Wow! I can't believe I actually stuck with something for a year!
Well, let me back up. I do stick with things. For example my relationship with Christ...28 years and counting. My marriage...19 years this fall. Homeschooling...9 years and holding strong.
But, I tend to fail in the areas that are just for me. You know those areas. Exercise, routine doctors appointments, skincare, diet...the list goes on. I was so afraid blogging would fall into this category. Another thing that I do just for me that I let fall by the wayside.
Instead it's become something I really, really enjoy. Of course like all things it can feel tedious occasionally. Often it calls to me at inopportune times. Like when I need to be grading papers, or cooking dinner or setting aside time alone with my husband. But overall it has been a great experience. I have been able to dust off my rusty writing skills. It has kept me committed to cooking at home, frugally. But best of all it has introduced me to a new passion...photography. I never knew how much I would like photographing the food! I believe my skills have improved greatly over the last year and just in case you need proof:
Here's a picture from my first blog post.
And you know what. I am not ashamed of this picture. It reminds me of where I started. It's all I knew at the time. It reminds me that in my life I can always strive to improve. That if I'm willing to invest in learning, if I keep practicing and if I can learn from my mistakes I can improve. And learn to take pictures like this:
And there's still so much to learn! I obviously love cooking...this is a food blog. But I have discovered how much I love photography, and writing, and contemplating about living life. There is so much more I want to share about me, about my life, about my family and about my faith. Writing this blog has helped me discover that. It has been as the title of those now famous books so aptly puts it..."Chicken Soup for the Soul".
So thank you for following me this last year. Some of you have been with me from day one. I am pondering what this next year will look like for Gourmet Meals for Less. I see some changes in it's future. But whichever direction I proceed in, I will continue to share great recipes with you.
In fact, here's a perfect one for today's musings and to help you recover from the rich holiday diet we've all been indulging in.
Arlene's Chicken Noodle Soup-courtesy of my mom-in-law
Makes 4 quarts
4 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup butter or margarine
12 cups water
1 cup carrots, diced
3 Tbs. instant chicken bouillon
1/2 tsp. marjoram leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 (12 oz.) package of wide noodles
1 tsp. chopped parsley
Heat butter in a large dutch oven. Saute celery and onion in butter until tender. Add in chicken, herbs (not bay leaves), salt and pepper. Saute an additional 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except noodles and parsley. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Remove bay leave. Add noodles and parsley. Cook approximately 10 minutes until noodles are al-dente.
This is a great recipe to divide and freeze. If you decide to freeze half of the soup. Remove half of stock before adding in noodles. Place in freezer bag. Then add in a 1/4 of the bag of noodles to the stock you will be eating. When ready to eat other half. Thaw in fridge, re-heat and then add in a 1/4 of noodles. This will prevent your noodles from becoming mushy when frozen and will make your soup taste fresher.