Thursday, October 28, 2010

Birthday Love

Today happens to be the birthday of not one or two but THREE! very important people in my life:

Happy birthday to my brother and sister:
Chris: You are an awesome brother, Dad, and husband and I'm very proud of you. Happy Birthday!

I don't know what I'd do without my amazing sister. I know my hair would look like crap! Just kidding. Love you so much Jenn!

And last but not least one of my BFF's Jeannine! Her and I have been friends for a loooooooooong time. She is a gorgeous person inside and out.

Happy birthday you guys, love you all very much!!


Yummy Drinks

I'm not really a big drinker, but I do love a delicious cocktail if I'm out for dinner.

It was my birthday on Tuesday and my husband and I went to the Keg for dinner (bread alone=worth it) and I wasn't even going to order a drink because, well it was a Tuesday but then I looked on the menu and saw they had a drink called Spiced Apple. I got very, very excited. I love fall flavors especially apple and pumpkin so I had to try this. 

All I can say is it was fantastic! It would not be hard to re-create at home at all either. It was light and refreshing but with a little kick of fall spirit! Perfect for Halloween or for no reason at all other than to celebrate this awesome season.

How to make a Spiced Apple Cocktail at  home:
*spiced rum (did not pay attention to type, sorry!)
*Apple Sourz 
*Butterscotch Ripple Schnapps
*Apple Cider

Put it all in a cocktail shaker and serve in a martini glass or over ice in a tumbler. Garnish with a thin slice of apple if you feel like being extra awesome. 


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I heart soup

I have a thing with soup. I want it all the time.
In the past week, it seems like the temperatures have dropped because I am always freezing. This seems to kick off my soup obsession that continues until about June.
I think this stems from when I was younger and soup was the one thing I could make myself when I didn’t like what my family was eating. This was pretty much every day. I used to be an extremely picky eater. Now I like almost everything except sushi and some seafood.

When I was younger, I loved to eat canned soup, usually vegetable and my special occasion soup was Campbell’s Vegetable mixed with Lipton Chicken Noodle. If you haven’t tried this before, you must. Especially if you’ve gotten hit with a lovely fall cold.

However with the exception of my special occasion soup, I find I am so not into canned soup anymore! I absolutely love making homemade soup, especially since you can make a big batch and have soup every day for a week. If you’re like me, that’s perfect!

One of my favourite things about soup is that it can be so good for you depending on the ingredients. For me, it’s the best way to get veggies in!
My go-to recipe is one I found in Oxygen magazine years ago and it’s a super-clean recipe!

(I apologize for the picture quality, I always forget to take a photo when I cook it so I took a photo of the magazine.)

Healthy Hodgepodge Soup


Canola Cooking Spray
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped cerly
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 tsp ground black pepper, divided
pinch kosher salt
1 1/2 cups water
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp tomato paste (which I never remember to buy, tastes fine without it)
1/2 cup finely chopped green beans
4 bay leaves
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 cup uncooked whole wheat ziti
1/2 cup canned great northen beans (drained and rinsed)-(I always use white kidney beans, I can never find great northern beans)
2 cups chopped escarole (also difficult to find, I found it at superstore but tastes fine without it)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fresh italian flat leaft parsley chopped

1. Spray large non-stick skillet with cooking spray. On medium-high heat, saute onions, celery, carrots,garlic, 1/4 tsp pepper and salt for about 8 minutes
2. In a large pot, add broth, water, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, green beans, bay leaves, basil, oragano, remaining pepper and saute mixture. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
3. After 25 minutes add pasta, beans, escarole, balsamic vinegar and parsley. Cover and simmer for 10-15 more minutes. Vegetables should be slightly soft and pasta should be cooked through. Remove bay leaves.


Tips & Bonus Information
This soup is soo easy to substitute anything you want! I like to switch up my whole wheat pasta shapes to keep it interesting. You can used crushed tomatoes or diced if you like chunks of tomatoes in your soup. You can add different veggies, like chunks of potatoes. I also tried a variation of this soup in my slowcooker and it tasted fantastic!
I'd also like to try adding ground turkey at some point!
Nutritional Info:
Calories: 169, Total Fats: 2g, Sodium 362 mg, Total carbohydrates: 34g, Dietary fibre 9g, Sugars 4g, Protein 7g, Iron 1mg
Yield: Makes 10 servings.
Cooking Time: 1 hour 10 minutes total

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Life just keeps getting better!

I'm turning 26th on the 26th of this month (Champagne birthday! yes it's a real thing!) and just keep thinking how life gets better as I get older. This isn't what I expected to happen!
Every year for my birthday, I get all dolled up in a Birthday Dress (as all my friends know, I am openly a dress addict) and go out with the best people in my life. I'm the only one of my friends that really does it so I consider it a birthday party for everyone that doesn't have birthday parties!
This year I am celebrating my first married birthday and also a new amazing job opportunity.
 I was looking at some old birthday pictures and every year I thought I had it all, and every year is better than the last. I am so grateful for everything and everyone in my life.
Some pictures from past birthday celebrations:

22nd birthday, had just moved into my first apartment. Some of my girlfriends Jeannine, Jen, Nicole, Me, and Jess
23rd birthday just started a job that would teach me so much about life. This is my girlfriend Nicole.
24th birthday, had just moved in with my future husband. This is my sister Jenn.

Last year, turning 25. This is my fiance, now husband!

 This year, I have so much to be grateful for. I have an amazing husband, we have a great apartment to live in that truly feels like home. I have the most amazing girlfriends in the entire world. My husband and I have a group of friends that feel like family and we also have awesome parents and siblings. I'm starting my new kick ass job on Monday. I feel very blessed and tonight I will celebrate that!