Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Made a list, but I forgot where I put it

Does that sound familiar to you? I always love making a list for “To Do’s” or shopping lists, or whatever. Seldom do I remember to use the list, but making it has perks, like when you were a kid and had to write and re-write your spelling words...then you remembered them.
So, I’m trying to make a list for the vacation I’m about to embark upon. (Sorry to rub it in for those of you who must stay and endure the cold harshness that is the wild Midwest.)

1. Say “Happy Birthday” in advance to my first born. This will be the first birthday in 31 years that I have not shared with her.
2. Arrange for guest bloggers for the week…anyone care to take a stab?
3. Complete payroll for employees while gone (no one likes to return to pissed off, broke employees)
4. Buy snacks for the plane. (one bag of tiny peanuts - $10.50- does not a meal make!)
5. Charge the re-chargeable batteries for my camera.(I’m afraid to take my new camera – remember, Runs with Scissors title for a very good reason)
6. Paint toenails. A must for shoe less vacations everywhere, and I may even go and get a pedi if I have time, because when I paint my own toenails, it attracts attention – looks like I’ve been toe-stabbed and I’m bleeding out.
7. Do all available laundry (I don’t want to return with a pile of sandy, dirty laundry and add to this mess)
8. Make additional list for packing.

It’s all I've got for now, but I’ll probably lose this list, and have to make another. Maybe I should start posting my grocery list too on my blog, that way I’ll know where it is.
Well, this time next week, I’ll be sunburned and mind-fried. Speaking broken rigged up Spanish, longing for real American Mexican taco’s. (the food as I remember it in Mexico wasn’t that great the last time I was there, but the tequila is awesome!)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Where's the Beef?

Thanks for sticking around all week, peeking into my recipes for quick soups to make and eat, most only take 30 minutes or so from prep to plate (I mean bowl)

But, Jackee, you ask, Where’s the Beef?

Ok, here’s my quick Beef Barley Vegetable Soup recipe to bring an end to “Soup Week” here at the Scissor household. My feet still haven't thawed yet from our midwestern winter's deep freeze!

1 lb. cubed beef stew meat
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic minced
5 cups water
1 can diced tomatoes
½ cup celery diced thin
1 cup carrots diced small
Bag of frozen mixed vegetables
(Sometimes I add ½ bag of frozen green beans and save ½ the bag for another meal, because I really like green beans in the soup)
2 beef bouillon cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon basil or oregano adds a little flavor as well but it’s optional
¾ cup Quaker Oats Quick Barley

In large saucepan or soup pot, brown meat, onion and garlic adding a little water so the meat will brown, or stew a little without burning. Add remaining ingredients except frozen vegetables and bring to a boil, cover. Reduce heat and simmer, but stir now and then, maybe about 15 minutes. Add frozen veggies and simmer until tender, about another 15 minutes.

Add more water or a can of beef broth if soup becomes thick when standing or after refrigeration.

Sometimes I make this on the weekend to take to work all week. I get my daily serving of veggies, and it fills me up!

T.G.I.F. everyone!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Now, to Warm your Pipes- Tortellini Soup!

Shhhhh, if my husband hears this soup spoken aloud he’ll suspect that someone, somewhere out there is making his favorite soup. No, scratch that, this is his favorite meal. He can’t stop when he’s full; he always eats this until he keels over. It is quite tasty if I say so myself.

Tortellini Soup

1 package of Bob Evan’s Hot n Zesty Sausage
½ package Jennie O’s ground turkey
1 medium onion diced
1 cup (or so) matchstick sliced carrots
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1/4 package of frozen, chopped spinach, thawed
1 can of diced tomatoes, un-drained
1 can of Box of Beef broth (32 oz. size)
2 bullion cubes
4 garlic cloves minced (or more if you are crazy about garlic)
Fresh parsley – chopped
1 package of tri-colored tortellini pasta, cheese filled or spinach filled, whatever suits you.

Boil water and cook the tortellini pasta, set aside
In a large pot, brown the Hot-n- Zesty sausage and the ground turkey together with the chopped onion, garlic, add the carrots and celery until tender. Salt and pepper (yes, there’s more pepper!) to taste. Add can of tomatoes. Add bullion cubes and beef broth and parsley then simmer. Slice a section of the frozen block of spinach, drain and add to the soup. Simmer about 20 minutes. (You may need to add some water or more beef broth if liquid reduces too quickly) Add tortellini.
Serve with shredded Romano cheese or grated fresh Parmesan cheese on top.
As with many a hot soup, serve with crusty bread.

I hope that you all are enjoying the Soup Fest that has been this week’s theme. I have a sack full of home made noodle and soup recipes that take all day to simmer. This week, the recipes have been about concocting them in a small time frame.

Are we all warming up yet?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lemon Chicken Rice Soup - Cheater's Style

I have long been a fan of Lemon Chicken Rice Soup, and around here there are many varieties that are served in restaraunts and I can't seem to duplicate, because they are so very creamy. The recipes that I have stolen from my girlfriend, the internet and from various cookbooks have all been delicious, but time consuming.

This is my rendention of Lemon Chicken Rice Soup, cheater's style, one that you don't have to cook until your eyeballs bug out and one that doesn't have you grinding up seventy lemons to get a cup of juice.

First, take about two or three chicken breasts and cover with water and simmer the heck out of them. De-bone them, be extra careful, because my husband swears I save a few tiny chicken bones just to choke him with, but I try very hard not to. Be sure to save the chicken water, which is a slight broth now.
Put the chicken back into the broth, add a few cans (14oz. cans or one large 32 oz box of Swanson's chicken broth)
Dice 2 stalks of celery really thin, add to the chicken and broth mixture. Bring to a simmer again.
Add about three cups of bottled lemon juice (you can juice real lemons if you have them growing outside on your own trees or if you are a glutton for punishment, otherwise, this is part of the cheater part)
Add salt and pepper to taste. (Again with the pepper! I know!)
Cook 1 and 1/2 cups of long grained rice as directed on package. Don't use Minute Rice, it gets too soggy.
Add rice to the chicken soup that forming, right before your very eyes.
Add a cube of chicken broth (or a few tablespoons of Knorr chicken broth powder - a secret ingredient of mine, you can purchase this powdery delight in the Mexican section of your supermarket, it's flavorful, but full of sodium so be prepared if you are on a low sodium diet, less is more here)
Now, here's the really cheater part. Add a can of condensed CREAM of chicken soup. This thickens the watery soup and adds more flavor. If it still isn't thick enough, add another can, but remember, after the soup sits with the rice in it, the rice will absorb the liquid and your soup, while tasty, gets pastie.
Please taste it now, if it's not peppery or lemony enough, add more lemon juice or more pepper.
Love it! The next day, if there is any left, you may have to add another can of broth and a little bit of milk to thin it out and not loose the flavor.

I serve it with crusty French bread. We eat alot of crusty breads with our soup.
I can hook you up with long, drawn out Chicken Lemon Rice recipes, but this is quick and easy and still gets the soup on!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Like Stuffed Peppers without the Stuffed Part

Second EZ recipe for this week's feature "SOUP", is one that you can prepare in the crock pot, or fix in a pot on the stove and serve.

Green Pepper Soup

1 1/2 Lbs. ground chuck (or ground turkey if you like a different taste or twist)
3 large green peppers, take out the seeds and guts, chop into 1/4" pieces
1 large onion, diced
2 cans of Beef Broth
2 cans of condensed tomato soup - undiluted
1 can crushed tomato undrained
1 and 1/2 cups of cooked rice.
Salt and pepper to your own taste, my husband adds about a cup of pepper, no, really he does!

Cook beef (or turkey) green peppers and onions, drain.
add broth, tomato soup and crushed tomatoes.
Simmer (or let the crock pot simmer on low while you are at work)
Add the cooked rice about 15 or 20 minutes before you are ready to eat, to let the flavor's absorb!
This is great! I'm not a huge stuffed pepper fan, but this is so very tastey and filling.

Stay tuned for another recipe that will use rice and chicken in a flavorful way!

Hope your days are snug and toasty, think Spring!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Soup's On!

It’s another snowstorm here in N.W. Indiana – again. Those of you who live in warmer climates…you really won’t understand me this week. Each day the drive into work is made clumsy, if not dangerous by the ice, slush and cumulative piles of snow. Snow on top of snow, it gets on your last frozen nerve I’m telling you! Freezing temperatures last week made me think of snow days when my kids were younger, and school was called off because of snow. Then I wasn’t the cook that I am now, which took years of trial and effort. Snow meant trying out a chili recipe or heating up a little pot of Mrs. Grass chicken noodle soup, the latter of which was more a hot beverage with a few tiny noodles. Either way, the intent was to warm you up. This week I will feature many of my soup recipes. I thought that new cooks could try a few, and older cooks??? Well, leave a comment and hook a girl up to your favorite soup recipes!

We’ll start with a hearty easy recipe for potato soup. Easy, because I can come home from work, dice up some potatoes and still have time to prepare the soup and serve it before my husband arrives, all cold and hungry.

10 peeled potatoes – diced, rinsed cover with 8 cups of chicken broth (canned is good)
Boil until soft, then mash a little until lumpy; while potatoes are cooking, combine in a frying pan, 4 stalks of diced celery, ½ large onion chopped and 1 stick of margarine or butter. (Yum, butter…) Sauté until soft, then add ¾ cup of flour to make rue. (If the mixture looks greasy, add more flour. Cook for additional 2 min. to heat the flour; add ½ of the rue mixture to potato mixture until all lumps are dissolved and then add the other half of the rue mixture. If your soup gets too thick, add some (about a cup and a half) milk to thin it out. Salt and pepper to taste (my husband loves his pepper – I watch my salt intake) Add milk to desired consistency.

Garnish with crumbled bacon bits (I use turkey bacon, cooked in the microwave to save some time and a few calories) and serve topped with grated cheddar cheese. I love the cheese part!
Drop into a carb induced coma.
OHHHH, the yum, I’m feeling it now.

Watch for tomorrow’s easy recipe – something you can let fester in your crock pot while you work, play or sleep!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fffffun Fffffact Fffffriday (The Frozen Edition)

It’s freezing in N.W. Indiana – and I mean literally. With wind chill factors the temp is -22 degrees in some areas, and some colder. We’ve been hit by snow and more snow and now these cold temps.
It makes me want to curl into a ball.
Instead, I’m resurrecting Ffffun Ffffact Fffffriday.

*First Fact, I’m freezing! My nose is cold, my feet haven’t thawed from my drive in to work, and this cold weather makes my trigeminal nerve fire up and inflict pain and aches to my face, neck and ear.

*Warm beverage alert. Although coffee dehydrates you, it’s so yummy don’t you agree? I like to add sugar and cream to mine, and sometimes I add Hershey’s chocolate syrup – did you know that Hershey’s chocolate syrup is fat free?

*I thought I saw a polar bear on my way in, but alas, Indiana doesn't harbor fugitive bears trying to ditch the Arctic cold (Sucka!!!) Did you know that polar bear skin is black? Their hair is hollow, and light colored to absorb the heat from the sun and hold it longer, and their hollow hair shaft keeps them warmer when wet.

*Polar bears are mean, not cuddly.

*The cold makes me want to hibernate and work on my projects, and although I was invited out to dinner tonight, I may just do so. I have a slight addiction to scrapbook paper and recently have added scrapbook letters of all sorts to my addiction. I must get to scrapping. Otherwise it looks like a collection of sorts.

*I am well on my way to one of my new year goals. I bought some cool new fuzzy slim hangars to help organize my closet. You can view them here. I’ll let you know how they work out. My sis-in-law uses them and said it saves her a ton of space in the closet.

*14 more days until I leave this sucky weather for Mexico. Kids, can you say “I’m outta here?”

*Taking a warm weather break in the winter really speeds spring/summer along. Yeah, I know! Can’t wait.

*True story, my co-worker discovered that her cat had died in her living room, laying on a little pillow. They saw him laying there on Wednesday – and didn’t check to see if he were alive until Friday morning when they noticed he hadn’t moved. (and was stiff I guess) Poor Kitty. RIP

*I will have to be sedated when my Casper goes to his Final Reward. Just sayin folks, be prepared.

*I brought a cold sandwich and yogurt for lunch....what was I thinking????

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's All In a Name....or Not

What’s up with the Palin family and their excruciating effort to name their children something that will be creative, unique and will stand apart from all the other children in pre-K? I mean, um, come ON, Tripp, Track, Trigg, Bristol and Piper?

I’ve noticed that celebrities have also jumped on the Name that Kid bandwagon, and decidedly and purposely named their offspring simple nouns {Apple} and flowers {Violet} and days of the week {Sunday}. ????

What happened to Kevin? And Susan, Peter, Mary, Ellen, George and Patty?

Gone by the wayside to modern names like Camden, Lincoln, Sydney, Kennedy, and Blue.

I’ve long been fascinated by the names that are placed onto children. In my time, I’ve witnessed a Harry Nipple and a Richard Head. I’ve witnessed Gertrudes and Edith’s placed on sweet infant girls, long before they grow into those names. I’ve often wanted to grab the phone and call up the parents to ask them “What were you thinking?”

It’s not about YOU mom and dad. It’s the one of the first self-less acts one bestows onto your newborn. What might they live up to? What might uplift their life’s journey? Dollie Blue? Pleeese! It isn’t about what you like, but what the world may perceive. Reading mommie blogs now and again, there is much ado about nursing and when to quit. (When the child is old enough to ask for it, please, put it away!) About homeschooling and not immunizing the kids. Again, let’s think about what is best for the child. Would you really want to send your kid out into the big world unprepared? And named Turkey Bone Bumpstead?

My mother used to have a good saying when I was a new mom, she told me, “raise your children with one arm holding them close to you and one arm pushing them away”. Think about it. We are given the task of creating a warm loving environment, one that can nurture a child safely into their youth, giving them all the support that is needed to help them to be confident and independent and then we name them something like Tippy. Take one step forward and two steps back.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Lunch Noise

Normally I read the paper during my daily caloric intake (that’s what I call “lunch” sometimes-GAH-it’s so unappealing) at the noon time hour. I 'm there, in the staff lounge, idly eating, conversing some and taking in less than 300 calories and a full 8 oz. bottle of H20. Today due to the medical centers furnace malfunction the kitchen area was too cold to sit in comfortably, and those of us who stayed in today, shared our noon meal in the conference room. You know, cushy high-backed swivel chairs, soft muted music, long ass table, conference room. The conversation was interesting, and if I had to step back and just listen in, I think every day conversation is really pretty OUT there!

The conversation included recent movie releases (two thumbs up for Marley and Me – but a D- for 7 Pounds starring Will Smith) and TV shows (The Bachelor was a hot topic, although I am not personally a fan of reality shows) and flowed steadily into bodily afflictions. Hey, come on, we’re a medical facility, so our chats regularly revolve around bodily functions and afflictions, not to gross anyone out mind you, but if you have a squeamish stomach, stay away, listener beware! I don’t know how the conversation got to it, but we ended up pondering the common house fly and whether or not it pooped and peed. We all could agree upon having viewed tiny black specks, assuming that it was fly poop, but what about fly urine? Or any bug urine for that matter. Then we talked about the life cycle of a maggot to fly.

How is your day going? As you can see, fairly well, why my blog posts are far and few, when fly poop and the pondering of such is what my Google searches now consist of. No luck on the poop or urine facts. And how is YOUR Tuesday shaping up?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

1st Post of 2009 !

Happy New Year, compadre bloggers (I'm brushing up on my very bad Spanish for my much anticipated trip to Xtapa, Mexico in January) This is my first post in the new year - I know, one you all have anticipated with bated breath. Not.

The air outside today is moist - that of evaporating snow and ice, the uncommon warmth of the air creates a spooky mid morning fog all around. I'm stuck with the daunting task of de-decorating the house from our 2008 holiday season.
Instead, I'm printing photo's to scrapbook later, doing some laundry, exercising and encouraging my husband in his war game on the Wii.
The Wii.
Another distraction to blogging my friends. That's all I'm going to say. It's not an addiction - I swear! And yeah, uh, huh it is so really exercise - I've got the ache to prove it.

For 2009, I have some goals in mind.

1. Seriously, no jokes, time to get healthy folks. That means I lose at least 20 lbs, but more importantly - get fit. I have the means, just not the energy. But I have to really put my nose to the grindstone, my foot to the pedal, my ass in gear.
2. Last years' timid attempt at "Every day-throw away", mantra that forced my consciousness into taking a good hard look at clutter and all the "things" that are material that hang around that I don't need really helped me sort things out. I am going to continue those same efforts and each week concentrate on a drawer/cabinet/closet to clean out. To keep myself in check I may monitor myself here. (oh, boy, you can hardly wait huh?)
3. Vacation. Seriously vacation. As in leave the house, stay overnight elsewhere.
4. Blog more frequently with more thought put into it.

That enough for you? I've plenty to be thankful for this last year (2008) I've said goodbye to having migraine's daily - a feat I never thought I'd conquer after their arrival a few years back. My health has taken a turn for the better! That's why I owe it to myself to get into better physical shape. I'm planning a much needed week long get away with my husband and my in-laws to their condo in Xtapa, Mexico at a resort. It's plenty of rest, beach, sand and sun...I can hardly wait! It'd be nice to be a few pounds free by Jan. 31st, but I'm not really expecting it.

To all of you who read, lurk and comment on my blog - thank you for peeking in. I appreciate it. I'd love to have more reader friends, so invite your cousins. Even the snotty ones! I read lots more than I write folks, so I'm as guilty as the next.
To 2009! And all it may bring.