Monday, August 18, 2014

Back to School & My Chicken Soup

                                           It's that time of year - Back to School is upon us!

A trip to Walmart was in order so with list in hand we looked through the aisles and aisles of shiny new school supplies. I just had to buy these new Lisa Frank notebooks.  Aren't they great?

Emily picked out a package of those Ticonderoga pencils. All of Emily's textbooks were purchased 'used' on Amazon.  Still they were really expensive!

When I was just a kid I would look forward the back to school time of year.  The ritual of shopping for new clothes cuz you've outgrown everything, new pencils & notebooks for a fresh start.  Sometimes I'd get a new lunch box or Trapper keeper, remember those?

Emily got these Retro cool Oxford new shoes at Payless, 
thanks to Ivy who mentioned them on her wonderful  blog, Evies Tea Room

And we both got hit with summer colds! 

So, I whipped up a batch of my delicious homemade chicken soup which is as easy to make as it is to eat. 
I swear it's medicinal! 
Care to try it?

My Chicken Soup Recipe

2-5 frozen chicken breast or thighs
a 16oz carton of chicken broth
a Knorrs bouillion cube
dried basil, herb de Provence mix, cayenne pepper
rice or noodles

Place the chicken in a big soup pot and pour the broth over.  Add the bouillion cube and enough water from the tap to cover the chicken.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer on low until chicken is cooked. You may also substitute using fresh chicken instead of frozen, even already cooked chicken.  But you'll sacrifice some of the flavor that comes from cooking the chicken in the water, especially from the bones.

Add a tsp of Herb de Provence and a few shakes of cayenne, or more depending on your liking.  I find a little bit goes undetected by young palates but adds a tiny bit of heat which is so welcome when someone is suffering from a cold.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the vegetables.  I usually have fresh veg on hand but if I don't I just take some out of the deep freeze which helps cut the chopping time.

This soup, like so many aromatic & delicious recipes for soups and stews, has a Mirepoix base that gives the food that subtle melange of flavor that goes together so perfectly.  It's pronounced (mirh-pwah)  which in French cooking means the standard veg: carrots, celery and onion.  I use a couple of large carrots and slice them into coin shapes quickly using a mandoline slicer.  Then chop as much celery and onion as you like.  I like a lot of veg in my soup but I dislike slicing onion so I buy already chopped frozen onion from the grocery store.  Have you ever tried that trick before?

Anyway, throw all the veg in the pot to cook with the chicken.

When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot and put it on a plate to cool.  To hasten the cooling process I sometimes stick the plate of chicken in the fridge.  While the chicken is cooling add some rice to the soup pot.  Follow the directions on the bag or box.

I like to put rice in my chicken soup but you might prefer noodles.  In my experience, the noodles tend to cook apart when you reheat them, especially if you like to cook big batches to stash in the freezer and enjoy at a later date.  That might not be an issue if you're cooking for a big family!

Once the chicken has cooled you can chop it up into 'easy to eat' chunks and add it back to the soup.  Sprinkle in at least a teaspoon of basil. I Love the taste of basil so I shake in quite a lot! I never add salt to this recipe because it has the salty bouillion cube which I find is enough for me.  Bring everything to a boil again, then simmer on low until meal time.  By this time your house should be redolent with the soup aroma!

Don't forget to take a taste to make sure the seasonings are just right.  I usually cannot wait to sample that tasty salty broth!
I'd say this takes about an hour to cook depending on what kind of chicken you have.
Then all you have to decide is whether to ladle the soup into mugs or bowls!
Sometimes we garnish with a dollop of sour cream.
    ~ Enjoy!

Let me know if you have questions or if you decide to give it a try.
Have a Lovely Back to School!
 ♥ Michelle

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Highlights of my Week

How My Garden Grows:

Our peaches our getting a blush

Tiny baby pumpkin and gourds growing in my garden.  
I'm enamoured by how cute they are! 
It's so fulfilling watching something grow from a tiny seed.

Thrifty Finds:

I'm CRaZy about dishes.  I don't know why.  
Maybe because they are pretty as well as useful.  I found the Depression glass plate at Goodwill for $1! 
I  have been collecting 'Florentine Poppy' since I was just a girl so I recognized the pattern right away.  
Got the Pyrex casserole real cheap, too, but there was no lid with it.

 Found these great used books

I saw this adorable polka dot glass on a shelf and snatched it right up!  Never mind that the dots are pink and metallic gold, really now, How Cute is That?!  I found the perfect spot for it on my kitchen cupboard shelf.  Is it too pretty to use?

Found an unusual piece of milk glass to add to my collection

Here's what I've been reading:

So many new good books came out recently from some of my favorite authors.  Then my hold requests for them came through at our library all at once it seems like.  Lucky me, time for some summer reading!

Sookie doesn't seem to enjoy sharing the couch with me while I'm reading.  I like to put my feet on her!  She gave me that funny look, like she was thinking, Really Lady? So I had to snap a few  pics of her sweet silly beautiful face.

Things That Make Me Smile:

Just the other day I got this sweet book as a gift from my daughter, Sarah.  
How Cute is that?  
Two of my Favorite things rolled into one!  It's a parody of the show which makes it all the more funny.
The gray kitty on the back cover {on the right} must be Bates because it has the cane and the ball & chain would cause him limp like Bates.  

The kitties reenact key scenes like this infamously scandalous scene when the Count has the bad manners to drop dead in Lady Mary's boudoir!  She and her maid must sneak his body out!!
                                  ~ Thank you my dear angel kitten pumpkin gumdrop

 On my To-Do List:

Don't you love soft glowing twinkling lights?  
These stars look so pretty and festive 
and I have just the window !

Found it on Pinterest, don'tcha know?

It's the little things isn't it?

Here's what I've been listening to:

One Republic - Love Runs Out 

I just can't seem to get enough of this song!
Listening to it makes me feel good.
When I hear a song I like I just want to listen to it over and over again.  
Does this happen to you?

Have a Lovely Week!
Thanks for chatting,
♥ Michelle

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Here's What I'm Looking Forward to...

So it's August, right?
It's hot outside, there's a LOT of bugs and its Back to School Time.
So here's what I'm looking forward to:


The end of August is apple picking time in NC.

Emily and her bff getting ready to fill those bushels to the brim with delicious fresh picked apples!

I love how the rows of apple trees look.

Apples are so yummy!  Do you have a favorite variety?

In September we like to go to the Apple Festival held at Bethabara Park.  There's lots of good food, music, animals & Lots of  Apples.  Maybe this year Emily, my daughter, will be able to eat a caramel apple if she gets her braces off by then!

Or an apple dumpling will be yummy if not.

I'm not only dreaming of cooler temperatures, that crisp-ness in the air, but the changing colors in the leaves!

This stunning photo was captured by my daughter, Sarah, during that magic hour of twilight.  
To see more of her photography check out her blog, Lostvestige  

Don't you just want to jump in the photo and take a walk in the falling leaves?

I absolutely Love the crunchy sound the leaves make, especially when I'm walking in Old Salem.

Even better if I'm sipping a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks!

So, what are you looking forward to?