Chicken Soup and Rosemary Artisan Bread

 

My husband loves chicken soup but he doesn’t like the floating vegetables and will always eat around them. This recipe lets me serve him soup how he likes it without losing any delicious flavor!

I’ve served this soup alongside potatoes and green beans, or Crusty Artisan Bread with a bit of rosemary worked into the dough. It’s tasty and filling! And I usually have leftover chicken to add to taco or pizza night.

Chicken Soup

  • Servings: 5-7
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:
(2) tablespoons olive oil
(1) medium onion, chopped
(3) large carrots, chopped
(2) cloves garlic, chopped
(1) teaspoon of paprika (or to taste)
(1) teaspoon salt
(1) teaspoon garlic salt
(1/2) teaspoon pepper
(1) box chicken stock
(1) tablespoon vegetable / chicken base

Directions:

1. Rub whole chicken with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic salt, and paprika.
2. Roast chicken in dutch oven, covered, at 350 degrees for 2 hours.
3. Set aside chicken and sauté 1 medium onion, 3 carrots, 2 garlic cloves, and celery (optional) in the dutch oven. Add a little chicken stock if too dry.
4. When vegetables are tender, blend until puréed. Return to dutch oven and add one box of chicken stock and 1 tablespoon of vegetable or chicken base. Add pieces of cooked chicken and if desired, more carrots and string beans (optional). Place in oven at 200 for several hours or simmer on stove until ready to serve.

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Mommy Eats: Lentil Soup

The other day I realized how often I went without food during the day, relying on my coffee(s) and Seth’s leftover oatmeal or PB&J to see me through to dinner. I was starting bad habits.

Inhaling Food: I’d scarf my dinner because I was so famished.

Late Night Eating: A hunger attack would strike at 10:00 pm, and I’d break out cheese and crackers, popcorn, or my favorite treat, peanut butter & honey and apple slices.

The following morning I would still feel ravenous; and my stomach, knotted and starved.

I decided I had enough of that. Moms need food. And, to make healthy choices, it helps to have something already prepared and easy to grab!

Mason jars meals are now my go-to! I make ahead a few different meals when I have time and store them in mason jars.

Smoothies: serve it up and drink it down!

Soups: open, reheat, and eat!

Salads: dress it, close it, and shake it!

My favorite so far has been lentil soup. It’s hearty, warm, delicious, and cost effective! I usually can make about five 16 oz. mason jars with ingredients I always have on hand.

Hearty Lentil Soup

  • Servings: 5-7
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
(2) tablespoons olive oil
(1) small onion, chopped
(3) large carrots, chopped
(2) cloves garlic, minced
(1) teaspoon of cumin (or to taste)
(1) teaspoon basil
(1) cup dried lentils
(1) can tomato sauce
(6) cups vegetable broth*

*I use 3 cups vegetable broth and 3 cups water

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a stock pot.
2. Add onion and cook until translucent.
3. Add garlic and carrots. Allow to cook for a few minutes.
4. Once vegetables are sautéed, add the tomatoes, broth, lentils and spices.
5. Simmer for a few hours

 

Another great thing about this soup is that Seth will eat it too! Yay!

 

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Seth loves lentils

Costco is Way More Fun this Way

It’s always fun for Seth to be with his cousins, and yesterday we had the privilege of grocery shopping with Aunt Sarah and baby Gideon. I pushed the cart with the boys and Sarah had the food cart.

Seth sat happily in front, looking all around, while Gideon smiled and cooed to the back of Seth’s head from his car seat.

I had my list on my phone (Trello) and added costs to the items I usually buy as we went along, which helped me keep an eye on my end total. 😳 Sarah and I even decided we would split certain groceries later too which was nice.

Both the boys eventually got ridiculously tired and crying ensued till they both crashed on the way home.

Even though outings can be faster with just Seth and me, I’m happy any time I get spend time with my sister.

Using Trello for Task Management: Organize, Accomplish, and Celebrate

Without organization, my mind is completely counterproductive in a day. It reels with all my mental to-do’s, as I compete to finish tasks before I forget them. All the while, I’m adding more things to the list.

Although I may think I’m performing at 100% and the “get it done now” is a wonderful attitude, I end up exhausted, fretting about the following day, and forget to notice what I did complete; and then my husband comes home to this…

So instead, I use Trello. Trello is a free app that uses Boards, Lists, and Cards to document and organize task management and workflows.

Clear the Mind:

I have the flexibility to quickly add items to cards in my To-Do list from my phone or computer, keeping my head clear and focused.

Organize the Day:

I organize the cards by how I want to accomplish them, top to bottom. Note: I put the tasks that may just require 5 minutes, but I’d tend to put off, near the top.

Don’t Forget to Celebrate:

I also have a list, titled “Done”, so I can see what I’ve accomplished in a day. My mind is rejuvenated each time I see what I did complete, and I feel unencumbered, knowing exactly what awaits me in the to-do list tomorrow.

Here’s a sample of mine this week:

It’s easy to create more lists as needed, such as “Dinners This Week” or “Blocked Tasks”. I feel that organization is really adaptable; how each person needs to visualize a list of tasks differs, so if needed, create more lists easily, such as “Dinners this Week”, “Blocked Tasks”, or “Reoccurring Tasks”.

Within the cards, additional tasks, steps, or checklist items can be created, as shown below.

But go ahead and try it for yourself. Maybe you’ll find it helpful or maybe you’re a strictly post-it’s and pen & paper type of person. In any case, it’s about whatever helps get the job done, with as little headache as possible.

5 Reasons to Budget with Mint

Goodbye Excel spreadsheet! I felt triumphant as I transferred our budget spreadsheet to Intuit Mint. That was two years ago and since then, budgeting has been so easy for us. It’s our one-stop-shop to effortlessly visualize and manage our finances.

  1. It’s Free.

    That’s already a plus for me. I don’t know if I would have considered trying it out if there was a subscription fee to use the app. You could be wondering how they make their money. Along with the features the app has to offer, the blog  (I choose to hide the blog) gives you advice on financial services, and of course, they get a referral fee if you choose to use those services. I understand if the 3rd party, “data collecting”, cloud-based service is not for you and there is no need for you to read further.

  2. Easily Adjustable Budgets & Alerts

    Life has ups and downs, so everyone needs a little flexibility. It’s so easy to adjust your budgets when necessary. Mint also provides notifications and alerts, keeping you in full control of your spending.

  3. Tracking upcoming bills

    This feature shows you the various bills you’ll need to pay by the end of the month and gives you a complete total — no surprises. 🙂

  4. Linked debit / credit cards

    Linking the cards you use for purchases will help you get a more realistic visual of your finances. It helps to see all my card balances in one location with the transactions – even the ones still pending. I categorize and tag each transaction as it comes in and I’ve been able to easily pull up medical receipts, etc. for our taxes.

  5. Savings Goals

    Motivation helps! Select a goal — new car, new home, vacation, emergency fund — and Mint helps you decide the amount to save per month. Link an account to see the results of your savings.

 

For us, Mint is about saving time. And that means more time to enjoy our life together with friends & family!

Feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

 

Summer Pizza Nights

Summer is on it’s way — each week the temperatures rise, the sun shines a little more, and my excitement grows while awaiting my favorite season! One of our little traditions for Friday evenings in Summer is pizza nights on the porch. With some of our favorite garnishes: freshly grated parmesan and crushed red pepper, we sit in the golden and pink glow that Olympia sunsets offer, and peacefully enjoy our favorite Italian food.

I’m looking forward to sharing these times with Don again.

Follow the links to view the pizza dough and pizza sauce recipes.

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Ways I Beat the Grocery Budget

I love that feeling when I’m right on budget for groceries each week or, even better, when I end the month with extra cash to stash. It doesn’t always happen but I’ve noticed my weekly efforts are establishing a routine, and I know the results will be rewarding.

I purpose to hold back from a grocery list until I’ve looked over my pantry and use Yummly to suggest recipes from the ingredients there.

Using the Ibotta app, I browse my usual stores (Costco & Fred Meyers) for cash back offers. The offers don’t always match what I need to buy but the app usually offers $0.25 for any item and it’s better then nothing! Read more about the Ibotta app, here.

This takes about 5 minutes to browse but it’s worth it. I have earned over $75 in the last 10 months.

The Fred Meyers app is a must for me too! Before I had the app, I would never go to Fred Meyers because I always felt like I spent more than I should. Now with the app, I can easily see items on sale, browse their coupons with the items that apply, and quickly add items to my cart. It also has a “Start my Cart” option, listing items you purchase regularly. I pay the $4.95 for the ClickList because the amount of time I’m saving is worth it. It takes me 15 minutes (max) to put my ClickList together.

With these, I have cut my grocery bill in half and that doesn’t include my extra money earned with Ibotta!

On top of these great apps, my time spent in the kitchen is profitable.

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Bakery Fresh Sandwich Rolls

I make my own sandwich bread for Don’s lunches, using ingredients I always have on hand, and he likes it better than sliced bread that falls apart when you eat it. 

This bread is soft and sweet and you can find the recipe by clicking on the photo or here.

 

I also store away half of certain dinners for a future week! Here’s what you’d find in my freezer:

  • Tomato Soup*
  • Chili
  • Prepared Rice & Bean Burritos
  • Sandwich Rolls
  • Homemade Pizza Dough
  • Pizza Toppings (i.e. Costco’s Kirkland mozzarella – I wasn’t sure if this would work but I tried it and it was just fine!)

*I don’t usually add dairy to our tomato soup which is why I’m able to freeze it.

Freezing enables me to use meals twice within the same month, saving me a week of meals to plan and groceries to buy!

For some of my recipes, follow the links below:

Rice & Beans , Pizza Dough, Bakery Fresh Sandwich Rolls, No-Knead Artisan Bread, Chicken Soup

Feel free to share your input with me! I’m always looking for great recipes, budget advice, and anything else that helps in my duties as wife, mother, (let’s be honest ) maid, cook, and financial amateur! 😀