Friday, December 28, 2012

December 28, 2012

Happy Birthday to me!  I'm going to celebrate today by going to visit Mom.  I think I'll bring her a cupcake and we can share it.

Then I'm attending a tea party at the home of one of the tea-sters.  I'm in a meetup group for people who like tea.  She's going to serve lunch, too.  I've only attended one of their meetups before but they were very friendly.

From there I'll go shopping to buy myself a birthday present.

Andy and I are going out to dinner tonight.

It should be a fun day.

I have been on holiday break.  I return to work the day after New Year's.  For the past 2 days I've stayed in my studio cleaning and making stuff.  My kitty, Stella has been so happy that I'm at home.  I've made a couple of necklaces.  I bought a scarf pattern from Saf-t Patterns and made up a couple.  I tried making one without a pattern.  It was okay.  Then I just gave in and paid the $4 for the online pattern.  It was worth it.  The pattern is very well written.

My studio is so full.  Besides my sewing machines, cutting tables and fabric I have yarns and needles, jewelry making supplies, doll and dollhouse making stuff, drawing pads, flower arranging supplies, pictures for decoupage, along with books and magazines on these subjects.  I'm thinning down the jewelry making items.  I was going to give up my doll things but then I thought "what if I have a granddaughter?"

Everything is well organized until I start a project.  Then I go through my supplies looking for things and make a huge mess..

Oh well.  I know that I am very lucky to have hobbies.  Making things is a great stress reliever.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 17, 2012: Green Soup

I read an article about Green Soup in this month's Reader's Digest.  It got my attention because I am trying to eat better and I like soup.

Also, the recipe calls for the soup to be pureed.  I like plain soup - no floaters.  Usually that means high fat chowders or bisques. So, I decided to try it.

Here is the recipe that I used.  It was inspired by the Reader's Digest article which called for chard and just vegetable broth.  I used what I could find at the grocery store today.  Luckily the store had arborio rice.  That's an important ingredient that gives the soup body and some creaminess.

Joanne’s Green Soup

inspired by a recipe by Anna Thomas (“Eating Well”)
This is how made my first batch on 12-17-2012.

To make ahead: Prepare through Step 4 (omitting the lemon), cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Season with lemon just before serving.

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 32 oz can of vegetable broth
  • 1 32 oz can of chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup arborio rice
  • 2 large handfuls of other greens - I used mustard greens. But you could use kale, chard or other greens.
  • 1 lb bag of gently packed spinach any tough stems trimmed
  • Big pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more to taste
1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add 2 tablespoons water and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are mushy and have a deep caramel color, 25 to 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine the vegetable broth and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a soup pot or Dutch oven; add rice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.  Coarsely chop the greens and spinach.
3. When the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, stir in the greens. Return to a simmer; cover and cook for 10 minutes. When the onions are caramelized, stir a little of the simmering liquid into them; add them to the rice along with the spinach, chicken broth and cayenne. Return to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring once, until the spinach is tender but still bright green, about 15 minutes more.
4. Puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice, if desired.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 16, 2012

Yesterday I went to visit Mom.  Then I went to Fuddruckers to get a hamburger - figured I need to eat something substantial occasionally.

It took so long to get the burger that I stuck it in my purse so I could eat it in the movie theater.  I watched Skyfall - a James Bond movie.  It's the first James Bond movie that I have seen without Jim in 15 years.

It's not too bad going to movies alone but I'm going to have to practice going to restaurants alone or I'll have to start cooking myself decent meals.

Today I met Andy at the Edwards theater on I-10.  We had lunch at Cafe Adobe and then we went to watch The Hobbit.  The Hobbit had some boring bits but mostly it was pretty good.

The area has changed a lot since I was there last.  The covered mall part is gone.  Now there is a satellite police station.  Dave and Buster's (used to be Jillian's) is still there.  After the movie Andy and I played skee-ball and whack-a-mole.  It's been a long time since I've played games like that, too.

So, I did well this weekend.  I went out and enjoyed myself.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 13, 2012

I wish I could have stayed in Japan with Kevin and his family.  I felt loved and appreciated there.  I hope to return for cherry blossom season.  Pink, pink, everywhere!