Saturday, October 29, 2011

Why yes, it is October. Why do you ask?

It has been snowing all day long. If it were colder we would have at least 6 inches, as it is we have maybe 3 inches. My jalapeno plants were still covered in green and red (though those are no good because of stink bugs) peppers.

My poor Gerbera daisies.

I'm not ready for winter.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A new week

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen."
~Phillipians 4:19

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, 'My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.'"
~Psalm 91:1-2

Friday, October 14, 2011

Soup weather

The trees are changing and a few are already bare. We continue to have a lot of rain so even though it isn't very cold yet it seems like an appropriate time for soup. I thought I would share (if anyone is actually reading, that is) one of our favorites. I found this recipe at least 5 years ago on the girltalk blog, and have made it many times (slightly doctored, of course).

I like to roast a chicken in the crockpot using this method which I highly recommend. After picking the chicken I put the bones back in the crockpot, fill it with water and cook a few more hours. I then strain, chill, and skim the fat off the stock before making soup.

Lemon Chicken Soup with Fresh Spinach and Farfalle
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped (I use much more, at least 6 cloves)
2 carrots, diced
8 cups (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth (or stock)
2 cups dried farfalle (bow-tie) pasta
2 cups diced cooked chicken
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (I use a whole lemon's worth of juice and peel)
½ 10-ounce package ready-to-use spinach leaves, about 6 cups (I generally use more)
Grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in heavy, large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and stir 1 minute. Add carrots and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes.
Add 8 cups broth and bring the soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer to blend flavors, about 20 minutes.
Add pasta and simmer until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Mix chicken, lemon juice and lemon peel into soup.
Add spinach. Simmer until spinach wilts but is still bright green, stirring occasionally, about
3 minutes.
Thin the soup with additional chicken broth, if desired. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Serve, passing cheese separately.

I generally use these amounts as a guideline. Whenever I make soup it always seems to spontaneously increase in amount (Stone soup, anyone? Such a good picture book). Leftovers are good as well, though the pasta does swell a bit and absorb some broth. Generally the spinach stays at the top so we end up eating most of it the first meal. When I re-heat the leftovers I then add more. The spinach is best right away, just wilted. I love the spinach in this soup, and the lemon and garlic flavor is wonderful. After eating this, you will be spoiled for plain old chicken soup.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

After 2 weeks of being sick

1. My husband is wonderful: cleaning toilets, cleaning up the very messy kitchen, scrounging for his own food, bringing me things so I didn't have to get up, worrying about me.

2. My family is pretty great too: soup, phone calls, e-mails. I didn't feel forgotten while I was at home alone for so long.

3. The dog is pretty good too: I would have thought he'd be bothering me for a walk every single day at least a couple times, because that's what he does normally. But he was so patient. He kept me company. He slept a lot. He played with the cat. He would watch me when I coughed with a worried look on his face. Even the day N didn't walk him in the morning he was completely content to wait until evening for a walk. He's actually pretty smart and picks up on a lot that I wouldn't have guessed.

4. My students and their parents are amazing: No complaints when I rescheduled class, only to cancel it and then also reschedule the next week's class, on a Friday afternoon no less. They prayed for me, they were concerned for me. The students kept up with their reading assignments. They came to class on a beautiful Friday afternoon and were on their best behavior while I taught with a voice so bad I was even dropping words off the ends of my sentences.

5. Two weeks off work isn't always a vacation, but I sure hope it's enough to last me a couple months because this is it. My coworkers were pretty awesome about things too, by the way. I do find it kind of ironic that this was the precise time period I had wanted to take a few days for the beach but wasn't able to take off.

6. I got my fill of TV and Netflix for a while. A little too much time on Facebook. Some light reading too.

7. Fall arrived, though the leaves haven't really started to change yet. I spent some time soaking in the sunshine on the deck and it felt good.

8. It feels good to be on the mend. I'm sleeping through the night again. I have this weekend to rest up, and then it's back to the daily grind. I'm behind. The house needs cleaning. I have a lot of work to do for class. But at the moment I'm feeling ok about everything. I need patience with myself, and I have an even bigger excuse to give it now than usual. So hopefully I will, and who knows? Maybe going forward I'll have a little more too.