Veggie Velveeta Soup

There’s a Weight Watchers recipe that’s made it around the block here a couple times and it’s pretty good.  And since Sunday always seems like a soup day to me, I thought I’d whip some up since I had most of the ingredients on hand.

I decided to spice it up a bit (cuz beginning of the week is all about cleaning out what’s been in the fridge a little too long soooo…) here’s what I came up with for a delicious and souper (ha) satisfying bowl!

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Veggie Velveeta Soup

1 32 oz. Swanson low sodium chicken broth
12 oz. Velveeta (would have used 2% had I had some, could have sworn I picked some up)
12 oz. frozen broccoli florets
2 10 oz. cans Rotel mild tomatoes and chilis
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 T. minced garlic
1 bunch bok choy

Cooked until cheese was melted and veggies were tender!

If you like Velveeta cheese, I highly recommend this recipe.  Neither daughter would eat it, had too many vegetables in it, but the oldest dipped her chips into it saying it was “pretty good”.

Have a great rest of your weekend everyone!!

Liebster Award! What what?

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Sooo… I woke up this morning to find that Xiomara from It’s Friday let’s Bake had nominated my blog for a Liebster Award – how awesome is that?!!  Thank you so much Xiomara!

If you haven’t, please take the time to visit her blog and check out some of her gorgeous desserts and baked goods!  This fellow “Hoosier transplant” really knows how to make your mouth water!

I have to admit, I had to read up on what a Liebster Award was all about but now that I have a better idea, I’m so very excited to be nominated and look forward to other’s answers!


11 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME

  1.  I am an East Coast girl.
  2.  I have moved 12 times in my life.
  3.  My favorite vacation destinations are Disney World and Las Vegas.
  4.  I LOVE to cook and try new foods.
  5.  I have lost 80+ lbs. in three years.
  6.  I have never had a broken bone (knock on wood).
  7.  The best friend I have now, I’ve known since Kindergarten.
  8.  I met my significant other online.
  9.  I didn’t start eating green peppers until I was 43 years old.
  10.  My girls grew up in the same house that I grew up in.
  11.  I’m an only child.

11 QUESTIONS FOR ME:

Q. Why did you start blogging?  A. Originally I started blogging to write down things I didn’t want to forget, but some how it morphed into more of a food blog, hence the tag line about making up my mind.
Q. Assuming money was not an issue, what is the one thing you’re dying to do?  A. Travel.  I just want to travel.  Constantly, in every possible way to every possible place.  And safely! 
Q. What is one international food dish you would love to make or want to learn to make?  A. Sushi, that’s a pretty easy decision.  I’ve made it once and eh, it was ok, but I’d like to make different kinds and be proficient at making it.
Q. What’s your favorite style of music?  A. I like all types of music, but my favorite style would have to be Top 40 – whatever is popular at the time.  My all time favorite music is 1970’s music, but I don’t think that’s a “style”.
Q. What is your favorite season and why?  A. Spring.  I love the temperatures that spring brings and it really is a rebirth.  I feel like all things are possible in the spring.
Q. Do you have any pets? If no, are there any pets you would like?  A. Oh yes, we have a dog, 3 cats and a fish!  I love all animals, but we’re pretty much up to capacity here!  I have always wanted a horse and a pig though!
Q. What’s the most important thing in your life?  A. My relationship with my children and with my better half.  They are my reason for living.
Q. What is your favorite dessert?  A.  That’s a tough question.  My favorite desserts are ones with creamy fillings, creme brûlée, eclairs.  I don’t think there’s actually a dessert I would turn down.
Q. Can you bake? Do you like to bake?  A.  I can bake and I love to bake!  Baking is my favorite and I know it’s my kids favorite!  I love to bake cookies and cupcakes especially but I’m not very good at baking cakes from scratch.  I always think they come out too dense, I like light and fluffy. 
Q. What are your hobbies?  A.  I don’t know that I really have hobbies any more since I bounce from one thing to another like I have ADHD, but I love to cook, bake, experiment in the kitchen, I love to take photos, I like to travel and read.  Life is really busy right now, planning for college, a wedding, vacations…all hobbies in some capacity I suppose.
Q. What have you read or listened to recently that touched you?  A. I’m reading a lot about preparing your children to leave for college, I think the realization that that time is coming up quickly is touching me – hard!  I become teary eyed at the thought that my babies aren’t babies anymore!  It’s kinda scary!


11 QUESTIONS FOR MY NOMINEES:

  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. What is the theme of the blogs you follow the most?
  3. Whom do you feel has been the biggest influence in your life?
  4. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  5. What would be your last meal?
  6. If you could be known for one thing, what would it be?
  7. What was the last thing that made you really laugh out loud?
  8. If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
  9. Do you drink – beer, wine or liquor?  If so what?
  10. Do you think you’ll still be blogging 10 years from now?
  11. What’s your favorite thing to do when you have down time to yourself?

10 Liebster Award Nominations (in no particular order)!

https://greattastebuds.wordpress.com – warm kitchen; great food
https://spaulyseasonalservings.com/
https://inspirethemom.com – enjoying motherhood together
https://thecakechica.com – organic cooking; from scratch baking
https://noplatelikehome.com – inspiring tasty cooking & DIY for a busy life
https://grace2882.wordpress.com – living low carb for a healthier me!
https://sistersweetly.wordpress.com – living the sweet life one Saturday at a time
https://emotionalweightloss.wordpress.com – shedding the emotional blubber
https://cherichat.wordpress.com – marriage, mayhem and mirth
https://vanishingcoastalgeorgia.com – photographs by Brian Brown


The Official Rules Of The Liebster Award:

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award and you choose to accept it, write a blog post about the award and in it you will:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

  2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)

  3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.

  4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.

  5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1100 followers. (I’ve seen the number of followers vary)

  6. Create a new list of 11 questions for the nominated bloggers to answer.

  7. List these rules in your post, feel free to copy and paste from here.

Once you have written and published it, you must:

Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

Menu Monday

Just a word of advice for March, you can go ahead and cut the crap and start following suit with February.  She behaved herself and showed mercy; weather in the 60’s and 70’s, warm enough to play outdoors, ride bikes and to actually enjoy “winter”.  You can take your wind and the rest of your 20 degree days and stick ’em!  I’m really over you and we’re only a few days in…

Anyway, enough about controlling Mother Nature, let’s talk strategy.  I have approximately 20 lbs. to lose by June, to do so, I need to strategize something that’s actually going to work with my out of control eating – well, it’s not really out of control.  It’s more like, not consistent.  I go a couple days doing SO well and then – it’s on.  Sweets, wine, fast food even, just overeating in general, exercise slacks off, don’t drink my water, ya know…just fall back into the old habits which ensure that I do not lose a pound – ever.  Not really working for me.  The last week or so I’ve done fairly well, only 2 days of not eating properly and both coincide with my BMA* (baby making’ abilities).  Reality is, I do great for about two weeks out of the month and then I bomb the other two weeks, all because of my BMA.  I figured that out a while back and haven’t quelled it yet.

To stop making rushed decisions when I’m starving, I’ve decided to food prep.  I have tried it, but of course, follow through is needed and I’m very short on that.  I make it and then wind up eating something else.  I’m going give it another try and see if I’m successful at losing weight and eating what I make!  I’m working on making homemade chicken salad now, I’m going to boil some eggs, cut up some fruit and veggies and have it with some chicken broth.  I can and will do this!  I’ll take some photos as I go today and post them here later.

This is my dinner menu this week for the family.  Thought I’d share this as well, sometimes I wind up eating something different than I plan for them depending on the fat/carb content and especially if I chose to have a glass of wine while I cook dinner!

Beef Sunday: Tomato Beef Country Casserole

Fish/Seafood Monday: 20 Minute Honey Garlic Shrimp & Miso Wonton Soup

Pork Tuesday:  Low Carb Pork Loin Piccata

Chicken Wednesday: Jalepeno Popper Chicken

Ethnic Thursday: Thai Inspired Hot Dogs

Soup/Salad/Sandwich Friday: Baked Mustard, Ham & Cheese Sliders & Tomato Basil Soup

Eat Out or Kids Choice Saturday: No decisions or ideas yet!

This morning I’m taking the youngest to the clinic.  Last night she “fell” off the bed and hit the top of her foot on the nightstand hard enough to make it swell and give her a limp.  Just want to make sure it’s nothing serious.  Hope you all have a wonderful Monday!

xoxo

 

Show Me the Mickey!

Well – I’m doin’ it.  I’ve been in a rut long enough now.  Time to shake things up and git to gettin’ happy!

(First, I have to admit – I absolutely freaked out a little while ago.  My blood pressure went up, I started to shake and I felt like I was going to pass out, all because I updated the OS on my mac!  I started thinking about all the stuff I don’t have backed up!  Does anyone else do that?!?  Good Lord, I thought I would jump out of my skin waiting for this thing to update.  Thankfully, it’s all still here!  UGH!  Can you say heart attack!?!?  Yeah, not a good way to go out for sure!  Anyway…here’s my happy!)

The last couple nights, while lying in bed NOT being able to sleep, the gears were a-grindin’.  ‘What sounds good, fun, exciting!?’  I’ve been toying with the idea of a cruise for a while now.  It’s been FOREVER since I’ve been on one.  Just few months ago, I posed the question on my personal FB page, ‘what cruise line do you recommend?’ and after a few posts, I started my research there.  Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity were all mentioned – even Carnival, but I know better than that!  I started looking and pretty quickly thought I’d made a decision.  Then – somehow for some reason – Disney came to mind.

Now let me give a brief background here about my relationship with Disney.  I have a long term love affair with WDW that started when I was about 2.  I have always loved Disney, suffice it to say – a lot, whole bunches with my heart and soul.  I won’t go into too many details because I’ll start to get emotional and probably won’t be able to finish this post.  Over the last few years I allowed my love affair with Disney to die a peaceful death when my ex started going on a regular basis with his current wife.

There’s a LOT of sadness and a LOT of baggage there.  I mean, it was my most favorite vacation destination EVER!  But in the last 10+ years, I’ve been only once, for an afternoon, with my girls.  My youngest daughter’s face in the photo below tells you exactly how I felt about being there at the time.

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July 2007

But now, I’ve come to the realization that I’m tired of allowing the old to disturb the new, I’m sick of missing out on the fun and the good times, all because of something I can’t and couldn’t control.  I miss Disney, I miss the fun, the colors, the movies, the rides, the attachment to a place that was always so good to me, I miss the resorts, the food, the monorail, I miss the anticipation and excitement of planning, I miss the hospitality and I miss the awesome, personalized customer service!  Screw it, I’m not missing any more!  I started reading the cruise reviews and all of them are exactly like I left them 10 years ago – Top Drawer – without question – they are – the Premier in Pampering!  And by God, I am so ready to be pampered!!  My decision was made…but first I had to clear it with the gang.

I was a bit hesitant about approaching the 15 year old, as ya just never know.  It’s hit or miss during the teen years.  I was surprised when it was my 14 year old that was like, “eh, I don’t know Mom, that sounds kinda babyish”.  But then I hit her with the Teen Club thing and she was in.  As of this morning, I have everyone I need on board!  I’m in this and I’m so totally excited!!  My 15 year old said, “and you can get married on the ship!”  Say what did you say?!  Hey…yeah…we could do that!!  Because Disney’s all about making Fairy Tales come true!

xoxo

 

 

The SLow Down

Ah, February – the month of Love!  January did a fly by on my radar.  It was a busy month, full of emotionally charged days that I’m glad are past me.  I ate my way through the month and I’m currently trying to come down off the high of feeding my stress.  As I sit here typing this, I’m wishing I had on my pajama pants since my jeans have become less like clothing and more like a torture device.

My mother had her aortic aneurysm surgery in the middle of January and she did very well.   I can now say with certainty for a fact, I am not capable of taking care of her in any way, shape or form.  And I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.  The facts are as follows:

#1. She wants things the way she wants things and I am too much of a controlling person to be ok with that.

#2.  She’s not willing to help herself and I cannot feel responsible for that.

#3.  She does not trust me, never has, never will.

We are oil and water and a life and/or death situation does not change that fact. Those reasons are enough to fuel the fact that this type scenario will not – can not – take place again.

However, every rain cloud has a silver lining.  About 7 years ago when we moved to Indiana, we (I) gave away our dachshund and I’ve never really gotten over wanting another one (or feeling guilty that I gave him up).  Knowing this, the Better Half decided to buy me a new dachshund puppy as a late Christmas gift.  She is an absolute joy!  She’s adorable and so, so sweet!  My youngest daughter named her “Gretchen Wieners” but to simplify things a little bit, we call her ‘Indy’.  She, like most doxies, is a cuddle bunny, her favorite thing is to be held and snuggled.  She bunks with the oldest as she doesn’t have a “pet” other than her Betta fish, Bae and he’s too hard to snuggle with.

It’s been chaotic trying to potty train her and to keep up with everything else, but I have no doubt as things calm down and I can focus more attention on her she’ll have it in no time!  As they say, there are no bad dogs, only bad owners and I don’t want to be a bad owner!

It’s only the 1st, but I’ve already started working towards Valentine’s Day!  It’s one of my favorite days of the year. Here are some of the ideas I’m tacking for this Valentine’s Day.

Valentine Pretzel Buttons

Seven Days of Love, for both the Better Half & the girls

and because they know I love to make them, the girls requested my cut out sugar cookies, which I’m happy to do because really, who doesn’t love ❤️s?!

Yesterday I jumped in feet first and decided to experiment with my new silicone heart molds, I melted some Ghirardelli dark chocolate wafers and some Ghirardelli white chocolate wafers.  I put in the heart molds, pistachios, craisins, dates, toffee chips, mallow bits, rainbow & crystalized sugar sprinkles and then piped in my melted chocolate.  Placed them in the fridge for abut 30 minutes and boom!  Instant “homemade” chocolates!  Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!  You can see it here at No.2 Pencil!

I do hope you all have a beautiful and love filled February!  I hope to see more of the blog this month!!  (I’m saying that a lot these days, aren’t I?!)

Do what makes your heart happy!

xoxo

 

 

Chicken Salad Casserole

I’m making a classic chicken dish and I wanted to share it with you since I couldn’t find this particular version of the recipe online.  Although I’m almost positive it’s around here somewhere!  The versions I came across are mixed with more fattening options, such as condensed soups, sour cream, buttery crackers and potato chips!

So far I have done really well in 2017, cooking for the family and losing some unwanted Christmas poundage.  And I’m continuing on…

Tonight’s dinner is Chicken Salad Casserole from the American Heart Association Cookbook.  I have doubled the recipe since we have a family of 5 and not everyone’s on a diet!

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Chicken Salad Casserole
Makes 8 servings (about 7 cups)

1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. skim milk
4 c. cubed cooked chicken
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 8 oz. can mushrooms, drained
1 c. water chestnuts, chopped
1 c. onion, chopped
1 4 oz. jar sliced pimento, drained
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. thyme
Freshly ground pepper

Salt
1/2 c. fat free cheddar cheese
(I am adding to this recipe: salt, of course and some fat free cheddar cheese.  I know people don’t care for the taste of low fat or fat free “fake cheese” and that’s fine.  You can use full fat, it just ups the calories and fat content.)

In a 2 quart casserole, combine milk and mayonnaise; mix in all remaining ingredients except the cheese.  Cover and bake at 350* for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven sprinkle top with cheese and place back in oven uncovered until cheese melts and heated through.

Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 258
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13 g 20 %
Saturated Fat 2 g 12 %
Monounsaturated Fat 4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 63 mg 21 %
Sodium 528 mg 22 %
Potassium 143 mg 4 %
Total Carbohydrate 9 g 3 %
Dietary Fiber 1 g 6 %
Sugars 3 g
Protein 24 g 47 %
Vitamin A 13 %
Vitamin C 35 %
Calcium 12 %
Iron 4 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

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I thought this was delicious!  My kids however, thought the vegetables were a little overwhelming, but they did like the chicken!  I would have to agree, if I were a kid, I probably wouldn’t have liked it either.  But shhhh, cuz I didn’t tell them that!

xoxo

 

 

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annette spaniel

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