Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Super EASY Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup

Long time no hear, I know. I”m a slacker. But I”m here to share a really delicious and easy recipe. Really what I wanted to title it was ‘The chicken soup recipe for those who don’t cook’ or maybe the ‘if you can boil chicken, you can make this’ but I just thought it’d be a little too long. Crazy I know.

I’ve always loved a nice hot bowl of chicken noodle soup when it’s chilly out. I mean, really, who doesn’t? But I really want to avoid all the salt in the condensed soups, besides, isn’t fresh always better? So, here we are. This really is easy, so if you want a tough, complicated recipe, you’ll just have to go elsewhere! Are you ready? Ok, here we go.

Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

2 containers of chicken broth (32oz each)

2 to 3 boneless/skinless chicken breasts

3 carrots-peeled and sliced

3 celery stalks-sliced

1 med to small onion diced

1-2tbsp butter

1 tsp each dried basil & thyme

1-1/2 c rotini cooked al dente OR 12oz pkg frozen egg noodles

salt to taste

Instructions

1. in a large pot, chicken breasts w/at least 1-2″ water to cover them. boil until chicken is completely cooked.

2. in a separate large pot, melt butter, add onion/carrots/celery and cook until veggies are crisp/tender

3. pour in chicken broth, salt & spices. bring to a rolling boil & reduce heat to a nice simmer, or you can leave it on a nice gentle rolling boil for a while, it won’t hurt anything, just keep an eye on it.

4. Remove chicken from pot DON’T THROW OUT THE WATER and either cut into chunks or shred using two forks-this one is your preference, I like it both ways. (My family has decided they prefer the frozen egg noodles to the rotini. I cook the noodles in the chicken broth/water, then put in the pot with the soup mixture)

5. Add the chicken, as well as the water used to cook the chicken to the bigger pot w/the broth.

***NOTE: If you have the time, you can let it simmer for a few hours, it will condense and strengthen the flavors, as well as making the chicken really tender. Or you can add the noodles directly after adding the chicken, let it cook another 10 minutes or so and serve.

6. When noodles are done, add them to the big pot w/the chicken broth etc. Let it cook another 10 minutes or so and serve. It goes really well with crusty bread or biscuits for a nice hearty chilly evening dinner.

If it’s not soupy enough for  you, you can always add more broth. I’ve done it and it makes a really big batch, but in my world, that’s not a bad thing!

This is just so darned simple, and delicious, I seem to find myself making it about once a week. At first my kids were really excited. Now, well, not so much. It used to be ‘Oh yay! chicken noodle soup!’ Now its ‘oh great. soup again.’ But they eat it, b/c it’s good and it’s what they get for dinner. They know I”m not a short order cook, you get what you get.

Enjoy!

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Allium Sativum, How I love Thee….

Y’all already know of my passionate affair with Allium Sativum, that’s the scientific name for garlic. It’s a wonderful thing that I’ve brought my husband along to enjoy. Well, I kinda have to, you know, how gross is it when your date/friend/spouse/partner has just consumed what smells like an entire head of garlic and starts talking/laughing/singing to you? Blech. Sick. My thought is if I have company in what I’m eating, we’re both pungent and no one cares! Make sense? Well, it does to me! Almost like drinking alone, it’s just not the same. Hmm, I don’t know that I can say that either, I don’t mind having a glass of wine by myself. Preferably in a hot bath with a good book.

Back to my garlic. I really should try to grow my own, since I eat it like an apple. Ha ha! Just kidding, I seriously do NOT eat garlic like an apple. Have you ever sampled a raw fresh garlic clove? It’s spicy, like raw onion spicy.

It’s been a while since I shared about garlic, and since I’ve got some new friends, how about a little refresher? Garlic is fantastic in many ways, besides chasing off those pesky vampires! It’s really good for your heart and circulatory system, your immune system, and even though they say it doesn’t act as a mosquito repellent, I totally think it does b/c when I eat a lot of it, they don’t come near me!

How about I just break it down into bullet points?

  • Fresh will always be best over jarred. When it’s processed, it starts to lose it’s potency and flavor.
  • Besides, storing/peeling/using fresh garlic couldn’t be easier, really. Start off by choosing a head (that’s the whole thing) that’s white in color and the cloves (the little pieces that you break off to use) are nice and held tightly together (remember “White and tight”). The ‘head’ of garlic breaks into ‘cloves’. I remember reading about someone who was a newlywed and trying a new recipe, ’20 garlic clove spaghetti’ and mistakenly thought the whole head was a single clove! She put 20 WHOLE HEADS of garlic in her pasta sauce! And being a sweet husband, he ate it and didn’t complain, although she didn’t make it again!
  • Store garlic in a dark cool space, I keep my in my pantry. Do not put it in the fridge, it will lose it’s flavor, besides, it’s not necessary to store there.
  • To peel a clove of garlic, break off the clove from the head.  Place the clove on a cutting board/hard surface and lay knife flat over the clove with the blade pointing away from you, use the heel of your hand and hit the flat part of the knife blade to kind of crush the clove. Then  you can easily peel the clove and do what you wish with it.
  • another method to peel multiple cloves, I saw on YouTube, break the head apart into individual cloves, and with two bowls of the same size, place the garlic in one bowl and put the other bowl on top going the opposite direction (top to top), hold it together and shake back and forth vigorously. I’ve tried it and been sort of successful.
  • If you really want to release more of the garlicky goodness, use a garlic press. They are fantastic little gadgets and you don’t even have to peel the garlic before squeezing it where you want it! I got mine from The Pampered Chef ages ago. It’s super easy to use. I love it when I really want a strong taste, by squeezing it, you release more of the oils, hence flavor. If you want the flavor of garlic, but not an overpowering level, you can mince it on your cutting board.
  • If you’re afraid of garlic, or don’t really care for the stronger taste, try it roasted. Roasting the head of garlic will make it soft, a tiny bit sweet, and spreadable. One of our favorite restaurants serves roasted head of garlic with crusty fresh-baked bread. MMMM who needs an entrée when I have that?

Are you hungry yet? I’m thinking garlic chicken stir fry or some fresh bruschetta. Or maybe some roasted garlic smeared on crusty bread. And a side of mouthwash!

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Go pick your own….

Fruit, that is!  I just found the best way to get fresh fruit, I picked it myself! And I didn’t have the stress or work of growing it.  All I had to do was show up early on a Saturday morning, use one of their buckets and go to town!

Me and my bounty. Yum! Just looking at it makes me hungry for more!

And to town I went! Big time! We (read I) picked 6 lbs, yes, POUNDS of fresh, organically grown blueberries and they are incredible! I wish I’d known about these a long time ago! I”m sure they’ve been around a while, but I”m a little slow on the uptake sometimes!  It was so much fun. My kids, well, they stuck with it for about 15 min (daughter) before asking if it was time for donuts yet. My boy, well, he became the self-appointed ‘sorter’ picking out the ones that were not ripe or removing stems that had accidentally made it into the bucket. Me, well, I couldnt’ stop myself. The people at this farm, Thunderbird, had acres of blueberries planted and it seemed like everywhere I looked there were the beautiful purply-blue berries. It’s a very well tended farm. The rows and plants are nicely spaced so there’s plenty of room to move around between and pick til your heart’s content. Or stuffed full! They also have blackberries and I think raspberries.

Today for the first time I made a blueberry buckle and it was DELISH! I will be making it again, along with blueberry pancakes, muffins, waffles, and anything else I can put them on. And don’t think I’m not eating them by the fistful! by this time next week, I fully intend to be purple! Kind of like the girl on the movie ‘Willy Wonka’! Only not as snotty as she was!

Even though it looks like she's inspecting a berry, she's really pouting and ready for donuts!

There are some farms around here that have peaches, apples,  thornless blackberries, strawberries and other things you can pick yourself. I would highly recommend this for a few reasons.

1. you are supporting your local growers hence your local economy.

2. The produce is incredibly fresh, I mean really, you can’t get much fresher than picking it yourself!

3. It may be organically grown, you can check with the farmer.

4. It cuts down on pollution because it isnt’ shipped to a different state for sale.

5. Because it isnt’ shipped, and they don’t have to pay someone to harvest the fruit, the prices are much cheaper. For instance, at the grocery stores around here, a pint of blueberries might be on sale for $3.99. yesterday, I paid $3/lb, yes, a POUND.  I filled the bucket and would’ve gotten more!

In my mind, there is no downside. It’s an opportunity to be outside, in the fresh air enjoying nature, with my children and the bonus is we get delicious fruit and now I’m in search of new recipes! ou just can’t beat that!  You can check the link below and see if there are any in your area, I bet there are! Give it a try! And different fruits are ripe at different times of the year, so theoretically, you could be out there all the time!

www.pickyourown.org

It’s a great website. Now, if you use it and find fruit in your area, I wanna know what you got!

This is the Facebook page of the local farm I visited

https://www.facebook.com/thunderbirdberryfarm

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Blueberry Muffins, With a Twist

Blueberry muffins have always been a favorite of mine. Until today, they’ve always come out of a box. The blueberries were in a tin and tiny and pitiful looking.  They were passable, but all I knew, besides bakery muffins.  I’m happy to share with you this recipe, they are delicious, and…..healthy! Not to mention, they go together really easily.

These are not grandma's blueberry muffins!

Blueberry Muffins With a Twist

1-1/4 C all-purpose flour

1 C quick cooking oatmeal

1/2 C packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1C plain, nonfat yogurt

4 tbsp butter, melted

1 C fresh or thawed frozen blueberries

1 C chopped walnuts (optional)

1 tbsp flax meal (optional)

1. Pre heat oven to 400F. Grease regular muffin pan or use cupcake liners

2. Mix dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, including nuts

3. In a separate bowl, mix the yogurt, egg, and butter.

4. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just blended. Fold in blueberries.

5. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake 18 to 22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

6. Cool in pan 5 mins, remove to rack to cool completely. Yield: 1 dozen muffins.

I will say these are very delicious and not too sweet. Very hearty. I love the walnuts, they give another texture to the muffins. I added the flax meal for a couple of reasons: the fiber will help them stick with you a bit longer, as well as adding some essential fatty acids that we don’t seem to get enough of. I just made some today and I’m telling you, these are the B-O-M-B! My only complaint is they don’t yield enough, only a dozen!

Are you hungry yet??

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