Happy Monday! I know Mondays aren't supposed to be terribly exciting days for most people, but after a weekend stuck inside with the snow and cold temps, I'm sort of glad to be back into a routine. Over the weekend I spent a lot of time catching up on magazines, I subscribe to Rebook, More, Real Simple, Ladies Home Journal and HGTV Living. They all seem to come in the mail at once so I take a nice break from the fictional world and fill my mind with endless tips, advice, breaking fashion news and innovative ways to clean my bathroom in 1.2 minutes. So, I was actually feeling a little giddy when The Husband agreed to go out for dinner, even if it was our nearby favorite little pub that we always go to. I think the fact that we had a gift card from Christmas might have swayed him a little . Come 6:00 p.m., I looked outside at the snow falling under the street light, as it had been for 24 continuous hours and said, "Do we really need to pile on the layers, including boots, hats, scarves and mittens to drive 5 minutes, take it off for an hour, repeat and come home?" Nah. We made a fire and had omelets for dinner.
I read about a neat phone application on Karianne's blog, Thistlewood Farm. It's called Waterlogue. You can turn pictures you've taken on your IPhone into beautiful works of art. This is my house in case you didn't recognize it. You can print these out on good paper and frame them if you want...how cool is that?
You can make portraits with plain old selfies taken in your bathroom as well. And pet lovers beware, you might end up doing a gallery wall of Fido! :)
As usual, my food comes out terrible in photos. Who cares, one day I'll photograph something beautiful and decadent, today we are doing ugly and healthy.
I found a soup recipe and it intrigued me because it called for pork...something you don't see a lot of in soups. It also had kale in it, and we all know what a superfood that is (including my dentist who raved about it when he popped a stray piece out between my teeth when he was cleaning them recently). But I wasn't too crazy about the rest of the recipe; the lack of veggies and the sort of blah seasonings. So I redid it, of course. I used lean ground pork, and since I was short on kale and long on spinach, I used that. Some celery, carrots and simple spices and we had a great soup last night. So in a nutshell, or your biggest pot...
Saute 1 large onion, chopped in 2 T. olive oil over low/medium heat. When soft, add 3 cloves of garlic, finally chopped. After a minute or so, add 1 lb. of ground pork. Raise heat to medium and stir, breaking up the meat as you go along. Now we are going to add the spices instead of after the broth...a little different but I like how it turned out. Add 2 t. of cumin, 2 t. of nutmeg, 1 1/2 t. of allspice, 1 T. of fennel seed, and 1 t. of red pepper flakes. If you don't have these spices in your cabinet, you should, they aren't scary. Start with the small 0.9 oz. jars. I find that cumin gives soups and stews so much depth, it makes everything taste richer. And using spices that you generally associate with baking add a level of surprise, like, "Hmmm...I can't figure out what this is but it is definitely good!" And then fennel seed...those are the little seeds you see in your Italian sausage and this brought out the flavor of the pork a little better. Now, let all this cook up together for a few minutes and then add 8 cups of chicken broth. Or you can use 6 cups with 2 cups of water, totally okay. The add a few chopped carrots and celery stalks. I like using the leafy ends of the celery, too. Bring that to a boil, stir well, and then turn it down low and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Add a few big handfuls of baby spinach (or kale) and simmer 5 more minutes. Add S & P to taste and adjust other seasonings if you'd like. I'm not a nutritionist by any means but does this not scream healthy? Let me know if you try this, we just loved it!
Well, everything wasn't totally healthy and happy around here this weekend. After feeling like a lout for lying around all day Saturday, I decided to get up and at 'em Sunday morning. I was going to break my sacred vow and actually do laundry on the weekend. And in between loads I would spend the day in the kitchen playing. Before I could even get in the shower, I had to walk around picking up newspapers and coffee cups, wet towels and paper plates. The kitchen sink was full, as well as the garbage can. Believe me, I nag about these things to The Husband and my darling daughter all the time. And they ignore me. So this time I resorted to yelling and stamping and trying to drive my point home. They stared at me while the dog started humping my leg. I slammed into my bedroom, jumped on my bed like a defiant teenager and grabbed my magazine. But I didn't want to read! I wanted to do my usual homemaker stuff. Insert pout here. I thought they'd do a little whispering and agree that in order to reinstate my sanity, they'd have to do a little clean up. Ha! Abby went to her boyfriend's house and The Husband went to pick up a new snow blower. Sigh.
I reread my cookie recipe a few times, looked longingly at the full laundry basket and knew in my heart of hearts, this was my calling. I can't stand a messy house and I don't like to nag. I know we all want appreciation, but should that be the motivating drive to do the best at what we do?
Well, I'm prone to these sudden outbursts once in a blue moon, and then I go back to taking care of everybody's needs. And so I started the laundry, made these yummy White Chocolate Dipped Red Velvet Cookies (scroll down to my last post for the link to the recipe). And I made the soup and tried my best to ignore The Husband's compliments on it, but inside I was like, YES! I am such a sap.
Day 25 on my low carb diet. No sugar. No flour. This was my lunch today along with a low carb milkshake. The honey ham goes so well with the saltiness of the olives. You discover clever ways to put together your meals. I use pieces of celery like Frito Scoops. There are a lot of creamy cheesy spreads out there and if you've ever stuck a spoon in a jar of peanut butter, than you know it doesn't always matter how things reach your mouth! :)
I'm making progress on the living room. Emily gave me the websites she uses a lot for clients to look at, and I found one with some great pieces that really caught my eye. The next day she came over for lunch and went through the coffee tables and end tables on this site, and she would point out how the legs of one table matched my fireplace screen, and the X's below a coffee table mimicked the ones on my corner cabinet. Well, I placed my order!! I was going to show you pictures from the website, but I'd rather show you everything completed at once. And then while we were out Friday, we stopped in Pier 1 just to look around. Easter stuff. Oh, how I love my bunnies. She made me put them back. But I did find curtains I liked and of course, they are very reasonably priced. Anddddd...I found Christmas napkins on clearance, white with red velvet trim for $1.48 a piece! And the matching runner was $6.00! I NEVER find deals like that! So I came home with just those Christmas things and I am going to go back for the curtains when my blinds are installed. So, we are making progress with the living room. Our friends Craig and Snow came over for cocktails Thursday night and they were remarking how pretty the room looked. Now, Snow and I were sitting on a sofa with no cushions (they are still being re-stuffed), there is no coffee table; I gave that to Emily. The only decorations I have out are some half dead poinsettia plants and a dish of conversation hearts. And to think I have been fussing all this time.
Have a great week, we are heading back to the single digits, 11 degrees now. But I have lots more laundry to keep me busy. And by the way, stop by for some of those cookies...I have been a very good girl and haven't touched not a one! :)
Joining Brenda at Cozy Little House for Tweak It Tuesday.