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Loving Lately 🍵

This week’s Loving Lately is a no-brainer: Soup!

First to give credit where credit is due, the gorgeous featured image is the Legendary French Onion Soup from one of my favorite food photographers and bloggers, Stéphane of MyFrenchHeaven.com. Oh, how I wish I had a bowl of it right now.

Although I do eat soup all year long, my current fondness of the liquid gratification has everything to do with the fact that the temperatures are dropping. There is nothing like a hearty hot bowl of soup to comfort yourself on a blustery evening. It also has a lot to do with this ridiculous cold/flu/whatever-you-are-go-away that has run amuck in our house. Following a late Sunday afternoon nap of fever and chills, I woke up craving the Pioneer Woman’s Sherried Tomato Soup and a grilled cheese. True story.

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The next night my husband came home from work with Chicken Noodle Soup. Be still my beating heart. This Chicken Noodle Soup from Tyler Florence got 5 stars out of 350 reviews… Umm, I’d say it’s worth giving a shot, huh?

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A day later I was well enough to drive the kids and myself through the Panera drive-thru to get a warm cup of broccoli cheddar soup, because nothing else would do. Here’s a copycat recipe from The Recipe Critic that looks pretty darn good if I do say so myself.

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And I’m not tired of it yet, because on the evening I am writing this I could really go for some chili. My goodness how I love a good chili! How Sweet Eat’s posted a Game Day Beer Chili this week that I’d like to try- this very minute.

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Of course I wouldn’t turn down a Yogurt Chicken Chili with spicy bites of tender chicken and Cannelloni beans either. Yum.

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Next on my “to try” list is this Cauliflower & Za’atar Soup by Dishing Up the Dirt. I ❤️ crispy kale!

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Get your spoons my little macaroons, because soup season has begun!

Loving Lately ❤️

Loving Lately #1: Grilling Outdoors

I know the official BBQ season is all summer long. And I really do enjoy all of the hamburgers and hot dogs, etc. But there is something about grilling when it’s not ridiculously hot out that makes it so much more fun! These cool evenings are amazing, such a beautiful reminder of how good life can be! I love grilling! (A new hobby I picked up this year) And I really love grilling on cooler evenings, while the sun is still out and the breeze blows the smell of BBQ everywhere. It’s like the best ever.

The Pioneer Woman’s Ranch Style Chicken isn’t bad either;)

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Loving Lately #2: Molded Bakeware

Do you see what I tried to do there? Anyway, I am gaga over shaped ‘tins’. I haven’t even scratched the surface of my molded bakeware stockpile. Nordic Ware is where it’s at. And rightfully so! They make everything look like a piece of art. Any cake or bread baked in these and served on any table or given as a gift is an instant winner. If it tastes half decent but comes out of one of these in a perfect shape, then you have succeeded. It does the work for you. Does Nordic Ware sponsor? How can I sign up for that?

Loving Lately ❤️

Loving Lately #1: My Local Farmer’s Market

I think it is vital to support your local farmer’s market. Buying organic produce is ideal, but don’t count it out if they don’t proclaim to sell organic goods. Talk to them, ask questions. Many vendors aren’t “organic” but still have much healthier practices than produce you can buy at your local grocers and their goods are likely much higher in nutritional value! Here is a list from the Michigan State University Extension of the top seven reasons to buy from your nearest farmer:
• Locally grown food is full of flavor. When grown locally, the crops are picked at their peak of ripeness versus being harvested early in order to be shipped and distributed to your local retail store. Many times produce at local markets has been picked within 24 hours of your purchase.
• Eating local food is eating seasonally. Even though we wish strawberries were grown year round in Michigan, the best time to eat them is when they can be purchased directly from a local grower. They are full of flavor and taste better than the ones available in the winter that have traveled thousands of miles and picked before they were ripe.
• Local food has more nutrients. Local food has a shorter time between harvest and your table, and it is less likely that the nutrient value has decreased. Food imported from far-away states and countries is often older, has traveled and sits in distribution centers before it gets to your store.
• Local food supports the local economy. The money that is spent with local farmers and growers all stays close to home and is reinvested with businesses and services in your community.
• Local food benefits the environment. By purchasing locally grown foods you help maintain farmland and green and/or open space in your community.
• Local foods promote a safer food supply. The more steps there are between you and your food’s source the more chances there are for contamination. Food grown in distant locations has the potential for food safety issues at harvesting, washing, shipping and distribution.
• Local growers can tell you how the food was grown. You can ask what practices they use to raise and harvest the crops. When you know where your food comes from and who grew it, you know a lot more about that food.

Loving Lately #2: Cute Drinking Glasses

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I have a problem not buying kitchen gadgets and ware. I realize that it’s more Martha Stewart than “chef” in general, but I can’t help it, I love the stuff. I like juice in juice glasses and milk in milk glasses… And I already admitted it was a problem. How adorable are these? (I wish the cow would have shown up better so you could see it more clearly.) The best part was I got them at Homegoods for $1 each, which is practically like buying them at garage sale prices! Right? At least that’s how I justify it to myself. (My husband is awesome in that department by the way, he never needs justification.)

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And just look at these! The bee glasses are perfect for honey colored drinks like iced tea. I prefer mine unsweetened, but how much more adorable would it be if I actually sweetened the drink with honey? The whole thing is practically enough for me to want to have a bee themed party! Seriously, I need to think about that…

Loving Lately ❤️

Easy apps could easily make a weekly appearance on Loving Lately. For someone who likes to entertain as much as I do, quick and simple appetizers are greatly appreciated. I always want to make my guests feel welcome, and obviously I love to feed anyone who comes through the door. I wish I was one of those people who always had a big pot of something cooking on the stove, but I’m not (yet). I can however offer you a good cup of coffee, and a tasty bite… usually containing cheese. (Have I mentioned my love of cheese?)

Loving Lately #1: Goat Cheese and Dill (pictured above)

This recipe is from The Pioneer Woman, and honestly I don’t think it could get any easier. If you can chop some dill and unwrap some cheese you’re set. I like to pair mine with toasted pita chips (more like crackers). It just seems Mediterranean doesn’t it? But I also like to give my guests some options. I already knew I like goat cheese, but I’m not usually a huge fan of dill. Until now! Something about it just works. You should give it a try.

Loving Lately #2: Cast Iron

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I could actually make a whole blog post out of this alone. I can’t say enough about it. I love how it connects me to the past. I love the crust it gives my cornbread. I love the way it makes pineapple upside cake. I love that I can fry up sausage and get it crispy or how I can bake the same pan in the oven and make a giant cookie. I don’t think I would feel like a home cook without a cast iron fry pan. And camping certainly wouldn’t be nearly as fun. (By the way making biscuits over a campfire in a cast iron dutch oven is sheer joy! …for someone who enjoys those things.) If you don’t have any cast iron I urge you to try it. Lodge is a company in Tennessee, USA, They make great reputable products! Click here for more information.

Loving Lately ❤️

Welcome to my first edition of “Loving Lately!” Don’t you love it when you make a commitment, oh say like posting a weekly something on your blog, and unforeseen circumstances, for example; I don’t know, your 97 year old dear friend is hospitalized for dehydration, take precedence? So it’s time to post somethings you are really excited about and dedicated to sharing, but you haven’t. So you are left updating your post all morning so that every time someone looks at it, it’s different and you are completely inconsistent, which is the total opposite of what you have in mind… Welcome to my nest!

I have so many things to share!

1st Love of Late (actually for a while): Exodus Sandals (pictured above courtesy of Exodus Sandals)

All materials in Exodus Sandals are made in the USA. They are a “barefoot shoe.” It’s an ultralight easy wearing shoe that will comfortably stay on your foot from water to land or hike. It’s also a minimalist shoe in concept, in that there are few pieces, and they are hand crafted. I have a pair of the “XO original” sandals, but they come in a few varieties and colors depending on your preference and terrain. They are awesome! And you can find them at http://exodussandals.com

2nd Love: Mòz Extra Virgin Olive Oil


A few months ago I visited the Marco Island Farmer’s Market with my mother-in-law (who happens to be a regular) for the first time. Since it was still chilly in Michigan, the selection of fresh fruits and vegetables was a warm welcome (let alone the sunshine and warm temperatures). The array of breads, baked goods, cheeses, and artisan crafted foods were fantastic. One of the vendors that caught my eye had a large selection of olive oils and various crafted condiments. After sampling a few, it didn’t take long to fall in love. Mòz is an extra virgin olive oil from Portugal. The vendor aptly described it as if “olive oil and butter had a baby.” He was right. It’s yummilicious.

It’s pricier than my regular organic olive oil that I use for cooking and baking. I recommend using it as a finishing oil, to drizzle on a soup or salad, or for dipping bread; someway that you will be tasting it directly and want to taste deliciousness. http://www.oliveoiloftheworld.com

3rd Love Lately: The Shine Brush


I’d like to introduce to you “The Shine Brush” via “The Wet Brush,” maybe you’ve already met. After bath brush outs are less than enjoyable to either party (loathe). I can honestly say this brush has made it more bearable.  But don’t limit yourself to just wet hair, and the whole family uses it (not just the long haired)! I found mine at Ulta, and they often have coupons on-line and in their mailers. (Another tip, for long hair is starting at the bottom and working your way up… And sulfate free hair conditioners).

Thank you for visiting my first installment of Loving Lately! I have a lot of loves, it’s hard to limit them to a few… many more to come! If you have any suggestions of products and websites to check out, please contact me!