Foodie Friday: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

I have tried several different ways to do chicken noodle soup. I almost always eat it from a can at least a few times a year, but I have finally found a way to do it that is loved by everyone in the house! My mom says it’s too dry, and not really soup. My kids and husband (who are not big soup fans) think it’s fantastic!

1 lb chicken thighs, grilled and cubed
1 large onion, finely diced
4-5 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, diced- because I don’t like much celery. Add more if you like it.
32 oz chicken broth,  low sodium
1 medium bag egg noodles
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste

I start by seasoning my chicken with salt and pepper. I grill it until it’s cooked through (internal temp of 165). While it cools,I heat my dutch oven on medium with a good coating of olive oil on the bottom. Then I start on the veggies. Once they are peeled and diced, I throw them in the dutch oven, all together to start sauteing. I let them cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then throw in the chicken. Let that cook for a couple minutes, then add in the chicken broth and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. I let it simmer for about 30 minutes and add in the noodles. Once the noodles are tender, it’s done. Remove the bay leaves. If you let it go longer, the noodles will soak up most of the broth and the soup is more like chicken and noodles than soup. That’s how my kids like it. It’s up to you how you want to do it.

Working Through Tough Issues


Working Through Tough Issues

Logically, most parents are in a better position than the court system when it comes to knowing what’s best for their children.  However, many divorcing parents become so focused on their own need to “win” that they can never agree on anything and make those important needed decisions. That strong competitive spirit may also continue after the divorce is finalized and changes in custody or the divorce decree are often required.  Judges will do the best they can when you and your co-parent can’t agree on what is best for your child, but this may not be the best decision for your child.

Meditation is a cost-effective alternative to expensive lawyer’s fees and court costs. Mediators are experienced professionals specially trained to help two disagreeing parties come to a workable solution. While lawyers are paid to win, mediators are paid to make sure both parties win, which is almost always better for the children. Mediation allows co-parents to discuss difficult issues and come to an agreement about what is best for the children. It continues to be a good option as your children grow older and additional changes are needed in your parenting agreement as well. Consider using mediation during these times to help create smooth transitions for your child.

For more information on mediation in Oklahoma, click on these handouts: 
Oklahoma Early Settlement Mediation Directory 
Mediation Information for Participants
Rules for Mediation
Creating a Parenting Plan Worksheet





QuickTip Tuesday: Popcorn Tip

I like popcorn. I really like popcorn. Please do not give me that junk they put in the little greasy packets for the microwave. Pop me some real popcorn. Or I can do the popping. I don’t really care… as long as you do it right.

Image result for popcorn

Here’s the secret to making good stove-top popcorn:

  • Put your tall-sided pan on the stove over medium heat.
  • Add in just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Use whatever oil you like, but if you don’t know what you like use canola. It doesn’t add its own flavor to the popcorn. I use a butter-flavored oil specific for popcorn popping.
  • Put 3 popcorn kernels in the pan and put the lid on.
  • Wait for the 3 kernels to pop.
  • Once they have popped you can remove them at eat them. Also remove the pan from the heat and add in the rest of your kernels. Only add in so many that they are still in a single layer at the bottom of the pan. *If you overload your pan, you’ll end up with a lot of unpopped kernels.
  • Put the lid back on. Wait 30 seconds and put pan back over heat. Shake it around a little.
  • Shake a few more times after popcorn starts popping.
  • Once the popping slows down- like a lot- like almost stopped, it’s done.
  • Season with salt, garlic salt, chili powder… whatever you like!

Foodie Friday: October Menu

I have to admit, I am ready for September to be gone! I am ready for cooler weather. I am ready to wear boots. I am ready to eat warm, hearty soups. And chili. And winter squash. I love Fall and everything that goes with it! I am ready for bright orange and red and yellow leaves on my neighbor’s Bradford pear trees. I am ready to carve pumpkins and take Halloween pictures of my dear little girls. I am ready to turn 33. I am ready. Bring on October!

And bring on my scrumptious October menu! I am so excited to eat all of these delicious dinners…. You can find recipes on my October 2016 Menu Pinterest Board, but a lot of it you’ll already have an idea of how you want to make it, that is if you actually use any of my ideas. I don’t really know if you do. I just imagine that my 12 faithful readers are excitedly printing off these monthy menus and following them to a T! Ha!

Well, here it is, ladies and gentlemen. Enjoy!


And the handy PDF version: oct-16-menu

After School Blahs

I don’t know about you, but when my kids get home in the afternoon (one after a day of kindergarten, the other after a day at daycare) they are hungry and cranky. I know that the kindergartner has had 2 snacks since lunch and the toddler had a snack about 15 minutes before she got picked up, they are staaaaaarving. And asking the question “How was school?” has reduced my 5 year old to tears on more than one occasion.

I read yesterday that this is caused by all of the mental and emotional energy spend “acting right” all day at school and daycare. Maybe that’s right. I’m not completely sure, but it makes sense. Whether this is correct or  not, kids are tired and hungry in the afternoon, and simple questions or requests can send them over the edge! The article I read on the subject suggested these tactics for dealing with the after school blahs:

  1. Set out food for the kids to find when they get home. Don’t ask them if they are hungry, just assume they are. Set out something healthy that won’t ruin their appetite for dinner like grapes, carrot sticks, or a few crackers with cheese. One of my professors told me that when her son was small, the daycare he went to offered a small cup of chicken noodle soup for an extra $1 or so at 4:00 pm to help kids with this afternoon problem.
  2. Just sit quietly in the car. Greet your children at pick up with a smile and a hug and that’s it. Don’t ask them questions right away. Let them decompress and think alone. They’ll open up later- maybe during family dinner.
  3. Allow them time to themselves in their rooms.

Pretty simple. I tried this yesterday, but it was not perfect because like every other “normal” American family, we had somewhere to be at 6:30. I offered food right away and gave big hugs, but we had to quickly get changed for the 4-H Banquet. It’s hard on kids to rush around like that, but sometimes it can’t be helped.

I will add my own last advice: Forgive yourself for not being perfect. Try these things. See how they work. And let yourself off the hook if you have to rush everyone off to an event of some kind.

QuickTip Tuesday: Make Your Home Smell Like Fall

I love Fall! I love everything about it. Cool weather. Jackets and sweaters. Boots. Coffee. Cinnamon. Pumpkin Pie- like real pie, not pumpkin pie flavored other stuff. Football. Leaves… You get the drift.

I love the smells of fall too, but it’s still pretty warm here in Oklahoma and it still smells like hot old summer. To make the house smell like it’s crisp and cool outside, fill a pot halfway with water and put it on the stove. Throw in some cinnamon sticks, orange peel, cloves and bay leaves. Put it on low heat and let it simmer away! It’s fall- even if only on the calendar and in my heart!

Foodie Friday: Southern Salad

Photo of KD's - Oklahoma City, OK, United States. Southern fried chicken salad.

I have mentioned this salad several times on my blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever done an actual recipe post for it. I had it as a side salad at a well-known restaurant that recently went out of business in OKC. It didn’t go out because it wasn’t a popular place to eat, but because it’s owner and namesake left the state- for *ahem* California.

I don’t actually have a “recipe,” but I can tell you how I build my southern salad:

I start with a handful of greens in a bowl. I like romaine, but you could use a mix if you like. Next, I throw in very thinly sliced red onion and very thinly sliced red bell pepper. I cut cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise and toss them into the bowl. I also add in some goat cheese crumbles- just a little. Lastly, top it all off with cornbread croutons. I like to toss mine in blue cheese dressing, but you could use whatever dressing you like.

Please don’t leave out the onion. The onion makes it. You’ll thank me!

**The picture above was taken from It’s this salad with fried chicken on top.