Monday, September 30, 2013


Nothing like Germany in Connecticut for Oktoberfest the last weekend of September.

For my German relatives in Texas, you must understand that Connecticut is Italian the way Texas has Germans.  Maybe even more so.  I've never seen so many Italians, even in Chicago or in NYC--every second person has an Italian surname or maiden name, or both.  And they all make homemade gravy, or sauce (the name depending on the region their grandmother came from!)  Perhaps that explains the 25 pizza restaurants in our town!  And only 1 or 2 German restaurants--and they count bars that sell Brats--in the whole state.  The delis here are Italian, not German or even Jewish, for the most part.  Which means no kraut or German potato salad or kolaches or rugelach or matzoh ball soup, really.  But lots of pickled peppers and prosciutto and tortellini salad.

Still, they like beer.  And beer and Oktoberfest go hand in hand and so I went to one this weekend.  And had a wonderful time.  Sure, the German band didn't know what a schottische was (I remember we danced the schottische at every dance in jr and high school), but there was sauerbraten, roasted pork, German potato salad (well, sort of), noodles (not spaetzle), sauerkraut, beets and cabbage, apple strudel, and Black Forest cake.  Yum!  I miss German food sometimes, having had access to it in Chicago (Berghoff) and in NYC.  There were also lots of German drinking songs, including the schnitzlebank led by lederhosen-clad guitar and accordion players.

Now if we could just get an Oma's Haus and Nagelin's Bakery up here!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Making Mistakes

We've had our first Rainbow Loom crisis.  First, there were troubles getting some of the loops off the pegs without popping them off.  Then, even when we thought it was all okay, one of the fancy Starburst bracelets must have been incompletely looped because it came off the loom and fell apart.  Oh, the tears over these looms.

But I know that mistakes and failure lead to learning and so I try to be calm and help them fix it.  We talked about practice and mistakes being part of learning a skill and how doing things at the end of the day or in a rush can lead to mistakes.  Sis, who cried last night over the loom and actually ripped an unfinished bracelet off it in despair, woke up early and started all over.  "I was too sleepy last night," she admitted.  It's not always that easy.

And then there's the math homework.  The worksheet last night confused Bud and then we found a mistake in it.  But he couldn't quite believe the worksheet would have an error and there was some anxiety.  And then there was a math worksheet a week ago--the question asked for factors, which I always think of as numerals, so when Bud became confused by the question (which was confusing, to both Mama and me--and I had college calculus!), I tried to help and we came up with what we thought was the best answer together.  But the teachers corrected the answer with an equation or "multiplication sentence."  And I wrote and she said we were right.

So, as much as I know that mistakes are a great teachable moment, sometimes I want to be right.  Which is not a great lesson.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Open House

New building.  New staff and teachers.

Same PTA.  Same parents.

Last night was our first Open House at the new building, where we talked and listened for two hours with various teachers and friends.  The auditorium presentation was a pep rally, laughable really as the principal and assistant principal said more than once that there were no problems with the buses.  Well, the bus company and I would disagree since my kids are getting home 25 minutes later than last year, on the same route.  And while I appreciated the intro to the Common Core, there couldn't be much substance (I'm studying the Common Core and its issues and am not ready to weigh in with an opinion yet.)

The grade-level meeting was good, with the teachers laying out the different curricula and goals.  Connecticut has signed onto the Core, but we don't know if the kids we'll be taking the test in our town this spring.  New spelling program--which they're slowing down on some because it's harder on the kids than they expected (I was surprised both of mine got them all right, truthfully; they were  hard words.)  The writing program is the same and thus familiar from last year.  And math.  Oh, math.  That's new. I forget what else, except Sis's teacher was talking about the advanced words the kids know and mentioned one student who used forlorn, and she looked right at me.  Yep, checked with Sis today--she'd used forlorn to answer how a person in a story would feel.  Good for her!  Proud mom moment.

I did have a question about what the kids miss when they're pulled for strings practice.  And basically it can be anything . . . and the child is responsible for what she misses.  "How can a third grader learn what he's missed?" I asked.  Not much of an answer besides it's challenging to schedule pull-out times.  Oh, well.  I'm sure it works out.

Then we went to the classrooms, with Mama going to Sis's first and me to Bud's, as per their requests.  There were unnamed descriptors on the desks for us to guess where our child was.  Pretty easy with sushi, kung fu, and Percy Jackson as well as bunny, vet, and Harry Potter!  Both teachers were upbeat and kind, taking a moment with us.

We also met the specials teachers--both strings teachers, both music teachers, the art teacher, and the PE teacher.  With the music teachers who will be teaching recorder we talked about how Bud loves musicals.  One of the teachers promised to see if he can write "Music of the Night" for recorder.  And I told them I could still play "Star Wars" on the recorder 35 years later!  With the art teacher, we discussed Kandinsky and my museum career--and apparently today she called Sis "Sis Kandinsky!"  He's the first artist they're studying.  And I asked the PE teacher why they don't go outside--it's a time issue to corral them outside--"and we can do everything inside."  I guess.  We only had PE inside when it rained.

And that was the night.  Two hours of school.  Should be a good year.

Of Health and Hormones

TMI warning.

So, we thought it was perimenopause, with all the symptoms on the list.  I went off the pill so we could test to see if it were true.

I LOVE being off the pill--all the symptoms we thought was perimenopause, and I mean all, have gone away.  No insomnia, no irritability, and none of the more private symptoms.

But for the first time since starting the pill, I'm having a period.

And I'm remembering these days why I went on it in the first place--oh, the tight back and cramps.  I'm in bed today with my hot water bottle and television.  And since I'm on this cleanse, I can't blame the discomfort on sugar or caffeine or wheat or soy or whatever.

Just hormones.

So, I guess at least it's nice to know that my hormones are still active and things still work.  And while I doubt I'll go back on the pill because I hated the side effects, I don't like this discomfort much.

It's a Small World

Ever since I saw the NPR bit on Texas homecoming mums, I've been nostalgic for high school and college and my days in Chicago.  And, with the help of FB, I actually located some of the friends I've been most curious about.  They all said they'd been looking for me years ago but gave up with no luck.  Well, one friend connection led to another, and I found several of them:
  • the boy who sat at my table in kindergarten and was in class with me through senior year;
  • the boy who was good friends with the boy from kindergarten and whose mom threw great New Year's parties; I went with him to homecoming--and wore one of those big mums (though, they were smaller then);
  • the girl who sat behind me in English seminar, who liked theater and football;
  • my fraternity (APO, the service org) sister and college roommate in sophomore year;
  • a fellow officer in said APO who was an education major;
  • a few other APO members;
  • my boss at the museum in Chicago;
  • and five or six other Chicago museum colleagues.
It's been fun connecting with them all, catching up.  Many are married; many of them have kids, but not all.  Most look pretty much the same--more grey, less hair.  

And then Gommie called me from Austin.  Someone had called out to her at the farmer's market.  And it was that boy from kindergarten through high school, who recognized her, saying she hadn't changed at all.  

The very same week we became friends on FB after 25+ years.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Morning Glory

Okay, still doing the cleanse thing.   No . .. , well, not eating a lot of things.  Though I'm taking a break from the vegetarian thing now and have been eating some chicken.  Odd to do a cleanse and start eating meat.  I don't feel changed and my skin is still sensitive and itching, so no discernible inflammation change.  But I'm about halfway, so we'll see what three weeks does.  If I make it.  (And then I'll go back to being a vegetarian, though I marvel at how easy and flexible it is to eat chicken.)  Wheat is my biggest question mark so even if I add back some dairy, I'm trying to stay clear of wheat for the cleanse.

And this is how I'm starting each day:

Mommy Hungry's Strawberry-Almond Smoothie
1 1/2 cup almond milk or milk of your choosing
1 to 1 1/2  cup strawberries
1 heaping tablespoon almond butter

Blend and serve.

Mommy Hungry

Monday, September 23, 2013

Books, Interrupted

"Never interrupt a reading child," the corollary to the famous axiom about sleeping babies.

Well, I tried to follow the latter, but if I obeyed the former, nothing would get done.  My kiddos wouldn't get out of bed, brush teeth, go to school, do homework, finish chores, leave the house, ride in the car, or go to bed.

Yes, I'm definitely proud of both their reading prowess and enthusiasm.

But I'm tired of being the mean mom who says things like "Stop reading and do your homework."

Yes, it's true, I said that last week.

And every night after SQUIRT (sustained uninterrupted reading time), kisses, and lights out, I find Bud reading by hidden flashlight.  Most of the time he is so enthralled by his book that he doesn't notice my entering his room (and he isn't yet savvy enough to shut off his light at my footsteps.)  And each time, I have to take the light and book out of his room (yes, I give it back--I try each night to trust him and give him another chance.)   Some mornings, he tells me he's read in the middle of the night.  No wonder he's crying over homework.  In the mornings, both of them have to be told not to read in order to get dressed and brush their teeth. They whine anytime they're interrupted.  And I either feel guilty or harassed.  I mean, I love to read and understand the power of delving into a good book. Who wants to be the mom who took away Harry Potter?


I never thought books would be my on-again/off-again nemesis (even if I know it's a good problem to have.)

Music Notes

Violin: $$
Cello: $$
Stuff to go with them: $$$
A pizzicato (plucking) concert after just one lesson: priceless!

The kids hauled their instruments to school today--one giant though half-sized cello and one half-sized violin, safely tucked in their cases (I didn't get a picture because the bus was very early.)  They were so proud and so excited.

And came off the bus dragging those huge cases, still proud and excited (but still no picture.)  And tonight after dinner, they played a concert for me.  And wanted me to record it, from the moment they opened their cases to the when they bowed.  They had their music stands and strings books out so it would look "professional" and then played a concert by plucking and later by bowing their own songs, as solos and duets.  And rest and play position were key.  Bud also sang a "Phantom of the Opera" solo.  

When I showed them the videos, they laughed and loved it--especially the commercial they made for the Rainbow Loom--and said the music was awful.  "It sounded better in person."  

But I thought the whole thing was beautiful.

Cooking Up a Storm

Perhaps that should be "cooked," because it happened last week.  I had a cooking marathon.  It started with roasting some butternut squash for a Pumpkin Curry Soup.  The kids wouldn't like the soup, so I made them macaroni and cheese to go with their ham.  And then Mama made it home in time for dinner, which was a wonderful treat (she's working 12 hour days on a big project through Thanksgiving at least, maybe December.)  Sis loved the squash (there was extra for munching)--it was just like sweet potato fries.  Both liked the homemade mac and cheese.  And Mama and I liked the soup (we're hanging in with the cleanse, though a few things have crept in once or twice.)

It was a great fall meal, even though it was a very warm September day.


Pumpkin Curry Soup
2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1-15 oz. can pumpkin puree
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup coconut milk
1 heaping tablespoon curry powder
pinch of cayenne
juice of 1 lime, or to taste
optional:  chopped scallions or cilantro leaves

Preheat oven to 450F.
In roasting pan, toss butternut squash with olive oil and salt to taste. Roast until tender and dark brown, about 30 minutes.  Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a soup pot, heat oil over medium-low.  Saute onion and garlic, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes.
Add the ginger and continue sauteing until everything is tender and golden.  
Stir in pumpkin puree, broth, coconut milk, curry powder, and cayenne.  Stir a few times, then let simmer on low for 20 minutes.
Add the squash and lime juice (to taste.)  Serve.

Clean Gut

Lots to Read

That's three posts and counting this morning.  And I still have things to write.

Poker Faces

"I know Sis has a good poker face," I said last night over dinner, in reference to something I've forgotten.  They know the song by Lady Gaga but didn't really know what the reference was.  Soon Mama and I were explaining deal, ante-up, bet, hold, raise, fold, call, bluff, tell, and poker face.  And mind you, I probably haven't played poker since I was Sis's age.

Before you know it, we had found a full deck of cards and distributed some M&Ms in place of money or chips.  And a kids' book of games which laid out all the hands and how they compared.  Then Mama pulled up some country music on the player and, of course, we listened to Kenny Rogers's "Gambler."

We played for 45 minutes or so, practicing our bluffing and figuring out all the hands.  We mostly had pairs.  But once, Mama dealt me, right off the bat, a straight.  And I won lots of M&Ms. That hand.  Bud enjoyed bluffing, every hand.  At the end, I shared my candy with him.  Sure, we didn't know exactly who starts the betting or how many times you raise.  But we knew when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.  No need to walk away.

And it's hard to not count your M&Ms when you're sitting at the table, even though there'll be time enough for counting when the dealing's done.

Arts and Crafts Movement

We had quite the arts and crafts weekend.  Sis earned her Rainbow Loom, a plastic peg set used to create colorful rubberband bracelets, which is the hot item among kids, mostly girls, these days.  I thought it was just an elementary school thing, but our freshman babysitter says high schoolers have them, too.  Sis was thrilled and spent Saturday making bracelets for everyone.  I got the first one, a rainbow fish tail, which is actually made using only two pegs.  Soon Sis mastered the simple bracelet pattern on the full loom, the first one of which in green and yellow she gave to Mama.  I like that she is making things and making them for other people.

I was making things for other people, too.  I finished Mama Teacher's variegated pink striped afghan with green trim, which was for her big birthday.

And then I started a prayer shawl for Miss Sunny's birthday.  Still a long way to go yet, with a very thick and chunky anniversary yarn from Lion Brand in graystone stripe colors, but it's off to a good start.

Bud and the Olympians

Bud tore through the Percy Jackson series of books about the children of Greek gods in modern New York. I think he read all five in a week or two; Sis has started the first one.  And then Saturday at the library, he picked up the DVD of the first movie.  We spent the rest of the day watching the movie, which we all enjoyed, and talking about Greek mythology--the Minotaur, Medusa, the Hydra, Scylla and Charybdis, the 12 Olympians, and the labors of Hercules.  Which is what prompted Bud's question, "Mom, is Hercules in the Bible?"

The Bible happens to be the focus of all the Religious Education (RE) classes at our UU church this year so that our kids are versed in and can learn from the stories that are shared by their Jewish, Christian, and Muslim peers.  In Sis and Bud's class, they're doing the Bible Heroes.  And in my little Pre-K/K/1 class (combined because of lack of enrollment, with four co-teachers), we're doing "Picture Book Bible Tales," namely Biblical stories told in big, colorful, more liberal/less literal storybooks.  Yep, I'm teaching the Bible.  Which means I'll learn a lot, too, 'cos if it's not in a Charlton Heston movie or in the major Italian Renaissance paintings, I don't know it.

But thanks to my classical studies degree, I did already know that Hercules was not in the Bible.  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Teaser

Lots to post about later, but a teaser for now:  over lunch today, Bud asked, "Mom, is Hercules in the Bible."  Call it, "you know you're a Unitarian Universalist parent when."

Thursday, September 19, 2013



They're not just for kids.

I had one tonight:  I took a bath!

Four years after my initial back injury and all I could manage safely and comfortably were showers.  Meh. Sure, some of that (most of it?) was fear, but the mechanics of getting in and out of a tub, even lying there in the water, are tricky for someone with back/pelvis/tailbone issues.

But tonight, after weeks of experimenting with getting up and down off the ground/floor (most notably during our reading picnics or stargazing), I figured what the hell and so I did it.

Yep, nice hot luxurious reclining bath!

No problems.



Aye, me mateys, it's International Talk Like a Pirate Day!  And so, I spent my morning talking to Matey and Lassie with a pirate voice that is oddly Scottish in inflection.


It was probably just what we needed after 12 tense hours.  Anger, disappointment, tears, fear, upset.  And these were just some minor childhood issues.

But I can tell that third grade is going to kick all of our butts.  Between the homework (of which there is more and harder, just like the classwork), increased expectations and responsibilities (and this whole sophisticated behavioral reward/consequences system), shorter playtime, stricter bedtime.  It's just not as fun anymore.  And that's a hard realization and adjustment.  For all of us.  Isn't one of the definitions of growing up accepting that you have to do things that you don't like to do?  I've been saying for a long time that I can see how eight-years old is closer to ten than five; third grade--especially in a new bigger building with their own lockers--compounds that.  And there's attitude and stress and confusion to go along with all of it.

Still, they laughed hysterically over my pirate act (though begged me not to talk to the bus driver like that, so we have entered the embarrassing-mom phase), which means they're still pretty much kids.



One of the kids' highlights of going to Whole Foods (and Trader Joe's) is the samples.  Not just the free treats at the Customer Service desk (granola bars, fruit things, Pirate Booty, which Sis almost never likes but still looks forward to retrieving--"and one for my brother, please"), but all the goodies throughout the store.

Sure, I'm a pushover (or something else) and often buy anything they like, just because I'm always looking to expand their repertoire and palate.  Like the other day, we bought Bud a Gruyere cheese wedge and Sis an aged cheddar after they devoured the samples.  Same with Sesame Ginger dressing, chicken stir fry, and a vegetable medley with dressing.

Of course, oftentimes, they don't like it as much at home as they do in the stores.  Trial and error.

But Sis really liked this Mac n' Cheese, so I'm sure I'll be making it soon.


Whole Food's "Mom's Homemade" Mac n' Cheese
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Dash hot sauce (optional)
grated nutmeg to taste
cooked pasta and/or vegetables

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk thoroughly to incorporate into a roux.  Cook roux briefly till it is bubbling,then slowly add the milk, whisking constantly till all the ingredients are incorporated.  Add remaining ingredients and cook a few minutes til sauce is thickened and all ingredients are incorporated.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary (salt and nutmeg.)  Serve with  your favorite pasta or vegetables.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


There's nothing like lying in the grass of your own backyard looking up at the rising Harvest Moon and all the stars and singing with your kids, while also dispelling worries about werewolves.  Which, by the way, all live in England, with Harry Potter.  

Sis even spotted the Rabbit in the moon, the Chinese version of the Man in the Moon.

And Bud and I danced while I sang "Blue Moon" and Sis half-mooned me.  Right out of Grease.


(Of course, I also managed a short lecture on some of the history of nighttime a la the book I'm reading by Ekirch, At Day's Close, especially about how it's called the Harvest Moon because farmers would stay up all night working by the light of it to get the crops in.  Also info about how people used to be more attuned to moon phases for navigation on land and sea.  We even managed to read a tiny bit in the moonlight.  To be fair, the kids then lectured me about different kinds of stars!)

Amazing how many songs about the Moon I can recall (I know several about the Sun, too):

Under the full moonlight, we dance
Spirits dance; we dance.
Joining hands, we dance.
Joining souls, rejoice!

Sister Moon, Sister Moon
You're out too soon
The sun is high in the sky
Go back to bed
Cover up your head
And wait for the day to go bye-bye-bye
Wait for the day to go bye

I see the Moon,
the Moon sees me,
I smile at the moon,
And she smiles at me.

The man in the moon,
Looked out of the moon
Looked out of the moon and said,
“It’s time for all the children on earth
To think about getting to bed!”

And the one I sang to the kids a lot, Laurie Berkner's "Moon, Moon, Moon":
Moon moon moon, shining bright
Moon moon moon, my nightlight
(Chick! Turn it on!)
Moon moon moon, I can see
Moon moon moon, you’re taking care of me
Moon moon moon, shining bright
Moon moon moon, my nightlight
Moon moon moon, I can see
Moon moon moon, you’re taking care of me
Look up, it’s the moon
Look up, it’s the moon
Look up it’s the moon up in the sky
It’s big and round and I have found
That it looks just like a pizza pie 
Moon moon moon, shining bright
Moon moon moon, my nightlight
Moon moon moon, I can see
Moon moon moon, you’re taking care of me
Look up, it’s the moon
Look up, it’s the moon
Look up it’s the moon up in the sky
It’s big and round and I have found
That it looks just like a lemon pie

Plus "Blue Moon,"  "Moon River," "Bad Moon Rising," Blue Moon of Kentucky," "By the Light of the Silvery Moon," "Can't Fight the Moonlight," "Aikendrum," "Claire du Lune," Moonlight Sonata, and, of course, "Arthur's Theme" ("If you get caught between the moon and New York City . . . "  (See here and here--this one from NASA!--for many more.)

I'm Free!

That's gluten-, dairy-, soy-, sugar-, caffeine-, alcohol-, starch-(rice and potatoes), any-fruit-but-berries-, and all-beans-but-lentils-FREE!

Yep, elimination diet.  My PT and I had been talking about inflammation, which I have a lot of between my dermatagraphism and chronic back issues; she noticed that I'm generally puffy--not in a fat way, but in a water retention/inflammation way.

So I'm doing a cleanse, ostensibly for 3 weeks, but really as long as I can manage, which will probably be shorter than that.  And then I'll reintroduce everything, concentrating on the wheat and dairy, which are common troublemakers.  I didn't react to either on an allergy skin test, so who knows.  But from all my reading, I'm guessing all the anti-inflammatories I took four years ago have unbalanced everything.  We'll see.

And at the very least, it'll be a week or two of really healthy eating.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Spell This!

Yep, it's spelling-list time again.  And I just can't believe the words that are on the lists--maintained, debate, misbehave, acquainted.

Mercy, I still spell that last one incorrectly.

But during a dinnertime verbal quiz last night, they spelled them all correctly.

"Wow," I exclaimed.

"W-O-W!" they answered in unison.

Under the (Almost) Full Moonlight

"Under the full moonlight, we dance
Spirits dance; we dance.
Joining hands, we dance.
Joining souls, rejoice!"

There was enough time and daylight after dinner for the kiddos to continue their playing outside, where they'd been in the hour leading up to dinner already.  Despite the increasing nip in the air, they wouldn't stop to put on long pants.

About 30 minutes later, Sis came running in the house, "Mom, there are BEANS on the plants!"  And she led me outside to see.  Sure enough, there were some beans on our much-ignored pole bean plants.  We also saw that the kale is finally growing, after repeat visits from the local wildlife (which begs the unvoiced question, "Where did the wildlife go?"

Once outside, I was invited to witness several performances--kung fu dances with found sticks as swords, acrobatics on the swings and rings and bar, and some odd slide maneuvers whereby they crawled up backwards, on their stomachs, in something called "the slug."

When they noticed the (almost) full moon rising, they began to dance and sing around the backyard, making up moon songs (one to the tune of "Over the Rainbow"); I sang the lyrics above, myself.  Above their shouts and calls, I could just make out the song of the cicada.  But they were too wild for reverie.  And probably too young.

We stayed out until I saw the first star, before the moon topped the treetops.  I love fall evenings.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Welcome Back, Folks!

My parents are back in the lower 48, after a trip around Western Canada by car and rail.  Pop thought the Canadian Rockies were beautiful but perhaps could have done without the overly attentive, cruise-like tour by rail.  Next time, he said, he'll drive it himself!  It sounds like the area around Banff and Lake Louise was especially awesome--and had some very swanky hotels that they stayed in.  I haven't heard from Gommie, who came home and almost immediately resumed her busy social schedule--Book of Mormon, lunch with a friend, and Mah Jongg.  It'll be interesting to hear her version. Welcome home!


Nothing like autumn for me to fall under the spell of yarn.  Sure, I had a yarn project all summer but rarely pulled it out because being draped in an afghan on 90F days didn't seem right, even with air conditioning.  But now I'm rearing to go.  With not one but two projects:  finishing Mama Teacher's 40th-birthday afghan and making a prayer shawl for Miss Sunny with some beautiful "thick and quick" homespun in charcoal, lavender, and raspberry stripes.   I think I'm even going to try a new pattern, from my The Crocheted Prayer Shawl Companion by ministry founders Janet Bristow and Victoria A. Cole-Galo.  It's called the Victory Shawl, featuring rows of the victory stitch (dc, ch 1, dc).  

And there are so many other really great ones--Portuguese-Inspired Shawl, Granny Square-Edged Shawl, Mary's Hug, Sister's Shawl with yarn embroidery, Lattice Shawl--I wish I could crochet faster! 

Because I certainly already have the yarn!


The Original Prayer Shawl
*my adaptation
approx. 1,000 yds yarn (I use 5-6 skeins Lion Brand Homespun)
I use hook size M
ch enough to equal desired width (I usually measure on my arms, wrist to wrist, between 60-70")
do first row of sc, then three rows of dc, then repeat 1 sc/3 dc row pattern
work shawl until it is desired length (usually about 24-36")

Victory Shawl
approx. 600 yds chunky yarn (measures approx 20 x 60"
ch 132 (multiple of 3 + 6)
Row 1:  Work V-stitch in 6th ch from hook.  *sk 2 ch, dc, ch 1, dc in next ch.  Rep from * to last 3 ch, sk 2 ch, dc in last ch.  Ch 3, turn (42 V-stitches + 2 dc)
Row 2:  Work dc, ch 1, dc in each ch-1 sp across, dc in top of t-ch.  Ch 3, turn.
Repeat for 20+ rows or desired width.

Take-Away Afghan for Mama Teacher
pattern by Donna Kooler, with adaptations in yarn and hook size (and thus gauge and stitch count)

6 skeins Lion Brand homespun in one color A
3 skeins Lion Brand homespun in another color B
Size M hook

Ch 15, sc in 3rd ch from hook.  *Ch 1, skip 1 ch, and sc in next ch*.  Rep across ending in top of ch 2 turning st:  7 sc and 6 ch 1 spaces.  *Ch 2  Turn.  Sc in first ch 1 sp, ch 1 and sc in each ch 1 sp across ending in top of ch 2 turning st*.  Rep until you have 52 row or strip measures 44".  Make 15 strips altogether.

Assembly:  Align bottom edges of two strips with WS tog ad attach Color B to bottom row with a sl st.  Sc in next st, *ch 1, skip 1 st and sc in next*.  Rep to top of strips, cut yarn and weave in ends.  Rep until all strips are joined

Edging:  Attach Color B yard at any outside point with a sl st and *ch 1, skip 1 sc and sc in next st*.  Rep all around afghan.  Put 3 sc in each corner so it will lay flat.  After completing Color B edge, join with a sl st, cut yarn, and FO.  Weave in ends.

My Simple One-Skein Scarf

With M hook, ch 10
Row 1: sc in 2nd stitch from hook and in each ch across
Row 2: ch 1, turn, sc in each sc across,
Row 3 etc.: repeat Row 2 until scarf is the desired length, fasten off and weave in ends.

Mommy Hungry

Large Granny Square Afghan
adapted from Knitterly Arts 
I've removed the ch 1 sp between side sets of 3 dcs.

Rnd 1: Ch 4, join with sl st to first ch made to form ring. Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc + 2 chs),
*work 3 dc in ring, ch 2, rep from *twice more, work 2 dc in ring; join with a sl st to 
3rd ch of beg ch-5. (four ch-2 corners) DO NOT TURN WORK.

Rnd 2: Ch 1, sl st into next ch-2 sp, ch 5, work 3 dc in this ch-2 sp, *ch 1
(3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in next ch-2 sp, rep from * twice more, work 2 dc in final ch-2 
sp (which is right beside the beg ch-5); join with sl st to 3rd ch of beg ch-5.

Rnd 3: Ch 1, sl st into next ch-2 sp, ch 5, work 3 dc in this ch-2 sp, *work 3dc in 
next sp (side), work (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in next ch-2 sp (corner), rep from * 
twice more, work 3 dc in next sp (side), work 2 dc in final ch-2 sp 
(which is right beside the beg ch-5); join with sl st to 3rd ch of beg ch-5. 
*Continue working rounds like Rnd 3 until afghan reaches desired size.  Edge as desired.

And one knitting pattern:
One Skein Knitted Scarf

Size: appx. 6 x 60"

Materials: 6 oz worsted weight yarn; size 10 knitting needles

Directions: Cast on 22 loosely.

Row 1 Knit
Repeat row 1 for pattern, using entire skein.
Bind off and weve in ends.

Adapted from Lion Brand pattern

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Happy Harvest Festival

To celebrate the Moon Fest, we went to a festival today.  Ma and Gong came up to see Bud's kung fu team (and bring us celebratory moon cakes in a special tin with a rabbit in it.)  There were lion dancers, numerous kung fu forms, and several booths with food and activities.  Sis and Ma especially enjoyed tying Chinese knot bracelets with satin cord.  

Sis making me a purple bracelet, after making herself a red one

Friday, September 13, 2013

Me and My Campfire Songs

Last night after the welcome-back campfire last night, reminiscing about previous campfire singalongs, I remembered one of my favorite songs, "Me and My Dinosaur."  It's silly and peppy and talks about friendship. And I found the lyrics, which I include here.

My co-leader put together a great little songbook, with some of my old favorites like "Barges," and also many songs new to me.  We sang some of them last night, also below.  We both think that learning new songs is one of the great parts of Girl Scouts.

Me And My Dinosaur
One day when the weather was cloudy and gray
And I wished that someone would come out and play
I heard a knock-knock
And I opened the door
And there stood the loveliest big dinosaur!

Me and my dinosaur
I’ve never had such a friend before
As big as a house, twenty times and a half
And fifty times taller than any giraffe
Legs long as sequoia trees
Teeth big as piano keys
No two people are buddies more
Than me and my dinosaur
I got out some cookies and we had a snack
And he asked if I wanted to ride on his back
I started to climb
From his tail to his cheek
The whole darn trip it took nearly a week!

We hop-scotched to Africa, quick as the breeze
While leapfrogging over the coconut trees
And when we got thirsty
For mile after mile
In one great big gulp
We just drank up the Nile

Me and my dinosaur
I’ve never had such a friend before
As big as a house, twenty times and a half
And fifty times taller than any giraffe
Legs long as sequoia trees
Teeth big as piano keys
No two people are buddies more
Than me and my dina, nothin’s as fine as,
Me and my dinosaur Bum Bump!

Alive Alert Awake (action song)
(to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It")

I'm alive, alert, awake, enthusiastic
I'm alive, alert, awake, enthusiastic
I'm alive, alert, awake,
I'm awake, alert, alive,
I'm alive, alert, awake, enthusiastic!

Alive: hands on your head
Alert: hands on shoulders
Awake: cross arms over chest
Enthu-: hands on thighs
-si-: clap
-astic: snap with both hands
Repeat the song a number of times, getting faster as you go!

Purple Stew
We're making a purple stew
Whoop whoop whoop whoop
We're making a purple stew
Shooby doobie do
With purple potatoes
and purple tomatoes
And we want you!

*Leader points to someone on "you."  That person stands and joins.  Then repeat and both point to someone on "you" until whole group is standing and singing.

The Bear (repeat-after-me song)
The other day, I met a bear,
A great big bear, Oh way out there.

(Same lines in unison)

He looked at me, I looked at him,
He sized up me, I sized up him.

He said to me, "Why don't you run?
I see you ain't, Got any gun."

I says to him, "That's a good idea."
"Now legs get going, get me out of here!"

And so I ran, Away from there,
But right behind me, Was that bear.

In front of me, There was a tree,
A great big tree, Oh glory be!

The lowest branch, Was ten feet up,
So I thought I'd jump, And trust my luck.

And so I jumped, Into the air,
But I missed that branch, A way up there.

Now don't you fret, And don't you frown,
I Caught that branch, On the way back down!

This is the end, There aint no more,

Unless I see, That bear once more.

White Coral Bells (round)
 White coral bells upon a slendor stalk
Lillies of the vally deck my garden walk
Oh, don't you wish
That you could hear them ring

That will happen only when the fairies sing

Hmm, mmm
I want to linger here,
Hmm, mmm
a little longer here,
Hmm, mmm
a little longer here with you.
Hmm, mmm
It’s such a perfect night.
Hmm, mmm
It doesn’t seem quite right,
Hmm, mmm
That it should be my last with you.
Hmm, mmm
And come September dear,
Hmm, mmm
We’ll all remember here,
Hmm, mmm
The perfect times I had with you.
Hmm, mmm
And as the years go by,
Hmm, mmm
I’ll think of you and sigh,
Hmm, mmm
It’s not goodbye, it’s just goodnight!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rain, Rain

There is an amazingly dramatic thunderstorm raging outside, with more thunder and lightning then we've seen here in CT for years.  It reminds me of Houston, except tomorrow we will have cooler temperatures.

Now, without being ungrateful, I would only say that its timing was off.  Two months plus of very little rain and the deluge had to start in the middle of our welcome-back Brownie campfire?  Just as we were making s'mores?  I'd watched the radar all day and thought we were clear, but drumbeats of thunder punctuated the sharing circle as we told of summer vacations, saw a banana/bandana skit, and Sis and I sang "The Beaver Song" together, but the drizzle held off for almost an hour.  Until marshmallows.  Oh, well, the girls loved it.  And fortunately we had somewhere safe inside to be.

Where we then sang several verses of "If All The Raindrops Were Lemon Drops and Gumdrops" from our new songbook!

Toast: It's What's for Breakfast

It's hard to start the day at a loss, but that's how it often is with breakfast for the kids here.  They both usually like hot meals--for every meal--and they don't drink milk, dairy and non-, so cereal is out.  They like bread and honey or jam, cinnamon raisin bread, fresh fruit, granola.  Sis likes scrambled eggs; Bud likes oatmeal.  They don't like the other's favorite.  I'm experimenting with other breakfasts, this one comes from my own childhood:  cinnamon toast.  Sis likes it better than Bud, but both will eat it.  So add another to my repertoire.

I wonder if they'd like cheesy Welsh rarebit for breakfast?


Cinnamon Toast

slices of bread (French or Italian works best)
butter, softened
white sugar

Arrange slices of bread on baking sheet.  Spread butter on each slice and sprinkle on sugar and cinnamon.  Broil until toasty brown.

Gommie Hungry

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Just. So. Wrong.



Every year on this anniversary, my thoughts are with the victims and the survivors, their families and loved ones, their communities and our country, and even those beautiful towers in my beloved city.


Going to a coffee morning with some of my dear playgroup friends today, but I didn't bake.  I'm thinking of taking fruit and a dip--caramel and apples and/or fruit and one of these creamy, sweet dip.  Sure, fruit this time of year doesn't need dip, but it's a special gathering and these are all yummy.  Now I just have to choose.


Sour Cream and Cinnamon Fruit Dip
Using Penzey’s cinnamon makes this an almost spicy dip, which I first served for Applepalooza 2008.

8 oz. carton (1 c.) dairy sour cream
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Combine in a small bowl. Cover. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours to blend flavors. Serve with fresh fruit (1 cup).


Mama Teacher's Famous Fruit Dip
I love, love, love this dip.  And finally got the recipe for it on the last day of the year 2008!

2-6 oz containers Yoplait Light Yogurt, Very Vanilla
2 tablespoons fat free cream cheese
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine all ingredients.  Heat for 45 seconds in microwave.  Stir an dmicrowave an additional 40 seconds.  Serve with fruit for dipping.

Mama Teacher


Patricia’s Fruit Dip
I tried my first nectarine with this dip—and now I like nectarines a lot!  From that trip to San Antonio with my friend Sharon.

8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened
1 jar (16 oz.) marshmallow cream

            Blend and chill.

my college roommate


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Update on a Friend

Okay, to begin in the middle:  Miss S is okay.

I had been trying to call her for awhile but getting no answer.  I knew she was at the senior living center and figured she was out and about.  Or that she didn't have voicemail.  Still, I called at various hours and was surprised not to reach her over a period of a week or so.

So I emailed Miss M, from whom I didn't hear, which isn't so surprising given that she doesn't check email that regularly, having survived her first 7 or so decades without it just fine.

But today I ran into Miss M, who told me that Miss S had been in the hospital with pneumonia for two weeks and has been transferred to a more hands-on nursing facility.  Her lung capacity is diminished and she is now constantly on oxygen.  Miss M said her dementia hadn't increased, though, which is good.

Except when I called (getting through easily, which is amazing considering she doesn't have her own phone and they had to take her the remote one!), she didn't remember being ill.  But at least she knew who I was and was so excited that I called.  I'm going to visit on Thursday, I think, to see her.

What do you take someone for Yom Kippur?  (I doubt she'll be fasting this weekend, though.)

The Sound of Music

As if third grade and a new school weren't enough of a new adventure, added to that separate bedrooms and separate classes, Sis and Bud have decided to take up string instruments as part of their school's extracurricular music program.  She wants to play the violin; he wants to play the cello.  Mama is excited and inspired to play her own violin.  I'm just glad they aren't planning to play the same instrument.  But I do have visions of our own little string trio, them and Mama. And some worries about the practice sounds of non-silence, though I've been assured that it gets better fast.  It also means that they have to practice piano and their stringed instruments (they don't want to give up piano.)  And also the recorder flutes they play in regular music class.  At least they're motivated and excited.  And I did always want them to play an instrument.  I just didn't envision three!

Monday, September 9, 2013

"I Hate Mondays"

It's apropos, really, that Bud is home sick today.  His new favorite character hates Mondays.

Yep, Garfield.

The kids came across some Garfield books at a shop on Saturday and have since then been devouring all of the comic strip collections that they can get their hands on.  They laugh at his teasing Odie and Jon, agree that Mondays are awful, understand how great staying in bed is, identify with his love of his stuffed bear Pooky, but are mystified by his preference for lasagna.

I think we're going to have to make some lasagna.

Anyway, there has been giggling and guffawing since they found the books.  They compare favorite strips. They recount narratives to me. Bud's even trying his hand at drawing the fat cat during his day home today.

Mama and I both fondly remember reading Garfield as kids.  I'd get a new collection with practically every book order; I had several different-sized stuffed Garfields.  Mama still recalls her favorite cartoon with Garfield squeezing Pooky too tight.  So it's been fun to rediscover him.  Of course, he's very grumpy, the original Grumpy Cat.  And pretty much thematically monotone, with little change over decades of cartoons.

Which is why he seems to appeal to elementary school kids across the generations.

Mama's Sick-Day Recipe

Khao-thom or congee/jook (if there's meat) is Mama's go-to comfort food from childhood--a very soft, somewhat salty rice-meat bowl of goodness.  And now it's Sis's and Bud's.  So, with a general idea of how to make it and a sick child at home who has no appetite, I've been emailing Mama this morning for specifics as to how she makes it their favorite.  Here is her recipe:

Get a big pot to avoid boil over. Put a piece of chicken (frozen ok) in it with approx 1.5 cup of (jasmine) rice, a shake of the minced garlic (no need pre-soak) and enough water to cover 2-3x. You can also add soy sauce while cooking--the thin one, not the sweet or black ones.  Scallions would make it even better.  :)  Bring to boil, let simmer, stirring often to avoid sticking to bottom and to break up the chicken, until rice and chicken are cooked, about an hour to be safe. Cut up the chicken and serve, adding soy sauce to bowl.  Bud likes his with pickles (Chinese pickled vegetable.)

Note:  to make khao-thom, cook as directed but with no meat.  Also, pork works well, too.  

Mama Hungry

Only Five Days In

And I have a child home sick.  Bud developed the sniffles over the weekend, but by last night it was a raging nasty cold.  He's puffy and miserable.  And downstairs on the couch, reading some Percy Jackson and coughing.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Soup Season

Earlier this week, I was inspired by the forecast to make not one but two soups, Potato and Greens Soup for me and Beef Noodle Soup (listed first below in relevant categories) for the kids with the leftover brisket.  They liked their soup and I liked mine; both reappeared at dinner and in lunch thermoses.  Then tonight, as I was eating my soup, the kids became interested--and so I scooped potato-less greens soup for Bud and greens-less potato soup for Sis.  And they liked that, too, having two bowls each.  Mama polished off the pot when she got home.

Then, sitting upstairs while the kids were reading, Mama and I started talking about hearty, hot meals as the chilly evening air crept through the weekend.  I started naming soups and she did, too,  The result is this compilation--vegetarian and omnivore soups alike, soups posted here before and many not, all that we've liked at one time or another and would be willing to try (perhaps in an adapted form) again.  (This isn't all of my soup recipes, just a good number of them.)


(Don't forget the crusty bread or cornbread!)


My Basic Recipe for Soup:

Homemade Soup
In the fall of 2003, we made several slapdash homemade soups—Chickpea Soup, vegetable soup with pinto beans and squash, turkey carcass soup, tortilla soup, chicken and dumplings.  The possibilities are endless . . . but all start like this.

olive oil
browned ground meat, leftover chicken, leftover beef (optional)
1 can Rotel or crushed tomatoes
egg noodles/dumplings/rice/Israeli couscous/pasta (dilatini/orzo/farfalle)
squash/zucchini/bell pepper
garnish with croutons, cheese, vinegar (red wine or balsamic), whatever

            Saute the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots in olive oil until tender.  Add stock.  Add additional ingredients, saving noodles and dumplings until the end.  Season with salt, pepper, dried Italian seasoning, herbes de Provence, Maggi, Tony’s, Lawry’s seasoned salt, Worchestershire sauce, etc.  
            The chickpea soup version of this was inspired by Bloodroot and primarily included chickpeas and crushed tomatoes.
            Note:  I have decided I don’t like parsnips in my soup. 


VEGETARIAN Soups (if it mentions chicken stock, just use veg)

Potato and Greens Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 bunch leeks, thoroughly rinsed and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
4 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (or veg stock)
salt and freshly ground pepper
8 white potatoes (about 3 1/2 lbs), peeled and cut into 3/4 cubes
1 bunch arugula or other bitter greens such as curly endive or escarole, washed

Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Add the leeks and stir well. Cover and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add stock and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add potatoes and bring back to a simmer. Cook until tender but not mushy, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off heat.

Ladle about 3 cups of soup into a blender (don't fill more than halfway). Hold the lid on with a dish towel to prevent splattering, and blend until smooth. Return pureed soup to saucepan, stir to combine, and bring back to a simmer. Season to taste.

Stir in greens. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until wilted and bright green, and serve immediately.

Martha Stewart Living


Winter Vegetable Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup finely chopped carrot (about 2 carrots)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-14.5 oz cans Great Northern beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained
1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, with liquid
2 cups cubed Yukon Gold potato (about 10 oz)
2 1/2 cups water
2-14.5 oz cans vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry (she left this out--the right decision, I think)

Heat oil in Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in tomatoes and next 7 ingredients. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add spinach; cover and cook 5 minutes.

Weight Watchers Annual Recipes for Success 2003 (3 pts a cup)


Lentil and Red Pepper Soup

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, to your taste, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sweet paprika or pimenton (smoked paprika)
1 large or 2 medium-size red bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup dried brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
5 cups water
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red or white wine vinegar, to your taste

In a medium-sized skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring a few times, until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat if they begin to brown. Stir in the paprika and allow it to cook for about a minute more. Add the bell pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring a few times, until it jus tbegins to soften. Use a heat-resistant rubber spatula to scrape the vegetables and oil into the slow cooker. Add the lentils and water and stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW until the lentils are completely soft, 7-9 hours.

Season the soup with salt and pepper and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, ading more if needed. Serve hot ladled into soup bowls.

Beth Hensperger, Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook


Broccoli Noodle Soup

Mmmm, one of my favorite soups, though it is never as thick as I think it will be. And it is very messy to eat!

3/4 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoon margarine or oil
6 cups chicken broth (canned or bouillon)
dash salt, pepper
8 oz. very fine noodles
2 packages frozen broccoli (better w/ 1 bunch fresh)
6 cups milk
1 lb. Velveeta light cheese cubed

Saute onion in margarine, add chicken broth and bring to boil. Add broccoli and cook til almost tender. Add noodles and salt and cook til tender. Add milk and cheese. Stir til melted. Add pepper if desired (can add some of the milk if need more liquid to finish cooking noodles.)

Substitution note:  equal parts Colby cheese (or 3/4 Colby and 1/4 American) tossed in a little flour for Velveeta


All-Day Minestrone

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium-size yellow onion, minced
1 celery rib, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
1-15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups slow cooked)
1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, left undrained
1 medium-size zucchini or yellow summer squash, diced
6 cups stock
sat and black pepper
1/2 cup raw or 1 cup cooked ditalini or other small soup pasta
1/4 cup pesto

Pour the oil in the bottom of the 4-6 quart slow cooked. Add onions, celery, carrot, and garlic, cover, and cook on High while you assemble the reminaing ingredients.

After they've been prepped, add the green beans, chickeas, tomatoes, zucchini, and stock to theslow cooker and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on Low for 7-8 hours.

If using raw pasta, about an hour before you're ready to serve, add it to the slow cooker and cover.

Just before serving, stir in the pesto and already cooked pasta, if using. 

Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker


Pasta e Lenticchie

This is my all-time favorite go-to recipe (without the hot pepper flakes).  I sometimes use pasta (even spaghetti) but other times couscous or bulgur.  I've used curry or masala instead of parsley or Italian seasonings.  Any tomatoes, from sauce to crushed to diced to chopped, work.  I've added kale, spinach, a variety of other greens, raw or previously cooked. You really just do your own thing, starting with lentils, water, and garlic.  

5 cups water

3/4 cups lentils
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes, with some juice
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/2 pound vermicelli, or small tubular pasta, or pasta mista
2 rounded tablespoons finely cut or snipped parsley
Optional: extra-virgin olive oil and hot red pepper flakes or hot pepper oil, for garnish

In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a rolling boil, add the lentils, and cook, covered over medium-high heat, until nearly but not entirely tender, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic, the olive oil, the tomatoes, the salt and the pepper. Reduce the heat, cover and continue to simmer briskly for another 10 minutes, stirring a few times, or until the lentils are fully tender.

If using capellini, break it into 2 to 4-inch pieces and add them to the lentils. Cook, covered, at a steady simmer, stirring several times and scraping the bottom of the pot when you do. Cook until the pasta is just done, stirring more frequently as it gets closer to the point of being cooked. If using a small tubular pasta or pasta mista, cook the pasta at least halfway in plenty of salted boiling water. Drain the pasta, add it to the lentils and simmer to finish cooking the pasta.
When pasta is cooked to taste, remove the pot from the heat, stir in the parsley cover the pot, and let stand about 5 minutes before serving. Serve hot, passing hot pepper oil or the best-quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling on top.

“Molto Mario”


J D's Black Bean Soup

1/2 lb dried black beans, rinsed and sorted

olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
4 cups water
1-2 bay leaves (depending on size)
salt, pepper to taste

Prep black beans in your favorite way (either overnight soak, or 5 minute boil and then 1 hour soak). Drain.

Saute onion and garlic in a little olive oil. Add beans, bay leaves, water, salt and pepper. Cook until tender. Adjust seasonings.
DO NOT DRAIN. Puree using immersion or regular blender.
My note: I think you could probably drain the beans and then puree them to make a good black bean dip. Also, this would probably be good with a chopped green pepper, too.



Ethiopian-Inspired Yellow Split Pea Stew

3 cups water plus 2 tablespoons (divided)

1 cup dried yellow split peas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1 inch-long piece fresh ginger, peeled,
finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon salt
Place 3 cups of the water and the peas in large saucepan. Heat over high heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium; cook until almost tender, about 30 minutes.
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat; cook onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and turmeric; cook 1 minute.
Add remaining 2 tablespoons water; cover. Cook on low heat 3 minutes. Add mixture to cooked peas; stir in salt. Simmer until peas are very soft, about 30 minutes. Taste; adjust seasonings.


Jamie’s Beanbag Soup Recipe

2 cups mixed dried beans

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak dried beans in 6 cups lightly salted water overnight OR boil beans in 6 cups water for 2 minutes and simmer on low for an hour. DO NOT DRAIN.  In olive oil, sauté onion, celery, carrots, and garlic.  Add beans with their liquid to pot with sauteed vegetables and also bay leaf.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until beans are tender, about 1 ½-2 hours. 

Optional:  To bulk up the bean soup, you can: 

•                    add spinach or kale (or other greens), fresh or frozen, along with carrots, celery, and onions
•                    add ¾ cup dried macaroni (or orzo) when beans are almost done
•                    make the soup with ½ the beans (1 cup or so) and add a variety of vegetables like green beans, corn, and potatoes for a vegetable soup

Italian version:  Add 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning with the salt and pepper.  Later, when beans are almost done, add 1 can diced tomatoes.   

French version:  Use Herbes de Provence with salt and pepper.

Slow Cooker directions:  Place presoaked beans and soaking liquid in 6-quart slow cooker.  Sauté  onions, carrots, celery, seasonings, and garlic in olive oil.  Add these, plus bay leaf and optional vegetables except tomatoes, to slow cooker.  Cook on LOW 6-8 hours, adding tomatoes or other acids and/or pasta in last hour.


Butternut Cider Bisque
This wasn’t great the first time we tried it but it must have been a bad squash, because we made it this fall and it was incredible (10/08)!

1 tablespoon olive oil 

1/2 large onion, diced 
1/2 large carrot, diced (I left this out) 
1 stalk celery, diced 
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced 
5 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth 
2 cups apple cider 
2 cups heavy cream (MUST be heavy cream; anything else curdles in the acidic cider!) 
pinch of nutmeg 
1 tablespoon brown sugar 

Heat the oil in a large pot and saute the onion, carrot, and celery until the carrot and celery are soft and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and saute until all of the vegetables are coated with oil, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and the 2 cups of cider and simmer until the squash is very soft, about 30 minutes. 

Remove from heat. Puree the mixture, in small batches, in a blender on medium speed until smooth and well blended. Place the pureed mixture into another pot and stir in cream to achieve the desired consistency. Add the nutmeg and brown sugar. Heat gently and serve. 

Red Lion Inn Cookbook plus my changes


Aido Bouido, aka Garlic Soup

There was a blog two years ago of a woman named Julie cooking her way through Julia Child’s Mastery of French Cooking vol. 1-2.  She reported on her search for rare ingredients, the challenge of cooking in a small NYC apartment, and the results.  It opened Julia Child up to me in a new way, just as had Sara Moulton’s mentioning Julia’s “you’re alone in the kitchen.”  And so, we were sad when Julia Child died, and so made the recipe in her honor.  Who thought water and garlic would be this good!  Amazing.  And I love the way she writes recipes, transcribed directly here (summer 2004).  Obviously, I wrote this blurb before the book and the movie, as I read the blog "real time."

Soup Base

1 or 2 large heads of garlic (2 heads are not too much!), the unpeeled cloves separated and smashed
2 quarts water
seasonings: 2 teaspoon salt, a big pinch of freshly ground white pepper, 2 whole cloves, 1/4 teaspoons each sage and thyme, 1 medium imported bay leaf, 6 parsley sprigs
3 tablespoons fruity olive oil

Final Liaison

3 egg yolks
1/4 cup olive oil


hard toasted French bread rounds
1 cup grated Parmesan or Swiss cheese

            The Soup Base:    Combine all the listed ingredients in the saucepan, bring to the boil, and simmer partially covered 30 minutes.  Strain into a bowl, pressing juices out of the ingredients, and return to the saucepan.  Correct the seasoning. 

            Ahead of time note:  May be prepared in advance; shill uncovered, then cover and refrigerate or freeze.  Bring to the simmer shortly before serving.
            The Final Liaison:  Whisk the egg yolks in a mixing bowl for a minute or two until thick and sticky; by droplets, whisk in the olive oil to make a thick, mayonnaise-like cream.
            Serving:  Just before serving, and by dribbles, beat a ladleful of hot soup into the egg yolk liaison; gradually whisk in the rest.  Serve immediately, passing the bread and cheese separate.

Julia Child, Way to Cook

Alternative:  Provencal Garlic and Chicken Soup

ingredients for Garlic Soup

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
a handful of chopped fresh parsley

            While the soup base is simmering, cut the chicken breasts into small slices, 1/2 inch dice, or julienne.  After straining the soup base, add the chicken and let simmer 4-5 minutes.  Finish the soup as described, whisking the liquid into the egg yolk liaison, and folding in the chicken and parsley.

Julia Child, Way to Cook

Alternative:  Provencal Garlic and Potato Soup

ingredients for Garlic Soup

3 cups sliced “boiling” potatoes
a big pinch of saffron threads, or 1 teaspoon fragrant curry powder, optional

            After simmering and straining the soup base, add the potatoes and optional saffron or curry; bring to the boil and simmer about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.  Finish the soup as directed.

Julia Child, Way to Cook


Ann’s Corn Chowder

6 slices bacon

1 onion chopped
1 green pepper
1 jar pimentos
2 cans milk
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cans cream style corn
1 can chili pablano soup (optional)

            Mix and simmer.

Gommie Hungry


Baked Potato Soup

What a time consuming recipe!

3 large baking potatoes, baked (can be baked in microwave)

½ cup finely diced celery
¾ cup each finely diced carrots and onion
1/3 cup finely diced green onion
1 teaspoon each white pepper, cracked black pepper, seasoned salt, and minced garlic
4 ounces bacon, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups water
2 teaspoons chicken-seasoned stock base
2 2/3 cups whipping cream
12 oz (3 cups) grated Swiss cheese
1 ½ oz. (3 tablespoons) butter
1/3 cup flour

            Peel potatoes and cut into ½-inch chunks; set aside.  In large bowl, mix celery, carrots, onion, green onion, peppers, salt, and garlic; set aside.  Place bacon in a Dutch oven and cook over medium-high heat until brown.

            Reduce heat to medium low and add oil.  When hot, add vegetable mixture; saute until vegetables are well done.  Add potato chunks and cook until dark brown.  Add water, chicken base, and cream; stir constantly 5 minutes.  Fold in cheese until thoroughly blended.
            Heat butter in saucepan over low heat; whisk in flour.  Add roux to soup and stir until thoroughly blended.  Reduce heat.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.
            Makes 2 quarts or 6 servings.

Mason Jar recipe, from Houston Chronicle, sent by Mom


Chickpea Stew with Couscous
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic coves, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups diced zucchini
1 large sweet potato, peeled, in 1/2" dice
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup diced, peeled tomato, canned or fresh, with juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon*
1 teaspoon ground coriander*
1/2 teaspoon cumin*
pinch cayenne (we omitted this)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon jice
1-15 oz can chickpeas, drained, or 1/2 cups homemade
2 cups couscous
2 tablespoons minced parsley or cilantro (I leave this out)
*I substituted 2 1/2 teaspoons Penzey's sweet curry powder for this and it was wonderful.

In a large pot, combine onion, garlic, and 1/4 cup vegetable broth (in fairness, I used a little olive oil to get in my daily guidelines for WW). Cook over moderate heat until liquid evaporates and onion is transparent, about 5 minutes. Add zucchini, sweet potato, bell peppers, tomato, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, cayenne, sat, and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 3/4 cups broth and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, cover, lower heat, and simmer gently until vegetables are just tender, about 5 more minutes (nope, took almost 15+). Stir in chickpeas and cook until chickpeas are hot. Keep stew warm. Serve over couscous. Garnish with minced parsley.

Everyday Cooking with Dr. Dean Ornish


Moroccan-Inspired Vegetable and Chickpea Stew

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 shallots, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 small yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 easpoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
8 oz. green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
1 1/2 cups chickpeas (15.5 oz can), drained and rinsed
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, and drained and chopped
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup mixed dried fruit (apricots, apple slices, prunes, raisins,etc.), chopped
1/4 cup imported green olies, drained, halved, and pitted
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, carrot, bell pepper, and garlic. Cover, and cook until softened, about 5 mintues. Add the ginger, cinnamon, cumin, paprika, and turmeric and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds to bring out the flavors.

Transfer the mixture to a 4-6 quart slow cooker. Add the green beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, stock, and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on Low for 6-8 hours.

About 20 minutes before serving, add the peas and dried fruit.

When ready to serve, stir in the olives and sprinkle with the parsley. Taste to adjust the seasonings and serve hot.

Robin Robertson, Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker


No Hurry Vegetable Curry

1 tablespoon peanut oil (I used canola)
2 large carrots, sliced on a diagonal
1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander (see above)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (nope, I never add the spicy stuff)
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
8 oz green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
15.5 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups homecooked)
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained (I had crushed)
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and onion, cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, curry powder, coriander, and cayenne, stirring to coat.

Transfer to 3 1/2-4 quart slow cooked. Add potatoes, green bearns, chickpeas, tomatoes, and stock; cover, and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.

Just before serving, stir in peas and coconut milk and season with salt.

from Robin Robertson's Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker


Mommy Hungry's Harvest Vegetable Chowder
*I must confess to using a container of pre-cut soup veggies from Whole Foods so I don't have exact measurements on those.

olive oil

1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetable broth
1 Yukon gold potato, cubed
1 large turnip, cubed
*7-10 baby carrots
*1 cup cubed butternut squash
*1 cup cubed rutabaga
*fresh parsley and fresh dill to taste
3 cups milk

Saute onion and celery in olive oil until tender.   Add garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add broth, vegetables, and herbs and cook until vegetables are tender, 20-30 minutes on simmer.  Add milk and simmer another 10 minutes.  Puree half of the soup in a blender or use an immersion blender (or all of it!).  Serve with oyster crackers.

*I think it would have been good with sweet potatoes, too, possibly leeks, parsnips, or whatever you like.  Even greens like kale.

Mommy Hungry

Lentils and Potatoes with Curry

1 cup dried brown lentils, washed and picked over
3 1/2 cups water, coconut milk, or stock, plus more if needed (I used water and it was good)
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 medium starchy potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Yogurt and chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish (no cilantro!)

Combine the lentils, liquid, and curry powder in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to medium-low so that the mixture bubbles gently, cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils start to absorb the water a bit, about 15 minutes.

Add the potatoes and cover the pan completely.  Cook undisturbed for 10 minutes or so, then stir gently and check to make sure the lentils aren't too dry.  (At this point, you can add 2 tablespoons butter for a smoother mixture, if you want.)  If they are, add a bit more liquid.  Add salt as the lentils become tender.

Cover and continue cooking until the lentils are soft and beginning to turn to mush and the potatoes are tender at the center, another 5 to 10 minutes; add liquid if necessary.  The mixture should be moist but not soupy.  Add lots of black pepper, stir, then taste and adjust the seasoning and serve, garnished with yogurt and cilantro.

Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything


Stovetop Spanish Lentil Soup
1 onion, chopped
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
1-2 carrots, chopped
1/2 red pepper, seeded and chopped
olive oil
3 cups kale, de-stemmed, washed, and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
6-8 cups water
red wine vinegar

Saute onion, celery, carrots, and red pepper in olive oil until tender.  Add kale and garlic and saute briefly.  Add lentils, paprika, and water.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer about 20 minutes or until lentils and vegetables are tender.  Serve with a splash of red wine vinegar.

Mommy Hungry, inspired by Bloodroot and adapted from a slow cooker recipe

Pumpkin Curry Soup
2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1-15 oz. can pumpkin puree
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup coconut milk
1 heaping tablespoon curry powder
pinch of cayenne
juice of 1 lime, or to taste
optional:  chopped scallions or cilantro leaves

Preheat oven to 450F.
In roasting pan, toss butternut squash with olive oil and salt to taste. Roast until tender and dark brown, about 30 minutes.  Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a soup pot, heat oil over medium-low.  Saute onion and garlic, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes.
Add the ginger and continue sauteing until everything is tender and golden.  
Stir in pumpkin puree, broth, coconut milk, curry powder, and cayenne.  Stir a few times, then let simmer on low for 20 minutes.
Add the squash and lime juice (to taste.)  Serve.

Clean Gut

Zucchini Mushroom Soup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
6 cups portobello or crimini mushrooms
1 red or yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped or crushed
1 large zucchini, cut int 1/2" thick rounds
1 bay leaf
water as needed
2 cups chopped cauliflower
Optional:  1 cup almond milk or 2 more tablespoons coconut oil
sea salt to taste

In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil.  Stir in the mushrooms and a sprinkle of salt.  Saute until they are lightly brown, about 23-4 minutes.  Stir in onion, garlic, zucchini, and cook an additional 3-4 minutes.  Add bay leaf and enough water to cover vegetables.  Cover and bring to low boil.  Simmer for an additional 12 minutes.  Add cauliflower and cook until tender.  Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender.  Add almond milk for extra creaminess.

Clean Gut



Beef Noodle Soup

leftover brisket or other beef, cubed
beef stock (leftover drippings or gravy, too--ours had red wine in it)
egg noodles

Saute onions in olive oil until tender; add garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add stock, beef, and vegetables (I had a leftover brisket meal with potatoes, carrots, cabbage, celery, etc., and so everything was already cooked).  Cook until vegetables are tender.  Turn up heat to boiling and add noodles.  Cook until noodles are done.  Season to taste.  Serve immediately.

Mommy Hungry


Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

I didn’t really love gumbo when I was younger but it has certainly grown on me now. So, for the first time, the night before the crash of Flight 587 (in Nov. 2001), I made gumbo, based on my mom’s recipes and my New Orleans cooking school class notes. And you don’t really need Andouille sausage—just any smoked sausage. Note: My mom adds a can of diced tomatoes; I don't.  We ate the soup as we watched the news, with Goo.

4-5 chicken breasts

½ cup flour
½ cup oil
2 large onions chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 lbs. sausage
6-8 cups chicken stock
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons Tony’s (approximately)

Saute sausage medallions. Saute onions, celery, pepper in sausage grease.

Make roux (Mom says you can microwave til brown, stirring after every minute; I tried this to start but then but it in a pot to finish). Add chicken broth. Add onion, celery, pepper, and sausage.
Saute chicken until dry and stringy. Add to pot. Add bay leaf, garlic, Tony’s. Simmer for 2 hours.
Serve over rice. Freezes really well.

Gommie Hungry



1 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk

additional: 1-2 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup milk

Combine flour, salt, and milk. Roll out on floured surface and cut into diamond shapes (don't know why). Drop in layers into near boiling broth. Do not stir. Cook 10-15 minutes, until dumplings float. Add butter and milk to broth and simmer 5-10 more minutes. Serve.

Gommie Hungry


Tortilla Soup

3-4 cans chicken broth (or homemade chicken stock)
onions, celery, garlic, carrots, zucchini
green chilies
1 can diced tomatoes (or ½ can Rotel)
corn tortillas in strips
Monterrey Jack cheese

Cook vegetables in chicken broth. Serve with tortilla strips and cheese.

(My note tonight: I used diced tomatoes instead of Rotel, added a can of Ranch Beans, and an orange bell pepper, but no celery. Plus no chicken!)

Gommie Hungry


Cousin Susan’s Mexican Soup

Tasty and easy, but not a soup for socializing!


1 pound ground beef
½ chopped onion

Add and Simmer:

2 cans Ranch-style beans
2 cans minestrone soup (Progresso)
1 can Rotel tomatoes (with or without chilis)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
Cousin Susan


Patricia’s Beef Soup

3 cups water

2 small onions chopped
3 celery stalks chopped
2 sliced carrots
14 oz. can tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon pepper
10 oz. frozen mixed vegetables
1 lb. beef
2-4 tablespoon beef bouillon

            Cook onions, celery, carrots in water all day.  Then add rest of ingredients.

my college roommate


Italian Potato and Sausage Soup

Just like the sausage soup at Olive Garden crossed with that of Bertucci’s.  Leave out the vanilla and don’t substitute milk for cream as it will curdle.  Yum.  (winter 2005).

6-8 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces

4 cups chicken stock
2 lbs. hot sausage, out of casing (or sweet Italian sausage)
1 1/2 cups diced onions
1 3/4 cups finely diced celery
4 oz. butter
1 qt. heavy whipping cream (nonfat milk will curdle in vinegar; can delete dairy)
3 tbs. balsamic vinegar (white or dark)
1 tbs. Vanilla (optional—we liked it better without)
4 tbs. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large stockpot, add potatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. In a sauté pan over medium heat, add sausage and chopped onion in pan and sauté until completely cooked. Drain sausage mixture, add celery and sauté a few additional minutes. Add sausage mixture to stockpot with butter. Add cream and extra broth if needed. Add vinegar, vanilla and parsley at the end of cooking. Season to taste, with salt and pepper.
Jackson EMC website


Beef Barley Soup

I always liked Campbell’s Beef Barley soup but I had never really considered making my own.  Until I saw a recipe in Taste of Home.  Then Mama and I got to talking about it and looked for barley at the grocery store.  We liked the recipe on the Goya bag and used that instead, with some alterations—we forgot to buy mixed vegetables.  And it was amazing.  Below is the original recipe and our changes.  (Mama adds, tonight, that she doesn't like barley soup at all--"too slimy.")

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 lb. boneless steak, cubed (seasoned with salt and pepper)
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons oregano
2 beef bouillon cubes
4 cups water (this increased to 8 at least)
1 bay leaf
1-14.9 oz. mixed vegetables, undrained (optional—we used 2-3 stalks celery, chopped)
½ cup barley (ginia thinks more would be better, but that would need more water)

            Heat oil in large pot and brown beef.  Stir in onion and garlic and cook until tender.  Stir in oregano, bouillon cube, water, bay leaf, and celery.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer about an hour.  Add barley.  Cook over medium heat for another 30 minutes (more like an hour, adding more water).  Serves 4.

Goya barley bag recipe


Italian Wedding Soup

I don’t know where I first had this soup with meatballs and pasta in a chicken broth, but I’ve always liked it.  The most memorable time was in D.C. while we were staying at the Homewood Suites in March 2002.  It was one of the complimentary dinner options one night and we relished the “Spaghetti-O’s”-like meatballs in the light soup.  I found this recipe online and we made it in June—very refreshing, tasty, and easy!

1/2 pound extra-lean ground beef

1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs (or finely crushed cracker crumbs)
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
5 3/4 cups chicken broth
2 cups thinly sliced escarole (or spinach)
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed

In medium bowl, combine meat, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, basil and onion powder; shape into 3/4 inch balls.

In large saucepan, heat broth to boiling; stir in escarole, orzo pasta, chopped carrot and meatballs. Return to boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook at slow boil for 10 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.


Potato Soup

Another mainstay from grad school, and my Taste of Home magazines.  It cooks very quickly.

1 lb ground beef

4 cups peeled cubed potatoes
1 small onion
3-8 oz cans tomato sauce
4 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
parsley optional
bouillon cubes optional

            Brown ground beef.  Drain.  Add potatoes, onion, and tomato sauce.  Stir in water, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender and soup has thickened. 

Taste of Home magazine


Cream Hash

I could immediately tell which one Gommie was making based on how she cut the ingredients:  sliced for the cream hash (it is a light brown but with no cream) and diced for the red hash.
My favorite part of rump roast!

2-3 potatoes, sliced

1 onion, sliced
2-3 tablespoons oil
1-2 cup leftover roast, sliced
leftover gravy
1-2 tablespoons flour
2-3 cups water

Saute onion, then potatoes til transparent.  Add flour.  Blend.  Add water and gravy and roast.  Season.  Cover, cook til potatoes tender, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Gommie Hungry


Louisiana Hash

diced potatoes 

small can tomato sauce
left-over gravy
salt and pepper

Saute onions in grease.  Add potatoes and roast.  Then add tomato sauce, water, etc.  Cook until potatoes are done (1 hour).

Alternate:  Red Hash

2-3 potatoes, diced

1 onion, diced
leftover roast, diced
leftover gravy
1-2 tablespoons flour
2-3 cups water
8 oz. tomato sauce
bouillon cube
Tabasco (optional)

Saute onion, then potatoes til transparent.  Add flour.  Blend.  Add water and gravy and roast.  Season.  Cover, cook til potatoes tender, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Gommie Hungry


Slow Cooker Lentils and Sausage

We made this in the crock-pot one night—very tasty.  But we made a few changes to the original recipe, which came from

1 (16 ounce) package dry lentils

1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained (or 1 can Rotel)
2 (14 ounce) cans beef broth
2 (10.75 ounce) cans water
1 carrot, chopped (or 2)
2 pounds kielbasa (Polish) 
sausage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 stalk celery, chopped (or 2)
1 clove garlic, chopped

Rinse lentils, do not soak. In slow cooker, combine the lentils, tomatoes, broth, water, carrot, sausage and celery.

Mix together and cook on High setting for 3 hours, or Low setting for 6 to 7 hours (we used 4-6 hour setting). Stir well before serving.


Chicken and Vegetable Soup with Tortellini

1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
8-12 cups chicken stock
1-10 oz package frozen spinach, defrosted
1+ cup frozen corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1-2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1-2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 large package cheese tortellini

Saute onion, celery, and carrots in olive oil; add garlic and saute til fragrant.  Add chicken stock and simmer until vegetables almost tender.  Add spinach, corn, tomatoes, chicken, and Italian seasoning.  If serving immediately, bring soup to high simmer or boil and add tortellini.  Otherwise, cook tortellini separately and heat with soup when ready to serve.

Mommy Hungry


Turkey Carcass Soup

Bad name, great soup.  An after-holiday mainstay (or after baked chicken and gravy.)

Place bones and water in pot, with two inches of water covering bones.
Place in large slices of onion and whole celery in pot.
Simmer for a couple of hours.
Throw all of ingredients away, saving liquid.
Add water, leftover gravy, bouillon, and carrots.
May also add fresh celery and onion.
Add cooked rice or noodles.
Gommie Hungry


Hunter's Stew
1 onion, chopped
1-2 carrots, chopped
olive oil
1 head cabbage, shredded
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 can diced tomatoes
bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, minced

Cook down the onion and carrots in olive oil.  Saute the cabbage briefly.  Add 4 cups vegetable stock and 1/2 can diced tomatoes.  Add a bay leaf and some minced garlic. Simmer until cabbage reaches desired tenderness. Season to taste.

Mama Hungry