more soup

I posted about some good soup recipes back in the fall, and here is another recent favorite I made for a soup swap.  Saw it on good ol' pinterest (where all recipes come from these days) and had to try it.

Spinach & Lemon Orzo Soup (love spinach, lemon, and orzo) from here.  I made a lemon orzo soup last year for this same swap, so why not make a different variety of it this year?

Spinach & Lemon Orzo Soup

2 T olive oil
4 garlic cloves, smashed or minced
1 large onion
1 t red pepper flakes
1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed & drained of excess water
1 1/2 c orzo
8 c chicken or vegetable broth
4 eggs
Juice of 3 lemons
Fresh parsley & parmesan, to serve

1. Heat olive oil in large pot or dutch oven.  Add in onion and garlic and cook until translucent.
2. Turn heat to medium high and add red pepper flakes, spinach & orzo.  Cook about a minute, then add broth.
3. Bring to light simmer, then turn down heat and simmer about 15 minutes, or until orzo is just barely tender.
4. Take soup off heat and let it cool for a moment.
5. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl and then whisk in the lemon juice.  Time to temper the eggs!  Add a ladle of the soup into the egg bowl with continuous whisking.  You don't want to have scrambled eggs in your soup, so keep whisking.  Add a couple more ladles of soup, whisking very well.
6. Add egg mixture to pot and again, whisk continuously.  Turn heat to low and stir continuously until the soup has slightly thickened.  Garnish with parsley and parmesan!


on days like today....

I'm thankful and happy I can do my little job from my house.  It's gloomy, rainy, and cold out there, and I've stayed warm in my comfy clothes and slippers, and Gibson has been snuggled up on the couch.  I think he might love it a little more than I.... What do you think?


hey there, cookie

T-man and I have done a bunch of cooking and baking in 2012 so far--it's been so fun!  He's loving being in the kitchen and figuring out different recipes.  His "thing" in 2012 is to be more familiar with cooking and so far he's off to a great start!

A few weeks ago I was really wanting some cookies, but didn't really want to go to the hassle of measuring a bunch of ingredients, so there is this recipe in our church cookbook called "Easy Cookies" made with a box of cake mix, 2 eggs, oil and chocolate chips.  I made some with a yellow cake mix, T LOVED them, took them to work, and now he wants these cookies only.  He says they are by far the best.  He made up his own rendition this weekend, while I whipped up the best chocolate chip cookie ever.  I really think this is my favorite right now.

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies {Egg-free} via here

6 oz cream cheese, softened
12 T butter, melted and cooled
1 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
2 t vanilla
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 c plus 3 T flour
1 c or so of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (the recipe says 325, but I thought my oven worked better cooking them for 15 minutes on 350).

In your mixer, cream together the cream cheese, butter, & sugars until light and fluffy.

Mix in the vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until mostly incorporated, then dump in chocolate chips and continue until all the way mixed.

Roll into dough balls and place on baking sheet (use parchment or silpat) about 2 in apart.  Flatten each with the palm of your hand.

Bake the cookies 12-15 mins, or until the edges are golden.  Let cool on cooling racks.

Easy Cookies (version by t dud)

1 box chocolate cake mix
1/2 c oil
2 eggs
peanut butter chips
chocolate chips

Mix it all up and drop by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 5-7 minutes.


too much tv?

Thanks for the book suggestions!  I'm definitely going to read the titles mentioned some time this year, but my friend Ellison mentioned "A Praying Life" [by Paul Miller] while we were getting coffee over Christmas.  Said it was awesome.  It's been on my list ever since, so I think I'll start with that one.

So T and I have a list of TV shows that we enjoy watching together (probably too many, but we have narrowed it down quite a bit)... Downton Abbey, Hawaii 5-O, Parenthood, Modern Family, SVU, and occasionally the Pioneer Woman when she comes on Food Network.

Modern Family is hands down the funniest on the list.  I can't help but laugh every time Cam is on screen, and even Phil.  And T even laughs out loud at the show, which he normally doesn't do.  The episode last night (if you haven't already seen it, spoiler alert!) with Phil's autotune was hysterical.  T rewound it a few times and laughed every time.  I think the funniest part is that it would actually happen in real life.  Someone out there would auto-tune that in a second if that event had occurred.  If you don't already watch Modern Family, you should start with season 1--it's on Netflix!


busy season projects : 2012

I've been trying to come up with my projects to occupy my time during busy season this year, and there isn't really one big project to do, just a few smaller ones.

You can read about what I did [during busy season] last year here, which is funny to look at now... My mom needed to borrow our duvet last summer (we weren't using it because our bedroom is a FURNACE in the summer so we have a light coverlet), and then she ended up loving it in her house and asked if she could keep it!  I was happy for her to have it and she so kindly got us a new duvet.

So this year here's my list:

1. Finish painting trim on stairs
2. Organize pots and pans cabinet, and figure how to affix a "shield" under the drawer above to prevent wood shavings from getting into my pots and pans. Yes, our cabinets are old and sliding the drawers open and close causes wood pieces to fall into the space below.

proof of wood shavings (don't worry we rinse everything before we use)

Jumbled mess of pots and pans-- going to see what Lowe's has available for an organization drawer or something of that nature

see the wood shaving remnants in the bottom? fun!

3. "Re-do" our laundry closet to utilize the space in there better.

 Some things I want to incorporate into this laundry closet...

long shelf above the machines
 via Pinterest

Two wall cabinets (to store paper towels, shout spray, floor cleaner, light bulbs, all that stuff on shelf)
And a bar for hanging and a drying rack to pull down when needed

We also need a good spot to store the unused laundry baskets, so maybe a top shelf?  And better hooks for brooms, swiffer, mop, etc.

I'll also paint it a fun color!  Stay tuned on what we come up with.  I'm obviously going to get T's opinions and some help here when it comes to hanging cabinets and measuring.  He's very precise and we always do bigger house projects like this together.

We'll draw up a little plan and then I'll work on the other two projects on my own and tackle this one last.  Here goes!



I've never really been a reader.  I love the idea of being an avid reader, but I can never seem to really get into it.  I also love the look of books.  Now I will say, I've read plenty of books and all of the classics (thanks to St. Mary's), but reading for pleasure has never really been my thing.

When T and I went to Italy last May, I asked my mom if I could borrow her Kindle because I was in the middle of reading the help, but didn't want to lug that huge book all over Italy.  I loved reading on the kindle.  To me, it went by so quick.  Maybe it's because I don't see the amount of the book that's remaining?  It's more of a mystery (percentage) how much is left and not as daunting?  Maybe the visual person I am just likes the unknown of how long a book really is?

Over the holidays I acquired my own Kindle and I read 3 books on it in a week!  That's some kind of record for me.  It was the Hunger Game series (quick read), but I also think the Kindle itself attributed to my finishing so quickly.

This year (as kind of a new years resolution) I've set a goal for myself on number of books to read.  At first I was going to do 20, but decided to start small at 12.  One book per month.  Seems doable for me.  Technically I read all 3 Hunger Games book in 2012, so I'm already at 3!

I have a couple books on the list to read next, but has anyone read a quick and really good book lately?  I'm open for suggestions--fiction or non-fiction!


catch up to the new year

We had a very blessed and special holiday this year.  Many of you probably heard our sweet niece, Juliette, was at Le Bonheur PICU with RSV.  You can read in more detail over at Leslie's blog.  She has written some beautiful words about their 2 week experience patiently waiting for sweet Juliette to recover.  We all needed that reminder that we are NOT in control and God's timing is His, and there is nothing we can do to change it.  Ever.

Little Jules is now recouping at home and I know Leslie and Jonathan are, too.  Le Bonheur has a special place in our hearts after spending two weeks and our Christmas there.  Thank you to the staff for making our family feel so special and loved.

Tradition.  We Guinns love it.  T-man and I decided the first year we were married that we would do Thanksgiving with his fam, and Christmas at our home in Memphis where my fam lives.  Every Christmas eve morning Leslie holds a yummy brunch, and then we head to our parents that evening for pimiento cheese sandwiches in the shape of Christmas trees and gift-opening with our Granny and my dad's brother's fam.  It's always a good time and last year I believe we played Beatles rockband.  Christmas morning mom makes the same delicious breakfast and we enjoy a lazy day opening presents and watching Christmas movies, usually Home Alone.  Leslie, Scott and I know all the words to the movie.  It's our favorite.  Scott used to be so tricky like ol' Kevin McAllister.  With all this said, we love our Christmas traditions.  It was obviously very different this year, but we tried to still make it just as special for Leslie, Jonathan and Juliette.  We took the usual breakfast down to the hospital and all ate together with our fam and Jonathan's fam too.  I loved this.  I loved not getting so wrapped up in "our" Christmas and remembering there are families in sad/different situations... say, in a hospital.  We went back down there for a chili & tamale dinner and took some more gifts for Leslie and Jonathan to open.  And an answered prayer... Juliette got off the ventilator on Christmas day.  It was a great day.

I'll just share some photos from the rest of our holiday.  T-man and I enjoyed last week off together before he gets busy busy in the next few months.  I'm still deciding what my busy season project will be this year.  Happy new year everyone!

We opened our gifts and annual pj's Christmas Eve night with lil Gibson.  We are so very blessed.

 My parents gave us a new mailbox!

Awesome new fire pit from T's parents!

Christmas morning at Le Bonheur

Loving the Kindle (and the Hunger Games)

Meal made by my sweet guy

Me and T made New Year's Eve/Day Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls.  MMM.

Time of year for the coral bark Japanese Maple to actually be coral.  Pretty.