Savory Carrot and Tomato Soup Recipe

Welcome back friends! Who would like some rich and savory carrot and tomato soup on a cold afternoon or evening? I know I do! This soup is tangy and delicious, pairing well with toasted bread or grilled cheese sandwiches!

Let’s make some!

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 lb. of carrots, peeled and cut into medallions
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes (28 ounces each)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Warm the 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven or large soup pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and onion and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions begin to turn translucent.
  3. Stir in the carrots, black pepper, ground cumin and kosher salt and cook covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. After about 10 minutes have passed, add the the whole peeled tomatoes with their juices and the dried basil, stirring well to incorporate.
  5. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are soft. This may vary per oven, so keep an eye on them!
  6. Once the carrots are soft, remove the soup from the heat and use an immersion blender to carefully blend the soup until smooth.
  7. Stir in the greek yogurt and then use the immersion blender again to smooth it in.
  8. Allow to cool and enjoy!

DIY Knit Loom Hat for Beginners

Welcome back friends! Do you have or have you heard of knit looms? They are fantastic! Whether you’re a beginner or not, it is cozy and comforting, sitting and creating items for yourself and/or loved ones!

I have a set of knit looms with four different sizes. I’ve recently been experimenting with different hat knits and patterns! Let’s create one of my favorites!

This pattern is pretty straight forward and easy to handle for any beginner! If you have any questions, please let me know!

SUPPLIES

  • Extra Large Knit loom XL gauge (41 pegs)
  • Bulky yarn (weight #5)
  • Loom hook
  • Scissors
  • Yarn needle

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Create a slip-knot and cast it over the first vertical peg to the left of the horizontal anchor peg, with the tail of yarn draped within the loom.
  2. Working counter-clockwise, wrap the next peg twice, then use the loom hook to pull the bottom loop over the top loop and off the peg. Do this for each peg until you’ve completed the “cast-on” round.
  3. Now we’ll work on the brim! Continuing to work counter-clockwise, e-wrap each peg once and pull the bottom loops from the previous row over the new top loops and off the pegs. Repeat this step for at least 18 rounds.
  4. Once you’ve completed 18 rounds, find your original slip-knot and place its loop back on the first peg. Continue replacing the loops of the “cast-on” round back on to the loom, then tuck the tail of yarn from the knot into the folded brim.
  5. To anchor the brim, pull the loops from the previous round over the top “cast-on” round loops and off the pegs.
  6. Now we will work on the main part of the hat! Begin with a round of e-wrapping each peg once and pulling the bottom loops from the previous round over the new top loops and off the pegs.
  7. The next round will consist of alternating e-wrap pegs and purl pegs all the way around. To purl, stick your pick underneath the center of yarn on a peg, use it to grab ahold of the new yarn and pull it up under the existing yarn to make a loop. Carefully take the whole stitch off of the peg and loop this new loop of yarn on to the peg and pull it tight.
  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 for as many times as you’d like the hat to be long. I did 14 e-wrap rounds and 14 e-wrap and purl rounds for a total of 28.
  9. When finished, take your yarn and wrap it around the outside edge of the loom until it touches back on itself and cut it here for extra yarn.
  10. Thread the extra yarn on to the yarn needle and stitch it upward through each loop, then you can remove that loop off of its peg. Once all of the loops have been stitched through with the needle, you can pull the string to begin forming the top of the hat.
  11. Turn the hat inside out and pull the needle and extra yarn through the still existing hole at the top of the hat, then pull the drawstring as tight as possible to close the hole completely.
  12. Stitch around the edges of where the hole was and tie it in knots to secure it. Then stitch the rest of the end into the inner stitches of the hat to hide it.
  13. Turn the hat right side out and if you have a patch (like my nifty Super Mario star) stitch that patch onto the brim.
  14. Enjoy!

Remy’s Ratatouille Recipe (Ratatouille)

Welcome back friends! This week we’ll be cooking Remy’s Ratatouille from one of my favorite Disney and Pixar films, Ratatouille!

This recipe is featured near the end of the film when Remy is preparing a meal for the food critic, Anton Ego. It is referred to briefly as a “peasant’s dish”, but Remy’s version ignores all labels and boils down to good food that comforts the soul.

Ratatouille is warm and comforting; the perfect main or side dish for a cool or cold day. The arrangement of vegetables within the baking dish is creative and fun to do, although give yourself enough time to mise en place before beginning! Anyone can cook, bon appetit!

INGREDIENTS

VEGETABLES

  • 2 eggplant, trimmed and very thinly sliced
  • 6-8 Roma tomatoes, trimmed and very thinly sliced
  • 2 yellow squash, trimmed and very thinly sliced
  • 2 zucchini, trimmed and very thinly sliced

SAUCE

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped

HERB SAUCE

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Slice the eggplant, tomatoes, squash, and zucchini into approximately 1-mm rounds (I used a mandolin when possible), then set aside.
  2. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in an oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. 
  3. Sauté the onion, garlic, and bell peppers until soft (about 10 minutes), then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes and stir until the ingredients are fully incorporated, then remove from heat, add the basil and stir again.
  5. Pre-heat the oven for 375 F.
  6. Arrange the sliced veggies in a repeating pattern (squash, zucchini, eggplant, tomato) on top of the sauce from the outer edge to the middle of the pan, then season with salt and pepper.
  7. To prepare the herb seasoning, mix together the basil, garlic, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a small bowl. 
  8. Brush the herb seasoning over the arranged vegetables.
  9. Cut a circle of parchment paper and place it over the vegetables in the pan, then bake for 40 minutes. 
  10. Remove the parchment paper, then bake for another 20 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.
  11. Enjoy!

Disney Dreamlight Valley – Recipe Guides

If there’s one thing I do when I play a game (besides trying to relax and enjoy myself), it’s look up information. I get curious or stuck, and I find myself turning to the internet for answers. There are a lot of good guides out there that are super helpful, but what I don’t see are an abundance of simple and clean visual guides that lay out all the information in one place.

I’ve been playing Disney Dreamlight Valley and I cannot get enough! To be able to befriend my favorite Disney characters and design a village for them to live in fills me with immeasurable happiness! Definitely a favorite cozy game for anyone who loves Disney and life sims!

One of my favorite things to do in the game is cook with Remy, and there are a lot of recipes to discover! If you want to learn every existing recipe, I’ve created guides to help!

These visual or infographic guides are divided into Appetizers, Entrees and Desserts and then organized alphabetically by the name of the dish.

Please let me know if you would like me to work on a guides for anything else within Disney Dreamlight Valley or if there are any games you would like to see visual information or guides for in the future! I love helping people, discussing games and organizing information!

Linguini’s Potato and Leek Soup Recipe (Ratatouille)

Welcome back friends! This week we are cooking Linguini’s soup from one of my favorite Disney and Pixar films, Ratatouille!

This is referred to as Linguini’s soup by the staff at Gusteau’s restaurant, but we all know Linguini made a mess of it and Remy couldn’t resist doctoring it up to make it more palatable before escaping from the kitchen.

It is never said what kind of soup this is, but judging by what Remy adds, we can conclude it is probably a variation of potato and leek soup! This soup is creamy and filling, the perfect cozy dinner on a cold night!

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 4 large leeks, white and light green parts only, roughly chopped
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 lb. of potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 6 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • Chives, finely chopped, for serving 
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic, leeks, black pepper and salt. Cook, stirring regularly, until soft and wilted (about 10 to 15 minutes).
  3. Add the potatoes, broth, bay leaves and thyme to the pot, then bring to a boil.
  4. Cover the soup and turn the heat down to medium / low. 
  5. Simmer for 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are very soft.
  6. Remove from the heat, then remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Purée the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. 
  7. Add the heavy cream, place back on the heat and bring to a simmer. 
  8. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking with salt and pepper. 
  9. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired and enjoy!

Resist Gossip

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Let’s be done with gossip. 

Gossip is not beneficial, it is not positive, it is not kind; it’s damaging, it’s negative, it’s hateful.

There are members of my extended family (and I know it doesn’t stop there) who treat gossiping with all the seriousness of their life’s purpose and it is beyond disturbing. My hands are not clean either, I’ve gossiped and it is thrilling when you’re right in the middle of gleaning and spreading all the juicy details, but it’s bad behavior and a bad habit. Bad habits are best dropped before becoming bad character.

I love my daughter and I do not want her growing up judging or disparaging others.  One of my resolutions is to stop gossiping and I invite anyone who’s reading this to join me. 

It’s time to stop; resist gossip.

I created this sticker, that can be purchased here and used as a reminder!

How to Dry Mint Leaves for Tea

Welcome back friends! Let’s get cozy and have a cup of tea! 

I am fortunate enough to own a spearmint plant that has flourished in its container and I want to show you how to harvest, dry and brew your own spearmint tea!

Beyond being a warm and comforting beverage, spearmint tea has numerous proven and/or potential health benefits, including:

  • Fighting bacterial infections. 
  • Relieving digestive upsets.
  • High in antioxidants.
  • May aid in balancing hormones.
  • May lower blood pressure.
  • May lower blood sugar.
  • May help reduce stress.
  • May help relieving arthritis pain.
  • May improve memory function.
INGREDIENTS
  • Mint leaves
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Trim the mint back, then pluck the best leaves from the stems. If you do not want or need to trim the mint back, you could also pluck the best leaves directly from the plant.
  2. Wash the leaves thoroughly with fresh water, then place them in a salad spinner to remove any excess water.
  3. Line a baking sheet with with a baking mat or parchment paper and spread the mint leaves on the prepared baking sheet. Be careful not to crowd them.
  4. Turn your oven on to it’s lowest setting (for many this will be 170F). 
  5. Place the mint leaves in the oven and bake them until dry. This could only take 10 to 15 minutes, but it varies by oven strength so keep an eye on them! They will be curled and make a dry rustling sound when nudged with a utensil.
  6. Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool.
  7. You can store the leaves in an airtight container or brew some tea right away!
  8. Use an infuser and keep the leaves whole or grind them up. If you do grind them up, smaller pieces will make their way out of the infuser and float around in your tea. This isn’t a bad thing, just personal preference!
  9. Enjoy!

Travel Mug Cozy – Crochet Pattern

Welcome back friends! Do you crochet? I dabbled in crochet off and on for a few years, always fascinated, but never fully catching on. I kept at it, and suddenly, it clicked! I feel calm and cozy when I’m crocheting, and fiercely proud whenever I complete a project.

It’s that time of year for enjoying hot beverages! Let’s protect our hands from said beverages and add our own flair to the cups by crocheting our own cup cozy, or zarf!

SUPPLIES
  • Crochet hook (size 5.0mm)
  • Medium yarn (size 4)
  • Scissors
  • Yarn needle
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Create a slip knot and then chain 30 stitches.
  2. Careful not to twist the chain, bring both ends together and slip stitch into the first chain stitch to join them into a circle.
  3. Chain 1 stitch and then loosely slip stitch into the back bump of each of the 30 chain stitches, then join with a final slip stitch.
  4. Chain 2, then turn the work around so you’ll be working around the outside of the circle. Double crochet in each of the 30 stitches around, then join with a slip stitch.
  5. Chain 2 and front post double crochet in a stitch and then double crochet in the next stitch. Continue alternating around the circle, then join with a final slip stitch.
  6. Chain 2 and double crochet in a stitch, then front post double crochet in the next stitch. Continue alternating around the circle, then join with a final slip stitch.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6, four or five more times around and at the end of round 8 o 9, slip stitch to join.
  8. Chain 1 and loosely slip stitch in each of the 30 stitches around, join and tie off the yarn.
  9. Flip the cozy inside out and weave in the loose ends using your yarn needle.
  10. Flip the cozy right side out and you’re done! Enjoy!

*This pattern will fit a Starbucks reusable travel cup. Before getting too far into this project, I recommend slipping the joined chain onto the cup you are making the cozy for. If it doesn’t fit well, adjust how many chain stitches there are up or down to fit.

Homemade Comforting Cinnamon Roll Recipe

Welcome back friends! Who would like some warm and comforting, homemade cinnamon rolls on one (or more) of these cold winter mornings? Maybe at a table with some coffee or tea and a good book? Or maybe a good movie or show? I know I do, so let’s bake some!

INGREDIENTS

DOUGH

  • 1 cup of warm milk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of instant dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup of salted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

FILLING

  • 1 cup of brown sugar, packed 
  • 1/2 cup of salted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of heavy cream, divided

TOPPING

  • 1/3 cup of salted butter, softened 
  • 6 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pour the warm milk into a large bowl and sprinkle it with the yeast.
  2. Add the butter, eggs and sugar, then mix until well combined.
  3. Add 4 cups of the flour and the salt, then mix until well combined.
  4. Scrape the dough off the beater blade and knead for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and smooth.
  5. Spray another large bowl with cooking spray and use a rubber spatula to remove the dough from the mixer bowl and place in the greased bowl.
  6. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes to an hour).
  7. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the soft butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and 1/2 cup of heavy cream; mixing it until well combined, then set it aside.
  8. Once the dough has risen, sprinkle a pastry mat generously with flour, and turn the dough onto the mat. Sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour.
  9. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough to about 24” x 15” rectangle (though it does not have to be exact).
  10. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the filling over the whole dough rectangle.
  11. Starting at the long end, roll the dough up tightly.
  12. Cut the roll into 12 slices and place in a greased 9×13” baking pan.
  13. Cover the pan and allow the rolls to rise for 20 minutes or until nearly double.
  14. Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
  15. Warm the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream until the chill is off, then pour if over the risen rolls, allow it to soak in and around.
  16. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until gold brown and the center rolls are cooked through. Time will vary so keep an eye on them! If they are getting too brown, cover with aluminum foil.
  17. While the rolls are cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a large bowl combine the cream cheese and butter, blending well.
  18. Add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar, then beat until combined.
  19. Spread the frosting over the cooled rolls.

*To save time in the mornings, you can also prepare the dough the night before. Make the dough and proceed to the second rise when the rolls are in the pan. Once risen, cover them up again and put them in the refrigerator until morning. In the morning, remove them from the refrigerator and allow them to sit for about 30 minutes before baking.

Happy New Year 2023!

Happy New Year Friends! I wish you all the best and sincerely hope all your hopes and dreams for 2023 will come to fruition. These last few years have been rocky, to say the least, but its a time for fresh starts and new beginnings, so let’s make the most of it!

I believe in making resolutions; they give you the focus to complete certain tasks. Resolutions can be made any time of the year, and should be in some cases, but it’s traditional to make them for the fresh start of a new year and it’s all in good fun!

I’ve set 12 resolutions for 2023, check them out!

  1. Expand my garden.
  2. Go greener.
  3. Organize the whole house.
  4. Play and complete 12 video games.
  5. Read and complete 12 books.
  6. Re-carpet the living room.
  7. Re-floor the main areas of the house.
  8. Resist gossip.
  9. Send anniversary and birthday cards out on time.
  10. Set aside 1 hour a day to work on my dreams.
  11. Set aside times of the day for intentional screen-time.
  12. Take Zoey to Disneyland.