Soup’s On

09/09/2010 § 2 Comments

NOT Campbell’s, this is my first ever Beef Stew from last year.

Growing up we ate soup. Chicken noodle (w/saltines), tomato (w/grilled cheese), vegetable beef (w/club or saltine crackers)…but they all came in a can, that bore a distinct red and white label with a gold seal and the words ‘Campbell’s condensed soup’ elegantly displayed. We would even go around the house singing the jingle, “Mmmmm, mmmmmm, good!”. Just add a can of water and there’s your meal. With 6 hungry, growing kids, one small can wasn’t enough, but it was still cheaper to get a few cans of soup and less time consuming than making homemade. No one had time for that in the 70’s/80’s, not with all the Miami Vice watching, shoulder pad adjusting, double-income-so-we-can-have-toys working, Atari-thumb acquiring, mix tape making, fast food eating, hair teasing and crimping, MTV video lip-syncing, Star Wars light-saber dueling we needed to accomplish. Grab a prepackaged box, stick it in the microwave and you were good to go.

So, that’s what I grew up with, in a nutshell of sorts. If you can’t nuke it, excuse me, microwave it, or make it in less that 10 minutes, you’re wasting time. Label reading? What’s that? Serving size? Isn’t it one package per person per meal? Preservatives? Micro waves are safe otherwise ‘they’ wouldn’t have let them be sold…right? Stop confusing me with the facts! Ahhhhhhhhh!

Simmering my first batch of Tomato Soup.

Now, lest you think I’m a food nazi, I want to clarify. If you have or use a microwave, I’ll still love you. If you buy prepackaged food and the fast food drive-thru clerks know you by name, I’ll still love you. Even if you frequently consume mass quantities of preservatives and like it, I’ll still love you. There’s always room for grace. This is my personal perspective and the road I am traveling, feel free to join in any capacity, you are more than welcome!

The beginnings of my Potato Soup. Shhhh…it has a secret ingredient.

Now where were we? Ah yes, soup. These past few years of having a house and a husband have really changed me. For the better (right honey? Honey?). I have learned so much and have grown so much I barely recognize myself. It’s as though I have been slowly emerging out of a cocoon in order to become the child of God I was always meant to be. It’s been hard. It’s been tiring. It’s been bittersweet. It’s been real. It’s been good.

I consider part of that role to be feeding my family and actually, truth be told, this is one of my most favorite parts! I feel like I am loving my family when I take the time to prepare hearty, healthy meals for them. It’s my gift of love to them. It’s the least I can do for them living with me year-round. Besides, it’s in my genetic make-up to help, provide and take care of those I love. They are my gifts. My blessings. Anything less than my all and my best isn’t good enough for them.

When I first started making soup I was completely clueless and actually put it off for a very long time. I was afraid to mess it up. I was afraid it would be more than I could handle and if it wasn’t going to turn out like the best soup that was ever created since the dawn of time and beginning of making soup, well, why bother? (Did mention I’m a recovering perfectionist?)

Then, one day, with my nose shoved in a cookbook (a rather frequent occurrence) and all the self-talk and courage I could possibly find to muster, I tried. And you know what? IT WORKED. Yep, totally. It seriously worked. I made chicken noodle soup from my own homemade stock, oh and by ‘worked’ I mean, it was delicious, edible even. Here’s the proof:

Meet my first ever from scratch Chicken Noodle Soup!

Here it is in my pretty pink bowl.

And here it is with some yummy organic ginger peach tea and a sleeve of saltines, naturally.

That was a great day for me. A momentous, milestone of an occasion. Nervously standing over the hot stove, chopping all of the celery, carrots and onions into uniform, bite-size chunks, measuring just the right amount of sage rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper, clinging to my cookbook and reading it over and over again to make sure each step was painstakingly taken in precisely the exact manner the author intended…(recovery takes awhile) all for the love of my family. *happy sigh*

So do you make your own soup? Thinking about trying it out? Happy sticking with the canned variety? What are your favorites? Any fun memories you’d like to share that come to mind?

xoxo

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Got Dill?

01/09/2010 § 7 Comments

“Darling, can you please pick me up some fresh dill from the store?”

(my darling husband is about 6′ tall…)

For The Beloved

06/08/2010 § Leave a comment

Beloved,
Today you will find me in the kitchen, bedecked with my red and white gingham apron, ruffle trimmed. The harvest is coming in and we are buzzing around making sure nothing goes to waste. If you listen carefully you will most likely hear the unmistakable sound of my camera’s shutter, snapping photos to preserve moments in time, memories that will be reminisced about for years to come.

Beside me is my shadow, I’m beaming as I call her daughter. The fine art of passing on life skills to my precious inheritance is a never ending joy. We bump into each other, a “Whoa!” is exclaimed, nearly spilling, catching it all and giggling at the ‘close call’. These are the moments that make my mother’s heart swell. A small quiver of lip and a deep held breath holds back the wanting to blubber bittersweet tears. I audibly thank the Lord for His merciful hand and abundant blessings, she hears and I hope the example penetrates deep.

Corn, blueberries, apricots thus far.
Peaches, tomatoes and more on par.
 
Is this really my life? Could this really be true?
Will someone please pinch me, I’m sure once will do.
 
The life of my dreams is now to be had,
I’m really alive, which leaves no room for sad.
 
The Lord has seen fit to bless me with gifts.
May I always be grateful and never throw fits.
 
His hand upon me, I humbly confess,
Is more than I’ve ever dreamt I’d be blessed.

My Savior, my Jesus, my Lord and my King,
Help me to cherish and not squander these things.

PSALM 146 (NKJV)


“Praise the LORD!
         Praise the LORD, O my soul!
 While I live I will praise the LORD;
         I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
         
 Do not put your trust in princes,
         Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
 His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
         In that very day his plans perish.
         
 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
         Whose hope is in the LORD his God,
 Who made heaven and earth,
         The sea, and all that is in them;
         Who keeps truth forever,
 Who executes justice for the oppressed,
         Who gives food to the hungry.
         The LORD gives freedom to the prisoners.
         
 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind;
         The LORD raises those who are bowed down;
         The LORD loves the righteous.
 The LORD watches over the strangers;
         He relieves the fatherless and widow;
         But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.
         
 The LORD shall reign forever-
         Your God, O Zion, to all generations.
         Praise the LORD!”


Preserving the Blessings of the Lord,

Traci

One Thousand Gifts

27/07/2010 § Leave a comment

51. warm sun-drenched days
52. cool ‘star’-blanketed nights
53. clothesline laundry taken in flight!

54. first fruits from tended earth
55. love-made food filling bellies
56. sweet pickings to make jellies!

57. time away with ones loved and dear
58. long bike rides though the park
59. s’mores upon s’mores after dark!
60. another day, another breath, to repeat the meaningful things in this life

holy experience

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