Monday, January 17, 2011

Comfort Food

I've been feeling poorly this weekend. Nothing too bad, just an awful cold. Luckily, today I didn't have to teach since in the US we are celebrating Martin Luther King Day, so I had a little extra time to try to feel better.

When I get sick, I crave the comfort that a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup provides. And it's ever so much more comforting when it's homemade, rather than opening a can.

Luckily, this past summer I made my own homemade chicken broth. I used what was left of a roast chicken, put it in a big pot, added pepper (and a little salt), covered everything with water, and let it cook for a number of hours. It was the first time that I had made my own broth, so I just googled how to do it, and the whole process was so easy (and made the house smell really good!). When the broth was ready, I divided it into separate containers, 2 cups to a container, and froze it all.

Yesterday I decided that I needed homemade chicken soup to feel better, so I pulled out some of the broth to defrost. I looked up chicken soup in several of the cookbooks that I had, but they all were a little more complicated than I felt up to. So I made up my own recipe! Here it is:

* Four cups of chicken broth (homemade, if you have it, but it doesn't have to be).
* One cup of rice.
* Two carrots.

(The amounts can be changed if you want more or less, but this is how I made it).
Cook the rice according to package instructions.
Heat up the broth.
Slice the carrots thinly, then add to the broth. Allow the carrots to cook in the broth as the rice finishes.
Season with salt and pepper.

There are more variations you could try - different spices, different veggies. I bet this would be good with celery, too. I was just working with what I had.

If you are going to eat it all at once, you can add the rice to the broth. But it will soak the broth up over time, so if you want to save some for leftovers, just add enough rice and broth to your bowl for one serving. Keep the rest separate until you are ready to eat it.
This makes a meal for two, or dinner and lunch for one.

Last night's fare also included edamame and a hot toddy (a little whiskey, boiling water, and lemon juice). Yum!

And speaking of 'yum,' I have no idea where I got the energy, but today I made more of these brownies (in my new [old] Pyrex baking dish!).

Now I'm off to make chicken rice soup for dinner again (I'm hooked!). Then brownies for dessert, and then it's an early bedtime for me! Hope you are all healthy in your part of the world - but if not, try this soup!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sweater # 4

With all the Christmas-gift-making that has been going on around here, I haven't had much time to make things for myself. But I set aside a little time at a craft day my mom and I put on a few weeks before Christmas, and rather than only working on gifts, I also made my fourth sweater.

As with the others, it was a pullover sweater that had been in my pile of clothes to get rid of.


For this particular sweater, I also took an old shirt from the same pile. The shirt had decorative lace and sequins along part of the neckline, which I carefully cut off. I was able to still donate the shirt, minus the lace.

Then I cut the sweater up the middle (no need for hemming!), added the lace to the collar, and sewed on a gauzy ribbon to tie it together.



I'm loving this sweater as much as all the others!

[And on a cool side-note, a friend of my family's was at the craft day, and asked about how I was making the sweater. A few weeks later when she came to my annual holiday party, she was wearing a sweater that she had updated. She had been planning on getting rid of it, but once she saw how easy it is to create something new with old clothes, she fixed hers up and it looked beautiful! So much fun to see that thrifty craftiness being passed on. Wish I had a photo of it to share here!].

What have you been making?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Holiday Recap

I didn't get to share my photos with you during December, but I wanted to make sure I got at least some of the ones from this season up here. So here is a (rather large) small selection of my holiday photos.

This holiday season, we got a lot of snow:

Hope you don't need the street signs to find where you're going...

A lot of snow means... a lot of shoveling:

We had frosted window panes:

And, uh... snowy window panes:

There were a number of parties that happened in the past couple of weeks, which means there were a lot of:

- party preparations

- party celebrations

- and party aftermath...

There were presents under the tree:

Someone found which present belongs to her!

Jam and salsa jars were decorated:

And gifted:

Holiday decorations were up and looking festive at home:

My tree, reflected in the doorknob.

I finally got the wreath I'd been wanting for over a year now (from KnockKnocking).

The big guy helps with tree-decorating...

And holiday decorations were up and looking festive out and about:

W.A. Frost (again)

And the glow of candles lit the dark evenings:

It was hard to narrow the selection down to these few photos - but very fun to go through them all!

I hope you all had a cozy, festive, candle-lit (and possibly snowy) holiday, as well!

Friday, January 7, 2011

A New Year

Happy New Year to all of you! I hadn't realized quite how much time had passed since my last post. My absence was unplanned - but necessary! The holidays were quite busy with lots of family and friends in town (not to mention trying to finish up all the gift-making!).

The start of the new year is always a new year for me in more ways than one, since December 31st is my birthday.

So in addition to my annual holiday party and Christmas, I had a birthday party to plan, as well. Some years I have done a big party, but this year I wanted to go simple. Family and friends came over for dinner, drinks, and cupcakes! It was a lovely celebration.

I made these cupcakes from the book Holiday Cupcakes (one of my Christmas gifts this year - I love it!).

They really turned out quite well! Very similar to the photo in the book, which doesn't always happen when you're going all fancy and decorative.

(I may have gotten a bit snap-happy with my camera...)

In addition to the cupcakes, I made cherry ice cubes (which I first wrote about here). Yum!

I put the ice cubes in lemon spritzer, and it turned a lovely shade of pink...

I also made an ice globe lantern for the first time. These are so cool!

I put it on my front steps to welcome guests as they showed up for the party.

The whole process of making them is quite fun:

If you'd like to make your own, you can visit Wintercraft online.

There has been a lot of crafting, gifts, and excitement happening around these parts. Lots more to share with you! I'll be back before long. In the meantime, here's hoping you're having a wonderful start to your new year!