Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chicken Soup

Chicken soup.

I know I make a lot of soups.
in fact, I've posted a chicken soup with quinoa here way back in October of 2010.
and that's either a very short time ago (if, say, you're over the age of 30) or a lifetime ago (if, for example,  you still say pasghetti)

I make it because it's easy


and good.

Chicken Soup

3tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
3 garlic cloves chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
3 carrots- peeled & chopped
1lb chicken breast (rinse, pat dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper)
1 14oz container chicken stock
2 leftover meatballs
1 can cannellini beans (drained)
2 cups star pasta (cooked to al dente)
salt & pepper

What to do:
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Stir it a few times, and once those are soft and fragrant, add the stock and chicken. Add more water until the chicken is just covered. You may need to add more water later on.
This is when I root through my fridge and see what sort of leftovers are lurking in their plastic containers.

Bring this to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about an hour until the chicken is cooked through.
raw chicken is gross.

Remove the chicken and pulse with a hand blender a few times to get the vegetables broken up into bitty pieces.
Like what you'd serve to 2 year old.
Or a 92 year old.

Once the chicken is cooked, then I add the rest of ingredients that only need to be heated up. As you can tell by my ingredient list, we had meatballs the day before...so, in you go. I crumble them up because I want them to fit on a soup spoon.
not a serving spoon.
Salt & pepper until it tastes good to you.

Don't add the pasta to the pot unless you are going to eat all of it.
Overcooked pasta is just as gross as undercooked  chicken.
Instead, put some in the soup bowl then add your soup on top.

Garnish with parsley.



Monday, January 30, 2012

Day TwentySix::ThreeSixtyFive

This is what happens of you live in my house and are two years old...and your mom has decided to brush her teeth BEFORE making your breakfast...

Day TwentyFive::ThreeSixtyFive

Today was a day when brawling took a backseat to brotherly love.
This is what I live for.
That, and chocolate cake.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day TwentyFour::ThreeSixtyFive

My little girl, T, unwilling to miss any action, offered her delicate touch in styling this shot.
Smushed parsley in jar of water.
Shortly after this shot, Her twin brother joined in and in a matter of seconds the parsley was flying and water was everywhere.
And then I kicked them outside.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day TwentyThree::ThreeSixtyFive

Here's a photo I just took at FoodBlogSouth during the photography section.
I really wanted to eat it, but many many hands had touched it before I was able to get a crack at it.
Many hands.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Day TwentyTwo::ThreeSixtyFive

Today I made some soup for a sick friend.
and also for myself
Recipe to follow shortly.
I hope.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day Twenty::ThreeSixtyFive

I'd like to call this 'coffee break' but a more accurate description would be 'I'm too damn lazy put my things away'

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day Sixteen::ThreeSixtyFive

Unfortunately I'm not very good at putting my things away...
Fortunately I leave them laying around in places where the light is beautiful...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day Fourteen::ThreeSixtyFive

I found a book on Dali in the discount bin at Barnes and Noble.
I wonder what Dali would think of that.
He'd probably want to eat lobster

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Day Ten::ThreeSixtyFive

Today we went to the playground.
I have some thoughts about playgrounds id like to share, but that will have to wait until another time.
Presently I am the on duty life guard at the bath tub where the children remain dry whilst the ceiling is soaked.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day Nine::ThreeSixtyFive

Today we went to the Botanical Gardens and attempted to ring forth the power of the Wishing Well.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Some thoughts on assumptions and a quinoa salad

As adults, how often do we make assumptions about things?

I assume my boys have not cleaned their room
or finished their homework
or brushed their teeth
(I'm often right about that last one)

I assume their feelings are hurt when they brawl.
(they rarely are)

I assume they are too young to handle complex feelings like love
and loss.
When in reality they are able to cut through the emotional miasma, get to the heart of the matter.
and move on.

Like when we had to give our dog away but didn't tell the boys because we didn't want them to feel like they were being punished. A week went by, when finally my oldest, J, looked around the room and asked, "Hey, where's Bronco?"
My heart fell to my knees, and my stomach lurched into my throat as though I had been simultaneously catapulted into space and sent plummeting down to the pits of Dante's eighth circle.

"I...I...I'm so sorry..." I stammered.
"He ran away."
Which could have been true because he did run away.
Which is why we had to find a better home for him.
One with lots of land and people who didn't care if he jumped onto the stove and pulled down three large pots filled with delicious bubbling gravy and 30lbs of meatballs...
(but that's a story for another time)

Through a veil of flash flood tears he looked straight through me into my soul then dropped his little 6 year old head into his grubby little hands and his whole body shook in disbelief.
Next came the remaining 4 stages of grief in rapid succession: anger, bargaining, depression
and acceptance
And 7 minutes later he asked:
"Can I get a hamster?"

Then again, sometimes assumptions are dead on.
For example, when I made this quinoa salad, I assumed my kids would hate it.
They did not disappoint.

Quinoa Salad
adapted from Fine Cooking

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
olive oil
red onion- chopped
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
baby spinach
1 celery stalk- chopped
1 apple- chopped
1 cup pecans- chopped and toasted
1/4 cup chopped dried cherries
crumbly goat cheese
champagne vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Saute the red onion in olive oil and a sprinkle of salt until golden brown. Then add the balsamic vinegar and cook it down until no liquid remains. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, toss together quinoa, celery, apple, pecans, dried cherries, cheese and onions.

The dressing: whisk together a equal amounts of olive oil and champagne vinegar ( a few tablespoons of each will do nicely) with some salt and pepper.

Toss the salad with the dressing and let it sit for a few minutes.
Serve with baby spinach.

This salad just gets better over time.

Day Eight::ThreeSixtyFive::smile

Here sits King Louie.
A good friend who has agreed to wear this adorable hat that my little girl refuses to wear.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day Seven :: ThreeSixtyFive

There is a finite number of dishes I am willing to put away on a daily basis.
And while that number is not static, what remains true is that I must leave a few out.
These were left out from what I photographed yesterday.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day Five :: Three Sixty Five

Today I am making a quinoa salad.
Here are the red onions I'm about to throw in the pan.
Stay tuned...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day Three- Three Sixty Five

I have this Rosemary growing outside in my little charming garden.
Amazing it grows throughout the winter.
Perhaps not so amazing.
It was 70°F the other day.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Think Three Sixty Six

I'm finding myself inspired by all these people who have embraced this '365' idea, whether it be writing down one thing you are thankful for everyday, or reading a new book to your child everyday,
or taking one picture every day.
which I should be able to do
no problem.

For me, this is a challenge
but one I am willingly taking on.
I won't be able to spend the amount of time I'm used to on a photo.
I'll have to trust my instinct,
and embrace the moment.

Here's to throwing caution to the wind....

                                                   ...and away we go.....

clementines 1/6/12

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Muppets, Mayhem and Macaroons

The holidaze are over.
the tree has come down.
and all Santa's goodies have been relocated to their proper residence.
Most importantly those itty-bitty, tetanus shot requiring legos that notoriously find their way out of the box, and onto the floor where they lay silently inconspicuous, like land mines, waiting for a poor barefoot soul to come meandering innocently by.
I cannot tell you how many times I have been taken down by a well camouflaged dark brown  twosie, only to step on another shortly after extracting the first one from my well calloused (throbbing and bleeding) heel.

The only Christmas item I will have a difficulty retiring until next year is the Christmas CD currently residing in my car stereo.
No, it's not something cool like MTV Christmas Unplugged with the Barenaked Ladies and Paul Simon.
It's the Muppets.
Yes, The Muppets.
Kermit, Fozzie, Scooter...the whole gang.

While Ms Piggy is charming in her own kissy-kissy pork filled way, and Animal personifies (for some more than others) the beast in us all, it really is a practice in patience, tolerance and self induced deafness to make it through a car ride.
Especially  since we can't seem to get past the first track.
"Don't you want to hear the rest of the soundtrack? There are like, 20  more songs. Maybe you'll like those even better." I ask.
"NO!! NUMBER 1!!"
"just put it on REPEAT, mom, then we won't have to bother you..."
 proffer my kin, being the delightful backseat DJs they are.

I suppose I could accidentaly toss it out the window when they are not looking.
or give it to one of my 2yr old twins to hold on to for 'safe keeping'...
Instead,  I think I'll just keep it in there, playing track one everyday until they get tired of it.
and beg me to put something else anything else on: Monsters of Rock, Enya, NPR...
And then, I think I'll play it some more.

Like the A Christmas Together- John Denver & The Muppets (I gave you the link for free because that's how much I love you) these Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons are holiday festive and too good to retire until next year.
At least this is something we can all agree on.

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons
adapted from Bon Appetit, August 2000

you will need:
1 14oz package shredded coconut
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
chocolate- the good melty kind

Preheat oven to 325°F
Line 2 cookies sheets with parchment paper

In a large bowl mix together coconut, milk and vanilla extract.
In a large Kitchen Aid mixer (like the one I registered for when I got married, but now simply takes up valuable cabinet space) whip up the egg whites and salt until they resemble Cool- Whip (remember that stuff?)
Fold 1/3 Cool Whip egg whites into the coconut mixture then add the rest.
Using your fingers perfectly calibrated tablespoon, drop mixture onto cookie sheets (you lined them with paper right?) and bake until tops are golden. Approximately 15min (check after 10 minutes. nothing is worse than burnt coconut. Okay, stepping on a lego perhaps...)
Once these have cooled, dip them in melted chocolate.
and put on a rack to cool before eating.
Or not..
I won't judge.

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