Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Recipe: Lentil Quinoa Soup

I made some homemade soup recently. Aaron had to work a double shift one day last week and he had to work outside (he usually doesn't have to) so I thought it'd be nice to make him some warm soup for when he got home. The day he had that shift was the one day that week it was super cold and windy out... of course! That's just how it goes sometimes.

I love how easy making homemade soup is and it always tastes so good. Find some awesome ingredients and throw them into a huge pot, spice it up and you're probably going to have some pretty great soup on your hands. This batch of soup made a fair bit, so you can always descrease the amounts. I like to make huge batches so we have some food for the next few days, or you can always freeze it.

 olive oil
 2 onions
4 carrots
1/2 a rutabega
3 cloves of garlic
5 stalks of celery
10 cups of water
cornstarch (to thicken)
1/2 cup of quinoa (uncooked)
1 can no salt added tomatoes
2 cups of green lentils (dry bagged variety)
1 carton vegetable soup stock (or any other type) 
chili powder
4 bay leaves 
ground chilies
garlic powder
salt and pepper 

  1. Cook your quinoa. 1 cup of uncooked quinoa to 2 cups of water or some type of soup stock. Bring water or stock to a boil, add quinoa and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until liquid is gone and quinoa is tender.
  2. Get a large pot for the soup. Add a bit of olive oil and put it on medium-high heat. Dice up your onions and garlic and sautee them for 5-7 minutes.
  3. As this is heating up, dice up your carrots, celery and cube your rutabega. Add them into the pot when done and the soup stock and water.
  4. Add rest of your ingredients next, except the quinoa.
  5. In terms of the spices, I actually don't really know how much I've added of each. I know, how helpful is that? Not much! But I just shake a bit of each into the pot and do the taste test as I go. If I want to add more of something, I do but generally it's just a few shakes of each spice.
  6. Bring your soup to a boil.
  7. If you want to thicken your soup, pour some cornstarch into a little bowl. Add a little bit of cold water and blend until smooth. Then as your soup is boiling, slowly add in the cornstarch mix and stir as you add it in. If you just dump it in and don't do this step slowly while stirring, it will clump and you'll have little white blocks in your soup. Your soup should thicken after a minute or two. Add more cornstarch as needed, depending on how thick you want it.
  8. Turn heat down to low-medium and cook for about 35-45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. I actually made my soup early in the morning and let it simmer most of the day, which is also an option.
  9. Add the cooked quinoa closer to the end of cooking, just enough to warm it up. I added mine in about 15 minutes before we were going to eat.
  10. Don't forget to remove bay leaves before eating!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

52 Weeks: 34/52

52 Weeks: One photo a week, every week, for a year.

I'm loving the colours that the leaves on this tree turned. It only lasted a few days though. I took this picture at the beginning of the week and this tree is now completely bare. No leaves at all. I really love the changing colours of the yard, it's so pretty! The one shitty thing about having all these trees though is the amount of leaves we have to clean up... so many leaves. We usually have about 70-80 of those big yard waste bags full by the time we're done and that's not even including the sticks. 

On another note, I'm looking forward to Halloween on Friday. Not sure what we're going to do yet. Perhaps hang out with some friends, jam or just watch some scary movies. All will include handing out candy to the kids of course. I feel like Halloween isn't as big a thing as it was when I was a kid, but I could be wrong. Maybe just because I'm adult now but it seems like there are not as many kids out or something.

Have an awesome day!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Photodump: Cats

These are all just random shots of the cats from the last few months that I've collected. So many of the Madison pictures her tongue is sticking out, that's just how Madison rolls. I love the second picture of her too, you can see her crooked smile. :/

That last picture of Hobbes and Madison looking out the back door on the chairs together is so cute. Aaron snapped that one actually. He set those chairs up and they both sat there for hours looking out the back door into our yard, watching the animals. They love that spot.

Enjoy the day!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

52 Weeks: 33/52

52 Weeks: One photo a week, every week, for a year.

Aaron and I took a walk to the river earlier this week. The weather has been pretty nice and we wanted to take some photos of the area before the colours completely disappear. I love that this spot is so close to home, it's about a 5 minute walk from our house, which is awesome. It looks really pretty in the winter too, especially when we're lucky enough to have blue skies to go with it. 

Yesterday Aaron and I ordered 300 samosas (ok, actually 36... it was super cheap and we figured we'd freeze some to save for later)... ugh, so many samosas. We still have a lot left. I love samosas, but we ate too many yesterday and both woke up with stomach aches. Note to self: if you order that many samosas again, don't eat too many at once.

Have an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wants: Halloween Edition

  1.  My dream costume. Aaron and I have to get these! Ferris and Cameron, does it get better than this? 
  2. These leggings are perfect to get into the Halloween spirit.
  3. I really want to make cookies with these cookie cutters. They're pretty sweet.
  4. A Count Cat-Ula shirt! I think I need this... for always, not just Halloween.
  5. Scaredy Cat handbag, a must have!
  6. We call Hobbes "Sours" sometimes (just one of her many nicknames) and I was saying the other day we should dress her as a dinosaur for Halloween and call her "Dino-Sours". Yes, we're awesome.
  7. Loving this bat scarf and it's perfect for fall weather.
  8. An Orko costume! Love this.
I'm pretty excited that Halloween falls on a Friday this year. I'm going to break out some awesome 80's Halloween specials (Garfield, yeeees) and movies and get in the zone. We might hang out with some friends that night too, we'll see how it goes. Either way, it'll be fun!

Have a good one!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

52 Weeks: 32/52

52 Weeks: One photo a week, every week, for a year.

I love blue jays. They're so pretty. Birds are beautiful creatures, although I must admit I'm a little afraid of them. Not like crazy afraid of them, I like watching them from a distance but if one were to swoop around me or land on me or something, I'd probably kind of freak out. Maybe I could get used to it, but the thought of it seems a bit scary. 

So, remember how I mentioned we've been feeding the chipmunks? Otherwise known as "putting the TV on for Madison" because she loves sitting there watching them eat for hours and hours. I put some food outside our back door in hopes of the chipmunks coming back. Unfortunately they did not come. I hadn't fed them for a few weeks and it's been getting colder, so not sure if they're still around or not. Anyways, we had so many birds come and eat the food instead! I was pretty surprised. They've never been interested in the food I put out before, but I saw so many different types of birds coming and eating, it was awesome. I even saw a squirrel come up and grab some food. Everything but the chipmunks! Oh well, it was nice having all the animal friends enjoying the food, even if it wasn't who I was expecting.

Have an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Get Organized: Hair, Makeup & Accessories

As I've mentioned in the past, I'm working on organizing every last bit of this house. It's a process, but little by little I will get this thing done. I have a lot of junk to get rid of, but I also have a lot of organizing to do. I've recently organized my makeup desk area. My grandma had an old desk that I turned into my makeup desk. I store all my makeup, hair stuff and accessories like bracelets, necklaces and so on in there. 

The next thing I'd love to add to this area is a vanity. I'm currently just using an old mirror of my grandma's to do my makeup. It's fine, but the mirror is pretty old and has little markings all over it, making it a little hard to see things clearly. Also, poor lighting, so a vanity with lights would be nice. I'll work that out eventually. I love buying storage from Dollarama. They have so many options and it really helps me get organized. Here is what I did to help organize this area:

1: Bracelets & Q-tips // 2: Makeup (so much makeup)
3: Necklaces // 4: Earrings // 5: Hair accessories // 6: Headbands

So much makeup, I know! I don't even use half of it but have it hoarded (just in case...). I should really go through it and get rid of some. I bought a bunch of different sized containers to separate things, my different pieces of makeup, my bracelets, q-tips, earrings and hair accessories and so on. It's all from Dollarama! So many options and so cheap, I love it. For my necklaces, I bought some cork boards from Dollarama, painted them white, put some mod podge on them and that's it. I actually made those a while back and just use thumb tacs to hold up the necklaces. I have my hair brushes, combs and perfumes by themselves in other smaller drawers too.

I have all my earrings in that little white shelf unit on my desk, also from Dollarama. It's convenient because I have different sized holes in my ears, so wear different gauges in them. So this little thing is super handy to organize all the sizes I have. This whole set up is so much better than what it used to be. I used to just have everything tosssed in the drawers and it was a mess!

Happy organizing!