Off To Paradise!

As I write this, I am sitting in the passenger seat of my Jeep while my husband drives and my mother, son, and her husband are in the back seat. 

To most that wouldn't sound like fun, but for me it means that were finally on our way to the Dominican! Ahh yes, escaping our harsh cold Maine winter to lay on the beach and drink free booze for eight days. 

This past week has been an adventure of its own though. First, I find that my furbaby has kidney issues. I have been giving her antibiotics and running a subcutaneous line twice a day of ringers lactate to hydrate her. 


It's been hard knowing that we are leaving her and she is in pain. Hopefully she will hang tough until we get back then we will address what is going on. Poor Sadie. 


On a lighter note, our house is coming along quickly! We met with the builder, electrician, plumber, and GC to finalize the location of my soaking tub and all the outlets. And as we did our last drive-by on the way out of town we saw that they started siding today!


My kitchen!

Our beautiful house!

And lastly, we had to pack for this amazing trip. I have always been a carry-on gal. I did two trips to Europe, in the winter (think big jackets and boots) for 12 days with ONLY a carry on! 

Since having a child, that has all changed! We still managed to only bring one suitcase between the three of us, but we also had to bring the pack-n-play as the hotel could not guarantee a crib since its peak season, his car seat, and a ton of diapers. Good thing we brought along our built in babysitters (mom and her husband) to help us shlep our crap across the airport. 

All that fits into this.....


So here we are, flying down I-295 towards Boston. My husband annoyed since I'm blogging and not spending quality family time, my son trying to nap but Grandma is smothering him with kisses, and me just wanting the margarita I was promised when we arrive at our hotel in Boston. Then tomorrow we leave at 6am for paradise!

Oh and it's our 3 year anniversary tomorrow! Not a bad way to celebrate huh? :)

Hearty & Healthy Chicken Noodle Soup

Yesterday was a balmy 30 degrees with the wind, up in this wonderfully white freezing state of Maine. Thankfully I got to snuggle inside with Bub's in our pjs all day. But my poor husband was working outside all day. I have been craving a hot brothy soup lately, but I will admit I had never made one! Crazy, huh? 

After a text to my mom and a bribe to bring me some chicken, since I was all out, I started to throw together this delicious soup! Not only was it delicious, it was easy and healthy. And it was a crowd pleaser! Bub's even asked for 8-9 servings of carrots! 

Hearty & Healthy Chicken Noodle Soup


Ingredients:
1 chicken breast (I cooked two and froze the other one for a soup later on)
1 Lbs package Egg Noodles (more if you like really noodly soup)
64oz chicken broth (two cardboard boxes)
Chicken stock (from cooking of the chicken)
4 large carrots
4 large celery stalks
1 onion
2 large garlic cloves
Poultry Seasoning
Salt/Pepper
2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Evoo)
Any additional seasonings you'd like

Directions:
Season the chicken very well and cook. I cooked mine on high in the crockpot for about 3 hours. You can boil it or roast it too.

Once cooked, shred and set aside. 

Pour the leftover juice (stock) through a strainer and set aside. You will use this in the soup.

Chop carrots and celery. About 1/4" thick. 

Chop onion and mince garlic

On high in a large pot add Evoo, garlic, carrots, and celery. Sauté until the onions are translucent (about 5-7 minutes)

Add chicken stock, chicken broth, and chicken

Bring heat down to medium for about 20 minutes - stirring every so often. 

Taste - if you need more seasoning or salt/pepper now is the time to add it

Simmer soup for another hour.

Add uncooked noodles to the soup and let it simmer for about 10 minutes / until tender.

Serve with my Easy Hand-Kneaded French Baguette and wine!


21 Day Fix
One cup
1Y
1R
1/2G
1tbs

Easy Hand-Kneaded French Baguette's

Who doesn't love bread? I know I do. I love a nice crusty french baguette with just about every meal! But I hated when I would go to make dinner and I would have to pack my toddler up and run to the store to get some! So I figured I would start making my own. 

Only problem is, most recipes I came across said you needed a fancy-shmacy KitchenAid mixer, which I do not have. All I have are my hands. So I was stumped. I tried a few different recipes and finally decided to take small variations of four of them and make my own hand-kneaded bread :)
Don't be intimidated by the amount of instructions. I purposely wrote out each step in a very detailed manner since when I started making bread I felt like they assumed I knew certain steps. 
Ingredients:
1 1/2 tbs dry active yeast (or 2 envelopes)
3 tbs honey
3 1/2 to 4 cups all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup warm water (will be divided)
Olive Oil, for greasing the bowl

Mixing Directions:
Combine yeast and honey in 1/2 cup warm water. Mix together well and let sit for 5 minutes. It will become foamy

In a large bowl, use olive oil to coat the entire bowl - set aside

In a separate bowl mix flour and salt and gradually mix in the yeast mixture. 

While stirring, after yeast mixture is added, add the additional 1 cup of warm water slowly. Stir until all ingredients are combined

At this point, dump all the contents of the bowl on to a clean surface. There will be a lot of the mixture that isn't combined yet, and that's okay!

Knead all ingredients together with your hands. Continue to add back in the dry ingredients that will fall to the side. At this point you may think that you did something wrong because it looks clumpy and dry, but keep kneading!

Knead for about 5-7 minutes. If the dough does look too dry, dampen your hands while kneading. Don't add water directly to the dough at this point. Usually just getting your hands damp will do the trick. 

Rising & Forming Directions:
Once the dough is kneaded and when a knuckle is pushed into it, it bounces back, place in the well greased bowl with a towel covering it

Let the dough rise for 1 hour. Every 10-15 minutes take the dough out and knead 1 to 2 times

Once the dough has doubled in size, preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Take the dough and split it into either half or thirds (depending on how big you want your loaves)

Roll the loaves out and place them on a flour dusted baking sheet

Cut slits on the top of the bread to let it expand

Cooking Directions:
Place dough in oven at 425 for 10 - this will give it a nice crusty texture on the outside

Once the 10 minutes are up turn the oven down to 375 degrees for 20 minutes

Remove and place on a cooling rack. 

Enjoy!

***This freezes really well if you wrap in saran wrap then covered in tin foil***




21 Day Fix 
Using whole wheat flour:
1/8 of a loaf = 1Y



Healthy Kale Chips

I'm sure a lot of you have heard about these kale chips and how wonderful they are. I was very skeptical. Seriously, how could a baked greeeennn veggie be any comparison to a potato chip? I figured it was a ploy from mom's around the world to trick their kids into eating their veggies by telling them they are chips. My mom did that once with tofu. She breaded it and told us it was chicken fingers. We were forever scarred. 

But I figured, what the heck. I'm trying to eat clean, get rid of all the junk, and find new alternatives. Kale is cheap enough that if I made it, hated it, I could throw it out and go back to munching on my 'tato chips late at night. 

Let me tell you though, I made these kale chips, and they are outstanding!! As I type this I am munching on the exact bowl of chips you see in the photo down below :)

***Disclaimer***
When you go to cook these be warned that it will stink up your house. They do not smell good while being cooked but have relatively no scent once they're finished. But if you're trying to get your husband or child to eat them, don't let them be around when you cook them since they will be repulsed immediately by the stench.



Ingredients:
1 Bag 'O Kale / This recipe uses about 6 cups and bakes down to about 3
1 Tsp Olive Oil
1 Tsp Seasoning 
(I used sea salt)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 275 degrees

Rinse off the kale and set on a paper towel to pat dry

Tear into bite sized pieces. They will shrink about half the size when cooking so take that into account

Rip off and discard the thick stem. They are bitter when you cook them and will taste nasty. So just chuck them

Place kale in either a plastic bag or a bowl

Add olive oil and seasoning. 

Shake bag/mix in bowl

Spread evenly on a baking sheet

Cook in oven for 45 minutes - turning halfway through

Enjoy!


***Do not add too much seasoning. I ruined my first batch thinking I could just dump a bunch of salt and call it good. I had to throw it out. When I say a TSP of seasoning I truly mean it!***


21 Day Fix
Portion = 1G
1G
That's all! 
There is about 1/3 tsb of evoo/seasoning in one portion - so I did not count



New Year | New Domain



Hello, 2015. 

Didn't you sneak up fast. Since it's a new year aren't we supposed to be starting our "resolutions" today? Well if you read my post yesterday, I'm not really about them. Most will be getting up this morning with a major champagne hangover and dreading having made the resolution to hit the gym. I hate to be the Debbie Downer, but most will fail within the first week. Some will hang on through January then fail. Such a waste. That's why I started my life change about a month ago. I started eating clean, working out, and just having a better outlook on life. I feel ahhhhamzing! Oh and not hungover.

However, there is one big change around my little sliver of the internet starting today: my new domain name! I am no long .blogspot anymore. I regained my independence that I lost back in April when I forgot to renew my domain. NetworkSolutions didn't want to give me back my old name, but that's okay. A new year and a new name sounds good! So here it is folk ...

thesimplyanchoredblog.com

Yeah, it's not that much different then the one I had a few months back, but it's mine. Mine all mine! By adding "THE" it gave it ownership. It's not one out of a million but it is the Simply Anchored Blog, and I'm proud of that!

I did, though, sign up for a 2 year contract so I don't even have to think about it for 2 years. Not a bad deal, since I can be forgetful. 

I hope everyone is reading this while running on the treadmill and working hard on working out. I am off to check out the progression of our new house!