Friday, June 24, 2011

recipe of the week: chicken cordon bleu soup

i'm not necessarily a 'soup in the summer' girl
but last week was a bit cooler (low 90s...haha)
and anthony said to "surprise him" for dinner one night

a few months ago i'd spotted a recipe for this soup online
and have seen a few variations
but (as usual) decided to create my own rendition of it


so, here's my spin on chicken cordon bleu soup!

chicken cordon bleu soup

makes 6 1-cup servings
nutritional info and printable recipe can be found here

2 tbsp olive oil
4-5 chicken tenderloins, cut into cubes
½ large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
½ cup white wine (i used sauvignon blanc)
2 ½ cups chicken broth
85 ounces diced cooked ham (i used ½ a package of trader joe’s rosemary ham)
3 stalks celery, diced
½ tsp white pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
--if not using rosemary ham, which is admittedly pretty specialized, 2 tsp rosemary should add the right amount if flavor--
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup skim milk*
4 slices of swiss cheese, cubed (OR 3 slices of swiss and 1 slice havarti)

heat olive oil in large pan
add cubed chicken, heat until pink is cooked out

add garlic and onion, sauté for 5 minutes

add wine, reduce (about 3 minutes)

add chicken broth, ham, celery and spices. bring to a boil

while waiting for the broth mixture to boil, in a second (medium) pot, mix cream, milk and cheese. heat until cheese is melted

pour cheese mixture into the broth mixture

reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes

we found pita bread an excellent side for this soup, and i also cooked some edamame for the table.
anthony liked this soup enough to have 3 bowls! I loved it too, but tried to refrain from more than another ½ serving since i AM watching my calorie intake!

this is definitely staying in the rotation, and i am thrilled that it’s not horrid as far as calories/fat go. *i played around with the cream/milk mixture on sparkpeople until i got it down to where i was happy. i'm sure that using fully cream like most of the recipes i searched online would be fantastic, but truly i didn’t miss the fat and calories added by that…and the flavor was incredible as it was!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

hey it's ok (tuesday) 6.21.11

hey, it's ok be perfectly ok with the toddler tunes channel until farmer jason comes on sometimes only get out of bed because you know you can take a nap later on in the day be excited that the family you nanny for just joined a pool be in desperate need of a manicure, and in 'desperate doesn't even begin to cover it' need of a pedicure find the idea of getting everything that needs to be done for the wedding in the next 3 months a bit daunting think it's absolutely adorable that the 3 year old is currently correctly singing the chorus to 'man in the mirror' be ready for the rain to go away for awhile and at the same time grateful that it is nourishing your garden well still need to buy and plant cucumbers to replace the ones the lawn guy killed with the weedeater. because cucumbers are quite important. feel the need for a strawberry mojito night soon. summer is HERE baby!
(and yes, i will post the recipe :-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, June 16, 2011

thursday's ten: wedding cakes, oh my

we're getting into the nitty-gritty wedding details now
like, well, what in the WORLD do i want to do with the cake?
i know that the main color of the wedding will be deep red, so it would make sense to have red accents.
i know i don't want a topper (at least not a bride/groom one)
i know i'll be carrying lilies
and i know i want it to be classic with an edge

and i canNOT find anything that screams at me
a friend is making the cake
so i can pretty much tell her exactly what i want
i just don't have a clue what that is!

here are a few that i've found.  all photos from google search.

i LOVE the detail.  branches, birds...i don't think i would want quite this elaborate for myself, but i like the idea a LOT.
very simple, but elegant...i almost think it's TOO simple though.
something is off with this cake for me.  perhaps it's the width of the ribbon or the flowers on top that neither match in color or style...but it has some real potential
i like the idea more than the execution, but it's a pretty rocking idea
change the poinsettias to lilies and let's talk.  maybe.
something doesn't quite match up here for me, but it's so fun!
i wish, i wish i could see the whole cake.  but i really like the delicate beauty of what i see.  
now THIS, with red accent flower and possibly a couple of other changes has true potential

9. isn't this fun?!  changing to multi-color would make me happy.  it would be all vintage and cool...but i don't know how expensive all that detail would be!
i really like the white ribbon here, and the leaves are gorgeous.  quite nice, actually.  i don't know if i DO have a complaint here, i just don't know if it's "the" cake
maybe i should just give up and have this cake?
(it's a wedding cake made entirely of little debbie snack cakes.  um...hello!)

help me out!  did you have an amazing cake or have you attended a wedding that included one?  i'd love to see more pictures...


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

what i'm loving wednesday (6.15.11)

click the pic to go to the host site!

i'm loving this new job, with children who are precious, precocious and who continually keep me on my toes.

i'm loving times spent with this wonderful guy

i'm loving spiritual community and family.  my cell group girls, pastors, and the amazing people God has surrounded me with!

i'm loving odwalla protein drinks.  nom, nom.

i'm loving the slightly cooler temperatures and rainfall this week.  i love the heat, but this is a nice little break. (and by 'break' i mean in the low 90s...)

i'm loving getting back into jewelry making lately! planning to devote some serious time to it in the next month or so :-)

i'm loving my sunroof and hammock! both allow me access to the outdoors...

i'm loving that my garden is growing, slowly but surely! (this picture is from about a week ago, and that itty bitty tomato is nearly twice as big now!)


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

hey, it's ok (tuesday)

hey, it's ok! be a little creeped out by certain people without being able to pinpoint an actual reason. declare some days pajama days (as long as you're home, that is!) be annoyed that the battery on your iPhone seems to be getting worse and worse. as well as numerous other things. be holding out for the iPhone 5 (or whatever they decide to call it) this fall. once in awhile have a 'ramen noodles for dinner' night, not because you can't afford anything else, but because you actually LIKE ramen noodles. (kimchee is really good with ramen, in case you're wondering...) have laughed until you snorted several times while watching bridesmaids occasionally snort while laughing be really excited about little things like apartment hunting, engagement pictures, and invitation wording

Thursday, June 9, 2011

thursday's ten: apartment hunting edition

 ohhhh, this weekend will be fun
and i actually mean that :-)
although we will be exhausted to be sure

we're heading out saturday to begin apartment hunting
we have a comprehensive list
with amenities of each unit, community, and special features
and the price range of each place

and we're organizing all of them in order of our "on, spreadsheet" preferences

we've been SHOCKED that in our price range there are actually some really nice (we hope!) places out there
and since we feel like we have options
i thought i'd put a little wishlist out there :-)

now, we may find the PERFECT place that's missing one or more of these elements
but as of right's the list.  at least from my end :-)

1.  outdoor space.  i need a place to sit outside, a spot to grow things in, even if it's patio tomatoes.  i can get creative with a raised bed on an apartment balcony if i need to :-)  ideally our hammock would fit, but that's not a necessity.  i'm pretty sure we could "loan" it to someone in a spot where we could use it ourselves as well :-)
2.  a decent sized kitchen, or at least one with enough cabinet and counter space.  since we both love good food and cooking, and i LOVE entertaining, this is actually pretty crucial.  we'd love to at least have one that opens out into an adjacent space so that it doesn't feel completely closed off!
3.  washer/dryer connections.  i already have a w/d, so there's NO reason we should have to pay for laundry somewhere.
4.  an extra little closet (or in a perfect world a big enough utility area...and we've actually found a couple of floor plans that have that IN our price range!) so that we can stash emi's litterbox away from main traffic flow.
5.  space.  we're looking for the largest square footage in a decent layout for the money.  and we've been encouraged so far!  we're hoping to not have to rent any more storage facilities than i already have!  since we're planning on selling a fair amount of our furniture, that should be doable.
6.  stairs.  emi would be lost without them :-)  and i feel like if we could get a townhouse we would FEEL like we had more privacy, ya know?
(this is obviously the one on the list that is the lowest priority.  but seriously.  we've found a few options that as long as we like the community would be GREAT)
7.  a bathtub.  oh, how i miss taking a nice long hot bath every now and then.  i have a fantastic shower where i am...but i!
(thankfully that one's pretty standard, but i still want to include it.  because i miss it that much.  ha!)
8.  light.  at least big windows, even if they are few.  i can't stand to feel like i'm in a dark cave, so i'd like as much natural light as possible. 
9.  a 2nd bedroom to be used for girls nights, guest room and office.  i have been told that i get to choose the decor all by myself if we end up getting an apartment with 2 bedrooms, and believe me ladies and gentlemen...i have a PLAN.
10. a walk in closet.  ok, so this is on my list and i seriously doubt that anthony has even considered it.  but in looking at floor plans, most of them actually have walk-ins, so...why not? :-)

every place we've looked at has the good amenities such as pool and fitness center, strangely enough.  so i don't have that on the list, or the fact that in some areas of town we'd prefer a gated community...because all the ones we're looking at in those areas actually are gated.

so...hopefully by this time next week we'll have our list narrowed down! and i'm totally excited.  i get to pick out a place to live with my (future) HUSBAND!  this is the first time i becomes "we" in the decision making process about anything besides the wedding itself.  :-)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

hey, it's ok (tuesday)

hey, it's ok love the fact that the 3 year old asked for music this morning, and upon pushing play on the iPod, billy joel's "piano man" is what we all jammed to (he on his toy guitar, his baby sister and i dancing)
yeah, gonna love this job :-) be thankful for children that both desire to play with me, yet can entertain themselves for a few moments too. realize that since this new job is on the brain this entire post may possibly be about children love that this family owns both a keurig and an eliptical and i have been told to use both :-) be wracking my brain at the moment to try and think of something non-new job related to post about... stay in pajamas for as long as possible on a day off be excited about apartment hunting this weekend
...but not necessarily looking forward to moving a ton of stuff AGAIN (and from his place, his storage, my place and my storage. yikes!) live each day in joyful expectation of what God's up to in my life :-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, June 4, 2011

it's a great day to celebrate love

friends of ours get married today, so a portion of the day will be celebrating and congratulating them.  and then...hopefully the temperature will stay reasonable and i'll be able to get in at least an evening walk or something :-)  between the heat and the cicadas, outdoor exercise is a creative prospect!

hope you all have a lovely weekend!


Friday, June 3, 2011

pondered in my heart

i actually wrote this post back in february of 2010
so it's over a year old

but it just hit me that i'd never shared this part of our story with you
so here it is :-)

And Mary kept all these things…and pondered them in her heart.

I must have read those words a million times.

And found a startling understanding of them just a couple of months ago.

We had our annual women’s retreat (which I love) in which we played icebreaker
games (which I HATE). The first “game” was to find people we didn’t know and
make an “appointment” to have a quick chat with them. Total time for the game
was about 20 minutes, and we had to find 12 people.


As SOON as we were ‘released’ to find our people, I felt a hand on my arm. It
was a woman I knew by sight and her words to me were “I’ve known Anthony
since he was tiny; we need to talk.”


Anthony, you see, grew up here in Nashville, and is a ‘favored son’ of this
congregation. So I was a bit intimidated.

When it came time for me to meet with her, she told me an amazing story.

You see, about 3 years ago it came out in the small group that I was a member
of and loved deeply that two of the people in that group, both married, had been
having an affair with each other for the previous 2 years. We were devastated.
And it didn’t end there. Over the next few months we all felt under attack as
more and more things came out into the open: mostly sexual sins, and none of
them good news.

I was the only single member of that group.

I swore off relationships. I had purposefully surrounded myself with people
who were in strong marriages, who were Christ-focused…who had everything I
desired for myself.

If they could fail so miserably…who was I to think my own marriage would be any

I went through a very dark period of about a year before I began to see the
results—good results—of all this darkness in our group coming to light. I
watched as couple after couple began rewriting their love story. And I stood
amazed and began realizing that God can heal even what we break badly.

A few months later, Anthony and I started dating.

Anyway, back to the story the woman told me.

She has a son that was in the youth group—he was a senior that year (2007).
I know him by sight and occasional hello as well—I work with the middle
schoolers, so I didn’t have a whole lot of interaction with him.

Here’s what she told me:

“Boyd overheard you a few years back saying that you were planning to start the
adoption process within a few years and become a single mother. Is that right?”

I affirmed that indeed that had been my plan. She went on

“He came home and told me about it, and he made a commitment that day to
begin praying for you—that you would reconsider and that you would meet the
man God wanted you to marry…and that you would be open to love.”

Tears were welling up in my eyes at this point.

“He’s never stopped praying for you. And he was so thrilled when you and
Anthony started dating. He feels like he may have had a little hand in that…”


It took a few moments to sink in.
In one of my darkest moments, there was a teenage boy that I barely knew
Who barely knew himself what “love” meant
And he was praying that I would find it.

Definitely a treasure that I have kept, and ponder in my heart.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

thursday's ten: refreshing summery drinks

is it HOT where you are?
because it's totally past that here.
yesterday we set record-breaking temperatures for june 1 in mid-tn
this plus all the cicadas swarming constantly outside makes it slightly miserable at times to visit the great outdoors

alas, i have not seen radnor lake for awhile
or a greenway
too many trees equals too many cicadas


i do love a good summer drink.  and here is a list of favorites

1.  sun tea
something about my childhood comes back when i drag a big container filled with water and teabags and a few hours later sip the sweet sun-brewed tea.
2. pink lemonade
regular lemonade is usually a little tart for me.  but pink lemonade is perfection
3. mojitos!
ok, not for daytime consumption, but for an evening watching chick flicks or just hanging out on a patio?  perfection.  i've perfected (i think!) a strawberry mojito recipe and i looooove it.
4.  iced green tea
this is a recently discovered treat at a local mediterranean restaurant, and i am determined to have a recipe down for it in the next couple of weeks.  theirs was infused with mango juice...i've also read a couple of recipes for passion fruit juice.  i think i shall play.  :-)
5.  freshly squeezed (by me!) orange juice juice.
for some reason there is a bitterness there that makes it not even taste like it came from an orange.  to me.  but squeezing my own oranges for a glass of juice?  yes PLEASE
6.  sangria
another non-daytime consumption drink, and one that i have never even attempted to make on my own.  but it's SO.GOOD (and i have friends that make awesome sangrias...)
7.  san pelligrino water
yes, i've sung it's praises here on the blog several times, but the fact is that i rarely drink it in the winter.  it's soooo yummy in the summer though!
8.  trader joe's french berry lemonade
i'd never even try to make this, it's worth buying the bottle.  :-)
9.  italian sodas
(or italian creme sodas)
sooooo good year round, but especially summer.  and so easy!  syrup, sparkling water, dash of cream for the cream soda...and you're done.
10.  just plain water
i sometimes add the mio enhancer (or crystal light if you're so inclined) but honestly?  a cool refreshing bit of water is the absolute best thing to put in your body, and after a long hot really is perf


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

what i'm loving wednesday .6

i'm loving snuggles with toddlers

i'm loving that the weather being 90+ and humid means it's perfect acceptable to wear a dress any day of the week for any event.

i'm loving chunky jewelry and mixing & matching different pieces i've made to feel creative again.  i'm about to revamp my etsy shop, i think and actually try selling a few things again!

i'm loving that i start with a new family next week.  sad to see this job end, but it was such a positive and perfectly fitting together transition that i'm excited about the future. :-)

i'm loving twitter.  i thought it was SO tacky for SO long, and now...i'm kinda addicted.

i'm loving times of worship and ministry...the last couple of weeks have been so amazing and God has been doing such great things in my life!

i'm loving that for a few moments life has slowed down and that i get to be creative in the kitchen again more often.  perhaps a few more recipes will make their way to these pages soon :-)

i'm loving times spent with girlfriends sipping cups of hot tea or trying new foods or just sitting in the car for an hour telling stories.

i'm loving my amazing fiancé who is willing to stumble down this crazy road with me hand in hand.

i'm loving that i know that i know that i know that God is our amazing provider...and is giving me more than i could ever ask or imagine!