Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!
GOODBYE 2017, HELLO 2018, which promises to hold wonderful times for all of us. There is much to look forward to – new experiences, new opportunities, much happiness. I went to church this past Sunday (New Year’s Eve) thinking I would start the new year off right, only to realize I was ENDING the old year, so I ended it on a good note. We sang the last of the Christmas hymns. The message was “Leaving The Past Behind”. Hmmmm, perfect timing!
My Christmas decorations are all packed away, ready for next Thanksgiving… I mean, Christmas. Thankfully my older daughter was here last weekend and we took my tree down and packed away all my ornaments. It was fun to talk about my new ornaments and reminisce about the old ones I still use as we carefully packed them up. We then laid my tree on an old sheet to carry it out of the house. It was a big tree! Vacuumed up the zillion needles and said Goodbye to a wonderful 2017 Christmas season. It was a good feeling to get my house back in order.
“Live each day as if your life had just begun.”
I hope all y’all had a fun and safe New Year’s Eve. Did you make it to midnight? Well this “old” lady did! Can you imagine being in Time Square on New Year’s Eve with those record low temperatures? OH my, makes me cold just thinking about it! It was frigid here in Charlottesville, too. We even had some snow, which messed up my running plans with my daughter. I ended up on the treadmill at the gym, my first time since becoming SOLO. And I survived. Luckily there was a Hallmark movie on TV while I was running.
Did you set your New Year’s resolutions? I told you mine last week: many trips to the beach, read more books, learn to knit, and take even better care of myself. Also I want to see more of my out-of-town kids. (Look out kiddos!) My children also set some resolutions: my older daughter is going to hit her snooze alarm only once (she gets up and runs most days at 0 dark hundred no matter how cold it is) to give her more time in the morning. My son is going to cancel Netflix and instead read more books (I love this!). And my younger daughter plans to get healthier by eating better and cooking more. She came to me for help, accountability, and support with her resolution, all of which I am happy to give! It’s a great resolution, but harder to do in the winter. When people think about eating healthy, often salads and smoothies come to mind. And it is WAY too cold for smoothies! Did I mention it is frigid here? Our coldest weather in 2 years? So, what advice did I give her? Chapter 6, “Savory Soups, Stews, and Sandwiches” from our family cookbook, “AMEN… DIG IN”! Soups are my go to meals in the winter as they are such an easy, filling, and warm way to get your veggies in, and an added bonus is there is always enough to last for several days when you are cooking SOLO, like my daughter and I are doing.
My children each have our family cookbook with our great recipes, thanks to my older sister who compiled all of our family recipes into a cookbook. How did she come up with the title? It is our family ending to the Moravian blessing: “Come Lord Jesus our guest to be, and bless these gifts bestowed by thee. Bless our dear ones everywhere and keep them in Thy loving care. AMEN, DIG IN!” My children have also been subscribing to Hello Fresh some this year, learning how to cook many different things. Their meals look great! I can attest to this as they text me pictures of what they have cooked!
So, back to the soups. Oh how I love soup and usually make a pot or two on Sundays to get me through the week. Listed first in our cookbook is “Leslie’s Christmas Eve Tomato Basil Soup” that I always make as a starter for our Christmas Eve meal. My kids love it, especially when we have enough the next day with a good grilled cheese sandwich. I double, or triple this recipe because it is so good and healthy.
Another favorite soup is a vegetable soup/bisque with zero points for any of you Weight Watchers. Made a big pot Sunday to use up all my leftover veggies from the holidays. Plus I added some cabbage for good luck! This pot included: diced onions, celery, carrots, red yellow and orange peppers, squash, zucchini, broccoli, green beans, cabbage, and 2 cans of diced tomatoes. You can use any veggies! And If you don’t have an immersion blender, go get one! It has been a total game-changer. Not to push Bed Bath and Beyond, but you can use those 20% coupons there.
“Good character, like good soup, is usually homemade.” Amish proverb
You can never go wrong with Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup and this recipe is one I adapted from Fitness Magazine. I usually make this on Sundays as well, when Harris Teeter has their oven roasted chickens on sale. And we all know chicken soup is “good for the soul” as well as just good for YOU – especially if you have a cold or the flu.
And last but not least is my easy crockpot butternut squash soup. I love this soup! I cut my butternut squash in half and half again, scoop out the seeds but don’t peel it (so hard to peel!). Start it in the crockpot when I leave for work in the morning and it is ready when I get home. Healthy, delicious, and makes my house smell amazing!
Do you have any soup recipes to share? I am always in search of new recipes for these cold days. A friend and fellow member of the gym recently shared her pumpkin soup with me and it was to die for! I have not made it yet, but plan to soon. And I will share that one, along with some chowder and chili recipes I have.
“The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money.” Thomas Jefferson
So, how am I doing with my resolutions so far? Well, with one daughter getting up earlier, one getting healthier, and me wanting to spend more time with my out of town kids, what did I do? Told my younger daughter I would pick her up at 5:15 am and that we were driving to Richmond to surprise her sister at the cycle class she teaches at 6:30 am. It was a GREAT class and so much fun to surprise my daughter. Plus got to visit with my younger daughter for an hour there and back. Well, kinda. She fell asleep on the way back to Charlottesville! (Getting up earlier was definitely NOT one of her resolutions.) But what a great workout and start to the day!
“One kind word can WARM three months of Winter.” Japanese proverb
Only 168 days till summer y’all! ONLY! So in the meantime, stay warm. Make some delicious and healthy soups. And spend time with those you love, because as we all know, tomorrow is not promised to any of us.
“Hold onto whatever keeps you warm inside.”