Monday, October 20, 2014

CHICKEN VEGETABLE SOUP


Every weekend I make a soup for week day lunches.  I like soup, it is filling and great if the weather is cold or rainy.  I had vegetables from the garden that I wanted to use and some leftover cooked chicken and rice.  These ingredients are the basis of chicken vegetable soup.  The vegetables can vary depending on what you have available.  If you don't have leftover rice you can add uncooked rice, quinoa or couscous or not even add it.  I add the broth to the pot after I add all of the vegetables.  I like having the liquid cover the mound of chopped vegetables in the pot.  I use this measure as a way of knowing if the soup will be thick enough or too watery.  I made this soup in the electric pressure cooker instead of using the stove.  Both the DH and I enjoyed this soup for lunch after just making it and I went back for a second half bowl.



INGREDIENTS:

1 onion chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1 med size zucchini, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1/4 small cabbage, chopped
2 big handfuls of spinach, chopped
1 to 2 cups of left over chicken, diced
6-8 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup cooked rice, optional 
1/2 tsp dry dill
dash of garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Into a large soup pot place all of the ingredients.  Heat to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Simmer for an hour to 75 minutes.  Makes 8 to 9 servings.

If using an electric pressure cooker, set on medium pressure and cook for 17 minutes in the pressure cooker.

Monday, October 13, 2014

RED LENTIL ZUCCHINI SOUP

With all of the zucchini in the garden, I decided to make a soup that included zucchini.  The zucchini and carrots that are added to the soup have to be grated.  Using a food processor, I grated more than what was needed and froze about two cups of carrots and zucchini which I can use for a future soup.  Instead of adding couscous, I decided to add about six baby potatoes and I grated these along with the other vegetables.  Since red lentils are so small, they dissolve in the soup and help make the soup thick.  I made this soup in the electric pressure cooker and set it for 16 minutes at medium pressure.  The Dh liked the soup so much he had two bowls.



INGREDIENTS:

1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tsp oil
4 carrots, grated
2 medium size zucchini, grated
1 cup red lentils
6 cups broth or water
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/3 cup couscous
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the oil on medium high in a large soup pot.  Add the onions and celery, reduce heat to medium and sauté for 5 minutes or until golden. If the vegetables are sticking to the pan, add a little bit of water.

Add all of the ingredients to the pot except the couscous, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer for about 50 minutes and stir the pot every so often.  Add the couscous and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.  If the soup is too thick for your taste buds, add a little bit of water.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serves 8.

Modified from MealLean i Yumm by Norene Gilletz

Sunday, October 5, 2014

WALKABOUT


One evening last week, Shane, the dog, decided to add some excitement to the evening.  As per the usual routine, I let him out for his final backyard tour before we all turned in for the night.  Unknown to me and the DH, the back gate was not latched properly.  We had some work done on the house that day and what transpired was that they didn't latch the back gate when closing it after finishing their work.

After about 15 minutes, I was wondering why there was no Shane at the back door waiting to come in.  I stuck my head out and he was not around.  My antennae of knowing that he was up to something shot way up.  I raced around to the side of the house and saw the gate was open.  I grabbed my coat, ball cap and shoes, yelled out to the DH who was transfixed on a TV program that Shane got out and I was gone.

Of course figuring out the mind of a dog and deciding if he went to the right or left upon leaving the house is always a gamble as the odds are that you will be 50 percent wrong.  I went left and started to walk towards the park.  It was cloudy and spitting rain and I am calling out 'Shane, come' while walking.  I didn't see him lurking among the houses so I kept walking.  The DH started to follow me and I stopped.  The DH had taken a few cookies which always serves as a good bait and enticement.  I took a cookie from me and kept on walking in the direction towards the park.  The DH went the opposite way.

Now you can imagine me yelling out 'Shane, come, cookie' in a loud voice across the park.  The park is a good size and has walking pathways going through it.  I could hear the echo of my voice after saying those three magic words.  After a few minutes of calling there was no sight or noise from the dog.  Maybe he had not turned to the left from the house.  I met up with the DH who was going to walk to another park that had a trail which goes for several miles.  I decided I needed to up my game and got into my car.  I could cover more distance.

For over an hour and a half that night I drove around to all of the routes that we follow while out walking.  Plus I drove around a number of other blocks just in case.  Along the various routes, I would stop the car, get out and sing out those three words 'Shane, come, cookie' in various voice tones.  Added for good measure there were a few whistles.  It was raining and not good weather for a pleasant walkabout which I imagined Shane was taking.  I was worried about Shane not being a good road warrior and he only has one eye so his perception is limited.  He would not be looking both ways before he crossed the street.

It was time to go back home and take stock plus I needed to check in with the DH.  Lo and behold, the animal protection officer called our house and reported that someone had found Shane.  Shane wears a dog tag license on his collar that was used to make the connection to us.  We provided  logistics to the animal control officer and 15 minutes later, the fellow who found Shane drives up to our home with Shane in the back seat.  Shane is leaning over with his body into the front seat and smiling and wiggling.  It had a been a great adventure for him.  All was well.

The fellow was walking his golden retriever in the park and saw Shane and realized that Shane must have gotten out of his yard or got loose in some manner or way.  He leashed Shane and Shane went back to this person's home.  So Shane must have turned left upon leaving our home.  Shane had a great time with the golden retriever and this fellow told me that Shane was a gentlemen.  Shane a gentlemen?  There must have been some distractions in this person's home like shoes, food or gloves.  Well he was a well behaved guest.  The fellow did give me his name, the street he lived on and also suggested that I get a tag with Shane's name and our phone number to make it easier to find him if this ever happened again.  I profusely thanked him for finding Shane.

Of course when I got into the house, I remembered this fellow's first name, his street but couldn't quite remember his last name.  How was I going to follow up and give him a proper thank you or a small token of our appreciation?   This was going to require some detective work.  The following day I started to do some reconnaissance.  Multiple leads were followed, some messages left with some people returning phone calls.  The street that this fellow lived on was long and had a few side streets off of it.  I hit jackpot finally with one person I knew that lived on that street and who had two dogs. All dog owners know the other dogs that live on their street.  They may not know the owners' names but know in a general way where other dogs live.  I was able to get a general sense of the area where this house was and was ready to do some door knocking.

I got a small gift and with Shane in tow in the car we went on our mission today.   Upon ringing the door bell at the first house I hit the jack pot.  It was the same fellow who had dropped Shane off and he was hanging on to the collar of his golden retriever who is a real sweetheart.   Mission completed and all is well.  Oh, by the way, Shane now has two tags that jingle from his collar one of which has his name and our phone number.