Vegetable Chicken Soup

I’m finally back writing an entry on the blog! I can’t believe that it has been about 3 weeks since I last posted. It is partly because we have been enjoying a wonderful spring this winter! Seriously! I know that the groundhog saw his shadow, and thus said that we would have 6 more weeks of winter, but he totally forgot to tell the birds, the bees, and the flowering trees! The song birds have been serenading us every morning for weeks now, and all our fruit trees are blooming! The last time we had such an early spring was in 2007. That ended disastrously when we had 3 nights of killer frost in mid-April. We lost all our fruits that year!

My sweet little grand girl has been practicing to be flower girl at her Opal Gen’s (Uncle Ben’s) wedding in July.

16602366_10211920325472487_133569194601547374_o

And sweet Little Man has learned to sit up all by himself!

16797700_10154895231276341_1909349343496106434_o

Now about that recipe… Many people here in my area of the south have been sick lately. Thankfully, the sickness has not found my house! One of my friends was sick last week, so I decided to make her some chicken soup. Since I had some extra veggies in the fridge, I added them to the mix as well. A few spices added in made it a very tasty soup!

1 quart chicken broth

1-2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

1/2 medium onion, diced

4-5 medium sized mushrooms, cut in fourths

1 c. or so of cut green beans (I used fresh ones, but canned would be fine)

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp. each  turmeric, chili powder, garlic powder (use whatever spices you desire!)

Combine everything except the chicken in a large pot and bring the broth to a boil. Simmer until the veggies are tender. Add the chicken and heat through. Check flavor for spices and adjust to your own desires.

Gluten-Free Vegetable Broth

The last few days and weeks have been busy! We’ve enjoyed the many moods of  winter in the south with temperature swings from 21 degrees the other morning to 70+ degrees this week. We’ve had sunshine, wind, and now rain tonight.

My girl sent me this adorable picture of the little man the other day! He is just so squeezable!

img_0978

Several weeks ago I saw a clip come across my Facebook feed that showed what to do with vegetable scraps…other than tossing them out or composting them. I decided to give it a try…just to experiment, you know!

It is really very easy. Every time you cut up veggies or pare them, keep the scraps in a one-gallon freezer bag and toss it back into the freezer. My bag had everything from carrot peelings and broccoli to mushroom pieces and onion skins.  When the bag is full, empty it into a large stock pot and add water, just enough to cover the scraps. You can  also add some minced garlic if there is none in the scraps.

img_0971

Bring the water to a boil and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. Once the veggie scraps are soft and tender,  strain the mixture and toss out the scraps!

At this point, you could add salt, pepper and other seasonings, but it is not necessary. Pour broth into jars or freezer bags to keep in the fridge or freezer. Be sure to note if you will need to add salt or other seasons before you use your broth. I went through my fridge for other leftovers and created a hearty stew for lunch!

Low-Carb, Gluten-Free “Tater” Tots

So here we are in the third week of January…already! In some ways January always goes slowly for me. Even though the days are getting longer, to me,  January seems like a dark and dreary month. Having cold, rainy, cloudy days lately hasn’t helped! It doesn’t matter if the temperatures have been reaching for 70…if it is rainy, it is dreary and depressing!

But in spite of the weather, I’ve had happy family moments. This happened the other day! I love how these pictures  turned out! Can’t wait to make some prints.

On Friday (another dreary, rainy day), the hubby walked in the door with these! Day was made!

16178965_10154487580577950_5498548101563438134_o

Ben had to leave yesterday for AF training, and he won’t be back until the end of May…saddness! However, he tends to make the best of things, and the other day he had fun with Little Miss Mia.

16177543_10154491962082950_3728009080878661577_o

I made this basket out of old t-shirts about 2 years ago. Mia uses it for some of her toys and books. Ben decided it would be a great pack for carrying Mia! She was thrilled! Yesterday afternoon when she and her parents arrived for Sunday dinner, Mia walked in the front door and announced, “Hello, Nemmie! I’m home!” I tell ya, my heart just melted!

Yesterday afternoon I got to FaceTime with the Little Man! He is so adorable! I can’t believe that he will be 6 months old soon! I didn’t take a picture of him while we were FaceTiming because I am not skilled at doing that. (Last time I tried it, I cut off the person I was FT with!) However, Barbi shared this picture of him a week or so ago. He is getting chunky!

16002767_10154780350291341_6066361055510602380_n

For dinner tonight I realized that I needed to use some cauliflower that I had in the fridge. I searched through some of my THM recipes and decided to create my own version of tater tots. If you follow THM or other low-carb eating styles, you already know that cauliflower can be used in place of potatoes. These made a great side dish for salmon and a green salad!

  • 1/2 large head of cauliflower
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 2-1/2 tbsp. almond flour (add more if mixture is too wet)
  • 3/4 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder (or to taste)
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces and place in sauce pan with a small amount of water. Bring to a boil and gently cook until fork-tender. Drain the cauliflower, and then squeeze it to remove excess water. **Take the time to do this! You want to get rid of as much moisture as possible! I actually got an extra cup of water from mine after I had drained it! Use cheese cloth or a strainer…whichever works for you.

Chop the cauliflower into tiny pieces. You can mash it or put it into a food processor and gently grind it. DO NOT over-process!

Put the cauliflower into a mixing bowl and add all the other ingredients. Season to taste, adding more spices if needed.

Using an ice cream scoop, shape the mixture into balls. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet and fry balls until golden brown.

This makes about 10 “tater” tots

img_0886

 

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 flatware. 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!