Friday, September 19, 2014

Mom's Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup

Mom's Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup
There's nothing like a good bowl of soup on a cold day.  I remember so many delicious soups from my childhood.  Taco soup, white chili, traditional chili, and mom's cheesy potato soup were my favorites.  My mom's cheesy potato soup is hearty and filling, especially with a side of cornbread.  

Mom's Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup

But, the soup calls for milk or heavy cream plus Velveeta.  I love this recipe, but eating healthier means cutting the unhealthy food, even when it is a favorite comfort food.  So, I thought I would have to save my mom's cheesy potato soup for special occasions.  But then I made a vegan zucchini bisque using cashews to add creaminess.  I was skeptical, but the cashews really did make it creamy.  Nevertheless, the soup tasted really healthy and was just missing something.  With this in mind, I decided to adapt my mom's cheesy potato soup recipe into a healthy version, but to balance the healthy changes while maintaining the original flavor.  The cashew cream takes the place of the milk or heavy cream, but this is not a vegan recipe because I kept the Velveeta instead of using a vegan cheese substitute. 

The new and improved version of Mom's healthy cheesy potato soup was an absolute success with my husband and kiddos!  It will be added back into the regular rotation of soups this fall and winter!

Mom's Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup

Mom's Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup 

Ingredients
3-4 potatoes, chopped into cubes
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 onion, diced
2 c. water
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 t. parsley flakes
rosemary
thyme
salt
pepper
2-3 inches Velveeta loaf

Cashew Cream
1 c. cashews
1 1/2 - 2 c. water

Directions
In large soup pot, combine potatoes, celery, carrots, onion, water, and bouillon.  Add parsley, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper to taste.  Simmer 15-20 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender.  

In the meantime, boil cashews with water just covering the nuts.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes.  The cashews will plump up and be ready to be made into cream.

Using a food processor or blender, blend the simmered cashews with water.  Use leftover water from boiling.  Blend until smooth.  Continue adding water until mixture reaches a consistency that is near heavy cream or whole milk.  (I used a magic bullet and did this step in batches.  In all, I added about 1 1/2 cups of water.)   You should end up with about 2 cups of cashew cream/milk.  

Add the cashew cream/milk to the vegetables and stir.  Add 2-3 inches of a Velveeta loaf.  This works best if the cheese is cubed first.  Stir until melted.  

Variations and Additions
1/2 c. mushrooms
1 c. fresh spinach or kale
1 can sweet corn kernels 

Mom's Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup

I could not tell a difference between using milk, cream, or cashews.  And if you're not convinced yet, Mom's Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup has been endorsed by Baby Prez!

Baby Prez Endorses Mom's Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup





 






*The post "Mom's Healthy Cheesy Potato Soup" originally appeared on HarveyEverAfter.com*

Monday, September 15, 2014

This Week's Menu {September 15-21}

This past weekend, the hubby and I were on a mini vacation and the kids stayed with Mimi and Grandad, so last week I didn't have to plan weekend meals, which was really nice!

This week it is supposed to be stay cool through Monday and then get into the 70s for the rest of the week.  So we are starting off our weekly meal plan with soup.  I love soup, especially on chilly days and all through the winter.  There's just something special about soup on a cold day.  Yum!

Our Weekly Meal Plan

Monday - Cheesy Potato Soup

Tuesday - Breakfast for Dinner (Zucchini Bread Baked Oatmeal, Eggs & Turkey Bacon)

Wednesday Broccoli Cheese Stuffed Potatoes with Raw Tuscan Kale Salad and Sauteed Zucchini

Thursday - Couscous Black Bean Salad with Cheese Quesadillas

Friday Chipotle Turkey Burgers with PW's Kale Pasta Salad and Sauteed Zucchini

Saturday - Zucchini Fritters with leftover Kale Pasta Salad

Sunday - Quinoa Enchilada Casserole


Monday's soup will be a bit of an experiment.  (Wish me luck!)  I'm going to use regular Velveeta cheese, but instead of milk or cream, I'm going to attempt to use a cashew cream to keep the soup healthy.  I read on a message board that simmering the cashews for 15-20 works better for a cream than soaking them for hours, so I'll be trying that.  If it works, I will post the recipe next week!  

I'll also continue using as much garden produce as possible this week.  It's starting to get cold, so I'd like to use as much as we can while it's fresh, but the we'll can or freeze whatever we can to get us through the winter.   






**Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Meal Plan Monday**

Weekly Goals {Week of September 15th}

Last Week’s 7 Goals

  1. Plan weekly menu based on grocery store deals.               (Weekly budget = $80)  -- I'll even be able to recycle 1 meal for this week!
  2. Plan lunches to send to school with Miss Coco for the next 2 weeks.  -- Just didn't get this one done.
  3. Grocery shop before Thursday.
  4. Do one load of laundry per day.
  5. Create chore chart for Miss Coco. -- Oops!
  6. Write 5+ pages for my breadth review.  -- Barely, but 5 pages are done!
  7. Finish 2 blog posts.

This week, I want to really focus on making progress on my paper for school.  So, I'm cutting my list from ten goals to seven goals.  


This Week’s 10 Goals

  1. Write 5+ pages for my breadth review. 
  2. Finish 2 blog posts.
  3. Do something special for Mr. Harvey.
  4. Plan weekly menu + school lunches based on grocery store deals.               (Weekly budget = $80)
  5. Grocery shop before Thursday.
  6. Organize coupons from recycle bin diving last week.
  7. Catch up on laundry from our weekend trip; then do one load per day.
  8. Create chore chart for Miss Coco.
  9. Organize buffet counter.
  10. Sort 3 basement boxes.

Have a fantastic week!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

This Week's Menu {September 8-14}

Last weekend we unexpectedly visited my in-laws for the weekend.  They are moving to Hawaii in a month and want to spend as much time with the grandkids as possible before they leave.  But as far as meals go, a weekend in Omaha means that I am recycling my weekend meals to this week.  And that's always good for the budget!

On another note, the Roasted Garlic and Zucchini Bisque from last week, was a new, experimental recipe.  And it had good flavor, but was definitely missing something, which can probably be explained because it was vegan.  It tasted very healthy, but I'll be changing the recipe up if I make it again.

Monday - Stir fry with brown rice

Tuesday - Taco Soup

Wednesday Broccoli Cheese Stuffed Potatoes with Raw Tuscan Kale Salad and Sauteed Zucchini

Thursday Chipotle Turkey Burgers with PW's Kale Pasta Salad and Sauteed Zucchini

Friday - Out in Wisconsin and Kids @ Grandparents

Saturday - Out in Wisconsin and Kids @ Grandparents

Sunday - Dinner at Mimi's


Again this week, I'm trying to use our garden produce, so three out of four meals will be partially from the garden -- kale, zucchini, etc.

The hubby and I are taking a trip to Wisconsin this weekend, so I'll be taking snacks for the road and breakfast, but we will be eating out for three lunches and two dinners.  .And the other meals are recycled from last week, so this might have been the easiest weekly meal plan ever.  The dinners out will be covered by the vacation budget.  And the since I was planning to make the other meals last week, I've already shopped for them.  My grocery shopping this week will be minimal, and I should have plenty leftover for stockpile items.  Yay!






**Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Meal Plan Monday**

Weekly Goals {Week of September 8th)

Last Week’s 10 Goals

  1. Plan weekly menu based on grocery store deals.               (Weekly budget = $80)  Done in under $80!
  2. Plan lunches to send to school with Miss Coco for the next 2 weeks.  Okay, I got 1 week planned, but it's improvement.
  3. Grocery shop before Thursday. Done by Wednesday!  Yay!
  4. Do one load of laundry per day. It may not be accurate to say that I did one load per day, but I definitely averaged one load per day.
  5. Create chore chart for Miss Coco. --  In progress
  6. Write 5+ pages for my breadth review.  -- Only one page written :(
  7. Return items to Target and Walmart.
  8. Help hubby design table tents for NU Tutoring Company.  
  9. Organize buffet counter.
  10. Finish 2 blog posts.

This week, I want to really focus on making progress on my paper for school.  So, I'm cutting my list from ten goals to seven goals.  


This Week’s 10 7 Goals

  1. Plan weekly menu based on grocery store deals.               (Weekly budget = $80)
  2. Plan lunches to send to school with Miss Coco for the next 2 weeks.
  3. Grocery shop before Thursday.
  4. Do one load of laundry per day.
  5. Create chore chart for Miss Coco.
  6. Write 5+ pages for my breadth review. 
  7. Finish 2 blog posts.

Have a fantastic week!

Monday, September 1, 2014

This Week's Menu {featuring} Garden Veggies

It's that time of year.  Zucchini time.  We have an overabundance of zucchini in our garden that needs harvested and eaten.  ASAP.  And as thankful as I am for the blessing of having a garden to supplement our meals, it has been challenging to find new zucchini recipes that I really want to try.



Monday -  Spaghetti with Green Beans and Toast

Tuesday - Sausage and Potatoes with Steamed Broccoli

Wednesday - Roasted Garlic and Zucchini Bisque with Rolls

Thursday - Stir-Fry with Brown Rice

Friday - Chipotle Turkey Burgers with PW's Kale Pasta Salad and Sauteed Zucchini

Saturday - Taco Soup with Cornbread

Sunday - Broccoli Cheese Stuffed Potatoes with Raw Tuscan Kale Salad and Sauteed Zucchini


From this menu, six out of seven meals will utilize produce from our garden.  Five meals will use zucchini, three will use kale, and three will use broccoli.  I'll also be whatever else is ripe on Thursday for the stir-fry.

From the sale flyers this week, I'll be buying potatoes and smoked sausage on sale for $.33/lb and $2 each.







photo source

Weekly Goals {Week of September 1st}

This Week’s 10 Goals

  1. Plan weekly menu based on grocery store deals.               (Weekly budget = $80)
  2. Plan lunches to send to school with Miss Coco for the next 2 weeks.
  3. Grocery shop before Thursday.
  4. Do one load of laundry per day.
  5. Create chore chart for Miss Coco.
  6. Write 5+ pages for my breadth review.
  7. Return items to Target & Walmart.
  8. Help hubby design table tents for NU Tutoring Company.  
  9. Organize buffet counter.
  10. Finish 2 blog posts.



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

8 Unique Chore Charts & Chore Systems


Baby Prez isn't old enough for chores yet, but at 11 years old, Miss Coco is!  Of course, I turned to Pinterest to find some inspiration on organizing and setting up a system.  Here are my favorite options so far.



Chore Jar from Whatever Dee Dee Wants



This seems like a really simple and fun way to organize chores, especially for multiple children.



Mom, Too Chart from Alaboard



This chevron inspired system is for sale at Alaboard.com for $20, but honestly I just like this as an example that chore charts can include Mom (and Dad).



Button System from She's Crafty




This system incorporates monthly allowance, tithing, bonus opportunities, and competition!  I've also seen a version of this from the Winthrop Chronicles with buttons and mason jars.



Chore Cards from Madsen's Memories



These chore cards are great!  No miscommunication about what needs to be done!  Now I just need a laminator and cardstock!



Daily Job Zones from The Creative Homemaker



What a perfect way to make sure all of the tasks in each room are completed.



Free Printable Chore Chart from The Gilded Pear



My favorite thing about this chart is that it incorporates a penalty for bad behavior.



DIY Magnetic Chore Charts from A Spotted Pony



I love the Magnetic Chore Charts from Abbie's House.  They are cute, but I'm not in the market to buy a system.  Love the magnets, though!  So easy for kids to move the magnets from To Do to Done.  

And you could easily do a DIY version with inexpensive cookie sheets and chalkboard paint from the dollar store like in the photo above!



Coloring Book Chore Chart from And We Play



And I honestly can't wait to start using this adorable coloring book chart with my little one!  Seriously, what could be cuter?


Check out more chore charts and other kiddo organization ideas on Pinterest!



Coming soon...a giant list of free printable chore charts!  If you have one on your blog, please submit it in the comments below!  I'd love to include as many as possible!








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