Tuesday, August 24, 2010


So Saturday we drove to Vegas and it was Hecka HOT! We left Sunday afternoon and it was 109 according to Kelly's (Jennifer's sister)outdoor thermometer. So imagine our shock by the time we got to Hawthorne that we had wished we brought a sweater to wear!

Yesterday was like the perfect fall day! It was breezy and cool mid70's most of the day. I love the fall. I love the crispness in the air! There isn't much about the fall that I don't love, the smells, the tastes...all of it! And I look great in fall clothes! So paying no mind to that we were supposed to be back into the 90's by Wednesday, I decided to try a recipe I had never made before and I kinda toyed w/ 2 recipes and made my own combination of Butternut Squash Soup! Yum! Who knew squash could be soooo yummy!! I have never had it before and neither have my kids and Don doesn't remember having it. We rang in the unofficial start to fall with a delicious hearty soup! It was soo yummy that I am going to share the recipe!

Butternut Squash Soup

1- 2or3 lb butternut squash (peeled, cleaned and diced)
1- granny smith apple (peeled and diced)
3- stalks celery - chopped
2- carrots - chopped
1 - medium onion chopped

you don't have to chop them pretty - they will be blended at the end so don't waste too much time chopping!!

2 - tablespoons butter
4- cups chicken broth
1- 8oz heavy cream
Nutmeg & Cinnamon
Brown Sugar
olive oil
and Salt and Pepper

I found and easy way to peel the squash was just to use my veggie peeler I went over it about 3 times until it was all clean. Then cut the bottom off and clean out the guts (kinda like a pumpkin). Dice the squash into cubes and put into a casserole dish.
add the granny smith apple
add 1/2 the chopped onion
drizzle w/ olive oil
season w/ salt and pepper
sprinkle w/ nutmeg
sprinkle w/ brown sugar (about 1/4 cup)

Place this in your oven at 350 stir once or twice during the roasting process. Roast until squash is soft.

In a large pot melt butter w/ the remaining onion, celery and carrots. Add the soft roasted squash, apple onion combo to the pot.

Pour the chicken broth in the pot along w/ the heavy cream. I started w/
1/4 tsp cayenne but did add more towards the end when I thought it needed it.
Season again with salt and pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Let this simmer until all the veggies are super soft.

This soup gave me a good excuse to by a handheld immersion blender from Walmart it was less the $20.00 but if you don't have one -
you will need to scoop the soup out into a blender and puree. Continue this until all veggies have been pulverized!
If you have an immersion blender just let it do it's magic!
Blend until soup is velvety smooth.

We served this with a spinach salad, roasted chicken (store bought), and dutch crunch crusty bread (the soup needs a hearty bread). Although it is a meal on it's own.

Happy Autumn Everyone!!!!

I will share another super easy recipe

Slow Cooker Cranberry Chicken

2 - 3 lbs chicken thighs, drumsticks or chicken breasts (we use frozen chicken breasts)
1 - 16oz can whole cranberry sauce
2 - tablespoons dry onion soup mix
2 - tablespoons quick cook tapioca

Put your chicken in the crock pot. In a bowl mix everything else together and pour over the chicken.

Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours or High for 2-3.
Serve the chicken w/ Brown Rice and the sauce is super YUMMY!!

don't let the cranberry part scare you.... I almost did....and we would be missing out! try it....you'll like it!!!!!

Want one more new one I tried this summer that we love?

Summer Chicken and Mushroom Pasta

1 box Penne or ziti pasta (I use the Barilla plus b/c it is not made from white flour)
12 oz chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
Italian seasoning
olive oil
4 garlic cloves - minced or sliced
3 cups fresh sliced white mushroom
1 - med onion diced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine (i bought whatever was white and less then $5.00 as I won't be drinking it)
1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
1/4 cup fresh basil - shredded
3 tbsp fresh oregano (i couldn't find this and used dried)
1/2 cup shaved parm cheese
(i also added) 1/2 grated romano
more pepper

Cook pasta to Al dente - leave in pot

season chicken w/ Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, In a skillet heat about 1 tbl olive oil - add chicken and garlic to skillet. cook and stir until chicken is no longer pink. remove from skillet

Add another tblspoon olive oil to skillet - add mushrooms and onions to the skillet. Cook until they are tender. Carefully add chicken broth and wine to skillet, bring to boil, reduce heat. boil uncovered about 2 minutes or until liquid has reduced by half. (i had to run an errand during this phase and when I got back my sauce had reduced too much so I just brought the heat back up - added another 1/2 cup broth and 1/4 cup wine -basically started over)
Remove skillet from heat it has reduced by 1/2
Add chicken to the pasta followed by the mushroom sauce, add the cherry tomatoes, basil and oregano. Toss to coat.
Add 1/2 the cheese and toss.
Top w/ remaining 1/2 cheese and more pepper to taste. Yummy yummy!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

good news bad news

So last Friday I met with my Neurosurgeon. It was not without a fight. His office called at noon and wanted to cancel to my 2 o'clock appt. and reschedule me for 2 weeks later. I cried. I am not going to lie. I eventually called back and told them I didn't think I should be punished because the doctor was running over an hour behind and I scheduled my appt 2 months ago, and I can't get my back surgery scheduled until the doc reads my newest MRI and I didn't want to have to wait an additional two weeks for that. So I went in for my 2 o'clock appt at 3:30 and was seen.

So the Doc asked if I had received a copy of the MRI and of course I had not. He went to make me a copy. He asked what had brought me back in since my last appt was in Oct and he STRONGLY recommended me for a Lumbar Discectomy ASAP, which I was going to postpone until Christmas break and have never gotten around to doing it....
so I told him. blah blah blah...I am having another flare up....yadda yadda yadda I need to get this operated on stat....
He asked what I had been doing since he last saw me to moderate my disc herniations - I said Yoga and losing weight. He said, " The disc herniation between l4-5 has improved 90% since August 2009" and therefore he can not justify surgery - however - the herniation between l5s1 has gotten a little worse and he can definately see where it is pressing directly back on my sciatic nerve and would cause me a great deal of nerve pain in my legs.
So.....groovy!!! I don't NEED surgery!! but shit....I don't need surgery!
I should be so thrilled that I don't have to have back surgery - but my leg hurts sooo flippin bad it is unreal! So I have a new anti-inflamitory to take and looks like I will be doing more epidural cortisone injections.

The Doc was super impressed with me though - so I should be impressed w/ me too. He said that he didn't think I would be walking on my own w/o surgery because my previous herniations were so bad and if I got those to chill out then I should be able to get this new one to chill out too.

He asked if he could use my MRIs in a speech and case study he was doing about if it is possible for people to heal themselves.
He did say I needed new shoes and new inserts mine are pretty broken down. So yay me! I wonder if my yoga can be a tax write off if it for medical purposes?