Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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Christmas Card Wreath

I always feel crafty around the holidays but I like to make things that I’ll actually use or display for at least a few years. I’ve been in need of a way to display holiday cards and had seen these all over Pinterest the past few years. It seemed easy enough so I hit up Michaels and Amazon (because as much as I love Michaels, they just don’t always have everything; and because Amazon Prime….) and put it together over two evenings (maybe 2 hours total? 2.5 max). It honestly was SO easy that I wasn’t planning on posting it, but then I thought better. So sorry for process shots – but I think you can get it.

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Christmas Card Wreath

What you need:

  • 1 wire wreath frame – I think I got the 18 inch but you can get whatever size works for you
  • clothespins – I ordered green and red from Amazon; they were different sizes and the larger red ones (3 5/16″) worked best; you could also buy regular clothespins and spray paint them
  • ribbon – I used 4 different 3/8″ Christmasy ribbon and a wider one to hang it with

What to do:

Paint the wreath and/or clothes pins if you want. I didn’t – the wreath is already green and I bought colored clothes pins.

Clip on clothes pins so that it opens toward the outside. I alternated colors leaving 2-3 fingers-width in between each.

Cut ribbons into pieces and tie onto middle two rings of the wreath. I started with one ribbon in between each clothespin. Then filled in with a second ribbon in between some clothes pins. I would have done 2 in between every clothes pin but the ribbon didn’t quit make it that far.

Hang it! I used a wider Christmasy ribbon to hang it with.

 


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Creamy Chicken Tomato Soup

As I said in my last weekly update, I’m relying on my crock pot a lot for the rest of my Whole30 – and luckily I had some friends share some recipes with me! This one was delicious but it makes a TON. My crock pot was filled to the brim and narrowly missed spilling over. So you could easily half it – unless you’re feeding an army – and still have plenty! Freezing is also a good option for this one, which I did to save for later! If you’re not doing the Whole30, this would be amazing with some shredded mozzarella and/or parmesan sprinkled on top of each serving.

I did do a little prep the night before to make it quicker to dump everything in before heading out the door the next morning. Chop the onion, mix the spices, and just gather everything you need.

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Creamy Chicken Tomato Soup

Ingredients*

  •  8 frozen (or thawed) boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 5 very large ones and it was plenty of chicken)
  • 2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 14 oz. cans of coconut milk (full fat; shake before opening)
  • 2 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1/2 jar of your favorite tomato sauce (I used Publix Basil & Tomato pasta sauce – for Whole30 just read the labels for added sugar, cheese, etc! Or it may mean actual tomato sauce, but that doesn’t come in a jar, so that was confusing)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Non-Whole30 option: cheese!

Directions

Place chicken in bottom of crock pot and dump everything else on top. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

After cooked, stir/use two forks to break up the chicken.  I think it’s easier to season each serving with salt/pepper since the crock pot .

Option to sprinkle each serving with a little shredded mozzarella cheese if you’re not restricted 🙂

*This makes a ton. My crock pot was filled to the brim so you could easily half the recipe and still probably feed 4 people. Or make the whole recipe and freeze some!

[From River North Paleo Girl]


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Serial

I realize I was late to the Serial party, but there may still be some people living under a larger rock than me! And you can stop looking for the Cheerios. Serial is a podcast series from the creators of This American Life that debuted in October 2014. It is a true story told in parts and they kicked off the series with a doozie.

The gist: Adnan Syed was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore in 1999. A family friend contacted Sarah Koenig (a journalist) asking her to review the case 15 years later. Just look at all the facts, see if there seems to be anything out of place or fishy. And so she did. And they did a 12 episode series talking about just that.

You get sucked in right away – I mean, it’s real life. And it’s definitely not a clear-cut case. Each podcast is 30-60 minutes and you want to be able to pay attention. I listened (with my parents) on the drive to my brother’s house for Christmas and it was perfect for the down and back. One friend listened during her runs.

Just remember that there is not ending, really. It’s not all wrapped up with a nice bow. I don’t fully believe anyone’s story who was involved, but everyone should decide on their own. And everyone across the nation has very strong opinions. But I highly recommend it. Enjoy!

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Delphi

We woke up to a beautiful, yet very chilly, morning in Delphi. Built on the slopes of Mount Parnassos, Delphi was known as the home of the oracle, who told fortunes for people who traveled hundreds of miles. We started at the archaeological museum – again more amazing artifacts and statues. Many statues lined The Sacred Way – the path that led to the oracle. The Sphinx of Naxos and the Twin Kouros Statues are two of these. But the most beautiful, by far, is the bronze Charioteer. This young man had just won the Pythian Games (which took place in Delphi), you can see the sweat on his face and every detail of his body down to the eyelashes. Very beautiful.

We made our way outside to the archaeological site, walking up the winding Sacred Way as ancient Greeks used to. We reached the Treasury of the Athenians, beautifully reconstructed, then the polygonal wall – a retaining wall built in 548 BC and still completely intact as it was built. We reached the Temple of Apollo, where the oracle saw her guests, and kept climbing to the theater. The theater was built for music competitions honoring Apollo (the god of music) and is one of the best preserved in Greece (though we weren’t able to walk into it).

Back down to the bus, another delicious lunch at a family-owned restaurant in modern Delphi (I had couscous salad), then onward back toward Athens. Not without more stops though. We had a little time for coffee and wandering in Arachova, a popular winter/ski town for the Greeks. It’s a beautiful and cozy little town. Then another few hours on the bus back to Athens! Which reminds me, we had to get a picture with our very attractive bus driver, Finoures (sp?), who was a master at the sometimes sharp and dark curves of the mountains (I didn’t know Greece was so mountainous)!


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Ephesus

The next day on the cruise was a quick stop in Turkey – specifically Ephesus. We woke up (very early) in the beautiful port of Kusadasi. We boarded a bus and took a short ride to Ephesus. This is a place you really have to see to appreciate. Built in the 10th century BC, many are familiar with Ephesus from the Bible: the Apostle Paul lived there, preached the gospel, and later wrote a letter to the Ephesians (i.e. the book of the Bible).

This was our first stop at an archaeological site and it was just incredible. The fact that people dig up these pieces, figure out what they are a part of, know where and when it is from, and then put all these pieces back together is pretty much mind-blowing. The arches, the marble, the detail – there really is no way to describe it with words. They have recently opened the Terrace Houses to the public. These are houses of the wealthy families living right in the heart of the city. They have uncovered beautiful mosaic floors and colorful wall murals. The Library and the Theater were amazing structures and the theater is in good enough shape to still be used today for events! We also had a great tour guide who is an archaeologist, so she was able to tell us detailed and interesting information about the artifacts, statues, sites, and houses.

We also stopped at a carpet weaving factory. They demonstrated how the carpets are made (all by hand still) and how the silk is ‘harvested’. They can get a mile of silk out of one cocoon!! The carpets were incredibly beautiful but just a tad out of my budget (like 3 months of salary for a cheaper rug). The country really supports the sale of these, though, and covers the cost of shipping, taxes, and everything!

I would definitely recommend a visit to Ephesus, and now I want to see more of Turkey too! Back to the ship by lunch and off to another stop….