Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oak? Orange?

Here's a quick little post culled from a surreal conversation I had with my 2 younger kids one evening..... We were at dinner, having, I'm sure, a fabulous concoction, when the talk turned to stuffed grape leaves (dolmas, I think they're called).

My younger son, WD, truly earned his name (Wonky Dude) with this one. I was trying to convince them that grape leaves were yummy, and they weren't having any of it. He said (and I promise that this is a direct quote) "Oak leaves are worse."

There came the inevitable question from his ever-confused mother about WHEN he might have eaten oak leaves? "When I was bored."

Then his sister, HRH, chimes in with "It could be worse - most kids eat mud pies."

Then WD responds with "Orange rinds are worse."

I leave on that note.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Oh, my gosh! This must be the ultimate Not Me! Monday post for me! After all, this is the actual day that I actually don't turn 51! So, yes, February 23 is NOT my birthday. And, especially, February 23, 2009 is NOT my fifty-first birthday! Which means, dear ones, that I am officially NOT "fifty-something."

So, top that, Not Me-ers. Boo-yah! I'm sorry, I so did NOT just do that. I'll play nice, I promise.

Also this week, my very own husband & kids did not cook a special birthday dinner with amazing cake for dessert. And I did not eat way too much of it. No, really. I did NOT eat too much of it. It was way too rich to eat a lot. And they really did not put 51 candles on it. Really. Oh, good grief - you people are never going to believe a word I say on Mondays, for ever!

But yes, the dinner was not yet another soup - Sicilian Sausage Soup it was not, to be exact (this is beginning to sound like Dr. Seuss). It was also not hot. And not delicious. And not filling at all. Soup - it's what's not for dinner at my house.

The best thing about my birthday being on Monday is that I did not get to celebrate it twice. On Saturday, I did not celebrate it with my away-at-college, but not with my at-home son. And today, I am not celebrating it with my at-home son, but not with my away-at-college daughter. (Other children & husband understood to be not-in-attendance at both not-celebrations)

I did not get to open 2 sets of presents: one-half not-opened on Saturday, and one-half not-opened on Monday. I did not get several bottles of wine which I will definitely NOT use for cooking, a bottle of Dark Chocolate Martini mix, which I will not drink during the summer, and some basil seeds which I will not plant to begin dreaming of summer pesto.

This week, I did not walk my son's dachschund puppy every day for a mile. And I did not drag any daughters, who were in residence, along with me, as they certainly do not need the exercise either. And they did not complain. Nope! Not them!

Happy Monday! And Happy Not Me! Birthday to me!!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chicken Soup for everyone's soul!

The voters have spoken (all one of you, thankyouverymuch!), the polls are in, & the first of possibly many recipes is now here. Ladies and ladies, I bring you the essential recipe for Chicken Soup!

It's so easy it's scary: Depending on your family & your budget, start with the chicken of your choice. Either a whole chicken, or bone-in chicken breasts, or bone-in thighs, or chicken wings (but you won't get much meat that way); use enough to feed your family. Rinse the chicken & put it into a soup pot. Cover the chicken with Swanson's LOW SODIUM chicken broth. Throw in a large onion, cut in half, 2 or three carrots, washed (don't bother peeling), and 2 or three celery ribs (washed very well - the stuff I get here is usually filthy!). You can also throw in a handful of dried parsley & some black pepper.

Bring it to a boil, & cover & simmer several hours. If any "foam" gathers on the surface just skim off & discard. After several hours, the soup should have cooked down somewhat. Take it off the heat, remove all the chicken, & pour the broth into a bowl. My family doesn't care for the veggies in the soup, so I strain my broth. If your family likes them, leave them in or chop them & add back.

Let the broth cool/chill so the fat collects on the surface. Then skim it off & toss. If the soup is truly cold, it's easy to skim off the fat w/ a spoon. Debone the chicken, cut it into bite sizes, and add to the broth.

When you're ready to serve, bring the soup to a simmer, taste & correct for seasonings (sometimes I add some Knorr chicken bouillon to rich up the taste), and cook your pasta. When the pasta (small macaroni, or fideos, or something spoon-sized) is ready, drain it, then serve the soup. I keep the pasta separate so everyone can get as much as they'd like, plus it prevents all the broth from soaking into the pasta & it makes better leftovers.

We serve it with French bread, sometimes a salad, and always with freshly-grated Parmesan on top.

I've been making this so long that I could do it blindfolded. You can also use your left-over turkey carcass, with the addition of some extra meat after the broth is strained. The soup is different with turkey, but is excellent - a richer flavor, if you will.

I make this with a turkey carcass Thanksgiving afternoon (our big meal is at lunch that day) & freeze it for Christmas night. We usually have beef soup Thanksgiving night, to avoid poultry overload. But when you've got broth in the freezer, it makes dinner that night a piece of cake!

And, the broth freezes beautifully for months in freezer Ziploks. You can also use the broth for other meals needing a good broth, but soup is really the best, to me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Culinary Genius???

Update: After a multitude of complaints (well, just one, from my own personal daughter, PWTH) I've made a minute change to this post. See if you can spot it.

Hello, everyone! Gee, I feel so proud! After my latest "Not Me! Monday" post, I got a comment that I should definitely post "the recipe." The question is, which recipe? The Chile Lime Shrimp not-served as the Valentine's Day appetizer? The Crabcakes with Tart & Sweet Salad not-served as the "salad" for the same meal? The amazing Lump Crabmeat au Gratin not-served as the piece' de resistance (I apologize in advance to all true French speakers)? (I didn't even mention the Chocolate Mousse with sliced Strawberries not-served as dessert.

Maybe they meant my Tuscan Chicken Soup not-served on Thursday BEFORE V.Day. Or perhaps my blase' chicken soup served each and every Christmas Night.

Help me out here, sports fans! Let's have a vote. What recipe do you most want to see?

Hey, it's my blog - I can imagine that I have 4 millions of readers, just as MckMama does!

As a little aside, I am half-Italian, I truly am an amazing cook (as evidenced by the fact that my son, WD, refuses to eat half of what I make - not counting the Mousse, of course), and I do love to share recipes.

So, vote!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Let's see, what have I not done this week? Well, I didn't finally break down about my hair. That's right, I didn't cover all that gray hair add gorgeous highlights Saturday morning, in preparation for not having a romantic evening with my husband. And, on the same subject, I didn't cook an absolutely amazing Valentine's meal of Chile Lime Shrimp, Crab Cakes w/ Tart & Sweet Salad, and Lump Crabmeat au Gratin. While not sipping Champagne. And also not sipping said Champagne throughout the meal not in front of our own personal fireplace.

I also didn't make an absolutely amazing Tuscan Chicken Soup for Thursday night's dinner. I didn't invent the recipe myself. Nope. Not me! I didn't wonder aloud if we could have this soup Christmas night, instead of the blase' chicken soup we have every year. And 1/2 of my kids didn't vehemently shout me down & say "NO!!!! Thou shalt not mess with tradition!!!!"

SO, I didn't secretly plan to do it anyway. Hey, Christmas is 10 months away! They won't remember.

I didn't have to send back every single bra I just received from Victoria's Secret this week, as they were all too small in one way or another. I also did not dispair of ever finding another bra to fit my obviously-weird-sized bosom.

I also didn't receive a planter of blooming red tulips from the work associate I didn't spend 7 1/2 hours helping with her report last week. I didn't hug her, then try to pass them off to my husband as being from him, and "oh, thanks so much."

Also, I didn't slip away this afternoon & have my hair cut to within an inch of its life ever-so-slightly trimmed, post-highlights (to cover any coloring mistakes oh, heck - mistakes. And I didn't return with my hair the way I love it - cut short & sweet, so it only takes 10 seconds with a blow dryer to style. Nope. Not me!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Update: my mr. linky thing at MckMama's site is bogus - this is not today's (2-23) post. Go here: for the current one!

Hello all you nobodys out there & welcome to my very first Not Me! Monday post. See, this is the deal: This week, I did not spend over 2 hours on Friday helping a work associate fix a report that was, how shall we say, INCOMPLETE by several applications. And, today, I did not spend another 4 hours 5 1/2 hours adding/correcting/typing/and proofing it some more. On the same note, I did not wait until 4:00 pm Friday afternoon before breaking out the Scotch (not single malt. Nope. Not me!) because I needed some chill time so badly.

Also, this weekend, I did not drink my tea & eat my digestive biscuits in bed, trying to keep the cat away from the chocolate. But, hey, it was Saturday!

I did not go to the grocery store Thursday late afternoon, & want to buy 6 of everything, but settled on 1 of everything, because hey! There's a recession on!

I did not look at my hair & decide that I could stretch it out another week before I have to cover my gray put some highlights in it.

And, finally, I did not spend several hours on Newport News' website, not ordering several dresses/skirts, because I'm not tired of my old ones. Nope. Not me!