Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lasagna Soup & Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

You might have noticed that Making an Effort Monday has not been the most regular thing lately. I either had nothing to say or too much to say, and it started driving me a little crazy. It began as a way to motivate me to try new recipes, make more projects, and organize my house, and it did that, so it served its purpose, and that's great, but I am over it for now. It might pop back up in the future if I need a fire under my butt, but I am on a g-d ROLL over here, and I am just going to post about food or crafts whenever I please. Maybe on a Monday, maybe on a Thursday; hell, maybe even on a SATURDAY. 

Also, ALSO (stay with me; there's a lot of changes to get used to, I know, I know, but I'm confident you can handle it), I added a lovely little tabby up at the top, right next to the tab with my crafty time excitement (Did you even know that was there? Now you do.).

It is chock full of RECIPES. Yum. So if you're ever thinking to yourself, what was the recipe for the macaroni and cheese with bacon in it? You can click the tab and be like, Oh yeah, Cheesy Bacon Mac! (Jeremy re-named it). Then you click on the picture that looks like this:

And BOOM, you are at the page with the recipe. Magical.

So, to keep this thing moving in a food-oriented direction (possibly one of my favorite directions ever), I have a new recipe for you. Paula Deen called it "Tastes Like Lasagna Soup." I think that's a mouthful, and I made some changes (I know, I know ... sacrilege ... some changes were on purpose, but some were just due to missing ingredients, so don't freak out, OKAY?), so I call it ...

(much more creative, no?)

1 lb. ground turkey
1/4 large yellow onion (or 1/2 regular yellow onion), chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
1 Tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
42 ounces of chicken broth (or close -- less wouldn't be a huge deal, and more wouldn't be that horrible either. Paula called for 32 ounces, but I had a 42 ounce can, so that's how that happened)
2 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes (oregano and rosemary blend is awesome; normal is fine; petite is fine -- however you are feeling about the tomatoes is FINE)
15 ounces (-ish) of marinara sauce 
1/2 teaspoon each of dried basil, oregano, cilantro, and parsley (or 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning, if you prefer)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups broken lasagna noodles
5 ounces of grated Parmesan cheese
shredded mozzarella cheese for garnish

1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine ground turkey, onion, and garlic with a splash of olive oil. Cook over medium-high heat until turkey is brown and crumbles easily and onions are transparent (or close). Drain if necessary (it wasn't for me, but it depends on how lean your meat is).

2.  Stir in thyme, brown sugar, broth, diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, cilantro, parsley and salt. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

3.  Add noodles, and simmer until the noodles are tender. I always buy whatever "Plus" pasta is on sale. I am a HUGE fan of Barilla Plus with the whole grains and omega-3 and all that awesomeness. This time I got Ronzoni Healthy Harvest, which is whole grain and lots of fiber. The point of all that was actually just to say that it took me a lot longer to cook those noodles than it does "regular" noodles, so the cook time will vary based on what type of noodle you prefer.

4. Final, CRUCIAL step: stir in all that Parmesan cheese. I know this seems like a lot of cheese, and, I mean, it IS a lot of cheese, but it MAKES the soup. I promise.

5.  Top with Mozzarella and serve (or, if you are trying to impress someone, toss them in the oven on broil for a few minutes).

Yum, yum, and YUM.

Here is what Jeremy thought:

Please don't send me e-mails about the wall color. Even if you own a paint company and want to send me free samples. We RENT. Sorry. I hate it, too.

And here is what Josephine thought:

Paula thought it should be served with a garlic crostini (a tiny piece of french bread with garlic smeared on it and fried in a pan). I didn't have french bread and was afraid the soup might not be filling enough for Jeremy (I was wrong), so I made my super-easy/can't-miss GARLIC CHEDDAR BISCUITS OF AWESOMENESS. 

I found a recipe for similar biscuits on the side of the Bisquick box and adjusted them to my taste. The recipe on the box is good, too, but I like mine. ;)

2 cups Bisquick
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 cup milk
A little less than 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
(For this batch, since I was going for an Italian mood, I tossed in a dash of basil and oregano. Totally optional.)
butter or margarine

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine all ingredients except margarine in bowl. Mix until dough forms.

2. Make 9-12 balls of dough and place them evenly on an ungreased pan (somehow I ALWAYS make 11, but you might like them bigger or smaller. It matters not.)

3. Smear a tiny bit of butter on the top of each biscuit. I use a lot of butter in this recipe, but I DO NOT CARE, because it's not even butter. I guess you might not even be able to classify it as margarine? We use Promise light because it is the only "butter-flavored spread" our store carries that does not contain partially hydrogenated oils. Dr. Oz would be so proud.

4. Bake for 8-10 minutes (I do exactly 8). Smear a little more butter on top of each one (See, this is why I don't use real butter.), and serve hot. Yummers.

Another night, another stomach full to bursting. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Murder Clubs (It's not what you think)

Golf isn't Jeremy's favorite sport or anything, but pretty much every one of his close friends and male relatives love to golf and ask him to do so often. Last month, after he was asked to golf three weekends in a row, he thought maybe he should break down and buy some clubs. 

Not new clubs because PUH-LEASE. I could buy Josephine ten complete outfits, five pairs of shoes, two safety gates, and that white noise machine for her room I've had my eye on. And maybe more, because, to be honest, I have no idea what golf clubs cost. I just know they are more than a hundred dollars and less than a million. So, used clubs it was. He hit the Craigslist, and found a set that looked good for super cheap, so away we went for a fun little family drive.

Veronica: Huh, we're really out in the middle of nowhere.

Jeremy: Yeah ... (*acting evasive and refusing to make eye contact*)

Veronica: I literally have no idea where we are right now.

Jeremy: Hmm mmm ...

Veronica: Your voice sounds strange. And why are you giving me that suspicious-looking side eye? OH MY GOD. A dirt road? WOODS? 

Jeremy: Okay, settle, settle. Seriously, I --

Veronica: I have not seen a house in a mile. A MILE, Jeremy.

Jeremy: Right? Nice little country area, huh? (*nervous throat-clearing*)

Veronica: SHUT UP. This person is a CRAIGSLIST KILLER, and we are getting lured into his den of MURDER! Turn around!

Jeremy: Oh Jesus. I knew it. I just knew it. When we get home I'm calling Comcast to get rid of the Lifetime Movie Network.

Veronica: Jeremy, I don't even WATCH LMN!

Jeremy: Then how do you know the acronym?

Veronica: Because I watch LIFETIME and they have commercials for the LMN.

Jeremy: Well, then maybe you shouldn't watch Lifetime.

Veronica: Very funny. I will never give up my Project Runway. And it's just a show about SEWING and FASHION, not murder-y things. So there.

Jeremy: Sewing. Fashion. Those are fun topics. So who do you think will win Project Runway this season?

Veronica: Nice try. TURN AROUND.

Jeremy: Listen, this is his driveway. It doesn't look like a murder's driveway to me ... uh oh.

Veronica: This driveway is two miles long, MINIMUM. And the trees are dense, Jeremy. Dense. No one would see or hear a murder, that's for sure.

Jeremy: Okay, well, even if this is a murder house, I bet he wouldn't kill me in front of a witness.

Veronica: Are you kidding me?!?! He'll kill all of us! All because you thought you were so fancy you needed golf clubs. Talk about selfish.

Jeremy: Lower your voice! He's like twenty feet away!


Jeremy: Shhhhhhhh! (*getting out of car*)

Veronica: Tell him your wife would join your, but she's busy polishing her gun!

Jeremy: (*slams car door*)

Veronica: TELL HIM!

*** Jeremy talks to guy. Veronica holds phone high in air and stares at guy (you know, so he knows she could call the cops at the drop of a hat). ***

(*Getting back in car*) ohmygodohmygodohmygod ... keep smiling ... don't freak out ... ohmygodohmygod.

Veronica: WHAT???

Jeremy: Wait until we get out of his eyesight. Keep smiling. Keep smiling. Everything is peachy keen.

Veronica: You are freaking me OUT, man. This better not be a joke.

Jeremy: Okay. Get this. I was making small talk because I wanted him to like me so I could haggle a bit on the price, and he was all, "You know, you're the only person who called." and I was like, "Oh, really?" and he said, "Yeah, I was originally asking more, and no one called, so I lowered the price, but I just want to get rid of them. I've had them in my garage forever, and I don't use them." so I said, "Oh yeah?" just to be nice, and then HE said, "They were my dad's but he and my mom were murdered 15 years ago and they've been in my garage ever since."

Veronica: No. NO. NO!!!!  NONONONO!!! I KNEW it! I told you! He murdered his parents!

Jeremy: I know!

Veronica: And he was planning on murdering YOU!

Jeremy: I know!

Veronica: Wait ... when he said "he and my mom were murdered 15 years ago and they've been in my garage ever since" ... was he talking about the clubs ... or his parents?

Jeremy: Sweet Jesus.


His first trip out with the clubs was less-than-stellar, but Jeremy figures, he can always blame his bad games on the fact that he was using MURDER clubs.

P.S. I swear on the life of Ron Swanson that this story is true. Just ask Jeremy or Josephine.

P.P.S. I told Jeremy he should write something on the blog soon, and he told me over dinner he has an awesome idea, so hold onto your panties, dear readers. Jer is coming to town.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Just a thought ...

Dear facebook sidebar ads,

I get that you want me to be a social worker. I totally get it. Placing an ad on my sidebar multiple times a day is definitely one way to try to convince me to go back to school to be a social worker. You got that part down. 

HowEVER ... the images you choose for these ads? Not working for me. And I'm going to go ahead and guess they are not working for other people either.

Allow me to illustrate.

Pictures of children (found through a simple Google search for "sad kids") that might make me want to be a social worker:

Pictures of children that will NEVER make me want to be a social worker:


Think about it?



source source source 

Sunday, October 23, 2011


And now, something I am sure you cannot find on any of your friends' facebook pages ... pictures of a kid in a pumpkin patch!!

I'm sure you were dying to see the Jack-o-lantern shirt in action, right? Well, the wait is over. Brace yourself for an insane level of cuteness.

Behold, my child:

She was chomping at the bit to explore all the nonsense at Uncle John's Cider Mill (let me tell you -- it's not just apples and pumpkins. HO no. They have ferris wheels and monster trucks and WAY too much stimulation for the likes of us me. We tried to keep things simple.).

We happened upon one scarecrow proposing to another. We later learned this was part of the scenery along the "train track," train rides cost $3, and foot traffic in this area was prohibited. Oops.

When you find a bin of apples (still on the train track), you must be IN it.

"Seriously, Veronica? We're doing this?" 

She got what she wanted, only to be whisked away as soon as she tried to eat an apple. Killjoy.

Things took an interesting turn when we happened upon a hay dragon.


"Are you seeing this thing?!?!"

Next, we moved on to the area designated for foot traffic. We had warnings to heed.

We headed to the "Kiddie Corral," but Josephine was only interested in "things of nature." 

I stopped taking pictures when she shoved a handful of gravel into her mouth. The fallout from that wasn't pretty.

Soon after, she started looking for a way to escape the Kiddie Corral.

We managed to convince her (for a short while) that the Kiddie Corral was the bee's knees. She played with giant wind chimes ...

 ... played on a wooden train ...

... rode the "cool bus" ...

(just like last year)

... and scoffed at hay Sponge Bob. We realized it was time for the main attraction.

Just to recap, this was how she felt about pumpkins last year:

And this year? After some careful exploration ...


Josephine and Jeremy set out to find the perfect pumpkins.

They found one!

Take me home, good man. 

A pumpkin for Josie?!?!

Look, I was there, too. :)

A perfect, pumpkin-y day.
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