Thursday, November 29, 2012

Three soups

I got copied on an email today that included two soup recipes. So I'm putting them here.

Easy Crab Soup
2 cans of cream of potato soup
2 cans of cream of celery
3 cans of evaporated milk
1 stick of melted butter
Old Bay to taste
1 pound of claw crab meat
1 pound of jumbo lump crab
Cook in a crockpot for about 4-5 hrs for the flavor of the crab go through.

Italian Wedding Soup

2 c. cooked orzo pasta
2 pkg frozen cooked spinach, thawed and drained
4 eggs, beaten
4 large or 12 regular cans of chicken broth
Bring broth to a boil. Quickly beat in eggs. Add remaining ingredients.
2 lb ground beef
2 eggs
Garlic salt, oregano, pepper
Bread crumbs
Mix together. Roll into very small bite size balls. Bake 350 until browned, 10-15 mins. Add to soup.

And I had a taste for this one. I googled it and started cooking it well before I realized I had a tried and true recipe saved in a folder, dating back to 2009. 

For your pleasure (and what's for dinner tonight):

 Pasta e Fagioli
 1 1/2 hours/15 min prep
1 lb ground beef
1 cup diced onion
1 cup juliened carrot
3 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14 1/2) ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans (with liquid)
1 (15 ounce) can great northern beans (with liquid)
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
5 (14.5 ounce) cans beef broth
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon tabasco sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 lb ditali pasta or less
1.  Brown beef in a large stock pot over medium heat-drain off fat.
2.  Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saute for 10 minutes.
3.  Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour.
4.  After 50 minutes, boil pasta to al dente.  Drain well.
5.  Add pasta to the large pot of soup and simmer for 10 minutes.
NOTE: If you think it's too thick, you can add a little water or another can of beef broth.

Monday, November 26, 2012

One thousand gifts and still counting (3556-3586)

candles in votives
home fires burning
seamless preparation for Thanksgiving
a powder room painted
pine cones from a friend's yard, glitter sprayed

a wreath for a door
dog and daughter helpers and audience
everything ready-set-go
Denise at the table

recognizing love languages
things put into perspective
kids howling song on the couch
worship in church
pecan pie leftovers

seeing the need and the hope
turkey teacups
and a pumpkin roll
days to sleep in
hot coffee

late nights up with Shane
his friendship and love
how he vacuums the nooks and crannies before guests arrive and laughs because he knows it makes me crazy
the nearing end of a fourth year on 66 Books

that we've gone this long on the blog
and I still don't want to stop
seventeen years with a best friend
family traditions that started with us
a warm sweater


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Four-day weekend

sweet potato casserole before the oven

because he likes to do this to me minutes before guests arrive

my dad

table setting for eight

ornament shopping, the yearly trek

the kids checking out the sock monkey ornaments
I didn't paint a single room after Thanksgiving. In fact, we didn't spend a cent on Black Friday. I don't even think we left the house unless it was to get wood off the stack for the fire. Today we went to get Christmas ornaments as we traditionally do on Thanksgiving weekend. We'll put our tree up next weekend. While out, we grabbed burrito bowls to go, and pizza for the kids. Followed by Wegman's bakery cookies, as big as your hand. Driving home, I mentioned it was November 25, and Shane said, "Did you say November 25? Do you remember what that is?"

Seventeen years since our first date.

Good life.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Let's roll

Last year before Thanksgiving, I was painting a dining room.

This year, I'm painting a powder room.

I bought the paint for the powder room over a year ago because it was the first room I was going to paint. But higher visibility rooms called to me: the dining room. So my focus got redirected. Shane's picking back up with the school room remodel, and I'm a bit limited in helping him at this point. So I am resuming my own painting projects.

I took off the wallpaper boarder. Primed over the brown and yellow. Then I started cutting in. Only to discover, the color looks much like the yellow I just primed over, and my color preferences have changed from a year ago. But since I was already committed, I finished with a first coat to get an overall effect. I'm still undecided if I'll keep it. Going to put a second coat on today because the color isn't obnoxious and I can live with it. Plus: TOMORROW IS THANKSGIVING.

I can change the color another time. It wouldn't be the first time I've painted a room twice.

Today, the kids and I are going to spray paint pine cones with glitter spray and make a wreath.

Lanie has volunteered to be the taste tester for pumpkin dip.

And I'm going to make a pumpkin roll.

Monday, November 19, 2012

One thousand gifts and still counting (3543-3555)

for Lindsay
and her mom
and opportunities disguised as failure

an impromptu visit from my dad and Linda
a powder room to paint
primer run to the hardware store with Lanie
singing worship songs all the way
while listening to a CD our church made to celebrate its 25th year

for teary days that end in hope
mothers in the here (and in the after) who live(d) lives of example
cloudy days that smell like snow
a full fridge
company for dinner

Friday, November 16, 2012

At her own game

I think I've whispered love into her ears every day of her life.

"You make my heart so happy."

"I'm so glad you're mine."

"I love you lunchabunch."

We play word games with each other.

I say, "Do I love you a little bit or a lotta bit?"

And she always answers, "A lotta bit!"

She has her own game she made up, a love declaration race. Whoever says "I love you more than you love me" first must love the other person more. Sometimes in the race, a word might get left out and the volume certainly gets raised. She's added new challenge to it--she covers my mouth with her sticky five-year-old hands and explains the rules, not letting go until she's ready to race, "Whoever says iloveyoumorethanyouloveme first wins."

We raced this morning, and today I beat her each time, squeezing in enough speed to add HA!

And we laughed and laughed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

In peace

A mother.

Underscore. To number days. Live intentionally. Love deeply. Believe faithfully.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

One thousand gifts and still counting (3511-3542)

I laugh because there are two seasons here: green and brown. Joyfully entering the brown season.

crunchy leaves
mild temperatures for a last hoorah in the yard
a season's end tractor ride to cut grass
the smell of onion grass under blade
tarps to haul leaves and spent summer foliage

snake-stomper boots
and a do-rag
impromptu visit from a friend bearing gifts
enough bread to make lunch for all of us
a last perfect bloom of a black-eyed Susan

a baby deer curled up
a dog that only barks in her sleep
how she jumps and prances and makes us dance too
and that I'm her person
a clean walkway

good perspective on future from a pastor friend
encouragement for future days
coffee and apple cake with neighbors
a visit around my kitchen table
the brown season

inside projects
my kids
my husband
my friends
my neighbors

play dates
tumbling reasons to give thanks
a heavy blanket on my bed
and on my kids' beds
this house

a sore body after a busy day
that You think enough of me to make a promise and keep it

Friday, November 9, 2012

Woodsmoke sniffers

I stoked the fire yesterday, Erin at my side.

"I love the smell of the smoke," she said.

"You and I are so much alike," I mentioned. "We both like woodsmoke and cuddling and chocolate." She smiled and moved into my arms.

Me and Erin: messy sleepers, loud, chocolate eaters, woodsmoke sniffers.

Shane and Lanie: vanilla eaters, neat and tidy, quiet folk.

I laughed.

Monday, November 5, 2012

One thousand gifts and still counting (3492-3510)

Finishing up the study on Putting on a Gentle and Quiet Spirit by Elizabeth George. What I thought might be a book on keeping cool when sucked into bickering with kids or not getting mad easily or often, turned out to be a look into suffering, among other things.

This quote grabbed me Sunday afternoon ... a quote by missionary Adoniram Judson to another missionary, he writes, "I can assure you that months and months of heartrending anguish are before you, whether you will or not. Yet take the bitter cup with both hands, and sit down to your repast. You will soon learn a secret, that there is sweetness at the bottom."

I am thankful, Lord,

3492. for the bitter cup
3493. and discovering the sweetness at the bottom
3494. teary eyes with a friend before she heads north to visit her mama
3495. pink sunsets through my room with a view
3496. home fires burning
3497. luxurious heat
3498. socks for my kids' feet
3499. and hats for their heads
3500. secret handshakes between sisters (karate chop--oy, oy)

3501. food in the fridge
3502. that heat rises
3503. seventeen years of knowing Shane, our first date late November 1995
3504. trusted friends
3505. a day with Denise
3506. Anita's wave to Lanie as she drove down our street
3507. the train display at the mall that Erin couldn't wait to show Shane
3508. a coffee date with a neighbor
3509. marshmallow roasting with the kids on a Sunday afternoon
3510. my days in Your hands

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Nay sayer

Erin informed me there is no Santa Claus.

There is no Easter bunny.

There is no tooth fairy.

There are no hearts on Valentines Day.

No turkeys on Thanksgiving.

And no Mother's Day.

"There is too a Mother's Day!" I protested.

"No," she argued. "No Daddy's Day either."

"Hey," said Shane.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November soup

First fires of the season. Woodsmoke smells. Cozy blankets on comfy couches. A good book to read. Soup simmering on the stove. Brown leaf blankets covering lawn. Low-lying gray clouds. Love this time of year.

Beef and Barley Soup

1/4 cup flour (season with salt and pepper)
1 pound package of cubed stew meat

olive oil

1/2 cup chopped portobello mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 fennel bulb, diced
1 clove garlic, minced

8 cups beef stock
2 cups water

butternut squash, carrots, baking potato

2/3 cup barley

2 tsp fresh thyme from the herb garden
dash or two of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Toss and coat beef cubes in seasoned flour, drizzle some oil in a dutch oven, brown beef over medium heat. Add onion, mushrooms and fennel. Cook about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook one minute longer. Add beef stock, water and barley. Simmer for one hour while you run daughter to and from dance class (not truly an endorsement to leave simmering pots unattended on stove. We just happen to live across the street, so to speak, from the dance studio). Come home to deliciously scented house.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange two greedy handfuls of baby carrots, about 1/2 peeled, seeded and chopped butternut squash, and two peeled and chopped baking potatoes on a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil, toss around. Roast for 25 minutes. (Slice up a baguette and pour olive oil on a plate for dipping--sprinkle with pepper, pour some wine, visit with Linda while veggies roast.) Pull from oven, and put veggies into soup. Add nutmeg and thyme. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve it up.

Serves 6-8.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


I had a full day at co-op yesterday, which entailed recess with all grades after lunch. Erin stayed by my side. She cuddled under my jacket because she felt cold. She ran around me like a maypole and laughed when I reached out and tickled her. I picked her up and held her close. I wondered why she wasn't on the playground with the other kids.

"Who do you normally play with after lunch?" I asked, naming a few kids.

"Sometimes [her] and one time [her] and sometimes I'm just by myself," she said. The words hit close to home, and I saw sadness in her eyes.

"You're such a sweet girl, and a good friend," I encouraged. "I'm sure you make friends easily."

"You are my first friend," she told me.