Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Another Altered Recipe

A few weeks ago, I had another adventure in my 3-in-1 Vegetarian Cookbook. I made Barley Vegetable Casserole, except I didn't use any barley (yes, I am weird).

Here's the recipe I ended up with:

1 cup brown rice
2 1/4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups frozen mixed vegetables (I used broccoli, carrots, corn, green beans and peas)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray some non-stick cooking spray in a 1-quart casserole dish.

Put the rice and 1/4 cup of the broth into a small pot and cook. I used minute rice so I only cooked it for about 5 minutes. Once the rice is finished, place it in the casserole dish.

Add the vegetables, garlic powder, pepper and the remaining broth. Mix together.

Cover and bake for about 50 minutes. I stirred it a few times during the baking process. Stir in the butter and salt once it's cooked and then enjoy!

Here's how mine turned out.

What did I eat this with? Well, mashed potatoes of course! Yeah I know, carb overload. But to be fair, I did run after I ate this meal and the carbs gave me plenty of energy. Haha.

Anyway, we thought it was pretty tasty and it was super easy to make.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

So Easy a Kid Could do it

But I don't recommend that....

So, I have a love for potato soup. LOVE. Unfortunately, it takes a long time to make and sometimes you just don't have that much time on your hands. I had been searching for a shortcut for making potato soup and I finally found it! Well, sort of. I found a recipe and then I altered it so it would be vegetarian. =)

Here's the original recipe from Food Network:

1 baking potato
2 (10-ounce) cans Cheddar cheese soup
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup real bacon pieces
Sour cream, for garnish
Green onion, finely chopped, optional for garnish


Microwave the baking potato for 7 to 8 minutes on high. Carefully remove from microwave using oven mitts. It will be HOT! Set aside until cool enough to touch.

When potato is cool, cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

Add Cheese soup, chicken stock, and bacon pieces to a medium pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally over medium high heat. Add potato and continue to heat soup for 5 minutes.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a few chopped green onions.

I doubled the recipe (crazy!) because I didn't know how much it would make and I started out by microwaving the potato like the recipe says. But then I got a little rebellious... I used broccoli cheese soup instead of cheese and used vegetarian vegetable broth instead of chicken stock. And I didn't even put the bacon in! *Gasp*

After the potatoes cooled down, I chopped them up.

Then the potatoes got added into the pan with the simmering mixture.

This is what it looked like after simmering the potatoes for about 5 minutes.

After adding a little cheese, it was ready to eat!

Now it's not as delicious as the regular, but in a pinch it works. =)

In other news, I'm getting over strep throat so pretty much any soup sounds really amazing right now.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day

I hope that all of you had a wonderful Mother's Day and showed your momma's some love. I had a fun and full day

I went to see my grandmother and spent some time with her. Then I headed back to my mom's house where we surprised her with her card.

Martha was my inspiration for the card and the process was pretty simple. I took different colored sheets of tissue paper and cut out circles from them. Then I pinched the middle of each circle and turned the outside and scrunched the outside until it looked somewhat like a flower (and I use the term flower very loosely). Once a circle looked OK, I glued it to the front of the card and layered the colors. Once I got the card filled out to my liking, I drew the stems on. It was easy, but I love how they turned out.

Here's a glimpse of the inside of one. I picked out a quote that I thought would make the cards more personal (I'm a sucker for that sort of thing). 

After we gave my mom her card we took her into the kitchen where she saw this and her gift:

Once again, Martha inspired me. The tickets and the stickers were printed out from Martha's website and the popcorn containers came from Target. My mom looooves movies so I thought this idea was perfect for her. She thought the stickers were so cute and she was so excited to watch the movie we brought. Clue! We love this movie and yes it is super silly, but that's what we like =)

The next step was to make the flavored popcorn before starting the movie. We made three kinds: pesto popcorn, sugar and spice popcorn and smores popcorn. Here are the recipes if you want to try it for yourself.

I was so excited to try the s'more flavored popcorn, as you can tell, and it was delish.

By the way, that huge bag of charcoal on the floor is leftover from our 5-day stint without power. I have a feeling we won't be finishing the bag off anytime soon, haha.

Anyway, here's the sugar and spice popcorn:

It was sweet and reminded me of caramel popcorn.

Here's the s'more flavored popcorn. We made the biggest batch of this one.

I LOVED the s'more flavor. Amazing...

And finally, the pesto popcorn. We were not sure about this one, but it was actually really good!

We had a great time trying all the different flavors and laughing through the movie. It was fun spending time with mom and I'm glad she had such a good time. =)

How was your mother's day? Did you have a favorite part?

Monday, May 2, 2011

I Didn't Know How Much Power Meant to Me

It's been a rough past few days. I don't know how many of you know, but I live in northern Alabama and last Wednesday, my town (and several others throughout Alabama) was hit really hard with several tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. I am very blessed as my family is safe and sound and our houses weren't damaged at all. However many families in our area and in our church family were not so fortunate. One family very close to my heart lost their home. We're are all so thankful that their whole family is alive and well though.

Here's my account if you really want to know. This is mainly for me. These past few days are days that I will remember forever.

The day of the storms I arrived at work like normal and for several weeks we've had terrible thunderstorms and threats of tornadoes, so when I heard the forecast I was not at all worried. Around lunch though the clouds outside my office window were black and and the clouds were coming from east and west. My office mate and I looked at each other and said, "That's not good...." It started raining hard shortly afterward and the schools announced they were letting out early for the day. My mom had gone out of town on business so I was supposed to keep McKenna (my little sister) that day. After the schools let out I went to go pick her up and the sky was still black with heavy rain pouring down.

I picked her up and we made it home with her friend in tow because she didn't want to stay at home by herself. We played games and hung out and then I made dinner. McKenna's friend was still there and her dad called to say that he was on the way and he had spotted several funnel clouds on the way over. This made me nervous. When he arrived, he came in to stay for a few minutes as the storm had worsened. Then the power went out. Fortunately I had just finished dinner so we were able to eat. That was the last good meal we had for days, haha. McKenna's friend and her dad left during a break in the storm and we sat down to play some cards in the dark. The sirens had been going off all day and they were still going off. It was raining sideways and trash cans were blowing down the street, but we were fine and nothing happened on our end. We listened to the radio and could hear about all of the damage going on around town. It was crazy hearing about all of those things going on so close to us while we were so unscathed ourselves.

I figured that the power was going to come on any minute, but it did not. After playing games for most of the night, we went to sleep. The next morning we still didn't have power and the DJs on the radio informed us that we would most likely be without power for 3 days, then they said 5-7 days. It was all so unclear. They were saying that most of the transmitters around our county had been destroyed in the storms. According to the DJs, a nearby town had full power so of course everyone would be going there for supplies and gas. I talked to a co-worker (which was a miracle as cell coverage was almost non-existant and my phone was almost dead anyway) who informed me that there was no power at work so I didn't need to come in. The schools were closed, work was closed, traffic lights were out and we only had 1 bag of charcoal. My co-worker told me that a Publix near my house was open so we decided to go there for food.

Publix was a madhouse. ALL the bread was gone and there was no charcoal. We were so happy to find some water and we bought a ton of junk food (I still used some coupons though! haha). We hoped that maybe the power would come on that day, but that was just wishful thinking. To make an already long story a little shorter, we were without power until this morning... But as much of an inconvenience as it was, I am just so happy that my family is safe and that we are safe. If anything would have happened to McKenna or my mom, it would have just destroyed me..... I know that I'm not a mother, but the attachment I have to and the love I feel for McKenna is so strong that I just cannot imagine anything bad happening to her. It would break my heart.

We are beyond blessed and we've had a lot of time to bond these past few days as we've been home (we stayed at my mother's place) sharing meals cooked on the grill and playing games by candlelight.

We're still praying for our neighbors affected by the storms and trying to figure our what we can do to help them rebuild their lives.