Wednesday, July 14, 2021

My Art Featured on Art Group - The Mixed Media Emporium

 I was honored yet again to have my artwork featured on the masthead of the Facebook group page for The Mixed Media Emporium - with Nina Ribena & Kylie Coo.



This is a prompt related group on Facebook. Every week on Sunday morning there is a YouTube video from Nina Ribena and another from Kylie Coo that features a specific prompt. It's what I look forward to most on Sunday mornings, grabbing a cup of coffee and watching both videos and then visiting Facebook to see what others have done.



This prompt was for the month of June, Week 4 and the prompt was Watercolor Doodles. I started out with a piece of watercolor paper that was 6 inches x 5 inches and I added watercolors in shades of pink and green and grey and a touch of turquoise and yellow to add some brightness. 

I knew that what I wanted to doodle was roses so I left certain spots pink on purpose.

I just finished the 100 Days of Zentangle 2021 with The Tireless Tangler, Cyndee Pulley and the Tangle pattern we did on day 96 was one called Pozer by Beth Snoderly and it's so easy and yet you achieve such a beautiful design that it looks like you spent hours on it. The easiest Roses I've ever drawn!



The leaves are a Tangle pattern called Anuleaf by Lila Holter and the rose buds are a Tangle pattern called Buddy by Dorothy Allison. The little fringy things with dots are just something I like to do, not sure where I saw it, but it's cute.

So I was very happy that my artwork was chosen to be featured for the week! This is my third time to have my art featured. You can find the first time HERE and the second time HERE. I think I'm getting better with age...like a fine wine!

I find it hard to make time to do every weekly prompt, but I try to do as many as I can. It's a great group of super-talented individuals.

I'm going to try to share some of my favorite pieces from The 100 Days of Zentangle 2021 in another post. Stay tuned!



Sunday, July 11, 2021

So What Have I Been Up To?

      So what have I been up to since my last post on January 20, 2021? Well I'm still working from home so that eats up 40 hours of my week, but at least I'm saving an hour a day on my commuting time. 

     When I'm not working, I keep busy of course, trying to fit in working on art when I can.

     But today I want to share a new kitchen gadget that I bought. I'm not big on gadgets because I really don't have room to store them, but I decided to get this one because my sister in law has it and she recommended it so highly it was hard to resist.

     I introduce to you my new Ninja SP101 Foodi Flip 8-in-1 Digital Air Fry Oven.


     I know...she looks like a regular toaster oven, but she's not. Trust me, I have a toaster oven and it's now in a box of things being donated to Goodwill because this one does what that one does and so much more!

     The Ninja Flip can Air Fry, Air Roast, Air Broil, Bake, make Toast, Dehydrate, can toast Bagels and can keep food warm. 

     So far I have used it to broil Petite Sirloin Steak with french fries but forgot to take a picture. I've heated up corn tortillas to make Huevos Rancheros, I've air fried potatoes to go with the Huevos Ranchero, but again forgot to take a picture.

     Today I took pictures! Because today I made Egg Bites.


     These are supposed to be similar to the ones Starbucks sells, but Starbucks uses a sous vide method of cooking and I used the Ninja Flip.

     I want to make sure to have the recipe somewhere handy and my blog is the best way to do that.

Recipe:

Recipe & setting:

5 eggs

1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese

1/4 cup cottage cheese

1/4 tsp kosher salt

Black pepper to taste.

I put all the eggs, cheese, cottage cheese, salt & pepper into my blender, blend for 30 seconds. Grease your muffin tin, I used a regular metal tin & Pam cooking spray. Fill cups to top, will make 6, I added bacon bits. Put in Ninja Flip, Bake setting for 14 min. Turn the whole tin at 7 minutes.


     That's the basic recipe but I tweeked it a bit and added finely diced red bell pepper and yellow onion to the bottom of the tin and then added the egg. The veggies had a nice crunch to them.



     You can of course do these in your regular oven but it's 101 degrees outside right now and we're supposed to get to 111 so there was no way I was turning on my oven. The Ninja Flip hardly puts out any heat at all! I just love it!



     I wish I had more time to share some artwork, but a nap is calling to me. Until next time...





Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Why I Finally Had to Unfollow Someone on Social Media

 I recently had to unfollow someone on Instagram, Facebook and a Group we were in together. Now I don’t do this…ever! If I don’t like what someone says, I just disregard it because I know that I can’t agree with everyone 100% of the time, we are all individuals. If we just get rid of everyone in our world that doesn’t agree with us, what a boring world it would be.

But I just couldn’t in all good conscience continue to follow this person or her group. She’s had quite a rant about Donald Trump in the past, but on the day of the chaos that happened at the State Capitol, Wednesday, January 6, she just came unglued.

Let me go back to the beginning, she has a YouTube channel, which I have also unfollowed. She’s growing quite a few subscribers and with good reason as she’s fun, funny, smart, creative and has a “no fear” attitude that I love when it comes to creating Art, she just dives in and hopes for the best and 99.9% of the time it’s a work of Art!

She also has a Facebook Group for all those that follow her YouTube channel and want to share their art and get together with like-minded art loving, creative types. The group was fun, I enjoyed sharing my art work and getting feedback and I loved seeing everyone else’s art because it was inspirational.

On the day of the Capitol Riots she came online into the Facebook Group…which is her Facebook Group, she started it, she’s the administrator and I suppose she felt she had the right to express her political opinion on it. I didn’t copy down her exact words and now since I’ve left the group, I can’t go back to see them, but the gist of it was “Oh my God, Trump and Trumpers are the worst, this is disgusting and if any of you reading this are Trumpers then just get the hell out of my group or tell me and I will automatically ban you!”

Several people took offense and left a comment only to receive such vile and vicious replies from her and from others in the group that it was sickening. As if what was happening to the American Way and Democracy at the Capitol was not disheartening enough, she had to bring that hatred and single-mindedness into what was/is an Art Group for Creative people, not that creative people can’t and don’t have opinion, but “time and place” people, “time and place”.

I was saddened by her anger and hatred and even more so by the way she personally attacked and let others attack people that did not think like her.

I’m not saying that I am on the side of Trump, or the Republicans, or the Democrats or that I even have any political affiliation, that is my own personal private business, I believe what I believe and I don’t force my beliefs on others, unless someone asks my opinion.

Regardless, moving forward to a couple of days ago, I went to her YouTube channel during my lunch hour and was watching a video she posted recently and in it she said, and I paraphrase “I have not posted since my rant on Facebook and whoo boy, all I can say is Sorry, Not Sorry.” So, which is it? Sorry? Why say Sorry at all if you are going to follow it up with Not Sorry. Because of course, she is not Sorry. She felt justified in vilifying and attacking supporters of Trump.

I don’t understand how someone can justify hatred of a group of people, whether those people are members of a particular political party, race, gender, etc. I just could not in all good conscience continue to listen to her spew such venom and while I will miss her videos and her creativity and her group and the friends I have made in the group, I just can’t stomach hatred.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

The Problem with Homemade Food!

      Recently one of my readers (Urspo of Spo-Reflections) left a comment about the home-made tortillas I made a few weeks ago. He had never made them and he wondered if home-made was better than store bought. Definitely they are better, but here's the thing...


     Growing up everything we had was home-made. Mom made home-made tortillas, usually flour but often corn tortillas as well. 

     I can remember she would give me a little round ball of flour masa (masa=dough) and I had my own little rolling pin and I would roll out my tortilla over and over again, often times dropping it on the floor and by the time I was done, it was dingy and dirty and mom would cook it for me on her comal, see photo below. (Comal=Cast Iron Griddle) 



     I don't think she actually cooked mine, I'm pretty sure when I wasn't watching she would throw it away and give me one of her tortillas that was clean and perfectly round. She would place a big pat of butter in the middle and I would cut little pieces of the tortilla and dip it in the butter which was starting to melt and it was the best thing I ever tasted in my whole life. Same thing with the corn tortillas...nothing better than a fresh home-made corn tortilla with butter!

     Fast forward to the introduction of the flour and corn tortillas in the stores. I'm not sure exactly when that was but whenever it was, that was when my mom decided that the tortillas she could buy in the store were healthier than the home-made ones, and you want to know why? Because when you buy them in the store, you don't see the flour and lard that goes into them, so of course they seem healthier.

     So we went from having home-made tortillas made simply with flour, lard, salt and baking powder (and my mother's love), to having commercially made tortillas made with Enriched Bleach Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Vegetable Shortening (interesterified and hydrogenated soybean oils), Salt, Sugar, Baking Soda, Sodium Acid, Pyrophosphate, Distilled Monoglycerides, Fumaric Acid and Calcium Propionate and Sorbic Acid (to maintain freshness).

     And we wonder why we are so much more unhealthy than our ancestors? 

     So yes Urspo, home-made tortillas are better, they taste better and they are actually healthier for us. But of course the best thing is not to eat them at all, but c'mon...who are we kidding, we're not going to stop eating them, they are just too good!

     I had never heard the word "interesterified" and google is telling me it's misspelled, but it doesn't offer any meaning or corrected spelling, so I googled it. don't Google it, sometimes what you don't know can't hurt you.





Sunday, January 10, 2021

Live - Laugh - and Love

 I was just getting ready to start a post about Christmas being over and my day yesterday spent putting everything away.

I have the TV on watching the Baltimore Ravens play the Tennessee Titans, yes...I am a hardcore NFL football fan.

A Progressive commercial came on. I love these new commercials with Dr. Rick. No offense to Flo, but I'm a bit tired of her.

This is the commercial I just saw. What caught my ear was the beginning when he says we don't need a sign that says Live, Laugh, Love to Live, Laugh, Love. I beg to differ! I need that sign, I have that sign, I love that sign!




I'm a huge believer in the written word. If I see something in writing, it sticks in my head, especially inspirational words, quotes, sayings. When I wake up in the morning I see the words, Live Laugh Love and it's a reminder that I've been given another day to do just that. Sometimes of course, like anyone else I, Waste Growl and Dislike, but I always have the next day to do better.

I also have another sign over the door heading out of my bedroom that says "It's a Wonderful Life"...many, many times I need that reminder, especially during these dark days of Covid. 

I have to see things in writing for them to stick in my head. So with all due respect to Dr. Rick, I will keep my Live, Laugh and Love sign!

So yesterday I put away the Christmas Tree and all the decorations. Since I was already in the shed where I store all my decorations, I went ahead and took out my Valentine's Day decor and got that all set up.

Yesterday was the first day of the NFL playoffs so I watched football while I did all this. Then as usually happens, I nodded off briefly and took a quick cat nap on the couch. Aren't those the best naps? The unexpected ones on the couch? I woke up so refreshed that I made a big pot of soup and some homemade flour tortillas! 



The last time that I had made them was in November of 2008 and I did blog about it, see that post HERE. If you want to make them, I share the recipe and the how-to. Wow, I just went back to review that post and I even did a video! 

This was in my previous home, I loved that house, I loved the kitchen in that house, the old-school green tile and the sink that sat in a corner. I miss that house!

I can see that the ones I made back in 2008 were a lot better than the ones I made yesterday, well they looked prettier anyway.

Back to watching football and working on coloring in a Mandala I drew Friday. 








Monday, January 4, 2021

Books Read in 2018, 2019 and 2020

 I just came on in here to do my Books Read for 2020 and realized I never did the one for 2019 or 2018! I have no clue what happened and why they did not get done. I thought I was keeping such good track. 

The great thing is that Goodreads keeps track of all my challenges for me. This post is basically just for my own personal history. I don't review any of the books, I just want to keep track.

~~~~2020~~~~

The Year of COVID-19. Let me just say I killed it! I'm sure the reason was because of COVID.

The goal I set for myself was to read 12 books in 2020. Drumroll please! I read 34!!!

Below is the list of all the books read. I will say that many of these were amazing! My favorite though would have to be THE HOME FOR UNWANTED GIRLS by Joanna Goodman. It was so good that I'm now reading the follow up book to that one THE FORGOTTEN DAUGHTER also by Joanna Goodman.


~~~~2019~~~~

In 2019 I again set a goal to read 12 books. I'm not even going to drumroll this one because it was only just adequate, I read 14 books.

My gift and my curse is when it comes to books and movies once I am done I completely forget them, so I couldn't even tell which of these was a favorite, but I do love Jodi Picoult, she's always been my favorite author. 

~~~~2018~~~~

My goal in 2018 was to read 25 books, sadly I only read 10. I think this was the beginning of my YouTube affair. I just love YouTube and watching artists create and watching tutorials. So a lot of the time I would have spend reading was spent watching others live their lives creatively!

In looking at my list below I see that I read a book called The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison and in 2020 I read The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher, I find that funny. The one by Kerry Fisher is still fresh in my head and that one was pretty amazing and I highly recommend it!


Here's the total of books I've ready by year since 2009.

For those keeping track, that's 265 books!

For the year 2021 I've decided to set a goal to read 40 books! So far I've read one. I may even try to review a book now and again when I read one I really like.

So that's it for now, Happy New Year people and get reading! 






Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Year 2020 - A Basic Review

 Right after Christmas everyone starts to write a wrap-up post of the current year. I think with it having been the year of COVID-19 everyone is even more ready to wrap-up the year. 

I would like to re-cap this year, just for posterity. 

January - Was pretty normal, nothing really exciting or notable happened that I can remember, just getting ready for a family reunion in February and trying to make sure that my mom would stay healthy enough that she would be able to make it.

February - Lisa and I took a trip in February to Oxnard, California. It's really a beautiful place and this is where we stayed. The Embassy Suites by Hilton Mandalay Beach Resort, we had a great time, even though it was a working trip for my sister. 


March - This was a BIG month for us since we had a huge family reunion with my mother's side of the family! We stayed at another gorgeous place, Blue Water Resort & Casino in Parker, Arizona.


We had a fabulous time and no one had more fun, or were happier, than my mom and her brother Tino! These are the last two remaining siblings in a family of ten siblings. My mom is the baby of the family. 


Little did we know that lurking right around the corner was something that was going to change our lives drastically and I am so glad we didn't know and were able to share in this wonderful time spent with family. 

On March 18, 2020 California's governor Gavin Newsom issued a "Shelter-In" order due to COVID-19 or Corona Virus. 

He ordered all non-essential people to stay home. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about that day because I blogged about it HERE, but suffice it to say that I was sent home lickety-split by the company I work for and as of today I am still working from home. That's nine months people! Nine months! If I could still make babies I could have made a baby by now!


I will say that I am so lucky to work for the company I work for. I've not had to worry one tiny, teeny-weenie bit about money or losing my home or my car or not having enough to eat or not being able to pay for heat, electricity, cell phone, etc. I'm so lucky that during a time when things are as bad as they are, they have not been "bad" for me. We did have a Covid scare with my son, but thankfully he tested negative. 

I have had relatives that have had the disease and even though some of them were pretty sick they have recovered or are on the road to recovery, I only have one cousin that is still in the hospital on a respirator/ventilator, not sure which and even though we're told his vital signs all look good, he still can't breath on his own. 

April - April 1st was my daughters birthday and it was sad to not be able to go out to a nice restaurant and have a meal. We're still in lock down, restaurants all closed for indoor dining, although you can pick up to take home. 

Our country rallied and it seemed for a moment that we were all on the same page. There were those that believed this was all a hoax. Is it? Is it not? No one can say for certain, but for me "better safe than sorry". Wear the mask people, you are not sheep for doing what is asked of you. 

I had and have continued to have my mom a prisoner in her own home. Unable to go out, and when we did have to venture out I was like the Secret Service, steering her away from aisles where people were not social distancing or wearing masks, or worse yet wearing them under their noses or on their chins. Even if the mask is worthless, it was worth the fact that it brought me a little peace that my mother was safe. 



May - In May we had Mothers Day. Visiting with mom was totally different because of Covid. My siblings came and still continue to come, but they have to sit outside on the patio. They have to wear their masks and they have to stay 8 feet away from my mom. 

And let me tell you for posterity that this DID NOT please my mom one little bit, it still doesn't please her, she still tries to sneak by me not wearing the mask or hugging a loved one and gets mad at me for stopping her. No matter how many times I explain to her that if she gets sick she will have to be alone at the hospital. If she dies, she will die alone, that's the harsh reality. I could not bear having my mother die alone.

Not being able to feed them has also been hard on her, she still wants to make food for them and serve it outside. It's been a difficult thing for her, not being able to mother her children and grandchildren.

June - The end of the regular school year, by now children have been home-schooling, taking classes online. Teachers trying to do their best to make life as normal as possible for their students. 

Teachers were posting on Facebook that they were doing teacher parades for their students. My first thought was that it was stupid, what was the point, it really isn't that big a deal, they are still seeing the children via ZOOM. That's what I thought until they went by my house. A caravan of decorated cars, about 25 of them. The teachers were so excited, waving at me and mom as we stood by our front door. They were so happy to be doing something positive, no matter how small. It made me cry and I will always remember that there are good people in the world.




We were finally told that on June 22nd we could return to our office. We went back, well at least two of us went back, those with small children who were home-schooling were allowed to remain and work from home. 

Three days later one of my co-workers tested positive for COVID and several in other offices tested positive, we were all sent home again, where we remain to this day. Luckily, I had taken every precaution the first day back. The second day I called in sick due to allergies, the third day I came back and we were told to go home. But it was scary. I knew that I had stayed in my office and worn my mask at all times and stayed away from my co-worker, but if I had not, then I could have gotten sick and brought it home to my mom. I made sure my employers knew I would not be going back again anytime soon since I was just as able to do my job from home, thankfully, they agreed. 

Then there were the riots because of the death of George Floyd, I'm not going to go into detail as I'm sure this time will now become part of American History, as well it should, but it divided our country and it was sad to watch and witness. 


July - Well most importantly, my birthday was in July and COVID be damned, my loved ones were gonna celebrate the day of my birth!

I was blessed with a beautiful cake from my daughter April and both my kids gave me art supplies as a gift. My dear friend and co-worker Angie gave me the coolest coloring book with my future husband Keanu Reeves on it. My mom snuck out on me and went to Taco Bell and brought me back a Strawberry Freeze since she was unable to go shopping to buy me a gift and she doesn't do Amazon. My sister Lisa gave me a beautiful Blue Orchid which I've already killed.  I got lots of birthday wishes and greetings and phone calls and it was a beautiful day. 







Nuff said about July!

August - This was a miserable month, the heat and having to be sheltered in was horrid. We couldn't even take a trip to the beach, just locked away in our home, always just locked away in our home. We couldn't even go outside and sit on the patio because the air was so horrible due to the fires in California. 

One day mom and I had to venture out because we had to hunt and gather, our cupboards were almost bare. I was so worried for her because of the bad air quality and her COPD, but she was as giddy as a schoolgirl to be venturing out into the real world. She actually did really good and it turned out to be me that got overheated halfway through our shopping trip and I had to sit down and drink some water and catch my breath. I think it was more anxiety at trying to keep people away from my mom, but either way we stocked up and hoped we would not have to venture out again any time soon. We are lucky during this time to be able to send my son out for milk and basic supplies. 

But as always, every during these trying times with the horrible fires and crimes and rioting and divisiveness, there was still hope...still kindness...still humanity.



September - In this month, I realized that I was missing a prime opportunity to have some home replairs and remodeling done. I'd been wanting for ages to have my house painted and my windows replaced with dual pane windows, but I never had the time and I was never home to monitor the workers. Well now I was home, now I did have time, so I started out with putting up a new fence and taking down some trees. You can read about it more HERE

Bob and Danny are the contractors on the job and I really have enjoyed having them around. They talk and laugh all day long and I swear they know EVERYBODY in this small town. People drive by and see them on a job and stop to talk to them or honk at them. Plus they know what they are doing and I feel I can trust them. 

The fires in California continue, the air is still horrid. Law Enforcement officers are being ambushed, shot at, run over by vehicles. People are still protesting and vandalizing and the COVID cases ever increasing. We are still just locked in our little house. 

October - No major changes in October, air still bad, home repairs moving along, law enforcement officers still being killed, ambushed. My brother, my nephew and several of my cousins are law endorsement officers. I know there are bad officers out there, but that doesn't make them all bad. I will always support them. 


My sister Lisa's 60th birthday came and went without any "hoopla". Her husband took her camping and they celebrated as best they could and they had a good time, but it would have been nice to have a big bash to celebrate her special day. But the important thing is she is healthy.

November - Again, same thing, different month. We celebrated Thanksgiving quietly. My siblings did come by, one at a time and spent time sitting outside with my mom, masks on. 


December - And now we are in December, Christmas has come and gone. It was a very pleasant Christmas, quiet and low-key. Not everyone has come to see my mom yet as it's been cold and dreary and foggy at times. Last night it even rained a bit.

Mom and I made our traditional Christmas Biscochos on her birthday, December 19th. She received so many phone calls and birthday greetings on Facebook, I think it made it so much more fun for her and I'm grateful for everyone that made the effort. 



We haven't make tamales yet, we've said we're going to make them for New Years, but I don't know...it seems like a lot of work for just the two of us. 

There's hope on the horizon with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which are being distributed in phases. Phase 1a is recommended for healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents. Phase 1b is recommended for frontline essential workers and people aged 75 and older. Phase 1c is for people aged 65 to 74 and people aged 16 to 64 with underlying medical conditions. 

So there is hope people, there is hope in 2021 that things will return to normal, but I hope not normal-normal. I hope that we remember how fragile life is, how easily our lives can change, how what we once thought was important took a backseat to caring for those we love and those who need us. I hope we learned kindness and courtesy and patience.

Welcome 2021...please be kind to us, we need it!






Sunday Night Football Soup again on a Monday Night - Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

 As usual during the holiday we get too busy and have a change of plans. 

That happened last week for "soup day".  For one reason or another I can't even remember now, I couldn't make soup on Sunday.

In fact I really didn't make soup on Monday either, in spite of my blog title, what I did as a remake of an old favorite that I had not made in a long time....Scalloped Potatoes and Ham!

I last blogged about this recipe on December 28, 2008 and I think I've only made it once or twice since. But I had some ham leftover in the freezer from Thanksgiving so figured it was close enough to soup to fit the bill!



Quick post today, but if anyone would like to try making this, the recipe is below. I give it 5 STARS! It is that good!

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham (serves 6)
½ cup butter
2 tsp. salt
3 cups milk
1 large onion chopped (or 4 tsp. onion powder)
½ cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
½ cup flour
¼ tsp. pepper
3 cups cooked cubed ham
5 cups sliced potatoes

Heat butter in large sauce pan over low heat. Blend in flour, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly (I like using a whisk), for one minute. Remove from Heat and gradually stir in milk. Return to heat, cook til thickened and bubbly.

Fold in ham, onion and cheese. Pour over potatoes in a large bowl and stir gently to combine. Pour into buttered 12 x 9 x 2” baking dish and cover with foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, uncover and continue baking for 1 hour or til browned & bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.



Sunday, December 13, 2020

Woolgrowers Cabbage Soup - Sunday Night Football Soup on Monday Night Football Night

What a long heading!

I've been trying to make a new soup every Sunday while I watch Sunday Night Football. I live in California so Sunday Night Football SNL starts at 5:30 pm. I usually start cooking during the pre-game show. I actually made the soup I'm going to post about today on December 7th.

On December 6th, I decorated my tree and living room. This year I decided to keep it simple. Thanks to COVID-19, we are not have our usual Christmas get-together with all my siblings and their spouses and their children and grandchildren. It will be just me, my son and daughter and my mom, and that's why I kept my decor simple. I kinda love it, let me share some photos. The Nutcrackers have all been gifts from my mom and daughter and some I've found here and there throughout the years in thrift stores.




This Nativity was made by my mother in 1983. She and her sister were taking ceramics classes at the local high school. She made one for each of her four children and one for each of her sisters. All her sisters are gone now and they left their Nativity to one of their daughters and we all display them at Christmas.  

Some are hand painted in detail and some like mine were done in a pearlized paint which has tiny little crystals that reflect and refract light so the color varies depending on what color light is shining on it. I love it, it's a treasure I will cherish forever, until I give it to my daughter April.



So because I was totally exhausted on Dec 6th after decorating all day long I decided to make my soup the next day while watching Monday Night Football. Oh yeah...I'm a big fan of NFL football. The Dallas Cowboys are my team, but I just love watching anyone play. Right now as I write this I'm watching the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Buffalo Bills. I'm rooting for the Steelers since that is my sons favorite team.

Anyway...on to the soup. We have a favorite restaurant called Woolgrowers. It's a Basque restaurant and you can read my post about it HERE, it explains everything. 

Woolgrowers serves a world famous cabbage soup. When you sit down at the table, you don't even have to ask for it, they automatically bring a big bowl of this soup, a bowl of beans, a bowl of hot (temperature-wise) salsa, a basket of sliced French bread and a plate full of real butter pats...again YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO ASK FOR IT!!!

Since we've been in shutdown, we have not eaten in sit-down restaurants, so I wanted to see if I could make the soup. I searched online and found a link to the recipe.

Woolgrowers Vegetable Soup
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 small cabbage
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbl Chicken Base
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 Tsp thyme
  • 10 cups water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions: Bring water to a boil and add chicken base, I used Better Than Bouillon Roasted chicken base). Chop all vegetables and add to water. Fry chopped onion in a little oil, drain and add to water and vegetables. Add seasonings and tomato sauce, simmer for two hours.


And you get this deliciousness. The funny thing is that I had no idea what a leek was, or what it tasted like. I didn't even know how or what parts of the leek to use. Thank goodness for YouTube. I tasted it raw and love it, bet it would be great raw in a salad!


My mom had made a fresh pot of beans earlier that day and we spooned the beans into our bowls and then the soup and some La Victoria Salsa. We had some sliced French bread and everyone agreed the whole house smelled like Woolgrowers and the soup was spot on exactly like Woolgrowers!

It was a win! I highly recommend making this soup, it will sing to your soul and make your heart happy!






Monday, November 23, 2020

Zuppa Toscana Soup - Sunday Night Football Soup Night

 I've been trying to make a new soup every Sunday. Well I've done it one Sunday, when I made Kristen Hampton's World Famous Chicken Noodle Soup and then I skipped a Sunday because of home remodeling and the mess left behind and trying to organize and put everything away.

But my daughter made a request for Zuppa Toscana - Olive Garden Style. My cousin Stella sent me her recipe and I read all the ingredients and purchased them and didn't read the instructions on how to make it.

Yesterday, when it was time to make it, Sunday Night's Game of the Week was almost ready to start and I watch it on the TV in the kitchen while I cook, I read the instructions and realized that her soup was a crock pot soup that I should have made 6 hours ago!

So I checked YouTube real quick and found a recipe that is almost exactly like hers. Here is the video in case you want to watch it. It's by Judyfoody! This video is much shorter than Kristen's only 5.53 minutes long and she explains everything perfectly!


And, she even has a blog where she lists all the ingredients with written instructions. It's call Judy Foody


Here's the photo of my soup! Looks just like Olive Garden's Soup!


I'm going to list everything here in my blog because this is my way of keeping track of tried and true recipes that I love and want to eat again and again. This was delicious and exactly like the soup at Olive Garden!

Ingredients:

1 lb Italian pork sausage (I used the spicy type)

4 strips of bacon

1 medium size onion

3 cloves of Garlic (she used 5 to 8 but that's too much for me!)

6 Russet potatoes (she says 2 to 3, but my people demanded more potatoes next time!)

2 - 32 ounce boxes of low sodium chicken stock (she says chicken broth, but tomatoes/tomato, it's all the same to me and chicken stock is what I always use for soups)

1 - 2 cups Heavy Cream (I used 2 cups, yes it's a very rich soup but so worth it!)

1 bundle of Kale (next time use only half the bundle)

Optional Ingredient - Red Pepper Flakes. The spicy Italian sausage was not near as spicy as I would have like, so I may try this next time.

Prep:

Prep Potatoes by scrubbing them very well, you can peel them but I like the skin on, my son did not. Slice potato in half then slice half moon slices, the thinner the quicker they will cook, but I think next time I will slice them a bit thicker as they got lost somewhat in the soup. Place potatoes in a bowl and fill with cold water to keep them from getting brown.

Prep Onions - this is pretty self-explanatory, we all know how to slice onion right? I did mine very fine so my people would not see it, hahaha! 

Prep Garlic - I placed the garlic on a cutting board as she says and put a knife on top of the garlic, lay it flat then with your fist hit the knife and the skin pops right off. Then I used my garlic press to mince it as I don't like biting into pieces of it.

Prep Kale - Easy to do, just take the leafy part off the stems after you wash it thoroughly! As she says, Use one hand to hold the stem of the Kale and the other hand to strip the leaves off the stem, then I gave it a rough chop.

Prep Bacon - Took the 4 slices and chopped it into half inch pieces, it almost disappears into the soup and you don't really taste it, but I bet if you left it out you would miss it. 

Instructions

Place olive oil in a deep pot, I probably used 2 tablespoons, once heated add your Italian Sausage and break it into chunks and cook it thoroughly then remove it from the pot and set it aside, make sure you drain it with a spoon so you leave some fat in the pot.

Add your bacon to the pot since it's still hot and leave the fat from the sausage. Don't let your bacon get crispy, you just want it to start releasing bacon juice, then add your onion and garlic to the pot and cook until onion is translucent, then drain the water from the potatoes and place them in the pot and give it a stir, the aroma!!! Oh my goodness!

Add the broth until it covers all the ingredients and bring the soup up to a boil. Once it's boiling, turn the heat to low and simmer the soup for 20 to 45 minutes until the potatoes are soft and tender. I did 20 minutes but I had sliced them very thinly. 

Once potatoes are perfect, add the sausage back tot he pot and again bring it to a boil. Turn the heat to low and allow the soup to simmer for a couple of minutes, then taste the soup for seasoning. At this point I added salt and pepper.

While the heat is low, add and mix the heavy cream to the soup, making sure not to scorch the cream.

At this point Judy Foody says to take the soup off the heat and add the kale, but I added it while on the heat and let it sit a minute while the kale wilted because I like hot soup and I felt that the kale probably cooled it off too much. I would add less kale next time.

And that was it, easy and delicious, the prep time was harder than the cooking time and we all loved it and it was gone in a minute!

Another keeper that I will be making again and again.