Monday, November 24, 2014

Chicken Soup for the, really.....

You guys.

I found this paleo chicken soup recipe and I just wanted to share it with you. It is so delicious and perfect for the season! The fresh tarragon and thyme just make this dish. I'm going to be making my own chicken stock soon so I'm going to give my next batch a try with the homemade stuff. Just a little shortcut...I used a rotisserie chicken from Hyvee to speed up the process.


Fast and Easy Chicken Soup
Rating: 5
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 5 servings
Calories per serving: 239
Fat per serving: 9.6g
Fast and Easy Chicken Soup
  • olive oil - 2 tsp
  • carrots - 3, diced
  • celery - 3 ribs, diced
  • onion - 1 medium, diced
  • mushrooms - 4 oz
  • garlic - 4 cloves
  • chicken stock - 6 c
  • bay leaves - 3
  • thyme sprigs - 3
  • cooked chicken meat - 1 lb, shredded
  • fresh tarragon - 1/4 c, chopped
  • flat-leaf parsley - 1 tbs, chopped
  • black pepper - 1 tsp, plus more to taste
  • salt - to taste
Heat oil over medium high heat in a large pot or dutch oven. Dice carrots, celery and onion in that order and add to the pot as you go. Saute 5 minutes. Slice mushrooms and add to the pot, then mince garlic and add. Cook one more minute.
Add chicken stock, bay leaves and thyme. Season to taste. Bring to a simmer while shredding chicken. Add chicken meat, tarragon, parsley and cook a few minutes more until chicken is warmed through. Remove bay leaves and thyme stems. Season again and serve.
If you like to add noodles, dumplings or matza, do so once the stock starts boiling. Add the chicken and herbs in the last few minutes of cooking.
Nutritional Information
Calories: 239 ; Fat: 9.6 g; Saturated Fat: 2.3 g; Trans Fat: 0.0 g; Cholesterol: 81 mg; Sodium: 849 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 9.2 g; Dietary Fiber: 2.1 g; Sugars: 4.1 g; Protein: 28.9 g; Points: 5 ; Points Plus: 6 ;
chicken noodle soup close up

Friday, August 15, 2014

I F*****g Love Donuts. Part One.

Here lately I've been reflecting on how I have changed over the last ten years. 40. Freaking 40. Reminds me of the SNL Sally O'Malley..."I'm fitty years 'ol". Here.... . I'm going to be 40 in about 8 months. This still just blows my mind. I don't feel it. Not even a little bit. Being married to a 31 year old also keeps me from feeling my age. Shut up...he'll be 32 in October.

I think the last 10 years is where I have seen the most changes in me. Well, the most significant ones at least. I think I was a late bloomer, because as most of you know I was with my ex-husband from age 16-33. Things that most people learn throughout their 20's were lost on me because I was already playing house before I was 20 years old. I didn't know how to date. I didn't know what "red flags" were. I didn't know who I was because I had always been part of a couple. My, my, my how I've grown (mentally, emotionally and unfortunately, physically) since 30.

So basically, these are just some of my observations and changes that have meant something to me and maybe you'll relate. Maybe you won't. I don't care really, I'm just sharing so that if you can relate, maybe you'll nod your head in agreement and smile and realize you're not alone in your thoughts! 

1. You're not as fat as you think you are. For real. I remember when I was 27 and I thought I was old and too chubby to be wearing a two piece. NOW I understand that I'm oldER and too chubby to be wearing a two piece. However, now I just don't care because I am older and once you hit a certain age, you can just stop giving a shit and throw on a one piece...or not, whatever. So, my advise to you....stop giving a shit now. Whatever age you are now, stop giving any of your shits away to that issue. I know, I know, it's hard. I still struggle with it from time to time, but throw on the bikini if you want, have a couple cocktails and then your shits will all go away. Wait, what? That doesn't sound right, but you know what I mean  So, what I've come to terms with: I will never look like Cameron Diaz at 40 because a) I'm not Cameron Diaz. 2) She looks perfect for a living. She has cooks, a trainer and an entire crew that live to make her perfect. and c) I fucking love donuts. So, here's to you Cameron Diaz...may you forever look amazing and keep us entertained....I'm gonna eat 4 donuts for dinner.

2. Get a piece of paper and a pen. Go ahead. I'll wait. Okay, write down at least 10 things that give you joy. It doesn't matter how small it is, write it down. (Insert husband/boyfriend small penis joy joke here). For example, some of mine: 1. Coffee. I effing love me some coffee. I love coffee in a nook, I love coffee with a book, I love coffee here and there, I love coffee when I'm wearing just my underwear. Because I do that on Sundays. We have no pants, no shower Sundays at my house. 2. Driving with the windows down. (When it's not 125 degrees). 3. Snuggling my animals like I'm Elmira. Those are just a few on my list. I got this task from my therapist that I spent $1,220,234 on but was totally worth every penny. Do something off of that list EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Life's too short to not have some joy in it everyday.

3. Take care of yourself. Eat right the majority of the time. Get some exercise and freaking take care of yourself. You'll feel better, you'll have more energy and you'll just enjoy life more. Exercise...the fountain of youth. Ponce De Leon, you're so silly. And for the love of God, stop drinking soda and smoking. I don't care if either of those are on your joy list. Take them off of your joy list and respect your body. Be mad if you want. You already know its bad for you, I'm just not sugar coating your bad decision. We all make bad decisions. God knows I do, but come on guys. I'm not talking about the one soda a day drinker, I'm talking about the 2 liter a day I don't drink anything else to hydrate myself, soda drinkers. And smoking....fuggedaboutit.  Respect your body. Everything in moderation. I can't say it enough. Oh, and wear sunscreen. 

4. Don't judge. Just don't. It's not your business how someone else is living their life. For example: if you want to smoke, fine. I'm not going to judge you, I just don't agree with it. If you don't agree with homosexuality, fine, whatever, but it's not hurting you in any way. I don't care if it says blatantly in the bible that it's wrong. You're not God, so shut your fucking mouth, learn to be "christianly" and love all. Don't even get me started on religion. I'd probably lose a lot of Facebook friends because they would judge me. If you don't like tattoos, that's a-OK. We didn't get them for you to like. But having tattoos does not make you a hood-rat, a bad parent, a thief, a thug or any other stereotype you may have about it. Basically, if someone isn't like you, it's OK. The world is going to be OK, so calm down and keep your opinions and judgmental eyes to yourself. You not liking me isn't doing anything to me, it's just irritating you and giving me something to laugh about.

5. Learn to say no. This one has come very hard to me. Again, therapy. I'm still working on it. I think that a lot of women are pleasers.  We want everyone to like us, we want to make everyone happy and we can do everything all at once. Give us some coffee, a good pair of shoes and 3 hours sleep and we've got it! Stop it. Just stop it. Your life is more important than that. Once I stopped caring if everyone liked me, I became a completely different person. I became the true me. You don't HAVE to do everything that someone asks you to do. If you don't want to come to my Tupperware party (is that even a thing anymore?) then just tell me no. "April, that's the only night I have this week to sit around in my underwear, drink a bottle of wine and watch the X-Files, so I'm not coming." I totally get that. I'd rather someone be straight up with me. I think most people would prefer that. If someone gets their little feelings hurt because you told them no, then they are not a good friend. They'll get over it and if they don't, so what? Do you need people in your life like that? Do you want high maintenance friends? Ain't nobody got time for that. I seriously have the best friends on the planet. I can go 4 months without seeing Christina and we both just get it. Because life, people. Be understanding. Aren't we all just doing the best that we can? My bff Marisa's motto: "I do what I want." Learn it. Live it. Love it.

6. I'll leave you with this because I'm getting kind of winded here. If you don't like something in your life, for the love of all that is holy (like donuts) CHANGE IT. It is up to YOU to make changes in YOUR life. Nobody else is going to do it for you. Need to lose weight? Get off the x-box, go for a walk and stop drinking soda. In an unhappy marriage? Take the steps to fix it or move on with your life for your happiness. Don't like your job? Look for another one, go back to school and start something new, talk to your boss, do what you have to do to change it. If you really want something, you'll find a way, not an excuse. I don't know who said that and I'm too lazy to look it up so consider this my citation. In this life you are responsible for you. Everyone else is looking out for themselves. Shouldn't you be doing the same?

I have a mental list of other things, but I don't want to lose you here because the blog is too long. I'll just come back for more later. So, TTFN, LYLAS, BFF's 4EVA, yada yada yada.

Kronk out.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Like Sands Through the Hourglass....

My, oh my. Things began to get good in the Brown house today.

     The ladies stayed the the night with Grandpa last night, which cost them $1.00. Dane said he was charging them for vacation time for staying at an all inclusive resort. He's so creative. Right now the girls really hate him, but I really love him.

     When they walked in this morning all bright and happy I gave them their list of things to do today to earn some money. One thing was I left every single dish that we dirtied yesterday and this morning on the counter for them. 1) I wanted them to have the opportunity to get some cash by doing a big job and B) because I made it a point to inform them that that is what it would look like all of the time if I never ever touched the dishes. I made sure to point out how much work that Dane and I both do around the house and we don't get paid for it because that's what you do, pick up after yourself and take on personal responsibility (that was last summers theme...they hate that phrase now). This whole thing caused a serious increase on the poutometer.

     Dane has slept about 5 hours in the last 48, so, after getting off at 7:30 this morning he is sleeping. The girls get free TV time today only. They were stoked. Then I told them that they had to clean their room first. This room looks like Justice just vomited in it (if you have little girls, you know what I'm talkin' about....that effing store). It's awful. Cue.....more pouting. Once they were in their room, Dane went in to collect rent (I didn't realize they were being charged $0.50 per day). They owe for Tuesday, Wednesday and today. So, lets make a little tally.....

Veronica took out a loan............$12.00
Owes me for lunch yesterday....$  1.60
Owes for rent ............................$  1.50

Gabby owed me for lunch and TV time yesterday so she paid me this morning.
She owes for rent $1.50
and her savings is dwindling fast.

     Veronica proceeded to giggle as Dane was telling them what they owed. At that point I informed them that this lesson was going to continue each week until their debts are paid in full Cue...silence.

     Dane asked them if they remembered what he had told them Monday when he was explaining to them why we were doing this. Neither one of them had anything to say. He repeated to them how their entitlement behavior the last week and weekend was unacceptable. He told them how many hours he has worked (and how he had an inmate throw urine on him on one shift) so that the girls and I could go to St. Louis with him over the weekend to have fun, and that all they did was complain and pout the entire weekend. He explained to them how much the house payment costs us each month (to which Gabby got wide eyed and said with panic in her voice, "I don't have that much money!") and that we were doing this on a much smaller scale for them to understand. He explained why we drive crappy cars; because they are paid off and we don't want to have debt. At that point a cat hacked up a hairball so I had to clean it up and get to work.

     I think with each passing day and by repeating the meaning behind what we are doing, they are finally getting it to sink in. I think they really hate me right now and I'm sure I'm the wicked stepmonster, but I hope that later on they will thank us. A friend posted on my Facebook that her parents did something similar to this when they were teenagers. Only on a bigger scale. They had to buy their clothes, hygiene products, everything. I really want to do that when they hit the teenage years. Believe me you, we won't be bailing them out when they grow up and neither will their mom and stepdad. I understand that a lot of parents want to give their children the things that they didn't have when they were growing up....I get it! I really do! BUT, I feel like that causes more harm then good. I'll spare you my soapbox...I digress....again....

Anyway, that's up to speed. We'll see how things go once I get home today!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

First World Problems for Little Girls

So, a few folks asked about our little life lesson week we are having at the Brown house. Let me first start with what brought this whole thing on.

The girls are seriously good kids. For real. We get compliments all the time about how good they are. The problem lies at home with spending and this feeling of entitlement that they have. They don't understand that going out to eat, going to the zoo, all of the food they eat just because they're bored, etc. costs a lot of money. So, a couple of weeks ago Gabby told Dane, "I don't have to do my chores. I don't need money, you guys will just buy us everything anyway." He decided that they needed to learn a little life lesson about working for your own things and not living off of others. We are not the government here! We aren't giving out Obama phones! Let me also say that their mom is totally on board with our lesson as well....she is lovin' it.

Needless to say, Monday morning, when Dane told them what was going to happen this week there was a lot of butthurt. Here is what we are doing:

For every chore that they do, they get paid for it. We decide after everything is done, and done 100% to our satisfaction, what they will get paid. The first day, V did about 6 chores and earned $3.50. Gabby did about 5 and got $2.50.

We paid them and then we immediately took back $0.50 for rent for the week. They have each earned additional money by asking for more jobs above the chores they do (which is sweeping, cleaning their rooms, vacuuming, etc.) They also earned an extra $1.00 at the dentist office for being really good. They have to pay us $0.25 to watch an hour of TV....each. It costs to use electricity. If I have to repeat to them to turn off lights after they leave a room, it costs them $0.10. When we take them to the store, they have to chip in for gas if we were going there anyway...they pay us $0.25 each. If we don't need to go and they want or need to go, it costs them $0.50 each.

We drove the to the grocery store to get their groceries for the week. Gabby had some money saved so she dipped in to her savings and is supposedly going to pay herself back (she has a hard time wanting to do any work, so i'm doubting that). V, on the other hand, had no money. She took out a loan at The Bank of Dane for $10.00. She signed a promissory note to pay him back the $10.00 plus $2.00 interest by Sunday.

We let them buy what they wanted at the store. We guided them along by teaching them to compare costs and how much they are getting for their money. I was really surprised at how quickly they understood this concept and really utilized it. It KILLED me to let them buy processed junk for food!! My god. It is so sad that they could get a weeks worth of food for an average of $16.00 each and not one single thing is good for them. The best thing is the peanut butter and jelly....that's terrible. It's no wonder so many Americans are overweight. It's so much more affordable to buy food in a box....chemicals....not food. I digress....

Gabby got all of her food for about $18.00 and V got hers for about $14.00...they will run out, but that's besides the point. The food consisted of frozen dinners, peanut butter (we gave them the new jar I just bought) and jelly, bread, microwave mac and cheese, ravioli, everyone's favorite poor people food.....ramen, cereal bars, yogurt, ice cream, fruit snacks, applesauce and soup. All of those were the cheapest brands you could get. When we got home they wrote their names on their stuff so the other one won't eat it. Man are they gonna be ready for college life.

They loved doing their grocery shopping, but they HATE doing the work. I mean HATE. V has cried several times and Gabby says she quits. Today I stopped to grab lunch, I told them that I'd buy them lunch if they wanted, but they had to work it off...oooorrrr....they could not eat out at all. They both chose to work it off. As of today, Day 3, they both owe me $1.60 for lunch (it was $2.60 but they each gave me back the $1.00 they earned at the dentist), Gabby owes me $0.50 for TV this morning and V still owes Dane $12.00. Neither one of them has any money at the moment and at the mention of doing more work all I get is whining and attitude!

Come Sunday, they are going to have a real rude awakening when they realize that it's not over and that they have to keep doing this until they pay off their debt. Poor, mistreated little kids :)

We really hope that this shows them how much goes into what their Dad, Me, Mom and Stepdad do for them. We don't want them to think that someone is always going to take care of them. They have to be able to take care of themselves. Now, of course we would never let them starve!...we'd let them borrow more money! We want them to understand how money works. They need to know what it's like when you borrow money and don't pay it back. I never learned that. Dane never learned that. I sure wish that I had!

My personal hopes is that they remember this forever and what it teaches them. My family didn't have any money when I was growing up. When I started working I appreciated every single dollar. These two don't really have that problem. We can all afford to go do fun things and for them to have cute clothes etc. In my opinion, not having the cute clothes or cool shoes or not being able to go do all of the cool things the other kids are doing is what really builds character and makes you appreciate things that much more. I really want them to be grounded and well rounded ladies when they grow up. If they were to turn into "Mean Girls" their mom and I would both knock them down from that little platform real quick!!

Anyway, that's what we have going on here this week. I'll keep you updated as the week progresses. They are staying the night with Grandpa tonight so I can have some sanity recovery time. They are so happy because they don't have to eat the food that they bought tonight...or pay for any TV time!

I'm sure some people would disagree with what we are doing, but I frankly just don't give a shit. We know what kind of women we want these girls to grow up to be. That being said, save your criticisms because we really just don't care. I promise you, we don't tell other people how to raise their kids. I wrote this because some of you asked what the details were so you could give it a here it is!

I'm sure I've forgotten something, so if you have any questions, please just ask!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New Paleo Recipe

Sometimes when I'm messing around the kitchen I will throw some miscellaneous stuff together for a breakfast casserole. Sometimes it's a hit, sometimes it's a miss. Today...I had a hit!

Preheat oven to 400

1/2 sweet potato cut into small cubes
4 mini sweet peppers cut into thin ringlets
handful of whole mushrooms cut in half
1 cup coarse chopped parsley
3 handfuls of fresh spinach..or more if you want!
1 pound sugar free sausage
10 eggs beaten
Coconut oil

Melt coconut oil in skillet until hot and add sweet potato. Cook to soften it up some, salt and pepper if you like. Add in the peppers and mushrooms and cook them to soften a tad too. Then add parsley and spinach. I added my spinach a handful at a time and mixed it up gradually. It takes over your skillet! BUT it will wilt down. Pour all of that into a 9x13 baking this before you spinach is wilted down to look like canned Popeye spinach. You just want to cook it down some. I added a smidge more fresh spinach after I poured the mixture into the baking dish, then I just mixed it all together and let the heat shrink it down.

Using the same skillet, cook your sausage until done and put that on top of your mixture in the baking dish. Beat your 10 eggs, add some salt and pepper if you wish, and pour over your delicious concoction. Throw it in the oven, or set it nicely if you want less mess, for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Voila! Lots of veggies, protein, fat! Eat with some sliced avocado...YUM!