My best friend shared this recipe with me which I believe she found in Fitness magazine long ago. I don’t have the original recipe and I made some small adjustments for my family–you can count on me adding extra garlic, Worcestershire, and onions when a recipe calls for those ingredients:) This is one of my 3 year old’s favorite soups and she has been requesting it since she was 2:) It is healthy, filling and I always have the ingredients on hand. Yum!
- 1 small to medium onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped & minced (less garlic if you don’t love garlic like I do)
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 16-20 ozs mushrooms, sliced (I use A LOT and I usually use cremini, but whatever you have works fine. I sometimes mix white button mushrooms with cremini.)
- 1-2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (I use more)
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup barley + couple Tablespoons extra (I use Quaker medium)
- 6 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups chicken, cooked & diced
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Add mushrooms and cook on medium for 10 minutes. Add balsamic, Worcestershire sauce, and barley. Cook a couple of minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20- 30 minutes making sure the barley has plumped up and softened. Whisk together 1/4 cup flour and 1 cup milk. Add to soup. Add the diced chicken and simmer until chicken is warmed through.
My little girl recently turned three (sniff) and now more than ever she looks forward to any and all crafts I put in front of her. Not surprisingly, many craft projects around here involve food. oink. This is a little late for Thanksgiving, but I wanted to share what my girl and I made for our Turkey Day crafts. Since we were headed to my in-laws for Thanksgiving this year, sweet girl asked to say grace for our meal and wanted to “put nametags and turkeys on the plates.” Your wish is my command, Little Gobbler.
I know these Oreo Turkeys have been around for ages and who hasn’t made a fingerprint turkey? I care not—these are too much fun to pass up and Little Turkey had a blast. So did I!
These little cookie turkeys may not be perfect, but that doesn’t bother me a smidge. She had such fun making these and they were a hit at dinner.
With turkeys in hand, we carefully transported our army to dinner where Little Gobbler quickly busied herself getting her masterpieces on the table. I’d say a perfect start to our Thanksgiving meal.
Menu planning isn’t a new concept, but it is certainly an important one for me. Without a weekly meal/menu plan in place I find that food in my pantry and fridge/freezer is underutilized and my stress level by 5pm is quickly on the rise. I go in panic-mode and start digging through the fridge like a starving animal and because I’m unprepared (specifically for dinner), my little girl is watching a DVD instead of doing something creative, imaginative, or interactive. Max and Ruby, VeggieTales, Hermie the Worm, we love you. But in small doses. And if she asks me to help with dinner (which is often) I get irritable because I’m in a rush, people!
So each weekend I try to devote a good hour or so to menu planning for the upcoming week. Some weeks I have no plan (okay, that should say “lately, more often than not, I have no plan”) and some weeks I have half a plan. Discipline in check: beginning this week, I plan to have a menu plan in place by Monday afternoon each week and post it here. Wish me luck. I will need it.
I love to follow blogs that take part in meal/menu planning such as the awesome Money Saving Mom website. It’s a great help to read what others are planning for their family meals and the best thing is I get to see what recipes are winners based off comments and suggestions other people post before using my money and ingredients. How selfish. I generally make small adjustments to fit my family’s tastes and then voilà! I have a new recipe to add to my repertoire.
I am by no means a perfect example when it comes to menu planning, but if you find yourself pressed for time, struggling to pull meal ideas out of your head each day, or just want to try something new, I’d suggest creating a menu plan to make life just a little less hectic. Covering breakfasts, lunches, and dinners in my menu planning is the key for me. It also keeps us out of a food rut and eating the same things repeatedly.
Do you have menu plan tips and tricks? I’d love to hear about them!
Since 2011 is quickly nearing its end, I’d like to tell you that the Great Purge of 2011 is also coming to a successful close. Not exactly.
I have wanted to clear my home of clutter and reorganize it for a long time. I begin one room, get distracted, begin again, get distracted (the initial distraction is usually my stomach telling me to book it to the kitchen for a snack. You will soon see that my stomach is the boss), start another area, get distracted. So I finally began the Great Purge last week. And I purged…the coat closet. Hey, that’s a start, right?
And because I said this blog was birthed in large part to encourage accountability and self-discipline, I am going to document Le Purge (la?) beginning with the silly coat closet. I can’t believe I’m doing this, but here are the before and after shots. It’s bad. Don’t think for a second I don’t know that.
Writing my first blog post — a little daunting, but very exciting! There are a couple reasons why I finally pulled the trigger and started my blog: 1) to share my cozy life with others and 2) to encourage accountability & self-discipline in my life.
A little more about that.