Life is Messy Sometimes

Have you ever made or done something that initially was awesome, but then turned out to be completely not-awesome at all?

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Yeah…

Beautiful fresh veggies, savory beans, funky pasta, chicken broth…

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Simmered together in a soup that looked and smelled decadent…

What could go wrong?

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Turns out, a lot can go wrong.

I’ve made no-tomato minestrone before that was amazing and that I couldn’t stop eating.  I foolishly forgot to write down my recipe though, and last weekend I tried to recreate it.  Well…you could say it didn’t turn out as planned.

The first bowl was delicious.

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But then the soup decided that it didn’t need broth anymore and I believe the pasta acquiesced and soaked it all up.

The result: pure mush.

I was sad to say the least.

I learned an important lesson though through this soup.

Sometimes life is messy…and that’s ok.

The soup (or date, or email, or Facebook status, or Twitter update, or Instagram photo) doesn’t have to be perfect all the time.  Sometimes those things that look incredible at first glance end up being terrible in the long run.

Its fine to mess up sometimes.  The important thing is that you don’t let the mess stop you from trying again.  To learn from your failure and those of others.

Perfection isn’t the goal.  The journey is.

P.S.  I’ll keep trying on the soup.  🙂

In the meantime, make yourself some chocolate covered strawberries.  They rarely disappoint!

 

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Granola Greatness

As many of you know, I am moving back to South Dakota at the end of May.

The reason I’m bringing it up is because I am currently writing this while sitting on my porch surrounded by flowering trees, a cloudless sky, and enough wind (it’s Oklahoma after all!) to make it a perfect 73 degrees in the shade.

In South Dakota….they just had an ice storm.

When I think about moving back to what feels like 9 months of winter as I sit outside in April….I want to cry.  😥

The only thing that could pull me inside on a day like this would be…fresh, homemade granola!

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(and maybe a beautiful roommate!)

This granola is super simple, but super impressive.  That by the way, is one of my favorite combinations.  (The other is french fries dipped in a chocolate frosty…just in case you were wondering.)

Anyway, I found this granola on a blog while searching Pinterest for granola ideas.  I had recently become  very bored with breakfast and wanted something different but still cheaper than boxed cereal (which I don’t love in the first place unless it’s 99% sugar…).

This is a vanilla chai granola…and it’s my current obsession.

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Sorry there’s a blur where Rebecca’s arm should be…action shot and all.

After throwing all your dry ingredients plus vanilla into a bowl, you bring the liquids to a soft boil and mix everything all together.

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Look at that jar of honey…mmmmmmmmmmmm.

After mixing, it’s onto a lined pan and into a 325 degree oven for 30-35 minutes with a stir halfway through!  Quick and simple, right?!

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Like a fool, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product….but it basically looks like this with more browning and dried cranberries added.  It’s nummy.

Vanilla Chai Granola

adapted slightly from Chik n’ Pastry

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old fashioned oats (you can use quick oats, but the texture will be a little different)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped raw cashews (any nut that floats your boat will work)
  • heaping 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (I had to search for flakes, but shredded would just as well)
  • 4 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Chai spice (use a store bought one or the recipe included below)
  • 1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil (you can sub vegetable/canola oil if you have to)
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries, to be added after baking (or any dried fruit that you enjoy)

Chai Spice – makes about 3 Tablespoons (if not using a store bought mix)

  • 1 Tablespoon ginger
  • 1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (weird, right?!)

Preheat oven to 325.  Mix all the dry ingredients plus vanilla together in a medium sized bowl.  Make sure the sugar and vanilla gets thoroughly mixed in.  Combine the wet ingredients in a small saucepan (plus vanilla pod if you used a bean, you want to get all possible flavor out right? just discard the pod before baking…), and bring to a soft boil.  Remove and pour over the dry ingredients and mix very well.  You want everything to be well coated.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, making sure to stir halfway through so that everything gets evenly toasted.  After baking, add the dried fruit and try not to eat the entire pan as it cools.  Store at room temperature in an airtight container.  It is great on its own, with milk, or with yogurt.

Spaghetti…Squash?

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All who love spaghetti feasts raise their hands.

*Me Me Me Me Me!!!!*  (And Hannah loves it too because she is smiling so pretty!)

Honestly, I think I could eat spaghetti every day and not get sick of it.

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(Rebecca is ducking down in her chair by the way so she can’t be seen.)

Garlic bread, meat sauce, SPAGHETTI…I love it all.  Especially the family-style-ness of eating spaghetti together.

Sadly, my waistline doesn’t agree with my pasta-lovin’-soul.

Tear.

Fear not though!  My obsessive Pinterest stalking of food has finally paid off in gold!

That is, gold colored spaghetti squash!

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Yup.  It’s a vegetable.  That looks like spaghetti.

Want a closer look?

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It’s kinda weird when you think about it…which is why I choose not to.

Now, the thing is that spaghetti squash will fool no one into thinking that it is, in fact, spaghetti.  It doesn’t have a strong flavor of it’s own and has a slightly semi-crunchy texture.  It can however be a great way to have a spaghetti-style feast with way less guilt!

Since it only has about 10 carbs per serving (versus real spaghetti’s 20 million), I think that gives one a complete and total right to indulge in about…300 more slices of garlic bread.

Awesome math right?

Moving on….

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It’s sooooooo easy!

Spaghetti style squash!!

Makes 6 servings (half squash each)

Ingredients:

  • Spaghetti squash (I had enough sauce for 3 medium sized squashes.)
  • Meat Sauce (or regular, whatever floats your boat!)
  1. Preheat your oven to 375.
  2. Whack a spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds (blech).
  3. Place face down on a baking sheet and roast for 45-60 min.  (They are done when you can easily rake a fork across the flesh and get strands.)
  4. While they are roasting, make a quick meat sauce.  I like to brown a lb of ground beef and add just over half a 24oz jar of Prego.  Yum.
  5. Fill the middle of the squash with sauce, sprinkle with cheese, and bake for a couple more minutes while the cheese gets melty.
  6. To eat, simple rake with a fork and mix with the sauce!

Pop quiz time!  What’s the best thing about this squash?

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That’s right! The ability to eat more cheesy garlic bread! 🙂

Garlic Bread

Serves…as many as you want…depends on how many pieces you deem as a serving…

Ingredients:

  • French bread (I usually use the Walmart bakery loaves)
  • Butter
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Cheese
  • Herbs (my fave is basil and marjoram)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Slice bread to desired thickness, butter, and place on the pan.
  3. Generously sprinkle with garlic powder.   Definition: Generous – bread will be the weird yellow-y color and you probably won’t see the butter anymore…
  4. Sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt.  I get a pinch of it and lightly sprinkle over several slices.
  5. Top with cheese and herbs of choice.
  6. Bake for 10-15 min or until desired meltiness/toastiness is reached
  7. Overindulge as you had spaghetti squash instead of real spaghetti!