Lent 2014

Well hey there guys.  

Just checking in to say that I'm checking out.  

Giving it up.  Leaving it for a bit. 

Giving up what you might ask?  

The social media.....the Facebook, the Insta, the Twitter, the Pinterest, the Blogger. 

That was kind of an embarrassing list to write.   

Lent is still kind of new to me but in my mind, it means a time of quiet reflection, getting back to basics.  Sackclothes and ashes, yo. 

A time of prayer, repentance, alms giving, atonement and self denial if you want to ask the wiki. 

Since I waste a lot of time on the social media, I figure it's going to be a great way to move into a space that is quiet.  

Less snark, more compassion. 
Less reaction, more intention. 
Less judgey, more lovey.  
Less chitta vitti, more shanti.   

What will I be doing with all of this spare time that I usually spend trolling the web?  

Well....there's the Lent Madness that my SS class is following.  Take some time and learn about Christina the Astonishing.  You will not be sorry. 
There's also the Bishops Bible Challenge...we will be reading through 1 and 2 Corinthians and Romans.  I've signed up the email updates, you can sign up, too, right here!

Don't forget about those folks at the Episcopal Relief and Development...they've got what promises to be a lovely, meaningful, thought provoking meditation series.  Check it.   

Happy day, dear friends!


Lentil and Sausage Soup

When I was planning out my meals last week I remember thanking dang! I can't make lentil soup when it's 70 degrees outside!  But then, of course, this crazed 40 degree change in weather happened so I guess it's fine.  This soup, though, is more than fine.  

It was my first journey into lentils and I have to say I'm impressed.  I'm impressed like you're probably impressed by my cracked bowl.   
But let's not get distracted.  

Lentils.  It's an edible pulse (don't love that description) and a member of the legume family.  It's way healthy, good for people with diabetes and drought resistant.  Canada leads the world in production  Isn't that neat?  Go Canada. 

I'm always looking for filling yet tasty things to pack for lunch, this soup really worked out with all of it's lentil action.  It was easy to pull together and makes a ton.  It could easily become vegan by taking out the sausage, adding more veggies and using only vegetable broth.  

Lentil and Sausage Soup
from A Cup of Marscapone
2 tbl olive oil
1 lb carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cups of lentils
14 oz smoked turkey sausage
32 oz chicken broth
32 oz vegetable broth
2 cans of diced tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Cook the carrots, onion and garlic for about 8 minutes.  Add the lentils, sausage and both broths.  Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer.  Simmer for about 40 minutes.  Add in the tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook for about 10 more minutes. 

Serving size 1 cup (makes about 14)
Points plus 4   


Fresh Starts and Kale Quinoa and Avocado Salad

Happy Monday!  How are you?  Well, I hope.  Hope you're easing into this day with minimal stress and tiredness and an overall feeling of goodness. 

I say all of this zen shiz because that's what I'm working on today.  I've spent the weekend eating thin mints, ignoring my Yoga Glo class reminders and drinking beers.  Not really doing anything healthy; trying to pump the breaks a bit and get things back under control.  Mondays are cool like that, right?  Right. 
For the sake of doing things that are measurable, I'm focusing first on food.  I made this Kale, Quinoa and Avocado Salad yesterday and am looking forward to having it today.  It's full of super foods (kale, quinoa, avocado, etc) and was pretty tasty, too!  Make it vegan by leaving out the feta.  I didn't calculate the points (taking things slow, you know) but I'm guessing that one cup is 6 points.  Don't make me explain my logic but that's just what I'm going to do.  I'm also going to take a walk around the work track and enjoy this sunshine.  And I'm also going to tap my toes to this song:
Have a great week, friends!   


Easy (No, really! It is!) Chicken Pot Pie

It started out the hottest mess of all the hot messes. 

Just like how I usually do my best growing when I'm at my worst, this ugly duckling ended up being the swan-iest thing we've had for a while on Parsons.  It was touch and go, though, and was so because of my inability to follow directions and uncertainty of puff pastry vs. pie crust.  But all's well that ends well, right?  Sure.  And this ended well.  Real well.

I was surprised, though.  Chicken pot pie, in my mind, was one of those don't even try it dishes.  It was up there with souffle and rice*, something that just wasn't in the cards for me.  I think it was the crust...crust seems daunting.  That scary, yet delicious crust.  As luck would have it,  it is in the cards!  All up in the cards.  Thank goodness.  Because it rocks.   

*I can't cook rice, PS.

Chicken Pot Pie
recipe courtesy of Swayze H. who got it from Kimme H.  

1/3 cup of butter
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 cup of chopped carrots
1 cup of chopped onion
1 large baking potato, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup of flour
1 1/2 cup of chicken broth
1 1/2 cup of milk
3 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 tsp each of salt and pepper
2 refrigerated pie crusts (or 2 puff pastry sheets) (whatevs)

Melt the butter in a really big skillet.  Add the celery, carrots, onion and potato. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the potato is cooked through (but not mushy).  Add the flour and cook for about a minute.  It's going to be a bit pasty.  Stir in the chicken broth for about minute.  Add the milk and stir.  Add the chicken and the salt and pepper.  Let it cook and thicken up for about 15 minutes.  Preheat your oven to 350.  

Divide the mixture between two pie plates.  Top it with your pie crust/puff pastry and cut some slits in the top.  Cook for 45 minutes or until it's all brown and delicious.   Freeze that other one or take it to a friend or invite some people over.    



A Few on Friday

1.  One thing I've learned this week:  I do not do well on a snow day.  Why?  I think it's because I don't like TV that much.  And I'm nosy.  I'd get settled in to read then I'd go see what Brandon was doing.  Then I'd go see what Big Browne Hound was doing.  Then I'd think about baking something.  Then I'd do it all over again.... 

2.  Another thing I've learned:  I love to drive in the snow in my Subaru!

3.  I have a large crush on Shawn White.  There's a gold hoop earring (I think) that I could really live without but he's such a cutie!  Good thing I'm a married woman because my hate of cold weather and his love of snowboarding would just never jive.  
 I spy a gold hoop earring.

4.  This is fantastic:

5.  Happy Valentines Day!  Are you celebrating?  I am.  By drinking red, making chicken parm and filling chocolate chip cookies with icing.  Oh.  And hanging out with my herz-band and my Big Browne Hound. 

Happy weekend dear friends!  Hope it's filled with love!



Mississippi River Marathon 2014


Glad I did it, glad it's over, jury's still out on if I'll do it again. 

Maybe I'll do this one.  Who's with me?  Or maybe just like a 5K.  Or maybe just go to Big Sur and drink wine on the beach.  We don't have to make any big decisions right now, it can just be something festive to think about.

How did it go?  Kind of awesome.  I finished, which was my first goal.  My second goal, to finish in under five hours, I missed by 5 minutes and 5 seconds.  But it's cool...I ran my race.

My slow, kinda tearful, almost ate a doughnut at mile 22 race.  Here it is in pictures!  Thanks for all your support!  


Tex Mex Chicken Taco Soup

Are you guys all hunkered down and preparing for a snow day?  Or an ice day?  Or perhaps just a Tuesday?  I'll at least be having a semi-snow day which I guess will make a Tuesday less Tuesday-ey.  

In honor of the maybe snow day I've made a tex mex soup.  And not just any tex mex soup but a tex mex soup with a block of cream cheese in it.  

Kind of makes me want to chest bump someone.

This one is easy to whip up and it's got some interesting canned goods in it. Like hominy and ranch beans.  What is a hominy?  I'm not sure.  But I like it.  

Enjoy this one!   
Tex Mex Chicken Taco Soup
adapted from Food Network

1/2 cup of diced onions
1/2 cup of bell pepper
1 tbl of garlic
2 tsp olive oil
4 cups of cooked and shredded chicken breast
8 oz of salsa
2 1/2 tbl taco seasoning
1 (14 oz) can of corn
1 (14 oz) can of ranch beans
1 (14 oz) can of hominy 
8 oz of tomato paste
28 oz of chicken broth
8 oz of cream cheese

In a large pot, saute the onions, bell pepper and garlic until starting to get soft.  Add the chicken, salsa, taco seasoning, corn, ranch beans, hominy, paste and chicken broth.  Bring to a slow simmer and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Place the cream cheese in a bowl and ladle some of the hot liquid over it in order to get it melted.  Transfer the cream cheese to the pot.  Cook for 10 more minutes.  

Serving size 1 cup (makes 11)
Points plus 7