Less Things, More Memories…

This past weekend we took our kids darling little zoo in a small town in France.
Y’all.

The whole experience I kept thinking
I am done.

I am done buying them things.

I mean besides the usual. I’m not that terrible.
They’ll get a birthday present or two… Maybe. LOL!

Other than that, I’m done with it.

No more random things just because…
Well, because of mommy guilt.
I’m done.

I’m done emptying my bank account on material things
because I am a working mom and somehow I feel like
if they have the newest, the best, the greatest thing out there sometimes
(I’m just being completely honest right now)
that they’ll feel better about me missing some things…

No more of that.

No more of this materialistic mommy guilt thing that I’ve had going on.

I’m done y’all…

Its part of the reason I haven’t been writing. There’s more, but I won’t go into that yet…

I’ve felt awful about myself.

I’ve felt…

I don’t know what the  I’ve felt…

I’ve felt a lot of things…

I’ve been doing a lot of
reflecting and soul searching
and praying.
A whole LOT of praying.
I’ve been really living a life
that is less than.

It’s not been fair to anyone.

My husband,

My kids,

And certainly not to me.

I’m doing the world a severe injustice by
doing all of this less than kind of living…

But I digress…

(more on that later)

So what am I going to do…

Instead of buying things
we’re going to have experiences.

I want more of those…

More memories, less things.

Less clutter, more laughter.

They are only this size once.

Once.

So sure,
I work.
8 full hours a day,
but it doesn’t mean
I can’t experience life
with my family.

Right?

In fact, I just booked a family trip to a
place we’ve never been.
Memory making awaits us!

I can’t wait to surprise the
Foodie Finds Home Family
and awaken their taste for adventure.

Stay Tuned.

I’ve missed my blog.

Until Next Taste,

Lori

What is your word for 2017?

There are so many words….

So many…

It’s hard to choose just one.

Last year my word was

BE.

I think it was a good word for me.

In 2016 I was able to…

Be.

Be Authentic.
Be Transparent.
Be Love
Be Truth
Be Happy.
Be Unhappy
Be Beauty, & Beautiful.
Be Blessed.
Be Focus.
Be Inspired & Inspiring.
Be Success.
Be In.The. Moment.
Be Present.
Be Grateful.

Be Simply Completely Unapologetically Myself

It was the year of “Be-Ing….

This year I feel like it’s different.

I’ve learned to “be”…

Now it’s time to

Flourish

while “be”ing me.

So there it is

my word for 2017.

I loved the definitions of flourish.
when I looked it up.

“to bloom, to blossom, to grow”
“to grow luxuriantly”
“to achieve success”
“to be in a state of activity or production”

Aren’t those awesome definitions?

I feel like I’m in a year of growth,
and I definitely want to grow luxuriantly.
Who wouldn’t want to?

I’m going to flourish deliciously and beautifully through 2017.

Alright, so what is your word of the year?

Until Next Taste,
Lori

Family Traditions

Family traditions.

Do you have any?

Besides our epic family game night,
the 12 grapes at midnight
and our firework extravaganza
(the neighbors-not us, ha!)
Auld Lang Syne singing
and of course a good toast!

We started one a new one this year
and I hope we continue it.

I enjoyed doing this with the kids a lot.

I picked up a poster board
while last minute shopping on
NYE
and
I had no idea what I was going to do with it,
but I knew I wanted to create something.

Something that we could look at all year
and be inspired. Something that would remind us
that this year we promised ourselves that we would
Be. Do. Hope. Have. Create. Explore. Adventure.
FLOURISH.
Both as individuals and as a family.

So with this white poster board in hand
and my harebrained scheme,
I was off…

And…

family-tradition

the black is not on there… that was my half-arsed attempted at a quick  edit.

Create  we did.
We started at 6:00 PM
and at the top of every hour
we wrote something for 5-10 minutes
until midnight.

This was our first year doing this.
I’m sure it will evolve, but it was a lot of fun
and all 4 kids enjoyed it.
I look forward to doing this for years to come and seeing how it changes,
what words/quotes/pictures they come up with as they grow.

What are some of your family traditions that you do for New Years?

Any resolutions? Have you stuck to them? Share with us!

Happy New Year
&
Until Next Taste,

Lori

The 7 Top Books I’ve Read in 2016

Have you ever met a book you didn’t like?

Sometimes.

 Okay… Can I be honest?

You remember this post here?

So said book club decided to read
“Frankenstein”

Y’all.
I legit read the cliff notes before the meeting.

Book club members if you’re reading this, I’m sorry.
I am, but it lulled me to sleep every single time I opened it.
As did Ahab’s Wife when I tried reading it with my Bahrain book club.

Don’t worry though. We read tons of other books that were awesome.
We discussed amazing books, we drank good wine &
what’s even cooler is that one
of my BBC ladies is an author on this list! Neat right?

The list! Right, the list.

I do this every year.

It hard.

I read a lot.

I read more than I write,
and I write a lot.
I actually write more in my handwritten journals than on here,
but I’m starting to write more on my computer;
which is a good thing because you guys get to read more.

So compiling this list was nothing short of amazing.
It was hard y’all.

I wrote.
Deleted.
Rewrote.
Added.
Wanted to make it the 21 top books that I’ve read in 2016,
but then Mr. Foodie said, “That’s too much, you’ve got to stop.”

He was right.

So with some terrible deliberation.

Lots of sweat, even a few tears, haha,

Here are the seven.
The Best Seven
(in no particular order)

7 Top Books I’ve Read in 2016

img_2893

1. The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman
This had been on my shelf forever. I picked it up a yard sale for .10 because I’d like the cover, and yet it took me years to finally read it. I was so mad at myself for procrastinating on this book because once I began reading it, I couldn’t put it down. It’s a good one. If you haven’t read it. Do so, but don’t read it hungry.

img_2894

2. Jump by Steve Harvey
I am all about personal development books. I love hearing stories of people overcoming adversity to be the best they can be to live out their greatness. Steve Harvey is the perfect example of that and he shares so much of himself in his newest book Jump. This is a great book to read going into the New Year. I actually bought extras to give away as gifts because it has blessed me in such a major way. I hope you take the time to read it.

img_2895

3. Raven of the Sea by Stacey Reynolds
This is my BBC sister and friend. I’m so proud of her and all that she has accomplished this year. Not only is this her first book, but when you finish this one, be sure to pick up book to A Lantern in the Dark (The O’Brien Tales Book 2) Both books are brilliantly written and I can’t say too much more as I’d like not to give the story away, but I love them both.

img_2892

4. The Magnolia Story by Chip Gaines, Joanna Gaines, and Mark Dagostino
This book made the list by days. Santa brought it to me. It’s not often that I’m able to sit down and read a book in one afternoon, but with this one, I simply had to. Mr. Foodie saw how engulfed in Chip & Jo’s story I had become and took the kids for the day allowing me to be alone with this amazing couple, a nice cup of coffee and their story. I got to know them and it makes watching their show “Fixer Upper” on HGTV a bit more incredible. Not to mention I want to move to Waco, buy a farm and be their neighbor even more now, oh and ship-lap everything. HA!

img_2896

5. Wild and Free by Jess Connolly and Haley Morgan
I’m in the thick of making this book a bible study for our church and can I just stop right now and say I love these two. I love them. I love their honesty, their hearts, and their grittiness. I love the way they share life. I’m thankful for them. I thank God for them and I’m glad that God gave them the moxie to give us this book. Wild horses and all.

img_2890

6. Stop Chasing Influencers by Kimanzi Constable and Jared Easley
This book, co-written by Kimanzi Constable and my buddy Jared Easley is pretty spectacular. It’s one of the first books I read in 2016 and by far one of the best ones. It’s definitely stuck with me. It’s changed the way I do life, business, and basically living. It’s one of those books that you have to get a couple of copies to give to graduates and say here. Take this. Read it, let it sink in, and read it again. Follow its instructions and live a good life.

img_2891

7. Girl Code by Cara Alwill Leyba
This is one I didn’t read per say, but I did listen to it, along with my sister-in-law Di, and my daughter The Artist. We did a girl’s road trip to Paris and what better time to listen to a book called, “Girl Code” than when riding to Paris with a bunch of girls? I swear we ALL loved this book. It had something for all ages; we all were nodding in agreement at something. It was an amazing weekend, but listening to this book on the way there did something special to enhance the experience and I’ll be forever grateful for that. I also recommend you read this book…

Whew. 7 books. 7 amazing, brilliant, wonderful books, that if you didn’t read them in 2016, you definitely should in 2017. Happy reading, oh and remember, I love to read too, so I’ll kindly take some suggestions from you too.

Until Next Taste,

Lori

Post Christmas Post

In my last post I asked
“Does anyone blog anymore?”

Then I all but quit blogging.
Ha!

No, but really I stopped because well…

I got feedback.

Some good, some bad,

Some downright mean.

But what can you do?

That comes with the territory of this stuff.

I’m sharing life with you,
so I’m opening up myself to a bit of criticism
albeit how nonconstructive it is.

However, here is where we move on.

How was your holiday?

Ours was beautiful.

It was full of surprises.

tv-from-christmas-party

I won this TV at my work Christmas party. 55 inches yo!

Amazing food.

The Menu
Starters
Pears wrapped w/Gorgonzola & Prosciutto
Baked Camembert w/Minced Garlic, Thyme, Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Soup
White Asparagus Soup

Main Dishes
Pan Seared Scottish Cod/w Shallot Vinaigrette & Wilted Spinach
Garlic & Horseradish Beef Tenderloin

Sides
Glazed Rainbow Carrots
White Cheddar Green Bean Casserole

Desserts
Pound Cake (pictured below)
Almond Streusel Pumpkin Pie
Vanilla Ice Cream

baked-camembert

Baked Camembert. Y’all.

pound-cake-bourbon-vanilla-whipped-cream

Pound Cake w/Bourbon Vanilla Whipped Cream, Rosemary, and Citrus fruits

Christmas miracles & magic.

Foodie Finds Home Kids Christmas Morning.jpg

This is our 5th year snapping a photo like this, it’s been incredible to see how much they grow from year to year.

And of course a bit of mischief 😉

the-tiniest-foodie

The Tiniest Foodie is up to something. Ha! Her outfit makes me giggle. It’s so her!

I hope you enjoyed your holiday.
I hope it brought you good tidings of great joy.
I hope everything

every morsel and memory
made
was delicious.

Until Next Taste,

Lori

Does Anyone Blog Anymore?

No, that’s not a rhetorical question.

I’ve been wondering this since I’ve put my pinkie toe back in.
A lot has changed since I was a serious blogger
and it’s been interesting to observe.

I remember my first blog post back in 2006.

It was awful.

I was nervous.

I was excited.

It was crazy.

Me starting a blog.

I had no idea what I was going to write,
what I should write,
or if anyone would read it.

The crazy thing?

They did read it.

I had 2 comments on that first blog post.

“Hello World”.

I remember the name of it.

I only had one child,
and
was pregnant with number 2,

I was still kind of new to
milspouse life
we had done our second PCS
and
honestly,
I’m not sure why I created that post,
but I was looking for something.

Shortly there after,
our first son was born and
I had a gnarly case of PPD.

Blogging became the creative outlet
I needed in order to get through.

I was able to connect with other moms,
other military spouses, other women with and without kids
Sure, Facebook was around then,
and we used it,
but there was/is something about
reading someone’s words and being able to identify with that.

It’s the reason books are popular.

We find and see ourselves in others
and
in that we find connection,
we see we aren’t alone.

That’s why I love blogging.
It’s what I love about blogging
and the community that is here.

However,
Is it just me,
or has that community,
those posts that you could once relate to
changed?

This past week
I’ve found myself
reading a lot of  blogs.

I could count on one hand
the amount of posts out of the hundreds I
read that made me feel something that I could remotely relate to.

Why?

Last time I lived overseas,
was the best time in my blogging life.

I was living in the Middle East,
I didn’t know anyone.
I was lonely
and
I turned to my blog,
I posted about life, love, travel, the food, the people, all of it.

My words, my feelings, my everything
spilled out there.

I didn’t know if people would read it, but they did.
I had never felt so embraced and cared for.
It was truly amazing.

I also read their stories,
about their lives.

It was a two-way street.

We shared engagements,
weddings, births, miscarriages, losses, wins,
happiest and saddest of times.
We shared life.

We shared life
and
it was incredible.

I guess,
I’m feeling myself in that particular space again,
and
while I want to write about
what I’m going through here,
I’m hesitant.

I want to share my thoughts,
my feelings,
my everythings…
Yes, I know everythings isn’t a word, but you get it. 😉
But I feel like blogging isn’t about that anymore.

Blogging has turned into
something else.

However.

I remembered…

I’m not like everyone else.

So, share life here I will…

I hope you’ll read it.
I hope you’ll share life back with me.

Even if you don’t think it’s interesting.
You have someone out there that wants to know.
They want to know that they aren’t the only one.

Let’s not let blogging turn into something it’s not.
It’s a community, sure it’s an evolving community, but it is and always will be a community first.

Our community.

Until Next Taste,
Lori

The Easiest Chicken Tortilla Soup

I posted this picture on my IG Feed the other day
and
I received a lot of requests for the recipe.

chicken-tortilla-soup-pic

The Easiest Chicken Tortilla Soup

I’m excited to be
sharing it here with you today.

This soup is one that I turn to time and again,
because it’s easy, it’s full of flavor, and my family loves it.

I enjoy making it because not only does it smell divine, but it brings some much needed color into these gray and dreary European days.

It’s just a fun, happy, soup.

Isn’t it amazing how food can do/be that?

So as you make this for yourself,
your friends,
your family,
think fun happy, thoughts and well…

Guten Appetite

The Easiest Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients
1 Rotisserie Chicken, shredded
¼ – ½ pack taco seasoning
(or use your own, I have a recipe that I like to use, more on that later)
3 Tablespoons butter
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 orange pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 habanero pepper, finely chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 Tablespoons flour
32 oz chicken stock
2 cups light cream
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 can rotel
1 cup frozen corn kernels
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream
Avocado
Salsa
Tortilla Chips

Directions

Sauté onions, pepper, and garlic in the butter
over medium heat, cook until fragrant about 5 minutes.

Once you can smell the garlic and onions (trust your nose),
add the spices & flour,
and
cook for a few
(about 1-2 minutes longer)

Once this is done, add your liquids (the broth and cream),
if you feel like you should add the liquids sooner, go ahead,
and at any time during this process, you taste your soup and feel like it needs salt,
add it. Not a lot, but just enough to enhance the flavors that are already there.

Bring the soup to a simmer and then reduce the heat.

Add the rest of the ingredients, then simmer for
30 – 40 minutes. You want the flavors and the ingredients to marry well.

Serve in a bowl over your favorite tortilla chips
and
garnish with plenty of shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, and fresh avocado
or the toppings of your choice!
Get creative and when you do, share your creations here with me!
I love new ideas.

Until Next Taste,
Lori

These are a few of my favorite things…

Cream colored ponies and crisps apple strudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles,

Wild geese that fly with moons on their wings,

These are a few of my favorite things.

So, this is probably my favorite verse from that song.

I’m noticing a trend here.

Blog posts and music.

Food and music.
LOL.

This post is somewhat special…

We’ve been in Europe for a year
and I’d like to do something fun about it!

I’m giving away some of my favorite things!

This year has been interesting.

A lot of growth has happened here.

I’ve become a healthier, happier, kinder, gentler, more open,
and somehow, a softer, version of me.

In Florida, I rocked out.
In Virginia, I rocked out,
In Louisiana, I really rocked out,
and in Bahrain; I was still.
Being beside those beautiful teal blue Persian Gulf waters calmed something in me.

persiangulf-waters-and-my-footprints

During my daily walk… so peaceful.

 

They stilled my soul, and for once, I was at peace.
In Maryland, I was learning and trying to figure out what it all meant,

In Europe?

 I’m growing, I’m being, I’m doing, I’m journeying.

I’m not sure what’s happening here, but I’m enjoying the journey.
The lessons I’m learning are hard won sometimes, but they are lessons that are invaluable
not only to myself, but to the people I am going to teach as well.
I know that these lesson aren’t just for me to keep to myself.
They are meant to be shared.
Stories that are meant to be told.
I hope you stay to hear them.

Anyway…
My favorite things…

Since living here,
I’ve come to love a few things,
and
I’d like to share a piece of that with you.
So, a comment, picked at random, will win a basket of goodies
from my home to yours,
to enjoy.

I hope you love my favorite things
as much as I do.

Until Next Taste,

Lori

The Athlete turns Nine

This post has been so hard to write.

I’ll start it and then I tear up because well…

I’m a big softy I guess.
the-a-1st-b
I’ve written it.
Deleted it
and re-written it again.

I’ve gone back and forth about
how to write about this EPIC little boy.

the-a-and-james

The boy that came into our world a mere nine years ago
and shook things up a bit.

He is phenomenal
and
he somehow finds ways
to amaze me daily.

He’s super smart.

A handsome gentleman,
the-ath

But also a silly one too.

He can make me laugh with a single look.

silly-kid-baseball

Silliest. Cutest. Baseball Boy.

And the way he loves.

My goodness,

He loves wholeheartedly,
so big and so much…
and that astounds me…

I’m his mother.
I get to be his mom.
How cool is that?
How so very awesome?

I’m…

So grateful.
I’m sooooo….
Grateful.

Thankful, happy, blessed.

I wish so much for you this year.

Your last year of single digit-land.

I wish for more cuts, bumps, and bruises…
Why?

Because that means you explored.
You adventured, you played, you did things that children do.

I wish for more home-runs, more goals, and more teamwork.
Because that means you play, and you played hard.

baseball-lover

Had me outside in snow to practice. I do  it though, I love playing catch with him.

I love watching you play sports,
I love what it teaches you,

Most importantly,
I love what it teaches me about you.
How gracious you are,
how caring you are about others,
how strong and capable you can be.
How when you fail,
when you fall,
you know how to get back up stronger than ever.
You are tough, you are resilient, and you are brilliant.
You are kind too.

I wish for more laughter.

More fun.

More mom and son talks,

More walks in the park.

Most of all I wish for the thing I don’t have,

More time to keep you little just like this.

Perfectly in this moment,

I’m content to keep you nine.

However, I know that you grow you must,
and I’m curious as ever to see you at 10, 11, 12, 21.
But for now, I am happy to celebrate the
wonderful nine years that I’ve been immensely honored to have with you.

I love you my Little Lion
Happiest of Birthday’s to you…

animal-lover
Until Next Taste,
Mom…

Baseball, Fall, and Granny J’s Beef Stew

It’s fall y’all
and you know what that means…
Soups, chowders, and stews!
Oh MY!

Guys, this is my season.
I’m certain of it.

I mean…
I’m a winter born baby,
but autumn.
It’s just in my veins.

There’s something about this season
that just makes my heart sing.

The leaves changing,
the brisk chill in the air,
the earth begins its slow collapse into winter
and everything starts to just feel cozy.

But honestly,
It’s the food…
Fall food just makes me happy.

I’m all about soup,
Give me chowders,
and
stews
All day long!

Let me snuggle up with a good book,
by a fire, some chai tea, along with a bowl of something delicious,
and that’s my idea of heaven on earth.

This Sunday, after a long day…

Heaven happened.

I was able to go to church,
then Mr. Foodie and I had to divide & conquer
(which has to happen from time to time as a family of 6)

The Athlete and I
headed off to baseball practice
and man…

the-athlete-and-i

Can you tell he loves selfies? LOL

It was cold.

So, I did what my Granny would have done.
I made beef stew.
the-best-beef-stew

It was easy.
It was so delicious,
hearty, and just what one needed on
a cold fall evening by the fire.

One bite, tasted like Granny’s
and for a moment, I was home.
So, without further ado…
From my home to yours…

Granny J’s Beef Stew

Ingredients

2lbs Stew Beef
32oz beef broth
1lb small white potatoes
(diced evenly for thorough cooking)
1 white onion  & 1 yellow onion (chopped)
1 package of baby carrots
5 cloves garlic (minced)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp EVOO
Salt/Pepper (to taste)

Directions

Step 1.
First I have to tell you something.
To have the makings of a great beef stew, it all starts with the meat.
Legit.

You have to season your meat.
Y’all, I’m being for real.

This is what Granny told me,
so it has to be true.

Here is where we deviate a bit…

It’s here, where I want you to get creative,
use your favorite steak seasoning,
and then brown your meat.

Don’t cook it through, but brown each side and set to the side.
You can either brown it in the pan you use for the stew
(I used a Dutch oven)
or in a separate pan,
I like less dishes, I used one pan.
La ti da.

Step 2.
Sauté the onions and garlic
for a couple of minutes, just until you start to smell them.

Step 3.
Pour in the broth, add your potatoes, carrots, Worcestershire, and balsamic.
It’s here you also add the meat back in.

Set your pot to medium heat for about 1 ½ – 2 hours.

Salt and pepper to taste,

Add peas and celery if you want,
My Granny didn’t, so I don’t. LOL.
I garnished with chives from my garden.

Guten Appetite!

Until Next Taste,
Lori