January 1, 2018

The Kids Are Out of the House, Now We Can Eat Like Grown-ups Menu

Some photos are via Google Images.

For breakfasts:

yogurt, fiber one cereal, nuts, blueberries

oatmeal, nuts, fruit

scrambled eggs and veggies, fruit slushie

For lunches:

January 23, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday January 23 2017

Good morning! It's been awhile since I have participated in Happy Homemaker Monday, hosted by Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom. Seems like I didn't feel I had much to share. But, today I feel a bit differently. My husband and I are embarking on a new eating plan and I am so thrilled. Life is good, I feel blessed, and here I am, ready to share. Thank you, Sandra, for your endless inspiration. 

The weather: 

It is a bit stormy - mostly wind right now, but we will be getting heavy rain, 36 degrees, and it is January! I live in Connecticut - it's not supposed to be raining in January in Connecticut, it's supposed to be snowing. And I am NOT complaining. So thrilled that we are getting some much needed rain, and it doesn't have to be shoveled! (Especially since I do not have any more boys in the house to do it for me.)

On my reading pile:

Everything and nothing. I am getting super picky about what I read. I want it to be uplifting and/or thought provoking but also well written. And I just don't seem to have the time, or I have all the time in the world so I put it off... So nothing to recommend right now.

On my tv:

Not a tv watcher.

On the menu for this week:

For the past few years I have been trying to keep a monthly menu on this blog, so that I eventually would have ideas to make meal planning easier. I never succeeded in completing an entire month's worth of menus (fast food isn't very inspiring, lol). But now we are embarking on a new adventure and are approaching meal planning in a whole new way. I took a trip to my local warehouse store and came home with a fridge full of produce. So the menu plan is quite simple: 

Breakfast: yogurt with fruit and nuts, or scrambled eggs with veggies and a fruit slushie, or oatmeal with fruit and nuts

Lunch: vegetable soups (salads in the summer) with beans or chicken, etc

Dinner: rice and beans with lots of veggies, some chicken, beans, pork, fish, etc, or soup/stew 

I am scouring the internet for some basic soup bases and then just adding whatever I have that looked good in the store. This week I have new potatoes, brown rice (already in my pantry), sweet potatoes, butternut squash, red and green peppers, zucchini, cauliflower, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, spinach and kale. For proteins I have almonds, walnuts, boneless chicken breasts, and turkey kielbasa. Fruit: apples, berries, bags of various frozen fruit combinations, and I need to pick up some grapefruit. 

I will then be adding recipes on my blog once I have tried them to keep a running menu (which is found at the top - first post) of various soups etc. Eventually I will just mix and match as I get a good base of recipes. That's the beauty of soup - you can add whatever you want. And no, I never tire of it, although I make it loaded with food, so it's never brothy, more like stew. I am prediabetic so I am limiting my starches, but on days when I am feeling a bit hungrier, I will add a starch to another meal - a sandwich on whole wheat bread, a whole wheat bagel with breakfast, etc.

So, today's menu looks like this:

Breakfast; yogurt with blueberries, chopped almonds and walnuts, and unsweetened coconut (my husband takes a whole wheat bagel and berries with unsweetened nonfat yogurt)

Lunch: leftover Chunky Vegetable Soup  and leftover fruit salad (from an extended family dinner last night) for me. My husband takes a HUGE salad everyday. I mean a family size salad, lol.

Dinner: Sausage and kale soup (will us the turkey kielbasa for the sausage).

On my to do list:

Clean bathrooms and wash towels, bookkeeping for clients

What I am creating:

just food!

Looking around the house:

I still have breakfast ingredients to put away, piles of papers on the kitchen table, and we still have our Christmas tree up! Now let me explain, the ornaments have been taken off and put away, but we have a prelit tree and most of the lights are no longer working, so my husband wants to see what he can do. The problem is that he hasn't had time. So, it is still standing, lol. Other than that the family room and living room are neat because we are never in there! All of the kids are temporarily out of the house. Now I know for sure who made the messes around here, lol. 

From the camera:

My daughter in New Caledonia (serving a mission there). She found the prize in her cake on Three Kings Day, so she got to be queen. (It's not from my camera, but all I take pictures of these days is of the pets or food, lol).

Something fun to share:

I got the Chunky Vegetable Soup recipe from this blog and I look forward to seeing what else she has to offer.

What I am wearing today:

Black jeans, fuzzy red socks, slippers, and a red sweater that I have had for years and is looking a little ratty so I only wear it at home, But it's oh, so soft!

One of my simple pleasures:

My BIGGEST pleasure - getting emails from my children serving missions. My daughter is in New Caledonia (will be coming home in May!) and my son will be heading to Cambodia (he is in language training now). 

Bible verse:

Isaiah 53. (I'll let you look it up.) It is about the Savior's Atonement and I try to reflect on it regularly to remember what He has done for me. I am so grateful for His sacrifice for me and for everyone. I am so grateful for His love and His teachings.

I hope you have a great week!

January 22, 2017

Chunky Vegetable Soup

This recipe comes from the blog Simply Sissom and it is very, very, good and very, very, healthy. I look forward to checking out more recipes from this blog!

  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 medium parsnips (or carrots) (I used carrots because that's what I had on hand)
  • 1 bell pepper (I prefer red)
  • 2 cups of sweet potato, peeled and chopped (I used butternut squash)
  • 1 zucchini, chopped into half moons
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups of chicken broth (Vegan- use vegetable broth) (I used vegetable broth)
  • 1 TBS of my vegetable soup spice blend (Recipe below)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 4 cups of baby spinach
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed (optional)

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil for about 5 minutes, add all ingredients except beans and spinach. 
Simmer 20 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Add beans and spinach.

Soup Spice Blend

  • 2 TBS of smoked paprika
  • 1 TBS garlic powder
  • 1 TBS dried oregano
  • 1 TBS onion powder
  • 1 TBS dried basil
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 tsp. white pepper

October 10, 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday Oct. 10 2016

Wow, am I inconsistent with blogging lately. Well, for the past five years or so... So many big things are happening in my life right now, and yet the daily stuff is slowing down. It is a beautiful time to be living in New England now that the leaves are changing and the air is getting cooler. I love this time of year! Have already made some pumpkin bread because, what a smell in my kitchen besides its deliciousness. So I am grateful that Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom is still hosting Happy Homemaker Monday to continue to inspire all of us!

The weather is cooling off. The rain and wind we had this weekend brought cooler but welcome temperatures (58 today). Today is sunny and beautiful! We have been fortunate to have not been in the path of Hurricane Matthew. We do know people who have been affected here in the states and pray for those in Haiti who are suffering the loss of family and property.

On the breakfast plate was a gala apple, fresh this season and delicious! Also some cashews. Yum.

As I look out my window the leaves are just beginning to change to yellow. Our backyard is a wall of trees and therefore magnificent color six months out of the year.

Right now I am feeling so grateful for my blessings. Today didn't turn out like I had planned, I was going to clean my bedroom and upstairs bathrooms and instead spent all day on the computer. I know that sounds awful, but I spent it reading some really inspiring words and stories and having a very uplifting conversation with my nephew. In this case, it was time well spent. There is always tomorrow to clean the upstairs.

As I look around the house there are a few things to clean off of my kitchen counters, but I got the house pretty clean last week, so it is not yet at disaster level!

On the to do list:
Monday:  clean one bathroom? read scripture, make dinner
Tuesday: clean bathrooms, bedroom, make dinner, correspond with my missionary daughter
Wednesday: clean downstairs bathrooms, youth group
Thursday:  vacuum, dinner out with my boys, menu plan and make grocery list
Friday: grocery shopping, dinner, movie at home with my husband
Saturday: I have a very special day planned to go to our temple in Boston

Currently reading I haven't been consistent with reading lately

On the menu just scroll down to the next post for my menu!

Favorite photo of my youngest standing in front of our temple. He will be leaving in December to serve a mission in Cambodia - five months before my daughter comes home from New Caledonia. They bring so much joy to my heart!


“We should not assume … that just because something is unexplainable by us it is unexplainable.”

M. Russell Ballard quoting Neal A Maxwell in regards to trusting God 

I hope you have a great week!

October Monthly Menu 2016

08  Sat  Easy rice and beans
09  Sun  Pot Roast, mashed potatoes, green beans
10  Mon  Tortellinis with zucchini, homemade sauce
11  Tue  Tacos, corn, refried beans
12  Wed  Fend for yourself
13  Thu  something fun with kids
14  Fri  pork tenderloin, mashed sweet potatoes, peas

September 12, 2016

Monthly Menu September 2016

I was looking back at prior September menus (some were very small!) and now I am reflecting on how much our family life has changed. September was the start of tons of activities along with school and the crazy schedules between sports, scouts, seminary, and school. 

Not anymore. One sone is working full time, has a girlfriend, and is hardly ever home. My daughter is living in New Caledonia serving a mission for our church and won't be home until May or June of next year. Then she will be going away to college again in the fall. My next oldest son is away at college, he isn't far away so he breezes in and out, but usually when we are all busy with other things so we don't see him much either. And my baby, my youngest son has graduated high school and is working and trying to keep himself busy with friends (and Netflix...) until he leaves for a mission. We don't know where or when yet, but we should be finding out by tomorrow!

Anyway, life is getting simpler at the day-by-day level. There are some big things happening, but dinner is usually at home with more frequent trips to a local restaurant and less fast food (except for Chinese...). I appreciate the slower pace, but the changes are bittersweet until I get used to my new life.

12  Mon  turkey, gravy, egg noodles, peas and corn
13  Tue  steak from freezer, yams, asparagus
14  Wed  
15  Thu  pasta, salad
16  Fri  Missionary dinner: hot dogs, hamburgers, macaroni salad, corn on the cob
17  Sat  dinner out
18  Sun  chicken taco soup
19  Mon  pork tenderloin, mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, apple cider
20  Tue  chicken soup, rolls
21  Wed  fast food
22  Thu  pasta, salad
23  Fri  dinner with the ladies?
24  Sat fasting
25  Sun  pot roast, mashed potatoes, carrots

August 15, 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday August 15 2016

Good morning! Thank you, Sandra, for continuing to host your Happy Homemaker Monday event. I love the opportunity to reflect on my life as a mom and homemaker and share it with others. The times that I forget, I am tempted to post on another day of the week and link up ;)

The weather Just a couple of weeks ago I decided that August was my favorite summer month because it tended to be cooler and less humid than July. Then it got hot and humid on me! Today's high is 88 degrees. At least the humidity is down to 58%. It looks like we have a hot week and then next week we'll have cooler temperatures. I hope their predictions are accurate!

Right now I am sitting at my kitchen table, as usual. I consider it my desk, lol. I have my two kindles and phone beside me, as well as my grocery list and paperwork that needs to be filed downstairs.

Thinking about the adjustments in my life at this time. My kids are all out of school. My oldest is working, my daughter is on a mission, my youngest son is preparing to go on a mission, so he is putting college on hold, and my foster son is currently in Marine recruit training and then will be attending college. My kids are adults and making adult decisions. Up until now, every year at this time we were in school preparation mode. Clothes shopping, school supply shopping. I love school supplies. I love brand new notebooks and planners - clean slates waiting for your life to be written. I am in heaven in any kitchen store, office supply store, or book store. I don't care about clothes, jewelry (all I ever wear is my wedding ring), or makeup. Now I get a pang of sadness every time I go by the school supplies at Walmart. I do not even have to shop for seminary anymore. My kids are out of school (for now) and I am no longer teaching. Now I have to find my new normal. The one nice thing is that I am saving money!

On my reading pile Currently reading A Man Called Ove (reminds me of my husband, lol) and Go Forward With Faith: the biography of Gordon B Hinckley. And the New Testament (currently in Hebrews!).

On my tv Still re-watching Friday Night Lights with my husband.

On the menu Tonight we are having a farewell dinner for one of our missionaries who will be going home in a couple of weeks. So we are having four missionaries, three of my former seminary students, and another young man from our church for pasta and ice cream sundaes. This is my happy place!

Monday - Penne with 25 year sauce, salad, bread, ice cream sundaes
Tuesday - grilled chicken, salad, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes
Wednesday - fend for yourself (which usually means Chinese food, but salad for me)
Thursday - grilled swordfish, rice, green beans
Friday - ??? maybe hot dogs and macaroni salad
Saturday - dinner out for my MIL's birthday
Sunday - pork roast with gravy, egg noodles, peas and carrots

On my to do list
Today - pick up kitchen area, vacuum (have my son home to do this), grocery shop, cook, two loads laundry

Tuesday - clean bathrooms, laundry
Wednesday - clean basement, laundry
Thursday - continue basement cleaning (includes purging), laundry
Friday - laundry, take it easy!

Looking forward to my daughter's email, my son's letter (always these two!), reading, weighing myself and seeing the the scale go down.

Looking around the house There is definitely some cleaning up that needs to take place. My son was in the play Our Town last spring. They took these old fashioned photos and made poster size prints of them and hung them in the theater. We were given some to take home, and they have been sitting on my dining room table since! We still don't know what to do with them. He doesn't want to hang them in his room. (They are pictures of his "wedding" and his "family". I really don't want to hang them in our family room. There would be too much explaining to to!

From the camera My daughter and her new missionary companion


Have a great week!