Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chicken Soup

I interrupt this blog break on a mission of mercy.  Sweet Kim of Daisy Cottage is feeling under the weather and has requested the recipe for my home made chicken soup.  This soup is my secret weapon against colds, flu and just about anything you can name that makes you feel bad. I've driven two hours to take it to my daughter who was sick at college. My mother-in-law asks for it when she is sick. I should be famous.
Now chicken soup is one of the simplest things to make, and no, I'm not talking about opening a can.  It all starts with a roasted chicken. That is what gives the broth it's rich flavor. you can't make broth by boiling raw chicken, you just can't. If you don't want to go to the time and trouble to roast your own, run to the store and pick up one of those rotisserie chickens that everyone has.  I got this one at Kroger and it was on sale. I'll get at least two meals from it because I use the bones for broth.  Always, always make broth if you buy these!  You can freeze it in one cup plastic containers and you will have it whenever you need it.
These are the ingredients you will need.  A roasted chicken, onion (I used a sweet onion, but a regular yellow onion is just as good), carrots, celery, chopped garlic, and whatever kind of noodles you like. I like the skinnier noodles.
Remove all the meat from the bones.  Take the skin off and throw it, and all the bones, into a separate pot. The skin does have fat, but that is where a lot of the flavor is. If you want, you can chill the broth when you are done and skin off the fat. It's easy.
Add just enough water to the skin and bones to barely cover them. Cover and simmer on a low setting for a couple hours.  This is all you need. Don't add anything else to the broth.
While the broth is simmering, add about a Tablespoon of olive oil to a pot. I am going to warn you right now, I cook the way my grandmother did, is everything measured exactly the same every time? Goodness no, this is so easy you don't need a real recipe, trust me. This isn't rocket science, it's just soup,  just eyeball everything and  it will be great.
Heat your oil a bit and add one small to medium chopped  onion , a couple stalks of chopped celery, and about a half teaspoon of minced garlic.  Here is where you can fudge a little. If you like onion or celery or garlic a lot, add a little more! 
Cook the onion, garlic and celery for about 5 minutes or so until they start to get soft and brown a little bit.
Add  about 8 cups of broth, and sliced, uncooked carrots. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the carrots start to get soft.  I used 2 regular size carrots but I could have used more because I love carrots in my soup. Add whatever makes you happy. really.
Now I happened to have some home made broth already on hand, so I kind of cheated, but this is why you should always use the carcass of your roast chicken for broth, that way you won't have to wait a couple hours while it simmers.  Below is a comparison, the home made broth is on the right and canned broth is on the left.  You can see how much richer the roast chicken broth is and the flavor is so much better. It isn't loaded with as much sodium either.  Of course, if you have some canned broth on hand and want to use it, go ahead!   I didn't have quite enough home made so I added a couple cans of broth to the soup to have enough. Whatever works.

 Once the carrots are getting soft you can shred up some of the chicken that you removed from the bones, or chop it coarsly. It's all a matter of preference.  The chicken is already cooked so to keep it moist I add it at the end and don't boil it to death, that makes it dry. I hate dry flavorless chicken in my soup. Don't you?
Stir it up and let the carrots finish cooking, about another 10-15 minutes.
Now add your noodles, I added about a cup. The noodles swell as they cook so take that into account. Once again, use the kind you like and if you like less noodles, use less noodles.  I like a nice thick, hearty soup.  So I add enough vegetables, meat and noodles to really fill my bowl. Cook the noodles til soft, about 10 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste and then you're done! So simple but real homemade soup is just what you need when you are sick.  When my mother-in-love was going through chemo she lost her appetite. We begged her to eat, the doctors and nurses begged her to eat. It's one of the side effects of the chemo though and she just couldn't even stand the thought of food.  One day she told me that the only thing she wanted was my soup. I ran home and made it. The hospital froze it in small portions and she ate it! I was so happy:>)  This soup will cure what ails you, as my grandmother used to say.  I know a few of you have been battling upper respiratory infections and colds.  This recipe is for you. If I could I would make it and bring it to your homes, this is the next best thing. 
So this bowl is for you Kim and for Dolly and anyone else who has been feeling sick.  I'm sending big hugs and wishes your way for feeling better:>) I would send you flowers too but blogger won't let me add one more photo to this already long post!  Just know that I hope you feel better soon:>)

Oh, by the way, when your broth is done let it cool a bit and then pour it through a strainer and discard the skin and bones, but you knew that right?:>)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I know, I'm on a break, but I just had to show you the pretty oops paint I picked up at Lowes while I was choosing my paint color for the dining room,(which turned out to be white but more about that later).  I always check the marked down paint and for $1 I fell in love with this pretty greeny, bluish aqua. It looks great on this old chair and I think it might be a color I incorporate into the dining room and kitchen in small touches.
It is almost the color of the eggs our Aracauna chickens lay. The eggs look a lot more green in the photo but they really are a pretty good match in real life.
I have the dining room painted now (with Earl's help) and it feels so good to have that done. One more major thing off my checklist.  It's white, that was a shocker for my family. My daughter Lauren laughed that she never thought she would see the day that I would paint a room white. I have to agree. But I just got tired of obsessing about the color.  Life is too short to worry endlessly about the right color and shade of a room. The way I see it, this soft milky white goes with everything and anything I will want to put in there. So far I like how bright and clean and fresh it looks. No regrets. Maybe it was time for me to give white a chance:>) 
Back to work, because really, I am on a blog break.  See you soon!
Oh, and here's a tip. Head on over to this lady's blog and say hello. She is celebrating her one year blogoversary with a couple great give-aways you won't want to miss:>)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ten more days left in February, anyone else craving Green?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Thank You

My Valentines Day flowers reflected in the bathroom mirror. A funny place to keep them, I know, but they look so pretty against the green on the walls.

A great big thank you for all the supportive comments I have received about going back to school.  My plan is to go back full time and keep my part time job. Summer session will be a little bit easier since I work for the school system and get summer off, but I am still hopping between a mixture of excitement and fear. I am always a little afraid of new things, are you?
I was a little nervous when I began this blog, although really, I never thought anyone but family and friends would see it. Never.
That was three years, 463+ posts and over 200,000 page hits ago!  Three years ago this month. 
I can honestly say that this blog, and all of you, has changed my life.  My time shared here has encouraged me to challenge my creative side and to step out and do things I would have never thought of, or dreamed of before.  You all gave me encouragement as my kids left for college and I had to get a life of my own.  I doubt I would be going back to college for graphic design if not for the inspiration I have found through blogging.
Thank You.
So it seems a little counterintuitive that I will be taking a blog break right now. I have some catching up to do. Special orders to finish and fill, a new design that I need to get out of my head and onto the sewing machine. Some projects around the house that must get finished.
Like this....
This is my dining room right now. Fancy huh?  Time to paint the newly plastered ceiling and, while I am at it, the walls. I got a layer of primer on the ceiling this weekend and I was so sore I could barely move. (Note to self: time to get off your hiney and start working out again!)
My tablescape right now isn't something conducive to actually dining on.  You can see my paint color chips. Probably the whites, not the greens.  Anyway, this is what is waiting for me tonight, the final coat on the ceiling.  So off I go to change into paint clothes and get busy.
When I come back, there will be a give-away to celebrate the three years of friendship and inspiration I have found here at Kathy's Cottage.  Thank you friends, for all you have meant to me over the years.  I plan to keep the door of my little cottage open for a long time. I hope you will continue to come and visit:>)


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

No school yesterday or today for mid winter break. I got a lot done yesterday. Calls made, the ceiling painted in the dining room.  Today I have another long list.

1. Another coat of paint on the ceiling and at least choose a color for the walls. I am having the toughest time. I have decided to just go with white for now. Not that there aren't 40 bazzilion shades of white. I may actually just close my eyes and pick one.

2. laundry.

3. Meet with college admissions officer this morning.....yup.  I am looking into going back to school this spring for Graphic design.  At the tender age of (almost 52) I finally know what I want to be when I grow up.  All kinds of changes going on.  Good ones.  Growing ones.

Stay tuned.

Friday, February 12, 2010


This holiday is all about love. Romantic love to be exact. While there are many types of love, all can be held up to the measuring stick of what love should really be In 1 Corinthians chapter 13.  We tend to focus on the warm fuzzies, but there is a real challenge in loving the way the Bible tells us we should.  If love is a choice, then so is loving like this....

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient,
I will strive to be patient with the ones I love, with their failings, with their mistakes. I have those too.

Love is kind.
I will remember that it is often not what we say, but how we say it, that hurts others.  I want to be remembered as someone who is kind.

It does not envy,
How can I say that I love others if I cannot be happy for them in their triumphs?  Whether I share those triumphs or not.

It does not boast,

It is not proud.
I will remember that real love puts others first

It is not rude,

It is not self-seeking,
I will not look at love as a "What's in it for me?" relationship.  Love is about giving.

It is not easily angered,

It keeps no record of wrongs.
I will choose to forgive as God does. He forgets the bad things I do when I am sorry. He never holds them against me again.  I am forgiven, can I do less for those I love?

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
I will push down that smugness I may feel when someone "gets what they asked for".  That isn't love.

It always protects,

always trusts,

always hopes,

always perseveres....      Love never fails.

It's a lot to live up to, I still fail sometimes.  But I will copy this and put it where I can refer to it often.  This Valentines day, I wish you all a love that never fails:>)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ok, enough venting. Life is too short to let something like that bug me and then I inflicted it on you.  It's a mountain out of a molehill really, and I truely believe it was done without malice. All is forgiven. lets move on.  Nothing major here to report so I've grabbed some favorite photos from my Flickr account to make this valentine mosaic.  I hope you enjoy the bright colors and sentiments attached. A little shopping planned with my girl this morning, she needs a dress for a wedding she will attend, and then some project time. And by the way, I need a little sunshine, can anyone send some my way?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Whew! So glad to see the back side of January. February is a short month and March brings spring, I like to look at the bright side of things. Earl just rolls his eyes when I go through that little mantra each year this time. I also insist on adding at least 3 degrees to the high temp in every forecast. If the forecast says high of 36 it will probably reach 40. Really, it happens all the time:>)
Yes, I am quite hopeless when it comes to Spring Fever. 
I am going through a dry spell regarding postings. Anyone else having that problem?  Too much to do with organizing (or planning to organize, that can just be exhausting in itself!) sewing, trying to design new things and all the little things that make up life. You would think with so much to do there would be lots to tell. Not so much. I did just list a couple more burlap hearts on etsy.  Oh, and I have to tell you I had to disable Anonymous comments. I can't believe the spam I have been experiencing!  Sheesh!  It is fairly easy to get an ID even if you don't have a blog. I am sorry to have to do it, and I hope that some day I can enable Anonymous comments again because I really love hearing from everyone.   So, that's all that's new here.  For now.  I have the house to myself today, Earl at school, so I hope I can get a lot accomplished.  For now, it's off to work.  Have a great day!
Edited to add: I forgot I could just moderate comments so I turned full comment moderation on and will still allow anonymous comments.  Your comments will not appear until I get a chance to ok them, ok?