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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Baked Spaghetti Squash Marinara

Happy Valentine’s Day week! Robert and I have tried a variety of Valentine’s Day traditions over the years, fancy dinners out, homemade dinners in and of course the memorable year I tried to make Robert’s favorite cheesecake from scratch in my ancient apartment oven which turned out decently tasty but horribly cracked and ugly. This year we will be volunteering at a charity gala for a local foundation that raises money for children with disabilities. The Heart Ball is a black tie affair with dinner, dancing and several auctions. I’m excited to help with such a worthy cause, and seeing my handsome husband in a tuxedo is always an added bonus Winking smile

 Final

If I was a good blogger I would have a heart shaped recipe to share with you right now…or at the very least something pink/chocolate/covered in sprinkles. Instead I have a yummy veggie centric dinner recipe that is not Valentine’s related in the slightest…although it is red so maybe I can get partial credit?

Mushrooms and Marinara Mixed

Meatballs melted cheese

This recipe can easily be made meat free and is delicious that way, but Robert prefers his with a little extra protein. I have done it with grilled chicken, sausage and even my favorite easy meatballs, which is how we have been enjoying it lately. If you aren’t of the carnivore variety, I suggest beefing up the extra vegetables, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant and onion would be a great combination. Like my zucchini noodles, this is another non-recipe type recipe. It is slightly more prep intensive but doesn’t require a spiralizer. So if you are in the neighborhood for a pasta substitute without purchasing any additional gadgets, this recipe may be the one for you.

Spaghetti Squash Top Off

Cut Open halves

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Zucchini Noodles and Meatballs

Apologies in advance for the pictures in this post. Photography is NOT one of my strengths but these are probably worse than usual. Then again, how great can pictures of a kitchen appliance and vegetable ribbons really be? If your answer is “way better than those!” I know, kindly keep it to yourself please and thank you.

On top of being a bad photographer, I have also not been a very good blogger lately. Life has been insanely busy and I just haven’t had the time to devote to sitting down and writing a post. This makes me sad because I really enjoy writing this little blog. In my perfect world the day would be a few hours longer (and I would have a little more energy, a lot more crafting prowess, a never ending supply of perfectly ripe avocados AND be a professional photographer). But alas, there are only 24 hours in a day which means life often takes precedence. Sometimes I guess you have to be a bad blogger to be a good wife/friend/employee/puppy-mommy Smile.

So, I won’t beat myself up about it, and instead I’ll just vow to try to devote more time to my blog when I can, but not at the expense of all the fun (and some not so fun) life things I’ve been doing lately…like planning a baby shower and wedding shower for sweet friends, furniture shopping (yay), playing with my favorite furball, and working on some very exciting and fulfilling personal projects (more on those laterWinking smile).

Renly
Favorite Furball

So remember these meatballs from last week? They have become a staple at my house during this busy time. Making diverse, healthy dinners for Robert and I is a priority for me. Since time is so limited, I am typically a mono-eater during both breakfast and lunch during the week. Yes, that is a real word. I read it in a food (or maybe fitness?) magazine years ago and it stuck with me at the time because it reminded me so much of Robert. A mono eater eats the same thing (or same type of food) regularly with little to no variation. Before I started packing his lunches for him, Robert would eat the exact same sub from Subway, every.single.day. for lunch. When we were dating I thought this was the most bizarre habit around, how could you go into a restaurant every day and never want to try something different? I mean he literally ate the exact same sub with the exact same toppings EVERY DAY! Ham, American cheese, black olives and spinach with mustard, oil and vinegar. I think those ingredients will be engraved onto my brain until the day I die. His excuse was always that he was so busy during the work day and had so little time for lunch, that it was just easier and faster to order the same thing. Robert’s mono-eating became kind of a running joke between us and our friends but if I’m being totally honest, I have to take back all the fun I poked at him, because either he’s rubbed off on me or I’ve turned into a major creature of habit in my old age because the mono-eater club now officially has it’s second member.

Zoodles and Meatballs

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Italian Sausage & Beef Meatballs

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! I am excited to have the day off from work to write, cook, catch up on chores and perhaps run a few errands. Before my trip to the gym this morning I took a few minutes to read a few articles and reflect on the day. I love reading all of Dr. King’s quotes that circulate the internet this time of year. What an eloquent, articulate and truly inspirational human being. This morning I found an article that listed some of Dr. King’s lesser known quotes, and I found this one particularly meaningful,

“ True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring”.

This quote resonates with me on many levels right now, both personally, professionally and even with memories of our recent trip to San Francisco where despite the beautiful landscapes, bright tourist attractions and thriving city life, we encountered SO many homeless individuals. Several times, I caught myself thinking, Wow, what can they do to help these people? Why don’t they seem to be doing more? And then, as we explored the city I would see the lines of men, women and children winding around blocks to get into the shelters and think, How do you fix a problem this big?

I think Dr. King was trying to express that putting a band aid on a problem is not enough, and to be truly compassionate, you must consider what you can do to eliminate the problem from the ground up. I think about this often at work as I encounter children with ever widening gaps in their knowledge. Do I use the quick fix and teach them the meaning of an unknown word? Or try something a bit more difficult and instead teach them how to use a dictionary? Or better still, do I try to teach them the importance of reading something new each day to continually expand both their vocabulary and their minds? This type of thinking is not the easy route and is definitely the road less traveled, but it is necessary to fix the broken parts of our education system, and our society as a whole.

So there is my 2 cents Smile In exchange for reading I will also provide you with a yummy, easy and very versatile meatball recipe. And a close up picture of my dog looking rather forlorn. You’re welcome.

 Ren 3

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