men and women! I plan to start this project this weekend!

I actually do have a few blog post ideas floating around in my head. Once I get these thoughts organized, I will share them here.

Thanks for being patient with me!