Sunday, November 25, 2012

no soup for you! - a week of soup recipes

in the next few blog posts (at the request of my sister and several others)
 i am going to share 5 soup recipes 
that we could eat over and over again.
i will share 2 today 
and hopefully (i promise), 
i will share the others 3 later this week.

it goes without saying that this post is far more than overdue...
but i just said it. 
my poor neglected little blog. :(

i know that it would take more than one blog post to get you updated on all that has gone on since i last posted.
first of all, we moved to a new house.
 the combination of the actual move and 
reorganizing our lives
has occupied more than a great deal of my time.
[i will post pictures of our house and the resulting projects in another post.]

amos celebrated his 1st birthday and has not yet stopped growing... 

to give this a little perspective, my husband is 6' 2"

and this picture shows amos's height sitting down.

paisley and amos are inseparable, which just makes me so happy!

best friends. :) i love the 'hug.'

and i know we are crazy, but we have added another furbaby child to the family
this is our new kitten, reggie.

please excuse the 

he was 3 months old when we rescued him. 
i wanted a black, male cat. i was hoping for a slightly younger kitten, 
but we got so lucky to get a kitten with so much personality,
 that both of our dogs fell in love (obsession) with instantly.

he LOVES the dogs, in fact he thinks that he is a dog.

and the dogs (especially amos) love him. 
amos is completely obsessed with him and won't leave him alone.

reggie was supposed to be an outdoor cat... 
which we still both keep saying is what he is going to be
but he had several health issues that we were trying to resolve before we let him go out.
and since he seems to be enjoying his indoor life [a lot], 
we are in no hurry to release him to the 'barn' (garage), which was where he was intended to live.

ok, so now for the recipes.

i will start with my husband's new favorite.
i made this for my family last weekend and topher requested that i make a second batch the very next day.
always a good sign! :)

White Chicken Chili

3 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded 
2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced finely
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 jalepeno
2 cans green chilis
1 lb. great northern beans
8 cups chicken stock (or 2 boxes chicken broth) 
1 1/2 T. cumin
1 T. chili powder
1/2 t. paprika
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 c. whole milk or 1/2 and half
2 T. masa harina (or cornmeal)

optional garnishes:
sour cream
grated monterrey jack cheese
tortilla chips

boil chicken for 20-25 minutes. 
let cool and shred, then set aside.
(you can just buy and shred a whole rotisserie chicken if you prefer)

heat oil at medium-high in a large pan or dutch oven.
add onions and garlic and cook for 3 mins or until onions are transparent.

add jalepenos and chili peppers and saute an additional 3-5 mins

rinse dried beans  then add them to the pot.

then add the chicken stock or broth.

decrease heat to low, cover,  then cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

next add the shredded chicken, the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and paprika.

when the beans are tender
mix several tablespoons of masa harina (corn powder) 

into the cup of whole milk. 

{again, if you can't find masa harina you can use cornmeal. it is just to thicken the soup.}

whisk together and let sit for several minutes before adding to the soup. 
cook soup for an additional 10 minutes.

serve with sour cream, guacamole, cilanto and cheese.

again, sorry for the instagram picture. 
i didn't save the picture to my phone after i instagramed it.


Chili's copycat chicken tortilla soup:


1 T. olive oil
3 large chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" cubes
small yellow onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves (pressed or chopped)
4 c. chicken broth
1 c. masa harina
3 c. water
1 can enchilada sauce
12 oz. velveeta cheese, cubed
1 c. fat-free half and half
1 t. salt
1 1/2 T. chili powder
1 1/2 T. cumin

optional toppings-
pepper jack cheese, shredded
pico de gallo
tortilla chips

heat olive oil at medium-high in a skillet. 
brown chicken cubes, about 4 minutes per side. 

remove chicken and set aside. 

brown onion and garlic for about 4 minutes, until onion is clear.

add chicken broth. 
combine masa harina and 2 cups of water. whisk well.
add to the onion mixture. 
add remaining water, enchilada sauce, velveeta, half and half,  and the spices to the pot and bring to a boil.

add the chicken, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

serve with your choice of garnishes.

hope that you enjoy as much as we did.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

healthy-ish {paleo} living

i know, i haven't posted in months... 
we decided to turn our internet off for the summer
because we were both out of town more than we were in town this summer. 
i shouldn't complain that i was able to go to the beach 6 times this summer, several times with work and a few days with my husband as well. but i definitely disliked living out of a suitcase and am very convinced that although i LOVE traveling, i am a bit of a home body and i really missed being at home with my husband and our puppies. and i missed my kitchen more than i should admit.

my favorite trip this summer was definitely our trip to iowa to visit family.
{we decided to take the dogs, which was quite an adventure}
we had a family camping trip with about 25 family members. it was such a fun week with so many fun memories.

here are a couple of my favorite pictures

after 17 hours in the car together they were the best of friends.
this is just the sweetest picture of my puppies

uncle dave's girlfriend, krista got this awesome picture of amos at the campsite

paisley loved the easy access to nature.
 there were so many things that she could chew on .

this is most of the collogan clan at the campsite

and this is my favorite! 3 generations of collogans- topher, lyle, and jim

this summer has been anything but relaxing, but despite the craziness, i have been busy with projects and cooking and baking here in our own kitchen.

my husband and i had both gained a little weight in the last several months. 
and a few months ago my husband decided that he wanted to join crossfit and he assured me that he was more than serious about living a healthy lifestyle, so i bought him a membership at one of the local crossfit gyms. he has been incredibly dedicated to it for several weeks now and i am so proud of him. i know that i don't need to lose much weight, but i also know that i need to 
work on eating a healthier diet and i am training for my first race... and i decided to start with a big one. i am hoping to do a half-marathon at the end of october, so i would appreciate any support and insight that any of you runners might have for me.

i am doing my best to encourage my husband to continue in his workouts and to make healthy dinners for us.
we have been trying to stick to the paleo diet as much as possible.
and honestly, the meals that we have had since we started eating more healthfully have been delicious!
the only thing that i have really missed has been cheese. i am pretty sure now that i could live without sugar, bread, and pasta, but cheese is definitely my guilty pleasure.

several of our favorite paleo recipes so far (which i will attempt to blog in the next few days) have been zucchini hummus (which i must say, i could not even begin to imagine that it would taste so much like hummus), eggplant stacks = amazing!!!!, and tilapia with peach-mango salsa, which i think was our favorite.
tonight i made the HUGEST batch of paleo marinara sauce, which i plan to use in 3 of our dinners this week.  i know that i am probably a little prejudice, but it was incredible!

****note: this makes an EnORmOUS batch of marinara,
but it is SO worth it.

i sauteed 
1 large red onion
5 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 1/2 T. olive oil
for about 5 minutes,
then add
2 carrots, grated
1 large zucchini, grated 
and sautee for 3-5 minutes
3 T. fresh basil, chopped
2 t. fresh oregano
1 t. red pepper flakes
4 packets splenda
salt and pepper, to taste 
( i added about 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper)
then add 
1 - 35 oz. can roma tomatoes (i used Nina, roma tomatoes from costco), chopped, with juices

let simmer at medium heat for 30 minutes to 1/2 hour.

tonight we had grilled chicken marinara 
(a grilled chicken breast, seasoned with balsamic vinegrette, salt and pepper), 
and it was everyone seemed to enjoy it. 

omorrow we are going to try paleo 'spaghetti' with julienned zucchini 'noodles' and marinara...
i will let you know the results. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

how does your garden grow?

i am a little hesitant to continue blogging about my attempts at gardening since i will likely jinx myself.
i have not been known to have a green thumb... at all. 
but if this garden doesn't make it, it is not for my lack of effort!

this weekend i went to the downtown farmers market and bought a couple more plants for our little garden.
and i decided that it was getting a little crowded out there,

so i made some plant markers to help keep it organized.

i just painted some paint stirrers {free at home depot} with black paint {$0.83 at hobby lobby} and wrote on them with a white paint marker {which i already had}.
total project = $0.83 

it is so exciting to see things starting to grow! 
especially since i thought that this pepper plant had died last week.

the tomatillo plants are probably my favorite plants in our garden. 
they just kind of do their own thing and drape their vines in all different directions.

and their cute little tomatillo 'pods' remind me of lanterns or lampshades. so fun!

this is one of the new plants that i got this weekend. 
i haven't had much luck growing basil indoors, so hopefully i will be able to keep it alive outside.

and i was SO excited to find that our little eggs in our lantern hatched last weekend.

and all 4 of the babies are doing well.

and i was rather shocked with what i found when i was watering my hanging flower baskets on tuesday.
another nest with 4 eggs in it!!!
our porch is quite the happening place this month.

this makes 8 babies on our porch 

i was just glad that i saw it before i drown them.

this is a picture of the babies yesterday

and here they are this afternoon a little more alert...
and i must say, it's getting kinda nasty in there.

so this afternoon i decided that with our growing aviary on the front porch
that i should probably provide some food for those hungry mamas.
so i made this little bird feeder to get us through till i find one that i want to invest in.

i just poked a couple holes in a soda bottle
 {sparkling pink lemonade to be exact} 
and stuck some bamboo skewers through for perches.
i am looking forward to watching our new little babies grow up.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

my little addiction {shoes}

last night was i was shoe "shopping" online, which i guess is the 2012 version of 'window shopping'
my husband made me aware of a little obsession that i now admit to having...
i love camel wedges. 
i already have more than a handful of them 
and it was brought to my attention that every pair of shoes that i
were camel or light brown wedges...
which i convinced myself was ok, because they are very 'practical', 
but at the same time
do i really need to be so practical?
and how many camel wedges does one girl need?
and i am disappointed that i am so predictable?
guess my husband should have no trouble buying me gifts. ;)

and these have cork soles which is very different.
 most of mine have the 'grass'-like (jute or hemp) soles

i justified these in that they are actually more 'chestnut' than camel

and these are metallic rather than camel, so they're different, right?

and these are cheetah, and animal print is the new neutral
and i will admit, i LOVE jessica simpson shoes... 
although i don't care for her much as a person

these are neutral and camel, but different from all the shoes that i already have
and i really like them.

but this is the turquoise version of the same shoe...
and turquoise is my FaVoRiTe color,
and i actually LOVE these!

these are a completely different style from what i usually go for
and i would consider this more of a 'mushroom' color
but definitely neutral

but it does come in mustard!

 and i am loving these gray suede wedges!
but they come in this WAY more fun indigo color!
and these are definitely adorbs!

but this 'salmon' color makes them so much more fun!

did i mention that i am a sucker for jessica simpson shoes?
and these combine the neutral with a pop of color

like these
 & capturing the latest trend- 
in gray and yellow, which is also trending in both fashion and design

again with the gray and yellow
which i have been told are the new 'neutrals'... 
which makes me feel like again i am being 
but really, what's wrong with practical?!

i think the main problem is that i have a shoe addiction...