Tag Archive | inspiration

Daily Discovery: Beautiful Pets from Operation Beautiful

Happy Monday everyone!

Last week, Operation Beautiful, a site dedicated to ending negative talk, had asked for pictures of dogs and a cute story about why they were special to us. I was hoping my entry wouldn’t be too late, since I took it Friday morning.

We had all three dogs at our apartment (my pug and both of my sisters’ dogs) and usually, taking pictures of my pug is fairly easy to do. Not that day. It took about twelve shots of all the dogs running back and forth, photobombing the camera, and thinking I had treats before I finally got a great shot and submitted it. Phew!

Anyway, I was excited to see, as I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed this morning, that Elsa, along with a few other absolutely adorable dogs, was featured on the Operation Beautiful Beautiful Pets post here. I highly suggest going over to the site if you haven’t already and check out the pets post, along with other posts.

I love Operation Beautiful and it’s mission, which you can check out here. And a huge thanks to Caitlin, who also blogs at Healthy Tipping Point for being such an inspiration.

I’ll leave you with the picture I shared, but I hope you go over to the site to check out the rest (you can click on the image and it will take you there):

Have a great day!

~Ashley

Small Kitchen Tales: Veggie One-Pot Soup

Today, I was feeling slightly under the weather, and it rained all day. What better time to make soup than on a day like that?

I decided to forego a recipe- I figured I could make a decent soup with a few ingredients in my favorite canned soups: carrots, celery, chicken, noodles.

Instead of chicken, I subbed in chickpeas, which add a really nice flavor to many dishes that call for chicken. I also used vegetable stock in place of chicken stock.

At the grocery store, I picked up 4 fresh carrots and a bunch of celery, and some egg noodles, along with a fresh rosemary baguette.

I came home, excited to begin my first not-with-a-recipe soup. I peeled and chopped the carrots, chopped the celery. Drained the chickpeas. And then placed everything in my Crockpot.

For seasoning, I added the basics: onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and a splash (I’d say about 1 1/2 tsp) of soy sauce.

Then I turned on the Crockpot and walked away.

What happened next?

When dinner made it’s arrival, I ended up choosing a more breakfast-like meal, my comfort food, even before soup, when I’m sick. But that doesn’t mean this soup is going to waste. I’m going to hopefully tackle making my own pie crust, to make a homemade pot pie.

Wish me luck? ;)

Rainy Day Veggie Soup

4 large carrots, washed, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, washed and chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups chickpeas, drained (if canned- I used canned)
1 tsp- 1 tbsp soy sauce (based on your own preference
1 pkg egg noodles
Various seasonings adjusted to taste:
salt
black pepper
red pepper
oregano
onion powder
garlic powder
cumin

1. Add all ingredients, except noodles*, to Crockpot.
2. Adjust time to cook for at least 4 hours, if not more.
3. Enjoy!

*I made the mistake of adding all the ingredients, including noodles, to the Crockpot at the beginning of its cooking time. I’d wait until at least the last hour to add them. Mine became, well, mush. I was quite embarrassed.

Other than the noodle mistake, one other change I’d make if I were crunched for time would be to sautee the carrots and celery for about five minutes in a pan over medium heat on the stove, with a touch of olive oil, prior to adding to the Crockpot. This would more than likely ensure softer, evenly cooked, vegetables.

Anyway, despite not having an actual serving of the dish, I did do several tastings and was very pleased with how it turned out. The rosemary baguette (which I must try to make homemade someday- but I really dislike making bread dough) rounded out the flavors of oregano and cumin in the soup. The filling itself was very thick- perfect to use in a filling for a pot pie.

What easy dinner/soup recipes have you created, sans recipe? I’d love to know!

**I always hate making mistakes in the kitchen. It makes me embarrassed, and frustrated. But a great thing to remember: like life, there’s going to be mistakes. Things can get messy, seem out of control. But eventually, with a little tweaking and even patience, it turns around.**

Happy Tuesday!

`Ashley

Charlie Challenge Day 1

Ever heard of You, Me and Charlie? Well, if not, it’s this website where you can share your creativity with others. It was started by Dianna Agron, who you have probably seen on Glee. I’m addicted to the site, and today, they started a 30-day challenge encouraging us to “commit to your creativity and follow the daily prompt that we post on the website.” The first challenge for today was to share our personal manifesto in whatever medium we felt to express it in.

I decided to simply write mine out.

Here’s mine: Laugh, love and live without fear. Be kind, and have empathy for others. Smile and be thankful, because every day, you can find something beautiful.

What would yours be?

To check out the challenge, here’s the link.

Happy May!

~Ashley

Beautiful You: Loving Yourself

This morning while I was scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook, I came across an article from hellogiggles.com. I’m a huge fan of their site- the content always brings a smile to my face. And on this beautiful Sunday, with the window open and the fresh scent of the trees outside wafting into my room, I read a piece about loving yourself. I wanted to share the introduction paragraph with you:

“It’s natural to want to be better. To want to improve something, fix your flaws, to challenge yourself to become a better you. As we do these things, it’s easy to raise our expectations to the point that we lose sight of our self-acceptance. When our ambition cancels out our self-love, it removes our enjoyment of life. For today, perhaps challenge yourself to recognize your efforts. Imagine that you are exactly who and where you ought to be. Be gentle with yourself today.

The entire piece is beautiful and inspiring, but the introduction spoke to me, making me realize how often a majority of my thoughts lend themselves to finding the improvements I need to make and the flaws that I have, losing sight of the magic of life around me.

To read the rest of the post here’s the link. It’s worth the few minutes to read, and then to reflect. I know now that by starting out my day reading this, I felt inspired to put a smile on my face and enjoy the day-not focusing quite so much on the mirror, my negative thoughts, or what I feel I “should be doing.” Today, I was able to relax, and take in life around me.

I hope you find the piece as inspiring as I did, and a huge thank you goes out to its author, Sarah.

Have a wonderful rest of the weekend!

Ashley

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like…

Monday.

A new week, at your fingertips. In only a couple of hours.

How can you make your week spectacular?

You could:

- Read a good book
– Make one new recipe, any day this week
– Laugh wholeheartedly
– Watch your favorite movie
– sing a holiday tune

To name a few.

Here’s a few things from across the internet that are making me smile right now :

I’m currently in love with these apple pie chips from Oh She Glows.

This Nutella baked oatmeal from Girl Meets Life, which I made on Saturday. So good.

And of course, Pinterest! I’m seriously obsessed with it.

Here’s to a new week- let’s make it one worth smiling about :)

Ashley