Health, Love & Fire: October 2013

Fall Friend Traditions - Guest Post

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I'm really excited to introduce you to Renee. I love following her blog and hearing about anything from her running adventures, to her fun adventures with friends and her sweet boyfriend. This girl is super sweet & I am so glad I have found her little piece of the blog world!! Take it away Renee :) 


A huge thank you to Libby for letting me take over her blog for the day! :) 

I'm Renee and I blog over at Gettin Fit Fab! I am twenty-something that is living up her life in Long Island, New York. I am in love with my boyfriend Anthony, sports fanatic, and am 100% addicted to running. I am currently in training for a 10 Miler that is January 19 2014. On my blog it's all random all the time, I blog everything from, my day to day life, my love life, crazy happenings, my weight loss, running schedule, and anything that comes to mind. I am a little crazy but definitely lovable, I love my friends and my readers; I hope you come check out my blog and stay a while♥

Today I'll be telling and showing you through pictures a fall tradition that my family and friends do each year. It's for my cousin Pam's Birthday and it being in October we always do something Fall related. But it always ends with a Haunted Corn Maze! 

We usually start the day with cocktail hour at my cousins house, with some finger foods and some drinks. 


Low and behold cocktail hour at 1pm :) I am in the gray shirt cheesing real hard. 


After waiting for everyone to arrive we got into our cars and made the one hour trek out east (on Long Island, NY) to Harbes farm. We started out at 3pm with Wine Tasting and some pumpkin picking. 
We got lucky that both of those were in the same location and got to walk around with some wine and pick some pumpkins! 




Our group of crazies :) 

My self (I am the one holding the mini pumpkin) and Pam with one of my little baby pumpkins. 


We were at the wine bar and snapped some shots. 

It was actually amazing pricing, 3 for $10 | 4 for $12 | 5 for $15. 
This was most of our first wine tasting so it was definitely an experience to be had. 
It was a nice day and we got to sit at a table out side and relax and be as sophisticated as possible... which was basically non existent. 

After Wine Tasting and Pumpkin picking we hit up a Pizza parlor and snacked some before beginning the 5 minute track back to the Haunted Corn Maze.


7pm we arrived, ate some candy (YUP that happened), put on some glow bracelets, pre-gamed with some beers, ate some cookies, than got all of our flash lights and made our way to the main building.


You always need 'proof' ;) of how many people you go into the corn maze with. Even though we were already missing 4 people, they 'snuck' into the corn maze and were waiting in the corn to scare all of us. 


Going through the maze, we were about 20 mins away from finding the end of the maze. 


The last bridge which basically helped us get away from the zombie that was chasing behind us. Haha.


The 'end' picture, It's almost all of us, minus 2 people that left before the picture was taken. 


We always close down the night with Applebees, 2-Fers & Half off Apps can't beat that! We had about 24 of us sitting at a couple of tables just talking the night away. 

My fall tradition is definitely more on the adult side of things, but it is definitely a treat to have a middle of the day get away. All of us are either in school or work full time so it was nice to be adults but have fun doing 'childish' activities. 

Homemade Chicken Soup - Guest Post

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I'm really excited to introduce you to a new friend of mine in the blogging world named Hillary! I love her recipes and the projects and stories she shares and I definitely can't wait to try out this chicken soup recipe on a cold fall or winter day!! 

Hey Y’all!  My name is Hillary & you can find me over at A Whole Awful Lot, where I talk about the random  happenings in my life, share recipes, a few DIY’s, learning how to be a wife, and my journey towards becoming healthier! 



There are a lot of things that I am not good at, but cooking & baking is not one of them!  My MR. jokes that if I hadn’t known how to cook then he would have gotten me a cheaper engagement ring and signed me up for cooking classes.  Or at least I think He’s joking! 

I grew up eating “clean”, as is the new fad going around today.  Back then, it wasn’t a fad, it was just how my mom cooked & I didn’t know anything different.  Then I moved out on my own and discovered the world of processed foods.  I didn’t go hog-wild or anything, but I can’t say my diet was “clean” either.  Now, the more I research and learn about processed foods, and pay attention to how I feel after eating them, I’ve gone back to my roots for cooking.  Everything tastes better homemade, and it’s SO much better for you.  It might take a little more work, and a little more planning, but it ends up saving money and tastes so good!  Just take a look at the ingredient label on packages, and take the time to Google what the ingredients are, and then Google the healthiness of those ingredients.  Hopefully it will cause you to think twice before eating it!

Autumn is in full swing, and the weather is starting to get cooler here in Mississippi.  And that means that the cold and flu season is going to be full steam ahead!  In fact, it’s already been to visit my house!  My MR. came down with the flu last week, and so I whipped together a pot of chicken noodle soup.  SURE, it wasn’t as easy as opening a can of Campbell’s, but it sure tastes a lot better and is WAY healthier to eat!  It doesn’t really even take that long to put together!
Before I delve into my recipe for chicken noodle soup, there are a few things that you should know about me….

 I am not a measurer; I am a dumper & a thrower.   I’ll add a little of this and a little of that until I get the taste that I am going for.  It works for me!  I do my best when I am sharing recipes to get approximate amounts for you!  If you are a dumper & a thrower as well, please feel free to just use this as a guide!   

I believe in using salt.   I salt my veggies when I sauté them.  I salt my water when I cook just about everything.  Salting water for pasta & potatoes is a MUST!  If you salt while you are cooking, then you have to add less salt when you are eating!   Neither the Mr. & I have high blood pressure, so until one of us does then I’m going to continue salting my food!  Salt makes everything taste a lot better!  I do however use sea salt, so that’s a little better, right?  Here is an interesting read about how salt might not actually be all that bad for you!  Research it for yourself and decide! (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=its-time-to-end-the-war-on-salt&page=1)



Ingredients:
6-7 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade, Homemade Chicken Broth Recipe or more, depending on if you like soup more “brothy” or more “stewy”
3-4 cups cooked chicken, diced or shredded
1 bag egg noodles
1 can rotel
3-4 carrots, washed and sliced
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
1 Onion
2-3 Tbls Butter

Spices & Seasonings:
Minced Garlic
2-3 Bay Leaves
Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
Italian Seasoning
Salt
Pepper
A Touch of Cayenne Pepper
2-3 Tbls (or more to taste) Chicken Bouillon (I use this brand)

Directions:
1. Using a large sauce pan, melt the butter on medium heat.  Depending on how hot your stove top cooks, you’ll want to do this at a medium/high.  Add in garlic to taste (I use a lot, ¼ cup wouldn’t be exaggerating!  Garlic is really good to use during the cold/flu seasons!), onion, celery, & carrots.  Sauté the vegetables together until carrots have started to soften.   I added in a touch of sugar to help the carrots with their sweetness since mine were on the bitter side!



2. While the vegetables are sautéing, bring a pan of salted water to a boil and cook the bag of egg noodles.  I only cook mine to an al dente, or a little less done that that. They will get cooked more later in the soup!

3.   When the carrots have started to soften (they won’t be soft, but they won’t crunch when you bite into one either), add chicken broth, bay leaves (you will pick these out at the end!), fresh parsley, rotel (with juice) chicken & chicken bouillon to pan.  Stir everything together.  Turn heat to a lower high temperature and let everything simmer together.

(Fresh Parsley)

(Chopped Parsley)


(Chicken)
4. When the noodles have been cooked to al dente, drain them and add the noodles to the broth mixture. 


5. Continue to let everything simmer together until the egg noodles & carrots are soft!  During this time, don’t be afraid to taste the broth (careful, it’s hot!) and adjust your seasoning to your liking!  Maybe you would like some more garlic, maybe you would like to add more chicken bouillon!  It’s YOUR soup, make it how you like it!

6. Enjoy!



This soup is so delicious, and the homemade broth helps your body fight infection during the cold and flu season!  It also freezes really well, so if this makes more than you can eat, divide it up into freezer safe containers and freeze it for a later meal!

Please stop by my blog and let me know how your soup turned out!  If you have any questions just shoot me an e-mail, twitter, or facebook message and I’ll get you an answer!

Y’all have a wonderful day!

Halloween Costumes - The Old, The New, & The Memorable

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

In honor of halloween being in a couple days, I thought I would share with you some of the costumes Dan and I have had throughout the years. The very first time we hung out together was on Halloween of 2006. Needless to say, this time of year always brings back memories of when we were first together and of all the fun times we shared. 

We haven't always gotten dressed up and gone to a party, but we do try to go to a pumpkin patch and usually a haunted house each year. When we have gotten dressed up for a party, we've found it fun to go in a couple's costume. We've been tinkerbell & a pirate, a girl scout and boy scout (authentic costumes of course), and this year we went as Batman and Robin. We are both really crafty and love to make at least part of our costume. This year was no different . . . We made our own capes, belts, and my tutu. Growing up, my mom always made my halloween costumes, and I think that tradition is just engrained in me now. Its so much fun to have a unique outfit that no one else is going to show up to a party wearing. 

So without further a due, here's a montage of halloween photos! 


Growing up . . . some of the many costumes my brother and I dressed up in (thanks mom for posting this on Facebook haha) 
2009: A Girl Scout & Boy Scout
2010: Tinkerbell & a Pirate

2012: Sofia Grace & Rosie (my coworker & I) & A fireman (Cooper) 


This Year: Batman & Robin 



Hope everyone has a happy and safe halloween! 

Weekend Snapshots

Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy Monday! This week is sure to be crazy and full of fun....but because it is going to be so busy and my weekend was filled with so many blog worthy moments, I am going to fill this post with snapshots of my weekend. From making homemade apple cider, picking grapes for our own wine, finishing up our homemade halloween costumes, and buying over 20 yards of fabric . . I have lots to share with you coming up! Here's a little sneak peak at what you might be in store for in the coming few days (sorry to those of you who already saw some of my weekend via my instagram). Hope everyone has a fabulous week!

Pressing the apples to make cider

Saturday Morning picking Pinot Noir gapes to make Rose wine



Saturday night halloween party with friends

Over 20 yards of fabric later . . . . 

Sunday night . . . showing up to dinner with my BFF wearing the same outfit! 

Happy Monday! 


Happy Friday

Friday, October 25, 2013

I am so happy that today is Friday, so I decided to link up with all my favorite bloggers for 5 on Friday. 

One: 
I am super excited to spend all weekend with this cute guy! He works today but we get both Saturday and Sunday together, which doesn't happen very often so I am pretty excited!! 


Two: 
I started Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred on Monday and I am really liking the program so far. I am on day 5 and feeling pretty great. Has anyone else done this for the full 30 days and seen results? I took before pictures and measurements so I am looking forward to seeing if I have any good results! 


Three: 
If you follow me on Instagram  then you already know that yesterday the hubby and I made our annual batch of homemade apple cider! Just something about cider smells and tastes so much like fall! Last year was our first year making cider after buying our own press, but I am sure it's a tradition we will carry on for many years. While our garage will probably smell like apples for weeks, we have about 7 gallons of cider to enjoy for the rest of the year! 




Four: 
Following in the wine/craft/DIY mood of this week, tomorrow morning we are heading with my parents to the vineyard Dan has been working at to pick our crop of grapes for the year. Last year we made blackberry wine and Pinot Noir, so this year we are going to be making a Pinot Noir Rose. We are really excited to be able to try out a new type of wine and go through the whole process again! Keep an eye on my instagram for updates & I will post all of our experience picking and harvesting later! 



Five: 
Tomorrow night Dan and I are going to our friend's halloween party. We are excited because we made each of our costumes ourselves and are going as a couple costume. I don't want to give away anything but I will post a full Halloween update later next week with some of our costumes from the last few years! 



I hope everyone has a great weekend!!