Sep 14, 2014

Garden Vegetable Soup Recipe

It's that time during the weekend where I sit down and organize a menu plan for the coming week. (Remember when I use to post them?) I've been spending my Mondays cooking all day to give myself a head start to busy school nights. Really, I'm just preparing a few things for breakfasts, lunches and prepping dinners. It makes for less stress in the kitchen during the week! 

 I'm a big soup person and an even bigger fresh vegetable person, so summer time veggie season is what I wait for all year. Even though it's hot outside (like 100+) I'll still have soup almost everyday for lunch and this recipe makes a lot of soup ~ like 14 - 1 cup servings.(I have share with Peter :)) 

Garden Vegetable Soup  

1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced 
1 zucchini, diced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced 
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 pkg. mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 cup roasted corn or about 1/2 a can of can
1 can Great Northern beans, rinsed
1 can Kidney beans, rinsed
1 can roasted diced rosemary & oregano tomatoes, juice reserved 
1 cup cooked barley
2 32oz containers Vegetable Broth 
1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning 
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. rosemary
1/4 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. dried parsley 
salt & pepper (optional) 


1. In a large stock pot, drizzle a little olive oil into pot and add onion, celery and mushrooms. On medium-low heat, stir vegetables until they soften, about 4 or 5 minutes. You don't want the veggies to brown, just soften a little. 

2. add the zucchini, carrots, corn, tomatoes and juice, beans, vegetable broth and all the spices (basically everything, except for the barley, peas and green beans) 

3. bring soup to a very gentle simmer, and stir every 5 to 10 minutes or so. Let cook for about 25 minutes

4. When the vegetables are cooked through, add the cooked barley, peas and green beans and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.  

You can always add more or less spices if you like or substitute chicken broth for veggie broth, or even add in some shredded cooked turkey/chicken. This is such an simple soup recipe and it's easy to adapt it to your own tastes! I haven't tried yet to freeze any portion of it, honestly we always end up eating it all throughout the week so there's never been a reason to freeze any. I assume it will freeze well, but I can't be positive. 

Now time to get back to that menu plan! xo~ Tara 

Sep 2, 2014

back to school: Gossamer Blue

 Hello there again! and pardon me while I dust the cobwebs from this place - it's been a while since I've visited. 

After taking a bit of a break from the scrapbooking world, I've joined the design team over at Gossamer Blue as a project designer. I've made a few new personal goals for this year and finishing an album for a certain little boy is high priority on that list! Aside from that, it feels really good to be creative and taking photos again. I've always enjoyed it, but sometimes I think taking a break from things that weigh you down can be a positive as it forces you to find new things that make you happy! 

My very first post on the Gossamer Blue blog went up yesterday (you can read a little about each project over there) think school supplies and makeovers. I was actually a little nervous when I first saw it in the am,... I guess it really has been some time since I've been designing.

I have a whole day of fun stuff planned, the gym, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning up that mess of a craft room I call home :) so, I will leave you all with just the photos of my latest projects. Enjoy your day! ~ T

Feb 15, 2014

afternoon set-up

Yesterday, instead of the day being filled with candy and flowers, I was surrounded with lots of vintage/home decor stuff as I set up an outdoor photo shoot. I have about a week of work left, and this coming week will be all about moving/sorting/and selling. I'm planning an outdoor estate sale for next weekend. (Easy to do when the temps are nearing 90 already!) 

I didn't realize this until just this week but you can advertise estate/yard sales on Craigslist and Facebook as well as Garage Sale Gal. We would need some photos though to advertise along with a description of what we were selling. (anything and everything!) So I came up with this idea to create a little country-road-side market photo shoot with some of the things that would be included in the actual yard sale next week. I spent my evenings sketching out the set-up idea as well as scribbling down notes as to what I wanted to include in my photos. 

I love staging photos. I really like creating photos where there is almost too much stuff in the photo and your eye has to wander to really take everything in. Photos that are 'visually interesting.' Two hours later I had the scene set and the lighting was just right for an afternoon photo shoot! 

Not only will there be an enormous amount of scrapbooking stuff at this yard sale I'm also working on creating a virtual scrapbook yard sale.... like a studio-spring cleaning sale. I just need to work out the details of where to put everything (etsy vs. blog)  and get all of the photos ready! 

and looked who came out to help me yesterday. My little buddy Chase, he found a fruit picker in the yard last week and now every time he tags along he'll pick all of his own fruit. I have 2 baskets of evidence right now on my kitchen counter. :) 

Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentines Day and a very Happy Saturday to you all! 

xo ~ tara

Feb 4, 2014

Goodbye January, hello work

Hi everyone! I've been around, promise. I know it's been forever but we made it through the holidays and then the clean up took place, and it seemed like every time I had a spare minute to post or create something I found myself buying more and more piano music (and then spending hours practicing) and borrowing more and more books from the library to read! :) 

and then I took on a job that I had heard Peter talk about for the past few months. I didn't realize what exactly the job would entail, I had a good general idea, but nothing really prepares you for when you have to organize the physical contents of another persons life.

When my grandparents passed away 3 years, I took on the job of cleaning out their home along with my mom. That was my first summer going up to the Oregon house with the kids in tow. It was beyond what words can describe as stressful, physically draining and challenging and sad. I've never worked harder in my life than I did that summer. I think I cried every night because of the amount of work that still needed to be done and because no matter how many hours I worked a day, (16+) it never actually looked like any real progress had been made. If you've had to clean out someones home, you likely know what I talking about.

There are 2 things that I crave, that I must have in order to feel grounded and balanced; 1. a clean house and 2. a quiet home. 

I can't physically function if my surroundings are out of place. It makes me nervous and when I get nervous I get grumpy.  Sometimes I want to start sewing or creating something and I'll look around and think I need to sweep or mop just one more time today before I can be creative. It may be an obsessive behavior on some levels, but I need things to be clean in order for me to think clearly. Messes make me anxious. 

So, when Peter would come home and talk about a client of his having the massive job of needing to clear out her mom's home, I immediately felt that anxious feeling I did 3 summer's before, thinking about how big of a job that really is. I volunteered myself to help. I know how overwhelming it is, and how you look around and you don't even know where to start, that there is just so much to do. 

Tara to the rescue. 

I've boxed up too many boxes to count, lifted and stacked boxes until I thought my arms would fall off, sorted through stacks of papers, gathered and grouped collections of scrapbooking supplies, giraffes and candles, I've sold some things and listed a lot of things, I've found journals that were written a decade ago and pictures that were taken 50 years ago. It's rewarding to see progress everyday and to know that I'm trying to find a good home for the things that this woman loved enough in her lifetime to keep. It's not just cleaning, but rather, it's organizing a persons whole life. 

I'll be honest though, I come home tired, dusty and worn out. I have another 3 good weeks of work ahead of me before the moving truck is scheduled to pick up what's left. So, until I'm done working this place here will continue to be pretty quiet. 

I have been taking photos though! I've been posting them on both Flickr and Facebook so if we're friends you've likely already seen them! I've sort of decided to make it a point and try to take more people photos. (I'll admit I don't really like taking photos of people.) The kids and I went out last week to practice at a shopping center close to home here, in the good warm lighting right before the sun sets out in the desert.   

I have this super cute *at least in my head it is* idea for another Valentines theme photo shoot, I just need to build the set for it..... when I have time and the energy to do so. I so want to get some more photos in this week, it's my only creative release at the moment. 

Thanks for all the encouraging messages I've received, hopefully I've answered you back if you've sent an email to me! If not, fear not, I promise I'm not ignoring you on purpose! Another few weeks and my happy little schedule will be back to normal once again. 

I can do it!
xo ~ tara 

Dec 13, 2013

diy ideas: holly leaves & gift wrapping

Here's a quick idea for gift wrapping, especially if you made one of the previous projects using the cut-out holly leaves and you happen to have a few extra leaves left-over! 

When it comes to gift wrapping, I love layering! It's my secret weapon to making my gifts look presentable. I'll layer, ribbons, bows, leaves or flowers, gift tags and everything gets clipped together with a little clothespin. 

To make the sewn holly leaves, I cut out 2 different sizes to use, one small and one large. Sew 2 leaves together and look for little pieces of trim, fabric or ribbon to use for the middle of the leaf. Once you have a few leaves sewn, gather materials to layer together and a gift that needs some embellishing! (I think these holly leaves would be really pretty if you used vintage sheet music - I may try that today!)

I have a to-do list a mile long today! It may be a tad overly ambitious for a single days work, but I'm going for it - and, with a little luck, I'll hopefully have a new tutorial and giveaway to post this weekend. 

Happy Friday to all!  xo ~ tara