Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The saddest soup story you ever heard.

I found a delicious recipe back in 2009 in our community magazine. I've made this soup several times during the cold Autumn/Winter months in the last few years. I've even made it two nights in a row. Not because it's so yummy (which it is) but because of some unfortunate events out of my control.

I was so gung-ho on making this soup that I wanted to do every bit of chopping, slicing, cubing, pouring, measuring, seasoning, tasting, and stirring myself. I bought 2 different kinds of squash and a pumpkin. I cut each of them open, scraped out all of the guts and seeds, and cubed each one of those darned things. It was quite labor intensive and not a bit of fun. I finally reached the end result of this wonderful recipe. I proudly escorted that soup pot to a beautifully set table. Just moments before saying the prayer on the food one of my children was doing something silly (I can't even remeber exactly what) with his glass of water. It slipped out of his hand and crashed on the table splashing water and projectiling glass shards everywhere. Including into the pot of my beloved soup. I am not proud to say this but I absolutely lost it. I threw a tempter tantrum that could rival any toddler's. I felt my blood-pressure sky rocket. I cried. I yelled. Then I went to my bedroom for a self-inflicted time out and cried some more because of how I behaved. But I have 3 little words that will justify my behavior and stop your judgements right now.... I was pregnant.

My understanding, patient, and very apologetic boy waited outside my door until his very wise, understanding, patient dad thought it was time he could come in and have a heart to heart with me. We cuddled. We apologized. We cried some more. We hugged. And we decided to go out for pizza instead. (The soup was made again the next night using pre-chopped pumpkin).

Learn from my mistakes! If you make this soup... and I strongly suggest you do.... enjoy all the slicing, pouring, measuring, seasoning, tasting, and stirring but please oh PLEASE leave the chopping to someone else. I strongly believe that if I didn't have to do all of that work I wouldn't have had such a strong reaction. It's really an easy soup to make if you just buy pre-chopped stuff. It's totally worth paying the extra dough. Costco has cubed butternut squash this time of year and that's the only squash/pumpkin I put in this soup anymore. But if you decide to go the longer route then more power to you. Good luck. You are a better cook than I. Here's the recipe. Double it. And let me just add, if soup were a candy.... this would be it!! (It's not super healthy. Get over it.) ;~)

This is how I make it now. This is the "undoubled" version that feeds 5 and leaves us wanting more every time.

1/2 cup chopped bacon

1 cup green onion

2 cups cubed red-skin potatoes (DIY. It's OK.)

2 cups cubed butternut squash (Don't DIY. Scary. Danger. Go to Costco.)

1 quart broth

1 cup cream

1 tsp sage (or rosemary)

1 tsp parsley

salt & pepper to taste

2 T brown sugar

In a large soup pot cook bacon slowly to render fat. When bacon is crisp and brown remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Once cooled chop bacon. Set aside. Saute green onions in bacon fat for 3 minutes. Add potatoes and squash. Cook for 5 minutes stirring ocassionally. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat them simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add cream and herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add brown sugar. Add bacon. Enjoy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Soups On!!.... All week!!

It's been a long time since I've done a recipe post. With the weather turning cold and the sun going down earlier we seem to be hunkering down and going for some warm comfort foods. I figured this recipe is worth sharing with the 2 or 3 of you who stop by to read this blog every once in a while.

But let me start out by saying this...

I am a list maker. I make lists for everything. I love lists. Lists keep me organized. They keep me on task. And I love the feeling of accomplishment when I get to cross something off my list. I may be a bit obsessive-compulsive but if I have already accomplished a task before making my list I will even write down that task just so I can cross it off. I think it's good to see in black and white the things you need to and CAN accomplish in a day if you just stay focused.

I especially, 100%, and without exception HAVE to have a list made when I go grocery shopping. I sit down, plan out my menus, scan the fridge and pantry for needed items, and happily make my list. I feel out of control if I just haphazardly throw things in the cart. I feel scattered, confused, and to be honest... a little dirty. I know. Crazy, right? I think my husband appreciates the organized me but thinks my list habit is a bit silly. The few times I've done my shopping his way and shopped without a list I ended up spending more money than necessary, forgot items that I needed, and ended up with things in the pantry that I'm pretty sure are still in there.

Well, this morning he actually sat down with me to make my weekly menu. I gladly welcomed his input on our family dining plan. He totally got caught up perusing the cookbooks for ideas and before either of us knew it he had the pen and paper and HE was making the list. He came up with the brilliant idea of having soup all.... Week.... Long. It took me a few minutes to hop on board with the idea. I didn't want to get bored in the kitchen thus lowering the quality of food coming to the table. And I certainly did not want to hear the whiny complaints of my children (who are good eaters) about having soup, yet again. But I caught the vision and we came up with some soups that are different enough that we won't bore our palates and I am looking forward to a week of easy meals that I think my family will love.

Tonight's soup is Kielbasa and Kale Soup. I found the recipe when I was pregnant with Mercedes in a Fit Pregnancy magazine and it's been a favorite ever since. It might sound like a strange combination but it is yummy. Even my kids like it. It's a broth-based soup and so super healthy. The least healthy thing in there is possibly the Kielbasa but I use Healthy Choice's brand since it has less fat. It is so easy to throw together and you can actually SEE how healthy it is. (Did I mention how yummy and healthy this soup is?) For those of you who actually try this out, come back and let me know how you like it. I won't be offended one way or another. Here it is:

1 large onion, chopped

6 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 lb. sweet potatoes or yams (scrubbed and diced)

1 (14 oz) pkg. low fat Kielbasa, sliced

3/4 lb. kale, stems trimmed and leaves coarsely chopoped

Coat a large soup pot with nonstick spray. Add onion and saute over med-high heat, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in all other ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Friday, November 4, 2011

One on One

Last weekend while my older kids were either babysitting, having sleepovers, at the movies, or celebrating the "tweens" at a Beehive/Deacon party, Reef was getting some special one on one time with his Dad.

They started out by heading to one of Dad's favorite surf spots and paddling out into the line-up. Reef was stoked about catching two waves. He not only loves the liberating feeling of heading down the line on his own board but he loves the adventure of the fall and trying to outpaddle the larger sets that roll through. This kid will get rumbled and come up to the surface smiling. I've seen it with my own eyes. The only thing that keeps me from pacing the floors nervously until they return to dry land is the fact that I have complete and utter faith in the man that I married and his respect and knowledge of the ocean. I've seen him take a mild beating himself to make sure that his little ones are safe in the water. He's right next to them at every paddle, every drop-in, every duck dive, and he's beaming from ear to ear. Remember this post? Well, I believe my kids are starting to form their own love for the ocean and for the sport of surfing.

After surfing it was off to watch the Cold Water Classic surf contest and try to spy some professional surfers. Reef got some head nods and smiles from a few recognizable contestants. This kid is not shy and I'm pretty sure if he was given the chance to speak to any of these guys he would have asked them all about why they love to surf, how old they are, what their name is, if they have kids, why they have so many tattoos, and if they think they're a better surfer than his dad. (Because, let's face it, when you're a kid, NOBODY is better than your dad at ANYTHING.) And that's exactly as it should be.

Reef's got a personality that never quits. It's a whole other entity in and of itself. He's also a very deep thinker. He will ask me things like, "Will this dead cow that I'm eatting get resurrected?" "Jesus created the world, right? Well then does that mean he invented cigarettes, too or did Satan do that?" "If somebody kidnapped me would you jump in the car and crash into the kidnappers car to save me.... or would you get a gun out of Dad's gun safe and shoot a bad guy if they were trying to hurt our family?" He is obsessed with "hobos" right now and asks me funny things like if hobos eat fruit , how people become hobos, if hobos are mean to their brothers and sisters. He can handle himself in social situations like no other 6 year old I've ever seen. Sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes not. He keeps me on my toes physically and mentally.

While at the contest they got to go inside a video game and be an actual part of the game. I still am a bit confused on the details of this but they both assured me it was a pretty cool experience. Coming from two people who are not "gamers" I don't know if they fully appreciated the opportunity or if it was kind of lame and they just don't have much to compare it to. No matter what the case may be, I love the look on Reef's face in the picture below. It tells me that this precocious little boy that I love is just that.... a little boy.

Next up was meeting Ward Coffey, the shaper who is making Brandon's new, custom surfboard (early Christmas present). He talked this guys ear off and Ward ate it up. I think they talked about everything under the sun except for politics. Reef still confuses the names Osama and Obama so that's probably for the best. (We don't really bring up either of those names in our house, anyway.) Reef got to see how surfboards are made and learned about different board shapes and styles.

They had a fun-filled day and I do feel the tiniest bit as if I missed out. But I know that these one on one moments are important and to be honest I think that the dynamic of the day would have changed with a mom tagging along. All in all, I think if you asked them, both father and son would say that this was the best 'playdate' that either of them have had in a long time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

He's Found His Calling In Life

He rules the roost in our household....

Why not down at the church, too?