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Showing posts from September, 2013

Cream of Mushroom and White Bean Soup

Wonderful, warm, and satisfying. This soup will please even the pickiest of eaters. My husband had his buddies over the other day and second servings were requested. This soup would make a perfect meal if paired with a nice salad.



2 regular packages of white mushrooms, diced 2 cans of navy beans, or great northern beans 5 cloves of garlic, minced 2 tbsp. gluten free flour 2 tbsp. butter 2 c. heavy cream 2 cans chicken broth ½ c. brandy 1 tsp. black pepper salt to taste goat cheese or sour cream


In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter and then add the flour. Cook the mixture until it bubbles, darkens in color, and becomes smooth. Add the heavy cream and the pepper and stir until the mixture thickens, and again becomes smooth. Add the garlic, the bandy, the chicken broth, and the beans, and remove from the heat. Add the mushrooms to the mixture, by now it should be cooled considerably. Transfer the mixture from the saucepan in small batches to the blender to process unt…

Murphy’s Law...it's a lie.

Murphy’s Law
Everything that can go wrong will, right? No! Of course not! Stop listening to your grandparents. That is an old fashioned and completely anti-productive way to think about things. The way that the saying should go is: As long as you keep expecting for bad things to happen they are the only things that you will ever notice in your life. If you focus on the negative you get back negative. If you focus on the positive you get back positive. Yes, I am an optimist. First place public speaking Optimists Club award in high school.
For instance, I like to run when it is overcast. The blaring sun in Central Florida is not fun to run with. It’s tricky to time it though, because sometimes it starts to rain after I head out, and sometimes the clouds blow away and the sun appears. Our clouds are tricky here. I could be negative every time that happened. I could act like an Eeyore, and tell myself that it was bound to happen, or it figures, or isn’t that always the way it goes. That’…

Tuna Salad Bites

Tuna Salad Bites




These tiny cucumber sandwiches are simple to put together and they are adorable. We recently made them for a friend’s bridal shower, and they looked fantastic on the table with all of the other goodies.
Four medium sized cucumbers, partially peeled, sliced 4 cans chunk light tuna in water, well drained 1 small jar diced pimentos, well drained 1 tsp. black pepper 1 tsp. salt 1 c. mayonnaise


For the tuna salad, mix the well-drained tuna and pimento with the salt, pepper, and mayonnaise. Stir the mixture together well, until the tuna is broken up and the mixture is smooth. Chill for at least one hour before assembling your sandwiches.


The salt in the tuna will slowly soften the cucumbers, so this is a bite that you will want to assemble shortly before serving. Peel strips off of the cucumbers lengthwise after washing them; this gives them the appearance of being striped. Slice the cucumbers into approximately centimeter wide slices. Sandwich a small spoonful of the tuna…

Twenty Things…you realize after you have kids.

Turkey & Avocado Lettuce Wraps

Turkey & Avocado Lettuce Wraps


Small heads of romaine that are the perfect size for lettuce wraps are becoming more and more available. I get them at Costco and they are labeled “Artisan Lettuces.” This wrap is great for those of us who are gluten free and can no longer enjoy a classic BLT.


2 small heads of romaine lettuce 1 lb. cold smoked turkey breast, cut into cubes ½ lb. bacon, cooked, drained, and finely chopped 1 ripe avocado, diced 2 medium roma tomatoes, diced 1 c. mayonnaise 1 tsp. black pepper 1 tsp. salt


In a medium sized bowl combine all of the ingredients besides the lettuce. Cover the mixture and put it in the refrigerator for an hour to cool. Wash the romaine lettuce and cut about an inch off of the bottom of the head. Lay the lettuce leaves out on clean towels or paper towel to dry. When the turkey mixture is well chilled, spoon it into the lettuce leaves and serve. Enjoy!

Planting Seeds

Planting Seeds
It is the first thing that you learn when you become a foster parent. If you don’t learn it fast, I guess that you learn to live with a broken heart. Foster parenting is an incredibly difficult task and one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done. Because of the horror stories that people hear there is a stigma out there that people who foster are all keeping the children in the closet and living high on the hog off of the money that they get from the state. Those incidents make up a tiny fraction of the people who foster children in this country. The stories are gut wrenching and not a realistic representation of the majority of foster families.
In all of my trainings and classes I met absolutely remarkable people who opened their homes and their hearts to kids who just didn’t have anyone else. These kids are not easy to take care of. They have been through horrible experiences and need a lot of extra attention. The idea that people foster for the extra inc…

Vegetable Pasta Alfredo

Vegetable Pasta Alfredo


This dish is creamy and wonderful. It is also another great way to get the kids to eat their vegetables. My son gobbled it all up and he has just started eating broccoli. If you have a child who dislikes broccoli, I suggest preparing it as lightly cooked as possible. The brighter green a color it has, as opposed to a well-cooked grey, the more I find kids tend to enjoy it.


For the pasta:
2 tbsp. olive oil 8 oz. gluten free pasta 1 head, or 1 bag of fresh broccoli 6 sweet mini bell peppers, sliced ½ medium yellow onion, diced




For the sauce:
3 cloves garlic, finely minced 1 tsp. pepper 1 tsp. salt 2 tbsp. gluten free flour 2 tsp. butter 2 c. half and half ½ parmesan cheese



Cook the pasta according to the directions and set it aside. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and then add the flour. Cook for about five minutes until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. Add the salt, pepper, garlic, and the half and half and cook until the mixture is smooth and thick, abo…

Twenty Things…Our parents did that we don’t.

Twenty Things…Our parents did that we don’t.
I absolutely believe in progress. The world is becoming a better place each and every day. There are, however, some behaviors we have let go of that I believe we need to try hard to hold onto. Read and see if you agree:
1.Sending thank you notes. Hand written, delivered by the post office ones. I have been trying harder to make sure that I always do this. People really appreciate it. 2.Shaking hands. Outside of the business world people are not good at it at all. We are big huggers so I don’t shake a lot of hands, but when I get one of those sad limp ones, I am wondering how depressed and unconfident the poor person must be. 3.Collecting things, specifically when it comes to kids. When I was little it was stickers, boys collected baseball cards or comics. When my dad was a kid he pinned beautiful insect specimens to boards. Collecting teaches organization and responsibility. Today kids collect video games that they treat poorly. 4.Standing up …

Rosemary Lemon Chicken

Rosemary Lemon Chicken


This is a flavorful chicken dish that is easy to make. The chicken comes out wonderfully tender. It’s delicious dinner for two.


2 split chicken breasts, bone in and skin on ½ c. lemon juice 1 c white wine 1 stick butter 4 red potatoes, peeled and cubed 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, removed from stem, finely minced 2 tsp. salt 2 tsp. pepper


Place the chicken in a medium sized baking dish and cover it with the wine, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, 1 tsp. of the salt and 1 tsp. of the pepper. Add the potatoes on top of the chicken and sprinkle them with the rest of the salt and pepper. Add the butter to the top of the potatoes in slices. Cover the dish securely with a lid or with tin foil. Bake the chicken and potatoes, covered, in a three hundred and fifty degree oven for one hour. Enjoy!

Life in the Swamp...with goopy kids.

Life in the Swamp
Kids are so disgusting. So unbelievably disgustingly gross. I’m going to try here, but it is nearly impossible to explain how true this is. My oldest daughter spit up in my husband’s mouth three times as an infant…three times. Yes, it was probably his fault too…somehow, but I still think that she was aiming for him.
This is not something that I am writing to traumatize the poor parents who have already been through the trenches, but to enlighten those who have not had children yet. I know that every mom and dad out there share the same stories. I should have seen it coming before they were even born. It was a good hint when I had paralyzing nausea for the first three months of my pregnancy with the twins…and then again with my youngest. I threw up and dry heaved so hard when I was pregnant that I had little red dots all around my eyes. I broke the capillaries in my face…super fun.
I wrote another entire short story about all of the poop and pee that goes along with …

Growing Up

Growing Up
I am still doing it. Whether or not you want to admit it, you probably still are too. It is a really good thing if you think about it, because if we aren’t growing, well then what are we doing? I like to laugh about all of the things that I have missed along the way. Sometimes our focus just gets so fixed on what is happening in the now that we miss out on learning some really simple things. These are some of mine:
I was in my mid-twenties when I finally figured out that the symbol for the United States Postal Service was an eagle. I had always believed that it was a guy in a really weird pointy hat. I don’t know where I ever came up with that idea, but I was honestly shocked to find out that it is actually a bird.


The song Voices Carry, by the band 'Til Tuesday…I completely misinterpreted it. I think that I was in my teens when someone had to point out to me that the lyrics were not; “Hush, Hush…Keep it down now…Cuz’ vampires are scary…”


I also never knew that fast foo…