Nov 16, 2017

Instant Pot Creamy Tomato Soup (with slow cooker instructions)


Tomato soup is almost always a crowd favorite. Making homemade tomato soup in the past has been a challenge, producing less than delicious results. I had made this ONE with grilled cheese croutons which I liked, but my kids still preferred the can version. So I had given up of finding something to replace the quintessential tomato soup from the can. You know the soup. The kind we all loved as children, and still secretly love as adults.

A few weeks ago I got the hankerin' not for chili as the typed accent would allude, but for homemade tomato soup. I was a little cautious about trying to make some because of the aforementioned soup disasters.

After some searching, and a little self pep-talking, I found a recipe that I thought would be successful. This recipe called for roasting tomatoes instead of using the canned ones. I thought that was a good start since all the previous recipes I have tried used the canned ones.


I had posted on Instagram about the smell of the roasting tomatoes and garlic. Gosh it was ever so delightful. From that smell alone I was hopeful. Roasting the tomatoes and garlic is the "hardest" part and really it was nothing.

The soup came together easily and I only made a few alterations from the original recipe.

The use of an immersion blender (best thing ever) made this soup so smooth. In our house, it is normal for us to top our tomato soup with a little bit of sour cream. The fancy swirly depicted was just for you, normally we just drop a large dollop smack in the middle.

Another tomato soup staple...well the grilled cheese sandwich of course.


A few months ago we had these amazing grilled cheese sandwiches at our local farmer's market. They were DIVINE. In fact, they were so divine that we followed them up to another farmer's market a few hours away. Kidding. We were already planning on being there and they just happened to be there too. We like to think it was divine intervention. Anyway. I noticed something about how they made there sandwiches. They grilled the bread and cheese separate at first. Big piles of ooey gooey cheese melted all by itself and then was added to the grilled bread before letting it cook a little more.

It. Was. Divine.

So I tried it. It was life-changing and I will probably only be making them this way from now on. But this post isn't about grilled cheese sandwiches. I digress.

You should give this soup a go. Seriously. If you don't have an Instant Pot, no worries you can make it in a crock pot too. I will put those directions too.

Happy tomato soup eating!


Okay guys, so let me explain this recipe "card" situation. Bear with me for just a bit longer. I have made these recipe print offs. I admittedly do this the hard way. There are not recipe widgets in blogger (yes I know I should switch to wordpress, but since I am not sure how much I am going to blog again I don't want to switch). Because of this I have to create my own recipe template. I had one I was using, but I wanted to switch it up so I created this layout using PicMonkey of course. The image is going to be in the post and then there will be a print option. For short recipes, there will be one page. For longer ones, two.

I know it isn't as fancy as a widget, but I think it will work nonetheless for either printing or screen shotting (since that is what a lot of us do anyway).

Thanks guys!


PRINT HERE


Apr 12, 2017

Simple Lego Star Wars Party


This is a super fun and simple Lego Star Wars birthday party. Simple decoration and simple colors tie it all together.

I found these amazing Lego Star Wars prints from Pixelated Plus. They went with the color scheme I was using. I started with black and white and added light saber red, blue, and green.


I went really simple for this party.


Besides the posters the biggest wow factor was this giant number eight balloon. I love that you can buy fun number and letter balloons now.


We didn't have a lot of party guests, so I was able to make each guest an "I am with the resistance" tee. I made them in the red, blue, and green. I also found bubble wands in the right colors and turned them into light sabers.


Each place setting had a coordinating color plate too.



The food was one of the most fun parts of this party. There is all sort of inspiration for Star Wars party food out there. I used some of those ideas and I came up with some of my own. I also made my own tags using PicMonkey.



My boys' favorite idea were these Obi Wan Ka-Wiwis (Kiwis). I may or may not have giggled for quite a bit after I came up with it.


Everything else was pretty basic. Hutt Dogs.


Jello Carbonite.



Luke, I am your WATER.


This juice was pretty hilarious too.


Rock Candy made perfect light sabers.



My favorite treat were probably these Death Star cupcakes. They are simple chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting. The Death Stars are Oreos dipped in melting chocolate and piped with royal icing. I LOVED how they turned out.


The party games consisted of light saber tag using these pool noodle light sabers. We also built paper droids. Then we battled a pinata Darth Vader with a large dowel painted like a light saber.


We gave these buckets filled with treats for our thank yous. I had originally planned to cut out storm trooper faces from vinyl and put them on the buckets, but homegirl ran into a snag with my Silhouette and I didn't have time to fix it. Whatcha gonna do. Like Elsa, you are going to let it go.



This was my second party in three days. I was so glad when it was over. So grateful The Hubs puts up with my party planning ways. I enjoy it so much and I love the creative outlet throwing parties allows me to have.



My boys are getting older and I am throwing less and less birthday parties, so I am really happy when I do get to throw a party.

Where I got my party supplies:

Star Wars Lego posters-- Pixelated Plus
banners-- Michaels
paper products, balloons, cupcake wrappers, candy-- Zurchers Party Store
wrapping paper table runner-- Hobby Lobby

Apr 11, 2017

Modern Lion Guard Party


When your littlest loves the Lion Guard and wants a party with that theme but you the adult aren't feeling it, you opt for a modern take on it and throw a Modern Lion Guard birthday party. The party centered around safari animals and modern black and white with a pop of jungle green.


I almost always having a concept or a specific item that is the jumping off point for the whole party. For this party it was this insanely awesome lion print from The Crown Prints. As soon as I saw it, all the other ideas came flooding into my party planning brain.


I downloaded the print and then printed it off as a poster. Then I bought two flat wooden dowels, painted them black and then glued them to the top and the bottom for that scroll look. You can't see it, but I also have a black felt hanger that I glued to the top.


There is an overwhelming amount of black and white. There was a lot of black spray paint used. Spray paint is one of my secret weapons for decorating a party. I like to have a table for the tablescape, which also has some of the treats. Often times I also choose to feed our guests lunch. For several reasons. My number one reason is that it takes up time. Can I get a hallelujah?! One less game I have to plan.

I serve lunch first so I have that table all set up and decorated in a coordinating fashion. I decorate with really simple things. Here it is simply a felt runner, coordinating paper products, paper leaves, and spray-painted plastic safari animals.






I am a nerd and I try to coordinate the treats and food with the party either in the theme, color, or both.



I attempted sugar cookies with royal icing for the first time in years. Thank heavens I wanted them simple because they actually look decent. I would have cursed and struggled if I had actually had to legitimately decorate them.


Balloons and garlands/streamers are an awesome, inexpensive way to decorate. I loved this zebra balloon so much. Could it fit any better with the black and white safari theme/

Another easy inexpensive way to decorate is using craft paper. There is a local party store here that sells craft paper by the yard. I use it for table cloths all the time! For this party I painted some tribal patterns. They are rough and imperfect, but I love it.

I just kept my eyes out for black and white candy or food, black and white containers (most I already had), and I added some spray painted pieces. Modern Lion Guard tablescape done.






The activities are where I incorporated more of the Lion Guard theme. We had Fuli (the cheetah) races, Kion (the lion) Lion Guard roar contests, we painted wall paintings on canvas like Rafiki, and we made Ono (the bird) eye spy jars.

For the jars, I painted small safari animals and jar lid and rings black. There were bowls full of small items that could fit into the jars. We filled the jars 1/3 the way with rice. They picked out a few items and put them into the jars. We added more rice and and more little toys. Then we topped with more rice. After we screwed on the lid that kids each had their own eye spy jar.




To say thank you for coming, I filled these small party boxes with goodies to remind them of the party.


Needless to say, I think this newly five year old boy enjoyed his party. I think it also goes with out saying that I enjoyed throwing this party for him.



Where I got my party supplies:

lion poster-- The Crown Prints
zebra balloon, streamers, paper goods, gumballs, 
black Sixlets, craft paper for leaves and tablecloth, tiny toys for eye spy jars-- Zurcher Party Stores
felt for runners, letters-- JoAnn Fabric
shirt--made by me using Expressions Vinyl and shirt from Walmart


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