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Archive for December, 2011

Okay, this has become one of my favorite soups. It’s wonderful. It’s easy and quick. If you have everything in the house it can be made easily when it’s 4 pm and you wonder what’s for dinner and realize you are responsible for answering this question 😉

I adapted the recipe from THIS ONE, I’m sure the original is wonderful as well, I used what I had here 😉 and didn’t change it too much!

Tortellini Sausage Soup

4 links Italian Sausage or 1 pound ground sausage

4 cloves minced garlic

1 onion diced

1/2 c. water

30 ounces chicken broth (make your own!)

1/2 can apple juice concentrate

12 ounces diced tomatoes

12 oz tomato sauce

3-4 carrots, peeled and cut into coins

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

2 TB dried parsley

8-10 oz cheese tortellini (dry or frozen, I’ve used frozen)

2-3 cups fresh spinach or 10 oz frozen spinach, optional

If using link sausage, remove casings and crumble into large soup pot. (To remove casing, you can use a sharp knife to cut a slit down one side of the sausage and peel back the casing).

Chop onion and add to pot. Continue cooking till sausage is browned and onions are transulcent.

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, juice, water, broth, carrots and spices. Cook and simmer for 30 minutes, add tortellini and spinach and cook until tortellini are tender. (doesn’t take long w/ frozen, maybe 10-15 minutes)  Serve with warm bread.

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Monthly menu

I decided to try something new this month. I am using the same menu each week all month….. not only will this simplify grocery shopping, but makes planning ahead a little easier as well. Plus, after listing a huge list of meals I normally plan our menus off of each week and asking my husband which meals he liked and which he wanted to me take off the list, he only left me about 5 😉 – so I decided to try this for awhile and see if it works nicely for our family or if we get tired of a limited menu. I did somewhat compromise on a little variety by rotating 2 meals every other week and doing a soup/stew night which will change. We’ll see how it works!

Monday: Meatloaf with roasted veggies

Tuesday: Soup/stew

Wednesday: Chicken and pasta

Thursday: Lasagna w/ green salad

Friday: Chicken enchiladas or beef stroganoff

Saturday: White Chicken Chili

Sunday: Leftovers

Couple notes…… I’m still looking and working on a beef stroganoff recipe….. if you have one you love please pass it on! Roasted veggies is quickly becoming one of my favorite side dishes 😉 I have a new lasagna recipe that is a winner, my husband really likes it, I’m thrilled!

My list of soups/stews at the moment includes:

Beef stew, sausage & tortalini soup, bacon,beef & lentil stew, green chili, zuppa tuscana soup, chicken soup, red lentil soup, split pea soup

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“But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this.
I did not live in the moment enough.
This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs.There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night.
I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing:dinner, bath, book, bed.

I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the 

getting it done a little less.”

~Anna Quindlen

quoted from THIS blog post

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“eggnog latte”

A couple weeks ago I stopped by Starbucks on my way to take my husband lunch. As I was pulling up to the drive thru,  the thought crossed my mind “how much longer till they have their holiday drinks available, an eggnog latte sounds really good today”. As I pulled up to the menu board, look what greeted me….. it was as if they had read my mind!

yes, the sign actually says “the wait is finally over” – I was so thrilled I took a picture with my cell phone, hopefully the cars behind me didn’t think I was too weird!

Anyway, since I can’t afford a drive to Starbucks daily for a grande sized eggnog latte 😉 – I decided to try and duplicate it at home.

Here’s what I came up with, I think it is a pretty good substitution, not quite the real thing, but hey, if you put it in a Starbucks mug, it is close enough for a mid morning break or after naps treat!

“Starbucks Eggnog Latte”

Pour 1/2 a VIA packet of coffee in your mug.

Add 3-6 TB of boiling water to it (you want enough water to dissolve the coffee, but not so much as to dilute the drink!)

In a small saucepan, heat 3/4 – 1 1/4 cups of eggnog.

Don’t get it all the way to a boil! You want it very hot to the touch, but not boiling. Depending on the size mug I am using determines the amount of eggnog I use.

Pour into your mug with the concentrated coffee in it. Mix well and enjoy!

You can vary the amount of VIA you use depending on your personal preference too, I find around 1/2 a packet is usually strong enough for me, and cuts down on the cost as well.

I can usually buy VIA for well under $1 a pack, watching sales, using coupons or buying at Costco. And a quart of eggnog is costing me no more than $4. So a “serving” of my homemade version costs around $1.50 max.

And speaking of eggnog, use the best eggnog you can. I have tried it with my homemade version, it works, but is hard to keep from clumping, especially when making with a hand full of kids running around. I love the “Promised Land” brand, and Darigold makes a version that doesn’t have any HFCS in it. “Most” store bought eggnog’s have HFCS as one of the main ingredients. If this is a concern for you, look at the ingredients or make your own!

Here are some links to various eggnog recipes.

from Keeper of the Home

my version, which I do keep tweaking 😉

from Simple Bites (recipes calls for alcohol)

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