Archives for January 2014

Low-Fat Potato Soup Recipe

These cold winter days have had me on the search for some healthy alternatives to classic “comfort food” recipes. I did a search for potato soup and found this recipe.  It was a hit with the whole family, which hardly ever happens!  It was rich, creamy and very filling!  I doubled the recipe and it was enough for two dinners for my family of four.

The first time I made it, I did not have fat-free evaporated milk, so I used whole. I was curious if it would taste the same using  fat free.  The second time I made it, I used 2%  evaporated milk, which did not affect the taste at all. It still got a thumbs up from the family.  Next time, I will go for the fat free version.  The calorie count is the same, but why not save fat grams where you can!

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Hubby chose to garnish his with soy bacon and broccoli. (I’m sure he would have preferred real ham or bacon but that was all we had on hand!)

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Low Fat Potato Soup Recipe

From: Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 1-3/4 cups diced peeled potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 can (12 ounces) fat-free evaporated milk, divided
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Directions

  • In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, onion, celery, broth and
  • pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-18
  • minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  • Combine cornstarch and 1/4 cup milk until smooth; stir into potato
  • mixture. Add the remaining milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for
  • 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat. Stir in cheese
  • until melted. Yield: 5 servings.
Nutritional Facts: 1 cup equals 178 calories, 2 g fat (0 saturated fat), 9 mg cholesterol, 274 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrate, 0 fiber, 14 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 medium-fat meat.
© Taste of Home 2014
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family!
Stay warm!
~Blessings,
Jen

Oh Mr. Postman…….

letters

Remember when we used to send and receive real letters? I honestly can’t say when the last time is that I sent a letter to someone or received a letter from someone! I was going through a closet with some of my daughters stuff and found an old can with letters my sister (Jen) had sent her when she was out of state with her military husband. She has kept them all these years because they were important. My mother in law talks of writing every day to her husband who was stationed in Korea. I wonder if she kept them. When I was a kid I remember going upstairs in my grandpa’s house to cut the stamps off of the letters my dad had sent from Korea. At that age I had no interest what was in them…I would give anything today to have the opportunity to read them. I remember after visiting my cousin in California when I was about 10 we would write back and forth for awhile. I think I even had a few pen pals. I don’t think kids today would even know what that is. I take that back, they talk to people all over the world through gaming systems and consider them friends. I am not convinced this is the same.

I think as a society we have become to used to email, Facebook and text messaging. But really, I think there is nothing as special and intimate as a hand written letter. I am as guilty as anyone, and I’m not knocking any of those other modes of communication; they have all let me connect with old friends and family members. But, a letter, maybe we should reconsider this. After all, how many emails, texts or Facebook chats have your folded up and put in a can??

A love letter to someone you love…who wouldn’t like to get that. It is pretty special to know someone actually took the time to sit down and write you. So I challenge you to think…is a handwritten letter important, or is it something that we let fade into the past? Let me know what you think.

Peace,

Julie

10 Ways to Beat the Winter Blahs!

The cold, ice and snow seem to have a strong grip on us this year here in Michigan and in many other parts of the country!  So if the weather is getting you down, I thought I would offer a helpful list of ways to distract yourself from the frigid temperatures and stir craziness of this winter.  So grab a hot cuppa something, browse this list and hopefully you will find something that inspires you and jolts you out of the Winter Blahs!

1. Haul out those old summer vacation photos, whether they be on your computer or in a photo book, and snuggle up on the sofa for a trip down memory lane!  Just looking at those photos of warm weather fun will bring a smile to your face and is a guaranteed feel good activity! Here is photo from my album of Little one enjoying the summer    4-H Fair!

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2. Get your “reggae” on!  Tune in to some tropical music on Pandora or another on-line music station, close your eyes and dream of the summer days that will eventually come around again, or get up and DANCE to it! Here is one of my personal favorites!

3.Hop on Pinterest and do a search for Spring or Summer Fashion!  It is like window shopping, without having to leave your house or spend any money!  Here are a couple of my favorites:

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4. Bring out the board games!  A good old fashioned game of Uno, Candy Land or Dominoes will distract you from the howling winds!

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5. If the temperature permits, bundle yourself up and go for a walk.  The still, soft quietness of a winter day can give us a feeling of calm and peace. (Picture by Jules)

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6. Follow that walk with a steaming hot cup of chocolate!  Go ahead and indulge, dark chocolate has been proven to offer some health benefits!  Here is a recipe for “Healthy Hot Chocolate”

7. Try to enjoy the TIME  these winter days give us.  Time with our families, to read a book, make a home cooked meal, watch a movie, do a craft, complete a project, or to just “be”.

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8.If you’ve looked at all of the summer vacation photos, move on to home movies!  The kids will love watching themselves when they were “little”.  Maybe you could even record some new movies!

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9. Doing something for someone else in need will ALWAYS make you feel better!

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10. Finally, make a list of five things you are thankful for!  The cold, winter days won’t be able to keep you down if your mind is on the blessings in your life!

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Hope you found something on the list to brighten your day!

~Blessings,

Jen

Oh Happy Day!!!

It’s Friday!! Are you feeling happy? Do you wait till Friday to be happy, or do you find happiness every day?! Sometimes I think we get so caught up waiting for that “happy” moment to happen that we forget to be happy in the moment. One of my friends posted this on Facebook and I just had to borrow it to share. Watch this video, get up and dance! Don’t be afraid to just show your happiness once in awhile….I dare you!!

Have a great weekend!

Julie

Just “Say” It!

This weekend I attended a Memorial Service for my dear cousin Marilyn.  It was a difficult, but beautiful day where her memory was honored and friends and family gathered to say good-bye.  She was such an intelligent, graceful, kind woman and will be missed by all who knew her.

Her eulogy was filled with many details about her life and the wonderful woman she was.  As I was listening, a couple of things that were said stayed in my mind well beyond the Memorial Service.  One thing her daughter shared was that her Mom always said you should say nice things to and about people while they are alive and not save them for their funeral.  What words of wisdom! How often do we think about making that phone call, writing that e-mail or letter or paying someone a visit and then never do it because “life” gets in the way.  What are we so busy doing that we miss these opportunities to express our love and admiration for others?   I suspect no one would ever regret taking the time to say something nice to another person.  I personally struggle with slowing down and consciously making an effort to do this.  I want to try to live by Marilyn’s words and “just say it”, whether  it is  through a phone call, an e-mail or a personal visit.

Another thing that was shared about Marilyn was her ability to really make people feel special and listened to when they talked with her.  My Little One had only met her a couple of times and when she heard of her death, she knew exactly who I was talking about and was very sad.  You see, although they had only spent a small amount of time together, Marilyn made my Little One feel special and loved just by taking the time to listen to her.  What a special and unique quality and one that I would like to emulate in my own life.  What a gift to stop and really listen when someone is talking, to make that person feel special and heard.

My cousin Marilyn loved the Lord and has moved on from this world to her heavenly home.  She has left a legacy of love and wisdom and I am so blessed to have known her.

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~Blessings,

Jen

 

The Joys of Raising Teenagers!

What I've learnedHello Readers!

As most of you probably know I am a mental health therapist. I see a variety of clients, including the “dreaded teenager.” Now I have a degree on the wall that says I’m qualified to counsel a lot of people, but I can tell you what I really know is from raising 4 children of  my own! My 12 year old twins grandchildren are helping to keep me current!  Before we go anywhere here let me tell you…you WILL survive! If I did it you can do it!!! Come on, lets all say it together!! YES WE CAN!!!

I met with 4 different teenagers today. One looked at her mother like she was the stupidest creature on earth! One dared tell her mom that she didn’t have to follow ANY of their rules and would do what she wanted (mom took it rather well I think, child was able to walk out of the room!). One told me she knew she had an attitude but most times couldn’t control it. One “didn’t like her mom’s tone of voice!!” Now as the mother of 4 GROWN children I can laugh at some of this behavior, because I know there is an end. I know that its hard, but teenagers are a LOT like toddlers, they need rules and consistency. If my children were to read this they would laugh and say I was the worst disciplinarian! Seriously, I was on a first name basis with the assistant principle who called me almost every day regarding my son. Looking back…I probably should have controlled him!! Yeah, and I can  nail jello to a tree too!!! With my oldest I used to say she had PMS, DMS, and AMS (pre, during and after!! We couldn’t catch a break). Now some of the little darlings sail through without a problem, but face it…most teens kind of turn into evil creatures between the ages of 13 and 18!! Like I said…the good news is, if you can hang in there, you get your little babies back and they grow up and give you wonderful grandchildren that you can spoil and send back home!!

I want to share this list of quotes I found. I found them quite entertaining.

#10
Mothers of teenagers know why animals eat their young. -Unknown

#9
Heredity is what sets the parents of a teenager wondering about each other. -Laurence J. Peter

#8
Adolescence is a period of rapid changes. Between the ages of 12 and 17, for example, a parent ages as much as 20 years. -Unknown

#7
You can tell a child is growing up when he stops asking where he came from and starts refusing to tell where he is going. -Unknown

#6
Adolescence is a new birth, for the higher and more completely human traits are now born. -G. Stanley Hall

#5
If you want to recapture your youth, just cut off his allowance. – Al Bernstein

#4
I tell my child, if I seem obsessed to always know where you’ve been, it is because my DNA will be found at the scene. – Robert Brault

#3
Mother Nature is providential. She gives us twelve years to develop a love for our children before turning them into teenagers. -William Galvin

#2
Raising teenagers is like nailing Jell-O to a tree. -Unknown

Finally, in honor of the upcoming prom season, here’s a quote to make you nervous:

#1
Chaperons don’t enforce morality; they force immorality to be discreet. -Judith Martin

Hope you enjoyed a little teen humor! Hang in there parents! You can do this…remember….you aren’t alone!!

Peace,

Julie