Tag Archives: soup

I Have Answers

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Hello again!  There’s a whole new world sharing thing going on, but this isn’t it, and I haven’t gotten around to joining that again yet, but here’s something from sparks from a combustible mind (who is now hosting Share Your World) that has finally lit a fire under my butt and inspired me to blog some nonsense once more.  Good or bad thing, who ever knows the answer to that one, right?  I felt like writing.  So that’s what I did.  I left out most of the “favourite” questions though because I have such a hard time with them.  It’s like choosing your favourite child.  Impossible.  So I don’t even try.

Socks? Yay or Nay?

Well I used to say nay to socks and yay for bare feet, but now I say omg wtf my feet are freezing.  So yay for socks.  Especially the big ugly thermal ones.  They’re the best.

Is there a God?

Yep.  I follow him on Facebook and Twitter.  He’s a lot of fun.

Is a pizza a pizza without cheese on it?

Nope.  It’s just a pathetic attempt at pizza and is not fooling anyone.

Do aliens exist or are we alone in this vast Universe?

We are not alone.  We are being observed by more intelligent life forms.  From a great distance and with much head shaking and eye rolling.

Do you still have your childhood teddy bear?

Sadly, no.  But he was butt ugly so I’m not actually all that sad about his demise.  He had a plastic face for gawd sake.  It got all dented, poor thing.  I think my mom threw him out because he was looking decidedly unloved.

Brussels sprouts, yes or no?

Yes!  Steamed little baby ones with salt and melted butter!  And maybe a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.  Yum!  That’s three exclamation points in one answer, so you will know how serious I am about this delightful little vegetable.  I love cabbage too.  I will happily eat your portion too if you ask me nicely.

What’s sexier – a beaming smile or thigh high boots?

If a guy has a beaming smile I just assume he has an over zealous dentist, but also that he’s probably up to no good and hoping to get away with something.  And thigh high boots on a man would be hip waders, right?  Not the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen.  Close to the bottom of my list, if I’m honest.

If you were stuck with one view for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I don’t mind the view from my living room windows.  It changes with the seasons.  There is a bit of traffic, a few trees and some weird neighbours in two directions.  The people next door are in and out of their driveway 50 times a day, mostly going on Tim Hortons coffee runs as far as I can tell.  And the people across the street do yard work constantly, weather permitting.  I don’t do either one of those things so they both seem weird to me.  And I rarely leave my house so I’m sure I seem equally weird to them.

Which do you prefer: Spring or Autumn, Winter or Summer?

Autumn over spring because there’s less mud.  Summer over winter because snow is stupid.

What is your favorite thing to do when bored?

I so rarely get bored it’s a rather fascinating thing, because there is nothing exciting whatsoever going on in my life.  My pleasures are simple.  I make things, I read, I play word games to keep my brain functioning on some sort of acceptable level, I binge watch strange things on Netflix, I drink coffee and I clean stuff.  That’s pretty much it.  And I wasn’t even bored telling you all that.  But you were bored reading it, weren’t you?  Ha ha, I knew it.  I don’t care.

What game did you play most when growing up?

We played a lot of card games if we were stuck inside.  Otherwise I remember climbing trees and long walks/runs as far away from the house as possible so we couldn’t hear mom calling to tell us she had chores for us to do.  If my brother was involved (oldest sibling) he made the rules.

You see a police car in your neighborhood, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?

Domestic violence.  Break and enter.  Crazy loud party somewhere.  Years and years ago a police officer knocked on our door to ask us if we had seen or heard anything unusual on our street.  He was investigating something or other, but I was completely useless, with absolutely nothing to tell him.  I’m still exactly that observant.

If you had any superpower, what would it be?

Ooooh….I’d like to have that Star Wars Jedi mind bending thing where you say something to someone and make them decide to do the opposite of what they originally intended.  There’s probably a shorter name for it.  So I would ask W if he’d like some of my homemade vegetable soup with turnips and zucchini in it, and he’d say gawd, are you kidding? and I’d say ‘you love my vegetable soup and would be so happy to eat a big bowl of it’ and he’d say ‘I love your soup and I’ll have two servings please!’ He’d suddenly be so healthy and never know what hit him.

Sautéed onions, fried onions, onion rings, or raw onions?

Yes, please.  Is there a difference between sautéed and fried?  I guess there is.  I’d likely make up my own method anyway, rather than look it up. It’s how I “cook”.   I like raw red onions in and on many things.  No cooking required.

If you could create your own world, what would it look like?

Hmmm.  Maybe a cozy cottage in an endless summer close to the beach with no bugs after the sun goes down.  And a great foot-long hot dog vendor close by who never closes shop.   I wonder if that would eventually bore me?  Probably not.

Punch or pie? (which kind?)

I really can’t have either one.  Too much sugar.  A glass of water with lemon and a thin crust veggie pizza pie.  With a thousand pounds of cheese on top.  You can’t give up everything.

What is one holiday treat that improves your mood every time?

Frankly, all holiday treats piss me off supremely because they’re full of sugar and fat and carbs and toxic waste.  I made that last one up to help me say no thanks to them all.

What is one word that you love?

Goodnight!  It means I can go to bed and read.

King Kong vs Godzilla…who wins?

Who cares?  Do they even know what they’re fighting about?  Bet they don’t.

What cancelled (or finished) TV show would you most like to see again?

Offspring.  It’s the first one that popped into my head.  So many wonderfully dysfunctional characters!  I was so sad when it ended.

You landed on Daffy Duck’s Fantastic Island…what do you wish for?

I have no idea what that is.  I would probably wish to get off of it.

Does free mean free?

Not really.  There’s always conditions.

Favorite colour?

Red.  In that world I created above, the cottage and the hot dog stand would both be red.  Also the sunsets would be red.  The water can stay blue.  We don’t want to have too much of a good thing.

Ugly sweaters…yea or nay?

Yes!  They’re hilarious!  Everybody should have at least two.  You know, for when one is in the wash.  And one of them should of course be red.

What is your favorite time period?

I knew this was too good to be true and there would eventually be a question to stump me.  I like early morning periods of time drinking coffee.  I am enjoying the retirement time period of my life.  I like late nights reading into the wee hours.  I liked the sixties but I don’t want to relive them.  Bell bottoms, for one reason.  The present is quite nice.  I don’t remember the 1800’s if I was there in another life so I can’t really pass judgement.  Lunch time is always a good time period, especially if you have vegetable soup.

And then of course there is the time that finally comes to wrap things up.  Yay!  It’s probably your new favourite!  Thank you for perusing my thoughtful answers to these burning questions.  And now it’s your turn if you’re so inclined.

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Breakfast Soup

It is perfectly fine to have soup for breakfast.  I am the (self-appointed) soup queen and I know these things.  Here is a picture of my butternut squash soup all ready to be pressure cooked.

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Here’s the list of ingredients:

One small chopped yellow onion, minced garlic, fresh minced ginger sautéed in olive oil;  one butternut squash, 2 carrots, 2 apples, 2 little old shrivelled up turnips you need to get rid of (optional), cinnamon, vegetable seasoning, about 4 cups vegetable broth, salt and pepper.

The reason I have listed these first is because usually you can tell from the ingredients whether you have a chance in hell of liking the results, and there is nothing more annoying than scrolling down a page chock full of photos of every conceivable step in the process until finally there’s a bar at the bottom that says click here to go directly to recipe.  Wow.  Too late, I hate you.

I know what a potato looks like before and after it’s peeled and chopped.  There is really no reason for you to chronicle its demise, thanks anyway.  The way to stay sane while researching a recipe is to click the link, copy the URL and then open up your Paprika ap.  There you download, save and create.  Poof, done.  Minimum amounts of grief and cursing.

My Instant Pot category on Paprika is growing daily with recipes I want to try.  There’s a lot of prep work involved and usually a big mess of peelings and seeds and cups and bowls before getting to the Instant part.  Some degree of kitchen chaos is normal for me no matter what I’m making, but with the Instant Pot,  how fast things cook and how tasty everything turns out is SO worth it.  Normally I would never attempt to prepare soup for breakfast but the instant pot makes it possible.  Also a touch of eccentricity helps.  Why does breakfast have to be all eggy and boring, hey?  Ever asked yourself that?  Me neither until just now.

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Voilà, the end result after 9 minutes on manual, normal pressure release for 25 minutes because I was doing something else and forgot about it (10 or 15 minutes is probably fine), quick pressure release and then everything smushed up with an immersion  blender.  I did some swirly things on the top so you can see how lovely and thick it is, and added some freshly ground pepper.  Because people are always adding stuff to the top of soup and that’s all I’ve got.  I suppose I could dig out some parsley, but come on, parsley for breakfast?  I don’t think so.  It’s important to draw the line somewhere.

I’m not a big fan of squash but this is delicious.

Something About Some Things

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Yay for The Daily Post!  And yay for the word “vague” and Savage Chickens being vague.  I don’t know why all of that is inspiring for me today.  I suppose I could dream up some vague reasons, but why, right?  It’s  got me writing.  Good enough.

I had it pointed out to me that my last post was in December.  Well it’s kinda been January ever since, but finally (Finally!) I think the snow is giving up and going away.

So here’s a few things I’ve been up to in this hundred and some days-long month from Hades.

  1.  Crocheting.  It all started with my sudden desire for an old lady shawl.  So I made one.  It looks like half of a giant doily and is not particularly warm.  My attempt at making a “shrug” was somewhat more successful but it was big and bulky and annoying to wear so eventually I took the seams apart and did a border and turned it into a blanket.  I have it on my lap as we speak.  And then the slippers began.  I don’t know if I’m up to fifty pair, but it must be close.  I guess you could call it an experiment gone out of control, but I do love messing about with patterns and sizes and different yarns, and my vague goal at this point is for my immediate family to have slippers for life.  They’ve all been very nice about it so far.  Even W has been wearing shoe box size monstrosities and professing to love how warm they are.  Now I’m working on the last sleeve of a rather interesting sweater and that’s maybe all you need to know about that.
  2. Shopping the yarn sales at Michaels.  Sometimes two and three days a week using coupons and vouchers and going to the checkout getting the same unlucky lady almost every time, who would probably like to ask me WTF I’m doing with all these random colours bought in fits and starts but is too polite to ask.  Or more likely she’s seen it all before and does not even care.
  3. Instant Potting!  Thanks to my son who brought his Instant Pot when they all came for a visit at Spring Break.  My mother was not a fan of pressure cooking and instilled in me a healthy fear of blowing up the kitchen with one of those things.  But a week of watching K use his (and eating all the delicious stuff you can make in it) was enough for me to find the courage to buy one.  I’ve been using it almost every day since.  Yay for more experimenting!  But, you know, on the cautious side.  I sit in another room while it’s working because if it blows I don’t want to go with it.  Childhood fears are really hard to shake.  But the soups are to die for.  Well, not literally.

The sun is shining, the temperature is almost balmy, and it’s getting harder by the day to justify my reluctance to get the hell out of my house and go for a walk.  Ice on the sidewalks has been a powerful deterrent.  Probably wouldn’t be able to find any now.  But I also have a ton of reading to do, many free e-books and three new actual real books from Chapters that I’m saving and savouring and slavering over.  Well that sounds vaguely disgusting.  I don’t even care if they were bad choices and are stupid stories, they are REAL BOOKS.  Yay for real books.

So, am I back to blogging?  Who knows.  Hope so.  Seems possible.  Time will tell. I love being vague.  Kind of the story of my life.  Or not. I don’t know.

New Hip Day

My November Day Three

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Just look at this weather! Would you go out in that? Those are some giant killer snowflakes falling from the sky. I wonder if my neighbor ever wonders why I take so many pictures of his garage.

W has been safely delivered to the hospital for his surgery. We had to arrive before eight so we avoided the worst of the morning traffic, and we missed only one turn. Seriously, what are the odds? It was the last major one before the surgery centre, so no panic. We gave ourselves lots of time to drive around in circles.

It’s wonderful to be able to park your vehicle right at the door for fifteen minutes to unload your patient and help him carry all his stuff in and up to the second floor. It’s orthopaedic surgery so they are used to slow hobblers with crutches and walkers and canes.

Leaving the city centre and getting home was simple, since most of the traffic is headed in the opposite direction in the morning. And now I’m waiting to hear how it all went. And thinking up excuses for not walking outside today.

I might miss a phone call. I have a big pot of vegetable soup simmering on the stove. There’s no one here to point out to me that I haven’t gone for a walk yet. My finger tips hurt. My glasses might fog up. It’s Tuesday. The snow has stopped falling for now, but it’s impossible to predict when it might start up again. Do I really want to get caught out in that?

Yes, those are all pretty lame reasons, but the mini trampoline is also calling me; “…it’s outside or me, you can’t ignore both of us!” Sigh. Some people talk to their pets or their plants, but I don’t have either of those. It’s just me and the furniture.

It’s so quiet in here without the resident noise maker who has the satellite radio and the tv and the computer going all at once while he’s talking on the phone or trying to tell me something from three rooms away.

Anyway, enough blather for November Post Number Three. Stay tuned (or tuned out) for more exciting trips to the scary city centre coming up soon.

Things You Can Say About Soup

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Yesterday was my two-week follow-up to learn the pathology results from my day surgery lumpectomy.  What can I say?  I’m just a mysteriously lumpy person.  Yet another young doctor poked and prodded my neck and jaw and performed my third ever exploratory scope up the nose and down the throat.  This one without any freezing.  I’d like to say I’m getting used to this procedure and that it hardly bothers me, but that would be a big fat lie.  My eyes tear and my nose runs for the rest of the day afterwards.  This handsome young doctor (yes, I’m not so ancient that I don’t notice and appreciate such things) wanted to give me a clean bill of health because this more thorough lymph node biopsy showed the same thing as the needle biopsy did.  Nothing more than inflammation.  From an infection.  But of what, and from where?  The ENT surgeon is still curious to figure it out and wants more pathology tests done.  He also wants me to take Prednisone for five days. And come back to see him in a month.

The wait in the office was over an hour, during which time we watched, on an overhead waiting room TV,  the latest updates on the situation in Ottawa from Wednesday.  Social media and news coverage seems to be centered on information about fallen soldier Nathan Cirillo and the heroic actions of Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers, with very little about the perpetrator of this cowardly crime.  And that is as it should be.

I am happy to be alive and to once again be declared cancer free.  I never know how stressed I really am about something until it’s over and I suddenly feel lighter and able to breathe great refreshing deep breaths again.  A lone gunman in the nation’s capital will forever be associated with this little moment in my life.

After my appointment, W decided to look up a former co-worker from back in his government days who now works at the University Hospital doing bookings.  I met her once at a long ago Christmas party which I barely remember being dragged to, so she and I didn’t have a lot to talk about.  I mostly listened to her and W catch up on what happened to every person they ever knew.  She decided to give us a little tour of the Edmonton Oilers Ambulatory Clinic at the Stollery Children’s Hospital.  At the U of A hospital everything is connected to everything else.  I just wanted to go home and make soup.

Because this is exactly the kind of brilliant and exciting anti-social personality I have been nurturing these days.  I just want to stay at home, read books and blogs, watch movies and sneak Halloween candy from the cupboard.  All of this activity gives me so many topics to blog about (stop – you can’t see the computer screen when your eyes are rolling like that) I just can’t seem to make myself focus on any one thing.  Until – SOUP.  And the things that can be said about it.  In list form.  Why not.

1.  The process involved in making home-made soup is very therapeutic.  At the dinner table a much-loved uncle used to say, with the passing of every dish – “here, have some of this, it’s good for what ails you”.  Well the making of soup can be curative and good for what ails you.  If you have no clue what I’m talking about, make some and find out for yourself.

2.  Butternut Squash will make soup orange.  I don’t like the taste of squash on its own, so I mixed in all of the following things – white onion, the last of the cabbage, a parsnip, one small white turnip, lots of celery, a zucchini, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, some red and green pepper, a can of chick peas.  All of this was added to vegetable broth, a couple of packages of chicken broth powder, vegetable seasoning, fresh ground pepper and sea salt.  So no ordinary salt and pepper in this house.  There could have been more things than this added, I can’t remember.  I put a yam back in the fridge because the pot was full.  Maybe I threw in a carrot.

3.  When everything is happily boiling away and you turn the heat down to simmer, the house fills with the best aroma ever.  Assuming you like the smell of stuff cooking.

4.  Creamed soups are more yummy than the ones in which you are able to pick out all the vegetables you don’t like.  I don’t like adding flour or cornstarch, so I don’t.  My little hand mixer turns this concoction into a smooth and creamy hot mess delight.  I throw in some butter, because the body absorbs vitamins from vegetables better when there’s fat involved.  Never mind how good it makes things taste.

5.  A piping hot bowl of orange soup on a windy fall day restores your faith in whatever you’ve lost conviction and confidence in.  It’s good for whatever needs rejuvenating.  It promises you that everything will once again be all right.  It’s damned near magical.

And now I’m hungry.

No T’s Please

soup challenge - hot soup!
soup challenge – hot soup! (Photo credit: Phil Dowsing Creative)

Challenging bypassing one ABC symbol, no?  YES!  However, we can do so.  Read on.

Once upon a many a moon

A wee lass used a crooked spoon

For soup ablaze and burned her lips,

Excessively hurried for prissy sips.

Spilled and splashed and cried aloud

“Nevermore such fire”, she vowed

“Only meals lukewarm or cool –

                                                      Feed me ice, and day-old gruel.”

Go ahead – endeavour now.  Hardly simple, wholly fun.  Headache soon follows.

If It’s Too Healthy, I Can Fix That

A salad platter.
A salad platter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I try to watch what I eat.  I read labels for sugar and salt and chemical content.  I rarely buy things that have the nutritional value of cardboard, even though they probably taste amazing.  I try to get enough protein.  And anti-oxidants and vitamin C and calcium and all those other healthy things that are supposed to keep you alive and kicking.

On days that I work I take a salad with me for lunch.  This started several months ago, and frankly no one is more surprised than me that I’ve kept it up for so long. Some days I’m more creative than others.  It depends on how much chopping time I’ve allowed myself and what kinds of things are in my crisper.  I’ve become really tired of peppers so I’ve taken a break from them, but celery, carrots, red cabbage, spinach, romaine, green onions, tomatoes – all these things have become staples.  I add chopped hard-cooked eggs, tuna, ham, crumbled bacon, leftover meat or cheese.  Then there’s all the salad dressings and salad toppings and nuts and seeds to choose from, and voila – it rarely gets boring.

However, as with any healthy food choice regimen, it’s pretty easy to stray off the straight and narrow, a bit at a time until you’re deluding yourself that it’s all good.  Like yesterday, for instance.  In my fridge I’m down to lettuce, carrots, celery and toppings.  (Yes, I need to go shopping.)  I made ranch dressing with Epicure spices, plain greek yogurt and a dollop of mayo.  None of that is bad, but before I ate the salad I threw in half a bag of garlic ginger wonton strips.  When the salad was gone and there was still dressing left over, I used it as a dip for the rest of the strips.  It was just like chips and dip minus the guilt.  Until the entire bag of salad toppings, which should have lasted through several salads, was empty.  And I was full.  Of mostly wontons.

The santa fe tortilla strips don’t even need dip, they’re that good all on their own.  Never mind how I know that.

What got me started on all this was finding a recipe in amongst my piles of papers that need to be sorted, even though I wasn’t sorting at all and merely moving them from one location to another.  It’s a recipe for creamy potato soup which I used to make all the time until I realized it’s full of POTATOES and carbs and starch and butter and flour and other deadly things.  And begs for thick slices of garlic bread on the side.

But just in case there’s anyone out there who would like a shorter life and a hearty soup that’s truly delicious, here’s the recipe. 

In a dutch oven combine 10 medium potatoes, 2 carrots, 4 celery stalks, one onion, (all vegetables chopped),  1 crushed garlic clove, salt and pepper, 3 cups of chicken broth and water to cover.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until vegetables are tender.

In another pot, melt 3/4 cup butter, add 1 tsp salt, 3/4 cup flour.  Make a smooth paste and bring to a boil.  Add 4 cups milk, stir and cook until smooth, add to soup.  Cook until thickened.

Serve with bacon bits, chopped green onion and shredded cheddar cheese.  (But no wonton or tortilla strips please.  We have to draw the line somewhere.)