Thursday, December 31, 2015

Smoked Sausage, Spinach, & White Bean Soup

It's finally feeling like winter once again here (after temps in the upper 70s and 80s!!), so I'm back on a soup-making kick! This one is super easy and is filled with protein, something I'm trying to get more of in the new year. I served ours with shaved parmesan on top and thought it added so much. I did add a good bit of salt to our soup...just thought it needed it, but I guess that's personal preference. I'm all about soups this time of year...enjoy! 
Smoked Sausage, Spinach, & White Bean Soup
{The Comfort of Cooking Web site}
1 Tablespoon olive oil
13 oz. smoked sausage (chicken, turkey or beef)
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 (15 oz.) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups (32 oz.) low-sodium chicken broth
10 oz. fresh baby spinach
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grated parmesan cheese, for serving
In a large pot over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Once hot, add sausage and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned. Add onions and garlic; cook 2-3 minutes, until soft and fragrant.
Stir in thyme leaves, Italian seasoning, diced tomatoes, beans and chicken broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered 25-30 minutes. Stir in spinach during last 5 minutes of cooking. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon into serving bowls and top with grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
New Year's Eve has always been the most depressing holiday to me. I mean, if you have fun plans, great...but if you don't, you basically feel like a loser. So I just don't really observe it anymore. Denial is sometimes a good thing, right? But order to further not acknowledge the world's worst holiday I'm going to work I'm forced to go to bed early...a win-win in my book.
I hope everyone had a happy 2015! I'm planning on doing a 2015 recap in a few days, along with writing down some of my goals/resolutions for the new year that I'll most definitely keep for a good two weeks. In all honesty, 2015 was a really good year...filled with good medical news for my family, joyful children, a furthered relationship with Christ, new friendships, and many, many happy times in between. I hope and pray 2016 will bring much of the same...for me and for you! See y'all next year! ;)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Merry, Merry!

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas! I ended up taking the last week off from blogging...not intentionally, but things just got so busy here. That tends to happen this time of year, huh?
The weekend before Christmas we traveled both days to see family in different parts of Mississippi. It was so much fun to have so many of us together. Both of my sisters were in town, and having time with them was the's only about once or twice a year that the three of us are able to be together (my little sister lives in Portland, Oregon!), so we treasure that time when it happens.
 Some of the cousins together at a Christmas brunch.

Little, middle, big...

The night my sisters were both in town we had a small get-together at my house. Nothing fancy, and we just ordered pizza from a local place...but it was so fun nonetheless! We exchanged presents and had lots of laughs!
I did make a batch of peppermint bark and some Christmas cookies. Both were great.
My older sister and me...the height gene skipped one of you can't guess which one? ;)
One of my girlfriends from high school had a mini-reunion at her house last week while a lot of our friends were in town for the holidays. I had the best time seeing some of my high school buddies! I am that one person on the planet who preferred high school to college. We had an awesome class and even with a lot of different circles, we all seemed to get along very well. There's just something about growing up with people that lends itself to a very special bond.

My parents gave my girls a Frozen jeep for Christmas, and they are in love...I envision lots of trips around the neighborhood and in the backyard in this new toy!
The night before Christmas we had a casual dinner with my parents then came back here where the girls opened their Christmas pajamas. We put out cookies and milk for Santa, and thankfully the girls fell asleep quickly. Christmas morning is my favorite. Picture overload below!

Hadley's big gift from Santa was a tricycle. She also got a Calico Critters house that was a huge hit!

Santa brought the girls the Doc McStuffins Check-Up Center and Magna-Tiles to share. I'm having as much fun with the Magna-Tiles as the girls are!

Lily got a lot of little things, which she loves. Santa brought her a Journey doll from Toys "R" Us...a knock-off of the American Girl doll...but Santa wanted to make sure she liked it before getting the real deal in a few years! And I honestly was so impressed with this version! I think she's just precious.

 Rob was so excited about his new doll. Ha!

Both girls got a pair of unicorn slippers. Just wish they came in my size!

We got Rob a ThermoWorks Thermapen meat thermometer. Great gift for the guy in your life. A fancy meat thermometer for a guy is the equivalent of a nice purse for a girl...he was stoked.



Christmas morning breakfast. If you've never had a Kringle, you need to try one. It's a tradition every Christmas over here. Pure heaven on a plate.

 Santa definitely picked up on our love of unicorns. Lots of unicorn treats were waiting for the girls on Christmas morning!
We went to see Rob's family the day after Christmas and had a wonderful time there. Rob's brother and sister-in-law have a son who is around Lily's age, so they always have the best time together!

Rob's parents gave us the most beautiful drawing of Hadley for Christmas. We have one of Lily when she was around the same age. I can't wait to frame looks just like my baby girl and captures her little personality perfectly!

Sweet girl fell asleep about 10 minutes before we got home...that always happens, doesn't it?
A few days before Christmas Rob and the girls went back to Lily's room to wrap my present. Lily came out holding the present, so proud, and said, "Mommy, I can't wait for you to open your present!! Daddy told me not to tell you what it is, but it's a purple robe!" When I said, "A purple robe?!?!" excitedly, she said, "Sshh...don't let Daddy know I told you!" Anyway, because of her little slip-up I was able to open my robe on Christmas Eve and wore it on Christmas was the perfect gift!
And today feels like Christmas all over again as we close on our new house at 1:30!! We are so excited and can't wait to have a little more space and a large backyard for the girls to run in and explore! We'll be slowly moving in, as we haven't sold our current house yet, but I guess that's one positive...we can move in at our own pace...
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas with their loved ones...we surely did...being able to spend cherished time with my family and friends was a blessing...and celebrating the birth of Jesus was and still is the greatest blessing of all.