Friday, October 26, 2012

Pasta and Pea Soup

Call me strange but I enjoy going to Miss Sofia's orthodontist appointments.

Not just because Miss Sofia is getting a lovely, all be it expensive, straight toothed smile,

but because while I'm waiting for Miss Sofia to be finished with her appointment, I get to pour through all sorts of fun magazines that I don't have subscriptions to. Whoop whoop! 

It would sure be nice if her appointments where longer than 15 minutes! I have to pour quickly!!

Recently, while looking through the EveryDay with Rachel Ray magazine, I came across a recipe for pasta and pea soup.

Please note that, though I was tempted, I did not rip the recipe out of the orthodontist's magazine.

I did search for it online as soon as I got home and then pin it on Pinterest!

The soup is super easy to make and so good!

The ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon thyme
6 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups Ditalini pasta
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
salt and pepper
1 cup grated parmesan

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over med-high heat. Add pancetta to brown.

Add onion and thyme. Cook until onion is soft.

See my pancetta there? It's not quite browned enough. I was in too big a hurry to get my photos. Brown yours up nice!

Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Add Ditalini and peas. 

Peas! Yum yum yum!!! The whole family isn't as thrilled about peas for dinner as I am, but they're getting there. At least they think they're great in this soup. Baby steps.

Salt and pepper soup to taste. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of parmesan. Serve soup with remaining parmesan.

Doesn't that look good!?

It is! It is!

The family gave this soup recipe 4 thumbs up!

Thank you Rachel Ray! 

This soup, served with a nice hunk of rustic bread, is going to be a winter weekend staple for sure!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Perfect Fall Weekend

We had the most glorious fall weather last weekend! 

Does anyone else see Gonzo's face in those clouds?

Gotta love Gonzo!


Just me then?

Like everyone else, we couldn't resist heading to the apple orchard. 

It was a perfect weekend to get photos of the girls!

Even got one of the husband and myself!!

Oh yeah, it was a perfect day for kissing under the apple trees.

Eh hem!

It was a perfect weekend for pumpkins.

Anyone see the face in this pumpkin?

Oh come on! I can't be the only one! Right??

It was also a perfect weekend for perfect boots! Wish these were mine! But they're not. They've got perfect buckles that climb all the way up the backs.

The owner turned just as I was snapped the photo. -drat!-

The girls were totally freaked out that I was taking a picture of this lady's boots. Then I was freaked out that the lady might freak out if she knew I was taking a photo of her boots so I didn't wait for her to turn around again and get a good photo of the backs of them.

Later, when we all calmed down, I realized she would probably have been thrilled that I liked her boots so much and would have been glad to let me take all the photos I wanted. -bah!- Maybe next time.

It was a perfect day to visit our favorite hot dog stand. Cup and Cone!

They'll be closing for the season soon.

It was a perfect day for one last Cup and Cone hurrah!

Chili dog with onions. My favorite! Good thing I kissed the Husband before I had all those onions!!

And of course we had Cup and Cone ice cream!

Yep, gotta love a perfect weekend.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Apple Dumpling

I made these just for you.

Well, I made them to share the recipe with you, so you could could make them too. 

I ate these.

No, I didn't eat them all by myself! The Family helped. The Family and the Husband's sister. The Husband's sister was in town last week and stayed with us for a few days. We had a great visit! She helped with the eating of the apple dumplings too. I think she liked them. Yep, I'm pretty sure I'm her favorite sister-in-law now! 

The family is very lucky that I'm so generous and willing to share this most excellent dessert with them. The fact that I didn't eat them all myself doesn't mean I couldn't, or wouldn't if the family hadn't been home at the time I was baking them. Drat! 

Reminder to self...make sure the family is not home when baking apple dumplings! Oh yeah!


Apple dumplings are an easy, perfect fall dessert. I kinda love them.

If you enjoy making pie crust, go for it!

You'll need enough pastry for a 9 inch, 2 crust pie.

Prepare pastry then roll 2/3 of it into an 11 inch square. Cut pastry into 4 equal squares. I like to use my pizza cutter. Roll remaining pastry into an 14x7 rectangle, then cut that into 2 squares. You will now have enough pastry squares for 6 dumplings.

If you do not enjoy making pie crust or if you are desperate for apple dumplings and the thought of taking extra time to make pastry sends your tastebuds over the hem. It's just as tasty to use a store bought crust.

Thank you Pillsbury for ready made pie crust. It has saved many a desperate tastebud!

Unroll the readymade crusts and cut them into 4 triangles each. You will have 8 pieces. You only have room for 6 dumplings in the pan. You'll have 2 extra pieces of pastry. I have yet to find a creative way to use these extra pieces. Will you let me know if you come up with something?

Peel and core 6 tennis ball sized, tart apples. I prefer to use Haralson apples.

Place one apple on each pastry triangle.

Now you can fill the center of your apples with raisins, or chopped walnuts if you'd like. I usually leave mine empty. The Husband likes his filled with raisins. I won't judge him, but it does take extra time. Just sayin'.

Fold up each corner of the pastry.

Press the edges of the pastry closed.

Place the dumplings in an 11x7 baking dish. Feel free to take as much time as you'd like to make your dumplings look perfect. Or not. They will taste the same either way and it really will depend on how desperate you are to have them done so you can eat them! Mine were not perfect!

In a sauce pan bring 2 cups of brown sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil stirring constantly.

Carefully pour the brown sugar mixture (it will be very hot!) over the top of the dumplings. YU-UMMY!

Place the baking dish of dumplings in a 425˚ preheated oven. Bake for 40 minutes, carefully spooning (I use my turkey baster for this) the brown sugar mixture over the dumplings every 10 minutes.

Oh they look so good!

Serve them up all nice and hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Fall dessert perfection!

Enjoy! Your tastebuds will be sooo happy!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Things That Make Me Go...Humph!

1.When the windows, that looked sparkling and clear all weekend because I spent so much time cleaning them, no longer looked so sparkling and clear once the clouds dispersed and they were placed under the scrutiny of the morning sun.


From now on I'm leaving the blinds closed until the rays of morning sunshine pass my windows!

2. When the family goes for a drive to enjoy the fall colors, which the news reported were finally at their peak in our area, only to find that the news is no better at predicting peak fall colors than they are at predicting the next day's weather. We've definitely moved past bright fall colors to dull fall browns.


We only found one brightly colored tree!

I did get this photo of me with my girls that day though.

3. When my children, who know I don't want any more pets than we already have,(one very cute, fluffy dog and 3 fish!) are introduced to some super cute barn kittens and the begging for another pet begins. 

The begging, I can handle.

This little face, it slays me!


I did not walk, I ran away!!

4. When, after only 10 minutes outside, I realized I could no longer feel my toes and I finally had to concede that it's time to put away the summer flip flops.

Double HUMPH!!!

I do appreciate the consolation of warm woolen socks though.

Thank you for allowing me to get that off my chest. I feel much better. 

I hope your day is humph free, bit if it's not, go ahead and tell me your humph in the comment section. It may make you feel better to get it off your chest too!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Lunchbox Essential

Typically Miss Sofia and Miss Emma Bean choose one day a week to eat the school's hot lunch. You can probably guess the meals they, cheesy bread, mozzarella sticks. See a pattern here? 

Eating the school's hot lunch only once a week means taking lunch from home the other 4 days of the week. That's a lot of lunches packed over the course of a school year! And a lot of lunches from home can mean a lot of plastic baggies thrown away. While we like the occasional convenience of plastic bags, we don't like creating that much garbage every day. We try to use containers as often as possible, but it's been difficult to find containers that are a really good size to fit into lunch bags/boxes, yet still carry the right portion of food. Hmmmmm? What to do?

Enter...Rubbermaid Lunch Blox!

Have you seen these?? They are fantastic! I found them at Target while shopping for school supplies this summer.

They're stackable!

They're perfectly portion sized for lunches! (I hope that sentence makes sense)

They're BPA-free, microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe! They also keep cold things cold with a snap on Blue Ice! I would go so far as to say these lunch containers are awesome!

I purchased a sandwich kit for each of the girl's lunches! Each kit came with a coupon for the purchase of another kit. I went back to Target to purchase the salad kits as well! And lucky me...the kits were on sale when I did! Coupon + sale price = Whoop whoop!!

A little lettuce, strawberries, and grilled chicken. A perfectly portioned lunch. Now I personally would use the other little container that came with this kit for some salad dressing, but my girls do not like dressing on their salads. They get that from the Husband. Weird.

Stack it up all nice.

This photo is of the sandwich kit. It was taken before I purchased the salad kit. Still works for a small salad though! And yes! I wrapped the roll before I packed it in the lunch. Just in case you were wondering.
Makes for a lot less waste and fits very nicely into the lunch bags!

Rubbermaid Lunch Blox, a lunchbox essential!


Monday, October 1, 2012

The Proof of It

The girls have been very blessed to have two wonderful Grandfathers or Papas as we like to call them. 

Papa Wayne, who we miss a great deal as he went home to be with the Lord last December. We still carry his love with us though and that is a great comfort!

And my dad, the girl's Papa Bill.

Too soon to show winter photos isn't it?? I know, but I love this photo of my parents with the girls.
The Papas have encouraged, loved, and cared very much for our girls, as well as the rest of their grandchildren. We love them and are very grateful for them! 

When the girls were little, Papa Bill would tell them the most fantastic adventure stories. The girls were thrilled every time there was a new adventure to be told. They, in fact, would regularly hound Papa to grant them a new story.

Papa's adventure stories usually had a hero, often Papa. Many of the tales were of struggle, with foes to overcome. Some tales were a little scary, but mostly they were silly and made the girls laugh. Every tale had a grand and happy ending. Papa's tales definitely kept the girl's rapt attention! And most importantly, each and every tale came with the proof of it!

At the close of every story Papa would produce a little trinket or treat that was the proof of his tale. For example when Papa told a story of coming face to face with a great, ferocious lion, it was followed up with a giant cookie that was decorated as a lion. It was the proof that Papa overcame and captured the lion.

It's no wonder the girls loved Papa Bill's adventure stories so much. Well, to tell the truth, it was the proof of the story they really wanted!

I have been thinking about these stories lately and the proof of them. I've been thinking about how our lives are our own adventure stories.

I would like so much to be able to say right now, this very moment, that God has solved all of our struggles. We have no more financial concerns! God has restored all of our lost income! Woohoo!!! 

That is not the case however.

What I can say is this, as I hold tightly to these and several other verses during this difficult time...

Joshua 1:9 Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go! 

Proverbs 3:3-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing!

God is giving me the proof of it!

God has been reminding me through our most recent church sermons that speak so profoundly to what the Husband and I are struggling with and our desires to trust fully in Him, in His goodness and faithfulness, that we leave the services wondering if we should laugh or cry. He has reminded us that the best, and only place, to put our trust is in Him. He has always provided for His people! Amen!

God has shown me His unfailing love through the encouraging squeeze of a friend's hand, or a caring arm over the shoulder during a time of tears. He has blessed me with friends who are praying for me and my family.

God has encouraged me through friends who send the perfect passage of scripture to encourage and lift me up at just the right time and through answers to prayers that I began to pray three years ago for a friend.

God is meeting my needs, my family's needs. And not just the financial ones. He is speaking truth over my fears! He is blessing me with encouragement and hope! He is with me wherever I go. He is teaching me to trust Him and I do not have the words to express to you how the proof of it is filling me with joy!

I can tell you this though, I am seeing that God is a much better author of my story than I could ever be. Therefore, I will continue to trust Him for the happy ending! Until that happy ending occurs, I'm going to relish the proof of it. The proof that He is in it with me, He knows everything I need, He has a plan already in motion. And after all, isn't it the proof of it that, like my girls, we all really want anyway!