simple weeknight chicken soup

simple weeknight chicken soupSo, I’m back, well sort of. I’ve realized during this brief hiatus that I really missed my blog and I really missed all of you.  This blog is a part of me and a part of me that I don’t want to quit or give up on just yet.  I’m a person who loves to share with people, sharing just makes me happy, so I’m going to keep sharing with you all my recipes as well as my journey. There are a lot of changes going on in my life right now, some changes that are amazing and others that are difficult, so I don’t know the frequency of how often I will post, it may just be two times a month or it could be more, I’m just going to play it day by day.

I also wanted to also say a huge THANK YOU to you all.  I was amazed by all of your supportive comments, emails and for those of you that came up to me in person and shared what you loved about the blog. I didn’t realize how many wonderful and loyal readers I had, and I want to thank you all for reaching out these past few weeks. Each one of your comments and emails really touched my heart, and made me realize that I truly have a real audience of readers who were going through the same life struggles as me.  We’re all on this journey of life together, and we’re here to support and love one another and I truly feel supported and loved by you all, so THANK YOU!   I will slowly share my journey with you all over time, but for now, I’m just wanted to share with you all this simple and easy weeknight chicken soup that has quickly become a family favorite.

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Saying goobye for now….

IMG_8524I’m writing this post with a heavy heart as I’m saying goodbye to Marin mama for now and hello to Jackie.  I need to rediscover who Jackie is again, and in order to do that I have to let this persona of Marin mama go for now.  I chose to use this picture for the post because my friend Hilary said that this is the picture where she saw me, and saw the Jackie that she missed.  She saw a glimpse of my inner self in this picture and felt guided to send me a book and a message that I needed to hear, because she missed this side of me and wanted me to have that spark back in my eyes again.  More on that at the bottom of the post…

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Barefoot's weeknight bologneseOk, so maybe this isn’t the best recipe to post the week after Thanksgiving since we’re all pretty much fooded out, but I’m posting it now because I know there are a lot of you who love and need easy family approved weeknight dinners. December is all about indulgence to me, so let’s go ahead and indulge, celebrate and eat to our hearts content!  Doesn’t that sound fun?  This is the perfect bolognese for those busy weeknights, as it only takes 45 minutes to pull together, and the sauce tastes like a sauce that’s been cooking on your stove top all day, not for just 30 minutes.  The orecchiette pasta is perfect because it really holds the sauce in those little pockets.  I’ve tried this sauce with regular spaghetti and it was good, but we prefer it the orecchiette pasta.

This is a great pasta to serve up if you’re entertaining friends because it feeds a crowd, especially if you pair the pasta with some crispy garlic bread and a caesar salad.  When I make this pasta up for just the 4 of us, we have pasta for 2 nights, which is great because you all know how I love two-nighter meals.  I just re-heat the leftover pasta in my cast iron skillet, and it tastes amazing!  It’s actually a bit better the next night as all the flavors really have a chance to gel.  You do want to make sure to use a robust wine for this recipe, as the wine really brings out the flavors in the sauce. Also, make sure you add that last 1/4 cup of wine at the end because it truly makes the sauce.

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weekly dinner menu for December 1stHappy December everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah to those of you celebrating Hanukkah!  I can’t believe that we only have 25 days till Christmas. I haven’t even begun my Christmas shopping or even thought about ordering or putting together our Christmas cards. I’m just accepting that I’m one of those last-minute gals, even though every year I say to myself that next year I’m going to start my cards and shopping early, I never do.   I have come to admit and accept that I’m just a procrastinator. So check out this picture of the kids, it was from last December.  I can’t believe how much the kids have changed within a year.  I mean look at Eli’s face, he still has his baby face here and baby teeth!

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Marin mama’s favorite things

Marin mama's favorite thingsIt’s Black Friday everyone and rather than post a recipe I decided to be like Oprah and post some of my favorite things!  I wish I could really be like Oprah and give them all away to you all, but unfortunately I don’t have Oprah’s budget, bummer!  Every item listed here is something I use pretty much everyday in my kitchen, and they are all things that I truly love.  So come on and check out some of my favorite things, and who knows some of them might be or become some of your favorite things as well!
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Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for November 24thI almost didn’t publish a weekly menu this week, as it’s a holiday week and I know most of you are just concentrating on what to make for Thanksgiving and are probably in vacation mode, but I’m a creature of habit, so I’m just going to post one anyway for those of you that are interested.  I mean Thanksgiving is on Thursday and we still have to cook Sunday through Wednesday, right?  BTW, if you’re eyeballing that above cranberry sauce, I have the recipe on my blog.  It’s super easy to whip up and tastes so much better than the canned variety. It also makes a great hostess gift. We like to put the cranberry sauce into little glass jars, tie them with a cute bow and give them away throughout the holiday season. Oh, for those of you that are interested in trying to eat a bit healthier, I have a recipe for chia pudding embedded in this post, so you’re not only getting a weekly menu, but a recipe as well.  Bonus!  Oh, and I’m also sharing with you some of the healthier things I’ve been trying to eat for lunch as well, so welcome to the world of Jackie and her attempts at trying to eat healthier throughout the day.

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acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and roasted almondsSome of you who have followed my blog from the beginning may recognize this recipe, as it’s one of the first ones I posted on the blog.  I decided to re-post it as I made a few changes to the recipe and updated all the photos, plus I feel like it’s a wonderful recipe to share with you all this time of year as acorn squash is in season and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  This is a great meatless alternative for Thanksgiving or you can serve these up as a healthy side dish.  You can even make these vegan by adding nutritional yeast in lieu of the feta.

I love this recipe and make it up quite often for lunch in the fall.  I say lunch because my kids are not fans of quinoa and squash, so I really can’t make this up for dinner as my kids would not be happy campers.  This is more of a “mommy and daddy” meal in my house.

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Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for November 17thThere’s my gorgeous ballerina Zoe! Zoe had her ballet rehearsal last night and I had to grab a quick shot of her before she left.  I love the pairing of the sweatshirt with the big pink tutu, as it captures who Zoe is, she’s sporty but yet also has her girly side.  I simply adore her and I love the person she is growing up to be.

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coconut-lime pork tacos

coconut-lime pork tacos I know the name for these tacos sounds a bit strange, but believe me, they don’t taste strange, in fact they taste pretty darn amazing.  I never thought coconut milk, lime and pineapple juice would be a winning combination with ground pork, but they really compliment the pork, and add a nice tropical flavor. The coconut milk while adding flavor and richness to the ground pork, also helps to keep it moist. These tacos may look complicated, but they’re not.  You can have these on the table in less than 30 minutes, making them another easy weeknight meal.  Who doesn’t love that?  Please don’t be scared off by the long list of ingredients listed below, most of the ingredients are spices, in fact, I had most of the ingredients on hand the first time I made these up, except the pork, coconut milk and pineapple juice.

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Marin mama's weekly dinner menu for November 10thSo I’m happy to say that I did much better on keeping in line with my weekly dinner menu this past week.  Actually Zoe was the one who made me stick to it.  She took a look at Sunday’s weekly menu post, and was so giddy at what I was planning on making for the week.  She couldn’t wait for the buffalo burgers with the chipotle mayo. Oh my goodness, those burgers were so good. We all seriously stopped speaking as we ate. I put in 1/2 cup of sharp grated cheddar cheese into the patties, topped them with the chipotle mayo, put the burger between two grilled brioche buns, and it was pure burger bliss.  BTW, if any of you are wondering what’s in the top photo, it was my lunch on Tuesday.  I had a lemon and thyme popover (recipe soon) and a spinach power smoothie.

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