Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Vegetarian Vegetable Stew

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After several days of living off of Progresso canned soups because I was too sick to even think about cooking, today, I finally made a vegetable stew that I've been excited to try. I loosely followed this recipe over at Super Healthy Kids blog. It was delicious and the whole family loved it!
chopping sweet potato~little green onion roots that will regrow in my strawberry pot

Here's the changes I made:

  • I used three green onions chopped up and about an eighth of a cup of finely diced red onion that I had on hand.
  • I used two carrots and two stalks of celery.
  • I used two sweet potatoes and no russets.
  • The ounces on the can of tomatoes called for wasn't stated so I used a 28 ounce can.
  • I used vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • I didn't use chicken.
  • I added a can of mushrooms, drained.
  • I added about a teaspoon of turmeric.
  • I used about 1 & a half teaspoons of salt and half a teaspoon of black pepper.
  • I added water to cover everything in the slow cooker.
  • When there was about a half hour left of cooking time, I added three cups of cooked brown rice that I had on hand. (In hindsight, I should have probably added about half that...it was very thick and, well...rice-y.
before stirring

This recipe was just one of those good "bones" type soup/stew recipes that you could tweak to suit your preferences and what you have on hand. It made a big ol', full pot of stew that we will be able to eat from for another few meals. And although I'm thankful for prepared food items like Progresso soup, it has a time and place. And, in my opinion, nothing beats homemade!
stirred and getting ready for a long winters nap
If you try the recipe I'd love to hear what you think of it and any changes you might have made!
off to do some other things while my slow cooker works hard for me!*
Thanks for stopping by!~TJ
just a small portion of what was left over after we all had our fill at dinner!

*If you're interested in my Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker (33966) you can find similar ones over at Amazon. It is a workhorse and so easy to use!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Sowing Seeds


I'm feeling much better! Still coughing and getting fatigued easier than when I'm 100%, but I've actually done a bit of (catch up) housework this evening.

While I was in the midst of washing dishes, I got a hankerin' to sow some seeds for my little, much neglected lately, container garden. Right now, I have a few plants that are thriving (well, after I watered them this evening after a week and a half of neglect). A healthy pepper plant (I can't remember what kind at the moment), some nice coleus (a mama and two babies that I rooted from cuttings. The mama was from a seed that I sowed.) oregano, thyme (both from seeds), green onions (that I'm growing from the rooty ends of store bought green onions that I just stuck in the soil), some sweet and opal basil plants (again from seeds) and some others I won't go on and on boring you with.

I'm so proud when a plant not only lives but thrives because I'm just not a green thumb! I keep trying though!!!

Anyway, I thought I'd share the seeds I'm planning on sowing tomorrow. (For those who don't know, I do live in a mild-zone 9- area.) And...drum roll...here they are:
1)  Johnny Jump Ups
2)  Dill
3)  Swiss Chard
4)  Sweet Banana Pepper
5)  Hungarian Wax Pepper
6)  Jalapeno Pepper

Are you planting any seeds or plants this week? I'd love to hear about it!

Thanks for stopping by!~TJ

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Happy Belated Thanksgiving! Another Tip for Shaking the "Blues"

For all my good intentions to write another post sooner than this, well wouldn't ya know, I got sick with a nasty cold right after Thanksgiving. Ugh. As I sit here writing from my bed, I'm feeling somewhat better, but as soon as I think I should get up and catch up on all that has gotten behind this past week, another wave of ick washes over me. Maybe that's psychological, lol.

I hope anyone that might read this had a good one if you celebrate the holiday. I cooked for our little family---my husband, myself, our daughter, grown son and grandson. I worked for three days cooking and was happy to have the leftovers so, at least meals weren't an issue when I was sick. One thing I discovered during the prep of all the traditional fare for my family members, was a recipe for myself, which I guess if you would give a label to is a lacto, ovo, pescatarian *giggle*. (In other words, I try not to eat chicken, pork or beef.) I wanted an entree for myself to go with all the side dish delights. As fate would have it, I ran across this vegetarian meatloaf recipe. I made my own onion soup mix using this onion soup recipe located within the article. The final product was a tad salty for my taste, and I don't know if that's because I substituted my own onion soup recipe or not but overall, taking a bite of "meatloaf" along with some mashed potatoes cut the saltiness and was very good. Next time I think I will leave out the sea salt that the onion soup recipe calls for. If you try it, I'd love to hear what you think!

My last post touched a bit on the struggle I've gone through dealing with the aftermath of my husbands stroke. I don't really want to dwell on that. The reason I brought it up is to offer a few deceptively simple ways that have helped me cast off the darkness of that time and start to feeling like "me" again.

One day at a doctor's appointment for something totally unrelated, my doctor suggested, after I had broken down in tears in her office, that I should take some time for myself. Get out of the house, see a movie, go sit in a coffee shop. I couldn't well be expected to focus the entirety of my existence on staying home with my spouse. "Have one of the (grown) kids stop in and hang out for a while with him while you take a break and get out for a while."

She didn't know that, at that time and for a long time, just motivating myself to take a bath (I'm a bath girl) every day was quite the chore. Let alone bathing and getting presentable enough to go out into the general population. Just thinking about it exhuasted me. And some days it still does. But not every day. 

What I decided I could do is walk outside, into my own back yard, with my frumpy self and just sit in the sunshine and fresh air. If just for five minutes (and some days that's all it was-I'm very fair and can't take much sun and heat). And it helped. 

So today's suggestion is: get outside for a bit. Breathe some fresh air. Feel the sun on your face. 

And don't forget to try to smile.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Three Years and Two Months Later- Shaking the "Blues"

Photo credit: dreamstime.com

September 12, 2012 rocked our world. My soul mate had a stroke that left him in the hospital for a month, and in physical therapy for many more months afterward. It left him without feeling in the left side of his body. Well, except for pain. Excruciating pain called thalamic pain syndrome. It left us navigating months of major change in our marriage and family life. And because I've never been good at handling change, especially one of this magnitude, I found myself in a sad and lonely place. I went through all the stages of grief and settled somewhere in a neighborhood known as Comfortably Numb. Not a great place to live.

I'm happy to say, after three years and two months of struggling in this state,  I'm starting to climb my way out of the deep, dark hole I let myself fall into. It's taking daily effort and I'm sure I will still have days I struggle, but I am embracing the fact that I'm beginning to feel like "me" again. And that's a wonderful feeling I wasn't sure I would ever experience again.

That's why I've been absent from my little online journal here. 

Sure, I realize there are worse fates in life, I don't discredit those going through them. This is just my reality and I'm ashamed to say, I haven't handled it as well as others handle things that happen to them that are so much worse.

So, now I'm ready to write. To get it off my chest. And share what I'm doing to take baby steps back to more balance and normalcy in my life. Our new normal. Maybe in baring my soul, (which I'm not really all that good at) it can help someone else going through ______________ (fill in the blank).

I'll be back. But for today, smile. Just smile. Ever so often, I just force my mouth muscles into a smile and just hold it there. Not a creepy, crazy smile. Just a "content with this moment" smile. And surprisingly, it lifts my mood ever so slightly. That can be MAJOR.


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