Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

I came across this recipe a couple of weeks ago on Pinterest and it looked so yummmmmy, I just had to try it and obviously it was freakin delicious because I'm sharing it with you!! My dear readers, you only get the best from me! For those of you that have eaten at Panera (a super delicious soup and sandwich shop), this soup tastes like something straight from their kitchen.


Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup 

By: Lexi Lott
Adapted from Pin Foody

  • 2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice 
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1 cup finely diced onions
  • 1 tsp dried or fresh oregano
  • 1 T dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ½ bay leaf
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup half and half, warmed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese and croutons (optional) to top


Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large pot. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all ingredients are nice and soft. 

While your soup is simmering you'll need to prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and slowly add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup. Incorporate another 2-3 cups of soup into your roux and stir until smooth. Add half and half to roux-soup mix. Pour back into your large pot. Add additional basil and oregano if needed (I really wanted the basil part of the tomato basil parmesan soup to stand out, so I ended up adding quite a bit more to achieve the taste I wanted), and as always, make sure to add salt and pepper. 

When you are ready to serve, top each bowl with a generous amount of parmesan cheese and croutons. Oh yum...I'm salivating for you! Enjoy sweet readers!

Orchid: My New Obsession

So I realized I have a relatively new obsession: orchids. Yes, orchids, the plant. It all started when my mom came to visit in February. On her last day here in Dallas we went to Lowe's and got a few different plants to spruce up my apartment. One of the plants we got was an orchid. It was on clearance because it had lost all of its flowers and the leaves were looking a little unhealthy, so we figured "why not?" and gave it another chance to live.

From February to now I have taken care of my little orchid the best I knew how and after hours of research and reading and watching videos I have learned that I was almost completely dead WRONG about everything I thought I knew about taking care of an orchid. Sob!

So, my birthday present to myself this year was an investment in the right planting media, orchid fertilizer, AND a new, but unhealthy orchid (I'm hoping I can bring it back to life!).

This is my older orchid. The leaves are hardy, but the root system is very small considering I had to trim the rotten and dead roots. I'm hoping this one will live, but I won't know for a few more months.

This is the base of the same plant. As mentioned before, I had to trim a bunch of the root system, but I have read that as long as the plant isn't completely brown then there is still a chance I can bring it back to life....so at this point I am really just hoping for the best. As some of you might notice, I had to chop off the shoot so that the plant could really focus all its energy on growing a good root system....it is pretty sad looking right now!

Here is my new orchid!

I'm happy that I was able to find a plant that had two shoots, even if it is in poor condition. While I was at the store I asked the workers there if they would be able to drop the price because of the poor condition the plant was/is and they ended up dropping the price by half! I'm totally stoked that there are so many possibilities for future flowers on this plant, times two!! I will make sure to post update pictures in a few months!!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

20 Week Pregnancy Update

How far along? 20 weeks exactly...or 5 months......halfway!

Total weight gain: Ugh, I've gained a total of probably 13-15 pounds. I haven't weighed myself since my last doctor appointment, so I don't have an exact number...who really cares anyway?

Maternity clothes? Holy cow yes! I got quite a few tops, a couple pairs of pants, and a couple skirts and wow, they make a huge difference. With normal people clothes I felt restricted, but with the ultra stretchy maternity clothes I can actually be semi comfortable.

Stretch marks? No new ones! 

Sleep: The past week has been really difficult for me. I have been waking up every hour on the hour and not getting very restful sleep in between wake ups because of the WEIRD dreams I've been having. I've given up on thinking I'll get a full night's rest for at least the next 4 years.

Best moment this week: Last weekend was my birthday and I had so much fun celebrating with those I love. Best baby related moment? Hmm..I got some really cheap patterns for miscellaneous baby paraphernalia I'm going to make!  

Miss anything? SLEEP!

Movement: Oh yes! It seems like most of the day he sleeps, with a few occasional position changes and exciting dreams, but during the evening I can really feel him moving around and stretching his body out. Jordan still hasn't been able to feel him move, but that will for sure be my favorite moment when it happens!

Food cravings: I haven't had any real cravings, but I'm always up for pickles, salsa and chips, and chewy fruity candy like Mamba, Now and Later, or Chewy Spree!! Yum!

Anything making you queasy or sick: This pregnancy I haven't had any trigger smells or anything and I'm far enough in that most of that queasy feelings have dissipated. I have, however, been having monster cases of heartburn! :(

Gender: It's a boy! Can't wait to meet my little prince!

Labor signs: I don't think so. I've had a little bit of what feels like cramping, but it might just be the little soccer player inside me!

Symptoms: Still no bloating or swelling, thank heavens. I have been losing a lot of hair, and in general my hair is limp and lifeless...bummer! I'm very tired most days, been feeling a little plugged up lately, but that should work itself out (pun intended), raging heartburn, yup that about sums it up! 

Belly button in or out? In, for sure!

Wedding rings on or off? On.

Happy or moody most of the time: The past couple of weeks have actually been a lot better than earlier in my pregnancy. I'm happier and just in general in a better mood.

Looking forward to: I'm really looking forward to Jordan feeling our son move for the first time. Jordan isn't an emotional person and so I pretty much have to guess at most things with him, but last week I did a little snooping and he is actually much much more excited than I thought he was. Makes my heart all gooey knowing how genuinely excited he is.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

19 Week Pregnancy Update: Gender Reveal!

Wow, I can't believe I'm already at 19 weeks. And I also can't believe that next week I'll be 20 weeks which is HALFWAY through! Geez! I can't believe how pregnant I am/feel already and I'm only going to get bigger....last half of pregnancy here we go!

As many of you know, last week Jordan and I had a gender reveal photoshoot! Without further adieu...drumroll please!


Here is the proof! 

 We could not be happier!

Ta-Da!! There you have it! We will be welcoming our sweet little prince at the end of February! Jordan and I are both ecstatic!

I'm sure most moms-to-be feel this way, but I'm so grateful that this little baby is growing and that I can feel him kick and move. I'm so grateful that I did not lose this baby and although there have been/are going to be many challenges in the coming months, my heart is all gooey at the thought of being able to actually hold and kiss this sweet baby and I'm almost more delighted that Jordan will be able to hold and kiss this baby.


I would like to give a big thank you and a gigantic shout out to our photographer, Kylie C.! You can visit her website here to take a look at her stunning and all encompassing portfolio.