Healthified Italian Wedding Soup

I love the food they serve at work! There is always a healthy option, so I am able to adhere to my meal plan without having to cook for myself all the time. It’s so nice, because as of late, I just don’t find myself having the time to cook like I used to. Don’t get me wrong, they still have Nothing Bundt Cakes and Gigi’s Cupcakes lurking in the cafeteria, so it’s not all innocence in there! For the most part, though, it’s really in line with my healthy lifestyle. Plus, we all have to have a little fun now and again, right!?? #gimmedatbundtcake

Last week at work, they served Italian Wedding Soup. I remember the first time I ever had IWS, I fell in love with it! I can’t remember when or where I was, but I remember thinking “where has this soup been all my life, and why am I just now trying it??” Since then, I have just had it from the grocery out of a can, and occasionally at AJ’s from their soup bar. I’ve always wanted to make it, but it’s just been forever on my mental list of things to “make someday.” For some reason after having it work last week though, I got inspired. I started thinking of ways I could make the meatballs, and how to make them healthier. I realized it really wouldn’t take that many ingredients, and most of them really would be healthy! So I made my list, ran to the store, and decided that I was cooking no matter how much stuff I had to get done. I was making time for it, because I was long overdue. Plus, who doesn’t love having some awesome IWS hanging around the house for a few days for dinner?

My friend Lawna always makes soup and posts her pictures on Facebook or sends them to me. So whenever I make soup I always think of her. She joined me that night for the creation of the “soupsterpiece.” Heeeeeeeeey!

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We were joined by our vertically challenged, curly tailed sous chef/don’t worry if it falls, I’ve got you covered “person”:

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Here are all of the ingredients you will need for your soup:

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One package 93/7 lean ground turkey

One package hot Italian turkey sausage (5 links), meat removed from casing

1/4 freshly grated parmesan cheese (not pictured) 

Salt and pepper

EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

One yellow onion, chopped

Four carrots, peeled and chopped small

Crushed garlic (or just a couple of minced cloves of fresh garlic)

Fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Fresh rosemary

Le Pastine BIO Italian Macaroni Product “Stelline” *see description and alternatives below*

1lb bag of frozen chopped spinach

2 boxes + one can of chicken broth

This recipe may look complex, but it’s really not at all. The most tedious part is rolling the meatballs, which is still easy. To make those, all you do is remove the hot turkey sausage links from their casing by squeezing the meat out. Combine that meat with the regular ground turkey and parmesan cheese, a couple of teaspoons of chopped Italian parsley, salt and pepper, then using your hands, mix together until uniform. Then roll into small balls and line up onto a cookie sheet until they’re all done. The easiest way to keep them from sticking to your hands while doing this is to keep your hands wet with a little bit of water the whole time. 

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Then, once you’re done with all of your meatballs (yes, there will be A LOT of them!) start a large skillet on medium and cook them through until done. While the meatballs are cooking, you can start the soup.

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After chopping the onion, carrots and parsley (you will need about 1/2 – 3/4 cup), add a couple of swirls of EVOO to the bottom of a large soup pot and let it warm up on medium to high heat. Drop the heat back to medium and add the onions, carrots, garlic and a sprig of rosemary.

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Let those cook for about ten to fifteen minutes until the carrots are starting to cook through. At that point, add the broth, and bring the heat up to high. Once the broth is hot, add the meatballs, parsley,  and half the bag of spinach. Let the soup come back up to a boil again (the spinach is cold, and will bring the temperature down when you add it.) Remove the sprig of rosemary. It’s ok if some of the leaves have fallen off. 

I found those cute little noodles at AJ’s, which is a gourmet grocery store across the street from where I live. They contain 35% spinach and zucchini puree in them, so I figured the more veggies in my diet the merrier! By all means, this recipe just needs a small noodle, such as an orzo or something comparable. Whatever you can find will work. Go ahead and add the noodles (I used half of the box) at this point. Mine called for 12 minutes of cooking time, so I left the stove on for 10 minutes and then turned it off. They turned out perfect! I added some salt and pepper to taste, and that was it! Soup was done! 

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I hope you enjoyed this one! I am so glad I got to share it with some of my colleagues at work! Let me know if you end up making it yourself, and how it turns out! The beauty of these recipes if you can do whatever you want with them! Change any ingredients to things you like! I hope you guys have an awesome day!

Happy Trails!

Stacey

Inception at Sea 2016 Part 1

I am flying back to Phoenix right now, and I am still so pumped from the weekend I just had! It has to be one of the most fun trips I have ever taken in my life! I will have a really hard time going on a regular cruise again after this. 

Inception at Sea is basically a 72-hour music festival on a boat to an island in the Bahamas. We sailed to Great Stirrup Cay (Norwegian’s private island) to spend two days in the sun listening to some awesome artists. Some of the ones this trip were The Chainsmokers, Cash Cash, Tyga, Brody Jenner, Bassjackers, Lil Dicky, and Helena Legend. Chainsmokers were probably my favorite. They performed last on the island Saturday. The boat was off the chain the entire time. Never a dull moment! I am ready to go on my first Groove Cruise now! We are all talking about going on the one leaving from San Diego and going to Cabo in October. If anyone wants to come with, let me know!!

There were themes every day and night for the parties, including Team Spirit, Superheroes, Pajamas, and Nautical. Want some good people watching? Look no further :-).

Here are some pictures:

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Mindy, Erica and I on our way to the ship

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My roomie Kristen and I

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I have traveled and also gone out injured before, so I totally empathize with this guy! What a rockstar!

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Randoms 

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Sunset leaving Miami on Friday

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Theater performances night one

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Kristen, Mindy and Erica

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On our way to Great Stirrup Cay Saturday

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Norwegian Sky

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Fear the Fork!

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Bacon!!

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We could’ve been long-lost sisters….

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Beautiful view of the island from the tinder boat

 

I am going to put the rest of the pictures in a separate post since there are so many. I hope you guys enjoyed! Have an awesome week, and I’ll be back soon :-).

 

Happy Trails,

Stacey

My New Hair!

I’ve had long hair for several years now, and I do (did) love it. Recently, though, I’ve seen a few beauty YouTubers and bloggers I follow chopping there hair off and going for a new style! Desi Perkins was the first one I saw take the plunge, and her hair turned out amazing!! I fell in love with the style, and started thinking about whether or not I wanted to make a change, as well.

Here is Desi’s hair:

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She is one of my favorite YouTubers! I love her makeup, and she also does great fashion! 

Jaclyn Hill is also one of my favorites. She just chopped her hair, but even shorter than Desi’s! Believe me, I thought about it, but I didn’t want to have chopper’s remorse the day after! 

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Her hair has gotten redder and redder through the years, and now shorter and shorter. I love the way it looks on her! I SO wish I could pull off the colors of hair she can! I’ve tried a lot of things, but a tried and true blonde is what I’ll always be. The nice thing about that is I can pull off both warm and cool toned clothes and makeup. When I had reddish brown hair (at a few points in my life), I really had to stay on the warm side to actually pull things off. Even with blue eyes, pinks and purples still looked terrible on me. 

So on Wednesday, I decided to go ahead and let my amazing neighbor and fellow small business owner, Loren, make the chop! 

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That was right after Loren styled it. Hair all fixed and nowhere to go! Well, except for bed, haha! The next day, I re-curled it on my own, and it turned out like this:

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That’s the Snapchat I sent out, and here is the pic I posted on Instagram:

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Loren Brimhall owns Luxxi Salon and Boutique over right next to the Walgreens on Tatum and Shea in Scottsdale. Check it out!! She does cuts, color, and some really bomb hair extensions! The boutique also carries unique, stylish clothes including one of my favorite brands, Naked Zebra, among others. 

 

I used the same 1 and 1/4” curling wand I always use, and just wrapped each piece so there were 2” uncurled on both sides. I ended up wrapping each piece 1 and 1/2 to 2 times around the barrel depending on the length of the piece. That’s what will give you the kinky, beachy, loose curls that look so good with hair this length. I need to find a texturizing product to put on while my hair is wet. I use the Bumble and Bumble Dry Spun Finishing Spray when it’s dry, but today it didn’t do a very good job roughing it up. It just feels too silky and clean. I know it sounds funny to say that, but that’s what weighs my hair down and what causes it to not be “piecy” like I want it. I curled each piece in the same direction, so I might try alternating next time. That means curling every other piece clockwise, then counterclockwise, and so on. It really does make a difference in the way it looks!

I am going to go check out Desi’s channel to see if her “How I Style My New Hair” video is up yet! I saw on her Snapchat today that she was editing it!

Have you been contemplating cutting your hair or changing it up lately? What are you thinking about doing!?? Leave me a comment below, and I’d be glad to give you my opinion! I hope you guys have an awesome Friday!!

Happy Trails,

Stacey