One hundred!

It’s official, this is the 100th post on my blog! What a joy this little portal has been for me :).

I officially hit the “publish” button on my very first post (Welcome to Newlie!) here on the blog just over 4 years ago. I was so nervous even though I didn’t have any major expectations for it. I really just wanted my own little nook in the universe where I could write, format, add photos, and archive how genuinely good life is. I wanted something more than a Facebook page, an Instagram account, a few boards on Pinterest, or a place to “tweet.” I wanted a space to store up all the little and big moments in life without feeling like it was merely a memory if the details were to slip away.

As I’ve scrolled through the blog from time to time, it’s ultimately become a sweet little reminder to approach every rough day, culinary failure, painfully strenuous fitness goal, or terrible commute with the best possible perspective through wide, faithful eyes for the goodness that is always there.

Four years of 100 posts and I’m so glad that I never stopped writing. Those four years brought new adventures in food, life, traveling, writing, fitness, pregnancy, and so much more.  Below I’ll leave you with a few photos of the past 4 years in my posts. I hope that this blog has been a joy for some of you to follow along with too. I have to admit – your positive feedback in comments either on the blog or when I share links on Facebook have meant so much to me. Thank you all so much for reading along the way!

More adventures to come. Just you wait 🙂

 

 

Veggie Lentil Soup

It’s been a nice and easy weekend here in Oklahoma. I love weekends like this where there’s no agenda aside from cleaning a bit (but only “a bit”), guilt free laziness, and attempting to be healthy from time to time.

On that healthy note – I’ve heard lots of good things about lentils lately. So yesterday, when I was grocery shopping, I saw a bag of them sitting on the shelf just staring at me. Normally I’d just continue on my merry little way, but this time I checked the back and saw a good lookin’ recipe for lentil soup! It was a little dreary outside with rain due last night and all of today. “Hmmm……I can totally do this!” I thought. So I chucked it in my cart and off I went feeling all proud of myself 🙂

The back of the label was a recipe for Lentil Soup & Kielbasa. Since I was already planning a slow cooker heavy beef stew for tonight (Sunday), I just wanted to keep it veggies & lentils only; nice and light. I researched a few other recipes on the web and ultimately came up with this little number below. I hope you enjoy!!!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 4 Carrots (mine were on the smaller side), sliced
  • 4 stalks Celery, sliced
  • 5 small Red Potatoes, peeled + cubed (roughly the same length as your carrots)
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried Oregano
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried Basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon rubbed Sage
  • 1 can crushed Tomatoes OR 1.5 whole tomatoes chopped + crushed
  • 1 & 3/4 cups dry Lentils
  • 6 cups Water
  • 2 & 1/5 cups Chicken Broth
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

STEP 1

In a large pot, heat the oil then add in the onion, carrots, and potatoes.

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Let it all heat up & soften for a couple of minutes, then add in your seasonings: garlic, oregano, bay leaf, basil, sage, salt, and pepper.

Stir & let it all together and let the seasonings snuggle up and say “heeyheeey!” to the veggies for a minute or two.

STEP 2

I didn’t have a can of crushed tomatoes at home like I thought I did (womp womp) but I DID have two tomatoes ready to be messed with! Score! I chopped them up and used a potato masher to lightly crush them up a little (not too much though – I still wanted some chucks of tomato still in tact). I used one and a half tomatoes for this and it was perfect!

Add those crushed lil’ “toms” to your soup mixture and stir it on in.

STEP 3

Right after adding the tomatoes, go ahead and add in the water, chicken broth, and lentils. Stir it all up, cover, and lower the temp to allow the soup to simmer for 1 hour. Stir occasionally and add salt to taste if needed, but remember that the taste of salt really comes out at the end after letting it simmer for a while…so don’t go crazy ;).
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Enjoy!

Remove the bay leaf, pour, and enjoy!

Well goodness gracious. This was just about the most delicious, wholesome, healthy, and simple homemade soup I’ve ever made! Want some?!

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If you prefer your soup to be more brothy, you may want to add in more chicken broth or water towards the end. The broth gets absorbed by the lentils & veggies as you continue to cook it, especially when it also sits overnight in the fridge.

Can’t wait to have more for lunch todaaaaay! 🙂 Lemme know if you give it a try!

 

 

Evening walk.

Sights and sounds from my evening walk:

2 cows. 3 horses. 3 roosters. 4 chickens. 2 dragonflies. 1 siberian pony. 1 orange sherbert colored sunset. 3 sets of couples sitting on their front porches. 1 father + his 2 daughters racing each other on go-carts & laughing hysterically. 6 dogs. The synchronized repetition of roughly 349,294,303 crickets…..or so. Gorgeously manicured lawns next to perfectly untouched fields. Stella happily panting with an occasional look up at me as if she’s saying “yaaaay!” Dozens of antiques out front on an older man’s yard. Beautiful American flags.

It’s the ultimate “me time” when I decide to walk. I absolutely love running, but then there are nights like these when the season is starting to turn and the air is full of new adventure…and I just want to slow time down a bit in order to take it all in. Tons to see. Plenty to be inspired by. T.V., books, and computers can wait.

What do you see on your walk?

Seriously though…comment and share what you’re view is from here in Oklahoma, out there in Montana…or D.C….or California…or England.

Happy walking.

Thirty One

It’s my 31st birthday today! I’m spending the day with my hubby. He’s my favorite person 🙂 We’re exploring Austin, TX all weekend and are having the time of our lives!

A weekend getaway to a new place often heightens my senses to the world around me. The air, sights, and sounds all stand out a bit stronger because it’s new and different. That got me thinking – I hope I take enough time to appreciate the little things that I adore in life. I used to be better at that.

Throughout high school and college I’d escape for a few minutes (or hours) and add to a list of what I loved. Totally random things…like…how people tilt their head when they eat a taco, or a much needed outburst of laughter after something has gone horribly wrong and that poor moment needs some comedic relief. Before I knew it, my list had exceeded 1,400 things. The sad truth is that I have no idea where that book is now. But the idea of doing that, of writing down the little things that I love about life, well I think today’s a brilliant day to bring it back.

So, in honor of my 31st, here are 31 little random things that I love:

  1. Snuggling with my yellow lab, Stella.
  2. Stovetop popcorn.
  3. The entire experience of walking around an Anthropologie store.
  4. Slowly sipping red wine on a cold night.
  5. The 1st cup of coffee in the morning.
  6. Finishing a long run.
  7. Writing.
  8. Star gazing.
  9. Small town America.
  10. Getting positive results from using little pockets of time wisely.
  11. Country music.
  12. Cowgirl boots.
  13. An unforgettable culinary experience.
  14. Dark chocolate.
  15. Laughter from my favorite people.
  16. The distant smell of a campfire.
  17. Swivel chairs.
  18. HGTV & The Food Network.
  19. Needed hugs.
  20. A new dress.
  21. Baking.
  22. Stained glass windows.
  23. Coffee shops.
  24. Windows open, kinda weather.
  25. Sushi.
  26. Getting asked to take strangers’ group photos.
  27. When a baby smiles or yawns.
  28. Zumba. 
  29. Hearing perfectly beautiful harmony sung a cappella.
  30. People who don’t complain, appreciate life, and embrace each day.
  31. Choosing happiness.

More than any of these, more than anything in the world in fact, I love and adore my family and friends over all. I’m a very lucky lady to have such joy surrounding me all the time. Not quite sure how I got so lucky, but I thank God everyday for y’all.

So…what’s on your list?!

Happy day, friends!

Oat Choc-Chip Banana Bread

That right there’s a long title, but a scrumptiously simple recipe. I’m sending a virtual high five to the lady who submitted this recipe. I found it from Taste of Home. Check it out! I made a few changes though, so below is my own adaptation of it.

Changes:

  • I didn’t have the mini-chocolate chips that she calls for, so I used 1/2 cup of regular chips instead.
  • I substituted shortening for good ‘ol butter.
  • She recommends using instant oats but I love the look, texture, and durability of Old Fashioned Oats – so I used those instead as well. They held up beautifully in the baking process!

My version of this recipe: 

  • 1/2 cup unsalted softened Butter
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3 very ripe Bananas
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned Oats
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Here’s what happened:

STEP 1

In a bowl or mixer (low to medium speed) combine the sugar, softened butter, and eggs all until smooth.

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STEP 2

Peel and add the 3 over-ripe bananas to the sugar/butter mixture.6O9C2517

STEP 3

Add in the baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 6O9C2522

STEP 4

Gradually add in the flour, then the oats, then finally the chocolate chips. 6O9C2524

STEP 5

Pour the mixture into a greased bread pan, and place in a pre-heated oven. 6O9C2528

STEP 6

Your timer should  be set to 40 minutes, then check on it for 10-15 minutes. 50-55 minutes total should do the trick, but as ovens vary – just check on it starting around 40 minutes.

STEP 7

Check the center to make sure it’s fully cooked. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.

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ENJOY! Hubby and I sure did. It should last the week if it’s just you and a spouse/roomie…but if you have a large household or lots of housemates, it’ll be gone by the end of the day.

Happy banana baking!

My Fit Mix – 15 for ’15

A new year calls for a new line up of tunes, so I’m sharing 15 of my favorites for 2015! Some of these are recycled from the past few years, and that’s fine. No need to trash perfectly good inspiration!

I’m determined to keep my fitness efforts consistent this winter.

Now, when the weather warms and becomes more bearable, I think it’s safe to say that we’re all easily inspired again to run, squat, bike, cartwheel, walk, and jumping jack outside. But this is January, and next month is February, and I hate to state the obvious, but we’re far from that envious scene of heavily breathing outside in tanks, shorts, and sunshine. It’s crucial to keep the new year, new girl, and “newlie” mentality spinning as I’ve intended (despite the freezing wind outside). Lucky for these tunes – I’ve got new inspiration practically screaming at me with positivity (or in some lyrical cases…more fun beats than positivity, hehe) for every minute of  my workout.

I love love LOVE the way these songs keep me moving, and hope they inspire any of you to throw together your new 15 for ’15 too:

Demons - Imagine Dragons
Shake It Off - Taylor Swift
Roar - Katy Perry
Team - Lorde
Turn Down For What - DJ Snake & Lil Jon
One Life - James Morrison
On Top of the World - Imagine Dragons
I Lived - OneRepublic
I Bet My Life - Imagine Dragons
Problem - Ariana Grande & Iggy Azalea
Shut Up and Dance - Walk The Moon
Pompeii - Bastille
Uptown Funk - Bruno Mars
Bang Bang - Jessie J, Ariana Grande, & Nicki Minaj
Life Is Short - Butterfly Boucher

So, what are your songs? Got any recommendations for me? What gets you “newlie” rejuvenated mid-workout when you’re ready to quit (or hurl) but know you need to keep pushing through?  I’d love to hear your favs.

Happy fit mixin!

OKWB Guest Post: “Tell Me Three”

Hey y’all! I was thrilled to guest post for Oklahoma Women Bloggers recently and want to send you over to their site to check it out. I shared an easy tip for staying connected with your favorite people, no matter how busy life gets. Check it out by clicking the link or image below and be sure comment on their site to tell me YOUR 3!

OKWB: Tell Me Three

Tell Me 3 Screen Shot

“Newlie” joined OK Women Bloggers!

Delighted to share that I am “newlie” (hehe…never gets old) a member of Oklahoma Women Bloggers! This community shares inspiration, humor, how-to’s, recipes, and much more. Their mission: “Gather. Grow. Connect.” I’m thrilled to do so with the fabulous women bloggers of this beautiful state.Oklahoma Women BloggersAs the worldwide population of bloggers continues to grow, so do the challenges to connect to truly interested readers within your own content. Sure…there’s always Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest – lots of great tools…but having a community like this to “talk to” and read about is exactly what I’ve needed as a newcomer to Oklahoma. Thanks for including me, OWB ladies! If anyone has suggestions on any additional communities that you think me/Newlie would be a good fit for – I’m all ears!