Sunday, October 7, 2012

Savory Cheese Soup

Look at me. Cookin' up a storm. I'm pretty excited that cold weather is coming/somewhat here. I'm decided that I don't want to live with regrets, and one regret that I have is that last winter I just did not utilize soup or hot chocolate the way it should be. So I'm repenting. :) 

Anywho, I'm on the hunt for some good ones. My bro and sis-in-law gave me a recipe book for Christmas last year and I was looking through today and thinking, what looks good that also only includes ingredients that I currently have in my house. And I found this one. So I tried it and whala! (How on earth do you spell whala by the way?) This was actually quite tasty. Tasty enough that I will actually make it again? YES! And tasty enough that I will even eat the leftovers tomorrow? YES! (And that's actually saying a lot...)  So if you want to enjoy, here's the recipe.
**And I also just had to note. Remember that post further down where I was trying to grow some things? Well most of it didn't work. However, the carrots did and I used my own window-sill grown carrots for the soup! Go me.

Savory Cheese Soup1/4 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups milk
1 can (14.5 oz) vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Minced chives, optional
In a large saucepan (3 qt.), sauté onion in butter until tender. Add the flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder, stir until smooth. Gradually add milk; cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Meanwhile, bring broth to a boil in a saucepan. Add carrot and celery; simmer for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add to milk mixture and stir until blended. Reduce heat; add cheeses. Cook and stir until melted (do not boil). Garnish with chives if desired. Yield: 4 servings

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Finally, it's Fall... :)

And thus begins the best months of the year. The leaves and colors are incredible this year.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I wish I had a house elf...

But I don't. Someday...
Anyway, I've been in the mood lately for some new recipes. Bored with the same old stuff. So in my attempt to try some new things, I thought I'd share what I find in order to spread the joy or to help avoid the misery. Whatever the case may be. And maybe I'll inspire some of you to share some of your joy with me (in either the form of recipes or actual food. I am not picky!!!)

Today's attempt: Creamy Turkey 'N Broccoli

Creamy Turkey 'N Broccoli
2 pks. (6 oz. each) stuffing mix
2 cans French Fried onions
2 pkg. (10) oz. frozen broccoli cuts, thawed and drained
2 pkg. (1 1/2 oz.) durkee cheese sauce mix
2 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
4 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken
Prepare stuffing mix, stir in 1 can onions (1 1/2 c.). Spread stuffing over bottom of 9 x 13 greased casserole dish. Arrange broccoli cuts around the dish. Prepare cheese sauce mix using 2 cups milk, stir in sour cream. Combine turkey and cheese sauce, mix well. Pour mixture over broccoli. Bake, covered, 350° for 60 minutes. Sprinkle remaining onions over chicken and bake 5 minutes.

Verdict: Good.
Is this going to absolutely change your world? Most likely not.
My analysis: If I make this again, I would probably use chicken instead of turkey as I prefer chicken to turkey. I did half it in making it and still didn't use as much broccoli or french fried onions in it as it calls for. It just seemed to already have enough. I think it's possible that probably my favorite thing about this dish is the stuffing on the bottom. I do love me some stuffing. Makes me think somewhat of a zucchini casserole recipe my sister gave me. I probably prefer that just a little bit. But all in all, this was good.
Would I make it again: Sure, but probably not going to be a new regular favorite.

Friday, April 13, 2012

All the things a good homeowner should do

Well, I'm so terriffic at keeping this thing updated. So, I figured I could show a little bit of what I've been up to. Those good things that keep us ol' homeowners busy and going.

I have very much been wanting to grow things. Since I can't really plant outside (downside of condo) I decided to fill my nice big window seats with planter boxes. And it's turning out quite well!

How they're looking today!

And, the other thing I've wanted for quite some time is a grill! And wahoo I finally got one!

The sad thing is, I actually haven't really grilled before. I think I've done hamburgers once. So, I decided to give it a good little try. Potatoes, carrots, and onions in the tinfoil and chicken straight on the grill. Adventurous!

And it actually turned out quite tasty. Who wants to be my friend right now. :)

So there are a few of the things going on in this household!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My house!

So I've remembered that although I did post some pictures of my new place on facebook, not everyone has facebook! :) So, I am going to remedy the situation and finally post some on here. I really am loving my new place. It feels very much like home and has from the beginning. I think most everything has a place now. And I did realize that I don't have any pictures of the outside. I guess you'll just have to visit to see that! Anyway, I did paint the entire house (Okay, it's a condo. Whatever.) and also recarpeted. Whew. It was A LOT of work. But well worth it. Thanks to all those that helped me with it. So I decided to post a few before and after pictures, so you can appreciate just how great it is. :) Enjoy!

BEFORE - The kitchen

BEFORE - The living room
BEFORE - The master bedroom

BEFORE - the 2nd bedroom

AFTER - The Kitchen

AFTER - the master bedroom

AFTER - 2nd bedroom

AFTER - living room

AFTER - Living room/into the kitchen (as you walk in the front door)

Feel free to come visit anytime!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

God Bless Uville

Every U down in Uville liked U.S. a lot,
But the Binch, who lived Far East of Uville, did not.
The Binch hated U.S.! the whole U.S. way!
Now don't ask me why, for nobody can say,
It could be his turban was screwed on too tight.
Or the sun from the desert had beaten too bright

But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
But, whatever the reason, his heart of his turban,
He stood facing Uville, the part that was urban.
"They're doing their business," he snarled from his perch.
"They're raising their families! They're going to church!
They're leading the world, and their empire is thriving,
I MUST keep the S's and U's from surviving!"

Tomorrow, he knew, all the U's and the S's,
Would put on their pants and their shirts and their dresses,
They'd go to their offices, playgrounds, and schools,
And abide by their U and S values and rules,
And then they'd do something he liked least of all,
Every U down in Uville, the tall and the small,
Would stand all united, each U and each S,
And they'd sing Uville's anthem, "God bless us! God bless!"
All around their Twin Towers of Uville, they'd stand,
And their voices would drown every sound in the land.

"I must stop that singing," Binch said with a smirk,
And he had an idea -- an idea that might work!
The Binch stole some U airplanes in U morning hours,
And crashed them right into the Uville Twin Towers.
"They'll wake to disaster!" he snickered, so sour,
"And how can they sing when they can't find a tower?"

The Binch cocked his ear as they woke from their sleeping,
All set to enjoy their U-wailing and weeping,
Instead he heard something that started quite low,
And it built up quite slow, but it started to grow --
And the Binch heard the most unpredictable thing...
And he couldn't believe it -- they started to sing!
He stared down at Uville, not trusting his eyes,
What he saw was a shocking, disgusting surprise!

Every U down in Uville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any towers at all!
He HADN'T stopped UVille from singing! It sung!
For down deep in the hearts of the old and the young,
Those Twin Towers were standing, called Hope and called Pride,
And you can't smash the towers we hold deep inside.
So we circle the sites where our heroes did fall,
With a hand in each hand of the tall and the small,
And we mourn for our losses while knowing we'll cope,
For we still have inside that U-Pride and U-Hope.

For America means a bit more than tall towers,
It means more than wealth or political powers,
It's more than our enemies ever could guess,
So may God Bless America! Bless Us! God Bless!


Ten years ago today, tragedy struck our nation. As I think many people are doing, I remember exactly where I was and I remember watching the twin towers collapse live on TV. It was a time that will be talked about in history classes and discussed decades down the road. And I lived it. I really believe it was a defining moment in the history of the United States. One of it's many. And as I reflect, I remember the response of the people of the United States and I'm reminded why a deep fire of patriotism blazes in my heart. Because of what this country truly is.

I think many things in the last few years have gotten in the way of remembering what our country is, what it was founded upon, and the greatness of the people that live here. It truly is awe-inspiring to remember the bravery, the courage and the great humanity in the responses of the citizens of the United States. Firefighters and police officers, cilivians in the street and so many others. Terrorists thought that by attacking us, they might destroy us. But they can't destroy something that is deep within the hearts of so many people. (Hence, why I re-posted someone's version of Dr. Suess with God Bless Uville).

The greatest thing about it that I really remember is how much people came together and how much people turned to God. I loved what Tom Brokaw said, about the song "God Bless America" becoming the unofficial anthem of the attacks on Sept. 11th. "It bound together a nation in need of a common voice. Today with arms outstretched to one another and hands willing to serve, American has come together once again. May it ever be so." I get frustrated with the petty differences we allow to divide us and divert us from our true course. And I get frustrated with myself that I do the exact same thing. And I pray to a loving Heavenly Father that He will watch over and guide us and that we will stand together as a people. That no matter what the world may throw at us, we will remember the foundation upon which we are built. The foundation of inspired and honorable men who laid the beginnings of this nation, under God, as a place of liberty and freedom. And the foundation of men and women who have continually given their lives throughout the years to protect something that is so dear and precious. And most importantly, the foundation laid by God, under whom this nation was built, to serve Him and follow Him. Because if we lose sight of that, as I fear this nation is starting to do, I don't want to see what's going to happen.

As the stormclouds gather, far across the sea
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free.
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a song of prayer

God bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with the lights from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam
God bless America, my home sweet home.
God bless America, my home sweet home.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I had a moment today....

I was in a session today with a client and it was a pretty emotional day. The poor little guy has been through a lot and recently got moved from a not great situation to a much better situation. Despite that, it's been hard and today was an emotional today. He sat on my couch and just cried and cried and said things like, "You're not trying to help me. Nobody is trying to help me. You just don't understand." As I sat there, my heart ached for him. For one, that he has to feel the pain. For another, that he can't see at the moment how much this better situation is going to help his life. But I knew he wouldn't be able to see that right now. The pain sometimes is just too much. So I sat there and all I could do was say, "I know you're really mad right now and I'm sorry you're hurting. I'm sorry you feel like nobody understands or is trying to help." Because I do know that someday, he will understand and he'll realize how what has happened was made as a decision to improve his life.
Afterwards, I was trying to wind down a little because the emotion of it is hard for me too. I was talking to a co-worker about it and was struck with a realization and a feeling. And I realized I had the opportunity to catch a small glimpse of what Heavenly Father must go through sometimes. How often have I cried to Him, "This is what needs to happen. Why aren't you helping me?" And He sits there and listens. And His heart breaks a little because my heart is breaking. And maybe he tears up a little like I did because it's not fun to see a child, and His child, in such pain. But He's not going to change what is happening because He knows that despite my pain right now, this is so that my life can be better.
I know that I will continue to have my moments of struggle and heartache. But thank you Heavenly Father for giving me that small glimpse of the bigger picture to help me out.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Do you ever feel stuck....

And it seems like everybody around you is moving forward? And no matter how hard you try, you might as well be in quick sand because no matter the effort you just seem to be sinking?

Maybe I should write a song. Hmmm. But then it would probably have to be a country one....

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Wll, it actually happened. I went to Europe. Crazy. But it was incredibly awesome. Sadly, I am slow at posting pictures and anything about it. It could take a while to really get many details, so I'll start by just posting a bit of an overview!

First, we went to Paris, France. Then on to Munich, Germany where we were able to see some of the surrounding country as well. Next came Salzburg, Austria and then on to Switzerland. Last but not least - Italy!

Notre DameThe Louvre
Eiffel Tower
Munich, Germany
New Town Hall - Munich, Germany
Dachau Concentration Camp
The crematorium at Dachau
Hohenschwangau Castle - Schwangau, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle - Schwangau, GermanyAustria - a little famous house there :) The Gazebo - Salzburg, Austria

Mirabel Gardens - Salzburg, AustriaHallstatt, Austria Hallstatt, Austria
Swiss Temple

Bern, SwitzerlandBern, Switzerland

A cool little castle in Switzerland - with a real moat! Venice, ItalyGrand Canal - Venice, Italy
Rialto Bridge - Venice, Italy

Grand Canal - Venice, Italy

St. Mark's Basilica - Venice, Italy

Il Duomo - Florence, Italy

Baptistery doors - Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio - Florence, Italy

Florence skylineThe Colosseum - Rome, Italy

Roman Forum

The Pantheon - Rome

Trevi Fountain - RomeSt. Peter's Basilica - Vatican City