Obviously, I think I have a lot to be thankful for. I often mention little things in my posts, but I really want to put it all out there for my own reminder. Maybe I will remember to check this when I am having a bad day, or wake up grouchy for no reason. I’m a lucky girl and I need to keep that on my mind as often as possible. Each week this month, I will post a recap of what I am thankful for that week. They may be big things or little, odd or completely expected.
You should do it, too. If you do, link your blog in my comments section each week, so we can give each other a virtual high five. Join the Thankful for November party! Please?
This week, I am thankful for many things…
- My awesome sister, Kaylie. She baked delicious cupcakes and I ate one for breakfast. Then she went to Target with me and watched New Girl’s Halloween episode. We really are a lot alike. Scary.
- My pantsless child, who figured out how to take his pants off today.
- My husband and his extra long lunch break phone convo today.
- All of my family for celebrating Halloween and not thinking it was ridiculous to take 3 babies under the age of one Trick or Treating in my neighborhood. Also, for not judging me when we ran out of food.
- Heat, electricity, running water and a home that is in one piece. My heart breaks for those who have been affected by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy. I couldn’t imagine being in the position that some of them are in and it saddens me to think that many have lost loved ones. I wish I could do more.
We have had at least 10 babies come into our lives in the past year and at least as many friends tell us that they are pregnant. That is a LOT of babies! We we had Bennett, so many of our friends and family offered to come and help with things, but I really wasn’t in any mood to entertain, so I rarely took anyone up on the offer. It is definitely something I regret! If I had it to do all over, I would probably invite people over and let them hold baby while I took a nap. Ha! Also, a little more comfort food never hurt anyone.
One thing I was raised doing was bringing food for people who have babies, are recovering from surgery or sickness, or when someone has had a close family member pass away. I remember my mom making lasagna to bring to a neighbor’s house once and the amount of gratitude they had really resonated with me. Almost immediately now, my head spins with ideas of what to bring someone as soon as they share their news. If I had more money, I would do this for everyone I know, all of the time. But, alas, I would go broke and have no food on my own table!
I thought it would be nice to share a few of my favorite ideas for things to bring to new parents, and little touches that will make it extra special. If you have more to add, please do!
- Chicken Noodle Soup – With crackers and brownies for dessert.
- Lasagna – Don’t forget the parmesan cheese and garlic bread.
- Breakfast Casserole – People eat more than just dinner.
- Lemon, banana or zucchini bread – Who doesn’t love something sweet? Wrap it up in a nice set of towels that can be used in the future.
- A package of salad, chicken, toppings and dressing. All separated so nothing gets soggy. Maybe add a bottle of wine?
- Fresh fruit – I am a sucker for Edible Arrangements, but would probably love some basic apples, oranges and bananas to help me feel healthy.
- Fresh baked bread – A nice gesture, whether you make it yourself or pick up from a bakery.
- A rotisserie chicken with mashed potatoes and a veggie. Nice and easy for you and the person on the receiving end.
Actually, it wasn’t a very lazy day at all, but every time I make this recipe, I think of the Lazy Sunday song from SNL. It is awesome.
Anyway, this casserole is one of my new favorites. I’ve made it three times in the past 5 weeks. It is crazy easy and absolutely a “set it and forget it” meal. If you are familiar with Hobo Dinners, it is sort of like that, but classied up a bit. This is also a recipe that leaves a lot of room for improvisation. Feel free to add your own spin, but please let me know what you do so I can try it, too! Oh, and did I mention that this is pretty healthy?
Stay tuned after the recipe for a little tip that might save your sanity!
- One package of smoked sausage
- 8 medium sized potatoes
- 1 package of baby carrots (one pound)
- 8-10 button mushrooms, quartered
- 1 1/2 cups of Italian dressing
- Salt & Pepper
- Pull out a 9×13 baking dish, or size of your choice, and coat well with olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400
- Peel, roughly cut (into eighths) and boil potatoes to almost done
- Put the carrots and mushrooms in the dish
- Slice up the sausage and add to the dish
- Add the potatoes to the dish
- Pour Italian dressing, salt, pepper and any other desired spices and mix everything together
- Bake, covered, for 45 minutes
- Uncover, stir and bake uncovered for another 15-20 minutes until sausage is browned and potatoes/carrots are a good texture.
Special Tip: Instead of peeling a potato the normal way, try this. Cut a shallow circle around raw potatoes to separate the skin. Place potatoes into boiling water for 17 minutes (exactly!) and pull out one at a time and drop in ice water filled dish. The skins will just fall off with your touch! It is crazy easy and a nice way to skip the annoying job of peeling them by hand.
I have been on a major comfort food kick lately, so I hope that you like your food to be warm and cozy! Today’s recipe is no different. One of my all time favorite recipes, and something that I make at least once a month in the Fall/Winter, is Chicken Dumpling Soup. Chicken and Dumplings means a lot of different things to different people, and this is my rendition. My mom made it this way, it is what I was raised on, and it will warm you from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. I may have had two bowls the first night and one the next day for breakfast. I said maybe.
Chicken & Dumpling Soup
- One carton of Chicken Stock
- One pound of chicken (white or dark, your choice)
- 3 cups of carrots, diced
- 2 cups of celery, diced
- 1 cups of onions, diced
- 3 chicken bouillon cubes
- Salt & Pepper
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
- 6 cups of water
- 3 cups Bisquick, or off brand, baking mix
- 3/4 cup of milk (give or take)
- Turn crock pot on high and pour in the chicken stock and water
- Add bouillon cubes, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and stir
- Drop in the chicken, raw is okay
- Throw in the veggies
- Cook on medium/high for 6-8 hours
- Once the soup is done, start mixing up the milk and Baking mix. You want this to be on the thick side to hold well.
- Drop the mix on the top of the soup, by the spoonful
- Let cook for additional 30-45 minutes, or until the dumplings are nice and fluffy
- Dish it up and enjoy!
When we first started talking about our future, and where we wanted to end up, we wanted to live in a town that we could love. We wanted all of the amenities, but none of the hustle bustle of bigger cities. Schools, location, and community for extremely important to us, too. For me, personally, I wanted to live in a place that felt like home. I wanted to walk around town, visit mom & pop shops, eat at non-chain restaurants, celebrate with festivals and community gatherings, go to a library with B, and all of the other “small town” things that make my little heart smile.
Our tiny house is in exactly that location. We live off of a dirt road, so there is virtually no traffic. We have any type of shopping you could need all within 20 minutes. The grocery store is only 7 minutes away. The library system and school are some of the best in the state. But the best thing… this town celebrates EVERYTHING!
One example of that happened this past weekend. We had our annual Boo Bash and it was our first time going. It was so great! Everyone dresses up their kiddos and walks in parade formation to each of the downtown businesses for trick or treating! We dressed B up (in his awesome Monkey costume!) grabbed a quick bite at one of the best quick Mediterranean places ever, and hit the pavement. Talking with some of the other “town-folk” and seeing all of the cute costumes was a total blast.
So, I have to say that the most fun part of Making Our House A Home has been exploring our little town. It has so much to offer and I know that we are only scratching the surface. I can’t wait for what we uncover next!