This is the fastest soup to pull together on a cold, rainy
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups carrots, chopped - small
2 cups celery (with leafy tops), chopped - small
2 cups onion, chopped - small
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3 quarts (12 cups) water
3 tablespoons Better Than Bullion Chicken Base
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 rotisserie chicken from the grocery store (cheater
In a giant soup pot, sauté onions in olive oil over medium
heat for 7 minutes. Add celery and
carrots, and sauté for 15 minutes. Add
salt, pepper and coriander and stir.
Add water and chicken base (note: this is weaker than the
packaging suggests to make chicken stock, I just taste it as I go and sometimes
add a little more). Also add rice
vinegar (the secret ingredient). Simmer
for 10 minutes.
Pull apart the cheater chicken discarding the skin and
bones. Roughly chop the chicken meat and
add to soup. (Taste to see if you need
to add more chicken base). Lower heat
and allow to cook for approximately 20 minutes.
You can serve this with a big Matzo ball (my favorite) or
over a pasta of your choice,
like Acini de Pepi (Eric’s favorite) or all by
itself with a hunk of French bread.
This is recipe concocted from a few different recipes I've read online and in magazines...
and it is deeelicious.
1 package oven ready lasagna noodles
3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup Romano cheese, grated
1 package sweet & hot mixed Italian sausage (casing removed)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 jar DelGrosso tomato basil sauce
1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz) (I like the brand with olive oil and roasted garlic)
1 can tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup water
In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir
in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
The Ricotta Mix:
16 oz ricotta cheese
6 oz whipped cream cheese
1 box chopped spinach (10 oz)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Thaw spinach in microwave, squeeze water from spinach by wrapping in paper towel and squeezing over the sink. In a bowl, combine ricotta, cream cheese,
spinach, parsley, egg, salt & pepper.
To assemble, spread 1 cup of sauce in the
bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange noodles over sauce. Spread with the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with mozzarella cheese. Spoon sauce over
mozzarella, and sprinkle with Romano cheese. Repeat layers,
and top with remaining mozzarella and Romano cheese.
Cover with foil making sure
the foil does not touch the cheese.
Bake @ 375 for 25 minutes. Remove foil,
and bake an additional 25 minutes.
I love decorating for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving.
The way I see it, the Christmas decorations are only up for a month-ish, and we want to enjoy the festive mood as long as possible.
We are a two tree household. A big artificial prelit beauty that takes 2 seconds to yank up from the basement and a small real tree that is more funky and fun for the office.
Eric and I both grew up in 'real tree' households. Both of our families made a big deal out of cutting down our own tree and the experience of it all. Now that we are our own family, I'm just not that into it. (More like I'm not into the mess of watering it, dead needles and tree bags.)
Eric would still love a real tree, so we compromise with the little guy.
Twinkle lights should really be a year-round thing.
The mister and I alternate which family we spend holidays with for the 3 biggies ...
Turkey, Christmas and Easter.
We used to kill ourselves trying to make it to his grandparents, my mom, his other grandparents, my other family crap and the bar. We only have so much holiday cheer.
The decision to spend an entire holiday with one family was met with mixed reviews, but everyone has gotten used to the rotation and this Thanksgiving is with his family.
While Eric and I are a lot alike, our family holiday traditions are vastly different.
For every holiday, Eric's family serves the exact same meal... and everyone has an 'assigned' dish. The whole ordeal runs like clockwork. Grandma makes pie, his mom makes salad, Aunt #1 green bean casserole, Aunt # 2 sweet potato crap, Grandma turkey, yadda yadda.
There are no surprises.
(There are plastic cups with your name sharpied on them,
but that only surprised me the first time.)
Since I've joined this family, my assigned dish is Corn Pudding. Now, this was a stretch when I suggested it. This would be replacing the can of corn Aunt #3 that can't cook brings.
My dish was on a trial basis the first year.
(with the can of corn lurking around as back up I'm sure)
Four years later, the Corn Pudding has become a staple.
I think it made the cut because it still contains pretty ghetto Thanksgiving pantry items...
8 oz light sour cream
1 stick melted butter
1 can creamed corn (16 oz)
1 can whole kernel corn (16 oz)
1 package Jiffy corn muffin mix (8 oz)
Mix it all up. Spread in greased baking dish.
Bake @ 350 for 45 minutes.
I also like to shake things up and bring a 'wildcard' item. It cracks me up to see the "wherethehell are we going to put these stuffed mushrooms that were not an assigned menu item" faces that inevitably ensue.
One year I made honey butter to go along with my assigned store-bought rolls. hysterical!
We are using only recycled shopping bags to go along with the upcycling theme of consignment furniture and home accessories.
I have a bunch and I've put out an email to family and friends to save their bags too.
Score 1 for being a bag hoarder.
We're also selling some neat one-of-a-kind items (the 'Finds' part of the shop) and I agreed to make greeting cards. I hunkered down this past Sunday and banged out 18 cards in about 4 hours. One more weekend of card making and I should be good to go.
Each card has a vintage detail... a button, bead, sparkle or bauble.
Some of them are pretty random, but I made a bunch of cards that I would buy.
I figured if I would buy them, someone else would too.