Lemon Dill Chicken Orzo Soup

I am going through a soup season in life right now. I have always been partial to soup but lately I have really been craving warmth. Fuzzy slippers, flannel pants, seat heaters, you name it. I’ve never been big on hot tubs (aesthetically or hygienically) but I’ve recently found myself day dreaming about them on more than one occasion. This can maybe be attributed to the fact that after replacing our hot water heater upon moving in, our shower, much to my dismay, just doesn’t get very hot 😦 Is there anything worse than a ‘warm’ shower? The answer to this is of course yes, there are about a million worse things and this is a total first world problem…I know…. but when I’m standing under that less-than-hot spray, the burn your feet off jacuzzi day dreams come on STRONG.

Veggies

So, if I can’t have a hot shower, at least I can have hot soup, right? Or perhaps I can use the hot soup to bribe my husband into calling the plumber again. You reading this babe? I think I’m on to something.

This soup is loosely based on a recipe my mom clipped out of the newspaper and became obsessed with a few years back. Hers was delicious, but I think mine is heartier. If you aren’t into orzo you could use rice (or pearl cous cous) and it would still be equally as yummy. The feta is also optional but adds a little something something I would hate to see go.

Soup with Feta
Beautiful? No. Delicious? Yes.

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Maine! And Homemade Seafood Stock

It’s Wednesday! Hooray!

Ok, so Wednesday’s aren’t always the most exciting, BUT this one is pretty great. In just a few hours I’m flying to Maine for a long weekend with my college roommates Anna and Michelle!

red-hot-chili-peppers
Probably the most recent picture I have of just the three of us! Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in 2012!

We have been trying to plan a reunion/girls trip for at least two years so the fact that it is finally happening is pretty exciting. The fact that we are going to Maine, all as first timers, is also pretty exciting. We are flying into Portland, spending the night and then driving up to Bar Harbor for the remainder of our trip. We have a rough itinerary but would welcome any suggestions! I’m ready to eat all the lobster rolls and Maine blueberry pancakes my little heart can handle!

Segue time…. speaking of lobster rolls and fresh Maine seafood, how about a recipe for homemade seafood stock?

ingredients

So a few weeks ago, the beautiful island we call home was the unfortunate landing locale for Hurricane Matthew. The governor called for a mandatory evacuation, which we reluctantly followed, and it was a little terrifying  quite an adventure.

tree
Robert cutting the tree off of our house and simultaneously giving me a heart attack

Robert, his parents, Renly and I all evacuated to our Aunt Teen’s house which is just off the island. She had a generator (lifesaver) and welcomed us and all three dogs into her home. After 4 days together with no power/AC or phone service, she deserves a medal!

hurricane-team
The whole gang! Before we lost power…

Now, this was my first hurricane evacuation, and packing the morning before we left was nerve wracking. Its amazing how little most of your stuff actually means to you in a situation like that. My bag basically consisted of comfy yoga pants, plenty of underwear and our wedding and travel albums. It took me all of 5 seconds to throw together and then it was time to worry about the important stuff: Food.

I packed all the non-perishables we had in the pantry and then made a few careful selections from the freezer knowing that we would probably lose power and all of our food (which we did). *side note: food gone bad was a VERY small price to pay compared to others who had extensive damage to their homes.

Our careful selections: Air-dried sausage that my grandparents bring us and I use sparingly because it is the best sausage ever; a bag of boiled peanuts (Robert’s choice) and last but certainly not least, several pounds of shrimp Robert caught this summer that we were saving for a special occasion. No special occasion like a hurricane party eh?

shrimp-shells
A small portion of our bounty

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Creamy Cucumber Soup

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! I loved visiting with my parents and we all had a fabulous 4th!

 Family

After spending the day roaming around town with my parents on Friday, we grilled out at home for dinner and then took the boat to get ice cream with Robert’s whole family. On Saturday we had a fantastic cookout on his sister’s new porch and watched the annual neighborhood 4th of July golf cart parade. All the kids in the neighborhood decorate their bikes, scooters golf carts and then caravan around the neighborhood and throw out candy while everyone watches from their lawns. This was my first year experiencing it but I thought it was such a cute tradition!

GC Parade GC Parade 2

It rained Saturday evening which was kind of a bust and delayed a lot of the fireworks, but we did manage to catch a few and enjoyed our time together nonetheless.

Festive Family
My adorably festive Aunt & Mother in Law

On Sunday my parents and I took a day trip to Savannah to celebrate my dad’s birthday in one of his favorite cities. He used to travel to Savannah often for work so he toured us around the city and then we came home and met Robert for a casual dinner out. Happy 61st Dad!

 Dad's Bday

I am missing my parents already but I am happy to do a bit of detoxing after a weekend full of barbeque, birthday margaritas and red white and blue desserts. Fun, delicious and oh so worth it, but it IS nice to get back on track.

Remember those herb pots my mother was bringing down, aren’t they great looking?

 Herb Pots

She had my dad make these cute wine cork labels, which I thought were adorable and will probably be replicating in the future.

 Cork Markers

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Lighter Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I don’t think anyone actually celebrated on the 17th this year, sorry Tuesday, no one really appreciates a holiday falling on you. Our annual parade and accompanying festivities took place last weekend. Robert and I did not partake in any green beer drinking this year as we were busy with wedding festivities for our dear friends Mark and Lindsay. Despite predictions of storms all weekend, their wedding was sunny and absolutely beautiful! Lindsay made a stunning bride and every detail of their ceremony and reception was absolutely perfect, I wish I had taken more pictures!

Wedding 1  Wedding 2

Sunday was a day of recuperation and chores, nice and necessary all at the same time. I would likely have forgotten St. Patrick’s day was coming up if it hadn’t been for all the corned beef recipes popping up as I planned our meals for the week.  I love corned beef, but I typically only make it once a year (now) and when I do I use my slow cooker, so it’s not much of a recipe worth sharing. Luckily, I DO have another recipe worth sharing, and it’s green!

 BC Soup

I found this recipe in my last issue of Cooking Light and decided it was the perfect green detox dinner after a weekend of wedding festivities. I have made several different broccoli cheddar or cream of broccoli soups in the past and liked those recipes, but this one intrigued me as it used cooked brown rice blended with chicken broth and milk in place of heavy cream/butter/flour. Strange as it sounds, it worked beautifully and I can’t wait to experiment with it in other recipes.

 Cream Sauce close up

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Lentil Sausage and Kale Soup

Happy Tuesday! They announced that school was cancelled last night due to forecasts of “freezing rain” this morning. It has rained most of the day, but it certainly doesn’t appear to be freezing and my drive to the gym this morning was perfectly safe and uneventful (thankfully). I guess the district would rather be safe than sorry and hey, I’m ALWAYS up for a (faux) snow day, especially when it’s announced the night before so I can prepare to sleep in appropriately Smile

I’m not the only one who was excited to have the day off, Renly also enjoys any and every excuse to sleep in. Especially if he is lucky enough to do it in our bed.

 Ren and Robert

In addition to cuddling with Renly since it’s too cold to play outside, I’ve spent my day at home packing, finishing laundry and preparing for the rest of the week. I also FINALLY uploaded our California pictures so those recaps will be coming soon! I leave tomorrow after work for the South Carolina Speech and Hearing Conference in Myrtle Beach. Although the prospect of a solo road trip is not the most heartening, I am excited to learn something new during the sessions and even MORE excited to catch up with my girlfriends from graduate school who will be in attendance. I will return from the conference late Friday evening only to turn around and leave again on Saturday for a wedding. Whew, I’m a little tired just thinking about all that driving!

Anytime I know I will be out of town for a few days, I go on a mission to empty our fridge to the best of my ability. This means I bought limited groceries this week and am making good use of our freezer contents. Robert tends to eat out when I am away unless I leave him leftovers. Since I hate the thought of him eating a sad fast food burger three nights in a row I decided to thaw out some lentil and sausage soup I made a few weeks ago. A few years ago Robert would have turned his nose up at the mere mention of lentils, probably because he wouldn’t have had a clue what they were. Thanks to his green food loving wife (ahem me) his tastes have broadened considerably and he raved about this soup when I made it. This recipe was a “throw everything in the fridge into a pot” experiment that turned out very very right. Fortunately, I jotted down the ingredients after tasting it, unfortunately, I didn’t take any step by step photos because I wasn’t sure it would be share-worthy. But I’m not sure you really need any pictures of diced onions or chopped carrots, those should be pretty self explanatory. If you REALLY need a visual for torn kale, Google image search has some nice options Winking smile

I DID take a picture of the final product…tada!

 Soup 2

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