Saturday, November 28, 2015

Saturday Suggestion: Creamy Tomato and Bunny Pasta Soup

This post is about a product I received complimentary for testing purposes, but my review is an honest appraisal of my opinion of this product.

I hope all of my American readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving! You might be starting to get tired of turkey leftovers, so today I'm suggesting a product I recently tried and would definitely buy again.

Quite a while ago, I received a "Comfort Voxbox" from Influenster, with a variety of products to review.  At least, I should have received it quite a while ago.  Actually, I was never notified that it was available for pickup, so it was undelivered for considerably longer than it should have been. In any event, I finally received it!

Tomato soup

The timing turned out to be quite perfect! My son had his wisdom teeth extracted just over a week ago.  All four were impacted and it was a complicated case. He has done extremely well post-surgically, but the first few days it was challenging to think of foods that he could eat. Ice cream, pudding, and macaroni-and-cheese were all good choices and things I had on hand. When he tired of these, however, I offered him one of the things I received in the VoxBox: Annie's Creamy Tomato and Bunny Pasta Soup.

I was a little worried that my 18-year old son might balk a little at the bunny-shaped pasta noodles, but quite the opposite! He said the soup was really very good, and the noodles were soft enough to offer no discomfort for his sore mouth. He commented that since all you have to do to prepare it is heat the contents of the cardboard container, it would be a good meal to take backpacking.

tomato soup #sogood

I have never been very fond of tomato soup, but I felt like I should have a taste of this complimentary product, and I was very pleasantly surprised! Its creamy texture had just the amount of tomato flavor, and I thought it was very good. In addition to being delicious, I was impressed to learn from the package that this soup:
  •  is certified as organic
  •  contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  •  contains no high fructose corn syrup.
  • contains 1/2 cup of vegetables per serving.
Tomato soup #sogood

I can recommend this soup as a good thing to eat after dental work, to take on a camping trip, or just for an everyday lunch! In fact, it would be perfect served with grilled cheese sandwiches and some crackers.

bunny and carrot shaped pasta in tomato soup

Have you ever tried any of Annie's Homegrown Products?
In the spirit of full disclosure, this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of them, the price you pay will not be affected but I may receive some small compensation. All opinions expressed, however, are entirely honest and my own.
This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Saturday Suggestion: Share Your Favorite Recipes

"Sorry, it's a secret family recipe."  "Well, I'd share it with you, but I've been sworn to secrecy." Have you ever received this sort of response when you've requested a recipe from someone?

Family recipes
Family recipes

Flawed Logic.

When I was in my teens and early 20's, I was reluctant to share my favorite recipes with friends and family. If they loved something I cooked or baked, then I wanted to be the person who could make them happy by creating it for them again. I reasoned that once they had the recipe, then they would be able to prepare it for themselves or someone else, and I would no longer have the power to bring them that joy. 

Fortunately, it didn't take me long to understand that this logic was silly. If I really wanted them to be happy, then it wouldn't matter who made the recipe, as long as they got to eat or serve that particular dish or dessert!

A Reason to Share.

Now, whenever I've made a recipe that turns out well, I always welcome a time or place to share it. While I am partially motivated by wanting to spread the enjoyment of a good thing, I must admit I also have a selfish reason. I have realized that recipes can quite easily become lost or even destroyed, as in the case of (heaven forbid) a fire or a flood. I find it comforting to know that other people have copies of my recipes, and that I could obtain a duplicate from someone if I was ever missing mine.  

Every time I share a recipe on this blog it is for my readers benefit, but I'm also happy knowing that it has just become a little safer for my family and friends and future generations to enjoy.

Part of a Legacy.

Many cooks are known within their family for the special dishes that they make. Those recipes may even become named after them. Aunt Blanche's Dump Salad, Aunt Ginny's Sweet Potato Casserole, Grandma's Chocolate Chip Brownies, and Aunt Audrey's Christmas Trifle are just a few of the headings on recipe cards to which I frequently refer. 

Sometimes we remember and long for a particular item, but no one has the recipe. The baked chicken my grandmother often served when we would have a Sunday dinner with her is one such recipe. I would truly love to go back in time and ask her to write down the method with which she used to make it. 

Memories of a person or event are often passed from generation-to-generation by the sharing of a recipe. I think that is a very lovely gift indeed, and I hope my own legacy is richly endowed with delicious recipes.

My Saturday Suggestion for today is to Share Your Recipes

Do you agree that this is a good idea?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Wishing for World Peace

In my last post, I stated that except for publishing on Saturdays, I would be taking a blog vacation this month. In light of the events of this past weekend, however, I feel like I need to express my sympathies here.

My heart is heavy for the victims of the recent terrorist acts in Paris, and I am as shocked and horrified as anyone else. The thing is, though, I am not just sorrowful for Paris, I am sad for all of us ... every person on this earth.  

I am sad that we have not yet figured out how to all live in peace. Can you imagine how wonderful our world would be, if we solved everything with words and learned to get along?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Saturday Suggestion: Spend Time to Save Time

Some of you may remember this photo from my blog post on May 19, 2014, An Organized Photo Collection: I WISH! 

When I wrote that post, I committed to getting my photo collection more organized before my son graduates from high school this year. Sadly, in the months that have transpired since the post was published, I have made no progress with this.

This week I spent a considerable amount of time looking for a photo I had hoped to use on this blog. I knew

Friday, November 13, 2015

Politics and Entertaining: My List of Fabulous Finds (Week 22)

Another Veteran's Day has come and gone, and Thanksgiving is coming up.

I put the Halloween decorations away and decorated the house for Thanksgiving in record time this year. The snow we got here in Montana last week never completely melted, and more has been added to it. Our bodies have begun to adjust to day-light saving time, although those dark mornings and early night falls are something I will never like. 

We seem to have made the leap from fall to winter, even though that season doesn't officially begin until December 21st

Montana weather can change in the blink of an eye, as I observed yesterday on my walk.

A busy time of year

Many people consider this to be the busiest time of year. Calendars are full with plans to visit family or

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Remembering Life-Changing Moments on Remembrance Day

We all have periods of time in our lives upon which we look back and think, "Wow. If that event had not happened, how different my life would be." 

November 10th marks one of those life-changing dates for me. My quest to "make the most - - of every moment" and the subsequent creation of this blog may have originated from a major lifestyle change that occured for me on that date.

Why November 10th is a significant date for me:
Forty-some years ago my father, a petroleum engineer, accepted an overseas position. On November 10th, my family left our rural home just outside Calgary, Alberta, Canada to move to Spain. I remember my hesitancy to leave my friends, and my life as I had always know it.  I can still recall the excitement and wonder I felt, however, when we arrived in Europe and settled in there. Within a few months, I realized what a lucky opportunity I had been granted. That move across the globe heavily influenced the person whom I was to become, and the life that I would live. Every year on November 10th, I have thoughts of gratitude for the adventure my parents choose for us all to embark upon.

Newly arrived in Europe - weren't we quite the tourists? Check out those plaid pants!
These were the days before selfies - my dad is not pictured because he took the photo.

In mid-November, I also celebrate the anniversary of another major milestone, and a few minor ones, as well.  

Of major importance: 

Just over two decades ago this week, I acquired my most treasured role - - I became a mom! ❤️

Less significant, but hopefully the start of many years of fulfillment: 

Two years ago on November 13th, my first piece of freelance writing was published on-line. I have written something nearly every day since then.

Another milestone from years ago, that has had influence upon this blog: 

I have always loved to cook, but I might not have the confidence to blog about my recipes if it had not been for some successful Thanksgiving challenges. One example of this would be the time I offered to bake the pumpkin pies for a large Thanksgiving family gathering when I was still in college, when I was still in college, and the pumpkin pie recipe I developed then and have been making ever since. 

Of course, not all of anyone's important milestones in life occur in just one month of the year. For me, however, the second week in November and coincidentally Remembrance Day (Veteran's Day in the US) seems to be a time when I stop and appreciate the moments of my past which have shaped my future.  

November 11th. 

November 11th is Remembrance Day (Armistice Day or Veteran's Day as it is also called, depending on where you live) and it is a date designated for us to remember that our freedom has come at a price. Without the efforts of many soldiers, our lives would all be different. 

My memory of leaving Canada and arriving in London (where we stayed for a week while my dad did some work at the home office of his new company) is jumbled with flashbacks of people wearing red poppies on their lapels -  in both the country that I left, and the one to which I arrived. From this observation, I gained a global perspective I didn't have before. The 11th of November has been a day for me ever since to think about all of the lives lost to all the wars, in every country of the world.

Beyond the comfort zone.

Our first instinct as human beings is to resist and dislike change. Looking back, however, I realize that some of the scariest and at times even the least appealing moments in my life have been the ones to take me in the best directions.  This reflection provides me with a good reminder that it is important to take some risks, and get out of my comfort zone once in a while.

One year ago today,  I wrote a different post about November being a month for memories.  A number of readers shared their November remembrances in the comments. 

What memories has this triggered for you?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Challenges of Blogging

I am often asked how long it takes me to write a blog post. For me, this is the often the easiest part of blogging. Today I'm offering a glimpse of some other ways large chunks of time can be spent blogging.

quote about how much I don't know.

Have you ever gotten confident with a skill, only to be immediately humbled by it?

This weekend I was playing around again with the design of my blog. I added a new title heading to the search bar to make it easier to spot, and I updated my Recipe and Fiction indexes. Things were going well, but just when I was starting to feel confident in my blog designing skills I made a huge mistake. I wasn’t

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Saturday Suggestion: On the next warm day, put holiday lights up!

Thinking about what to write today, I came up with a possible idea for a new blog series.

This series may not happen every week, but at least from time-to-time, I plan to offer a "Saturday Suggestion" for a helpful way to "make the most - - of a moment." Today's suggestion comes from my own concern that I may have missed an opportunity to do just that ...

Don't wait till it's miserably cold outside to string your holiday lights

I'm looking out at my snow-covered trees and property, and hoping the white stuff will melt.  When and if it does, I plan to scurry out there, and string my holiday lights, before it snows again.

A snowy start to November in Montana
I am still seeing a lot of snow outside my kitchen window!
I won't turn my holiday lights on until after Thanksgiving, but they are much easier to put up when tree branches are bare of snow; temperatures are above freezing; and the wind is not howling! I have ignored the voice in my head telling me to take advantage of perfect weather to work outside too many times. We

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Menu for Thanksgiving: My List of Fabulous Finds (Week 21)

Where did Fall go?

Whooosh - time is just flying by! It is hard for me to believe that our high school soccer season is over, Halloween decorations have been replaced by Thanksgiving ones, and the view out our windows is now a wintery scene.  Some thoughts about fall today ... and every recipe you'll need to prepare a complete Thanksgiving meal!

Not quite what they hoped for - but still a great result!

Many thanks, by the way, to everyone who expressed good luck wishes for my son's soccer team at the State Championship, and inquired how it went. They made it all the way into the finals and ended up in second place in Montana, with only one goal against them in the final game. 

2nd place soccer trophy.

It's not too early to be thinking about Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving less than three weeks away, it is not too early to start planning a Thanksgiving meal. I have many favorite recipes that I make each year, but I have come across a lot of new ones that I would like to try. 

A Thanksgiving menu  just doesn't seem complete without a pumpkin pie

Today, for my list of Fabulous Finds, I am sharing the links to some of these.  I haven't yet made any of them (except the soup) - but they look amazing to me. All together, I suspect they would make quite a delicious feast!


This Week's Fabulous Finds:

~ ~ Appetizer: a Whimsical Cheese-Tray Turkey

This appetizer from the blog "Also, That's It" looks very easy to make and is such a cute turkey shape that it would almost be a shame to eat it!

~ ~ Roasted Butternut-Apple Soup

Looking through my "Thanksgiving" Pinterest board, I came across my own recipe for this soup. I had forgotten all about it - but once my memory was jogged, I remembered how good it was, and how it would be the perfect soup course for a fancy Thanksgiving meal!

~ ~ *~ ~

~ ~ Dinner rolls: Almost Mandatory on Thanksgiving

The directions in this recipe for homemade dinner rolls from Cooking Classy looks easy to follow - and I love the cresent shapes! 

~ ~ *~ ~

~ ~ No one likes dried out turkey meat!

I have tried all sorts of ways to cook a turkey.  My favorite way is to sear it briefly at a high heat, and then cook it slowly at a lower temperature, basting frequently. I have never injected one, but this method explained on the blog Confessions of an Over-Worked Mom sounds interesting to try.

~ ~ *~ ~

~ ~ Do you make your own cranberry sauce?

When I was growing up, we always had a dish of cranberry jelly from a can, and another with my mother's homemade cranberry sauce on the table.  I always assumed everyone always ate both!  Although I have perfected my own homemade sauce recipe over the years, I think this one from Kitchen Treaty using maple syrup could be even better!

~ ~ *~ ~

~ ~ A traditional Green Bean Casserole - but better

I was on the treadmill this week watching the Today Show, when they made this recipe.  Fresh green beans replace canned, and everything is from scratch, even the crispy onion (shallot) topping. Sounds like a winner to me!

~ ~ *~ ~

~ ~ A Very Pretty Side Dish

This recipe from the blog Peas and Crayons caught my eye because it is so colorful, and I love the idea of combining squash, cranberries, and feta. I might not wait to Thanksgiving to try it ... especially since it would be so easy to make using the pre-cubed butternut squash that is available in stores right now.

~ ~ *~ ~

 ~ ~ Avoid the last minute stress of mashing the potatoes!
When preparing the Thanksgiving meal, I can stay pretty organized until it comes time to mash the potatoes. Unfortunately, that ususally needs to happen just as guests are arriving and there are other last minute details to attend to. This recipe from The Kitchn sounds delicious and can be prepared ahead!

For the most amazing mashed potato consistency, some cooks suggest using a food mill or ricer.

~ ~ *~ ~

~ ~ Sweet potatoes must be on the menu
For me, turkey dinner is not complete without sweet potatoes or yams.  My kids (and I) love the traditional sweet potatoes with brown sugar and marshmallows casserole - but this recipe from Simply Stacie looks like a yummy one to try.

~ ~ *~ ~

~ ~ Save room for dessert!

Last year I wrote about the pumpkin pie I baked in my college kitchen, to take to my grandmothers for Thanksgiving... and I have made it nearly every year since. Pecan pie, apple pie and pumpkin pies are always favorites of ours during the holidays, but I also love to try new dessert recipes.  

This pumpkin cheesecake from Something Swanky looks good enough to eat right off the computer screen - and the turkeys on Your Cup of Cake's Turkey cupcake creations would delight people of all ages.
Of course, instead of baking dessert, you could do like we did one year while visiting Columbus, Ohio.  Some of our family members ran the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. We won not one - but FIVE pumpkin pies! Good thing there were a lot of mouths to feed that year.

A turkey trot if a fun way to burn calories - and earn a pie!

~ ~ *~ ~

So - there you have it. A full menu of ideas for a complete Thanksgiving menu!

  • If you need a little advice on how to roast your turkey, there is lots of advice on-line or you could check out the Butterball website

Whether you are hosting a small or large group, or eating away from home, I hope you have a wonderful meal, and you are able to count many blessings this year. 

Even if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving - I think these recipes look scrumptious enough for any day.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving or Fall recipe?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Winter is Here

And just like that ... we have winter in Montana.

 A Snowy day in Montana

a snowy mountainside

What is the weather like right now where you live?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Some Words of Gratitude

Today, I am simply going to write some words of gratitude.

Thank you card - pun on the words, a-latte for a lot!

When I began this blog, I really had no understanding that it was even possible to gain an audience. It began mostly just as a writing exercise and a creative outlet for me. It is so nice (though sometimes still a little intimidating) to know that there are people who read the posts I publish! Whether you have read just one post, you are a sporadic visitor, or one of my loyal readers - I appreciate you taking the time to visit The Most -- of Every Moment.

I am very grateful for the readers who loyally comment on nearly every post, especially those who are busy writing blogs themselves. Even in the past months, when I have been commenting on and sharing your posts less and less, you have faithfully continued to support mine.  I am looking forward to getting back to a better blog visiting schedule soon - and catch up with all that I have missed.

November is National Blog Posting Month, "NaBloPoMo."  While I do not plan to increase my posting schedule to daily this month, I did take a peek at the daily prompts posted on the Blogher website.  Some of them look really fun to answer, and may be my inspiration for a few posts.

Today, the prompt on Blogher was "What was the one toy that a friend had that you wished you had when you were little?"  

My answer is definitely an Easy Bake Oven. I remember desperately envying my friends for having one. My mom's response to my request was always, "Why do you need one of those, when I can teach you how to use my oven?" 

I couldn't resist buying my daughter her very own easy bake oven when she was young and it was practically being given away during a Black Friday sale.  It was a lot of fun for her at first, but then it did not get a lot of use, and eventually we gave it away.

In retrospect - I think my mom's decision was a smart one. Her patience while teaching me to cook and bake, and learn to use her oven led to my lifelong love of baking! 

Thanks Mom!

How would you answer the November 2nd Blogher NaBloPoMom prompt question above?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

In the spirit of full disclosure, this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of them, the price you pay will not be affected but I may receive some small compensation. All opinions expressed, however, are entirely honest and my own.