Friday, November 14, 2008

It'll make a hero out of a mouse it is that good.

"And as he leaned there, his heart pounding, his paws shaking, a small wonderful something occurred. A midnight breeze entered the kitchen and danced over to the stove and picked up the scent of the soup and then swirled across the floor and delivered the smell right directly to the mouse's nose.
Desereaux put his head up in the air. He sniffed. He sniffed some more. He had never in his life smelled anything so lovely, so inspiring. With each sniff he took, he felt himself growing stronger, braver."
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
One of the only things I like about winter is that it is the season for making soup. I love soup. Soup can warm you when you are cold, help you feel better when you are sick, and provide dinner when your budget is tight. This is one of my favorite recipes of all time. You make think that it makes too much, but trust me, you will go through more of it than you think, and it is just as good, if not better on the second day.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1/2 lb bell pepper - I use red

1 1/4 lb yellow onion

1/4 cup minced garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

1 1/2 sticks butter

1 cup flour

11 oz corn tortillas

1 1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder

1 1/2 Tbsp cumin

Salt to taste

1/2 Tbsp black pepper

1 1/2 gallon + 1 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup chicken base

4 1/2 cups cooked chicken

Place onions and bell peppers in food processor and finely chop. Remove and set aside. Add garlc and finely chop. Heat olive oil in skillet, add minced vegetables and stir often. Saute until vegetables are transparent and slightly brown.
Add butter and allow it to melt.
While vegetables are sauteing, tear tortillas into large peieces and put into food processor. Chop until fine.
Add flour, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Process until very fine - the consistency of corn meal. If not the soup will be too thick.

Add tortilla meal to sauteed vegetales and mix together to form a roux. cook 4-5 mintues, constantly scraping sides and bottom of pan.

Add chicken base to chicken stock, and stir to blend. Slowly whip the stock into roux, one quart at a time, scraping bottom and sides of the pan.

When all of the stock is added, add chicken and cilantro. Bring to a slow simmer for 5 minutes (do not let soup come to a hard boil). Turn off heat and cool. Garnish with tortilla chips, sour cream, and/or cheese.

Monday, November 10, 2008

ABC, easy as 1,2,3

I've been tagged by my sis, so here goes -

A - Attached or Single? Attached, very attached.

B - Best Friend? Crazy Wixom women. My sisters and my mommy.

C - Cake or Pie? What a terrible question. I feel like I am making Sophie's Choice. They can both be made in chocolate, why should I have to choose?

D - Day of the week? If I say Sunday, does that make me sound super spiritual? 'Cause I am. But if I say Saturday, does that make me seem super lazy? 'Cause I am. If I say Monday, will you think I am crazy? 'Cause I am.

E - Essential items? My friends. I have a bunch that I can't do without.

F - Favorite Color? Red. I love red. Red roses, red dresses, but not blood. I know I told you all to donate, but, seeing it really grosses me out.

G - Gummy Bears or Worms? - I have negative feelings about both of these, but Gummy Bears got me an "F" my freshman year of High School in typing class, so I hate them worse. I'm not going to tell the story, because it is too long and you wouldn't really be interested. Oh, come now, you don't really want to hear it? Really? Okay. I was actually pretty good at typing, but really bored. We had really cool new typewriters. The kind with all the letters on the ball instead of individual keys. I got bored practicing the same letters that I already knew and became fascinated with the mechanics of that stupid ball. How are the letters arranged, I wondered? By upper and lower case? Tried that, no. Common vowel combinations? I typed ea, ou, ie, ey, ai. Nope. Consonant combos? Hmm, ck, tr, ch, sh, th, br. No. Before I could get to consonant vowel combinations, the bell rang and I had to hand in my typewritten sheet for grading. What about the Gummy Bears? I told you it was long, I'm getting there. Sheesh, telling the story was your idea in the first place. So, moving on. The teacher was not happy with what I handed in and since I kept trying day after day to figure it out she pulled out one of the old machines just for me and I was not allowed to use the new ones anymore. And on my way to class, someone handed me a GINORMOUS bag of gummy bears. I didn't want them. I explained that I don't even like the flavorless blobs of rubbery chewiness, but they passed them off on me anyway, saying I could share with my friends. So, there I was in the dark of the boring typing class, clacking away the letters, asdfghjkl, when suddenly a thought struck me. I wondered if I placed the gummy bear in just the right spot on the roller, would he stick to the key? Why yes he would. Hahaha, I thought to myself. He looks kind of funny there looking up at me all suprised. He also looks lonely, though. A friend give him I must. Oops, too close together, they are only going to fit every other key. Wouldn't it be clever if I lined them all up like a rainbow going across the keys? Yeah, that will be totally funny. The next person to type on this typewriter will totally think it is hysterically funny. And so I carefully arranged the bears going across the keys in rainbow formation. My little gummy bear parade. Only I forgot a few things. Like, it was So Cal. It was a hot day. There was no air conditioning on. Next period was lunch. And, nobody else uses this typewriter but me. There was also something that I didn't know about gummy bears. When they get hot, they sweat. Which makes them sticky. Which isn't very good for keys on typewriters. And High School teachers have this thing about destruction of property. When confronted, I tried to point out that it was illogical to be upset about the property that would have been thrown away anyway if it weren't for me, and there were still all the other old ones in the storeroom just waiting for me. Which didn't go over very well, because apparently that was not the point. The point was that I was not allowed to take the final, which is 50% percent of your grade. Which means you get an "F". Because of Gummy Bears. Which don't even taste good. Even if you change their shape into a fish.

H - Home? I grew up in Los Alamitos, Ca. Go Griffins!

I - favorite Indulgence? Reading a good book. Movies. Long Baths. Pedicures. Vacations. Eating out. Shopping. Naps.

January or July? July. There is icky white stuff on the ground in January.

K - Kids? Two. Aren't they good lookin'?

L - Life isn't complete without? My family.

M - Marriage date? July 30th. Right, hon? I am the one who forgets, not him.

N - Number of Brothers and Sisters? Two sisters. Two beautiful sisters. Too funny sisters.

O - Oranges or apples? Apples. Oranges on the East coast are not as good as on the west. But the apples are great. We like to pick our own. Apples.

P - Phobias or fears? Ladders. I hate getting on ladders. I really don't even like step stools after the second step. I made myself be brave when we repainted our living room, but I got dizzy with fear a few times. It really makes me feel sick to think about it.

Q - Quiet time, what do you like to do? Sew. Apparently I have no quiet time, because I never sew.

R - Reason to smile? My husband. He brought me some chocolate the other day because he won a bingo contest. He and his coworkers play during their weekly conference call with a particular client. This client uses unusual phrases a lot, things like, "that's a snake on a plane for us". So one of his computer techies made bingo boards of the most common uncommon phrases he uses. They change it up each week. My husband won. Lindor chocolate truffles. I am going to go eat one right now, just to check the spelling of Lindor. Mmmmm. He is responsible to provide the prize this week since he was the winner. What do you think he should bring?

S - Season of choice? Spring. It means I made it through the winter. Have I mentioned that I really don't like snow?

T - Ticklish? Don't touch my feet. Ever.

U - Unknown fact about me? I have a hole in my chest. My ribs don't meet together like they are supposed to. You know how your bra is supposed to be touching your chest in the middle of, well, in the middle? If I put my finger to touch my chest, my bra would be touching my second knuckle.

V - Vegetable? I like 'em. Most of 'em.

W - Worst habit? Hair twirling.

X - X-ray or Ultrasound? Um, neither?

Y - Your favorite food? Pizza

Z - Zodiac sign?
Horoscope for November 10, 2008
This is not the greatest time for action for you -- let someone else call the shots.