Grandma’s Zucchini Soup

There is just something so special about this soup to me. It’s probably one of the first memories of knowingly eating a vegetable and LOVING it. When my grandma would cook, I would sit at the bar that spanned her kitchen and watch. And talk. And ask questions. Sometimes she would invite me in to help, but usually she was a one woman show.

This soup is super simple to make and is just soothes the soul. There is an actual recipe which I have attached a photo of, but I have tweaked it and made it my own which is what I’m sharing with you. They aren’t much different and in my opinion it tastes exactly as I remember (grandma didn’t use the cream). One of the beautiful things about cooking to me is the flexibility. You can be creative and play with flavors as you go. With baking you have to be too precise with measurements and temperatures and that’s not me.

I used:
5 medium/large zucchini, washed, but not peeled, and cut into chunks
1 large sweet yellow onion, chopped
1 box chicken broth
Seasoned salt
Garlic salt
Black pepper
Tabasco sauce

First melt a tablespoon or two of butter in a large pot. Sautee the onions with the two salts until translucent. Add the remaining ingredients. Let this cook until the veggies are soft enough to puree with a blender, about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the veggies. In this instance I used the immersion blender since it is less mess. I top my serving with a lot of black pepper which always results in the hiccups – you’ve been warned.

Side note – season this to your liking. I’m liberal with all of them. My boys like food salty and spicy and while I don’t go overboard, you know it’s there.

This is just one of my childhood favorites. I feel very fortunate to have copies of so many of my childhood favorites that I now recreate for my own little family. I have a love for cooking because of my grandma and I know she would be proud of the cook I have become.

I am reminded with Thanksgiving around the corner that we need to slow down and take time to love and appreciate one another. Be tolerant of the world around you. This is what we get so make the best of it and appreciate how good we truly do have it.

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New Norm

A few times a year, we as a family have to adjust to a new normal.  The reasons why vary – schedule changes, school, summer break, etc. – but they all fall in the “adjustment” category.

October was a doozy.  Changes were coming at us from every direction.  The month started with a bang with Mercury in Retrograde.  Add to it work schedules, school schedules, weekend schedules with JJ’s dad, time changes.  It goes on and on.  By the end I was done.  I could see it was starting to get to all of us.

Thankfully the excitement of Halloween allowed us to forget our troubles for a few hours and it seems we’ve all reset.  I see it as God’s little nudge.  The holidays are coming and this is a time to be thankful and appreciate the world around us.  I love the crisp air and fall leaves.  The way the air smells after it rains – I almost forgot, but it finally rained here yesterday – like real rain!  The colors and all of the delicious food – and reasons to eat a little more than normal.

So while there is a natural element of stress that can come with change, roll with it and see what happens before resisting.  Change isn’t always bad.

This is my Day 2 post of #NaBloPoMo #BlogHer

Boys And Their Toys

So I probably mentioned in an earlier post that my boyfriend is building a motorcycle.  Earlier in the year he sold his second car (an Acura something) and bought his very first bike.  He has had nothing but trouble since day one  – finding more damage than first thought, an undisclosed broken motor mount, missing bolts that turned out to be a challenge to find and no space to work on it.

Slowly over the last few weeks things have started to come together.  He found the size of the bolts, he decided that being able to ride it is more important than how it looks at first, and now he has a place to work on it.

A few weeks ago he mentioned enclosing an area of unused space on the side of the house.  I asked our landlord if we could and she agreed without hesitation.  A couple of days later, and before we even thought about starting the work, she told us she would do the build and one week later the project was started.  It’s nothing special and it isn’t finished yet, but I have one happy man in my life right now.

His baby has a home.  He has a place to pine over it.  And I don’t have to see the motorcycle on my patio any longer.  Everyone wins!

This is his recent YouTube video on the project.  If you’re interested in his project, please follow his channel.

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Sunday Breakfast

I don’t get to take my time in the kitchen very often, but when I do it’s usually on Sunday morning.  We typically don’t have any commitments or schedules and if we do have somewhere to be it’s later in the day.

I had a nice piece of tri-tip left over from last night so I sliced it and placed it on a baking sheet in a 425 degree oven (400 if you’re using convection) for about 10 minutes.  The trick, put the meat in the oven when you turn it on.  Let it come to temperature then set the timer.  It came out nice and crispy, just the way we like it.  And it’s less mess than frying.

For the eggs I kept it simple today.  I whisked together seven eggs, about a tablespoon of whole milk (I never measure) and about two tablespoons of stone ground Dijon mustard with hot sauce.  I also sprinkled salt and pepper to taste.  I used a fork and whisked the mixture until it started to fluff.

I’ve finally learned that eggs need patience.  I poured the mixture into a preheated pan with a little butter.  You have to listen to the pan (this is true for all cooking in my opinion).  You can hear when it’s time to start moving the eggs around.  Slowly folding them over on occasion to allow for an even cook.  Once the eggs started to firm I added a handful of shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend, but use whatever you like), folding the eggs over to form a pocket.  I let it sit for a second or two to allow the cheese to start to warm up and then I fold it over a few more times until the cheese is melted and starting to brown/crisp.

Here is a picture of the finished product.  I put this awesome fig mustard on my meat because I love dips, spreads, sauces, etc.  Any excuse to eat one is a great excuse to me.

Mornings like these are far and few between, but they are a perfect reminder of how blessed we are.

www.browndogmustard.com
http://www.browndogmustard.com
Breakfast!
Breakfast!

Not myself lately…

Holy Cow!  I feel like I’ve lived a year of emotions in about six weeks.

One of these days the month of September will no longer grab ahold of me so tightly.  Until then I’ll do what I do every year – hang on and ride the ride.  Some years are easier than others, this one not so much.  Add to it Mercury in Retrograde for the last three weeks and it’s been a recipe for disaster.

But I have survived it once again.  Stronger and with a new perspective on a few things that have been weighing on my mind.  I appreciate that the people around me understand how not myself I’ve been and grabbed my arm just as I was starting to fall on more than one occasion.

I have my fire back.  My drive back.  My peace and calm are back.  I woke up this morning and could feel all the pieces coming back together.  I feel rested.  My shoulders aren’t at my ears.  My stomach isn’t in knots.

Hope those of you who’ve experienced the weirdness of Mercury in Retrograde lately are feeling a little better today too.

20 Years Later, My Adoption Story

There are a few times in life where the decision you make alters the course of your journey forever.  One of those moments for me was when I gave my first child up for adoption 20 years ago today.

I was 18 when I got pregnant (19 when she was born). I was on my way to dropping out of high school and had no direction.  I hid it for as long as I could and only told a handful of people.  I lived as if everything was normal because I was in denial.  Looking back I think I thought if I didn’t acknowledge the pregnancy that maybe it would just go away.  I was so scared and lost.  😦

One month before giving birth I was in a bad car accident – that was it, my secret was out.  I was rushed to the hospital and kept over-night.  There was no way to hide it from the ones who loved me any longer.

By the time my family found out I had already decided on adoption.  I am so lucky I had enough sense to even consider it.  I’m sure they weren’t thrilled with the idea, but the alternative was to help me raise her and I couldn’t do that to them.

There was a lot of stress and sadness.  There was doubt and confusion.  But I knew it was the right thing to do.

It was a closed adoption so I don’t know where or how she is doing now.  Am I curious?  Sure, but I would never seek her out.  I made the decision to walk away 20 years ago and feel it would be incredibly selfish of me to disrupt her life like that.  If/when she’s ready I have made it easy for her to find me.

I want to take a second to thank my parents for supporting my decision and my friends for being there when I need to talk.  Without you I would be completely lost.

To my daughter, I hope life hasn’t been to hard on you.  From what I remember you were adopted by a great family and have at least one sibling who was also adopted.  I pray you never think I didn’t want you, I just wanted you to have a better start than I could give.

I could say I wish things would have been different, but this experience is a big part of who I am and has helped me grow into the woman I am today.  For that I am proud.

Catching up.

My 30 day challenge lasted exactly three days, and one I didn’t even write about.  I never said I would finish in 30 days.  🙂  For those of you who don’t know, I share custody of my son with my ex-husband so we have to do things over time around here.

Thursday, we went on a bike ride and had the best time.  We found a hidden parking lot around the corner from where we live with all kinds of obstacles.  There is a carport with several pillars to weave in an out of; a U-shaped driveway and a huge tree that has lifted the cement in a way to allow for some cool tricks.  JJ and I had the best time and can’t wait to go back.

Yesterday Matthew and I went to the reservoir for Free Fishing Day and what a blast we had.  If we are friends on Facebook you saw the video I posted of him reeling in a BIG Catfish.  This was his first time fishing and the joy on his face was priceless!  Here he is with his catch:

I love seeing him so happy!
I love seeing him so happy!

This morning I finished up a few small projects and poked around on Facebook a bit.  I have found a new love for the “On This Day” link, something I intentionally ignored before for some reason.  One today was a link to an article about personalities, specifically introverts vs. extroverts and those in between called ambiverts.  For those of you who know me well, you know this is me to a “T”.  For those who think they know me, but can never figure me out – here you go:

http://introversioneffect.com/2014/07/22/18-struggles-of-having-an-outgoing-personality-but-actually-being-introverted/

I love how well it explains some of the quirks that come along with such a personality.

We are off to the flea market this morning.  Can’t wait to see what treasures we find today.

Until next time, be blessed.