Sunday, December 8, 2013

Jen's Cream of Cauliflower w/ Red Pepper & Carrot Soup!

I made the most amazing soup last night.  After a few people asked for the recipe, I decided I better write it down, in case I want to make it again myself.

It's super easy, and super delicious.  If you hate cauliflower, you probably wont love it - but it doesn't just taste like cauliflower, it's a delicious mixture of cauliflower, carrots, and red peppers.   Below is the recipe:

Jen's Cream of Cauliflower w/ Red Pepper & Carrot Soup!

4 Cups Chicken broth
1 head cauliflower
1/2 red pepper, chopped into small pieces
1/4 onion chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 cup baby carrots
3/4 cup sour cream
1 cup extra sharp cheddar ( Use a good quality cheese.  I use Tillamook, it comes in a black wrapper and is a white cheddar (though it doesn't say white cheddar on the package)
1/2 cup goat cheese
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups whole Milk
1 tbsp minced Garlic
Pinch of thyme
2tbsp butter
2tbsp flour

-Wash cauliflower, cut into small pieces
-Add to lrg pot w/ chicken stock
-chop carrots in small pieces, add 75% to pot
- sauté onion & peppers & rest of carrots until soft
- add garlic/thyme during last few min.then add to pot
- add chopped spinach
- simmer about 5 more minutes
- mash with potato masher, coursly
- add heavy cream and stir
- make a roux with milk/ butter/ flour, add to soup (this is used to thicken it up a bit)
- simmer for about 15 minutes
- add cheddar and goat cheeses & sour cream, stir well and let simmer until melted and mixed thoroughly
- add salt/pepper to taste
- simmer another 15+ min
- Enjoy!

I hope you like it as much as I did.  My 2 year old loved it too! My husband hates cauliflower so he didn't have any.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How We View Ourselves

I saw this video yesterday, and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind since.  It really said something to me and it literally had me in tears when I watched it.  We are so hard on ourselves when it comes to our appearances. No matter how hard we try, we are just never perfect enough, and let's face it... we never will be - because the minute we reach one goal, we shoot to the next and start working on fixing something else.  It's really sad to me how much time women focus on every tiny little flaw, each new grey hair or tiny wrinkle that no one else will even notice. We should be celebrating how amazing each one of us is. We should be focusing on how much love we have in our hearts, or how much joy we bring to our friends and family on a daily basis. We should be focusing on being happy! Instead, we let society tell us we aren't good enough, or we need to be better - when the truth is, we are already amazing, exactly how we are.

If you haven't already seen this, take a look at this video, presented by Dove, and see just how different we view ourselves, compared to how others see us.  It is quite eye opening, and I think you will enjoy it.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Time Has Really Gotten Away From Me

Where has the time gone? It's been eight months since my last blog post.  I knew it had been a while since I have had the time to post, but I had no idea it had been THIS long. It's amazing how fast time can fly by.

Gosh, how can I fit 8 months worth of life into one blog post? Well... I can't really.

Annabelle is 15 month old now, running around all over the house, making me laugh ever single day.   She is the single best thing that has ever happened to me, and I appreciate having her in my life ever single moment of every day. She is a sweet, beautiful, funny, and amazing little girl, and she makes me happy to wake up every morning. I can't imagine life without her.

She's grown so much, getting taller by the day and outgrowing shoes fast that I can get her into them.

Here are a few few photos from the last few months.




 Aside from family life, I have just been busy working.  I was promoted in September, and have been much busier with work, but I still absolutely LOVE my job and what I do. I am so grateful to have a job that allows me to work from home. It has been such a huge blessing for us.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to take the plunge and stop wishing and hoping and just THINKING about living a more healthy lifestyle and becoming more active, and to start DOING. It's been quite an adjustment, and it's been hard, but overall I have been doing well. I've been taking a clean eating approach, and it's been working well so far.  It's hard, and I can't do it 100% simply due to the lack of availability and the large price tags of eating organic, but I am doing it as much as I can, and I have cut out processed foods by about 90%. I've almost completely cut out bread (dairy is not something I plan on cutting any time soon, I love cheese) and other processed foods and it feels great. I am not perfect, of course I have days where I fall off the wagon a bit, but I am pretty good for the most part and I have had no problem hopping right back on that wagon when I do make a poor meal decision. In fact, I am excited to get back on that wagon each time.  I have found that I enjoy cooking much more when I know it is something healthy AND something that will taste good. It's a great feeling. I was beyond thrilled to find that I had lost 7lbs in the last couple of weeks. It was a huge motivator for me, especially since I have tried so many diets in the past and have never really seen good results. I have also found that I don't really NEED my morning coffee anymore, which is a pretty amazing feeling.  I still make it, because I enjoy it and it's part of my morning routine, but I have found that I rarely finish the cup. Maybe some day soon I will just cut it out all together. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Anyway, I had thought about making a new blog to track my journey of switching to a clean diet, and becoming a new healthier me... but then I decided, why continue to ignore this one and start a whole new blog (that may go weeks without posting just like this one) when I have a perfectly good blog already set up. So I will post here, and as things have changed in the past with the purpose of this will again.  And I am ok with that.

I've missed blogging, and I wont promise that I will start blogging much more often, but I will try and make a better effort.  The truth is, I just don't have a lot of free time to myself these days.  But I will work on blogging when I can.

Thanks for reading. I am looking forward to things to come, and plan on sharing lots of recipes as I try them out and and either succeed or fail miserably.  

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Friday, August 24, 2012

7 Months!

My baby girl is 7 months old, boy how time flies.  We are still waiting on her to start crawling, she seems to be more interested in trying to pull herself up into a standing position.  She did it a few times when she was sitting next to me the other day and it's all she can think of ever since. 

It's such a great stage she is in now. She loves to make us laugh, and loves to laugh along with us.  She gets so excited to see our pets (three cats and two dogs) and absolutely loves when I let her pet the kitty. I have to watch her closely, though, because she automatically wants to grab and squeeze. 

She loves eating solids, and could care less about her bottle. She is still really small, but she is growing and getting taller all the time.  She loves jumping in her jumper and she still loves music and dancing. Her favorite song right now, Love You Like A Love Song by Selena Gomez. It's a pretty catchy tune, I will admit.  

I just wanted to share a few photos of my pretty girl.   

Cheese! This photo always makes me laugh!

She's starting to look so much older now!

Hope you all have a fabulous day!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Best Advice I Have Ever Heard

I am sure most of you have heard this song (I guess you can call it a song since it was played on the radio?), but I am sure there are many who haven't.  I remember this song growing up and not thinking much of it, but hearing it now really makes me think "wow!" This really is some of the best advice I have ever heard. I've been listening to it every few days, to remind myself of some of the things it says. I hope to give my daughter a lot of the same advice while she grows up, and hope she will listen and take them to heart. 

If you haven't already guessed, I am talking about "Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen)" by Baz Luhrmann.  Here are the lyrics below. If you are thinking, meh - I've heard it before, read it anyway. Like me, I never thought much of the lyrics as a teenager, but now they actually make sense and mean something.

I am bolding my favorite pieces of advice as I go.  

Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen) by Baz Luhrmann

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '99
Wear sunscreen

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it
The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists
Whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. 
I will dispense this advice now

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth
oh, never mind
You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded
But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now
How much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked 

You are not as fat as you imagine

Don't worry about the future
or worry, but know that worrying is as affective as trying to solve an algebra equation
by chewing bubble gum
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind
The kind that blindsides you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday

Do one thing every day that scares you


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts
Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours


Don't waste your time on jealousy
Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind
The race is long and in the end, it's only with yourself

Remember compliments you receive
Forget the insults, if you succeed in doing this, tell me how

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your 
The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives
Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't

Get plenty of calcium, be kind to your knees
You'll miss them when they're gone

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't
Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't
Maybe you'll divorce at 40
Maybe you'll dance the 'Funky Chicken' on your 75th wedding anniversary

Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much
Or berate yourself either
Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else's

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can
Don't be afraid of it or what other people think of it
It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own

Even if you have nowhere to do it but your own living room

Read the directions even if you don't follow them

Do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly

Get to know your parents, you never know when they'll be gone for good 
Be nice to your siblings, they're your best link to your past
And the people most likely to stick with you in the future

Understand that friends come and go
But a precious few, who should hold on

Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle
For as the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young

Live in New York City once but leave before it makes you hard
Live in northern California once but leave before it makes you soft


Accept certain inalienable truths
Prices will rise, politicians will philander, you, too, will get old
And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young
Prices were reasonable, politicians were noble
And children respected their elders

Respect your elders

Don't expect anyone else to support you
Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse
But you never know when either one might run out

Don't mess too much with your hair
Or by the time you're 40 it will look 85

Be careful whose advice you buy but be patient with those who supply it 
Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past From the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth

But trust me on the sunscreen

If you read this, what was y our one favorite line/ piece of advice?

Thanks for reading!