Sunday, January 31, 2010

Better than Mama's Chicken Noodle Soup

Thank you for all of the encouraging words after my not so happy week!  I went and redeemed my massage yesterday and splurged on a pedicure too.  Bliss!

I've been inspired by all the cooking blogs and thought I'd throw this recipe in today even though its not quilting related.  Its what's for dinner at my house tonight.

My husband and his family are Jewish and I have learned that everything that ails you can be cured (well at least made a whole lot better) with Jewish penicillin- aka chicken noodle soup.  If you're feeling like doing it all the way (which I am today) you can make chicken noodle matzo ball soup.  I'd never made matzo balls before a few years ago and was intimidated at the thought of them.  No fears!  They are eaaasssy!

So here is my hubby tested and approved recipe.  It has been deemed better than his mother's- Shhhh....don't tell her!!

This makes A LOT of soup- 8+ generous (and I mean generous) servings.

  • Chicken- Either buy 1-2 precooked rotisserie chickens from your grocery store (usually they are small) or roast your own bird.  If I am planning on eating roasted chicken and then making soup I definitely make two.  The bigger the better! Today I'm using two of the store bought precooked birdies!  Bigger birds = more stock.  I love to freeze this so I make a lot.
  • Stock/broth- I cheat a little to get my stock started.   Today I used 10 cups of stock and then add water to it, but this depends on how much soup you want leftover/size of your bird(s). 
  • Carrots- Again, depends on how much you like carrots and how much soup you want.  Today I used a 2# bag.
  • Celery (one bag)
  • 2 onions (one large, one medium/small)
  • Seasoning- bay leaves, dill, basil, salt, pepper 
  • Matzo ball mix- look at the back of the box for extra ingredients (usually it calls for eggs and vegetable oil)
  • Noodles- I prefer fine egg noodles. 

Step one: Making the stock
  • Take the larger pieces of chicken off of your birds.  I usually just take off the breast meat.  Chop it up and reserve it for later.
  • Put the rest of the carcass (skin too) in your biggest stock pot.
  • Chop up the big onion into wedges and put it in.
  • Chop up 2-3 sticks of celery into 2-3" pieces and throw that in too.
  • Cover with stock and add some water- today I added about 7 extra cups.
  • Put in dill, salt, pepper, and basil- I just shake it in until I think it looks good.  Add 2 bay leaves
  • Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Cook covered for several hours (usually 2-3) until all the meat is off of the bones.
**During this stage I make my Matzo balls- just follow the package directions.  Today I made a double batch which called for 4 eggs and 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil.  Usually you mix the matzo mix, eggs, and oil together and then refrigerate for 15 min.  Next you form the balls, put in boiling water, and simmer for 20 min.  That's it!

  • When everything is off the bones strain and save the stock.  Throw out the remains. My grandma and my mom always argue about this step when making any kind of stock.  Grandma saves the meat at this point, mom throws it out.  If there are big pieces of meat feel free to fish them out before discarding the rest.  Usually the meat is pretty stringy after simmering for many hours and that's why I reserve meat at the start.

Step two: Making the soup
  • Return stock to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
  • Reseason with dill, salt, pepper, and basil.
  • Peel and chop carrots, cut up the remainder of the celery (including the leafy tops!), and cut up half of your small/medium onion (you can use more if you like things to be really oniony- just don't forget that you had a whole large onion flavoring the stock).

  • Rinse the carrots under cold water to remove some of the orange color. That way your soup won't be dyed.
  • Add celery and onions to stock and cook until mostly tender/done.
  • Add carrots and cook until done.
  • Meanwhile cook your egg noodles to the directions on the bag.  I like to keep my noodles separate from the soup so everyone can make their bowl as noodley as desired.
  • Add your reserved and chopped up chicken into the soup
  • Add the premade matzo balls to the soup to heat them up for a few minutes

    Step three: Assemble and Eat!
    • Put it all together in your bowl and serve with yummy bread (I made some Italian herb bread in my Zojirushi bread machine)

    • Enjoy!! Let those worries fade away.
    • Freeze your leftovers- matzo balls and all.  I usually have enough for several dinners. 

    Friday, January 29, 2010

    I thought things came in 3's...

    Reasons there has been no quilting this week:

    1)  There is a MOUSE in my house! 
    Little guy ran across my living room the other night.  Hank (my kitty) wasn't quite fast enough to get him.

    2) My shower decided to have a leak that ended up on my kitchen ceiling. 

    3) My pedestal sink (only 4 yrs old) decided to crack at the base for no reason

    4) I lost my work keys

    5) My cell phone broke- the flip part snapped

    Things that make me happy:

    1) There are many traps set- a whole variety. (*Edit- the ones in the house are kitty safe- the more gruesome ones are in the attic)

    2) The leak is fixed and the paint has been bought for the kitchen ceiling

    3) I found my keys

    4) Tomorrow I am redeeming my Christmas gift of a massage at a spa

    5) January is almost over!!

    Sunday, January 24, 2010

    Quilt history/finished table runners

    I finished my table runners this morning and I'm loving the spring look.
    has started to organize a modern quilt guild here in Philly and it looks like it will be at a time I can actually go! Yay! I'm so excited to meet some quilters in the area. I started a new blog roll for everyone who is signed up and has a blog.

    Ok so get ready for a whole lot of pictures. At Ann's request, I'm going to post my quilt history. (Like I really need a reason to post pictures of quilts! hehe)

    So here it goes in chronological order. I hadn't realized how many baby quilts I've made!

    The quilts of 2006: Get ready for some wavy quilting.
    I started quilting in 2006 when I finished graduate school. It all started with a class "quilting for dummies".
    Then came Christmas Snowmen:

    The quilts of 2007:
    Quilt Sampler (my first foray into hand quilting):
    Star Wheel:

    Matching NFL quilts for my hubby and brother:
    Lets Go Fly a Kite:
    Peas in a Pod:
    Diamonds for Memom (my grandmother in law):
    Quilt for my aunt and uncle (never got around to naming this one):
    The quilts of 2008:
    Paisley and polka dots (twins):
    Kaliedoscope (my first mega hand quilting project- 1" grid, then 1/4" around each piece in the border):

    Star spangled banner and some coffee too: (backed with coffee fabric for my best friend):
    Birds in the Air for my mother-in-law:
    Puppy Love:
    Sweet Pea:
    Road to Connecticut for my mom:

    Back:Peace on Earth for my Grandma:
    The quilts of 2009:
    Home sweet home:
    Lily Pads & Polka Dots:
    Spring Fling- my first bed sized quilt:
    Two little kittens:
    Dots Nice (minkee back):
    Under & over the sea:
    Little Sailor:
    And last but not least- you saw it already. Vertigo for my mom:

    Works in progress:
    French General bed quilt- I still need to order border, binding and backing fabric. Then I can get that off to the quilter.

    Fireside chat: Yeah, I haven't really done much hand quilting these days. I think I've done about 9 of 42 blocks.

    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Zippy Bobo's buddies

    Its almost the weekend!! I'm so ready for it.

    My hubby had off for Martin Luther King Jr Day and I had to work a 12 hr day. Boo to that! I told him I wanted a surprise to come home to.

    He cracks me up! These are my new Zippy BoBo slippers- named for the sock monkey I gave my mom a year ago. Here he is sitting on the quilt I gave her last Christmas.

    (I bought him from this Etsy shop).

    And just for fun, here's a picture of the quilt I gave her this year. I know some of you have seen this before- in multiple stages so sorry for the repeat.

    Today I finished making the binding for my table runners but that's as far as I got. I thought I had some fabric for the backing, but nothing quite worked right. Just another reason to go fabric shopping :)

    And since I'm in a picture sort of mood- here's a picture from in my sewing room. My big mason jar full of ribbon and binding for WIP's, some of my great grandmother's thimbles, and a painting my great grandfather painted for my grandfather. 13 was his special lucky number and the number has followed me too (born on the 13th in room 313, married on the 13th, passed my boards on the 13th with a liscence number that ends in 13 etc.). Happy quilting everyone~

    Sunday, January 17, 2010

    Sew Sew Sew!

    This has been a marathon of a quilting weekend. I think I spent around 15 hrs of this weekend either sewing, cutting, or running to the quilt shop to pick up thread and new needles for my machine.

    I finished the center for my french general queen sized bed quilt. I love it! Its super duper big and I still need to add the borders (I always wait to order border/binding fabric until the center is done). Its so big that there is nowhere to spread it, so here it is on my couch:

    Then I made two table runners from one of Rachel's patterns for moda bake shop (here's the link for the pattern Vintage Ribbons).

    I made one for my coworker who has hinted a few times that her birthday is coming up and she'd love something for her table and the other is for me. A little bit of spring fever!

    I love the bird fabric- its Clothworks "Cherry Blossom". It still needs to be quilted and finished. I'll use the pink plaid for the binding.

    Next up- a T-shirt quilt for my younger cousin. Any suggestions about how to prep the T-shirts?? Some websites say to use stabilizers for the T-shirts and others don't.