Friday, July 25, 2014

Copycat Zuppa Toscana Soup

Well I guess it's become time to turn this into mainly a food blog...I think I might post some house projects as well....later....much later. I love cooking and a bunch of people have asked me for recipes and my boyfriend keeps telling me I need to open a restaurant (not ever going to happen).
We both work long overnight shifts on the weekends and have very little time in between our very long shifts so I like to make big pots of food on Friday so we have chow in the fridge to heat up in the microwave at home or at work. Even better is if I can make the chow in the crock pot that way I can nap while it is cooking before my long overnight shift on Friday night.
Most recipes I make I try and just use an entire container of something rather than using measuring cups that I have to wash.
First post will be this soup that I found a recipe for on Pinterest and tweaked until I think its perfect. It is a copycat recipe for that incredibly delicious Zuppa Toscana they make at Olive Garden. This is the fourth pot I've made and this one will be perfect!

One pint heavy whipping cream
One box of chicken broth
Four 2-3 inch diameter red or yellow potatoes
Large bag of chopped and washed kale
One package of spicy Italian sausage

Dice potatoes and put into bottom of crock pot
   I would suggest placing all of these items into the crock pot in the order I have them in. I tried many different ways and this way is the neatest and it keeps you from having to touch the crock pot until the end.
Pour pint of whipping cream over potatoes.
Pour box of broth over cream and potatoes.
Put 5 large handfuls of kale into the pot, it should practically fill the pot
Brown and crumble sausage then place on top of the kale, this will weight the kale down into the soup as it cooks.
Turn the crock pot on high and leave it alone for 4-5 hours until the potatoes are done.
At the end you have a nice pot of soup. It is delicious! My boyfriend devours it meal after meal until its gone every time. I like to add some shredded Parmesan cheese and shake some crushed red pepper on it before I eat it. It's also delicious with some French bread.
This is what my crock pot looks like with a double batch in it at the beginning of the cooking process.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Chromebook Might Help!

This week, well actually today, I received my HP 14 Chromebook.  I have to say so far and right this second I love this thing!  Now I should mention a couple of things before I tell you that if you are in the market for a new laptop you should get one.
First, I am a Google addict.  There, I said it. I have at least one if not more of every one of their devices. I have a Nexus 4 for a phone and a Nexus 7 and a Nexus 10. I have a Chromecast connected to all of my televisions and I am seriously thinking about a Nest, to try and temper my energy consumption. I saw my first Chromebook about two and a half years ago when I was flying to San Francisco to visit my brother, his wife and my brand new niece. They were letting you borrow a Chromebook on the flight and for using it you got to use the in flight WiFi for free. I am a sucker for entertainment on an airline flight. I tried it out and thought it was a cool little thing.  At the time I was a student and incredibly poor so I put it out of my mind and mostly forgot about it. Since then I have graduated from school and acquired a coupe more degrees and MANY new Google devices and the APPS!!!! I can't live without my Google drive, keep, Chrome calendar, gmail, maps, photos etc...!
Second, I did my research before I bought this thing. It is not your typical PC. It doesn't have a big hard drive in fact it has 16GB of storage. Everything is stored and accessed from the Google cloud. This particular model has an SD card slot 3 USB ports an HDMI port and a place where you can plug in your head phones. There is no disc drive at all. The OS is Chrome, not Windows, not iOS. It was really easy for me to learn but then again I have had Google devices for quite awhile and use them quite a lot. You have to be online to use most of the features on this machine, there are some offline features and of I ever find a place where I am unable to get online I will try them out and let you know how that goes. I did not buy this to replace my desktop PC or even my laptop PC. The Chromebook will not run Microsoft Word or any Office programs unless you get them from Microsoft for use online only, but it does have its version of it called Google docs, for the last two years I have been saving all of my documents to my Google drive that I have saved on my PC's (both of them) I can then access the drive form any of my devices, including my phone, open them, edit them and then re save it to my drive and then open it in windows on my laptop and work on it there. This might sound confusing but once you do it you will see.
I expressly got this to haul back and forth to school.  It weighs only 4 pounds compared to my laptops whopping 7 pounds! I am starting graduate school in August and twice a semester I have to go to Wichita Falls and stay in a hotel for the weekend and go to class for 12 hours Friday and Saturday and half the day on Sunday. I wanted something light I could slide into my briefcase and take to class with me to take notes, or work on what will undoubtedly be a couple of huge papers and projects per semester and a thesis I will have to finish to graduate. The keyboard took a few minutes to figure out and there are some shortcuts that I will need to learn but so far it has done exactly what I want it to do. It starts in a crazy fast 7 seconds, my laptop takes longer and longer to start as it ages.
The best thing of all about this little computer? It cost 313 dollars. A new laptop would cost me a cool 600 bucks and honestly I don't need a new laptop, they are big and bulky, I have a bad back and don't need to haul that around with me to school when this speedy little device is small, fast and ready to work on some papers and maybe even a blog once in awhile!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Week in the Life

So this past week was alright I guess. I took Miss Victoria to radiation treatment every day this week and on Tuesday we went to see the plastic surgeon so he could look at the melanoma site and come up with a plan to reconstruct her arm. She will have a "shark bite" after surgery and she has to have a skin graft.
The dogs are doing well other than the little one tearing up some stuff and waking me up when I am sleeping.  Stan seems to be doing better after the loss of Suki. He is quieter in the kennel and seems a tiny bit less mopey.
Marky is having some insomnia and is keeping me awake at night. I feel bad for him, I know how frustrating it is to not be able to sleep. I think he needs to go see our doctor but he probably won't. He did the cutest thing this week, I was showing him my mothers senior picture ( I have included that as well) from high school to show him that her and I look alike, he agreed and then he wanted to see a picture of my mom now so " he knew what he was getting himself into" I thought it was sweet that he knows we will be together when we are 63. I like that.
Tuesday night we took Gramma Theresa to dinner at Babes was so good and we were ridiculously full when we left. It was stormy that night and the sunset when we left was amazing.
I don't know if I want to continue doing makes my life seem a bit boring, even though it is not.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


I have been thinking a ton lately about my blog. I have been far too neglectful. A bunch of stuff has happened but I don't want to talk about that. I want to talk about what is going on now. I want to try and pick a day to just relax and put my week in perspective or share the rantings of the week with you.
This last week was my second week of taking my Mom to her appointments. She had several this week at the Cancer Center but no chemotherapy. Her dental surgery and remaining stitches from last week are preventing that from beginning. Her stitches were removed from her mouth on Thursday, she was less than happy about that but was a trooper as usual. After they did the adjustments on her dentures she was much happier with the fit and was slurring her words less.
Stan the dog seems to be missing Suki. He has been quite mopey and it is the only thing I can figure out. I feel bad for him because I miss her a bunch too! But as long as he keeps eating I'm not gonna get too worried about him. I am sure that he will eventually work it out. Brinkley and Daddy seem unaffected and are becoming best buddies.
Mark and I were lucky enough to be able to see two movies this last Wednesday at the Angelika in Dallas. We saw Under The Skin and Only Lovers Left Alive. The first was a weird Jonathan Glazer film about aliens that steal skin and seduce men into a black goo and feed off of it. It is exactly the type of movie Mark likes to watch. I didn't think it was that great, neither did Marky I think. The second one was the new Jim Jarmusch film, there was not one single thing I didn't love about this movie!!!!! In fact I can't wait for it to come out on blu ray so I can watch it again! It is about vampires.....I know, you are probably tired of vampire movies, but you should go watch this one!
After the movie we went to Campisi's Egyptian Lounge to eat the combo plate and the lasagna was exactly what I was craving! So delicious, if you have never been there I highly recommend it! They are famous for their pizza but we always get the pasta, they make it fresh and the marinara is the best I have ever had anywhere... I wake up craving this stuff sometimes!
I am not sure really where to go with this I mostly just wanted to get something down and hopefully keep posting!!!!