Saturday, November 1, 2014

Broccoli Cheddar Soup-Panera Style

  • I've been asked a few times in recent weeks for a recipe for my Broccoli Cheddar Soup and well folks, I'm finally getting around to sharing it! Now I have to admit I almost never measure out anything unless I'm baking so uh, proceed with caution! ;) I also don't have any hip pictures of this dish except for this one picture from my lousy camera phone, sorry, but I's delish!

This recipe served 6 people with a enough for a few seconds so alter as needed.


  • 2 medium bunches of fresh broccoli
  • 4 cups chicken broth (I used bouillon cubes and water since that's what I had on hand) 
  • 1 large onion-chopped
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp (2 cloves) minced garlic (maybe a a little more-we love our garlic over here)
  • 16 oz (1 carton or 2 cups) half and half
  • 4-5 tbsp flour (add a little more or less to your likening of the thickness of the soup)
  • 4-6 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 bay leaves for some extra flavor (optional)

  • SPICES: These are probably pretty good estimates but don't forget to taste as you go!

  • ¼ allspice
  • ¼ ground nutmeg (optional)
  • ¼dried basil
  • ¼ cayenne pepper (I honestly know it was more than this but my Husby likes things SPICY so yeah..)
  • ¼ salt
  • a few dashes of ground black pepper

  • 1. Chop, shred and dice those veggies! Leave a few bigger chunks of the broccoli to add in for some yummy, chunkier bites.
2. Warm your chicken broth in a pot on med heat and slowly add in your carrots, onion, garlic and bay leaves (the leaves you'll remove later). Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the onion is almost clear and the veggies are cooked through.
3. On the side in a larger pot melt  your butter and whisk. Continue to whisk as you add in your flour.
4. Once your flour is all mixed in add your veggie/chicken broth mixture.
5. Stir in your half in half. I did about a cup at a time and let simmer on low heat.
6. Stir in the spices and this is where I removed the bay leaves. It was a task trying to find them though!
7. I put the soup into sourdough bread bowls and we used the tops to dip in the soup or add a little butter to to eat that way. 
8. I topped it off with the cheddar cheese and dug on in!

Ps, I can't take ALL the credit for this yummy-ness I searched Pinterest high and low for some ideas and put the best  of what I saw into one great recipe!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The final countdown

I know it's April 1st which means April Fools Day. I wish I had something really clever to tell you that I pulled on my hubby this morning but alas, I do not. Maybe next year. (I say that every year). But maybe since I haven't pulled a trick on him in two years now he just won't be expecting it and I can have something amazing up my sleeve! We'll see. If you have any ideas please share them with me!

The main reason for this post is we have FINALLY made it to April! Graduation is just around the corner and I'm getting very impatient. It's like waiting for the last trimester of pregnancy to just hurry it's little tooshy up so I can see the new babes! (No no, not an announcement, just an example of how impatient I am.)

All morning I have had this song in my head and the fact that it's Spongebob only makes it that much better.

This month I have SO much to do and I don't even know where to begin or when to start. Just so much to do.

Where are we going? I DON'T KNOW!
How will we get there? I DON'T KNOW!
When are we leaving? I DON'T KNOW!

Do you see a pattern here?

I'm just going to try not to worry and take things as they come. Haaaaa! Hardy har har. Now THAT'S a good Aprils Fools joke! I'm really stressin', guys.

24 DAYS!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Goals for the Spring & Summer

It's Spring. Finally, right? I can't even begin to tell you how badly I have yearned for the sunshine on my face again. Just two days ago we had a whopping high of 70 degrees! I even got a SUNBURN! Pretty sure that's the first time I've ever been happy about that. This truly magical weather was followed by a day of overcast skies, sporadic rain and a freak hail storm. Welcome to Utah, my friends!

Since the change in seasons I figured it was time to write out some goals for the upcoming months. Which by the way, these next few months are going to be a heck of a ride for this family. We have lots, and I mean lots, of new adventures on the rise. I'll share one with you:

And basically all that comes with that. Job hunting, moving etc.
Hip hip! Hooray! So very proud of my hard working hubster. More on that I'm sure later.

Goals for 2014's Spring & Summer:
(Of course there's a chance these all won't get done in the case that we do get a job and move out of state.)

  1. Graduate. If we can just get to the end of April in one piece that's an accomplishment in itself.
  2. Find a job. Big boy job hunting is harder than I thought. Especially when your husband is an engineer and you understand none of the job descriptions.
  3. Find a place to live AND move there. Stressssssful. Until we get a job, we have no idea where we will be going. It could be across the country for all we know and we sure aren't ready.
  4. Hike Y mountain at least one more time. 
  5. Float the Provo River again.
  6. Visit all the temples in Utah. 
  7. 25 random acts of kindness
  8. Write in my journal everyday for a month. 
  9. Take a picture everyday for a month.
  10. Finish a Shutterfly book of Haddie's first year.
  11. Go through all my clothes and Haddie's and donate the ones we don't wear/need. 
  12. Find at least 5 more vegetarian dishes that my family will eat and love.
  13. Start a garden.
  14. Take Haddie to the Spanish Fork Reservoir.
  15. Paint.
  16. Start and finish a book. Maybe even two!
  17. Visit the Wishing Field.
  18. Do some of the hundreds of crafts/recipes I have pinned on Pinterest.
  19. Organize all my pictures and cards into a folder.
  20. Fly a kite.
  21. Go on a bike ride.
  22. Go to the zoo/aquarium.
  23. Learn a new skill.
  24. Find an awesome hole in the wall place to eat. 
  25. Write down something I'm grateful for everyday for a month.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Making YOURSELF a habit

Growing up I did every sport under the sun. Well, almost. Softball, soccer, gymnastics, cheerleading (it's totally a sport), track and field, ice skating, dance...I think you get it. I never had to worry about my body or being 'fit'.  I just was. I never worried about what I ate, how long I sat on the couch one day or how many calories was in a food or WHAT exactly was in what I was eating for that matter. Then after high school when you don't have a P.E class, dance class, or soccer practice to attend it very easily can just slip out of your day to day routine. Am I speaking for others here or is it just me? Well, I can say that for me, I slipped out of that real fast and never have I missed a P.E class more than I do right now.

It's true, friends. The older you get the slower your body and the harder you have to work to take care of it. Go ahead and say it, you're thinking sucks. But that's part of life. I so badly wish I had kept up on my running, joined an intramurel team or at least stretched everyday! My body is paying for it now as I'm struggling to get it back to butt kicking shape by well, kicking my butt into shape. Hehe. See what I did there?

The last couple months I've been more conscience about what I'm putting into my body, how much I'm putting into it and working on my exercise habits. Meaning, I'm trying to make these things just that, habits. I've even started this thing called Oil Pulling. After reading that article you'll probably think I'm nuts but that's ok. I've been doing it for only four days now but I've already noticed a change in my moods, my teeth are whiter and I can tell you I KNOW it's been literally pulling and dissolving the bad toxins from my body. The other day I got a bad headache. It was just like a headache I once got after I had gone and gotten a massage. Have you ever been given a professional massage and afterwards they give you a big glass of chilled water? That's not just a complimentary beverage to keep you relaxed. It's to help flush all the nasty toxins that the deep tissue massage just helped release. If you don't flush those out you can get headaches and feel nauseous and I'm telling you that's EXACTLY why I felt so bad the other day. I didn't drink water when I was done.

Anyways, I'm rambling on now but what I'm getting at is that after being more careful and learning to love my body again I've noticed a change in myself. It may not be a drastic physical change but to be happy with yourself, the changes have to start from within and work outward. There certainly are changes taking place. I'm happier, I have more energy, I have a desire to do things again and the more I keep it up the more I get done and want to keep it up. It's amazing really. The 1000's of IU's of Vitamin D I take daily probably helps a bit too. ;) It's a lot like the idea people have that if you force a smile everyday eventually it'll be permanent and out of habit. The more I keep doing these beneficial things for myself and my body the more apart of my life it becomes and the better I feel inside and out. I'm slowly working out again, going to my Jazzercise classes, finding friends to do exercises with since that makes things SO much more fun, transitioning our diets from processed foods to almost no processed foods and drinking glass after glass of water everyday. It may not sound like much (or maybe it does) but I think it's important to find what works for you and the pace that works for you and your family. I've found mine! Finally.

So, I encourage you to find at least one or two things that you can change, starting today, or add to your daily routine that will benefit you. Make some goals. Maybe it'll be no soda for a month. Or waking up 30 minutes earlier to reflect or exercise. (I also think that it's so important to take a little time out of your day, each day, to have a quiet time of reflecting or unwinding.) Just find something that you think is possible and turn it into a habit! Then come back and tell me how it's going!
If you need a push or shove here and there from someone, let me know! I can be that person for you..gladly!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The brilliant burrito

Tonight I made what is quite possibly my new all time FAVORITE dish. Holy Smokes people. 
I just need to take a moment to relish in my accomplishment I made in the kitchen today. 
And yes, brag a little. At least I'm honest.
It was spicy and creamy, sweet and tender I'm seriously drooling all over again and WISHING my stomach wasn't already bulging so I could some how squeeze in some more of this stuff. Seriously. Good. Grub. 

Ok now that that's over with I will share this delictible dinner dish with you. For all my Utah friends, if you've ever had Cafe Rio (Which c'mon, you can't live in Utah and NOT have had it before) I'm talking about the sweet pork burrito. YES. I made something very similar to that and it was beyond easy. Especially for those of you in my boat and you have a miniature energizer bunny in human form bouncing off the walls everyday that can't even give you two minutes of alone time in the bathroom. 
If that's you, this meal is definitely for you. And really for anyone else too. 

We had a frozen pork roast in the freezer I pulled out this morning.
All I did with it was put it in the crockpot with salsa and brown sugar. THAT'S IT. 
The pork was Delicious but what really made the meal was the divine avocado sauce I made to go along with it. Please make this. Please share it with your friends. (Unless you love it so much and can't imagine letting anyone else have the left overs. Well, then I'd completely understand.)

Pork Roast:
Place in the crockpot 
Add 16oz jar of salsa
Add 11/2 cups of brown sugar
Cook on HIGH 6-8 hours.
Easy peasy!
When it's about an hr away from being done shred it and stir it around a bit. Let it keep cooking and soak up all the juices. Mmm.

Avocado Sauce:
2 avocados
1 handful (about a cup) of fresh cilantro
1 juiced lime
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
Finely minced jalepeno
A dash of salt and pepper
Blend it all together in the blender.

We made the burritos with black beans and cheese and next time I'll probably add some rice to it but it was soo good even without rice...and filling! I poured the sauce over the burrito but my husband put  it in his. If you want a little extra punch in the mouth add some Siracha sauce. However you prefer it! 
Roll up and enjoy! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A lovely day o' love

 As we all know it was Valentine's Day the other day. A favorite holiday of mine! Well, I love every holiday but this one's definitely in my top 5ish! I seem to have this idea that when it's a holiday it should be celebrated all month instead of just the one day. So for Valentines that means red and pink heart outfits each day, cute head bands and lots of pictures. This day of love Emmett had classes so Haddiecakes and I dressed up and went shopping! While in the clothing  store (luckily there weren't more than 2 other customers at the time) sleepy Haddie decided she had an unnerving amount of energy all of a sudden and thought she had free rein of the entire place. She kicked her shoes off and ran and ran and ran, eventually putting holes in her tights. Luckily for me the sweet girls working were in high school and thought every little thing she did was "Just adorbs!" and "So presh!".  They danced in the mirrors with Hadds, chased her, picked her up. It was like having babysitters that let me do my shopping without being bugged. But of course they couldn't always keep an eye on her so there was a time she ran behind the counter and in the display windows, crawled under the changing room door (No, nobody was in there. Whew!) and she even dove head first into a clearance tub of high heels. Which then led to tears and a heel mark right in the middle of her forehead. I can easily say she napped very well when we got home. It sounds like I just let her run and cause chaos but of course I didn't did.

 You ever try shopping alone with a toddler? Yes? Then you know exactly how it goes.  No? Well, wait until you have children. Then you'll understand.

After her 2 1/2 hr nap (hallelujah!) we decided to do a mini photo shoot with our new camera. Keep in mind here, friends, that I have no editing programs except the old school one that came on my mac, that it's really hard to photograph a tot by yourself, it was getting dark and unfortunately I had no adorable props to use. Maybe next year will be better. Ha. 

The day started out with a heart/pink themed pancake breakfast! It's tradition!

Mr. Fletcher and I went out for a nice dinner to The Happy Sumo. Such good sushi! After dinner we sat in the car for a minute and discussed what we could do next. We had babysitters, dinner went faster than expected and it was only 7:30pm! We never did come up with anything so we just went home but it was an nice evening in relaxing and being with Haddie together.

This picture below was Valentine's Day last year. Haddie's first. I love it so much I decided I want to try and reenact it each year!



Hope you all had an enjoyable day with the ones you love and who love you! I'm so grateful for my eternal family!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Jazzercise milestones

I have a sweet friend, Candace, who just so happens to be a jazzercise instructor. She's been asking me to come to one of her classes and I really wanted to go but unfortunately things would keep coming up. So last night I finally was able to go and nerves were getting to me. I couldn't tell you why. Who is afraid of a little Jazzercise? Well, maybe the mom who hasn't worked out hard in years, who used to run a mile in 6 mins and now can't get around the block without wanting to pass out. Maybe the fact that my instructor is preggo and STILL rocking the stage, or the girl who never took dance classes in high school because she was too embarrassed and worried about what the other girls who had always been in dance would think of her. Yeahhh that'd be me, if you hadn't guessed by now. But I put on my big girl pants and marched down to the studio. Actually I just hitched a ride with Candace. 

I was worried I would have to stop a lot throughout it and that I'd be the one to look like a slobbery bulldog like this guy

while everyone else carried on like these women ----->
BUT I wasn't! I know I didn't look like these women or anywhere close. Really the only thing I have in common with them is the huge smile I had on my face throughout the entire class. I was really lovin' it.

Luckily I was able to get my sister in law, Andrea, to come without much convincing needed and she was able to bring our friend Carin along-with much more convincing. So that was nice to have some friends there to look silly with. Not that you guys looked silly or anything ;) No sillier than me at least! 

What I really loved about it was at no point was I feeling like I absolutely couldn't go any further. There were a few too many times that I wasn't keeping up because as soon as I'd have the moves finally down the song would be over and on to the next one haha. But it was fun to learn. But people, I'm telling you now, I'm hooked! I want to go back. I want to buy cute work out clothes and new shoes and go every week. Some of the moves I was thinking I wasn't feeling the burn where I should have been but boy do I feel sore this morning! I can't wait to go back! Your first time is free so you should totally come with me!! And then when you fall in love with it like I did it's only $10 a month-unlimited classes. (For students)