Sunday, September 30, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
And crave soup.
This time of year always means soup. I love soup in the fall, so warm and filling. Unfortunately, the rest of the family doesn't so much agree. Michael thinks soup is an appetizer, not a meal. If there isn't at least six ounces of meat on his plate, he doesn't feel like he's actually eaten. I, however, have no problem eating just soup. The kids are just picky. They would rather have Campbell's than mommy's homemade soup. They'd rather have Kraft than my homemade macaroni and cheese, too. Go figure.
But I persist. I make soup anyway. I try to make really hearty ones that will satisfy the hubby, but tasty ones that will intrigue the kids.
Spicy Roasted Vegetable Soup with Toasted Tortillas
I got the recipe from Epicurious, but I'm adding both hamburger and spicy sausage, because a dinner without meat at our house just doesn't fly. We'll see if this one gains any altitude tonight... it sure smells good!
Here's the recipe, in case you're interested:
- 2 pounds large plum tomatoes (about 10)
- 2 medium onions (about 14 ounces), peeled, halves
- 1 1/2x3-inch strip from Mexican cinnamon stick or 1 1/2-inch piece regular cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole black peppercorns
- 4 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 1 large jalapeño chiles
- 2 5 1/2-inch corn tortillas, cut in half
- 2 teaspoons chopped canned chipotle chilies
To finish soup
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 5 cups water
- 1 1 1/2-pound butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes
- 3/4 pound red-skinned potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon (or more) salt
- 1 15- to 16-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), undrained
- 1/4 pound green beans, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup corn kernels, cut from 1 large ear (step 3) or frozen
- 1/3 cup (packed) chopped fresh cilantro
- Additional 5 1/2-inch corn tortillas
- Lime wedges
Make soup base:
- Preheat broiler.
- Line baking sheet with heavy-duty foil.
- Place tomatoes close together on prepared sheet. Broil close to heat source until blackened in spots, turning once with tongs, about 2 minutes per side.
- Transfer tomatoes to plate and cool.
- Place onion halves close together on same sheet.
- Broil until surfaces are charred, turning once with tongs, about 4 minutes per side.
- Set aside and cool.
- Heat cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat 2 minutes.
- Using tongs, place cinnamon strip, peppercorns, garlic cloves, and jalapeño chili in hot skillet, preferably cast iron.
- Toast until fragrant and charred, turning and stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes for cinnamon and peppercorns and 8 minutes for garlic and jalapeño.
- Transfer all to plate.
- Place tortilla halves in same hot skillet.
- Toast until browned in spots and crisp, pressing often with spatula, about 3 minutes per side.
- Transfer tortillas to plate; cool, then break into very small pieces.
- After the charred tomatoes have cooled, peel, halve crosswise, and spoon out the seeds.
- Cut away most of charred surface from broiled onions and then chop.
- Peel garlic cloves.
- Stem, quarter, seed and devein jalapeño chili.
- Place tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapeño chili, and chipotle chilies in processor.
- Finely grind cinnamon, peppercorns, and toasted tortillas in spice mill or coffee grinder; add to processor. Blend soup base until smooth, about 5 minutes.
- Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat 2 minutes.
- Add soup base from processor, oregano, and cumin.
- Cook (sear) until base thickens enough to leave path when spoon is drawn through, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
- Add 5 cups water, squash, potatoes, and 1 teaspoon salt; bring soup to boil.
- Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until vegetables are almost tender, about 15 minutes.
- Add garbanzo beans with liquid, green beans, and corn.
- Cover; simmer until all vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes longer.
- Mix in cilantro; season with pepper and more salt, if desired.
- Toast tortillas directly over gas flame or electric burner until browned in spots but still soft, about 40 seconds per side. Wrap in foil; keep warm.
- Ladle soup into bowls.
- Serve with lime wedges and warm tortillas.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
See that tiny little red dot near the bottom? That's where we used to live. In case you can't see his route, it's the green "start" and red "end" near the top righthand side of the picture there. See it? Look close...
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
13 Places I Love To Be
1. Under the
2. At the door when he’s
3. At the door when he’s coming
4. Against the wall – any
5. A quiet corner of the
6. In front of the fireplace
7. Cuddled on the couch
8. A street corner
9. Pulled into an
10. In the rain
11. In the hot tub
12. In the shower
13. Anywhere he
And fast! I have the Speedy Gonzales of spiders living IN MY HOUSE!
I'm pretty sure it's a Wolf Spider.
It waits until JUST I'm here, I swear. No one else has seen it. But I'm not crazy--it's here! Watching. Waiting. He knows I'm paralyzed by him when he runs out from under the furniture.
I've had lots of good advice on how to kill him.
Hairspray. Apparently Aquanet renders spiders not only dead but stiff enough for display!
Capture and set free. Ha! As if I could come anywhere near enough to HANDLE this thing!?
Bug spray. Sure. Great idea. Except when I approach it, it rears up and practically hisses at me!
Supersonic bug machines. Okay. If i get to wear them as body armor!
I think I'll borrow an anvil from Wylie Coyote or something.
Which would help with THIS spider, but to add to my list of useless information I didn't ever need to know, according to Law and Order last night, "Wherever you are in the world, you are never more than six feet away from a spider."
Michael went on a bug hunt and ransacked the whole house last night. No spider. But I SAW it! I did! He said he was going to hook up a "cricket trap" (you know, like you do to catch bunnies?) They went out cricket hunting but didn't catch one last night.
They left me alone again with it today and I'm sure the spider knows it. I stayed up in my room again, but I was totally paranoid it came up here in the night.
I wish they couldn't walk on walls.
If Michael doesn't present me with a spider corpse soon... I don't care if we just unpacked... I'm moving!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
|1. And Miles To Go...|
2. ellen b
5. Choosing Voluntary Simplicity
|7. Comedy Plus|
8. Comedy Plus
9. nesting momma
10. Blessed Nest
11. jams o donnell
16. The Foo
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Sunday, September 23, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
But I swear to you, the biggest, blackest spider I have ever seen just crawled across my carpet, disappeared under my bookcase, and I CAN'T FIND IT!
I'm now perched up on the arm of my couch, laptop in my lap, spider spray on the coffee table, waiting for it to appear again. Unfortunately, Michael's at work, and "Going home to kill arachnids" isn't an acceptable reason to leave work... even if I give him a note signed "Epstien's Mother."
You should have seen this thing. Huge, I tell you. HUGE! I screamed out loud and said, "Oh my God!" so loud the dogs started barking at it! Which probably hastened its retreat under the bookcase, which prevented me from squishing it with my husband's size ten and a half boots (the ones with the revolutionary lacing system... he tells me that every time he puts them on... at least they're good for something!)
I'm actually afraid to walk barefoot in the house now. The only other time I've seen a bigger one was at the old house, climbing up the wall near the door. Michael chased it outside, and it was apparently a Mama Wolf Spider--they carry their baby sacks around behind their backs--and it literally REARED UP when he went to kill it, and then all the babies burst out when he squished it, and he had to kill THOSE too.
(I squealed and moaned and rolled around on the couch the entire time he told me this story, and I heralded his bravery, of course, to the utmost extreme!)
Just last night, I was reading a gardening book, anticipating the spring and nice, plump, ripe vegetables... until I got to the part about the insects. There are apparently these bugs that eat your garden stuff whose defense is some sort of stinging/burning sensation when you touch them. (I forget the name already!) And there is, apparently, not really a good solution to getting rid of them, other than donning gloves, pulling them off your plants, and SQUISHING them!
Some gardener I'm gonna make. *gulp*
Thursday, September 20, 2007
P.T. Barnum was talking about me... he just knew I was gonna be born.
I think almost anyone could convince me of almost anything. I can be incredibly naive. When I was thirteen, I had a guy convince me he was really an alien. I was one of those kids who believed that pennies could be flattened on railroad tracks by oncoming trains and Bloody Mary would really show up in the mirror if you said her name 100 times in the dark.
As an adult, I have propigated way too many Internet hoaxes, somehow sure that Bill Gates was giving away his fortune and that the picture of God's hands in the clouds was really a natural phenomenon. And can we really prove that crop circles, Bigfoot, and the Bermuda Triangle DON'T exist?
I've stopped bothering friends and family with those emails since I discovered snopes.com, which was kindly developed for people like me--and more importantly, for all those friends and family tired of getting email from people like me!
So while I've learned my lesson on the Internet and realize that the President of Nigeria doesn't really want me to help him in some way with his bank account, I am, however, still susceptible to salesmen. Less than I used to be, but still... me and a salesman alone in a room can be a dangerous thing. Especially if I happen to have any money.
For example... I once bought a vaccum from a vaccum cleaner salesman. Not just any vaccum cleaner. A KIRBY vaccum cleaner. It's like the Cadillac of vaccum cleaners. Which means, yeah... it's expensive. Very. Back then (we're talking ten years ago, now) it was in the neighborhood of $1400.
Now, in my defense, the nice Kirby salesman offered to clean my carpets with the machine. Which he did, even though we had a new puppy who wasn't house trained yet. He also showed me, to my horror, how much dirt resided in places I hadn't even thought of--like my mattress! Okay, okay, so he had me at "Hello..."
My ex-husband came home to find me with a brand new vaccum cleaner, a spotless carpet (besides the one spot the puppy christened right after the Kirby salesman had finished cleaning) and a finance agreement in both our names. And no, that isn't why we got divorced...
I am glad to know, though, that it isn't just me. My sister-in-law also bought a Kirby... and my sister almost bought one, except her husband came home just in time!
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
My 13 Favorite Muppets
1. Statler and Waldorf
9. Swedish Chef
11. Snuffleupagus (Sesame Street)
12. Sherlock Hemlock (Sesame Street)
13. The "Yip Yip" Martians (Sesame Street)
3. secret agent mama
7. Kate Davies
8. nesting mommma
|9. Blessed Nest|
12. A Cowboy\'s Wife
13. Marie Peck
14. Mama Pajama
16. Lorelei James
|17. Christine d\'Abo|
18. Dane Bramage
20. Carrie Lofty
21. Unusual Historicals
22. Elle Fredrix
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Today, I watched Field of Dreams. Remember that one? Kevin Coster still couldn't act, even back then... Guy buys a farm, starts to hear voices, and plows under his corn field to build a baseball diamond, with floodlights and everything. You know: If you build it, they will come... and, of course, they do... and everyone lives happily ever after. Taa daa!
It was actually kind of fun to re-watch. I don't think I've seen it since it came out in 1989! Even if Kevin Costner is a horrible actor... (at least he wasn't trying to do a British accent, like in that awful 80's version of Robin Hood... *shudder*) Amy Madigan and James Earl Jones were awesome. And that guy that was in Thirtysomething plays a great villian. And the concept appeals... because, frankly, it's a pretty crazy thing to do, plowing under your cash crop to make a place for people to play some silly game. That someone could do something THAT nuts... and come out on top? I mean, what are the odds?
Most people spend their whole lives playing things pretty safe. When do we ever make decisions without a net? We go to school, we get good grades, we get good jobs, we plan for our retirement... that's the "good" life, isn't it? How often do we listen to that little voice? The one that tells us to take a major risk? To jump without a net?
What does it take for us to listen to that voice? If you build it, they will come... When it goes against every ounce of logic, when it puts your livelihood at risk, when it might make you look like a complete and total idiot... would you still listen to that voice?
Life isn't a movie, of course... we don't always get the happy ending. Sometimes we build it, and darnit, they just don't show up. They get stuck in traffic, or they just don't get the message. And we're stuck with no cash crop and an empty baseball diamond.
Take our moving here... it certainly wasn't the logical decision, considering the housing market. Our other house still hasn't sold, and it's only had a few showings. But we didn't wait for our house to sell... we followed that little voice. Move. Now. We found this place, and that's what we did...
I still don't know what's going to happen, of course. We could end up in foreclosure after all. It's a risk. But isn't everything? Isn't safety really the illusion? And sometimes...sometimes that voice really does know what it's talking about, when we listen to it.
So, maybe, sometimes: if we build it, they will come...
But there's no maybe about this: if we don't build it, they can never come...