Monday, December 27, 2010

Peaceful Visit

I kissed my grandma last week, or at least it feels as though I did. We spent Christmas at Blake's grandmother's farm in Atwood, Kansas. This is very close to McCook, Nebraska- where my grandma Lehman is buried. So we took a little trip to McCook and I got to visit her grave.

I had only been to her grave once before. I was not even a year old, and it was the day she was buried. This grandmother I never got to know, I was able to know through her children. I got to know her through the pots and pans my parents used, through the old mason jars I used as vases, through the old blue spiral that had hand written recipes and clippings from the paper. I got to know her through stories and through pictures, and through the old quilts, hankies, and fabric scraps. She lived all around me through those things, and much more. I feel as though I know her well.

I haven't been able to kiss her on the cheek though, and that's made me feel sad before. When there is someone you feel like you know so well, you want to be able to do that.

When I visited her grave I left a rose. A rose that someone wore in my wedding. I'm not completely sure who though, it was just left in my car. I left it in my car because I just felt like I needed to. I gave her that rose because I wish she could have been there wearing a rose.

When we left, I felt like I had kissed her on the cheek. It was a peaceful feeling.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cutting up a chicken isn't my talent.

I never have much been a fan of boiled chicken. I've learned that for casseroles it's better to boil or roast your chicken. So I've slowly been learning how to boil chicken. I know that sounds funny... but this stuff isn't coming to me like natural!

I started ordering my chicken from a local farm that hand processes their chicken and makes deliveries now and then. Do some research on how big companies like Tyson raise and process their chicken and you'll never what to eat it again. But I will not go into that right now. One of the more affordable ways to buy this chicken is to buy whole chickens. (The one I used today was only like $3.50... so it's really not any more expensive than the grocery store. Just throwing that out there) Whole chickens scare me though... they really do.

I needed to boil it and I didn't have all day so I decided I'd butcher it. I looked in my cookbooks and found some instructions.

Here is my chicken ready to go:

Here are my instructions:

Here is what happened:
As you can see:

A. I had no clue what I was doing.
B. I am no good at following directions (which my elementary teachers could confirm)
C. I made a mess of my chicken.

I threw it all in a pot with a chopped up onion and some water and we will see what happens. I'm sure it'll be fine... but I really don't know how to chop up a chicken.

Oh I have so much to learn!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Make Your Own Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup

Do you know what's in a can of cream of mushroom soup? I don't know either. What I do know is that I feel better about using it when I make it myself. So here is my recipe. Please note that this is for condensed soup, like what you put in a casserole or something. Not something you just put in a bowl and eat by it's self.

Also, you'll notice I'm not using home aid stock. So this isn't quite as "pure" as it could be. I'm getting there I promise! Someday!

I've found that the most effect way to make this is to do large batches, so you don't waste your time! So here is a recipe for about 6 cans.

Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup:
2 sticks of butter
2 cups of flour
4 cups of chicken stock/broth
4 cups of milk
Salt & Pepper
2 cups of chopped mushrooms

Wash and chop up those mushrooms... how ever chopped you like them.

Next, slice the butter. That makes it melt faster! I know it's a lot of butter, but this is for six cans!

In a big soup pot, cook butter and mushrooms until the butter is melted and mushrooms are soft.

Add the flour and stir together. It'll become thick and gooey.... that's what you want!

Slowly add stock while stirring or whisking to avoid lumps. Bring to a boil and cook a few min. until it's thickened.

Add milk, salt, and pepper. The great part is you can control your salt! Stir until combined and thick. The goal is to get it the consistency of what you see in a can. If it's still a little to runny after 5 to 10 min of cooking, mix some cornstarch and water together and add to the soup. Cook for a few more min. Take off the heat and even chill for a while if needed.

This is about what you want it to look like.

After the soup has completely cooled or even chilled ladle into ziplock freezer bags in 1.25 cup portions. Freeze it! When you need to use one, simply put it in the fridge over night or during the day to let it thaw.

This is a good project for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. It's way easier to have it made before you even think you need it than to try whipping it up when you need it.

Enjoy it!