Thursday, May 25, 2017

everything i currently need

I make this soup almost every Monday. Because it is pretty much the edible antidote for everything trying about Mondays. It’s both comforting and healthy, salty and simple and it’s one of the only vehicles for vegetables that I can get my two year old to eat. And by eat I mean jam down his gullet while I distract him with a Dr. Seuss book/ have him in a (light) headlock. Parenting: you will do ALL the THINGS you swore you would never do. And then some.

Would you even believe if I told you that I had never made chicken soup until this very year? I can scarcely believe it myself. I have made pretty much every other soup and most are well documented here. Including not one, not two but THREE lentil soups (read about them here, here, and here). For some reason chicken soup was always just a little boring to me, always a little less salty than I would prefer, the chicken a little too dry and always with some weird undesirable chicken bits that I’d rather not experience. So when I went to tackle chicken soup myself I knew it had to be easy and it had to be delicious. With layers of salty flavor. Because salt is my favorite, especially when it comes to soup. I changed up by using boneless, skinless thighs and it’s the type of shortcut that makes dreams come true. It made the soup taste like it had been simmered all day, when it came together in less than two hours, with only about 15 minutes of that time active cooking. You want this soup in your life. I know it's everything I currently need in mine. All your future Mondays will thank you.


2 tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 medium to large carrots, peeled and diced
3-4 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp. fresh turmeric root*, grated (optional)
1 tsp. fresh ginger*, grated (optional)
2 32-oz. Containers chicken stock; or, 8-10 cups homemade
1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Salt, pepper
Parsley and chives (optional)
Grain or noodles of your choice: I use either Ditalini, brown basmati rice or farro, depending on what’s in the pantry. Prepare according to package instructions and hold separately from soup until ready to serve.

*I store turmeric and ginger root in my freezer and grate them into everything using a microplane. No need to peel. A super useful tip I found in one of Joanne Chang’s cookbooks. I grate them into everything: stir fries, smoothies, soups and curries.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery, salting and peppering after each addition (crucial, in my opinion to building nice salty flavor). Add garlic, ginger and turmeric, if using and stir well to coat. Pour in stock, season with another addition of salt and pepper and bring up to a simmer. Gently slide chicken thighs into the simmering water. Turn heat up just a touch to bring it back up to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Let cook slowly over low heat for about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. Taste stock and season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.

Pull chicken thighs out and set on a cutting board. Using two forks shred chicken apart. It should come apart very easily, if it doesn’t return them to the stock to simmer another 10-15 minutes. You will end up with a big old pile of shredded chicken. Return half of the chicken to the soup and reserve the other half for future use. I usually make either chicken tacos or enchiladas with mine at a later date in the week. Once I made a pretty bomb chicken pot pie with it as well. It’s a great dinner short cut and another great reason to prep this soup early in the week.

To serve: scoop rice, pasta or farro into a large bowl and ladle soup over. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs if desired; or, a heaping grating of salty parmesan cheese.

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Monday, March 6, 2017

in the weeds

You would think, based on simple mathematics, that getting two of something would simply double your workload. You would think. However, in my limited experience with children multiplying, it does not in fact double your workload. It triples. Because it’s not like you just go pickup a second two year old who already knows in general terms how to walk upright and assist in getting a jacket on. Instead you get a tiny, alien being who needs everything, sort of all the time. It’s kind of funny how it works. I’m not complaining. The work is, as I often say, exactly as much work as we thought it would be. It’s busy, but fulfilling. It’s loud, but fun. It’s messy and full and everything in between. I am quite aware that being a parent to two healthy children is very much a gift and we count our blessings daily.

What’s funny is that I also doubled, nay tripled, the workload at work this past week, when we opened up a second location. And in typical youngest child fashion, the workload on a new place is about double the general upkeep of the first. I am busy across the board. “In the weeds” as we former waitresses say. The funny thing about being in the weeds is that often times you can get super flustered and not know what task to complete first. Baby’s have a way of prioritizing your actions Harris sure let’s me know when it’s time to skip the dishes and tend to him first.

It’s easy though when we are busy to let many other things slide. In my case, any semblance of healthy eating and normal portion sizes went straight out the window when I had Kid One and it’s been kind of a free for all ever since. So last week I decided to end the party and I signed back up for Weight Watchers. The first week has been pretty good….I figure if I can take the time to meal plan and track what I am eating on the same week that we open a second store and decide to start some light sleep training with our baby, well then there ain’t a week that can break me. I will admit I had a pretty fun time eating my face off while pregnant and postpartum, but it’s time to show my body the respect it deserves. I need energy and to be in shape- because otherwise the littles are going to plan a mutiny and take me out one of these days while Paul is at work.

So here I am. Undoubtedly in the weeds. At the beginning of what I know will be a lengthy but worthwhile journey to shed some serious lbs. And a mother to not one but two terrific little dudes. Workload tripled; cup runneth over; heart quintupled in size. I may not be able to write very often but this space has always been important to me and I will tuck myself in here whenever I possibly can. Next time I’ll bring food. I promise.

Instead of food this time I've included some snaps of the past few months. Some of the best, silliest and cutest.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.