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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Slow Cooker Creamy Tortellini, Spinach and Chicken Soup

Guys, I have such a treat for you today! I have my food contributor Kellee here doing a guest post! It's been a while (since I took last year off) and I'm so excited she's back! She has a delicious looking recipe for you to try out...and in the crock pot no less! Easy and delicious!

Hello friends!
My name is Kellee and my BFF Kathryn has invited me to share a food post today and you all are in fo a treat yo!
On Sunday I made this soup.  Let us all take a moment of silence in gratitude for the mad scientist chef from 365 Days of Slow Cooking who created this master piece. 
Okay, enough silence.  Let's get chattin' about this recipe!
I am always nervous and excited to try a new recipe.  Will it join the binder with the other holy grail recipes I have discovered or will it be thrown in the recycling bin with me pouting bitterly around the house because I spent $15 on a recipe that "didn't turn out good"? 
I am so happy this turned out wonderful! If you love pasta and tomato soup then you and this recipe are a match made in heaven.
Enjoy and happy cooking, chefs!
Slow Cooker Recipe for Creamy Tortellini, Spinach and Chicken Soup
Recipe slightly adapted from 365 Days of Slow Cooking
Makes 6-8 servings
1 yellow onion, diced
1/3 c. flour
1 Tbsp dried basil
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used about 2 tsp of the jarred stuff and it was yum)
2-3 Tbsp tomato paste (depending on how much of a tomato flavor your heart desires)
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 c. chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
1-2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 c. frozen cheese tortellini
3 c. packed spinach (next time I would DEFINITELY chop up the spinach.  It was hard to eat whole.)
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 c. heavy cream or half and half
In microwave safe bowl add onions, flour, basil, garlic, and tomato paste.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Microwave 4 1/2 minutes, stirring every 90 seconds.  The mixture may look a little lumpy and weird.  That's what we want! Add this to the slow cooker.
Add broth, tomatoes, chicken, salt and pepper to slow cooker.  Stir.  Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours or on high 3-4 hours (or until chicken is fully cooked and tender).
Add tortellini, spinach, parmesan cheese and warmed cream (I microwaved my half and half for 50 seconds or so.  If you don't warm before you add this in it could curdle!). 
Take chicken out and shred (I shred my chicken using a hand mixer.  It's AWESOME!!! You get it finally shredded and takes all of 10 seconds to do).  Add chicken back into the slow cooker.  Cook on high another 10-15 minutes or until the tortellini are fully cooked.  
Ladle into bowls.  You will need to definitely salt and pepper your own individual servings as it is a little bland without it.  This also may have been caused because I used the low sodium chicken broth.  But once you add the salt and pepper? BAM! Makes all the difference.  We served ours with extra shredded parmesan cheese which was delicious.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Teacher Valentine's Gift

My oldest kid is in kindergarten so I'm new to the whole teacher-parent relationship. I gave his teacher & the teacher's assistant a Christmas gift so I thought why not get them a Valentine's gift? Nothing big or crazy but I think showing them sometimes that you appreciate them is a nice gesture. 

I was at Target the other day and came across these adorable vintage-looking milk glasses. I also grabbed some chalkboard paint while I was there and hatched my plan for these teacher gifts. These don't require a lot of effort or a lot of time, really. I think they turned out really cute and I'll show you how I made them!

First, I taped off a section of the bottles to paint. 

According to the directions, you're supposed to apply a coat, then wait an hour and apply another coat. Then you're supposed to let the paint cure for 24 hours. Then you're supposed to cover the chalkboard part in chalk to prep it, wipe it down, and you're good to go!

Also, you can buy chalkboard pens at any craft store and I grabbed some while at Target. I realized, however, that the pens I bought were permanent. I had never heard of permanent chalkboard pens! So if you do this craft, look for non-permanent pens, in case of mistakes.

Fill up the jars with yummy candy and decorate with any other embellishments and you're good to go! These would make cute gifts for anyone, they don't have to be just for teachers. 

Happy crafting!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Saving and Spending Jars for Kids

Have you heard of Dave Ramsey? He's basically a Christian financial guru. He has this program called Financial Peace University. You learn how to manage money, pay off debts, save, buy a house, etc., in his program and I'm currently enrolled. It's amazing! 

During the second lesson he talked about the importance of teaching your kids about money. Because really kids learn by example for everything. They just need good examples to follow. He suggests making money jars for your kids that are see-through so that the kids can see their money accumulating/leaving. 

He recommends having 3 jars: Saving, Spending, and Giving. I opted not to do a giving jar though because I don't want that money sitting around--it goes straight to our church as a donation. Now my kids can see the money they are saving and the money they have to spend!

I made the labels with PicMonkey and then used my handy dandy Create-A-Sticker to make them adhere. I LOVE this little machine, except it's not a machine because there is NO plug. Seriously, love it.

Then I made a Savings and a Spending jar for each of my older kids. Maybe by the time they're 10 they'll have saved up enough for college! HA! A girl can dream.

Now my next project will be a chore chart so they can start earning the money they put in their jars. Excuse me while I go peruse Pinterest...

Happy crafting and saving!