Easiest Beef Vegetable Soup

Easiest Beef Vegetable Soup by Foodtastic Mom

Easiest Beef Vegetable Soup by Foodtastic Mom

So that practice round of short rib tacos (gearing up for Pearl Jam in concert later this week) in my previous post made quite a bit of succulent, slow-cooked beef. More than our family of four could eat in a week. So what better way to use that leftover beef than in a super-easy beef and vegetable soup? This is Midwestern comfort food at its finest. A hearty soup, loaded with beef, corn, potatoes and green beans. Since the beef was already prepared, the soup came together in a flash. Most of it hands-off time, which is so important for busy family schedules.

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Slow Cooker Short Rib Tacos

Slow Cooker Short Rib Tacos by Foodtastic Mom

Slow Cooker Short Rib Tacos by Foodtastic Mom

I am typing right now to the absolute perfect sounding vocal cords of Eddie Vedder. I’ve been mesmerized by the sound of his voice and Pearl Jam ever since Ten came out. That was way back in 1991, and I was about to begin my sophomore year of college. Boy, I’m old. Not really though. I’m still going to feel like that same teenager, listening in the seats next Wednesday night when I get to see Pearl Jam live here in my hometown. It’ll be my second time going to a Pearl Jam concert… the first was about 4 years ago up in Cleveland.

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Almond Crusted Pork Chops and a Cookbook Giveaway

Almond Crusted Pork and a Cookbook Giveaway by Foodtastic Mom

Almond Crusted Pork and a Cookbook Giveaway by Foodtastic Mom

Not too long ago, one of my blogging friends, Cate of Chez CateyLou, emailed asking if I’d like to participate in a giveaway involving her aunt’s cookbook, Almonds: Recipes, History and Culture. A quick look through the book on Amazon and the answer was obvious! Co-authored by Cate’s aunt Barbara Bryant and Betsy Fentress, the book “detail(s) the intriguing history of the almond, from its origins in Asia and Mesopotamia to its cultivation in Egypt, Italy, and eventually California, while food writer Lynda Balslev offers over 60 recipes featuring the cuisines of China, India, Lebanon, France, Italy, Mexico, the United States, and more. And celebrated food writers and chefs share ethnic customs and traditions and how they use almonds in their own kitchens.”

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Artisan Pumpkin Seed Bread

Artisan Pumpkin Seed Bread by Foodtastic Mom

Artisan Pumpkin Seed Bread by Foodtastic Mom

Ah, where to start with this post? I feel like I’m going to be all over the place. First, I hope it doesn’t come across as bragging, but I’m really proud of my creation here. This is the first time I’ve made true artisan bread. I can’t believe bread that looks like this came out of my little kitchen… kneaded, shaped and attended to solely by me!

I had to start with a part of the yeast, water and flour the night before to create a “sponge”. And then the next morning after adding the rest of the ingredients, I waited through three separate “rises” before baking the loaves on a pizza stone with a pan of water in the oven. I know that sounds fussy and possibly complicated and who has time for that these days, right?! But really in all that time in between waiting for the dough to rise I tidied the house, did laundry and even left for a couple of hours to run errands. 

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Mega M&M Cookies #OXOGoodCookies

Mega M&M Cookies #oxogoodcookies

Mega M&M Cookies #oxogoodcookies

As soon as our neighbor found these new Mega M&M’s at the store and shared some with my children, they were begging me to make cookies with them. Bigger is better, especially when it comes to chocolate, right? These monster-sized M&M cookies are for certain kid-friendly and therefore perfect for September and Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month

OXO helps out in a big way each year with their #OXOGoodCookies campaign. For every stickered item sold, OXO will donate 25 cents in support of pediatric cancer research as part of its $100,000 pledge to Cookies for Kids’ CancerJust look for the green stickers!

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Sausage and Broccoli Pesto Stromboli

Sausage and Broccoli Pesto Stromboli by Foodtastic Mom

Sausage and Broccoli Pesto Stromboli by Foodtastic Mom

I’m feeling pretty positive today, despite being a bit tired from working a Reds’ baseball game last night (we work with a group of parents from our son’s swim team to help off-set the costs of his coaching and meet fees) and managing to slam my left index finger in a car door on the way home.

I shared a Patriot Day Challenge on my personal Facebook wall yesterday, the idea being that there is no better way to remember that tragic day than through celebration of freedom and family. I fixed my kids a scrambled egg breakfast this morning and not much later got an email saying I’ve been accepted to a lucrative blogging campaign with Ragú®. I edited my stromboli pictures, which I’m pretty happy with, and I am sitting here pinching myself that at almost two years into blogging, I am actually making a decent and steady income doing something I truly love and am passionate about. I am indeed lucky to enjoy the freedoms our country provides.

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