Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

DSC_0867

This Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup recipe from Cooking Classy is so good!

I am all about a fast meal – especially tonight since I was running behind – so I threw all my veggies in a food processor to speed up the process…

The only other changes I made to the recipe were to use rotisserie chicken instead of chicken breasts and cooking the noodles in the soup – not separately.

The noodles soaked up a lot of the broth so it wasn’t as diluted when I added the milk mixture – which means I had a really creamy and yummy soup for dinner!

DSC_0869

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry medium egg noodles
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts* (or rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 medium)
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped carrots (3 carrots)
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped celery (3 stalks)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (or 1.5 Tbsp. dry parsley)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Directions

  • Prepare noodles according to directions listed on package (note that you want the noodles to finish about the same time the soup is nearly finished cooking) and drain.
  • In a large pot, heat 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and saute until tender, about 3 – 4 minutes, then add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Add chicken broth, parsley, bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken breasts and bring soup to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover with lid and allow soup to cook until chicken has cooked through, about 10 – 15 minutes longer (cook time will vary depending on thickness of chicken breasts). Remove chicken and allow to rest for 5 minutes, then shred into small bite size pieces.
  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 1/2 minutes. While whisking slowly add in milk and whisk vigorously to smooth lumps (it will take a lot of whisking to smooth since this is a lighter roux – lesser ratio of butter to flour). Whisk in cream and bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour milk mixture into soup mixture and return chicken to soup along with cooked noodles and stir. Serve warm with fresh bread or crackers if desired.
  • *If using thicker breasts, slice in half through thickness of breasts so they cook faster and more evenly.
  • Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

DSC_0866

Happy Pencil Day

The sun was out today! Yay!

There is something about sunshine… especially after lots of rain… that makes me motivated and ready to get out of the house.

Today is Pencil Day and Take a Walk in the Park Day. We celebrated both.

First I searched Amazon for a book about a pencil – I found one! It’s called… wait for it… The Pencil! And it was at our small local library.

0330151425

So we headed to out to find our new book and play with toys. I didn’t realize how fun a trip to the library could be for two little boys!

0330151425a

After spending an enjoyable afternoon with friends we stopped at the park to take a little walk in the cool evening air… and to play for a bit!

0330151807

Then home to draw with colored pencils and eat PB&J.

DSC_0859

And of course “The Pencil.”

DSC_0865

For our bedtime story!

DSC_0863

Ginger Beef, Mushroom & Carrot Stir-Fry

We were given a bunch of beef and I’m lost as to what to make! Besides hamburger – I usually cook with chicken.

We aren’t big stew fans so what can I make with beef that isn’t stew? I would love some suggestions!

Anyways… I did find this yummy dinner idea…

A recipe for Ginger Beef, Mushroom and Kale Stir-Fry. I swapped out the Kale for Carrots (to use what I had) and added Udon noodles.

DSC_0817

Ginger Beef, Mushroom and Carrot Stir – Fry

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (if making gluten-free, be sure to use GF soy sauce)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth (or chicken/beef broth, or water)
  • 3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper

Stir-Fry Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. thinly sliced flank steak or sirloin, cut diagonally across the grain into thin strips
  • 18 ounces of Udon Noodles
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 large mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (for garnish)

Marinade directions:

Add all marinade ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour marinade into a large bowl or ziplock bag, then add in the steak and gently toss to combine. Cover/seal and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Stir-Fry Ingredients:
Once steak has marinated, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Remove steak from marinade with a slotted spoon, reserving the marinade, and add to saute pan with garlic. Saute for about 2-3 minutes until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove steak with a slotted spoon and set aside.

In large wok or saute pan add cooked Udon noodles – I used Annie Chun’s Udon Noodles (three – 6 ounce packages).

Add 1/4 cup of the marinade and let noodles cook for 3-5 minutes on medium high.

Add mushrooms, carrots and rest of reserved marinade to saute pan, and stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the carrots are tender, the sauce has thickened, and the mushrooms have cooked, stirring regularly so that sauce does not burn. Add in the steak, and toss to combine.

Garnish with green onions.

DSC_0814

Happy National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day

I’ve heard of Chiffon Cake but I’m not sure I’d ever had it before.

With leftover chocolate cake pops from yesterday – I wanted to make a “small” chiffon cake and cut the recipe in half…

DSC_0838

Now I’m curious how big a full recipe makes – since this is Bundt pan size…

With it’s lemon glaze…

DSC_0851

And homemade lemon curd…

DSC_0855

I might need to share this with a neighbor or someone…

Would you like a piece?

DSC_0857

It’s light and airy – similar to angel food cake – and quite amazing with the curd!

For this delicious treat I combined three recipes to make this splendid “one.” The Chiffon Cake came from King Arthur Flour; the Lemon Curd from Bev at Food.com; and the Lemon Glaze from Jo Cooks.

I didn’t have a tube pan so I cut the Chiffon Cake Recipe in half and made it in a Bundt pan – I didn’t have any problems.

Glazed Lemon Chiffon Cake with Lemon Curd

Part 1 – Lemon Chiffon Cake:

  • 2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 large eggs, separated
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon extract
  • 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar or lemon juice

Part 2 – Lemon Curd

Part 3 – Lemon Glaze

  • 6 tbsp butter , melted
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 325°F. Have on hand an ungreased 10″ tube pan (Or you can cut the cake recipe in half and use a Bundt pan).

2) Sift into a large mixing bowl the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.

3) Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add (in order) the oil, water, egg yolks, vanilla, grated lemon peel, and extract. Mix until smooth; scrape the bowl and mix for 30 seconds more.

4) In a separate bowl with clean beaters, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar or lemon juice. Whip until very stiff.

5) Fold one quarter of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it up, then gradually (in four additions) pour the yolk mixture back over the remaining whites, folding gently just until blended each time. Pour the batter into the tube pan.

5) Bake the cake for 55 minutes, then increase the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

6) Remove the cake from the oven, and cool it upside down, inverted over the neck of a bottle (I didn’t have a narrow enough bottle so I placed the Bundt pan upside down on a plate).

7) When completely cool, run a thin-bladed metal spatula between the cake and the pan, and turn the cake out onto a serving plate.

8) While cake is cooling prepare the curd. Finely grate enough zest from lemons to measure 2 teaspoons and squeeze enough juice to measure 1/2 cup

9) In a bowl whisk together zest, juice, sugar, and eggs. Cut butter into 4 pieces and add to mixture

10) Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook mixture, whisking occasionally, until thickened and smooth, about 20 minutes. Cool.

11) For glaze combine butter, zest, powdered sugar, juice and vanilla in medium bowl; stir until smooth.

12) Turn cake upside down and use a small knife to cut holes spaced one inch apart. Keep cake pieces and set aside. Add spoonful of curd to each hole, then re-cover holes with cake pieces.

13) Flip back over and pour glaze over the top. Once glaze hardens then sprinkle with zest.

Happy Something On A Stick Day!

Today daddy stayed home while I had a nice afternoon out “alone” for some peace and quiet.

There is a newer coffee shop/ book store I’ve gone to a few times with Caleb. So far I’ve gotten the same drink every time – a White chocolate maple spiced latte – it’s amazing! I chose to go there again for “my mommy break” and tried it iced – mmm… just as delicious!

An afternoon of looking at books and sketching while drinking coffee? Can’t get much better than that!

I was able to go home with renewed energy to celebrate Something on a Stick Day with my boys.

For dinner I put meatballs on a chop”stick” for Jeff…

DSC_0787

Then my first attempt at cake on a stick… A.K.A. Cake pops!

DSC_0775

My boys loved them…

DSC_0798

Especially because they just had a bath… oops!

DSC_0802

I have to admit though… as cute and good as these turned out…DSC_0813I would rather skip all the work and just eat the cake itself!

Happy Something on A Stick Day!

I Want To Be An Orange Rhino

I have the most wonderful boys.

Caleb and I took them to the park and then down to the lake to have fun in the sunshine this afternoon.

Jeffrey was riding on a wooden motorcycle and asked us, “do you have to buy it to make it go?” (like a coin-operated ride-on car).

DSC_0718

We walked to the water and Caleb asked Jeffrey if he wanted to touch the water. He replied, “no, I want that bird!”

DSC_0723

(I will be honest… I hate sand on my feet and was wearing sandals so I watched my cuties from the safety of the sidewalk.)

DSC_0724

I’m telling you all this because it was a lovely day! But not as lovely of a night…

It was proven to me that my boys really are set for a 7pm bedtime. Dinner was running late so we didn’t get them to bed until 7:30pm – the problem was as soon as 7pm rolled around Jeffrey had one screaming tantrum after another. It was a disappointing end to the day but between us – Caleb and I were able to deal with it pretty patiently.

During the week though – when I’m alone – I’m not always patient. Long days of hyper Jeffrey and tantrums plus the occasional fussy Jack leaves me drained and impatient! So I am quick to yell – and do it way too much!

I hate it.

I adore my boys. Jeffrey’s attempts at opening a wrapper with his teeth today…

DSC_0727

Or Jack’s adorable smile after days of fussy teething…

DSC_0713

I always love my boys – But I appreciate them so much more when Caleb is home to help on the weekends.

But I want to enjoy them this much during the week – with less yelling with no yelling at all!

Then I came across The Orange Rhino Challenge – A 365 Day Journey to Yell Less and Love More.  The site reads, “Rhinos are tenacious and vigorous animals who are naturally peaceful, but display aggressive behavior when provoked.” And orange gives off “warmth and energy” – hence the name Orange Rhino.

This is what I want too – to be a mom who is “tenacious and vigorous… naturally peaceful” but instead of aggression to be filled with “warmth and energy.”

I want to be an Orange Rhino!

I am determined to follow through. To change. To be a better mommy – one that doesn’t yell. I’m sure it won’t be easy but I plan to keep you updated with my progress.

I would love to have you join me in this journey to find patience – to “Yell Less and Love More.” I am reading the book and am looking forward to using her techniques to stop yelling.

Right now this beautiful boy is the one who keeps me the most irritated with his antics. I’m sure Jack will soon be joining in.

DSC_0733I want to be prepared – ready to love them more by yelling less so I can fully enjoy them every day of the week!

This process will bring us closer to a simpler and more joy-filled life.

Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day

That’s kind of a tongue twister!

To celebrate we did an Internet search and came across a list of supposed Quirky Country Music song titles. These were my favorites…

  • If I Can’t Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You
  • You’re the Reason Our Kids Are So Ugly
  • Her Teeth Were Stained, But Her Heart Was Pure

The boys went along with the country theme by riding their rocking horse together…so adorable!! This was my husband’s when he was a little boy.

DSC_0688

After lots of rain we had a wonderful sunny 72 degree day. We ended up at the city park – it sits along the lake. As we looked out at the water Jeffrey enjoyed a banana “moon pie.” He was so sweet and kept breaking off pieces to share with Jack.

DSC_0730

I looked up some quirky titled country songs but they seemed to be a bit inappropriate for little ears. So instead we listened to Brooks and Dunn’s Neon Moon to go along with the “Moon pie.” Then I danced with Jack to the Boot Scootin’ Boogie.

It was also National Spanish Paella Day so here was my yummy attempt. I would have liked it to have more of a bite to it…

DSC_0748

But Jack thought it was delicious so that works for me! DSC_0753