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Monday, March 23, 2015

Italian Orzo Soup

My husband isn't usually a huge fan of soups. When we were first married he would always respond to my question "Should we try to make some ______ soup for dinner tonight?" with a resounding "Ugh. No...I don't really like soup". That left me with little options as far as soup is concerned. However, since I'm a soup lover, over the years I've weaseled in a soup here and there. Now when I ask him about soup, his response is generally "Yeah, we can try it." He even asked me to make this particular soup a second time already! I'm okay with that. :)

*My husband noted that this soup would be really good with some Italian sausage thrown in, too. So if you have some and try it, let me know how you like it! 


2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 c. carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/2 c. chicken or vegetable stock
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 c. orzo pasta, uncooked
2 handfuls fresh spinach
splash of heavy cream, optional
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt & pepper, to taste


Heat the oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven.
Saute onion for a minute or two.
Add carrots, celery, and garlic.
Season with salt & pepper.
Saute until celery is beginning to look translucent.
Add the stock and tomatoes. 
Bring to boil.
Add orzo.
Turn heat down and simmer 8-10 minutes.
Add cream, if using.
Stir in spinach.
Cook until wilted (1-2 minutes)

We served our soup with a slice of homemade Dutch Oven Artisan Bread. It was pretty tasty. :)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Replacing Wax---the easy way!

" about No!"
"Ugh...they stink!"
" Honey, honestly, they don't have an offensive smell!"
" Pet stores smell like hamster cages.  Ick!"
"I promise I will keep their cage clean."

That about sums up my concern when my child at heart husband announced he wanted to get a couple of iguanas.  Expressing my concern was necessary as I really dislike the smell of pet stores. After our discussion :), we agreed we'd give it a try. Although they don't make the house smell like the hamster cages I associate with walking in one of those stores, I still find I am not particularly fond of it of what it does smell like. He was right, it's not a bad smell.  However, I definitely wouldn't say it smells like a bed of roses either. ;) 

With that said, I wanted some "smelly ideas" to keep my living room (yes, they live in my living room) smelling nice. I absolutely love my wax pots, but I don't like cleaning out the wax when the smell is gone.  It's just messy and annoying.

NOT ANYMORE!  I found the following idea and it's fantastic!

Now, we're both happy.  He gets his crazy pet and it smells better!

All you need is:

A wax pot
"Expired" wax
Cotton balls
Aluminum foil (optional)

(Sorry for the horrible pictures ;)


1.  Keep your lamp plugged in so the wax stays liquefied.


      2. Throw a couple cotton balls in the wax.

3.  Let sit for a minute to soak up the majority of the wax. 

4.  Use a few more cotton balls to wipe out the excess.  I throw the cotton balls on a little piece of aluminum foil to be sure there won't be a waxy mess, but that's up to you. 

5.  Add your new wax cube. DONE!  The room smells good again. ;)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Curried Chickpea Salad Sandwich

One of the hardest things about quick meals for me is keeping a variety so we don't get bored. We keep struggling with going back and forth from a regular (and somewhat unhealthy) diet to full veganism. There are times when I am so on board with being vegan and we do REALLY well for a week, but then one day, I can't imagine not being able to enjoy a bowl of raspberry cheesecake ice cream after a meal of grilled meats, probably smothered in cheese or sour cream. I'm like a squirrel with bipolar disorder.

When we first made "the switch" last summer, one of the first things my husband and I talked about were sandwiches. At the time he was going through a big sandwich phase. Not that his sandwiches were big (at least not ALL of them), but more the fact that he ate sandwiches almost every day. Sometimes twice a day. As far as vegan options go for sandwiches, we were a bit disappointed. Our minds weren't broadened past veggie sub's and pb&js. His Mom told us one of their favorites was a toasted grain bread with peanut butter, craisins, fresh spinach, and green apple slices. Amazing! And now we have another under our belts. Quite literally, in fact.

This sandwich fills some big shoes when it comes to yummy, filling, and protein packed vegan sandwiches. It has a texture similar to a hearty egg salad sandwich with a dose of crunchiness from the bell peppers and cashews. It is something you just have to try. :)

This recipe can vary with each batch. Test yours each time you make it. Adjust the seasonings to your liking and if you need a little more creaminess, don't be afraid to add another dollup of thinned hummus or some mayo. Vegan or not. ;)

1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1/4 c. garlic hummus
filtered water
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c. raisins
1/4 c. sweet bell peppers, diced
1/4 c. cashews, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp. chives, chopped
1-2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt & pepper, to taste


In a medium bowl, mix hummus with a little water until thinned to the consistency of a thick soup.
Add the lemon juice and your seasonings.
Toss in the raisins, peppers, cashews, cilantro and chives.
Mix well.
Add your chickpeas and mash with a fork until they are mostly mashed. (You still want some chunkiness to it.)
Stir it all together and place between two slices of hearty whole grain bread before serving. 
*Fills about 3-4 sandwiches.

Now that we have another variation to add to our collection of vegan options, maybe we can continue working up to more than one successful week at a time. :)

Check these out!