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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Recipe: Roasted Garlic Potato Soup

I adapted my recipe from THIS recipe I found on Pinterest.  I made it a couple Saturdays ago when it was Winter in Texas for the weekend.  The entire weekend I never left the house and it was glorious.  Saturday after getting the house cleaned and the laundry done I whipped up this recipe and had it ready for dinner that that.  We had just enough left over for Hendrik to snack on the next day.  It will for sure be a staple in our cold weather pantry from now on.  It was so comforting  and not TOO unhealthy.  I made a couple unhealthy choices when I made it (bacon) but they can definitely be left out and/or substituted.  

What you'll need:
  • Red potatoes
  • Whole cloves of garlic
  • Chicken stock/broth
  • Celery- I didn't have celery on hand so the closest thing I had was celery salt...it worked
  • Cream of chicken soup
  • Cream of mushroom soup
  • Whole kernel corn
  • Parsley
  • Black pepper
  • Onion powder- I have to use onion power rather than REAL onion due to my finance's "allergy"  but real onion would be BEST
  • Bacon

What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 400 and then prep the 3 cloves of garlic to be roasted. (watch and remove when roasted to your liking)
2. While garlic roasts slice and boil your potatoes.

3. Once potatoes are finished drain excess water and slightly mash with a hand masher
4. After draining using the same pot add in broth, cream of chicken, and cream mushroom soup to your boiled potatoes.
5. Add in celery salt

6. Add in all remaining spices and can of corn
7. Mix well- don't over mix because you want a chunky style soup
8. Cook bacon and add it to soup- Note: I separated my bacon into 2 batches.  The first batch I cooked but left soft and added that into my soup.  The next batch I made extra crispy to add more flavor and a crunchy element to my soup.
9. Once your garlic is roasted and removed from oven remove from outside wrappers and mash well in a bowl using a fork. Once mashed add it to your soup.
10. Stir well to ensure all ingredients are mixed in and simmer for 10 minutes or so. Stir often to makes sure nothing sticks to the bottom.  More broth may need to be added.
11. Remove from heat and serve or let sit.

 I made my soup early in the day and so I covered and let it sit.  It was still warm when we ate and it ate great being reheated as well.  I didn't get any finished pictures since we ate later on that day... I forgot.  When we at our soup we added grated cheddar cheese to our individual bowls to taste.
This soup was EXCELLENT and like I said in the beginning I can't wait to make it again.  This is only my variation and if you look in the Pinterest recipe it didn't even call for corn but I threw some in anyways just for added elements and flavor.  You can really take the meat of this and run in any direction you like really making it your own.

I hope you try this amazing recipe and love it as much as we did!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Recipe: Easy 5 Ingredient Cajun Dirty Rice

I made up this recipe several years ago and we have it at least once a month.  It is an easy go to on a night where I know the following day is going to be really busy.  It grows in size as you stir, it seems, so there is always plenty to have leftovers the next night.  I always keep/ have the ingredients on hand and you can substitute to fit your taste, make healthier, or whatever!

Max patiently waiting on his portion of the sausage
What you'll need:
  • Rice- I currently have a huge bag of jasmine rice but I usually use brown rice.  Quinoa would also be a great substitute that I would love to use but Hendrik isn't all that keen on it.
  • Sausage- I use the skinless sausage and depending on my mood sometimes I will add ground beef or even chicken.  Turkey would make a great healthy addition.
  • Beans- I used to use red beans but as my healthy lifestyle grew so did my pantry and now I use mainly black beans and sometimes I will throw in a can of chickpeas to add some different texture.  Mix it up and have fun!
  • Stock/Broth- again any that you have an hand will do I usually run out of beef faster so go to the chicken.  I like using broth or stock over water to add extra flavor.  Try to get the organic and low sodium broth.
  • Cajun seasoning- I buy this in a big container from Sams but any grocery store has a premixed container in the seasoning isle.

What to do:
1. I start my rice off either on the stove or in a rice cooker
2. As your rice is cooking prepare the meat and beans.  In a large pot or dutch oven cook your meats.
3. Once your meat is cooked add in your beans of choice along with broth.

4. Once your meat/bean mixture has cooked together for a few minutes I add the cajun seasoning to taste and more broth to make the mixture a stew consistency. 
5. Cook the mixture without rice until boiling and let the meat and beans soak up the seasoning.

6. After the meat/bean mixture has boiled and simmered for a bit add in the cooked rice.  
7. Let entire mix cook on low together for several minutes to soak in flavor.  More broth may need to be added as the rice usually soaks up a good bit.
8. Serve on a plate or bowl.

This recipe should take no more than 30 minutes the longest part is making sure the rice is finished.  I like the recipe even more the following day as the flavor really stands out more after it is reheated!  I love it and is the perfect meal for a quick dinner.  I hope you try it and like it as much as we do.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Book Review: While You Were Sleeping

I started a psychological thriller last week and last night I stayed up really late finishing it.  I read the majority of yesterday afternoon and last night when we got home from dinner with friends I had to find out WHO KILLED LEE!!!!  This book will lead you to believe that every other character has to be the killer and in like the last 10 pages you FINALLY get all the answers and I'll tell you what....my head is still spinning.  I did NOT see that one coming.  I really enjoyed reading this book because although it was a mystery which is my normal genre but this mystery was what it said...a phycological thriller that was gripping.  They don't lie.  I look forward to reading more of this author but for now here is the Amazon synopsis.

Amazon Synopsis:
You wake up to find the man beside you is dead.
He is not your husband. This is not your bed.
Tara Logan adores her perfect little family: husband, Noah, and two children, teenager Rosie and eleven-year-old Spencer.
But her happiness is shattered when she wakes in her neighbour, Lee Jacobs’ bed, with no memory of how she got there or what happened between them. And worse – he has been stabbed to death.
Convinced she didn’t kill Lee, Tara flees home and stays silent, holding her breath as the investigation grips the neighbourhood.
But as her daughter spirals out of control, and her husband becomes increasingly distant, Tara starts to wonder if someone in her own life knows what really happened that night. And when the police turn their questions towards her, Tara realises she has to find out.
But what will it take to uncover the real story, and can she survive the truth?
A gripping, shocking psychological thriller, with a twist that will take you by surprise.

Currently reading:  Everybody Rise buy it HERE

Recipe: Homemade BCAA Jello

One of my favorite subscriptions on Youtube, Buff Bunny, made BCAA jello gummies a long time ago and after watching the video I bought unflavored gelatin to try out my hand at some BCAA jello. Last week I came across the gelatin in the pantry so I whipped up some watermelon jello real quick.  

This "recipe" is so easy and yummy.  I have been eating quite a bit of sugar free jello lately so this is why I all of sudden decided to try this.

What you'll need:
  • 1 package of unflavored gelatin mix. The box I got from our local grocery store had 4 individual packages of gelatin and I used all 4 packages
  • 4 cups of water
  • large pool or casserole dish
  • BCAA's of your liking.  I had several flavors to choose from and decided on the watermelon
What to do:
  1. Pour 3 cups of water in a pot and set to boil
  2. With the remaining 1 cup of water put in your dish and add all packets of unflavored gelatin.
  3. Use a spoon and mix lightly and let sit as your water boils

4. Once water boils add to the gelatin and water mixture
5. Add in no more than 6 scoops of BCAA's.  I really like my watermelon flavor so I used all 6 scoops.  If you are using a smaller bowl or dish then I wouldn't use the maximum amount of scoops.
6.  With a spoon or whisk mix well until all powders are dissolved

7. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours until molded into JELLO
8. Enjoy!

See I told you this little recipe is so easy and a great tool to recovery after those hard afternoon workouts.  I will for sure remember this recipe once that Texas heat sets in this summer.  I will be so refreshing, low calorie, and a great way to take in your supplements. 

Insta Dump #33

December was such a great month.  Not only was it filled with so many celebrations but we were just busy with different activities!

work meeting on a Friday// reflecting on moving forward// back extensions// Fall in December in Texas// coffee date between errands// nutcrakin' in Ft. Worth// hot tea feeling bad// cozy all white looking for honeymoon inspo// 20/20 vision lasik follow up// planner talks to me// cozy morning with HGTV// marriage counseling= IKEA// shoulder workout complete// new booty scrunch ready to work those cakes// party baby// bathroom selfie// my 2016 top 9// Max waiting for stockings on Christmas morning

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Book Review: The Best of Us

So in my last book review post HERE I started reading the 14th Women's Murder Club novel and as always James Patterson killed it. I want to skip that mystery book review because I've read and reviewed a ton of those books and they are ALL good so lets move on to one maybe no one knows about!

The Best of Us was a book I saw on one of the blogs that I follow on the must read lists and they weren't lying!  I devoured this book in mere days and those were very cold days last week.  This book was the perfect read for a cold day as the book is set mainly in Jamaica.  It would be a great book to read on vacation.  I was so engrossed in the book and the author kept my interest as I was constantly reading forward to see what was going to happen with the 4 couples that were involved on this trip!  Were they all just going to fall apart or pull it together.  Each couple has their own story and their own troubles that I'm sure a lot of people can relate too. Its a little bit of fantasy vacation mixed up with a whole lot of real life problems.  I highly recommend this good read!

Amazon Synopsis in case you don't believe my raving review! LOL

Paradise isn’t quite what it seems as four college friends meet for an island vacation in this captivating new novel from the acclaimed author of These Girls.

An all-expense-paid week at a luxury villa in Jamaica—it’s the invitation of a lifetime for a group of old college friends. All four women are desperate not just for a reunion, but for an escape: Tina is drowning under the demands of mothering four young children. Allie is shattered by the news that a genetic illness runs in her family. Savannah is carrying the secret of her husband’s infidelity. And, finally, there’s Pauline, who spares no expense to throw her wealthy husband an unforgettable thirty-fifth birthday celebration, hoping it will gloss over the cracks already splitting apart their new marriage. 

Languid hours on a private beach, gourmet dinners, and late nights of drinking kick off an idyllic week for the women and their husbands. But as a powerful hurricane bears down on the island, turmoil swirls inside the villa, forcing each of the women to reevaluate everything she knows about her friends—and herself.

Since this book was so good and it as on of those must read lists I started another book I found the same way.  I am currently reading While YOU were sleeping: A gripping pyschological thriller you just can't put down

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Hopes & Goals for 2017

Happy New Year!  2016 was full of adventures both bad, good, and GREAT!  2017 is already starting off fantastic knowing we are going to have some exciting things happening as we plan for our late Spring wedding, our honeymoon, and our garden which always blesses us.  If those are the only things that happen this year then I'm already so excited but knowing how life goes I know that 2017 will be filled with so much more than just those events.  There will be laughs, loves, tears, and many more adventures on top of hopes and goals I have for the new year.

  • Read 20 books
  • Go on a ski vacation
  • Make for canning recipes
  • Get back into my groove of healthy habits and working out consistently
  • Take a girls weekend trip to NOLA, Palm Springs, or Charleston
  • Get bikes for Hendrik and I to start riding
  • Cook new recipes
  • Add landscaping to our yard
  • Have a positive outlook on life
  • Make 30 the best year yet!
  • Payoff the majority of my debt
  • Make use of my time more efficiently at work 
  • Try more adventurous things around our area for dates with Hendrik

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