Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Two Soups for a Chilly January

Well, I got my wish.  We have about eight inches on the ground and it's cold so the snow isn't going anywhere soon.  The kids and I spent yesterday on the slopes, and today they're playing in the snow with The Woodsman while I catch up on my inside work. 

Even though I could have slept in this morning, I was up before dawn so I could enjoy the view of the sun hitting the snow covered mountain.  I love the peace and quiet of this season. 

Danny is a lot like me.  When he woke up early this morning he stood and just looked at the beautiful winter snow scape and said softly, with awe, and mostly to himself, "I love winter."  I'm a teacher, and no small part of my winter bliss is that I get to stay home on the snowiest days.  But, really I'd be happy even if school wasn't closed.  I just love snow. 

Snow days call for warm, easy meals.  If we're home during the winter it's likely that soup will be on the menu.  Here are two easy, kid friendly soup recipes.  As an extra bonus, you probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry and freezer so you don't have to fight your way through the lines at the grocery store to make them.

Taco Soup

There are lots of variations of this soup.  I've made it two ways recently (slightly different both times because of what I had on hand).
For a meat version:
 -  brown 1 lb. of ground beef in a Dutch oven and drain the fat
 - Then add taco seasoning mix (whatever amount you would use to make taco filling)
2 cans of beans (black and/or pinto work well)
2 quarts of tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
2 cups of frozen corn
1/2 c. of frozen chopped green peppers
hot chili peppers and salt to taste

Simmer until thickened to the consistency you'd like.  If you have it, serve topped with tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.

If you want to make a vegetarian version just pull out a big soup pot, add all of the ingredients and substitute vegi crumbles for the meat - no browning involved.

Chickenless Noodle Soup

This one came from a fellow teacher friend (Thanks Lisa!)

Sauté chopped half onion + 1 clove garlic + 2-3 stalks celery (leaves and yellow stalks are the BEST!) and then add 4 cups water + 3 bouillon cubes + bay leaf + dried parsley. Optional:  Add 1 c. of frozen corn.  Simmer. Turn heat off and add egg noodles. EAT when noodles are done! YUMMY!

Note:  I added a carrot, and I didn't have a onion so I added onion powder instead.  Still delicious and perfect after a day in the cold.

Side Note:  I got a pressure canner for Christmas.  Since then I've made three big batches (think stock pot size) of soup - pea, ten bean and ham barley respectively - and I've canned them all.  It took a little while to get used to how to use the pressure canner, but overall I've loved the experience.  What I really need are recipes.  If you have any tried and true pressure canner recipes please share.  The book that came with the canner came with many recipes, but most of them were for things my family just won't be eating.  Pigs feet or blood pudding anyone? 

Hope you can stay in, stay warm and enjoy cozy times with your family.

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