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

Fall in love with Amsterdam

Have you ever been somewhere and thought
I’m never leaving here…

I had never been to a place like this
until I visited Amsterdam…

Okay, so have you ever watched
House Hunters International
and been like…
That’s all hype.

Those people can’t love that city like that…

Y’all… I’m telling you it’s legit.

From the moment I stepped foot in the city….

I DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE!!!!!

I honestly, seriously, did not want to leave
and I was crazily trying to come up with reasons to stay
and figure out how I could move there.

Legit.

I got lost and explored a street market,
the colors were just

farmers-market-amsterdam
Found during a weekend street market

Honestly, I’ve never experienced anything like it.

Amsterdam is just one of those cities that if you get a chance to go,

Go.

Not touristy go…

But go and get lost.

thumbnail_image-1
On a canal tour in Amsterdam

Explore, walk, bike, ride in a boat on the canal, and eat.

open-face-salmon

Oh my goodness… EAT!
The food.

I think that’s what did it…

I literally ate my way through the city and it was delicious.
And  while I didn’t get to hit every spot I wanted,
the places I did go were amazing and I’m looking forward to round two.

dim-sum-and-sushi

Guys, Amsterdam is such a brilliant history filled place.
So much to see and do…
I simply can’t just write one post about it,
so
I have to do a series and
I’m looking forward to heading back!

The city just seemed to vibrate and radiate with a feeling…
It was alive. Radiant, joy-filled,
everyone seemed so happy.
It was lovely, clean, fun,
and it was a place that could be
very well one day could be….
Home.

Until Next Taste.
Lori