Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Slow Cooker Fall Harvest Sweet Potato Soup

This recipe came about because of a dying refrigerator. We had some things in it that weren't bad yet, but they needed to be used! I didn't think to take pictures of it until after I had it all cooking so there's no pics of the ingredients prior to being chopped up, or during the chopping process. Sorry!

This was made in the slow cooker because it requires less watching. And since I'm super duper busy these days that is ideal! Plus, if you do all the prep-work ahead of time you could easily have this all in a freezer bag, pull it out to defrost it, and cook it while you are at work or running errands.

3 medium-large sweet potatoes
3 medium carrots
7 stalks celery
1 1/2 medium onions
2 15oz cans pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling with spices in it - just pumpkin)
Garlic powder
one of the following: almond milk, milk, half and half, heavy whipping cream, sour cream, plain yogurt, or greek yogurt.

Wash the veggies as needed. Peel the sweet potatoes and carrots. Chop up the carrots into 1/4" rounds. Cut up the sweet potatoes into 1/2" rounds and then cut into quarters. Cut up the celery stalks into 1/4" moons (That's what my 3yr old calls know...since they aren't completely round!) Dice up the onions.
Put all ingredients into the slow cooker and turn it on. Turn it on high if you want it to cook for about 5 hours, or low if you want it to cook for about 7 or 8 hours. (I actually turn on my slow cooker and add the veggies as I chop them up so they start to cook as I'm still chopping!)
Add the two cans of pumpkin. Use the cans to add hot water to the mixture. Add approximately 3 cans worth of hot water to the mixture. I say approximately because you want there to be enough water that everything can cook but not so much that it's already sloppy and soupy.
Add approximately 1tsp rosemary, 1tsp cinnamon, 2tsp garlic powder. I just sprinkle it all on top until it looks and smells yummy so I don't know exact amounts!
Let cook! If you are able to, stir it every once in a while. If not, it will eventually all cook nicely.
When everything is done cooking either use a hand-held blender to blend inside the slow cooker itself, OR transfer it to a standing blender and blend up in there then transfer to bowls. Blend to the point of a chunky soup or blend all the way to a puree if you would like! Once it is in a bowl add a dollop/splash of one of the following if you would like: almond milk, milk, half and half, heavy whipping cream, sour cream, plain yogurt, or greek yogurt.

**You can adjust the ingredients to what you have on hand or to taste. I only used so much celery since it's what we had and it needed to get used up. If I were to make it again I would likely add a couple more carrots and use a couple few celery stalks. Also, I don't have any on hand, but I would add some nutmeg if I had thought about this ahead of time and knew I was going to make it...and knew that I was out of nutmeg!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Overcoming Uncertainty

My youngest, that I wrote about in this blog post, is now 4 years old. It's amazing how fast time flies!!
She went through physical therapy and speech therapy to overcome the problems she was having. Now she is truly thriving. She would blow you away with everything she says and does for a kid her age, let alone one that had the scary start to life that she did.

Earlier this evening I read the first chapter of a 5th grade science book to her. (It came from the middle daughter's elementary school as a leftover when they got new books.) I asked her the questions in the book through the reading and asked her questions I came up with through the reading. And at the end of the chapter I asked her the questions in the book...and I'm so very impressed with how well she paid attention and the answers she gave! This little girl constantly blows me away with the things she remembers, knows, figures out, and says. I could write a book with all of them!

People, don't underestimate your kids - ever. They are incredible and resilient and with encouragement and perseverance on your part they can surpass all of your expectations.

This is the same child that when she was an infant and toddler the neurologist couldn't begin to tell us what we could or couldn't expect from her because of the hypoxia and subsequent damage she experienced during birth. 
I am so thankful to have this wonderful, intelligent, spunky, curious little girl in my life. She's perfect just the way she is. Even if she does whine when she's over tired. ;)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Jocole Guest Blogger

I know I've not posted in over a year. It wasn't intentional, honest! I've just been super duper busy. I started nursing school last August and life got even more insane than it already was.

BUT I'm posting today! YAY! And I have some exciting news!!!

*drum roll please!*

My favorite pattern designer, Jodi from Jocole, has asked me to do periodic tutorials for her blog! *insert happy squee and dance here!*

I'm not sure how many tutorials I'm going to be doing because school is about to start up again for me in a couple weeks. But I'm definitey happy I get the honor of doing some over on her blog.

Here is a link to the first one: Knit Binding Tutorial. This was done using Jodi's new (and completely awesome) Ladies Basic Brief Bottoms pattern that I had the pleasure of testing for her.

I'm currently working on putting together another fun tutorial. I'll be sure to post about it once it is done and posted on her blog!

Happy creating!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Alice in Wonderland Party Part 1

So, my daughter turned 11 and had a party. An Alice in Wonderland party. Because she is an enormous Alice fan! I didn't take any pictures of the processes by which I made most things, BUT I do have many pictures of the party! And of the fun items I made/found/bought/traded for!
First I will start with my girls and what they wore.

The birthday girl wanted to be the Mad Hatter, so I made a dress, jacket and hat for her to wear. Her striped petticoat was from her halloween costume last year.

The top of the dress was made using an oversized t-shirt that was screen printed with suspenders, buttons down the center, and a bowtie. I had to cut off the bow tie and then applique it on after I had the dress made since the shirt was so large.

The skirt was made from a super soft lime green microfiber sheet with embossing in it. And fun pick-ups using ribbon to show off the striped pettiskirt.

I just so happened to find the PERFECT fabric for the jacket in the clearance section of JoAnn's a few days before the party.

Two different types of buttons placed wonky to each other.

For my younger daughter I made an Alice dress, apron, and bloomers. I had already made the hair clip.

The whole outfit together! The apron is a separate piece so that it can be removed if wanted. The skirt of the dress is made from a beautifully embroidered, very soft, upcycled sheet.

A ruffle added for cuteness. And the lace strip down the middle has sequins on it! :)

Together they looked completely adorable!

Part 2 will have some of the party details in it! :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Experiment 626 Chicken Verde

Sooo this is one of those use what you have meals that turned out to be a success. And I'm calling it Experiment 626 Chicken Verde for a couple is that for the last 11ish years I've been making experiment dinner after experiment who knows what number it should really be?! And also, my 2 year old is obsessed with monsters. Monsters Inc is her favorite, but she will settle for Lilo and Stitch or Monsters VS Aliens, or even The long as he's called an orange monster. ;-)
We had a green pepper (actually 2, but i only used 1) and an onion that both NEEDED to get used, or they would be tossed in the trash soon. You know the kind - sitting in the veggie drawer for just a little too long, doesn't look all pretty and fresh anymore, but not quite to the point of growing its own fur coat. Still useable.

And dinner had to get made. And we didn't have anything thawed for making tacos or spaghetti (what we usually use the peppers for), but we had chicken ready to go.
And to be honest, taking pictures was kinda an after thought. More of an "if this works I want to know what was in it again" sort of thing. So I'm sorry for their poor quality (my phone's camera) and their lack of quantity (like I said - after thought).

Don't let the picture fool you. This stuff is GOOD!!

I used:
1 whole large green pepper
3/4 of one very large onion
Parsley flakes (dried)
Badia Complete Seasoning
5 huge chicken breasts

I cut open the green pepper and removed the seeds, then diced it into roughly 3/4" pieces. Then dice up the onion. Put it all in a food processor with about 2 tbs mustard, 1.5 tbs parsley flakes, and a generous amount of the seasoning.

Blend until it is fairly smooth, but still has bitty bits of chunkiness to it. Kind of like a pesto consistency.

Cut up the chicken into large chunks and put into a dish. Pour the "sauce" on top to cover it all.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

I served it with linguine and Alfredo sauce. But I think it would be great with some rice and corn too. Or something else. :-)

I don't know if you can tell, but there is a lot of juice in the pan. I didn't use any oil or anything, and I cut off about 98% of the fat from the chicken, so it's just all natural juices. And it tastes really yummy. Would have been good poured onto some rice.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Choose Joy Banner Necklace 1st Necklace

Here is the second part to making the Choose Joy Banner necklace. Today's tutorial will show you how to make the first pictured style. At the bottom of this posting is a picture of a sneak peek at next week's tutorial for another version! I love having variety!

If you haven't already made your banner pieces, refer to last week's Tutorial Tuesday post.

Please excuse the completely terrible self-taken pictures of the necklace. And the absolutely wrong shirt to go with it. (Seriously. I should have just changed out of the cowl neck and put on something else! Oh well. C'est la vie!)

Some necessary supplies (for this necklace and the other kinds): chain, jump rings, needle nose pliers (I have two different kinds), wire cutters, mod podge, paint brush, ribbon, ribbon fasteners, necklace closures, pin/safety pin/needle (you only need one of them).

Measure out a length of chain to go around your neck and hang to the point that you want the "choose" to hang from.

Re-fold each banner in half and paint some Mod Podge onto the inside.

Then press the banners closed and carefully smooth them out to make sure there are no air bubbles inside. Let dry for a little while and then trim the edges of the banners to be more uniform.

Get out and open 2 jump rings for each banner. Measure where the center point of the chain is.

Make sure your banners are all dry, or have plenty of back-up banners to use incase this part goes awry. Use your poking device (aka pin, needle, or safety pin) and poke a hole close to the edge on each side. But don't get too close to the edge or you will rip your banner open instead of have a hole. Wiggle the poker around just enough to make the hole big enough to fit a jump ring through it.

Start with the O's and insert a jumpring into each of the holes, but don't close them yet. You will attach them to the necklace itself next!

Just to one side of the very center of the chain line up one O banner and insert the first jump ring and close. Go over a few chain links and insert the second jump ring and close. How many chain links you have the jump rings apart depends on what kind of chain you use. There is no set amount that I can tell you! Sorry about that! Repeat these steps on the otherside of center with the other O banner. The O's will now split the center of the chain between them.

Continue, continue, continue! Just leave a couple of links open and free between each banner so that the necklace has the ability to move.

Use a jump ring to attach the end of more chain between the S and E.

Measure out how long you want the JOY to hang down then cut off the chain and attach it with jump ring between the C and H. Mark the center of the chain to see where the center of the O banner will be. Attach the letters the same way as you did with CHOOSE. This time make sure the center of the O is in the center of the chain instead of off to the side a little.

Once all of the letters are attached attach the closures to the ends of the chain.

Here is a little sneaky peek of next weeks necklace!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Choose Joy Banner Necklace

This was supposed to be yesterday's Tutorial Tuesday post....but seeing as how I couldn't find ANY of my jewelry making supplies I had to postpone until today. I have NO IDEA where it all went. I guess it decided to grow legs and walk away. Because of this I had to go get some new supplies today, which I had to squeeze into my insane day. I'll actually be splitting this up into a few different tutorials. Partially because I have come up with a few different ideas as to how to make the necklaces, and this tutorial would be insanely long and full of a ridiculous amount of pictures if I put it all in to one! So... on to the first part of the tutorial!

I came up with this idea in the wee hours of the morning last week. My littlest nugget had woken up super early (hello 5am!) and was "snuggled" up in bed with me. And by "snuggled" I really mean she was rolling all over the bed wanting to get up and go play. And this is what my poor tired brain came up with (I was extra tired since I had stayed up really late getting sewing done)! I was far from in the mood to wake up after only about 3.5-4 hours of sleep. I guess my tired subconscious was reminding me of what Ashley from Lil Blue Boo has been trying to remind all of us.... to Choose Joy.

I wore completely the wrong shirt to show off the necklace!
The Choose Joy banner necklace! Want to make one too? Here's what you need to make the banner flags:

Freezer paper, calendar pages, scrap paper, pencil, scissors. Not pictured: pen, super skinny paintbrush (or permanent markers), paint, fatter paintbrush (for the mod podge).

Fold the scrap paper down about an 1 - 2 inches and draw a few different triangle shapes along the fold.

I decided I liked my third one the best. That's the one I cut out. Once it's cut out open it up and you will have a diamond shape. Put the diamond on the fold of the paper with the center being as close to perfectly perpendicular to the fold in the diamond as you can.

Trace around the diamond shape so that you now can cut out a diamond that is as close to perfect as you can without having to use graph paper and a ruler. Cut out the new diamond shape. Use this diamond to trace onto the backside of the calendar pages.

And then repeat repeat repeat! For one Choose Joy necklace you need 9 diamonds. But I would suggest doing 10 or 11 in case you mess up along the way.

Then cut out all of those diamonds!

Fold each diamond in half to create banner triangles again. Then open them back up and paint the words on them.

Once the entire word is painted on you want to completely turn the diamonds upside down AND make the word go backwards. Then rewrite the same word. So now the same diamond will have a C on one side and an E on the other, an H on one side and an S on the other, and the two O's in the middle with also have O's on the other side.

Once all of the diamonds are lettered and dry paint a layer of Mod Podge onto each one. Once that layer is dry paint another coat of Mod Podge on.

Enough Choose Joy banner pieces to make 5 necklaces!

Next Tuesday, for Tutorial Tuesday, I will show one of the ways to put the necklace together. It will be the one in the first picture of this post! And I'll show a sneak peek at the next necklace at the end of the next post. ;-D

Note to self: Don't wear a cowlneck shirt when trying to showcase a necklace! Also, remember to Choose Joy!