Monday, May 6, 2013

Spring Vegetable Soup [aka Spring Head-Cold Soup]

I love spring. I think it is my favorite season. Especially late spring where it is almost summer but not quite and you can start eating outside again, wear dresses and flip flops, open the windows.... Yep, I love it.

However, I do not like spring head know the kind that starts out as allergies and then turns into a full-blown head cold? Yeah....I have that. So today, this rainy spring Monday, as I sniffle my way round the house, I decided to make soup.

Spring Vegetable Soup
This is probable the easiest soup you will make....well actually most soup is pretty easy, but I promise this one you don't even measure and it takes 10 mins. I will give you a list of ingredients you can use but you can decide how much of each you're feeling that day. It's happy soup because of all the bright green veggies and the corn adds a sweetness. You could even add ravioli for a heartier bowl. 

Olive Oil
Sweet Onion
Chopped Garlic
Oregano (fresh or dried)
Celery (especially the leafy parts)
Fresh Green Beans
White Corn (cut straight off the cob if you have it)
Chopped Tomatoes (canned or fresh)
Vegetable Broth
Salt & Pepper

Heat up a drizzle of olive oil and the garlic in a pot at medium heat. Add the veggies (except the tomatoes) to the pot as you chop them. Add a tiny sprinkle of salt to help the veggies "sweat" some of their liquid. Let them cook until the broccoli starts to look bright green. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the oregano and pepper. Pour in the broth. Bring to a simmer and add salt to taste. 

Serve in big bowls with crusty cheese toast and a cup of tea.


Proud [weekend] Moments

This weekend was full of joyful and proud moments for me...

 My littlest sister got into a study abroad program in Australia for next year! She and Australia are meant to be... I've always felt they would go well together and now she gets to GO!!! So proud of her! She also rocked 2 job interviews this weekend, including 1 that she has been wanting to get for a while. 

My other little sister is now halfway to being a nurse! She just completed her first [insane] year of a very competitive nursing programs and I am so proud of her! She is going to be one of those nurses that patients request if possible because she's that awesome. 

One of my best friends and college roommates completed her first full marathon (before me by the way and she always referred to me as "trackstar") up in her hometown in the redwoods. So proud and excited for her! I can't wait to run Birthday Ragnar 2014 with her on my team!

This one is more of an exciting moment than a proud moment...though I am proud to be friends with this wonderful dear friend Megan and her husband are having a BABY!!! Beautiful Megan has muscular dystrophy but that has never stopped her from doing everything she can dream of and now that includes being a mom! They are going to be wonderful parents! Can't wait to meet the little peanut! 

Lastly... what I am most excited and proud of and the thing that I got to make this event invite for... N is GRADUATING!!! As in done-with-school-forever if he wants. He's got to make it through finals this week so pray for him if you think of it... and then we get to celebrate next weekend with a BBQ and pool-floating.

All very exciting stuff happening around here!


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Coconut Oil Brownies [high-alt recipe]

Don't you want to just faceplant into this deliciousness?

I've been on the Coconut Oil bandwagon for about a year now. It started with popcorn and stir-fry, then soon became my go to moisturizer for winter-cracked skin and lips, then added to baking soda for spa worthy face masks as well as a deep conditioner for my hair...and now this. In my brownies. As a substitute for BUTTER (my sister and I get all Paula Dean with butter especially in baked goods so this is big!) But oh this is good stuff right here.

I LOOOVVEE chocolate and coconut together and the coconut oil adds just a hit of it's flavor so I'm a go with that. Also coconut oil is overall better for you so when I  you eat 5 of these brownies  you won't feel as guilty. So from now on brownies made with coconut oil will always be a yes for this girl.

(Oh and this is a High-Altitude recipe since we need that sort of thing here in Flag. I don't know why I haven't posted more h.alt. recipes on here since its such a big part of cooking up here...I'll try to give you more of them if you are interested.)

Coconut Oil Brownies [h. alt.]
makes 9x9 pan. adapted from here.

1 cup White Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar (loosely packed)
3/4 cup Coconut Oil melted
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 eggs
7/8 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt (for a taste closer to "Salted Chocolate" use course sea salt)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix sugars, coconut oil, and vanilla in a large bowl until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time and mix each until combined.
Fold the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt into the sugar-egg mixture. Then fold in the chocolate chips.
Pour into a greased 9x9 pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blog Lovin'

I was trying to think of what to post on this lovely afternoon and I was drawing a blank so I headed over to some of my favorite blogs for some luck on the inspiration (though it did leave me wanting a both drink and cake form) so I thought I would share a list of the blogs I've been frequenting recently in no particular order...

How Sweet It Is - Awesome food blog that will leave you drooling and laughing at the same time...yes that is possible and not an attractive sight but sooo worth it.

The Fitnessista- This lovely lady will make you want to get your butt in the gym to work off all of the food from the previous blog but don't worry she makes it quick...not painless though.

dash and bella- This one has wonderful recipes, poetry, rants, and reminders of how life is better and more delicious when it's edges are free form and that crème fraîche goes with everything.

Mariannan- For when I don't know what to wear and am missing European living...

Darling Magazine
-This online magazine/blog space has refreshing articles and is like girl chat time. Their print magazines are gorgeous as well...

So that's what I have been reading recently... enjoy!


Monday, April 22, 2013

Prescott Birthday Weekend

With April being the Haystacks 2.0 birthday month and N's actual birthday was on Saturday...

...we celebrated with these insane cakebattericecream-funfetti-cakebatterwhippedcream-cupcakes (N's request) for breakfast...

...then jetted down to Prescott where we met up with the Haystacks 1.0 and friends...

...the boys did some of this (for over 40 miles!!!)

...and us girls did some of this (ran 9 miles uphill!!!+ shopping)

Then we went out to a fun dinner and had some (dry) chocolate cake with too many candles!

Cheers to Fun Birthdays and Wonderful Family.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up

With N being in school and me working for a school we still get the luxury of Spring Break! It officially started for us this weekend and we spent our time enjoying the warmer spring weather, the company of good friends, and celebrating the Irish with some good beer.

Here is our weekend wrap-up:
1. Went to Rendezvous twice for coffee with friends.
2. Did a Hiit circuit workout.  Six pack I'm coming for you!
3. Watched this movie. Sooo good!
4. Made this stew. Yum!
5. Celebrated St. Patty's day with Guinness and dancing with my favorite guy.


Irish Stout Stew... even better the next day! [It is also really hard to take an attractive photo'll just have to trust me on this one - it's REALLY good.]

In honor of my husband's Irish heritage...yes he is actually more Irish than Mexican if you can believe it...and of St. Patty's day, I make this delicious stew. This is the first stew of our married life and based on the reviews of a man who loves stews and pot pies it turned out pretty darn good.

It's a pretty basic recipe, and though we rarely eat red meat in this house, the beef stew meat was pretty tasty after simmering in beer and garlic for a couple hours.

I found the recipe here and adjusted it a little...I didn't add the mushrooms because neither of us have come to like them despite being told "When you grow up you will love them."[I guess we're not grown up yet because we are not fans.] I also only used 1 lb of meat and used unsalted vegetable stock to make it a little healthier and control the saltiness.  The rest of the adjustments you can see below...

Irish Stout Stew
adapted from Edible Ireland's recipe

1lb of cubed stewing beef
4 carrots cut thickly
1 med onion cut thickly
2 med potatoes cubed
2 tsp of chopped garlic
2 Tbl tomato paste
1 Tbl soy sauce (or Bragg's Aminos)
1 Tbl thyme
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 bottles of Stout beer (or Guinness)
3 cups of vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste

Pat the meat dry and sprinkle a little flour on it before browning it in a large pot with olive oil. Once browned remove the meat and add the vegetables with a little salt. Let these cook until the onions begin to look soft. Add the tomato paste, soy sauce, and thyme with a good amount of pepper and stir to coat the vegetables well. Let these cook for about 2 more minutes and then use a bit of the beer to deglaze the pan. Add the meat back in, 1 bottle of beer (save the other half bottle for the end), the stock and the bay leaves. Bring this to a low boil covered and then reduce the heat to a simmer and let it simmer for 2 hours uncovered. As it is simmering, stir it occasionally and add a little water or more stock if it starts to look dry. You will know it is done when the meat pulls apart easily and it is thick. At the very end add the last 1/2 bottle of beer, let it get hot, and then serve.

What did you do for St. Patty's day?


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