cultivated in the snow


as it turns out, blizzards are good at producing blog material. ironically, the snow is the only thing i do not yet have pictures of, i’ll have to take some tomorrow morning.

being snowed in though provides ample opportunity to create your own spa in the bathroom, invent your own delicious soup, and clean everything; so now the blog becomes the catch-all for all the how-to’s i discovered yesterday, enjoy : )

Homemade Sugar Scrub
I saw this idea on the tv show “She’s crafty” (canadian hgtv via milwaukee public television…love it!) anyway, on the show they added in food coloring and fragrance, not essential whatsoever, and they used olive oil. i mixed olive and walnut oils to make mine, i think that the blend of oils adds something to the moisturizing quality of the scrub…or maybe i just like to be complicated. to make this super simple scrub just mix equal parts of plain old granulated sugar with an oil (or oils…) of your choosing, stir well and slather onto whatever body part needs exfoliated or moisturized.

this feels great on your feet and calves…hello diy pedi!? i also used it to undo some of the winter/chlorine damage to my face. i have exceptionally dry skin so the oil brought a very welcome power punch of moisture, not a bunch of zits, but know your skin and proceed wisely when it comes to sugaring your face.

for all around good-facial-ness though, mix 1/3 cup oatmeal with approximately 1Tbs honey. If this mix isn’t quite pastey enough add a splash of warm water. spread the goopy paste on your face and let it dry before rinsing off. let me tell you, between this, the scrub, and an hour alone with misty edward’s pandora station, i walked out of that bathroom spa absolutely glowing.

one can’t live on spa treatments alone though (although, i’d be willing to take a stab at it). this brings us to snow day project number 2
Creamy Mexican Chicken Soup
the men in the house (my husband and the guys that live in the upper of the duplex) were lusting after some beef stew as we watched the snow gust past the windows. i do not eat beef. so we began to wonder about a hearty chicken soup, and i ended up inventing this one. assume i use all organic ingredients.
you will need:
1 can of southwest black bean soup
1 carton of chicken broth (i don’t remember the ounces for sure, i think it’s 32…)
3 cups of milk
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into pieces
1 16 oz block of cheese (i used colby-jack because its what we had, i would recommend using 2/3 sharp cheddar and 1/3 pepper jack)
1/2 carton (about 1 cup) of cherry tomatoes chopped
1 cup black beans (cooked or canned)
1 1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
1 large yellow onion, chopped
olive oil
approximately 3TBS lime juice
spices: cumin, chili powder, garlic, hot sauce, taco seasoning, cayanne pepper, black pepperetc. the more you add the hotter it gets!

in a pot over medium heat combine soup, broth, milk, chicken chunks, spices, lime, rice and beans.

while this begins to cook, heat a frying pan and some olive oil on high heat and caramelize the onion.  add this to the soup.

cut about 3/4 of your cheese into small cubes. slowly add the cubes to the soup, stir until melted.

let simmer for a few hours to allow the flavors to really blend.  if you prefer thicker soup, add about 1/2-3/4 cup of white flour to thicken the soup.

stir in tomatoes about half an hour before serving.

grate remainig cheese over the top to garnish if desired.

i served this with cornbread and a big salad.  its a pretty hearty soup, i had three ravenous men who spent over an hour shoveling snow at the table and no one asked for seconds or walked away hungry.

i don’t measure spices, never do, i just add stuff and see if it tastes right.  i think the measurements were roughly 3 tsp cumin, 2 tbs chili powder, 2 tsp garlic, a dash of cayanne pepper, a dash of black pepper, 1 tsp hot sauce and 1 tbs taco seasoning. we wished the soup had a little more kick though, hence i would recommend pepper jack cheese and we’ll probably use medium taco seasoning instead of mild next time.

my third project whilst snowed in was to effectively clean the entire house, which means long awaited house tour pictures have arrived! after just over a year of living here this is how the house looks:

this is the entry way

one day, the entry way will be painted either green or blue. i keep the swatches on the wall in effort to help me decide. its not working.

the living room

my dear friend alya painted the tree and the photo collage is of our church family and our neighbors

another view

dining room

shelvage in the dining room

these little baskets and bins house our dvd's so they don't take center stage in our home...there are so many more important things to focus on - like people!

wedding memories and homemade sculpture from out pastor's son luke : )

more dining room

i love our built in!!!

these are my stuffed germs (and of course, curious george). they hang out on our kids bookshelf. thanks keri : )

thus ends the first half of our house tour. check us out next time for the remainder of our house, what it’s like to have the neighborhood over for dinner, and a yummy salad dressing recipe! oh! and snow pictures…i must remember to take snow pictures!

grace and peace,
megan

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