Recipe: Homemade Chicken Soup!

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Yummy soup made with my favorite Seasoning Blend from Penzey’s

I love making chicken soup from scratch. The cook time is lengthy, but, you don’t have to pay a lot of attention to the soup for most of the cook time.

You can use whatever kind of spices/herbs you fancy. I love Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming, it’s a great smoky, rich compliment to the veggies in the soup.

Speaking of veggies, I use carrots, onions, celery, Italian squash/zucchini, but you can use whatever is in your fridge. Good additions would also be diced bell peppers, diced fresh tomatoes (or canned diced tomatoes).

You can omit the noodles/macaroni is you don’t care for them or are GF/low carb.

Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs of chicken parts, bone-in or a rotisserie chicken with some of the meat removed and set aside
  • 2 cups of carrots chopped, divided
  • 2 cups of celery chopped, divided
  • 3 cups sweet onion diced, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic diced, divided
  • 1 large shallot diced, divided
  • 1T. cooking oil, your choice. I’ve been using grapeseed oil lately
  • 12 cups of water
  • bay leaf
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 cups Italian squash/zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 14-ish ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice, or 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes (optional)
  • other herbs/spices as desired
  • 1 cup uncooked pasta/noodles/rice (your choice)
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After cooking all day! Yummy Chicken Stock!

Directions:

  1. If starting with 5 lbs of raw chicken, place 1/2 of the carrots, onions, and celery into a large stock pot with the cooking oil.
  2. Cook on medium until veggies are soft, and onions are clear.
  3. Add 1/2 of the garlic and shallots, and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add raw chicken, and cook for about 10 minutes, until chicken browns.
  5. Turn stove down to low, add 12 coups of water, bay leaf, salt & pepper, and cover. Cook stock on low for about 4-6 hours- you can cook it for up to 12 hours in your crockpot if you wish instead).  Pull out a few pieces of chicken, pull off the cooked meat and set aside (you want about 2 cups of chopped cooked meat). Put bones back into the pot. Cook for another 20-30 minutes.
  6. Take the stock off the heat, and once cool, strain off the solids, and discard. The remaining liquid is your chicken stock. While you start with 12 cups of water, after cooking the stock down, you may end up with 6-8 cups of rich, velvety stock.
  7. Place chicken stock on the stove in a large pot, add in chopped chicken, remaining veggies, and any herbs/spices.
  8. Once veggies have started to soften/cook, add noodles/macaroni/rice if desired. Salt and pepper to taste.
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Mire Poix- Aka carrots, celery, and onions with a bayleaf, garlic and shallots. The perfect start to any soup!

As soon as noodles/macaroni/rice is cooked, remove soup from heat. Serve with hot bread (and butter).

*If you are starting with a rotisserie chicken, pull off 2 cups of meat, and add the carcass after the veggies are cooked and fragrant. proceed with remainder of recipe.

Clean Out Your Closets, it’s SWAP TIME!!

Ya’ll know I love me a good Clothing Swap. If you are a San Diego, CA area resident, there is a great swap coming up on the 29th of September.

Skyline Church in La Mesa is hosting it’s twice a year swap, and boy am I excited! I’ve been cleaning out our closets, dressers, and every space that we store stuff.

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I even cleaned out my trunk to make room for all of the new stuff we’re taking home!

In addition to clothing, they also accept housewares and all kinds of other stuff, so I’ve been going through the kids bookshelves to take along any books they may have outgrown or any duplicate books.

We’re dropping stuff off next Thursday afternoon. I’ve always got extra items, so if you’re a local and want to come but you don’t have anything to swap, let me know!

If you can’t make this swap, but want to learn more about future swaps all over San Diego County, Check Out Thread Bumpin’– It’s a Meetup.com group, especially for clothing swaps. It’s free to join. If you are new to clothing swaps, check out my post here all about them and why they are so cool!

Finally: If you are in need of clothing, but have nothing to swap, two good free clothing resources in San Diego are The Closet on 54th (Men, women, and children’s clothing) and Naomi’s Closet (only women’s clothing).

Talk Back: Have you ever been to a clothing swap? What is your favorite part?

Free and Low Cost Summer Movies for the Family!

One of my favorite things about Summer Vacation is that lots of businesses and parks get into the fun of summer with free and low cost movies!

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 11.55.08 AM.pngRegal Cinemas has $1 movies all summer! Each location has a different schedule, but the same movies. Here is the complete list and your closest location.

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 11.58.02 AM.pngSummer Movies in the Park is an awesome summer long event that takes place all over San Diego County in various city and county parks. There are lots of great movies for kids and families to chose from!

Santee Lakes will be hosting Movies and More at the Lakes all summer long! The event is free, but park admission is $10 per carload during the event. If you go in earlier in the day and just play at the park, it’s $6/carload. The first movie is on June 22nd, and it’s Lego Batman! Here is the calendar with all of the events taking place at Santee Lakes all summer!

 

Which movie are you looking forward to seeing with your kids this summer?

Legoland for only $30 on 4/29/17!

img_1693Looking for a good deal on Legoland Tickets?

Check this out!

The Carlsbad Education Foundation (CEF) is hosting their annual ‘Celebrate Carlsbad Day™’ at LEGOLAND® California Resort.

  • What: Specially-priced $30 LEGOLAND tickets
  • When: Saturday, April 29
  • Time: Enjoy extended Park hours 12pm-8pm

LEGOLAND will donate a portion of the event proceeds to the Foundation to support district-wide science initiatives for students at all CUSD Schools.

 To purchase tickets online, visit www.CarlsbadEd.org

This event happens once a year! If you are looking to do a frugal trip at Legoland, check out this post about doing Legoland on a Budget here.

Legoland on a budget: It can be done!

DSC06398.JPGWe love Legoland, but it can get to be pricey. Here are a few tips that we personally use that can keep our trips more affordable!

Tickets:

  • Look for coupons savings. A quick search of Google is a good place to start. Frequently fast food or quick service restaurants will have Buy and adult pass, get a kids ticket free. Recently Denny’s had coupons up front near the register.
  • Sometimes schools and libraries also have these coupons. Our school had some in the front office last year, all you had to do was ask!
  • A few times a year, Legoland will have buy one day, get a second day free for the same price as a 1 day pass. That’s the perfect chance to enjoy two days to play and explore!
  • Don’t forget to check Costco or Sam’s Club! They frequently have discount 1 day, multi-day, or annual passes.

Snacks:

  • Take water bottles or travel cups with straws. Most restaurants with fountain drinks will fill your bottles or cups with filtered water for free. There are also tons of drinking fountains in the park.
  • There are lots of picnic areas, and places to sit and eat. We always bring our snack backpack (it’s this one) stuffed with applesauce cups, granola bars, dried fruit, popchips, 100% juice pouches, and other yummy snacks.
  • 180s.jpgSplurge on one snack or treat. Our favorite treat in the park are Granny’s Apple Fries! They are soooo good. It’s a batter dipped apple slice that’s flash fried and served with vanilla whipped cream. They are heavenly.
  • There are so many places to eat in the park too! Check eat location for specials like Kids Eat Free (last time we were there, the pizza and pasta buffet was having a promo after 3pm).

 

Souvenirs:

  • Our tradition is to buy a new min-figure keychain on every trip. I let Lil’ Man chose. He also gets to spend $20 on whatever he wants in the main gift shop. He earns money helping around the house and also when we do secret shops (he loves it, he thinks he’s being a secret agent).
  • Unlike Disney and other companies with theme parks, you can’t really get deals on Legos or buy them at discount shops and give the kids the goodies once in the park (that’s what we do with Disneyland). You can however bring in your own glow sticks and glow necklaces if you’ll be there after dark to save some money.

Etc:

  • There are tons of play areas in the park. If you are tired from waiting in line for rides, stop by a play and build area. There is a great Duplo themed one in Heartlake, and large play area in Castle Hill, complete with slides and tunnels! Take time to play and let your kids build and use their imagination!
  • Bring towels if you’ll be in the park when it’s hot. There are multiple water fixtures and splash pads for the kids to cool down. No need to pay to get into the water park (which is only open seasonally).
  • Bring a mini-figure or two to trade! Most Park employees have min-figs on their name tags and they will trade.

I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for saving at Legoland!

Better than free shampoo at Target!

IMG_4385WOOOHOOO!!

Just as my stockpile starts to dwindle, my fav shampoo and conditioner comes up free! Through Saturday night (remember, Target sales start anew on Sunday morning), when you buy 4 13 oz Garnier Fructis Shampoo and conditioners at $2.97 each, you’ll get a $5.00 Target GC. It’s all of the 13 oz varieties, I just took a photo of this one shelf tag.

Deal:

Buy 4 13 oz Garnier Fructis Shampoo and conditioners at $2.97 each= $11.88

Use 4 $2.00/1Garnier Frucits Shampoo, Conditioner or Treatment (excludes trial) – from the 3/6/16 Red Plum

Pay $3.88, get back a $5.00 Target Gift card for your next purchase. Now that’s a deal!

I bought 4 (the coupon limit on the coupon is 4 like coupons per day), but I may buy 4 more tomorrow when I go back to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription! It’s deals like this that help me re-stock my dwindling stockpile.