Monday, September 30, 2013

The Weekend That Was - last in September style

We kicked off the weekend with a Mexican fiesta at Dad & Carol's. Ole!
Saturday morning bathroom cleaning and food prep: scrambled eggs with broccoli and cheese for this week's breakfasts. Turkey barley veggie soup for lunches.
I headed north for a wine tour to celebrate Aunt Carrie's 60th. Glorious weather and a fabulously fun day celebrating one of my favorite ladies. I was a good boozer and drank a lot of water, rendering me fit come Sunday morning. p.s. I think we encountered vampires. I'm not kidding.
I did a self mani & pedi (OPI Queen of d'Nile and Essie Penny Talk) and started Crazy Rich Asians.

One of this week's dinners: cowboy stew, recipe courtesy of my lovely work Kim - 1.5 lb ground beef browned and drained, 2 cans of mixed veg, 2 cans of rotel (drained), a can of black beans and 2 cans of minestrone soup. Heat through. I'll make corn bread to accompany this on Tuesday.

Sunday dinner and one of my favorite comfort foods - Judy's Chicken: season chicken breasts. Top with slices of deli cheese (I used Cooper Sharp). Cover with a can of cream of chicken soup. Top with sliced tomatoes (or if they're not in season, drain a big can of petite diced well and top with those). Final layer: melt a bit of butter and mix with Stove Top. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. To be an extra fat ass, serve with buttery egg noodles and a side of green beans.

The return of The Good Wife.
The return of Homeland.

My TV-loving self is atwitter with glee.

Where did September go? What did you get into this weekend?

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Linking up for Monday Morning Gossip - Join the Gossip
Monday Mingling Blog Hop - Southern Sunflowers & Coffee Beans

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul - and for your Pie Hole

Some chicken soup for your soul: 

Why do you hasten to remove anything which hurts your eye, 
while if something affects your soul you postpone the cure until next year?  

And now some chicken soup for your pie hole: 

Friday I shared my five favorite soup recipes with you, but I left one rudimentary one off: chicken noodle.

This recipe is for chicken noodle soup from the carcass up. Whenever I bake a whole chicken or get a rotisserie chicken, I pick it clean and save the meat in 1 cup portions in the freezer, then I bag up the carcass in those plastic grocery store bags and save them to make stock or soup.

Here we go, from the carcass up. My measurements are approximate because I don't really measure many things in soups:

Put carcass in stock pot/dutch oven and cover with water. Add kosher salt, bring to a boil and boil for a half hour, then simmer for another hour. Remove all bones to a bowl. Allow to cool, then pick chicken off to put back into the pot. If you do not have a carcass to start with, simply start with 7 cups of chicken stock + 1 cup water or veggie stock and chicken (as much as you want, and it can be leftover from another meal or picked from a rotisserie chicken).

1Cup or more of diced carrots (MFD loves a carrot laden soup, so I load it up)
1/2 cup celery (if I don't have any, I add some celery salt)
1 bag of frozen mixed veggies (not the soup mix)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder

Let that go on low for about five minutes. You can let it go longer if you like softer carrots.

Bring it up to a boil and add very thin egg noodles, as much or as little as you want. When it returns to a boil, let it roll for six minutes. I always end up adding a little more chicken broth to it because I overestimate the noodleyness of it all.


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Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Five powers, activate! Form of: Sunday Soups

What? I know. I'm mixing days of the week and I'm using the Wonder Twins to activate this post. What the shit is going on. September is but a fart in the wind, my friends. POOF. Gone. It's getting chillier (where I am, anyway). I'm excited. Sweaters, scarves, Yankee candle fall scents, and soup. You need soup.

Soup is crucial to my life. I make a pot of Sunday soup every week to take for lunch. I grew up coming home from school to my Mom Mom's house and she'd have a pot of soup on the stove, just about done. I'd eat saltines with butter and my bowl of soup. To me, soup is Mom Mom. Childhood. Home. Comfort. Love.

I like to try new soups every year, but I have some tried and trues that are always on the menu.

1. Veggie Beef Barley Soup

1/2 Cup chopped onion (you can cheat and use frozen chopped onions)
1 Cup frozen green beans
Up to 8 oz mushrooms (optional)
2/3Cup uncooked barley
1 Cup corn
1.5 Cups water
1TSP salt
1/2 tsp thyme leaves
S&P to taste
1 lb ground beef
1 lb beef stew meat (optional)
3 14.5 oz cans beef broth
2 cans diced tomatoes 
8 oz can tomato sauce

Brown ground beef and onions, drain and put in crock. If you are using mushrooms, saute for about seven or eight minutes. If you are using stew meat, toss in a bit of flour and sear. Add to crock with all other ingredients and cook on low 7 hours or high 3 hours. 

You can also do this on the stove, of course. Just bring everything to a boil, then simmer for an hour or two. 

2. Hungarian Mushroom Soup
12 oz mushrooms, sliced (I usually use 8 oz carton of baby bellas and 1/2 carton of white)
2 cups chopped onions
2 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
1 cup milk (I use 1%)
1 tsp dill weed
1 TBS paprika
1 TBS soy sauce
2 C stock (beef, veggie, or chicken)
2 tsp lemon juice
dried parsley
salt and pepper
1/2 cup sour cream

Saute onions in 2 TBS of stock for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, 1 tsp dill, 1/2 cup stock, soy sauce and paprika. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes

Melt butter in large saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook, constantly whisking, for about 2 minutes. Add milk and cook, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes over low heat. It should be thick.

Stir in mushroom mix and remaining stock. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add salt, pepper, lemon juice, sour cream, stir well to combine.

I often double this recipe so we have enough for the week. I only add one additional cup of onions though, not two.

3. Stuffed pepper soup a la Skinny Taste.
1 lb ground meat (I've used turkey, beef, chicken - all good)
1.5 cups chopped pepper (I like to use two different ones. Green and red or orange or yellow)
1 cup onion, diced fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 14.5 oz cans petite diced tomatoes
2 cups tomato sauce
4-5 cups broth (I've used chicken, veggie, beef - all good)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp of marjoram (if you're like WTF is marjorum, use 1/2 tsp oregano or thyme)
3 cups cooked rice (use brown - it's healthy and you really can't tell in this soup)

Brown meat and drain, reduce heat. Add peppers, onions, and garlic. Cook for about five minutes on low.

Add tomatoes, sauce, broth, marjoram and S&P. Cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Add rice.

This makes a lot, and it's very freezable. I allow it to cool and freeze in quart size freezer safe bags - lay flat and flash freeze, then stack in the freezer.

4. Creamy Cauliflower Cheddar Soup from Annie's Eats. Click the link and follow her directions - the only thing I do differently is sometimes I use onion for the shallots, and I don't do the croutons.

5. Potato soup
10 medium potatoes, scrubbed well and cut into cubes (I use red or gold and I do not peel them - peel if it's your preference)
3 TBS flour
6 slices bacon, chopped and cooked (optional)
2 TBS bouillon/base (I normally use chicken but have also used veggie)
1 TBS ranch dressing mix
Dried parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, ground black pepper to taste
3 Cups of water
1 Cup half & half or milk (I've used half & half and 2% milk, both were fine)
shredded cheddar and green onion for topping (optional)

Put the potatoes in the bottom of the crock, top with flour and toss to coat. Throw bacon bits, bouillon and all spices over. Add water.

Cook on low for 7 hours or high for 3-4. Pour half and half in, cook another 15 minutes. Dunzo.

Sometimes I put my immersion blender in and make it a little smoother.

You can also do this on the stove top, just bring to a boil and then simmer until potatoes are tender, add in the half and half and cook for another 10 minutes.

Soup's up, bitches. Make some this weekend. It's fall after all. And check back on Sunday, which no one ever does, for my chicken noodle soup recipe.
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Linking up with
Follow the Ruels - Friday Favorites

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fall To Dos

1. Seasonal purge and reorganize, focusing on jewelry storage as well as making sure I'm not hoarding things in rooms we don't use a lot (spare rooms, library).

2. Make homemade pumpkin spice latte.

3. Clean shower head by adding 1/3 cup of baking soda and 1 Cup of white vinegar to a gallon size bag and leaving it on the shower head overnight.

4. Make an alternative to cream of...soups.

5. Try three new casserole recipes and two new apple or pumpkin desserts.

6. See one movie in the theater and watch two new to me movies on TV.

7. Get back into an exercise regimen. No excuses. Complete 30 day squat challenge that I whiffed on in September.

8. Do not let the leaves win in the back yard.

9. Remove flowers and re-mulch beds, winterize outdoor stuff.

10. Book room for Kim & Esteban's wedding in Mexico and put deposit down for December 2014 cruise.

11. Vacuum window treatments.

12. Try baking french bread.

13. Dry clean winter coats.

14. Wash windows.

15. Roast pumpkin seeds.

16. Host Friendsgiving.

And you? What's on your list?

Harris Heart-to-Hearts

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I said I love you, and that's forever...

Today is our third wedding anniversary, and this month also marks 11 years together. Like every year, the past year was full of ups and downs, good and bad.

A wedding anniversary is the celebration of 
love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity.  
The order varies for any given year.  
~Paul Sweeney

A look back at our third year of marriage:
I'll take another year filled with the laughter, traditions, vacations and celebrations; minus the broken bones, surgeries, and ensuing hardships, even though those things taught me that my marriage is strong and can survive really stressful shit for months at a time.

Happy anniversary MFD! Looking forward to eleventy billion more. I'm grateful to have a partner who is eye to eye with me on the important things, but who is my opposite in many ways and shows me things I would never have in my life without him.

Also today? Amanda's birthday. I am so happy our friend married someone who has become one of my greatest friends. Have a fabulous birthday Amanda!

I'm participating in a giveaway over on Southern Beauty Guide. Go win yourself a prize for my anniversary. Go on now.

Linking up with
Because Shanna Said So - Random Wednesday
Gratitude with Steph at Insert Classy Here
Whatever Wednesday at Rolled Up Pretty
The Hump Day Blog Hop at Fitness Blondie
Wedding Wednesday at Little Bit of Class, Little Bit of Sass

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou." --Omar Khayyam

Once upon a time, I really wanted to be the person who made her own bread but I was afraid I'd F up the rising times, etc.

Then I got a bread maker and my friend Mimi passed along her family's go to bread recipe, and we all lived happily ever after.

Seriously, this is better than bread at many restaurants. Give it a go.
Put in bread machine in this order...

1 cup of water, no specific temperature.
3 cups of bread flour
1 heaping teaspoon of salt
2,5 teaspoons or 1 package of yeast
1 tablespoon of Crisco
olive oil

Set the machine on dough and help it along until everything is mixed and it forms a ball.  If it doesn't look like it will form a ball, drizzle more water in (I normally do).

Remove the dough from the bread machine at 1 hour 15 minutes.  Generously grease the bottom of a glass dish with olive oil. I do mine in a glass or ceramic 8x8 square dish.

Add olive oil to the top of the dough and push it down with your fingers to make the dough about an inch thick.  I add salt, pepper, rosemary and whatever else I feel like to the top.

Cover with plastic wrap and put it in the microwave to rise (do not turn the microwave on).  Once it rises so the top of the dough is at the top of the dish,  bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until the top is golden.

This is also Mimi's (and now my) pizza dough recipe too.

In closing, for Haikuesday (I'm going to make that a thing):

Bread from the oven
I hate sharing food. Hands off!
But pass the butter. 

Linking up for The Petite Blog Hop at Smile and Write and

Monday, September 23, 2013


Two questions:
1. Is there anything better than seeing the people you love be so happy they can't stop smiling?
2. Is there anything better than booze at reminding you just how old you are the next day?

Two answers:
1. No
2. No

Laura and Chris's wedding was such a happy occasion, and the reception was a ton of fun.
These girls. These girls have made my life.
Even Dutch had a ball.
Who didn't have a good time? MFD. He had a fever, so I took him to Urgent Care near Laura & Chris's on Friday night and he spent the rest of the night and all day Saturday in bed with strep throat.
KVS made my weekend with her texts on her way home Saturday night. I was crying laughing. Here are some excerpts:

It was a fabulous weekend that I needed a full day of recovery from on Sunday. I loved being Mrs. Bates to Lady Mary, frolicking in the photo booth, and shenanigans with framily. The cherry on top would've been two more days off but alas back to the grind. The grind that started with me leaving home without my phone this morning.

Friday, September 20, 2013

I like TV.

If you don't like TV, that's cool. If you consider yourself a superior being and passive aggressively let people how much better you are than them because you don't watch TV, then you're an asshole.
I read a shitload of books every year that balance out my TV watching...38 so far this year, which is over four per month. Even without that caveat, I have no problem admitting my close personal relationship with a lot of shows. Plus, TV watching allows me to multitask.
I can watch TV and hausfrau: putting things away, folding laundry, dusting, sorting mail. Vacuuming is done in between shows, laundry is circulated during commercials, food is prepped while something is paused. I've got my system down.

I can watch TV and do arm and leg exercises. Crunches too...just kidding, who does those? People who are not me.

I can watch TV and read a book or magazine. A lot of TV is not rocket science, nor is doing two things at once.

I watch more TV than ever thanks to the DVR, which allows me to blaze through commercials as well as to not watch something for weeks and catch up on it one night or Sunday.
What are you watching this fall? Shows I'm trying out are in red. My list holds no candle to my friend Gwen's, who is the TV Queen. Check hers out here.

Homeland (Showtime, 9/29, 9 p.m.)
Family Guy and American Dad (Fox, 9/29, 9 and 9:30, I fear both have jumped the shark)
The Good Wife (CBS, 9/29, 9 p.m.)
Hello Ladies (HBO, 9/29, 10:30 p.m.)

The Blacklist (NBC, 9/23, 10 p.m.)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox, 9/17, 8:30 p.m.)

Criminal Minds (CBS, 9/25, 9 p.m.)
Modern Family (ABC, 9/25, 9 p.m.)
CSI (CBS, 9/25, 10 p.m.)
Nashville (ABC, 9/25, 10 p.m.)
American Horror Story: Coven (FX, 10/9, 10 p.m., I'll have to catch this On Demand)
Super Fun Night (ABC, 10/2, 9:30, I'll have to watch it On Demand)

Parks & Rec (NBC, 9/26, 8 p.m.)
The Millers (CBS, 9/26, 8:30 p.m.)
Vampire Diaries (CW, 10/3, 8 p.m.)
The Originals (CW, 10/3, 9 p.m.)
Sean Saves the World (NBC, 10/3, 9 p.m.)

Dracula (NBC, 10/25, 10 p.m.)

The occasional SNL (NBC, 9/28, 11:30 p.m.)

I'm so excited to be celebrating Laura & Chris's wedding tomorrow. Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Liking up with The Sowell Life for The Friday Five.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Watching The finale of Under the Dome and this week's Ray Donovan. I need to settle my summer TV before fall stuff starts. 

Reading Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. Thanks for the recommendation Heather! 
Smelling like a french whore. I was just testing my perfumes to make sure they're all good. 

Wearing My after work uniform: long sleeve T and yoga pants. 

Drinking Ice water with lemon, as always.

Listening to this dog gnaw on a bone like it's her life's work. She is relentless. I thought Gus was bad, but no one holds a candle to her. 
Craving Dunkin Donuts coffee. Always. No Spend September has made it elusive. 

Feeling old.  Today my youngest brother Sean turns 19. I was 18 when he was born, which seems a world away to me in terms of my life, but in terms of his, I feel like just yesterday he was a little boy with curly white blond hair and today he's a guy. Which must make me 472. Happy birthday Swan! Love you!
Today is also my nephew Drew's birthday and my Friday. Happy birthday Drew! It's a good day all around!
Thinking about how awesome it is when people get the happiness they deserve. Looking forward to Laura & Chris's wedding this weekend. 

Loving the return of my uniform. I've worn a cardigan every day this week. 

Hating that I've been so lazy lately on the exercise front. I've even dropped the ball on the squat challenge this week. I need to move my ass. 

Thankful to have had a list of thankfuls yesterday. 

Wanting everything, since it's No Spend September. On my short list: 
-A new purse

What do you have going on currently? Lay it on me. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Week in Thanks

This week, I'm thankful for...
  • A strict regimen of generic zyrtec at night, sinus spray every morning and night, and Rite Aid sinus pressure & pain relief pills. This ragtag bunch of misfits keeps me going, I will not stray from the course. 
  • Hot coffee. 
  • Four day work weeks.
  • The return of soup for lunch.
  • The laughs that come from daily texts with Amanda. 
  • The Philadelphia Free Library.
  • Goodreads for allowing me to keep a running list of what I want to read without employing a clunky spreadsheet. 
  • My oldest friend Jen, who celebrates her birthday today. We've been friends since I was three years old, so that's 33 years. 
  • Baby bella mushrooms.
  • The return of scarves.
  • My parents. 
  • Essie Merino Cool nail polish.
  • Honeycrisp apples. I had my first one ever this week. 
  • Entertainment Weekly's fall TV guide. 
  • This hilarious blog post on Surviving Whole Foods
  • I cried laughing reading this blog post by Jen at Hysterical Casserole
What are you thankful for this week?

Linking up with
Because Shanna Said So - Random Wednesday
Gratitude with Steph at Insert Classy Here
Wildcard Wednesday with Simply Clarke, Mal Smiles, All That Glitters

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Thoughts are scarce today
My brain is on vacation
Why no e in serve?
Mum season is here:
Music, sequins, Mum Sundays.
Forgotten mum plants.
Appearing stately, 
Suburban is a toilet.
People piss wherever
Oh sexy girlfriend!
Hail children of the eighties. 
Long Duk Dong lives on.
Daylight fading fast,
I will set the dark on fire. 
Buy me this lantern.
Whistle me a tune
Even though birds can be assholes. 
The bird is the word. 
I opened with salt.
And I will close with bullshit.
How ya like me now?

Peace out. Tuesday sucks.
Tell your mom I said hello.
(Bad yo mama joke)

I'm being featured over at Southern Beauty Guide today - check it out! Thanks Chelsee!
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