Today began rather early – 3:30am to be exact; one of those nights where sleep is restless as I process the tasks completed yesterday as well as those left undone. I dozed from 6-7:30 and then it was time to be an adult. ‘Please don’t make me adult today’, I said to The Professor. His baby-blues simply twinkle back at me and he doesn’t say a word . . . because he knows that even if I wanted to, I cannot stay in bed.
It snowed last night – the first real snow of the winter with six or seven inches of the frozen white stuff on the ground; I laughed out loud when local friends posted photos on Facebook showing completely bare shelves where bread was once stacked – ditto for milk. Newsflash people: we live in the Midwest – it snows here – and six inches of snow is not the apocalypse. Lordy.
This is one of the down and dirty, quick and easy recipes. While most of the cooking and baking we do here on the Smith Bites homestead is from scratch, there are times – like now when I have several deadlines looming over the next two weeks – we still want to eat well yet have something ready in less than 30 mintues. And this soup is one of those recipes.
I, for one, am counting the days until The Professor and I can sit outside on our porch, sip some wine and enjoy dinner al fresco; and if it’s not too much to ask, I’d also like to break out my flip-flops – heck, I might even get all crazy and grab a brand new pair when the temperature hits the 65 degree mark.
I’m not going to lament about the weather – we all know the West Coast is in a drought and both the Midwest and Eastern seaboard have been buried in snow and ice for the last several weeks. But today the sun is shining and I see the icicles falling one-by-one as the temperatures head into the 40-degree range; I have a deep case of wanderlust and am itching to grab my gear and head out the door.
I imagine I’m like quite a few who grew up eating soup from a red and white can – you know, the kind where you pour the contents into a pan, fill the empty can with water, add that to the pot, stir and heat? Vegetable Beef with Barley, Chicken Noodle, Chicken and Stars, Tomato, and Cream of Mushroom were lined up like tin soldiers behind the tall blue and white cabinets in that galley kitchen in the little house on Ankeny Street.
And here we are, Wednesday, the first Wednesday of November 2013 in fact. The fall-colored yellow, red and oranges leaves of our trees frame our windows with a canopy of brightness; they cling to gnarled branches before floating to the ground in wispy groupings before turning a caramel-colored brown and are mulched into the lawn for the season. 2013 has been a grand year, albeit travel-heavy, but the work has been rewarding.
Let’s talk soup shall we? I am of the camp that soup is perfectly acceptable in any season but I also know that soup is one of those foods people think about as Mother Nature starts to chill things off and the leaves begin to fall.
The Professor and I have traveled quite a bit this summer and have enjoyed meeting new friends as well as tasting some incredible food. And while winter seemed as if it would go on forever, a double-take at the calendar confirms it is indeed July; April took us to the Los Angeles area, we spent 12 days in the Tuscany region of Italy in May, New York City in June, then Salt Lake City to celebrate July 4th and at the end of this month we’ll be heading out once again to Bucks County, Pennsylvania for Big Summer Potluck.
The Professor and I have done our fair share of entertaining; we don’t as much anymore as our family has aged, college life has spread us about and schedules seem to be busier than ever. And even though there aren’t as many people sitting at our table as often, a couple of rules remain the same: whatever we serve at a party, needs to feed a crowd and the recipe needs to be make-ahead so we have time to enjoy our guests.
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Musical pairing – I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz
For as long as I can remember, I dreamed of being a singer – on Broadway or as a solo artist, ala Barbra Streisand, my hero at the time. I was singing at 18 months old and had entered my first talent contest at 5 and by High School I ranked 2nd in my State’s Solo and Ensemble competition.