Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Dinner tonight was another success! I’m usually never sure how it’s going to turn out, so I’m excited when I have another cooking success to put under my belt. I started off by following a chicken barley soup recipe, but when I went to put the barley in…I was out. This is pretty much typical of my cooking life (not having the right ingredients or messing things up), but fortunately I did have some multi-grain soup noodles on hand. Voila!

I love one-dish meals since they’re a great way to package vegetables when I’m tired of salads. One-dish meals are generally simple to put together as well. I break out my crockpot at least once a week!

I tweaked the recipe a little. I never use the full amount of stock that a recipe calls for, because it’s an incredible amount of sodium. I ended up doing four cups of chicken broth and two cups of water, but I think I could easily have done three cups of each.

What are your favorite one-dish meals?


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5 things you may want to know (but may not yet know that you want to know)

UPDATED SEPT. 15, 2012

1. Have you heard of Lush? I was introduced to Lush by a fellow Soldier when I was working for the Army Reserve in Orlando (great city for shopping, by the way). It’s a very, very addictive store. They make “effective products from fresh, organic* fruit and vegetables, the finest essential oils and safe synthetics.” They’re not cheap, but their products are amazing and well worth it. If you’re not fortunate enough to live near one of their locations, you can visit them and buy online. Some of my favorites:

They have awesome wrapped gift packages that are great for birthdays or other special occasions.

2. Cloth diaper co-ops are a great way to save money when buying diapers. The co-op leader will purchase a large number of diapers for a cheaper wholesale price. You’ll have to pay for shipping and a co-op fee on the diaper(s), but you’ll still come off saving money compared to buying one or two diapers on your own for the full retail price.

There are other times when a co-op is great, as well. For example, Glow Bug Diapers are very popular right now, but they only sell their diapers in packs of 12. What if you just want one? Many co-ops right now are purchasing multiple packs of Glow Bug Diapers and splitting them up, allowing co-op members to buy just one or two individual diapers.

Interested? Leave me a message below this post, and I’ll send you the names of a couple different co-ops on Facebook.

3. Have you checked out the prizes offered on this blog during the Green Family Giveaway blog hop? More than 30 blogs will be having giveaways, so you’ll have a lot of opportunities to win great family-friendly or “green” prizes. The grand prize will be a full stash of Glow Bug Cloth Diapers! Not into cloth diapers? That’s cool! Don’t enter the grand prize giveaway. With so many blogs involved, you’re sure to find something you like!

4. The Fresh Kitchen is a great blog for moms like me that don’t find that cooking comes easily. Her motto is “fresh, seasonal, approachable home cooking.” She takes ingredients I’d never think to use and shows how to easily make meals that impress my husband (you won’t find processed food on this blog!).

5. Have you heard of My Fitness Pal? It’s online, or you can download it onto your phone as an app (that’s what I did). It helps you keep track of your workouts, your water intake, your weight, and it works as a calorie counter. You can also connect with friends on it to hold each other accountable. I’ve only been using it a couple of days, so I’ll wait a week or two before I do a full review. So far, I love it. I was a little depressed when I realized how big my portions are for all my meals. I’m going to be hungry all the time for a while until my appetite shrinks.

*****I can’t believe I originally wrote the above paragraph with “weight” instead of “wait”! Ack! Mommy brain!*****

Annnnnnd that’s it for today! I kept busy with my sewing projects, diaper laundry, and kitchen cleaning. I made a fitted diaper out of a prefold, and I’ll share the results in a post once I’ve had the chance to test it on my son.



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Don’t trifle with this trifle!!!! (my favorite dessert)

My favorite dessert is the English trifle. Although there are many variations, the trifle essentially is a layered cake and custard dessert. I’ll share with you the way I learned to make it as a child.

A trifle is usually made in a glass bowl to showcase the dessert’s layers. As usual, I don’t have the right tools (er, bowl) for the job, so I’m using a stainless steel measuring bowl that is neither see-through, glass, nor attractive.

The ingredients for my trifle are whipped cream, strawberry jam, vanilla pudding, angel food cake, and crushed pineapple in juice.

Note: As you can see in the photo, I’m using pineapple chunks in heavy syrup. This does not work as well as the crushed pineapple, since you can’t really spread it; but Hubby grabbed the wrong can.

It’s easy to make this dessert lower in fat, by purchasing low-fat, fat-free, or sugar-free ingredients.

Slice the angel food cake into three same-size pieces. Place one piece in the bottom of your bowl.

Drain your crushed pineapple and save the juice. Spoon the pineapple juice onto your bottom cake layer, pressing down with the spoon to help the cake absorb the juice.

Evenly spread a third of the crushed pineapple over the cake. Then follow with the strawberry jam, and finally the vanilla pudding.

Place the second cake layer on top. Then start with your pineapple juice, and repeat the previous steps. Then place the third and last piece of cake on top. Cover the entire thing with whipped cream. You’ll probably have stuff falling down into the center at this point, and that’s fine. I just cover the hole with whipped cream.

You don’t have to put a topping on it, but if you do, fresh fruit is great. I had some walnuts I wanted to use up, so I sprinkled those on top. Then, place in your fridge to get nice and chilled until you’re ready to serve it. I think it tastes even better when left in the fridge overnight. Everything really has a chance to mix together then.

Here’s what it looks like scooped in your bowl:

You can skip the jam or preserves and make the trifle with all fresh fruit. Blueberries and banana slices would be yummy too. I’ve heard of trifles being made with chocolate ingredients. Around Thanksgiving, a pumpkin trifle would be great to try too!

The traditional trifle recipes actually call for sponge cake sliced in large chunks, and that’s an easy step to add, if you’d like. The result would be the same. They also call for sherry, but fruit juice is a very tasty non-alcoholic substitute. If you’re ambitious, here’s a recipe for a more traditional version.

As you can see, this dessert is very easy to make and has endless possibilities! Give it a try, and let me know how you like it!

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