Sunday, September 22, 2013


well, baby Della is officially 20 weeks (yesterday)
and 1/2-way to her due date!

i am very excited that we have made it to the half-way point!
in all honesty, this pregnancy has gone much faster than i had anticipated 
and has been much easier than i could have imagined.
we had planned a trip to charleston this weekend to visit some friends 
and i was really looking forward to a fun weekend away to celebrate this fun milestone...
but wednesday i got a cold. 
i figured like most colds that i have had it would be gone in 2 or 3 days 
and we would still be able to get away for the weekend.
but it seems that my pregnant body takes much longer to fight off germs.
each day i have felt progressively worse.
so rather than enjoying the beach with friends this weekend, 
i was lying in bed or on the couch with a mug of decaffeinated hot tea.
i just keep reminding myself that i am building up baby girl's immune system,
but unfortunately that isn't making me feel any better in the meantime.
i have spent many, many hours on the couch in the last few days.
but i have had some of the best company in my misery.

she is always happy to snuggle. 
 she can always tell if i am not feeling well,
and i am pretty sure that she has figured out that there is something different about mommy.

i go back and forth between feeling like i am so huge that my belly is about to burst 
and then the next day feeling like i am hardly showing enough of a bump to be at the half-way point.
this picture was taken this morning before i had eaten anything or even had anything to drink, 
so it is not the best representation of my 'real' belly size
especially not by the end of the day when i am all swollen, 
but here is my little belly in all its glory

thursday afternoon we actually got to get an 'extra' ultrasound of sweet little Della.
the doctor said that the pictures that we had gotten at the 18 week ultrasound were a little grainy, 
so he wanted to have us get another ultrasound of her heart to make sure that everything was working exactly as it should.
i was very relieved that everything looked perfect.
and Della must have spent the last week and a half practicing her little performance for us,
because she showed us some very impressive contortions and movements. 

apparently i need to start looking into baby gymnastic classes for when she arrives.
we have loved every opportunity that we have gotten to see our sweet little miracle and we feel so blessed that God chose us to be her parents.
we cannot wait to meet her in 20 weeks.

last night i was feeling absolutely terrible
and the only thing that i could think of that would make me feel better was a bowl of soup.
so i did a little searching on google, 
browsed through my pinterest files,
and decided that creamy jalepeno popper chicken soup sounded like a winner...
and it was!!!!

Creamy Jalepeno Popper Soup


1 lb bacon, fried and crumbled
(set aside 1/4 cup for garish)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced 
6 jalepeno peppers, diced very finely
6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 1/2 lbs chicken, baked and shredded
(i used part of a rotisserie chicken)
2 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 can corn, drained
1 can navy beans, drained
2 cans tomatoes with green chilis (rotel)
1, 8 oz package cream cheese, cubed
1 cup half and half


1. heat oil in large pot, add onions, peppers, and garlic.

we like a little extra heat,
so i also added one thai red pepper from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's garden
but you could also add a little cayenne pepper or some red pepper flakes for extra heat.
i can't taste much right now so i didn't want to add too much and over-do the spiciness.

 let the onion, garlic, and peppers saute for 5-7 minutes.
then add the flour

this will absorb a little of the oil and thicken the soup
(so if you are going gluten-free you could easily leave this out).
cook the flour for about 3 minutes, stirring often.

then add the cooked chicken to the pepper mix to reheat it.

let the chicken heat through for 2 or 3 minutes then add the spices.

stir well

then add the chicken broth, corn, beans, and tomatoes with chilis

let soup simmer for about 30 minutes, uncovered

then add the cubed cream cheese

heat, stirring often, until the cream cheese has melted.
(i actually ended up whisking it to make sure that all of the little pieces of cream cheese melted)

then add the bacon

and the half and half.
let heat for several minutes, but do not allow to boil again once half and half has been added

enjoy your soup with whatever toppings you like

we garnished with cheddar cheese, sour cream, bacon, and cilantro.

jalepeno popper soup is definitely now on my top 10 list!
hope you enjoy!

Monday, September 16, 2013

sugar, spice... and soup

there have been a few fun things that have occurred since the last time that i blogged.

first of all, 
our sweet puppy amos celebrated his 2nd birthday! 

i cannot believe that this tiny little puppy is 2 years old already. 

i do miss his adorable puppy days and i miss being able to hold him on my lap.
but i do NOT miss the months and months of potty training that we endured to get him house broken.
and we have been enjoying his sweet, relaxed, cuddly, 
yet incredibly protective personality.

it was ridiculous how quickly he grew!

i caught him last night checking himself out in the bathroom mirror. 
haha. he is such a funny dog. wouldn't trade him for anything.

we are so thankful to have him as a part of our little family.
i cannot wait to see him in his new role as a protective big brother.


and on that note, ;)
we actually have had 2 ultrasounds since i last posted about our sweet little bun in the oven.
we went and had a 4D ultrasound at almost 14 weeks (13 weeks, 5 days).

technology is so amazing now. we got such clear pictures and actually an incredible video of our VERY active baby who kicked and wiggled almost the entire 1/2 hour that we were watching.

Look at those little legs! no wonder i started feeling little kicks at 14 weeks! 

at that point the technician was absolutely certain of the baby's gender.
we told family and close friends what we found out,
 but we decided to wait to make the 'big announcement' until after our 18 week ultrasound at the OB.
i just knew that i would be embarrassed if the gender changed and i had already told hundreds of people.

we went last tuesday for our 18 week ultrasound and anatomy scan at the OB.

the baby was so perfect in every way!
we are both so in love with this tiny miracle!

we were just amazed that we could literally see every tiny little bone in the baby's spine, fingers, and toes,

and those legs! 
always kicking (almost every 30 minutes!!! day & night)
which, i am not complaining about at all.
 i actually find it rather comforting to feel the baby move all the time.
and we were SO excited that my husband got to feel little kicks just before 18 weeks.
i was hoping that he wouldn't have to wait till 24 weeks,
 which most of the things that i had read said 24 weeks was about when others would be able to feel movements.

 we also got to see every organ, and even facial expressions.

and we got the confirmation that our first ultrasound had been correct on gender,

it's a GIRL!!!!!!!

Della Claire Collogan will be joining our family shortly after the new year.
we are naming her after my husband's grandmother Della who passed away about 9 years ago.
I was named after my grandma Norma, 
so i have always thought family names were very special.

so thrilled that our home will be filled with much more sugar and spice this february.

here we are, almost 1/2-way! 
this pregnancy is flying by.

i was also happy that we finally got a little bit of cooler weather this weekend.
saturday's high was 78 degrees!
 i normally hold onto summer for as long as i can,
 but as none of my summer clothes fit anymore, 
and my hormones are keeping me a little warmer these days,
i am ready to embrace fall and all of the things that i love about the cooler months.

if you have read many of my other posts you know that i am slightly obsessed with soup.
i could probably eat it 5 nights a week.
and fortunately my husband likes it too... 
and is even a good sport about it if i happen to make it when it isn't a particularly cool day.

when i found out that it was supposed to be cooling off this weekend i decided to browse through my pinterest soup recipes and as soon as i saw this picture:

it was over!!! 
i did what i usually do and found 4 recipes for cheeseburger soup, 
chose my favorite components of each of them,
made my shopping list,
and got to work.

i actually found out shortly after going to the store that several of our friends were going to come up from charleston to spend the evening with us, so i decided to double the recipe to ensure that we would have some leftover
(which i will admit is one of my favorite things about soup, the leftovers!)

i did stay pretty close to the recipe from the recipe critic's cheeseburger soup

but if i learned one thing from my mother,
who has her own blog- becka's blog
 it is that you don't EVER have to follow a recipe.
no one will ever know if you change a few things. ;)

so here is my recipe 

cheeseburger soup


  • 1 pound lean ground beef 
  • 1 lb. pork sausage
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 5 large peeled and diced potatoes (i used  red potatoes because that's what i had)
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 cups of Velveeta processed cheese cubed (I used 16 ounce)
  • 2 1/2 cups fat free 1/2 & 1/2
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper


1. brown the ground beef and sausage. drain and set aside
2. in the same saucepan melt 2 T butter and add onion, shredded carrots, parsley flakes, basil and celery. saute until tender and onions are transparent, about 7-10 minutes.
3. add the broth, potatoes and beef and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. i let it simmer for close to 45 minutes, just because i like the potatoes to be slightly more tender.
4. in small skillet melt remaining butter (4 T) and add the flour. Cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

5. stir in the cubed velveeta, 1/2 & 1/2, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until cheese melts. 

6. serve with grated cheddar, sour cream, and garlic bread.

and i truly believe that the leftovers were even better.

and since we finished up the leftovers of this soup last night, 
naturally i had to make a new pot for tonight. 

i had cooked up a 2 lb pack of ground beef on saturday, 
so i had to choose a recipe that called for ground beef. 
i have made this recipe before and we loved it!

pasta e fagioli soup

4 slices bacon

1 1/2 lb ground beef
 (I used 1/2 lb ground beef and 1 lb. pork sausage
 that i had cooked up on saturday for the cheeseburger soup)
2 Tablespoons butter
2 small onions, chopped (1 cup)
2 medium carrots, chopped finely (1 cup)
2 stalks celery, chopped finely (1 cup)

6-10 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
15oz can diced tomatoes

15oz can tomato sauce

6 cups chicken broth

15oz can red kidney beans (with liquid)

2 15oz cans great northern beans (with liquid)

1-2 teaspoons salt (to taste)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 or 3 bay leaves

2×2″ parmesan rind (optional)

16 oz dry small pasta (i used small shells because that's what i had, but the recipe is usually made with ditalini pasta)

1. cook bacon until crispy. Drain on paper towels, crumble and set aside.

 2. brown ground beef (and pork if using both) in a large soup pot over medium-high heat until no longer pink, lightly seasoning with salt & pepper. drain and set aside. 

3. cook onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, in butter. lightly season with salt & pepper, then saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

let me just add that i like garlic A LOT!!!!

i usually always add about twice as much as the recipe calls for.
one of my favorite kitchen utensils is my pampered chef garlic press.

you just put the garlic clove inside,

squeeze, &

there you have finer than you can mince garlic.
plus you can avoid stinky garlic fingers.

add the cooked ground beef and sausage

then add the spices

add all remaining ingredients, except for the bacon and pasta, 

then simmer for 1 hour stirring occasionally. 

and if you have assistants it helps. ;)

(i actually made mine at lunchtime and let it simmer until dinner just because i could. You can also make the soup to this point and put it in the crockpot on low for 4-6 hours).

and this blog post would not be complete without a barefoot and pregnant picture.

4. 15-20 minutes before you are ready to eat,  cook pasta in salted boiling water until just under al dente. drain then add to the soup along with the bacon 

simmer for 5-10 more minutes

 remove parmesan cheese rind and bay leaves.

5. garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese

 or as my husband prefers, 'shakey cheese'