Vegan Spinach & White Bean Soup

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With the recent passing of pop icon Prince, I decided to pay homage to his legacy by preparing a vegan meal. For those of you who didn’t know, Prince was not only a musical genius, but a vegan. I didn’t know him personally, but I like to think that his status as a vegan is a good indication that he was also a kindhearted person who loved animals. Just guessing. Anyway, I immediately thought of this soup because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Orzo pasta, and I had some leftover Spinach from when I made my Better than Panera Quinoa Broth Bowl. This is an easy vegan dinner that can be prepared easily and quickly for a weeknight dinner, but has a flavor profile that can rival dishes at high-end restaurants. Plus, the ingredients are those that I usually have on hand for last-minute meal planning!

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic, minced (not pictured)
  • 2 Small Sweet Onions, Diced
  • 1 Can Cannelini Beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 Pound Orzo Pasta
  • 3 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 2-3 tsp. Dried Basil
  • 2-3 tsp. Bay Leaves
  • 2-3 tsp. Dried Thyme

And here’s how you make this delicious meal…

Heat olive oil in large saucepan. Add onions and sauté’ until they become somewhat Continue reading

In Defense of Tiny Homes

Tiny HouseAlthough I am not an avid daytime television watcher, I will often turn the TV on halfway through the day just to hear something other than cats meowing, dog toenails tapping, my daughter babbling, or that strange baby-doll in the guest room laughing (that thing is sooo creepy). Usually I’ll find the news or some talk show that’s easy to tune out but still supplies me with a feeling of connectivity to the outside world. On this particular day I found that The Steve Harvey Show was on and I happened to catch him talking about the Tiny House movement. Well, as a person who has become slightly obsessed with the idea, I turned my ears to ON and hit UP on the volume button. Turns out, Steve Harvey takes issue with the Tiny House movement. He explained that at one point in his life he had been homeless, even living in a car for quite some time, which he noted was a “tiny space.” He went on to say that anyone who wants to live in a Tiny Home has simply given Continue reading

Prince

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Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am not typically a “star-struck” kind of gal (I have one or two steamy exceptions to my rule…hello Josh Holloway), but the death of Prince has really hit a chord with me. Obviously, I did not know him personally, although I have no doubt that in another life he would have been my token “cool in a weird way” friend. Having been a fan for so many years,  I always admired him for not being afraid to do his own thing, for being a vegan, and for (as far as I know) not becoming a drug and alcohol addicted maniac once becoming famous (as so many often do). He was a musical genius who somehow managed to be exceptional and stay grounded all at the same time. He truly was a rare find in this world and will surely be missed by his friends, family, and fans like me.

As I’m writing this I’m trying to decide on a favorite Prince song. Of course I love Purple Rain, When Doves Cry, and so many others (because who doesn’t), but I have to pick I Wanna Be Your Lover as my fav!

What’s your favorite??

Open-Faced Zucchini & Red Pepper Melts

DSC01883.JPGOn this warm spring day I really wanted something that felt light for dinner, but needed it to be heavy enough to satisfy my husband after a long day’s work. This savory Open-Faced Zucchini and Red Pepper Melts recipe is perfect! It feels light but is as filling as any other dinner meal! It’s easy to make, but takes a little extra time, so plan ahead.

What you’ll need for this recipe:

  • 1 Loaf Ciabatta Bread
  • 2 Medium ZucchiniCookie Sheet Ad
  • 1 Large Red Pepper
  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 tsp. Olive Oil
  • 1-2 tsp. Basil
  • 1-2 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Pepper

Here’s how you make these delectable melts…

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash and dry the zucchini and pepper. Then slice the zucchini into uniform slices, about 1/4 inch thick. Continue reading

Summer Cucumber Salad

DSC01836.JPGWe’ve been having absolutely beautiful weather here in Pennsylvania this week and it has put me in the mood for the summer foods that I’ve been missing all winter. I guess my husband is feeling the same way because he requested my summer cucumber salad for part of his lunch this week, and I was happy to jump in and make it! Pottery Dish Ad.png

The problem that I have always had with cucumber salad recipes is that they usually call for sour cream. Unfortunately, I don’t really care for sour cream and we rarely have it around the house. Since we grow cucumbers in the summer I like to be able to just pop out to the garden, grab some cucumbers, and make salad with what I already have around the house. This is my sour cream free, summer cucumber salad recipe!

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This is what you’ll need to get started:

And here’s how you’ll make this cool, creamy, salad… Continue reading

Why Your Baby Won’t Get My Vote

It seems that every month or so there is a new baby beauty pageant taking over Facebook, and I’m being hounded by moms everywhere to vote for their precious tot. My answer? No thanks. I’m not interested. It’s not that I don’t think your babies are adorable. In fact, I like to think that mine is the most adorable of them all. But, I am not interested in parading my daughter’s photo in front of everyone to be judged, nor do I want to judge yours. In my opinion, an online pageant is just the beginning of raising my daughter to believe that her worth comes from superficial sources such as the way she looks. Sure, she’s too young to even realize what’s happening, let alone be affected by it right now. But as her mother I have decided that certain things are just not for us, and beauty pageants are out. It’s not that I’m worried that she’ll become the next Kim Kardashian, posting endless selfies online all day and obsessing over trends and labels. No, it’s the fear that she’ll be one of the unfortunate souls who doesn’t land a reality TV series and instead lives seemingly endless, unhappy days wishing that she had looks, possessions, or a lifestyle that just doesn’t happen for her. And so, in lieu of pageants, I want to encourage my darling daughter to engage in activities that will teach her about friendships, strength, knowledge, self-reliance, and of course self-worth. That encouragement starts with my opting out of your contest. And so, good luck to you, but you won’t get a vote from me.

DIY Baby Food…Healthy and Frugal!

I’ve known since I was pregnant with my little girl that I wanted to make her food myself. The idea that I prefer fresh and homemade for myself but would feed my baby only store-bought, processed foods didn’t make sense to me. And, since my dear husband had already gifted me a super-awesome Ninja Blender I knew I could do it!

Baby Food Storage Ad.pngAs a side note, making your own baby food really isn’t a very difficult process, but it could be if you don’t have a good quality blender. I am as frugal as they come, but there are times in life when we just have to spend a little more money to have a good quality product. Blenders are one of those products that are worth spending a little more on. I LOVE my Ninja Blender! From pureeing baby food, to smoothie making, to food processing it does it all and does it well! I have a friend who swears by her Brevel, and I’m sure it’s great as well, but I’ll stick with what I know for now.

Before you get started on your baby food project, do your research on foods that are safe for your baby at his/her current age and get an idea of what consistency your food should be. My daughter is 7 months old and still mostly enjoys purees, but at times can tolerate some lumpiness so I make her food accordingly.

My guess is that if you’re reading this, you already have a list of reasons why you want to make your own baby food. Maybe you’re concerned about additives or processing, maybe you want all organic ingredients, or maybe you want to save a little money. Well, if you’re on the fence, let me just push you onto the side of savings. I’ve broken down today’s cost for you in this cute little chart…

Baby Food Cost Comparison

Here I’m going to show you how to make Butternut Squash puree, Apple puree, Apple Baby Bullet Ad.pngBanana puree, and Apple Blueberry puree. I tend to make a nice big batch of Continue reading