Turning 40 (feel free to skip this part) & Cauliflower Potato Crock Pot Soup

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My 30th Birthday, 2009

At 12:05am tomorrow morning (tonight?) I turn forty years old. 

I’ve been whining a lot about turning 40 to the people around me. Mostly, I’m joking. I’m so grateful to have another year, and will take as many as God will give me. The only complaint, though, is how FAST 40 arrived! As I’ve mentioned before, my grandmother used to say “The days are long, but the years are short.” and holy cannoli, is that ever the truth! It seems to be more so every passing year.

I’ve been overcome with the feeling that 40 is the start of something for me. The first act of a new play. A lot has changed for me in the last year. Harlow started school, I stopped working… okay, that’s really only two things, but they are pretty decent-sized things! I’ve been realizing how much I’ve been neglecting myself. Here are some things I want to try to work back into my life.

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A very Pinterest-Worthy shot of my Vision Board, such as it is…

  • Yoga (Someday I will be a certified instructor! Even if I’m 80 when it happens!)
  • Self care – I let things go for myself way too long. Case in point – I haven’t had a hair trim in over a year. I put things off when it comes to my own health and upkeep. That has to change.
  • Exercise in general. Would you believe that I used to get up at 5am to go to the gym EVERY DAY before work? And sometimes pop in a second session after work, too? Yeah… me either. Those days are like a distant fog of WTF was I thinking? HOWEVER now that I’m not working anymore, you would think I would be working out again, right? Wrong. See bullet point #2.
  • Crafting and photography. These things make me really happy. I need to do more of them.
  • Nutrition – Ya’ll, this is a hard one. I hate cooking. So much. So everything I make is the easiest of the easy, and that is generally high carb, high fat foods (but so yummy). This one may have to wait until I’m turning 50…

Which brings me to the real “meat” of the post. Or, non-meat… or something.

Anyway. Last night I had a head of cauliflower that was two steps from being past it’s prime, a whole bag of potatoes that I didn’t really know what to do with, and a craving for soup. Enter in, Cauliflower Potato Crock Pot Soup!  Forgive the shoddy photos again, as I wasn’t setting out to share this recipe, but it was pretty delicious and so, so easy, so I just had to!  Plus vegetables and stuff.  So… healthy-ish.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 32 oz vegetable broth, (plus around 10 oz I had leftover in the fridge)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • A hearty smattering of “chicken seasoning” (rosemary, salt, pepper, etc)
  • 1 cup of diced onion and celery
  • 1 can of evaporated milk
  • Flour if needed

To Make:

Throw all but the last two ingredients into the crock pot for 8 hours on low, or 4 hours on high.

After time is up, plunge your immersion blender in there until no lumps are left, then stir in the can of evaporated milk and serve.  If it is too runny for you, you can add flour to thicken it up. I added a few tablespoons of flour at the end because I like my soups very thick.

I topped it with a little cheese and sour cream, and served it with a salad and warm crusty bread.  So much yum!20190304_193125

Have a wonderful day, and wish me luck on my SUPER HUGE transition into middle age tomorrow!  

 

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St. Patrick’s Day Sign

Happiest of Fridays to ya! (Said, obviously, in a leprechaun voice.)

Today I banged out a little project that I’ve been trying to come up with for quite a while. Remember back when I completed the snowman side of my 2-sided porch decoration? I had always thought I would make the other side a Santa, but the more I thought about it, the more “eh” I was about it. I’m not a huge fan of Santa, and the snowman could absolutely be up Christmas through as much of winter as I wanted him to be. I just couldn’t bring myself to complete the Santa. Then a couple of days ago, it came to me. Leprechaun! My husband’s birthday is on St. Patrick’s Day, and I’ve never really decorated for it, so this year I would! Or at least start to!

I really knocked this out quickly, and it most definitely isn’t perfect (for one, I just used craft paint I had on hand, so the coverage is a bit on the iffy side), but it works fine for me! I tend to like things more “rustic” anyway!

I also bought a few “starter” decorations for St. Patty’s Day. Like everything, I figure I can add to them as the years go by.

I love my mantle!

A friend recently asked me if I have a business, if I sell my crafts. I don’t currently, and it isn’t something I’d ever want to do full time, but if anyone has something they want me to make for them, email me, or leave a comment, and I’d be happy to work with you on a project! I have a lot of fun making things, and it would be awesome to know some of my crafts were out there in the world, making someone else happy!

Have a great weekend!

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Mermaid Themed Birthday

With Harlow’s birthday coming up in less than a month, I’ve turned my attention to birthday party ideas. Harlow has always been very decisive about what theme she wants for her birthday party. Seriously, she’s been picking the theme since her second birthday. (Jake and the Neverland Pirates, if you were curious.)

This year, the theme is “generic mermaid”. We are going the easy route again this year, having the party at our local gymnastics center. Not having to clean my house twice (once before guests, once cleaning up after guests) is SO worth the less personal environment for me!

So far we only have the piñata picked out:

Party City

However, while I have not yet started on presents, cupcake ideas, decorations of any kind, or what Harlow will wear, I did the very important task of making myself a shirt to wear. Priorities, you know? Besides, this day is for me, too, right? I did all the work!

I’m pretty excited to wear it, actually. Although I can’t wear it with leggings which does pose a problem because I pretty much detest anything with a waistband these days. Ah, well. That’s a problem for another day.

Have a great Tuesday!

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Delicious Dump-n-Go Crock Pot Vegan Chili

I haven’t been shy about my disdain for 2019 so far, but while January was pretty terrible, February has been… not much better. I’ve been sick for almost two weeks now, and all last week, Harlow was home with me due to school closings because of the whole Polar Vortex thing. It was rough. It would have been fine, if not a little cabin-feverish, had I not been so sick, but even resting was completely impossible, let alone taking a nap.

The last thing I wanted to do was think about dinner, which is why this recipe is one of my favorites. Vegan Crock Pot Chili.

Forgive the shoddy photos… I was dying.

This recipe could not be easier, because I literally cheat on everything. I buy precooked quinoa, precut veggies, and every other shortcut I can think of. The absolute most tedious thing about this is opening the cans and rinsing the beans.

Recipe:

  • 2 cans black beans (15oz)
  • 1 can red kidney beans (15oz)
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes (15oz)
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1-2 containers pre-cooked quinoa in a cup
  • 1 small container chopped peppers
  • 1/2 small container onion
  • 1 can summer corn (no liquid)
  • chili powder to taste (I use around 2-3 tsp)
  • cumin to taste (I use 1-2 tsp)

Open all the cans/containers and dump everything into the Crock Pot, rinsing the beans first. Stir it up. Set on low for 3-5 hours. Eat. Enjoy!

The actual recipe is vegan, but we always add cheddar cheese and sour cream on top because it is delicious.

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January Has Been The Longest Year Ever.

January. Ugh.

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January Still Sucks

Well, this is not the next post I had planned, but since things are still hectic around here, and I have several new gray hairs, courtesy of Abbey, I thought I’d just pop in for a sec.

So I have this little granny dog that suddenly started limping… badly. She had a tiny limp off and on for a few weeks. It was barely noticeable, but since I’m obsessed with my family, furry members obviously included, I noticed it. Then a few days ago, she got up from the couch she was snoozing on, and just stood there, holding one paw up. She tried to jump down, and almost fell in the process. January… you suck.

A long vet visit the next day ruled out cancer (thank God!), Lyme disease, and heartworms. Some x-rays showed some massive inflammation, so $300 later, we have her on some anti-inflammatory meds, no answers, and have to recheck in 2 weeks. As if she hasn’t given me enough to worry about in the past year!

I swear… January is going to do me in.

Stay strong, peeps. I’m out.

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Catching Up

The biggest lie I tell myself is that I’ll have time to do something while Harlow’s home. “I can do it this weekend!” “We have TWO FULL weeks off from school! I’ll have PLENTY of time!” “I’ll just do it while she watches a movie!”

Insanity is doing the exact same thing over and over again and expecting different results… or something like that. That, my friends, is me. I am completely insane. Harlow is not an easy-going kid. She’s fairly mommy-needy. I should really know by now that when Harlow isn’t watching a movie, she wants me to play with her. When she IS watching a movie, she wants to sit on me to ensure I watch it with her. I can’t say no, 99% of the time, because this isn’t going to last forever. The first (almost) 6 years have flown by, so I’ll just keep on keeping on. And never accomplish anything. Ever. Insanity.

Then, when she went back to school, I was all set to do ALL THE THINGS that I hadn’t accomplished over break. That first Monday I set about cleaning up everything that had piled up – garbage from Christmas presents, laundry, etc., so that on Tuesday I could hit the ground running on all “my” stuff! Then, Monday night… shit hit the fan. I’ll post about that another day, but it took 100% of my time and attention for over a full week. Not to mention, I’m literally a thousand years older. Everyone’s fine, everything is fine, no worries, but holy forking shirt…

Even now, I only am posting this because I’ve been unable to be at my house due to a water main break in my neighborhood, so I’m sitting at the library typing this up, drinking some iced mocha Starbucks, and taking my first breath in… over a month. I am planning some new posts soon, including ideas for Christmas classroom parties, holiday crafts, an easy and delicious Crock Pot recipe, and what I am planning for 2019. So far, 2019 has been… uncooperative, but I’m really hoping after January, things look up. Please, God, let things look up.

I sincerely hope you all had a better few weeks that we’ve had! Talk to you soon!

Even Abbey is underwhelmed with life lately.

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