Thursday, January 31, 2013

Smoothies for Big Kids

Lately, I've been on a smoothie kick. No ice cream. No yogurt. No ice. Just fruits and veggies blended. (Some of the fruits/veggies are frozen so they give the smoothie a bit of thickness.)

All efforts so far have been based on:
2 oranges - juiced
1 small grapefruit - juiced
For my first two efforts, I added:
1/4 c. frozen blueberries
1 whole apple, cut into pieces
1/4 c. spinach
They were OK, but the solids of the apple quickly rose to the top, separated entirely from the juice. Unless I stirred between each drink, the density was just about too much to take. It was a bit like eating a pre-chewed apple. I felt like a baby bird, and let me tell you, I don't think I'd thrive as a baby bird.
Today's smoothie worked out MUCH better than yesterday's. Even V asked for her own. (She had NO idea there was spinach in there...heh-heh!) So, here it is. (What's your favorite smoothie recipe?)

Best Family Smoothie

2 oranges - freshly squeezed (didn't this used to be squozen? Like frozen?)
1 little grapefruit - freshly squished (THERE!)
1/4 c. frozen (freezed?) blueberries
1/4 c. frozen raspberries
1/4 c. frozen spinach
Blend - drink - trick the kids...they have NOOOOOO idea what I put in here, and they feel like they're getting a treat. Well, I suppose we ARE!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Best Family Ham Bone Soup Recipe

This post is largely for my mom, who enjoys cooking, discovering great food, reading recipes and, like me, has no aversion to pork product. But I hope other ham lovers, soup lovers, cooks and aspiring cooks will also enjoy it.

Recently, I had a ham bone and related ham trimmings left over from a meal. I've learned to use all my dinner bones to make stock - a super-simple task which would have been particularly useful in my "starving" college student days. This time, I decided to go straight to soup with the bone. I also  made use of the broccoli stems no one really likes in any other form. Why waste them?

The end result - a happy family on a cold, rainy night. Served with a side of sourdough bread and butter.

Best Family Ham Bone Soup

1 ham hock/bone with trimmings on
1 qt. vegetable broth (for the sake of time savings)
1 onion, diced
1 T. olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 broccoli stems, diced
1 tsp. Suzie Q seasoning (or other favored seasoning mix)
1/8 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
3 healthy twists of the black pepper grinder

In the bottom of your stock pot, saute onion in olive oil until onions are translucent and beginning to brown (or well-browned for sweeter soup). Add garlic and saute another 2 minutes.

To the same pot (we're not big on piles of dishes around here), add the remaining ingredients. Bring nearly to a boil, then allow to simmer for an hour or more.

This soup, like most other homemade soups we've tried, is best after it's been allowed to simmer a good long while, then sit, refrigerated, overnight (or for a couple of days), before being heated for the actual meal. However, we enjoyed it on its first night out nearly as well.

Another note: our bone was quite sparse on meat. Meat lovers might consider leaving extra on the bone at carving time if you're planning to make a soup.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year - Good Deeds to Come

What do you say when mental illness takes the life not only of its sufferer, but scores of victims around him? How do you recover from that? How can those families EVER expect to recover. You know I'm talking about that terrible day at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut. Everyone's talking about it, or trying not to think about it at all.

If the right people had been in the right place at the right time, if those who needed help had received it, if there were an answer to the madness, these things could stop happening, right? Not just Sandy Hook or Columbine or University of Texas at Austin, but malls in Newport Beach (Calif.) and Clackamas (Wash.), movie theaters in Aurora (Colo.) and Santa Antonio (Texas), political gatherings. If people stepped up to help each other, we could end world hunger, provide clean water to even the farthest reaches of the world, bring about world peace.

I know. It's a pipe dream. But why not? Why not dream?

As we begin a new year, let's do it full of hope, with lessons learned. Let's step up to the plate and be better people.

Thanks to Ann Curry, an author, formerly Newsweek columnist and now with one of the remaining major news networks, people throughout the U.S. are stepping up to share their random acts of kindness. It's inspired me to revive A Year of Living Charitably. If you're interested in learning more about my alternate blog, being inspired by others or reading more about other "random acts" blogs and websites, click this linky.

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