Happiness Is Only a Mindset Away…

Blue Heron - LaurelsLovelyLiving.com

Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language,

and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. 

The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things,

and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things. 

~Elise Boulding

Stop and Smell The Roses Photo

Hello Lovelies,

I hope this Sunday finds you and yours happy and healthy.

Here’s my thought for the day – Enjoy simplicity.

I find simplicity especially necessary in a world that has inundated us with “things”.

Overstimulation from media, family, friends, work, social life and home life can become maddening.

Some time ago, we as a family decided to take a step back and try to “quiet” some of the noise.

Low and behold it has worked.  Immediately our close little family became even closer and the noise seemed to quiet itself.

My prayer for you and your family this beautiful Sunday is that you find just the right balance of simplicity to fit your life.

Until next time…Whatever’s good for your soul…do that!

Be blessed, stay blessed and remember if you don’t laugh at yourself someone will do it for you!

Love, L.

Matzo Ball Soup – Part II….The Soup


Well friends – we find ourselves at the end of our matzo ball soup journey.

It’s time to make the soup and reap the rewards of our labor.

So without further ado…Let’s make us some soup!!


This is what you’ll need:  4 cups of water, 2 quarts of homemade or store bought low sodium chicken broth, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 large onion, 4 stalks of celery, 1/2 cup of carrots, 1 tbsp fresh dill.  Extra wide egg noodle are optional, as well as not pictured here – oops.


Chop the onions, carrots and celery.  I’ll leave the size up to your personal preference.  You’re welcome.BML_0643

Feed your dog a carrot – check out the carrot flying through the air.  Do you see it?

Do you also see the already chewed carrots on Oso’s teeth?  Clearly this was not our first take…BML_0650

Heat a stock pot to medium and add the extra virgin olive oil.

If  you use the same pot that you made the matzo balls in empty the water first – haha, I make myself laugh!!BML_0654

Once the pot is warm add the onions.


Then the carrots…


Then the celery.

Sauté them together for 5-10 minutes.  The longer you sauté them the softer they become.

Beep, Beep, Beep…Personal Preference Alert:  I like my veggies to have some substance to them so I tend to slightly undercook them – I lean more toward the 5 minute mark.


Once you are satisfied with your veggies it is time to add the water.BML_0705

And the broth.  This is where your homemade broth really kicks it.  This is also where you think kind thoughts of me and chant my name!!


Next add the salt.


The pepper.


Garlic powder.


And the onion powder.

Of course, this could be the garlic powder and the above photo the onion powder, I guess we’ll never know…BML_0321

Last but not least the fresh dill. Ah.. the dill.

Some things just go together like dill and chicken soup.  How could you even think about not using dill?

That would be like eating corn without butter, watching Fred without Barney or eating cookies without milk – is that even legal?  Oh, I can’t bear the thought, someone please make it stop!!  Move along, move along…


There you have it.

Turn the heat to high and wait for the soup to boil.


Since I forgot them in the starting ingredients I am giving the egg noodle their own close up.

So handsome…

Once the water is at a rolling boil you are at a crossroad.

Beep, Beep, Beep…Another Personal Preference Alert:  

You can do one of two things here.  Add the egg noodle or skip them completely, thankfully this is not rocket science.

If you choose to add them read below, if not move along, “these are not the noodles you seek”. (Star Wars Reference for those of you who live under a rock).

  1. Add the egg noodles to your soup.  Now, I am not discriminating against other noodles, you can choose any type of noodle you like, except for maybe lasagna noodles that would be strange.
  2. The photo above is the 16 oz bag.  Do not use the entire bag or you will have no broth left!!
  3. I like to add no more than a 1/4 of the bag or 4 oz.  Again, personal preference as to how “noodly” you like your soup, the more noodles the less broth, they are like soup sucking sponges.
  4. Cook the egg noodles for 7 minutes.  Yes, technically they’ll be undercooked.   Be patient young grasshopper there’s still more to come.


When your timer for the egg noodles goes off, drop the heat to a simmer, wait a minute until the boiling subsides slightly then add the matzo balls.

If you skipped cooking the egg noodles start reading here!!

Drop the heat to a simmer, wait a minute until the boiling subsides slightly then add the matzo balls.

Keep your stove on a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

This will give all the flavors enough time to become really good friends.BML_0308 2Look at that!!

Grab a nice big bowl and dig in!!

And most importantly – Don’t forget to call me so I can join you, I’ll even bring dessert!!


Oops…I almost forgot.  Remember the chicken from the other day?  This would be a great time to add it to your soup.  Or just thinking out loud here, you could grab one of those pre-cooked birds from the store and shred some meat off to add to your soup.

Make sure that you don’t pick one of the seasoned birds or it might taste peculiar, or it might taste good.  Let me know if you try it, thanks!!

So there you have it – Matzo Ball Soup!!!

Until next time…I’m off to feed my dog more carrots.

Be Blessed, Stay Blessed and remember to laugh at yourself or someone will do it for you!!

Love, L

Matzo Ball Soup


The Soup

  •   4 cups water
  •   2 quarts homemade chicken stock or low sodium store bought stock
  •   1 tsp kosher salt
  •   1/2 tsp pepper
  •   1/2 tsp garlic powder
  •   1/2 tsp onion powder
  •   1/2 large onion
  •   4 stalks celery
  •   1/2 cup carrots
  •   1 tbsp fresh dill
  •   Extra Wide Egg Noodle (optional)


The Soup

  1. Heat a stock pot over medium heat, drizzle in 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.
  2. Add the veggies and sauté for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add the liquids: water and the chicken stock.
  4. Add the seasoning; salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
  5. Add the fresh dill.
  6. Turn the stove to high.  Bring the water to a boil.
  7. Optional Step – The extra wide egg noodles.  (If you don’t add them go to step 9)  Once the water is boiling, add no more than 4 oz of egg noodles to the pot.
  8. Boil for 7 minutes (Yes, technically they will be undercooked but just trust me).
  9. Lower the heat to simmer then add the matzo balls.
  10. Cook for 20 minutes.
  11. Grab a bowl and enjoy or put them in containers to store in the refrigerator.

Matzo Ball Soup – Part 1…The Balls

Matzo Balls Plated

There a few things in life that just make you feel good no matter what…

Pizza, ice cream, not having to leave the house on a rainy day and of course, a big bowl of matzo ball soup.

People running into things also makes me feel better (as long as they’re not hurt) but that’s a whole ‘nother story…what’s wrong with me??

Back to the task at hand – SOUP.  As long as I can stay focused you are about to have the best Matzo Ball Soup EVER!!

Matzo Ball Ingredients

The starting line up for today is as follows:  3 packets of “Matzo Ball Mix”, not to be confused with “matzo meal” (there are two packets per box – To risk stating the obvious – you will need two boxes equalling 4 packets, which gives you one to save for later), 4 eggs (I always use extra-large eggs in my recipes), 1/4 cup canola oil, 1/8 cup chicken stock fat (if you don’t have this ingredient substitute with canola oil), 1/4 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp pepper .

You can see in the photo above the worlds most amazing whisk.  Papi got this for me as a gift and it’s by far the best whisk I’ve ever owned.  I take it with me everywhere, not really, that would be weird.

Coolest Egg Crack

To start, crack 4 eggs into a bowl, any bowl, it doesn’t have to be this bowl.

Oil Pour

Pour 1/4 cup canola oil into the same bowl.


Here comes the pepper.


Then comes the salt…then comes the bride, not really it just sounded right so I went with it.

Just add the salt.


Then the chicken stock fat known as “schmaltz” in Yiddish.  Now you can sound really smart when talking to your friends about chicken fat.  You’re welcome!

Plastic Wrapping

Whisk it all together so it looks like this.

Cover with plastic wrap and let the mixture get its cold on.

Chill for at least 25 minutes.  If you can leave it longer that’s preferable.  The colder the better!!

Kitchen Helper Oso

As you look down at the dog sleeping on my foot, you will notice the crumbs on his back.

I fling food around when I cook, I also dance and say “OPA” a lot.  Am I sharing too much?


When your matzo ball mixture has chilled it is time to make the balls.

I use a teaspoon scoop so they are all uniform.  As evidenced by the photo, this is the rough draft for your matzo balls.

Just scoop them out and plop them down – You’ll make them tight and pretty in the next step.


See, what did I tell you.

Take the matzo balls one by one, give them a good squoosh in your hand.  Roll them until they are round.

I could actually eat these raw just like cookie dough.  How gross is that?

Flying Matzo Ball

Once your water is at a rolling boil it’s time to add your matzo balls.

Drop them in one by one. Swim my little one, swim for your life…

You have to admit this is really an awesome photo if I do say so myself!

Swimming Matzo Balls

Once all the matzo balls are safely swimming, it’s time to turn the heat down to simmer and place the lid onto your pot.

Set your timer for 20 minutes.

Fishing out Matzo Balls

When your time goes off, fish one of your matzo balls from the pot and conduct a taste test.

If you are satisfied, scoop out the rest.

I prefer to use a slotted spoon for this step specifically because I do not want to harm these little guys.

I set them on a plate until I am ready to slide them into my soup.

Dropping Matzo Balls

Onto the plate they go…

Matzo Balls Plated

And there you have it.

My sons kept coming in the kitchen trying to steal them.  I had to chase them away with a spoon so I could take this photo.  You’re welcome!

At this point, I have to use all my will not to gobble them down.

If you stopped right here you would have yourself a great meal.  However, I suggest you serve it with my soup recipe coming up next 🙂

Until next time…Keep being awesome!!

Be blessed, stay blessed and remember if you don’t laugh at yourself someone will do it for you!!!

Love, L.

Matzo Balls


Step 1:  The Matzo Balls

  •   4 extra large eggs
  •   1/4 cup canola oil
  •   1/8 cup chicken stock fat
  •   1/4 tsp kosher salt
  •   1/2 tsp pepper
  •   1 1/2 cups Matzo Ball Mix (I use Manichevitz) – not to be confused with plain matzo meal.


The Matzo Balls

  1. Bring 2 1/2 quarts (10 cups) to a boil in a stock pot.
  2. Combine the first six ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Cover with Saran Wrap.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 25 minutes.
  5. Once cold, roll into 1” balls.  I use a 1 teaspoon scoop for uniformity.
  6. Once the water is boiling add the matzo balls, there is no need to add oil or salt to the water.
  7. Drop the temperature to simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  8. Use a slotted spoon to remove the balls.
  9. Either eat them as they are or continue on to the next step to make the soup.

Top 5 Reasons to Hang with Salvador Dali in St. Petersburg Florida

Hello Lovelies,

Traveling is a passion shared by my entire family.  We love to travel and travel we do.  Even if it is simply a day trip to St. Petersburg, Florida, the enjoyment rings true just the same.

Dali Brochure Cover

Today’s road trip brought us to a magical-ificent venue.  See what I did there – this place is so amhazing I had to combine two great words together just to introduce you to…

Salvador Dali, The Big D, Dali, Dali Salvador, D-diddly do wop de bop….”YO Sal, What’s up?” That’s what I’d say if I was way cooler and saw him on the street.  No, I wouldn’t that’s preposterous.  And so the story goes…

Salvador Dali was a Spanish painter who lived from 1904 – 1989.

He is known for his eccentric behavior and the shocking quality of his imagination.

If you want more technical information regarding him you can visit thedali.org.

For this piece I am going to talk from my heart about what fascinated myself and my family about The Great Dali.  I hope you enjoy.


Our first delight with St. Petersburg was crossing over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.  4.1 miles long and supposedly one of the “Top 10 bridges” in the world. Check, only 9 more…now only if I knew where they are located.


Once at the Dali museum our arrival was greeted by a fun filled door welcoming us in various languages along with the most beautiful wall of flowers.

True Story – Everytime I went to snap a photo of the door someone would come walking out of the museum.  It’s alright though, because now I have my yearly quota of “people walking through a door” photos – so clearly it wasn’t a complete waste of my time.


For clarification purposes, that’s me.

The building was breathtaking as you can see, modern and uplifting.  The energy in the building was so positive, I suppose it would be hard to be grumpy with all that fresh sunlight pouring down upon you.  Although, I’m sure there are some folks who are up for the challenge…Uh-hum…


Here is a map of the museum for your enjoyment.  Read at your leisure.

Brochure Exhibit Area Dali

This is where the fun begins.  Prior to heading upstairs (that’s where the art lives) we received head phones with a nifty little box that knew a whole lot about Dali.

Various pieces throughout the museum where marked with a number.  Once you punched that number into the device you were met with a treat of an explanation regarding that particular piece of art.

In addition to the adult explanation there were customized more animated versions for the children.  My boys preferred the adult versions but I listened to a few of the children’s versions and they were delightful.  Oh, how I love technology!!


And now here is what you have been waiting for…Drum Roll Please:

My Top 5 reasons I love Dali and therefore you should too!!

1.  The fact that my favorite piece of art requires and accent and flair of the hands to properly pronounce – Santiago El Grande. I think Mariachi’s should come out of a hallway for the complete effect.

2.  He loves to hide things in his art.  Nieuw Amsterdam is the bust of White Eagle sculpted by Charles Schreyvogel then painted on 75 years later by Dali.  Dali transforms White Eagle’s face into an interior setting where two Dutch gentlemen toast each other.  This however, is not readily visible.  It takes a moment to realize it’s not war paint on White Eagle’s face but instead dinner time.  Cleverly impressive!!

3.  He has good old fashion God given talent.  Not the paint-by-numbers talented like I have, but real talent.  Several of his paintings look as though they were taken by a camera.  His art comes alive when you look at it.

4.  You can actually stare at his art.  Let me explain…You know when you see someone staring at a piece of art that looks as if an elephant painted it and they seem so engaged…you wonder to yourself, “Self – Is it me or them?”.  Then hope it’s them because if it’s you then you’re in trouble.  Well, not his art.  His art has such depth and thought put into every piece you’re bound to discover something new each time you look at it.  Aside from some nudity, which we embrace, his art is wonderful for children because it lends itself to their depth of imagination.  Our boys 10 and 11 absolutely LOVED it!!

5.  This one is my favorite – He was madly, head over heels in love with his wife, Gala.  She can be found in a great deal of his paintings and she always looks so beautiful.  She was his muse and the love of his life.  And really, is there anything better than LOVE??

So there you have it.  5 fantastic reasons to run off and visit Dali.  Or at least google him…


And so lovely, as we exit the building, this is where we shall part ways on this fine day.

I hope you enjoyed our day trip!


~ I’m off to find my paint by numbers – I feel inspired!!

Be Blessed, Stay Blessed and remember if you don’t laugh at yourself someone will do it for you!

Love, L.

For current pricing & hours of operation I suggest you visit the Dali Museum Website at thedali.org