InstaFriday!

I LOVE Instagram. I know that I’m not the only one out there! The way camera phones operate these days is outstanding, and let’s face it…who wants to lug their giant cameras around all the time? Insert my iPhone. I love it. It takes amazing pictures {and I’m sure my new iPhone takes amazing ones too! I’ll have to play with it this week and get lots of pictures.} I like being able to share my life with friends and family scattered across the country and I love it even more because I’m able to see my friends and family from a far.. Here’s my week according to Instagram. Want to link up? Go see all the fun happening over at Life Rearranged!

life rearranged

 

Ummm, yeah. That’s snow…and a good amount of it! Hello crazy weather in Colorado! No worries, it melted .2 seconds after I snapped this. Well not really but it melted fast.

How cute is this pup? We got to hang out with him for a few days and it was a treat. I want a dog sooooooo badly but I know that it’s just not the right time for us to get one. Until then we’ll just keep borrowing 🙂

I made broccoli cheddar soup! While it wasn’t as good as Panera’s it was still pretty tasty. Read about it here. I’d make it again, but make some changes.

Hello beautiful! I’ve been wanting one of these FOREVER. I waited. And waited. And waited some more. I knew when I got married my mom would give it to me as a gift. She’s the one who taught me to cook and bake and love the kitchen so I thought it was a fun reason to wait. I’m SO happy that it’s finally time to break it out and use it.

A good friend is having a baby next month and I went to her baby shower on Sunday. Three of us decided to go in together to get the gift and I was in charge or buying it. If you know me you know just how much fun this was. If you don’t know me then I’ll just say that if this could be a profession I’d do it in a heartbeat. Babies make me happy. I sent my girlfriends a quick text showing them most of what we were giving the lucky mom 🙂

Jameson and Ginger Beer? Best drink invention ever. Apparently I didn’t look like I needed the grownup size but this one worked just fine.

I spent yesterday editing photos from my first holiday season photo shoot. yay! Love this family .

Impromptu(ish) dinner party on a Wednesday night? Always a good idea. Chatting a bit too long after work and getting stuck in traffic? That means whipping up something as fast as I can for friends to snack on while I whip dinner together. Whoops. Green bowl on bottom that you can only see a sliver of? That’s good old Pace salsa. And how fun is that awesome platter? It goes so well with my Anthropologie bowls and was a wedding gift from a great friend.

The remains of dinner from the dinner party…and let me tell you those leftovers are so tasty! Want the recipe? Check it out here…It was pretty tasty again and a great dinner party meal. Easily made vegetarian (I subbed veggie stock for the chicken stock and made two bowls of it, adding chicken to one.)

Met some girlfriends here for happy hour today. The menu looked amazing! I tried a delicious new beer (for $3!) and we had some awesome fried pickles, house made corn nuts and green eggs and ham deviled eggs. Yum! Nothing better than gabbing away with girlfriends over treats. Must come back for dinner.

 

And finally….the best part of the week! We’ve been waiting… and waiting…and waiting… and it finally arrived! We are OFFICIALLY married according to the state of Colorado. Yay! Two months later and now I can start the long and tedious (so I’ve heard) process of changing my name.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

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Cooking, Soup and Cookies!

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE my job? Not only because it’s awesome but because I know that I will have the time to cook dinner. From scratch. Any night of the week. Sure things come up and we get busy, I’m tired, don’t feel like it, etc. but I have the ability to do so and that makes me so happy. We had friends over last night for a low key weeknight dinner party. I had one friend ask how I manage to pull things like that together and another friend marvel at my food plan for the week on the fridge. That my friends is the key to my current kitchen success. Sure it takes time, a little extra effort and it doesn’t always work out. It’s a start though and I know the longer I continue to do so the more success I’ll have!

It begins with me browsing through all the weekly sale ads, taking note of proteins that are on sale and then sitting down and finding recipes that match up. OR if my freezer is stocked with protein then I go through that. However since we’ve recently emptied said freezer it’s the weekly sale ads for now! Last week I rounded up my recipes, what I have on hand and what I needed from the store. After grocery shopping on Friday and having a few new ideas in my pocket I spent Saturday cooking and baking.

It was cold, SNOWY and just a good day overall to spend in the kitchen. Also a good day for soup! So I decided to try to recreate Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar soup because it’s amazingly delicious but not cheap. I have to admit that Panera’s soup still takes the cake. Perhaps it just needs more tweaking or perhaps they use some sort of secret ingredient but I didn’t love this. It was way way way to thick for my liking and the taste wasn’t the same. It made a good, quick lunch but I’ll probably have to keep searching for recipes.

 

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 medium chopped onion
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half cream
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 lb fresh broccoli
1 cup carrot, julienned (I used 3 carrots, peeled and grated…)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I omitted this step, I’m not a huge fan of nutmeg…)
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
In a large pot sauteé the onions in the butter…
Remove onions from the pan. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly!
Continue stirring consistently and add in the half & half. Simmer on low for a few minutes while continuing to whisk.
Add in the chicken stock and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally!
Add in broccoli, carrots and sauteéd onions. Continue to cook for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
After the vegetables have cooked you can choose to pureé the soup or leave it chunky. I used my immersion blender and slightly pureéd it so the chunks of broccoli weren’t as big. Add in the shredded cheese and stir. If you’re adding nutmeg also add that in. At this point I decided that the soup was really thick and that I was going to add in another cup of chicken stock. I heated it up before adding it to the pot. I probably would add more next time.
Serve with a nice crusty piece of french bread like at Panera and top with a little extra cheese. Yum!
Serving soup in Anthropologie bowls makes me happy 🙂 Well let’s be honest, serving anything in these bowls makes me happy. And following up soup with the tastiest chocolate chip cookies ever? That makes for one awesome Saturday!
Happy Thursday! Come back tomorrow to see my InstaFriday post!

Hello Monday

Hello Monday! Linking up with Lisa Leonard again….

Hello to TWO photo shoots this week! One family shoot this evening and one maternity shoot on Saturday. I am so excited and have some fun ideas in store.

Hello to baking up the best chocolate chip cookies ever! No seriously, they truly are the best. Check them out!

Hello to grocery shopping and getting crazy good deals on all sorts of meat. I know one freezer that is now restocked! Can’t wait to make some new recipes.

Hello sunshine! After snow (yes snow!) this weekend today’s warmup and sunshine is a welcome change.

Hello Chicago Bears! 5-1 Yes!

Hello to pregnant friends and baby showers. I’ve got a baby shower plan up my sleeve and have to wait to throw it but it’s going to be so fun!

 

What are you saying hello to this week?

Have a great Monday 🙂

Hello Monday!

Hello October!

Hello baking queen! I baked pumpkin bread, vegan banana/apple bread, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and raspberry pear crisp this weekend. Come help us eat it all…and tell me what I should bake next! I think bread is calling my name. Specifically THIS bread! Gives me hope since she’s a Colorado blogger too and I know it can be done at altitude 🙂

Hello to Monday night football…Go BEARS!

Hello to a week full of fun stuff (sukkah dining, football watching, wine drinking, breast cancer 5k walking, baby shower celebrating!)

Hello to a photo of me that the husband took this weekend on our beautiful drive in the mountains! I’m ready to go back…now!

Linking up with Lisa again! Have a great week 🙂