Big News!

It’s been forever since I posted here and I’m hoping to change that soon, but until then, we’ve got some very exciting news to share!

Bella Carina is going to get a whole lot more interesting come Fall!

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Chicken Soup for the Soul…and Body

My poor husband (yay for being married and getting to call him my HUSBAND! More on our wedding soon, I promise!) has been sick for a whole week now.  Which is especially sad since he never gets sick…like ever.  I mean, for the last 5 years that I’ve known him I’ve always questioned whether or not he was a super hero because he never gets sick.  Kind of like that movie Unbreakable with Bruce Willis.  At least he’s never really gotten sick.  I mean, I’ve seen him have the sniffles for a day or two, but that’s. it.  This has always made me jealous because I manage to get some kind of really bad sickness at least once a year.  Before I started getting a flu shot every year (I think my first time was about 4 or 5 years ago) I would get the flu every. single. year.

And it was usually right around Christmastime.

For instance, I remember getting the stomach flu while on a skiing trip with my family in Brian Head, Utah I believe…good times trying to sleep on the couch of our cabin.  Or what about the time when I was studying abroad in Rome and my bones were aching so bad that I couldn’t lay on my side.  Ya, having a horrible flu in a foreign country is not my idea of a good time.  And I’m sure my two other roommates (yes, there were three of us in one room on bunk beds) were not exactly thrilled by my sudden illness either.

But I digress.

I decided that the only thing that could help my new husband to a speedy recovery was homemade chicken noodle soup…so that’s exactly what I did.

Now, usually when I share a recipe I do a really good job of taking pictures as I go.  That didn’t happen this time, but since I had requests from my friends to share my recipe, here it is.  I kind of made it up as I went/remembered how my mom does it.  And, even if I do say so myself, it was delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • olive oil
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 4 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 8 ounces egg noodles
  • fresh flat leaf parsley
  • salt & pepper
  • ground cumin
  • ground thyme

You can really use any kind of shredded chicken for this.  An easy way to get shredded chicken would be to buy one of those already roasted chickens at the store and shred the chicken yourself.  Since I had 8 (!) chicken breasts that have been in the freezer for months and I was trying to clean out the freezer to fit a turkey I decided to make my own.  To start I heated some olive oil in my dutch oven over medium high heat (use the pot that you plan on using to make the soup…something big).  And by the way, I freaking love this pot.  Its home is on top of my stove because I use it so often, there’s really no use in putting away in a cupboard.

Annnd, back to the recipe.  Next, I butterflied my chicken breasts (cut them in half to make them thinner) and placed them in the pot.  I let them cook for three minutes on each side and then took 2 forks (just regular, plain ol’ forks) and began to shred the chicken.  The inside of the chicken was still pink, but it continued to cook as I shredded it.  Once all the chicken was shredded and nothing was pink, I removed it all from the pot with tongs and set it aside.

Next, don’t clean out the pot.  The juices from cooking the chicken will just add to the flavor of the soup.  Add some more olive oil (maybe 2 tablespoons) and saute the onions until translucent.  I used a huge onion, but we are onion loving people.  Use as much onion as your family enjoys.  Next, add the sliced carrots and celery.  Add some salt and pepper.  Once all the veggies are a little soft (maybe 7 minutes) add the minced garlic and stir for a minute.  It will all soften up more as it boils, so no need to be too concerned about how cooked it is at this point.  Also, feel free to get crazy and add other veggies as well.  I think a can of diced tomatoes and some chopped zucchini would be great additions. ;)

Now, add all of the chicken stock.  The easiest way for me to make stock is to microwave 4 cups of water for 3 minutes and then add Better Than Bullion chicken bullion to that until it’s dissolved.  Better Than Bullion is something my mom introduced me to a few years ago.  It’s basically a bullion paste that you keep in the fridge.  I find it to be much more flavorful than bullion cubes.  The beef flavor is also delicious especially for an onion soup base. I add enough bullion for 8 cups of water, which is 8 teaspoons.  But, being totally honest, I just kind of guesstimate.  Then I added 4 more cups of plain water (or more depending on how things are looking.  You want the stock to be at least a few inches above all the veggies).

Toss in the bay leaves and sprigs of thyme (they’re already in in the shot above).  Later, you’ll take out the leaves and what’s left of the sprigs of thyme (most of the thyme will come off on it’s own).  Sprinkle some ground thyme and a pinch of ground cumin into the pot.  Add the chicken back into the soup now.   Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce and simmer for anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple hours (the longer the better!).  Continue to simmer until about 10 minutes before you are ready to eat and then bring the soup to a boil again and stir in the noodles.  The noodles will take about 5 minutes to cook.  I said 8 ounces, which was about half of the bag of noodles.  If you are noodley (real word) people, add more!  Just be sure to have enough stock since they will soak up some of the liquid.  At the very end, add about a quarter cup of chopped parsley to add some color.  Add more salt and pepper to taste.  Remove the bay leaves and any thyme twigs.

And then serve with some crusty bread!

This soup definitely gets better with time.  The next night, I added a few cups more water and brought it to a boil and add more noodles.  Yum, yum!

Considering the fact that Dane is still sick (the doctor diagnosed him with bronchitis. sad face.) I don’t think this is a cure all, but it sure tasted good!  And it’s perfect for these cold fall nights.  :)   Enjoy!

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A rainy day update…

I was reading somewhere a while ago about how there are hundreds of thousands of blogs out there…many of which have one or two posts and then are abandoned and long since forgotten. I’m sure that the creators of these said blogs had the best of intentions when they were created. I mean, the idea of a blog is really cool. It’s an outlet where you can share your thoughts, feeling, and ideas with THE WHOLE WORLD. Kinda crazy when you think about it.

Anyway, when I started this blog almost a year ago (officially anyway…and can I say how crazy it is that it’s been a year!? So much has changed in the last 12 months!) I had big plans. My intention was to blog 4 to 5 days a week. I wanted to fill my blog with DIY projects and tutorials, yummy recipes, quick tips for everyday life, and, of course, photography. The cool thing is that I actually did that for a while…the sad part is that I just couldn’t keep up. And not only could I not keep up (let’s be honest, I probably could have), but blogging became a chore and something I stressed about in my life. That was NOT what I was going for. So, I took some breaks from blogging.

And, I’m ok with that. This blog has evolved and changed and I assume that it will continue to do so as the years go on. I don’t plan on abandoning my blog because when you live an entire county width away from most of the people that you love and adore in your life, a blog can be a great way to share with them.

My sister texted me the other day informing me (like any good sister would) that I hadn’t posted in almost two months. Ugh…I hadn’t realized it had been that long. She thinks I may have lost most of my readers (all 5 of you), but she says she’ll keep reading (like I said, she’s a good sister). My response was that I am awful…I’ve written at least 20 posts in my head and probably taken all of the photos to go along with them, but when it comes to sitting down, editing photos, and writing a post…it just doesn’t happen. But, I’m realizing that it is what it is. I am getting married in less than a month after all and that has all but taken over my life. But I’m ok with that too.

So, all this to say, on this very rainy day in September (and now a Severe Thunderstorm Warning) I want you to know that this blog will change and evolve, but I don’t plan on abandoning it. Luckily, I have my sister to help remind me not to.

And what’s a post without a photo, right? Oh, the pup…

Ready and waiting for belly pets…

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Roman wanting to know why I’m taking his picture and wondering if it’s worth the effort to get up and walk over towards me for some pets…this dog lives for pets, people.

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Sneak Peek: Michalea 9 Months

This baby has seriously captured my heart.  I’ve been lucky enough to take her photos a few times now and she doesn’t disappoint!  First, when she was only 3 weeks old and also when she was 4 months.  Now, here she is at 9 months and just as cute as ever!

I just started editing her session and these were just too cute not to share!

She’s adorable in her pink flamingo bikini.

And the pink flower really brought out her smile.

Can’t wait to finish editing these!

Enjoy!

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