Soup for days

Have I mentioned how much I love soup? I could eat soup every day. And this week, I intend to do just that!

For the past two weeks, I have been in the Midwest for work. I have a unique (and totally awesome) job that requires I travel, a lot. I typically am gone 10 to 14 days per month. I love my job with every ounce of me, but by the time I get home from deployment, I need a few days to decompress. I usually have a day or two of overwhelming energy, I’ll clean and do laundry and grocery shop, then I crash. ┬áToday I am crashing. All the work and stress and lack of sleep catches up to me and I just need a break.

So today I will work on the blog (hello!) put the finishing touches on my planner for 2018, and probably do a little more house cleaning. In between those things, I’ll rest. I will cuddle the dogs, snuggle the cat, do some dishes, and catch up on my sanity. I’ll read my favorite blogs and maybe finish the book I started on the plane.

And I have no intention of cooking all week. (I don’t plan on takeout either, as I just spent two weeks eating entirely, out. I’ll get reimbursed for those expenses, but it still takes a toll on my wallet in the meantime). ┬áSaturday, as soon as I got home, I put (frozen) chicken bones in the crock pot to make stock. I added some celery and carrots that were on their way out and set it for 12 hours. About as easy as it gets. The chicken was frozen from the last time I bought a whole chicken. Sometimes I’ll make stock right away, and sometimes I put it in the freezer for future use. Then yesterday I went to Costco and got a whole rotisserie chicken (for all of $5!) and made a giant pot of soup! Fresh stock, fresh rotisserie chicken, the house smelled AMAZING! I added some veggies that we had on hand and wam bam, a literal ton of soup is ready! I put it in individual mason jars for storage, that way it’s an individual serving, and thus no measuring/spilling! 4 of the jars made their way into the freezer after they cooled, and 4 more are in the fridge.

I LOVE soup. And could literally eat it all day every day. So that’s kind of the plan. I have 3 kinds of soup currently in the freezer, so that’ll easily get me through the week. I also have (now 3) jars that are fresh in the fridge. I wanted easy and quick and cheap this week, so that’s exactly what I’m doing!

On a similar note, what is your opinion on chest freezers? Our freezer (attached to the fridge) is so small and is a wacky size, so it makes freezing anything in bulk rather difficult. Upon doing some research, Rachel (roommate) and I decided it would in fact save us money in the long run to have a chest freezer. I had been price comparing for a few months, and took the opportunity this weekend (excellent sales) to finally scoop one up. It will be arriving in about 5 days and we are so excited. Though dropping $170 is never enjoyable, I am confident that it’ll save us money on food. I always want to make a double batch of things like lasagne, soup, and casseroles, but as it stands right now we have nowhere to put them! So, in five days, we will! (I’m kind of a dork about these things so I am over the moon excited about our new chest freezer! My roommate just smiles and supports me. She isn’t big on cooking, but the idea of a place to store all those berries for smoothies is appealing to her!)

I’m excited about the prospect of a freezer full of soup. It’s cheap, filling, healthy, a total win/win/win situation in my book! Do you bulk freeze? What is your favorite soup?

I am thankful, today and every day

As a little kid, I was extraordinarily lucky to live across the street from Ed and Shirley Meyers. They were my mentors, my friends, my confidants, my family. I love them, and still do love them, with all my heart. Ed passed away in 2003 and Shirley passed away in 2008, but I still think about them every single day.

I bring this up because they taught me something extremely valuable at a very young age: always be thankful. At the end of every day, Ed and Shirley would sit on the deck and watch the sun go down. As the last blip of sun disappeared behind the horizon, they would list of what they were thankful for that day. It usually went something like this “thank you God for another beautiful day. Thank you for the kids, thank you for your health, and the beautiful ocean that lays before us.” It changed a little every day, but they each always listed for what they were thankful for. On afternoons I was lucky enough to watch the sunset with them, they would ask me what I was thankful for. It’s a little thing but it has stuck with me all this time.

Now, I don’t need to know whether or not you choose to thank God or the universe or what not, it honestly doesn’t matter. But every day I list off the things I am thankful for, and it’s become a wonderful part of my evening. It reminds me to slow down and enjoy each day and each moment, because we aren’t guaranteed anything.

I typically say my list to myself each evening, but seeing as tomorrow is Thanksgiving I thought I would come up with a list of things I am grateful for today (tomorrow is busy, ya’ll gonna be cooking and cleaning and hopefully spending time with those you love!)

I am thankful for:

The obvious ones: friends, family, my pets

The maybe less obvious ones:

-Coworkers who have become friends, and then became family. We work in a weird world, one where we spend more time working in far away places with neglected and abused animals than we spend at home. We work at all hours, in all kinds of conditions. It is rarely comfortable and it is never glamorous. But I bet if you asked any one of us, we wouldn’t have it any other way. We may be an odd bunch, but I love my work family with all my heart. We have been through it all together and we are all so thankful to have one another.

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(That’s Lois, Jess and I eating Jeni’s ice cream last night. I prefer Graeter’s, but it’s still damn good ice cream!)

-My health. Many of you right now are going “but, you have Crohn’s Disease, you aren’t healthy!” True dat. But you know what? I am so lucky to be alive. I am lucky that I know how to manage my illness and that I am able to live the life I want to lead. Is it always perfect? Absolutely not. It’s messy and painful and tiring and horrible at times. But you know what? When I have a good day I relish it. When I wake up after a good sleep I am so happy and appreciative of the energy I have. When I eat cheese! I am thrilled that I can eat some of the things I love without paying for it later (definitely can’t eat anything I want, but I’ll take cheese!)

-The internet. Ever thing about it? Most of our lives revolve around internet. Blogging, facebook, Amazing or other shopping sites, research, WebMd, where would we be without the internet!? I spend almost my entire working day at my computer, on the internet. Sending emails and responding to them. Coordinating flights and hotels for responders, looking up how much 5.11 tactical pants cost. Trust me, I am so thankful for the internet.

-Warm clothing. We are currently operating out of a building with no central heat, at an undisclosed location in the midwest. Let me tell you, IT’S COLD! Today the high is I think 39. So, definitely not the coldest but definitely chilly! I have a Carhartt jacket, fuzzy socks, a beanie that I love, and a scarf adorning my tactical pants and boots today. Plus my work issued hoodie, gotta represent!

-Fall in the Pacific Northwest. I mean, the colors! It’s just stunning. I great up in Southern California and it was nothing like where I live now. It’s truly breathtaking. Nor to mention apple picking, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and everything else that comes with fall (NO pumpkin spice lattes for this lady!)

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-My stellar amazeballs roommate. Ya’ll, you have no idea how lucky I am here. Not only do we get along, we agree on most things, like the same foods, like the same movies and tv, laugh at each other, and she loves my critters. I’m gone so much, and Holden gets to stay with her and Reddington because the boys are BFFs. When I called and said “Hey honey is it ok if I bring home a foster dog? He is from one of our fighting cases…” She said yes, as long as I thought he would get along with our boys. I literally am beyond thankful for her. She let me bring my whole menagerie of critters to live in her home. And she hasn’t killed me yet! I’m calling it a win.

I could go on, but I think you see that we all have things we need to be thankful for. I try to practice what I preach and thank the universe every day that I am alive. It’s a beautiful thing you know, waking up each morning.

What are you thankful for today and every day?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, from my family to yours!