Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chicken and Rice Soup for Whatever Ails You

We had such a fabulous time at my party the other night, but I'm afraid that I overate. It was the chips and dip that finished me off. What is it about crispy potato chips? It didn't help that the dip was fabulous! Thank you, Midge! That wasn't meant to be sarcastic! The dip was awesome!

Not surprisingly, I awoke with an uncomfortable tummy. My digestive system just isn't what it used to me. That cast iron stomach is only a fleeting memory.

Yesterday, I mainly ate broth and yogurt. I was better this morning, but still feeling some after effects. That's where the chicken soup comes in.

This particular soup is very much like one that my grandmother used to make. It's great for tummy woes, colds, and whenever you need something light and nutritious.

Grandma wasn't much with a needle and thread, but her cooking was fantastic. Mother, on the other hand, was a remarkably skilled seamstress, but she couldn't cook. I was fortunate to have both mother and daughter for teachers.

You know how I cook - a bit of this, a pinch of that, a handful of the other - so that's the way this recipe reads. Add, subtract, substitute, design it to fit your taste buds.

A light, simple soup that's easy on your tummy.


1-2 tablespoons olive oil
One small onion, chopped
1/2 - 1 cup diced chicken breast
About 1/2 cup diced carrots
About 1/2 cup diced celery
1 garlic clove, chopped very fine
1 can of chicken broth
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup rice
A handful of lentils
1 - 2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1 medium basil leaf
A sprinkling of dried onion flakes
8 or 10 whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
4 or 5 cups of water


1. Saute the onion in the olive oil until it becomes very lightly browned and  translucent. Add the chicken and saute for two or three additional minutes.

2. Add the carrots, celery, and garlic. Saute for another two or three minutes.

3. Add chicken broth, parsley, onion flakes, vinegar, peppercorns, bay leaf, salt, rice, lentils, and water.

4. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium low and simmer for about an hour.



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Quilt Along: first steps on the house block - seeking your opinions

Here it is, then - the first experiment with placing of applique pieces on the 16" square that will make the block. The paper backing is still attached to appliques. I'm not nearly ready to iron anything on permanently!

I will be making two blocks from this pattern. These fabrics are for the brightly colored, scrappy quilt.


First off,  there's a lot of empty space here. I'll could add to the grass and move everything up on the background or I could fill something in at the top of the block. If I put something at the top, what might it be? Pieces can't be too tiny or stitching becomes tricky, so that pretty much eliminates little appliqued birds. Embroidered birds? Flying in a group? Just little, black, curved "v" shapes?

I'm not sure that I like the green blobs on the tree either, but haven't thought of another way to deal with that yet. Maybe if I had more variation in sizes and shapes the tree would look better. Only one blob stands out as being different. The rest are all quite alike.

Of course, the easiest solution would be to cut the block down to 14" x 14" and  add a pieced border all around it. Here are three possible layout ideas for a smaller block.

Just house and grass

House with small tree

House with large tree snug against it (Still need to work on those leaf blobs.)

I see other little problems, too, but those are minor adjustments in proportion and possibly fabric choice.


I would sincerely welcome your thoughts! This is, after all, a group project and you need to be given a block pattern that you like. Every idea you share will be seriously considered.

What do you think? How shall I deal with the empty space at the top of the block?
What about the green blobs on the tree?
What else do you see that could be changed to improve the plan?

Waiting for your comments ...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Honey Wheat Bread

    I did find time to bake bread for my party! I really like this recipe. It's very easy to make and it reminds me so much of the whole wheat bread my grandmother used to bake. She also made delicious white bread, but the whole wheat was always my very favorite. 

    The following recipe is for 2 loaves. I almost always double the recipe and give two of the loaves to friends. I slice and freeze the rest to keep it tasting fresh.
    The bread freezes well and will keep for about a month.


    • 1 envelope yeast
    • 2 cups water warm water
    • 1/4 cup butter, softened
    • 2 tbsp molasses
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1 teaspoons salt
    • 3 cups whole wheat flour
    • 2 cups white flour


    1. Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm water.
    2. In a large bowl, combine butter, molasses, honey, and salt with the remaining warm water. Stir. Add the yeast mixture and mix with a wire whisk till blended.
    3. Add 2 cups of whole-wheat flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing well with wire whisk after each addition. 
    4. Add the 2 cups of white flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Use a wooden spoon to mix until the flour is absorbed. 
    5. Add the remaining 1 cup of whole-wheat flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon till it’s well incorporated.
    6. Turn onto a floured surface and knead briefly, adding just enough flour so that dough stops sticking to hands. The amount of additional flour needed will vary greatly depending on humidity, temperature, and the flour used.
    7. Cover the dough and Allow it to rest 5 minutes.
    8. Knead 5 – 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the kneading board. (Look for “broken blisters” on the surface of the dough to show that it is ready.)
    9. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil or melted butter into a bowl. Spread over the inner surface of the bowl.
    10. Place the dough into the bowl, and turn so that it is covered with a thin film of oil. Cover with a towel, place in a warm place, and let the dough rise for about 1 hour or until double in size.
    11. Punch the dough down, divide it into 2 equal parts and shape into loaves.
    12. Place the loaves in greased loaf pans, cover lightly with a towel and let rise until double, 40 – 60 minutes. The center of loaf should rise slightly above the rim of the pan.

    Bake at 375ยบ for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the bottom of loaves sounds hollow when tapped. Turn the loaves and cool them on a wire rack.