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30 Days of lists

Story and photo by Angie Sutton

www.mothersapronstrings.com

If you use Facebook I’m sure you’ve seen a number of friends posting answers to different challenges such as “5 Things I’m Grateful For.” This is a fun way to acknowledge others whom make an impact on your life or give a shout out to your spouse for their support. As I was driving this morning a thought occurred to me. I like lists (a lot.) I like to stimulate my thinking with creative questions. So I will combine the two and challenge myself to consider certain topics and make a short list of things that come to mind with each topic. Heck, let’s just make this a 30-Day challenge!

Now you can’t make lists without a pretty notebook, right? As much as I love technology and software that allows me to organize and document a multitude of things and print them out, I equally love and value hand-written notions. My hubby bought me a journal with this George Bernard Shaw quote on the cover, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” This little notebook will lend itself perfectly to my “30 Days of Lists” challenge.

Nothing fancy here folks. Just some thought provoking statements, questions or fill-in-the-blank queries. Jot down, with a pretty-colored pen of course, the first things that come to mind. A bullet point list with one or two words will suffice. Then revisit the page later in the day and add a few more answers if they come to mind. The only person who will see your journal is you so be honest and be creative. It only takes a few minutes each day.

Here is the list that I’m working from. I hope you enjoy being a part of this challenge.

30 Days of Lists Challenge

1. About me.

2. I like lists because...

3. I can’t pass up...

4. If I had an extra hour in the day...

5. Projects I’d like to finish this month.

6. Things to nurture.

7. Every night before I go to bed I...

8. Chores I actually enjoy.

9. Books my friends should read.

10. Friends I miss from high school.

11. Subjects I can talk about for hours.

12. Things I love about my spouse.

13. Things I am good at.

14. Date night ideas.

15. Things I wish I could carry in my purse.

16. Places I’d like to see in my lifetime.

17. Lessons I’ve learned.

18. Things I love about my kids.

19. Songs that make me remember great times.

20. Stuff I’d like to do this year.

21. Things I’m good at.

22. Things I would splurge on.

23. Words that describe my day today.

24. Movie characters I’d like to be.

25. Things that distract me.

26. People who inspire me are...

27. Favorite childhood memories.

28. Food I like to eat.

29. Habits I’d like to implement in my life.

30. Mind dump—write down everything you’re worried about.

31. Words that make me smile.


Slow Cooker Nacho Soup

Another “Man Cave” approved recipe! Some of the guys like to add diced jalepenos, black olives and salsa too!

1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (1 oz.) package taco seasoning
1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chilis, undrained
1 1/2 c. milk
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Corn tortilla chips
Toppings of choice

In a large skillet, cook ground beef, onion and garlic over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked; drain. Place mixture in bottom of slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, cheddar cheese soup, tomatoes, milk and shredded cheese, stirring to combine. Cover and cook on low 3 to 4 hours. Stir well before serving. Top each serving with crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheese.


Slow Cooker Lasagna Soup

Variations to add: 1 cup frozen corn or 1 can kidney beans. You can substitute Italian seasoning for the parsley and basil as well as substituting prepared pasta sauce for the tomato paste and tomato soup. In addition to topping the soup with shredded mozzarella, I like to stir in cottage cheese.

1 lb ground beef
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
2 small cans tomato soup
1 c. chicken broth
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 c. uncooked rotini pasta
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef, onions and garlic. Add to bottom of slow cooker. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato soup, broth, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours. About 30 minutes before you are ready to serve, prepare pasta according to package directions, drain and add to slow cooker stirring until combined. Top each serving with a shredded mozzarella.


Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken Tomato Soup

Adapted from Caramel Potatoes.

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
1 c. chicken broth
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground pepper

Mix coconut milk, chicken broth, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and seasonings in your crock pot. Add chicken. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours or on high for 4-6 hours or until chicken shreds easily. Shred chicken and return to slow cooker.


Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

This is one of my favorite soups to make with grilled cheese! If I have it available, I will substitute fresh basil for the dried. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese really makes the flavor of this soup stand out but pre-shredded Parm is tasty too.

2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 c. finely diced celery
1 c. finely diced carrot
1 c. finely diced onion
4 c. chicken broth
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 T dried basil
1/2 bay leaf
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. flour
1 c. Parmesan cheese
2 c. half and half
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)

In a 6-quart slow cooker add tomatoes, celery, carrot, onion, chicken broth, oregano, basil and bay leaf. Add red pepper flakes if desired. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours (vegetables will be soft). About 30 minutes before serving prepare the roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour whisking constantly for 5 minutes. Slowly stir 1 cup hot soup into the roux. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Use an immersion blender to liquefy what is in the slow cooker. Add roux mixture back into the slow cooker. Add Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper stirring to combine. Cover and cook on low for another 30 minutes. Top each serving with a bit of Parmesan cheese.

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