Tuesday, January 31, 2012

tortellini soup.

okay, so as part of my project:  organization, i made the commitment to making our menu two weeks at a time and one recipe that was a major hit around here was tortellini vegetable soup.  although oklahoma is having an ABNORMALLY warm winter, (which, if i do say so myself, is a bunch of garbage.  i went on the hunt to find a snowsuit and heavy coat for b in preparation for the annual blizzard...and i'm going to be ticked off if we don't have any snow!) i still love my cold-weather soups. 

when i came across the recipe on pinterest, i knew the hubs would love it and it looked simple...two things that make my life easier!  as with pretty much everything i make, i changed it up a little bit to add more bulk and to get more meals out of it. 

here's the original recipe:

ingredients: 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • 5 1/2 cups chicken stock e oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (more if fresh)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 to 9 ounces fresh or frozen tortellini  (cheese or meat filled)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Black pepper, to taste 

instructions: 
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium soup pot or large saucepan. Add the onion, zucchini, and carrot. Saute over moderate heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Add the stock, basil, bay leaf, tomatoes, and salt to the pot. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a low boil. Add the tortellini and bring the soup back to a low boil. Cook it for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 to 6 minutes longer. Gently stir in the parsley and pepper during the last minute or so. Makes about 5 servings.



easy, peasey, right?!  rrrrright. i apologize for some of the rough "estimates" i'm fixing to give you.  i threw away all the boxes and cans before i wrote this post and i am SO bad at dumping in ingredients and tasting...anyway, here's my adaptation:


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large zucchini, diced in fourths
  • 1/2 bag baby carrots, diced
  • two boxes of chicken broth
  • 2 (ish?) teaspoons of basil
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can garlic and onion diced tomatoes
  • 1 box of tortellini
  • 1 bag spinach leaves
  • s and p to your liking.


  1. in a LARGE stock pot, soften your onion, zucchini and carrots in a little bit of olive oil.  DO NOT over cook.  they'll turn to mush later.  yuck. 
  2. cook your boxed tortellini, making sure it is VERY UNDERDONE.  (i used boxed because there was about a $7 difference between it and the tortellini in the refrigerated foods section.)
  3. dump everything else in the pot with the onion, zucchini and carrots. return to a boil for about two minutes, reduce to a simmer for about five minutes and make sure your spinach leaves are wilted before you turn down the heat. 
now i didn't add the bay leaves because i didn't realize i was out until i got home, so if you don't have any, it'll still be yummy. 



this makes a HUGE pot of soup and is super cheap.  it reminds me a lot of the minestrone soup from olive garden, which i LOVE.  serve this baby up with some bread sticks and you've got an easy, low-calorie dinner...well, except for the bread sticks because if you're like me, you can eat your weight in bread.  not good.  :)




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Thursday, January 26, 2012

project: organization.

my goal for 2012 is for our family to be a well-oiled, organized machine.  with number two on the way, the last thing i have time for is chasing my tail, so i have "resolved" (it is the new year, right?) to run our household more like a business.  and a big, huge SHOUT OUT to my new bff:  google calendars.  here's a quick overview of what's going on in january in our house:


i color code EVERYTHING...and it syncs with my phone.  double awesome. 


after i do the master schedule online, i do weekly updates every sunday on our dry erase board in the laundry room by the door out to the garage.  i erase the daily tasks every evening...possibly because i like the cleanliness, but also there is something that gives me the warm fuzzies about marking stuff off our master to-do list...  oh and i also put my honey-do's on it because bryce has been so busy with work and i have pregnant brain that it helps us both to have it in sight.  



my next step is to get some colored dry erase markers
so i can color code on the weekly board...
but i keep forgetting to write it down
and forget them EVERY TIME i go to the store...




one of my MOST-HATED tasks as a SAHM (or wife/mom in general) is grocery shopping.  yuck...one of the reasons i hate it so much is because i HAVE to coupon.  not because i'm addicted, but because we are a one income family and i REFUSE to feed my family garbage, which turns into a 3-stop trip for me:  homeland (for couponing), buy 4 less (general stock up) and then the farmer's market for my fresh produce.  hate it.  seriously.  well, except for the farmer's market...i love that kind of stuff:)

so, i have figured out how to make this dreaded task a little less dreadful, at least for me:  one of my biggest problems is i get in a menu rut, causing my grocery list to be a hodge podge of things i "think" i might need...and i am the kind of person that i can eat the same meal every day for a month, and then i won't eat it again for a year.  it doesn't bother me...my husband on the other hand, is not the same.  he gets bored with monotony very quickly, and very rarely makes requests, leaving me racking my brain for new options.  so, now that we are finally settled in our new house, i sat down and made a two week menu.  i had pinned TONS of recipes on pinterest and decided to actually make them...shocking, right?!

i spent about 20 minutes pilfering through everything and laid out our menu for the next two weeks, making sure that i put the direct link on my google calendar in the "description" section.  (if you don't use google calendar, this doesn't make any sense, but once you start, you'll figure it out.  super easy.)

to help cut down on the dreaded shopping trip, i have made the goal of doing a "stock up" trip every two weeks (or less, hopefully!) to restock the pantry, a quick "coupon match-up" trip to homeland when my coups coincide with their sales (and it's actually stuff i need.  i don't understand the idea of couponing and buying crap you don't need.  you're still spending money...so put the 15 boxes of breathe right strips back on the shelf...)  and my weekly produce run.  i am PICKY about produce and have found that the farmer's markets get things (usually) locally and there are fewer middle-men, meaning your produce gets to you sooner, thus it doesn't spoil nearly as quickly as the supermarket stuff. 

i hope this helps some of you crawl out from under the menu rut and from those days where you just feel like there's no structure.  i am SOOO much more productive when i have a game plan! 

oh and i've been couponing for about two years now...so if you have any questions, let me know.  i'll be more than happy to help you! 

the next post will be the sharing of the tortellini soup recipe that i tweaked...


happy thursday...and happy organizing!


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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

turtle or hamburger: the sequel.

when i was pregnant with brice, a sonographer came into the bank and told me that on an ultrasound, a girl looks like a hamburger and a boy looks like a turtle...

apparently, the first time around i made a deal with the hubs that if we found out with the first baby, we wouldn't find out with the rest.  now, call it pregnant (or selective) amnesia if you would like, but i DO NOT remember this agreement. 

this second pregnancy has been COMPLETELY different than with brice, and i have "known" from pretty much the get-go that this baby is a boy.  i had been thinking that for a while when bryce looked over at me as we were driving down the road and said, "i have a confession."  GREAT.  fan.  tas.  tic.  if you know my husband, you know that there is an extremely wide array of what this could entail, which usually gets the typical response from me:  "how much money did you spend at cabela's?"

"no, it's not about that.  although i can't believe you think i would do that!" 
(GIVE.  ME.  A.  BREAK.  this coming from the man who sneaks stuff in the house through his hunting backpack...) 
"okay, well what is it?"
"i haven't said this out loud for fear of jinxing us, but i think we're having a boy."
"oh my gosh, me too!"

when we were pregnant with brice, we were both certain we were having a girl and we came to this conclusion separate from each other, so when he told me he thought this baby is going to be a boy, it kind of confirmed things.  yes, i know this sounds crazy...but i'm telling you, we just KNEW. 

we went for our developmental ultrasound last week and i knew if i could get the results into a sealed envelope, my chances of getting that thing open were fairly good...so we went.  and we left with an envelope. 

we didn't open it for almost five days.  i guess bryce had to decide he too wanted to open it...or just swallow his pride and admit that it's not so crazy to want to be prepared.  there was one requirement i had to meet prior to the opening of the envelope:  i had to sign a contract that we would not find out with the next baby.  being the loving and supportive wife i am, i did one better:  i said no finding out on any of our future babies. 


now what you don't see in this picture is this is the second half of a
previous "contract" i made with my husband. 
something about not being cranky or a -ahem- "choice" word...

 
so, the three of us were sitting around the table and i was nervous as could be.  i'm still not quite sure why, but i had a huge knot in my stomach. 

bryce opened it, looked, and silently slid it across the table to me. 
"TELL ME!!" 
"nope.  gotta do it yourself."

so i looked...

we were right...again! 


WHAM-O!!!  not only were we excited (and slightly creeped out) that we were right, but i am so glad that bryce is going to get his mini.  he has a wonderful relationship with his father and i can't wait for my husband to have that with our son.  i'm also thankful that brice won't really have to share her wardrobe budget...but that's way down on the list:)


this is one of the sonogram images that confirmed we were having a boy for me...even before we opened "THE" envelope.  i will warn you:  this picture totally creeps me out.  not sure if it's because it's just kind of a creepy skeleton face since we're only at 24ish weeks development when it was taken...or if it's because it looks JUST.  LIKE.  MY.  HUSBAND.  creepy...






and there you have it!  asher graham thompson will be here sometime around the beginning of may.  (he will go by graham because all the men in bryce's family go by their middle names.)

anyone want to wager how long it take my husband to walk through the door with a BB gun?  :)


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Friday, January 13, 2012

crazy Christmas.

well, we have survived a crazy, whirlwind move...and i'm finally getting around to updating the blog.  and yes, i am EX.  HAUS.  TED. 

since we knew we were moving, it was definitely difficult to remind ourselves that we were in fact in the Christmas season.  we decided not to do gifts because everything that was purchased in texas would have to be moved to oklahoma...and those of you who know me know there are a MILLION things i would rather do than move.  (like pull every hair out of my head, one at a time...) 

anyway, i went ahead and decorated the house as soon as we got back from our Thanksgiving trip home because i knew that if i waited, it wouldn't get done and b had to have a tree. 

here are a few snapshots from Christmas this year, albeit a small one, it's probably one of my favorite Christmases to date.  This was the first year that gifts TRULY didn't matter and we weren't consumed with the commercial side of things.  We were able to sit back and be thankful that God had answered one of our most heartfelt prayers, enjoy our little girl and enjoy each other...in between packing boxes of course:)



good news:  figured out self timer.  bad news:  not focused.  boo.



daddy and brice



mommy and brice.  (and baby bump!)



this makes me smile.  she had been playing with this box for days!

 

hope you all had a very MERRY Christmas season with your families! 

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