Monday, March 16, 2015

Slow Cooker 15 Bean Soup Recipe

Just in case you were wondering, it's no coincidence that both recipes I've recently posted are for slow cooker/ crock pot soup meals. I probably make a hearty soup about once a week-- it serves as our "staple" for lunches and quick meals, then I cook a few other things during the week that don't create so many leftovers. This serves two purposes: 1) convenience. A reasonably well balanced meal all in a bowl that's easy to heat up and eat quickly on busier days. 2) cost. These soups are money saving because they usually use frozen veggies and often broth from previous recipes, so I can get more food for less money, freeing up funds to make the other meals I cook a little nicer. Plus, it's nice to have at least one meal each week that is super quick and easy to make.

I wanted to go ahead and post this recipe because tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day! And if y'all celebrate with Corned Beef and Cabbage (which I also make in the slow cooker, by the way), this is a great recipe to make with all the leftover broth. Also, to mention cost again, if you use leftover broth, then you will basically be able to make a huge pot of soup for the cost of dried beans and an onion. That's, what, $3? Cha-ching!

1 package dried beans (16 bean soup mix--toss out the flavoring packet)
4 cups water
6 cups broth (I used leftover broth from making corned beef and cabbage, but you could use chicken broth from the store, veggie broth, etc).
large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped (or about 1 tbsp dried)
2 medium bay leaves
black pepper

1) Rinse beans, then soak in 8 cups water for 4-5 hours. Drain.
2) Add all ingredients (spice to taste--I added about a teaspoon of each) to slow cooker. 
3) Cook on high for 4-5 hours (Until beans have just the tiniest bit of crunch left. That's what makes them hearty and yummy. Don't let the beans get mushy)

That's it. No joke. Easiest, cheapest soup ever? Probably! AND Hubster and I both loved it (and we aren't even that big of bean people). 

You could add some carrots and celery if you want a little more color. 

Bon Appétit!

Adventure well; Live fully.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Mommy Blog: Daily Living

I didn't know it was possible to have a child and love absolutely everything about him.

(Hubster questioned whether I even love it when Jem poops. Don't get me wrong--I don't have some strange poo-love, but diapers reassure me that I'm making enough milk and feeding my boy well). 

Anyway. Everything. I love absolutely everything. 
First morning squeaks. 
"Ah goo, ah goo" as I change his diaper (I promise you this means "All good," even though my linguistics training tells me it's far too early for him to make meaningful utterances).
Wiggles, grunts, grins, and incredible belches when he nurses. 
Spontaneous, frequent, wonderful, ear to ear, toothless smiles. 
Giant, dramatic hand gestures. 
Coos, almost giggles.
Stretches, kicks, holding his head. 
Sheer delight at all his new discoveries. 
And, yes, even dirty diapers. 

Pre-Jemsy, I led a crazy-full always on the go life. I'm rather often asked what life looks like now. 

It's still full. But not so hectic. A beautiful blessing of nursing, that I totally didn't foresee, is the rhythm it gives my day. Every four hours I must stop, more or less, and just be. I do little things during this time--talk, read, day dream-- but the motion must stop. So what does a "day in the life" look like? 

Our daily living varies a bit, based on whether I have Zumba in the morning or discipleship in the evening, but, for the most part, it looks a lot like this:
In the early hours, I nurse briefly then put super cute cuddle boy back down. I then crawl back in bed myself while John gets ready for work until it's time for us to eat breakfast together. After Hubster leaves, I drink coffee, browse social media (that means connecting with all you cool-cats!), do little chores around the house, and shower before Jemsy wakes again. He nurses, and we cuddle, sing, read, and giggle. We take a walk with Mama Deb. We have lunch with Daddy, and then Jemsy takes a little nap while I putter in the studio, lining up my tasks for the afternoon. He nurses again, during which I usually read aloud to him from something like To Kill a Mockingbird (not so much because I think a 2 month old will derive great literary benefit, but so he can hear my voice and hear new words). He naps for several hours in the afternoon; I start dinner, then knit, paint, sew up seams, take pictures, and generally do the bulk of my creating and business running while he sleeps. John comes home and we eat. Jem nurses again while we catch up on our day. We spend time together as a family. Jem has his last meal then goes to bed with a round of "Hush Little Baby" and a whispered prayer still floating in his ears.

He smiled at me today during that early morning nursing when neither of us are really awake. It melts my heart every time. 

Mama-hood. A gentle refining. Someday, I know he'll teach me lessons in patience and self-discipline. But for now, the lessons are sweeter: rhythm, routine, slowing down, and so much gratitude. 

Adventure well; Live fully.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

(Slow Cooker) Beef Vegetable Soup Recipe

Welcome back!

I was thinking about this blog all morning, yet when nap-time came, it completely escaped my mind as I got lost in knitting and drafting a new stationery design. So many happy projects!

Without further ado, a recipe for yummy, comfort food, keep-me-warm-and-nourished-on-a-winter-day soup!

(Slow Cooker) Beef Vegetable Soup Recipe

Large soup pot (or slow cooker)
Large skillet
1-2 lbs ground beef (or turkey)
1 large bag frozen mixed vegetables
1 large white potato (or 3-4 red potatoes)
2 large stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion (or 2 small/medium ones)
4 cups beef broth
28 oz diced tomatoes
Sea Salt
Bay leaves

1) Brown beef in skillet
2) Chop onions and garlic
3) Add onions, garlic, and spices to beef. Stir and simmer until onions begin to become clear and soften. (A note on spices: I purposefully neglected measurements because I rarely measure them, a technique referred to as "throwing flour" by our friend Stuart. I tend to be passionate about garlic and stingy with salt. Season to your preference)

4) Dump the contents of the skillet into the soup pot or slow cooker.
5) Add remaining ingredients and stir.

6a) Soup pot: Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally
6b) Slow cooker: Cook on low for 4-5 hours (until potatoes soften)

7) Serve with your favorite crackers, crusty bread, or pita

Bon Appétit!

Adventure well; Live fully.