Soups On!

Today I am having trouble sitting here and writing. It is beautiful outside and the weather is calling me. I have had a cold for a couple of days so I am trying to take it easy and give myself a chance to recuperate. I haven’t had a head cold in years and this is really annoying! I have been on a roll, eating healthy, and exercising. Yoga everyday which is definitely helping the mobility in my shoulder. As I said before, I have been taking back some control in my life and getting on with it! I was really feeling wonderful and then this…a head cold! Runny nose, watery eyes, headache, sneezing, sniffling, whining. Yes whining! Why now when I have so much to do? Funny. Is there ever really a good time to have a cold?  All I can say is this needs to hurry up and get on outta here so I can get back to my plans!

This is the time of year for soup. I love soup. It is so warm and comforting. I am going to make a huge pot of French onion soup, one of my favorites. And everyone knows a good hot bowl of soup is good for what ails ya! I just found a recipe that uses five different kinds of onions, scallions, shallots, yellow, red, and leeks. I make my soup with a beef broth and a little pinch of cloves. I remember one time, when I had a cold, I made this soup and when I was chopping all the onions my eyes started watering, my nose started running, loosening up all the congestion in my head. Not a pretty sight but afterwards my cold was gone! Onions have many healing properties. I am hoping this works again! Ta ta for now I have to go get chopping!

Recipe

1 lb mixed onions

¼ cup butter

2 pints beef stock

2 twigs of fennel

1 clove

salt and pepper

1 tsp sugar

provolone for topping

splash of brandy

Slice onions, cook in butter in a large cast iron pan until transparent. Bring stock to boil and pour over the onions. Add fennel, clove and seasoning. Lower heat and simmer 30 minutes. Carmelize sugar in a long handled spoon by holding it over heat until it melts and turns a lovely golden brown, stir into soup. Remove soup from heat. Add brandy. Serve with a nice toasty french bread. If you have oven safe crocks, put the toasted slice of bread in the bowl, ladle in soup, then put a slice of provolone cheese on top. Put the bowls on a cookie sheet and place under the broiler for just a few minutes until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown. To your good health, enjoy!!!

 

Reminisce

Hope you don’t mind, but today I feel like looking back. As progressive and free thinking as I like to think of myself, I love tradition and nostalgia. I think its important to remember the past as we move forward. As I was walking the other morning (walking is the best thinking time for me) I was thinking about, of all things, Martha Stewart. I remember my mother watching the Martha Stewart show and then subscribing to those beautiful glossy magazines, Martha Stewart Living. The photography was amazing, the content and layout were always tastefully done. Martha could make folding laundry look good! I loved the calendars and the “do you know?” pages. Even the advertisements were beautiful. Oh and don’t get me started on the Halloween issues, I think I have collected every single one! I felt like I could just fall into one of those magazines and live there forever! She seemed so organized and well put together. Was there anything Martha couldn’t do? Martha came across as a stern and no nonsense kinda lady, so I think she got a bad wrap. But no matter what you think about Martha, snobby, classy, bitchy,  or scandalous. She kinda made being a housewife cool, maybe she made it a little more glamorous.

I have never liked that term, housewife. I am not married to my house. I don’t want to be thought of as so and so’s wife. The word made me cringe. It implies that you stay home toiling away at chores or sit on the couch eating bon bons and watching soap operas all day! Neither one sounds very good. It sounds like, “Oh so you don’t work?” Now a days everyone should be working, right? I am beginning to believe that spending time taking care of your family is one of the most important jobs you can have. My Mom was a housewife and she loved it. She enjoyed baking and cooking and creating marvelous holidays for us. I am a strong independent woman, I have always made my own way. I have always worked unconventional jobs, training horses, running a riding school, cooking, and painting, all heavily steeped in tradition. I am very passionate about the things that I do. As I am recovering from my cancer I am embracing being a bit of a housewife. I enjoy doing all those amazing things I saw Martha and my mother do. I love cooking and baking and gardening. I enjoy taking care of my pets and making sure everyone is happy and healthy. I like

making my house comfortable and welcoming to my family and all who may visit. I love sharing good food and creating wonderful memories. I am so grateful that I am allowed this time to stop and smell the roses, to really connect with nature. I am on a healing journey right now and I am enjoying my peaceful little place.  I’m pretty sure I will never be the home diva that Martha Stewart is but I am working on creating a little haven of my own!  So maybe, just maybe…it’s a good thing!

Are You What You Eat?

IMG_0725As long as I can remember I have always been a “health nut” call it what you like, but I have always been health conscience. I think its because I grew up with a very sick Mom, she was always in and out of the hospital, she had 36 major operations. I have seen her in ICU, I have heard how she died on the operating table for 3 minutes, I have seen her hooked up to all those machines, pretty scary stuff for a little kid! As I got older I witnessed many mistakes and wrong doings at the hospitals, even misdiagnosis of major things. I do think it was the doctors that finally did her in, but all that is for another story. However I believe it really influenced my health choices. One of my favorite memories of my Mom is going to the health food store with her. Now back in the day these were always little cozy places tucked away from the mainstream with strange smells and all kinds of interesting bottles and potions. Delicious things like honey and bee pollen, ginseng tea, granola, herbs and spices from far away places.The people there always seemed a bit different, very friendly and wise. It was like no where else I had ever been. A tiny place that you could wander around in for hours and not see everything! Now remember there where no Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s back then, so this was a special place! After we bought our vitamins and some new exotic spices I was always allowed to get something, usually a honey filled bit of candy. Very fond memories!

And so it began… my life long goal of taking care of myself, treating my body with some respect, and trying to make good food choices, since before it was mainstream and cool. My Mom was a wonderful cook, you could find her at the grocery store on her way home from a hospital stay, preparing for the next delish thing she was going to feed us! Don’t get me wrong, I am not a strict fanatic. I enjoy a good burger just like the next guy, but I think it’s really important to eat good food, made with love. It’s what I was raised on!

Soups On!

It has been a cold blustery week here and I enjoy making soup when the weather is like this. I just love having a pot of warm comfort simmering all day on the stove or in the crock pot! It warms my soul just thinking about it! Oh and if Jerry bakes some of his delicious fresh crusty bread it’s hard to beat! I can imagine sitting by the fire with a heavy earthen bowl of soup, dipping bread into the rich broth, savoring each bite, while reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain!

Ok back to reality!!! I live in Florida, I don’t have a fireplace! It has been cold but today it should be in the 70’s and the sun has just come out. Should be a beautiful day! No doubt I won’t be sitting in the house. However, I do enjoy making soup. I like all kinds of soup but one of my favorites is French Onion Soup. Here is a quick and easy recipe for some really delicious French Onion Soup.

1 lb large onions sliced nice and thin, cook in a large heavy cast iron pan in ¼ cup of butter until translucent, then take 2 pints of beef stock bring it to a boil and pour it carefully over the onions. Next add 2 twigs of fennel or ¼ tsp of fennel seed, a couple cloves, salt and pepper to taste. Bring it all to a gentle simmer. Then in a long handled spoon, hold a teaspoon of sugar, very carefully, over heat until it caramelizes, stir this into the soup. Continue to simmer for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile place a slice of toasted french bread in each oven safe bowl, top with some grated cheese(gruyere, provolone, or mozzarella) Add a dash of brandy to the soup, ladle it into your bowls over the toast, add more cheese on top and stick bowls under the broiler for 1 or 2 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Enjoy! This soup has turned even my most finicky friends into onion soup lovers!

And if you haven’t read Kitchen Confidential, you must! Anthony Bourdain has a wonderful writing style. He almost makes you feel like you are sitting down with the bad boy of cooking and having a chat! Check it out and let me know what you think.

 

New!

The beginning of a new year. Here to offer us the opportunity to start over, it offers us the chance to reevaluate our lives, to improve and be better than we were last year. So much work! Eat right, workout everyday, no more sugar, be productive, be kind, finish that project! Seems like a lot of pressure! No wonder we all give up by February! I decided a few years back not to make those New Years resolutions, it just seems to set me up for failure! So what if we just made a little shift, a slight wobble in our lives? Something so little we hardly even notice. How about just being mindful of what we are doing, what we are eating, smiling more? What if we noticed how wonderful we feel when we take a little stroll out in nature? What if we tried, just tried, to appreciate what we already have a little more? The next thing you know you are eating better, moving more, generally happier. I find that when you are happier you treat others better! You see sometimes, well I think most of the time, it is the small things that matter the most. So “CHEERS”to the New Year! And I hope you find all the LITTLE things that warm your soul and make you happy.image

Chia Me!

Ahh

Ahh

I hate to admit it, but I think I am addicted to Chia, I love it! Big Train Spiced chai. I love the smell, I love the taste. I enjoy it hot, even now in the dog days of summer. It seems so exotic, so decadent, like a grown up version of hot chocolate. Seems like a wonderful break in the middle of the day to just relax for a moment with a warm comforting cup of chai! An afternoon delight! I am really trying to cut back on my sugar intake, so I am convinced I should cut it out of my diet. I know it is not healthy, I know it’s loaded with sugar, I know it has caffeine. Always on a diet, always doing without, I feel like a naughty, rebellious kid when I sit down with my vice, my cup of chai!

I justify it by feeling that it curbs my appetite and gives me some much needed energy at 2:30pm. So maybe, just maybe I can work off the 170 calories! Is this ok? Am I just kidding myself? I think I would be willing to give up a meal just to have it! Ok this is starting to sound like an addiction! I suppose it could be worse…I only drink one small cup a day. I don’t drink coffee. I don’t drink Starbucks. I drink only water the rest of the day. This sounds desperate! So silly! I think I need a cup of chai!!!! Ahh