Chicken Vegetable Soup

I promised my cousin Bruce that I would post more recipes – maybe a recipe from my own cookbook, Mom’s Recipes, once a week. Well, now it’s the last week of January and I haven’t posted one single recipe! Sorry Bruce…… So today’s post is dedicated to you.
It’s been bitterly cold this week with temperatures dipping down to -41C (-42F) with windchill. I made cold weather comfort foods like soup, roasted Chicken, and Goulash. Soup is one of those amazing things to eat with so many variables that each time I make it, the taste and composition is different.

Bundle of Herbs

Bundle of Herbs

Today’s soup recipe is a variation of my Chicken Noodle Soup on page 20 of my cookbook, Mom’s Recipes. It’s kind of a Chicken-Vegetable Soup a.k.a. using up all the week’s leftovers by making a soup. I’ll list the entire ingredients at the bottom of the page. First off, earlier in the week, we had roasted chicken thighs with roast carrots and onions thrown in the pan. In addition, I baked a butternut squash (organic from my summer garden) along side on a tray – cut in half with the seeds scooped out (and saved for starting more squash plants for this summer’s garden) then placed inside up with a bit of water inside the scoop, then covered. Of course, we also had mashed potatoes and homemade gravy. I save the ‘potato water’ in a glass bottle in the fridge from all the potatoes I boiled all week long. After dinner, I put the chicken bones in pot of water with about a tablespoon or less of white vinegar (this helps bring out the marrow, I’m told) and boiled them for at least an hour. After this chicken broth cooled down, I added it to the bottle of potato water. All week, after supper, I saved leftovers in a glass container (I dislike plastic) so by today I had a 7 cup dish of cooked veggies like corn, mashed potatoes, carrots, onions, squash, and chicken as well as a liter of chicken broth/potato water.

Broth and Leftovers

Broth and Leftovers

Thanks to my daughter-in-law Jeanette, I discovered the secret to really tasty soup: fresh herbs especially Thyme. I tie up a bundle of thyme, rosemary, and a sprig of parsley with some thread and add it to the soup liquid plus more water to fill up the pot and then add all the rest of the leftovers, making sure I mash up the squash and potatoes. Add some freshly ground pepper and salt and just let this amazing smelling soup simmer on the stove all afternoon. This is an easy recipe for busy families with young children as it can be made in spits and spurts of time over the course of several hours. Of course, I ‘taste test’ it every once in a while ……….. yummmm. After it’s done, I take out the bundle of herbs and compost them. Remember, this ingredients list is fluid (pun intended lol) and can change. Last week I didn’t have any leftover potatoes or squash or even chicken so I just added some rice. My soup can be stored in a glass bottle to be eaten later during next week.

Soup simmering on my wood Cookstove

Soup simmering on my wood Cookstove

Today’s soup was simmered on my wood cookstove because it was already heating up the house not because the flavour was any better (except in my imagination). Thanks to my daughter-in-law Jeanette, I’ve learned not to be afraid of making soup! And the most important ingredient she introduced me to was Thyme – it gives soup that delicious ‘soup taste’.

 

 

Chicken Vegetable Soup Recipe
Chicken broth
Potato/vegetable ‘water’
Leftover Vegetables and meat, amounts don’t really matter
Herbs: Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley
Additional water, if needed
Salt (1 tsp or whatever) and pepper

Chicken Vegetable Soup

Chicken Vegetable Soup

*Last year at this time, I blogged about “My Technology Timeline”  and “Home Sweet Home“.

Hockey Returns

Okay, let me say right away that I was totally bummed (disgusted) by the National Hockey League (NHL) strike – millionaires bickering with millionaires about…… well, money. But that said, I’m sitting here watching Hockey Night in Canada at 3 p.m. in the afternoon : Ottawa Senators (my team) vs. Winnipeg Jets. Oh, I did get my 3 days of wood chopped, the carpet vacuumed, the snow on the solar panels swept off, and convinced Nellie to make cookies before it started. I said to myself, when they were ‘on strike’, that I was never going to watch those greedy millionaire hockey players ever again. But I guess I can’t fight genetics…..

2 yr old Kalia playing hockey with Nellie 2006

2 yr old Kalia playing hockey with Auntie Nellie 2006

My earliest memory (2 years old) is of watching NHL Hockey Night in Canada almost 60 years ago every Saturday night. Hockey came on at 8 p.m., right after Don Messer’s Jubilee, a Canadian folk music TV program that we sang and danced around to. We often got to have our own bottle of 7Up soft drink during the game. Back in those days, there were only 6 teams in the NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Black Hawks, Boston Bruins, and New York Rangers. Our family’s favourite was the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were hot in the 50’s and 60’s winning several Stanley Cups, the championship trophy. The biggest rivalry was between Toronto and Montreal and I believe it still is today. When the theme song came on for Hockey Night in Canada, we came running from wherever we’d wandered off to and took our place on the floor in front of our 15″ screen, black and white television. It was a good spot to be when our team scored so we could jump up and down cheering. Inevitably, I’d end up on my Mom’s lap and alway fell asleep during the game.
Regrettably, I was never to see the Toronto Maple Leafs play at Maple Leaf Gardens (even though I went there to see The Beatles in concert twice), before they moved to the Air Canada Centre. In fact, I’ve never seen Toronto play at home. We finally went to a NHL game about 15 years ago at Scotiabank Place to watch the Ottawa Senators and have gone every few years since. Once, my sister Faye and her Husband Joey came up and we went to a game with the Ottawa Senators vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (our first live Leafs game). We had a ton of fun even though we were way up in the ‘nose bleed’ section (ie. so high up you might get a nose bleed)!

Our River Rink 2006

Our River Rink 2006

I honestly didn’t know earlier this week if I’d fit today’s game into my day. After my sister Faye called to remind me it was going to be on, I decided to watch. Well, as soon as the theme began to play, I just envisioned Faye, in her chair at home, excitedly breathing a sigh of relief that hockey was back! And that childhood excitement flowed through me! NOW I know what I was missing on Saturday’s this fall!
Hockey is quintessential Canadian, like snow, ice skating, trees, mountains, oceans, prairies, -30 C winters (-22F) and hot summers. Maybe Canadians are just hockey-lovers……… maybe we feel that it’s the ultimate sport, for our kids, ourselves, and those rich players. I know that my sister gets a real aerobic workout watching her Toronto Maple Leafs on TV – she works her arms shaking her fists at them when they get scored on and her heart sure pumps hard as they almost win another game. A perfect workout in my opinion! And she doesn’t even have to leave her house or pay any gym fees! Sweet!

I dedicate this post to my sister Faye, the most die-hard, faithful, Toronto Maple Leafs hockey fan I’ve ever known!

Our own Hockey Night in Canada 1994

Our own Hockey Night in Canada 1994

New Year’s Eve

Kalia playing guitar with the grown-ups

Kalia playing guitar with the grown-ups

Last night was New Year’s Eve and rather than my usual festive 10 o’clock bedtime, I went to my son Darin and Amanda’s house for a party with my grown kids, Robin and Nici, Marty and Jeanette, Nellie, and Melvin (after he was finished work at 10 p.m.), and grandchildren Kalia and Livi.  I wasn’t sure that I should go and ‘crash’ their party:  you know, “Mom” there……..  But they insisted, especially my granddaughters Kalia and Livi.    Besides, they all didn’t fit in one car and I’m always the designated driver…..

Livi taking orders

Livi taking orders

We were abit late in getting going so Kalia called us at 5:30 p.m. and wondered when we’d arrive, so we got our act together and packed the board games and snacks (Jeanette made delicious homemade salsa) and left right away.   When we arrived, Darin had the chicken wings, popcorn chicken, hummus, and pita all ready to eat.    We were greeted at the door by Kalia and Livi, who were the most charming hostesses.  They offered to get us beverages and snacks all night long.  Then, shortly into the evening, they decided to start “room service” like their Auntie Kristi did decades ago.  Oh, they’d still fetch anything alright……. for a small fee.  Once the girls finally agreed on an appropriate sum, they made a list on their chalkboard.  Kalia “got it” and even kept a tab for anyone who wanted.  But 7 year old Livi was so excited to receive money AND give change, she often gave a nickel back for a penny earned!  It all worked out by the end of the night as they were given ‘New Years’ tips !

Room Service List

Room Service List

Then all the guitars and Kalia’s ukulele were brought out and an impromptu ‘jam’ began.  Everyone got to suggest a favourite so songs like “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and “Moonshadow” were played and sung.

Jammin'

Jammin’

Kalia played a song or two on her guitar to grateful thunderous applause!  Then it was Livi’s turn to sing.  After a little coaxing for a half an hour, she began singing for us, for what seemed like hours!  And she was pretty darn good too!  At times she asked for ukulele/guitar accompaniment.  Most of her songs were made up on the spot:  I especially liked her 4 minute song about things she likes to drink from –  oranges, lemons, the sea, bananas, palm trees, the clouds, etc.

Singing

Singing

Darin made more snacks and we broke out the salsa and tostitos.  There was a lively discussion around the snacks table as well as a board game of Carcassonne on the coffee table.

When it was 11:58 p.m., Kalia and Livi ran to the kitchen to get pots and wooden spoons to bang outside the back door at the stroke of midnight while yelling “Happy New Year!!” for anyone awake (or asleep) to hear!

Banging Pots and yelling Happy New Year!

Banging Pots and yelling Happy New Year!

Not long after, I left with Nellie and Jeanette to head for home.  Snow and wind induced snow squalls had whipped up, drifting snow across the main road.  Fortunately, our drive home was less than 10 minutes!

We had a great New Years’ Eve at Darin and Amanda’s house this year with plenty of live entertainment.

Happy New Year!  The best of health and happiness to every one of you.

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