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Vegetable Lentil Soup

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Wow! It’s been forever since I’ve had the time to write…but if anything is going to motivate me to get back into the swing of things, it’s a good recipe! I like this one because it’s so versatile and cost effective – just use what you already have!

I found this recipe for lentil spinach soup from the Garden Grazer on pinterest, and altered it based off of what I already had in my pantry. Being snowed in for the second day in a row will do that to you!

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 zucchini
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2Β C dry lentils
  • 14.5 Oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 4 C chicken broth
  • 3 C water
  • 5 Oz spinach
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Dice onion, carrots and zucchini. In a large stockpot over medium heat, saute vegetables for about eight minutes.

2. Peel and grate garlic, and rinse lentils. Add garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground red pepper, salt and pepper to the pot; saute for one minute.

3. Add broth, water, tomatoes and lentils. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and allow to simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked through.

4. Add spinach during the last few minutes of cooking.

5. Enjoy with freshly baked bread, or crackers!

Note: Next time I want to try adding cubed sweet potatoes or butternut squash. If one of you tries it before me, let me know how it turns out! You could also add broccoli, or substitute kale for the spinach….I really can’t wait to hear your combinations!

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Book Review: Melanie Shankle

I recently finished reading all three books by Melanie Shankle’s of thebigmamablog.com. Her blog is hysterical, so I knew I was in for a treat!

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A couple of mommy friends recommended her book, Sparkly Green Earrings, since I’m a new mom to a little girl. It was adorable, and such a sweet book! I laughed, cried and felt refreshed spiritually in a way that I really didn’t expect! Once I finished her first book, I HAD to read the others!

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The Antelope in the Living Room was about her relationship with her husband, and the journey that brought them together. The part about shopping for jeans at Gap literally had me doubled over. That is so my life!

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However, her most recent book, Nobody’s Cuter Than You, was my absolute favorite! It tells about her relationships with her girl friends growing up, and her three best friends she met in college. It was such a relateable book! And it makes you realize just how special your girl friends are!

If you have read/read any of these book, I’d love to know your thoughts! Also, Melanie, you need to write more books! πŸ™‚

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[Mini] Easter Carrot Pancakes

Celebrating Easter this year was so much fun! Kate participated in the neighborhood egg hunt, and we spent Easter Sunday at my parents’ eating good food and playing corn hole. It was a lovely day!

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As you know, I’ve been trying to get Kate to eat lots of veggies, however, since she really only wants to eat bread I’ve been disguising healthy veggies in carbs. So far so good. For Easter I made carrot pancakes! I made a fairly large batch and put the rest in the freezer for us to use in the coming days. This has been so helpful! Now we don’t have to rack our brains to come up with creative ways to make sure she’s getting the nutrients she needs. Here’s the recipe I followed:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 C flour
  • 2Β tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 C walnuts, chopped (I omitted these)
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • 3/4 C buttermilk
  • 1 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 1 1/2 C carrots, shredded
  • Non-stick cooking spray

1. Place flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and walnuts (if desired) in a bowl and stir.

2. In another bowl, mix sugar, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, carrot and eggs.

3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold.

4. Heat a large griddle over medium heat and lightly coat with cooking spray (I have found things burn a lot easier when I use butter).

5. Spoon batter on the griddle and let sit until bubbles are visible, about 2 minutes. Flip and let cook for 2 more minutes. Enjoy with honey or syrup!

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Kate’s One-Year Portraits

We received Kate’s one-year portraits last week and I am in love! Lundies did a great job and were phenomenal to work with! I recommend them for studio sessions hands down.

Here are a few of may favorites!

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[Mini] Trail Mix

We’re going through a bit of a food strike over here…Kate only wants to eat crackers, pasta and cheese. I have been searching the entire Internet (blogs, Google, Pinterest, etc…literally every inch) for toddler-approved recipes. I have tried a few, the first one was this super easy “trail mix.”

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And Kate loved it! Especially the goldfish…

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Ingredients

  • Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish
  • Cheerios
  • Plum’s Mighty Puffs, Cheesy Broccoli Carrot

1. Combine all ingredients and enjoy! Store in an air-tight container.

For more inspiration follow my Mini Meals pinterest board.

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Pasta Cooking Class

Team JER

Monday night a couple of friends and I attended the pasta-making class at Catering Works. It exceeded my expectations in every way! When we arrived we were shown to the kitchen where they had set up wine and appetizers. The kitchen was huge and full of all sorts of tools and large, restaurant equipment. Once everyone was in attendance we began learning about the techniques and tools we would be using. The instructor gave just enough direction; she wasn’t intrusive but was there when you needed her.

The first pasta we made was the Farfalle since the dough has to rest for 30 minutes before shaping. In my opinion, this was the most time-consuming and while delicious, didn’t compare to the other two dishes we made. Since the three pasta making machines were spoken for before we knew what was going on (I blame it on the wine…), we got stuck with the rolling pin. At first I was disappointed, because the whole point of the class was to use the pasta maker machine, right?! But what we learned, which turns out to be a reoccurring lesson when making pasta, is that old school is good and sometimes even better! We were finished before the other three groups, and our pasta was really “rustic” and pretty.

Farfalle

Farfalle with marinara sauce

Next was the potato gnocchi. I love gnocchi so I was most excited about this dish. The instructor had made a Basil Cream Sauce (recipe at the end of this post), that I couldn’t wait to try and I knew it would pair perfectly. We grabbed a couple of potatoes and got to work. Shaping the potato dough took a while, but it was totally worth it. Unlike the Farfalle, I would make this recipe at home.

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The last dish we made was Ricotta Ravioli. The first group called dibs on the form pan. We got the vintage stamper, and once again, we learned that the most simple, straight forward way is the best. The other group’s pasta got stuck in the pan! They basically had to start all over…meanwhile we were on a roll. While cooking our ravioli, the instructor complimented our efforts and said we had the best looking raviolis in the class! Way to go team “JER!” (We even made it on to the Catering Works the facebook page!)

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If you’re looking for a cooking class, I can’t recommend Catering Works enough. The class size was perfect, the instructors were great and it wasoverall just a really fun night. Check out their schedule here. She mentioned they are planning to do a grilling class in June…I’m thinking double-date night! πŸ™‚

Basil Cream

Potato Gnocchi with Basil Cream Sauce

Basil Cream Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 4 Tbs pesto
  • 2 Tbs fresh basil
  • 1/3 c shredded Parmesan cheese
  • S&P

1. Saute 1 shallot in 2 tablespoons of butter until soft and translucent.

2. Add in 1 quart of heavy cream and reduce over medium low heat by half.

3. Stir in 3 – 4 tablespoons of prepared pesto, 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil and 1/3 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese.Β  Season with salt and pepper.

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Fun in the Snow

So I caved and we played in the snow, all six inches of it! It was short lived, about 10 minutes, but it was fun! πŸ™‚DSC_0084 DSC_0085 DSC_0088 DSC_0089 DSC_0092 DSC_0096
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