Jac o' lyn Murphy

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Road Trip Gift - Spring Break Essentials

"Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road."
                                                                                                              -Jack Kerouac

What better gift can you give to yourself than a road trip?
Loading up the car, the open road, singing along with your favorite songs,
exploring new places, 
expanding your mind, learning life's lessons.
My daughter has big road trip plans in the coming months,
 so I'm giving her a few gifts to commemorate her adventures.

What you pack and what you pack it in is key.
You have to look cute, be colorful and comfortable and this shirt definitely fits the bill.
And we are all looking for an escape, right?
This bag says it all...

North, South, East or West?
GPS is great but a compass ring is so much cuter!

Road Trips are usually not equated with First Class travel
 but fueling up the car can get expensive.
A little gas money wrapped in a toy car adds to the whimsical adventure...

There is nothing better than rolling down the car windows 
and breathing in the clear air of the open road.  
Just in case the air inside the car becomes less than pleasant, 
festive and fragrant fresheners will come in handy...

Digital cameras are great but road trips are old school and the photos should be too.
Printing pictures on the road has never been so retro or instant...

Never stop exploring!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Cream o' Spinach Soup - St. Patrick's Day Dinner

When you have the last name Murphy,
March is a time of luck and leprechauns, celebrations and of course, clovers.
Everything seems more glorious and green, not only in our surroundings but in what we eat.
I am kicking off the season with a special pot at the end of the rainbow...
Cream O'Spinach Soup.

It's creamy, delicious and the perfect addition to your spring menu.
This version is not only fresh and vibrant but it's also lactose free!
We all know the leprechauns are tolerant of many things, 
but sometimes lactose is not one of them.
makes it so rich and smooth,  you get all the flavor you love without the lactose.

Clover Sonoma Lactose Free Milk is the first and only Non-GMO Project Verified lactose free milk on the market. It is backed by the Clover Promise of Excellence, which guarantees delicious and nutritious dairy that is rBST-free, non-GMO and American Humane Certified. 
Lactose intolerance is caused by the body's inability to produce enough of the lactase enzyme to fully break down lactose, a natural sugar in milk.  McGill University recently published a study that examined plant based dairy alternatives and found cow's milk is the most nutritious option.  
People who might have chosen plant-based "milk" alternatives due to lactose intolerance,
may want to choose lactose free milk for a more balanced nutrition profile.

I have a big batch ready, and once it is topped with a 4 leaf spinach clover, 
all the Irish eyes will be smiling.

I hope your day is full of clovers!

Cream O'Spinach Soup

1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
4 tablespoons butter
1 large white onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup all purpose flour
24 ounces baby spinach (or 4, pre-washed 6 ounce bags)
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup Clover Lactose Free Milk (I used 1% but any of them work wonderfully)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium low heat.  Add onion, shallots and garlic and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.  Slowly whisk in flour and make sure fully incorporated before whisking in stock.  Add spinach and gently stir until wilted, then simmer on medium low about 10 minutes.  Add lemon, nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir to combine.  Using an immersion blender (or transfer carefully to a blender) puree until smooth, then return to stock pot over low heat.  Stir in Clover Sonoma Lactose Free milk and heat until warmed.  Taste to see if more salt and pepper are necessary and serve.

Thank you to Clover Sonoma for sponsoring this post.  You can find out more about all of their amazing products here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Dorm Party! Birthday Cake Care Package

With my oldest child away at college, 
it has definitely been a year of new experiences for all of us.
This will be her first birthday away from home, she will be in the dorm and I want to, 
"Let them eat cake!".

A box full of microwaveable Miss Jones Cakes in a Cup...

party hats, lights and candles ought to do the trick...

and just a touch of "milk money", 
because that is what college kids drink these days, right?

Don't worry, I didn't forget the sprinkles.

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