Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mom's Chicken Soup...Keep Those Spring Colds Away!

     One of the first recipes I posted when I started this blog was good old chicken soup. Considering that no one was actually reading my blog back then, I've decided to post it again. It is perfect for this time of year as the temperatures change 20 or 30 degrees from day to day and many of us end up with colds and allergies. I believe in the healing powers of homemade chicken soup! 

     The first thing to know about cooking with chicken is to be very careful with sanitation. Rinse the chicken in cold water before cooking it. Wash your hands and all surfaces that come in contact with raw chicken with hot, soapy water and/or a product made for kitchen clean-up.

     For this soup you can use whatever form of chicken you want. You can buy a whole chicken and cut it into pieces (I don’t think it is worth the effort), frozen bags of boneless breasts, or assorted fresh chicken pieces from the meat case. I like to use a whole chicken already cut in pieces. The skin gives the broth more flavor than the boneless, skinless bagged pieces. I generally cook the gizzard, liver, heart and back in a small pan of water and give it to my dog. Some people actually eat those parts. We don’t.

Chicken Noodle Soup


1 whole chicken, cut in pieces. Do not use liver, gizzard, or heart for soup.
1 cup chopped carrots (baby carrots or whole carrots peeled)
1 cup chopped celery
2 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 bay leaves
15 cups water (I have a big pot)
7 oz. dry egg noodles (I try to buy the most homemade looking I can find)

     Rinse the chicken and place in large pot. If you are cooking for one or two people, and don’t have a large pot, just use one or two pieces of chicken and cover it with water. You will need to cut down the other ingredients as well, including the salt. You really can’t mess this up. Cover the chicken with the 15 cups of water, add the carrots, celery, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and let cook for about 2 hours until the chicken is very tender. Remove the chicken from the pot to cool. Remove the bay leaves.

     At this point in the process, I remove 5 cups of the broth and put it in a freezer container. Let it cool, and freeze it. You will be very glad to have it on a different night. Bring the remaining broth back to a boil, and stir in the noodles. Reduce to simmer and cover. The package should give you the amount of time for your particular noodles to cook (mine took 20 minutes). While the noodles are cooking, remove the chicken from the bones and skin. Cut or shred into bite size pieces. Measure 2 cups of chicken and add to the cooked noodles and broth. Add salt and pepper as needed. The remaining chicken can be placed in freezer bags and frozen, or you may refrigerate it for sandwiches the next day.

     At a later date you can thaw the frozen broth, add the frozen chicken and simply place in a pan and bring to a simmer. Add a handful of rice, pasta or noodles and you have a second meal.

     *Mom hint-Bay leaves are not poisonous but they do have sharp edges and can be a choking hazard. Make sure you always remove them before serving the food.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Camera Shopping...Opinions Wanted

     There is a new camera in my immediate future. I've had 2 Sony Cybershots and I really liked them, but my current one is not acting quite right and it is old enough that I think a new one is called for. I want a point and shoot, no changing lenses for me. I would prefer it to fit in my pocket so I don't have to carry a camera bag. Sometimes I really don't like to draw attention to the fact that I have a camera. I'd like it to have a few more bells and whistles than I've had. I want to be able to take pictures of the moon and fireworks as well as food, tablescapes and grandchildren!

     I'm considering these 3 cameras, do any of you own them? Love them? Hate them? I'd appreciate any advice or suggestions you have!

     Canon SX30IS 14.1MP Digital Camera with 35x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7 Inch Wide LCD

     Canon PowerShot SX130IS 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 12x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom with 3.0-Inch LCD
     Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40 14.1 MP Digital Camera with 24x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD

Thoughts of Spring...A Bit of Old and A Bit of New

     As we get ready for another winter storm, I decided that I really needed to add some color to my house. The dreary weather outside doesn't have to be reflected inside. Once in a while I set a table that just makes me happy when I see it. This was one of those tables. I started with my white American Atelier Bianca Leaf Square plates that you have seen often on my tables. They are topped with golden yellow dinner plates that are simply marked with a "B" on the bottom. They were a recent TJ Maxx purchase for $2 each.

     The same TJ Maxx visit produced my first April Cornell table linen. I loved the colors in this table runner. A few spring touches are added. The chippy green and white bird jar will show up in a vignette somewhere else in the house soon.

I had to have the light on to take this picture,
it changed the colors slightly.

I found this stemware at Goodwill for $1 each. I love them.

With all of the yellow on the table,
 I chose gold flatware that I've had for many years.

Miniature Crate and Barrel vases become votives for the evening.

     The focal point of the table is this old English pitcher. My mother bought it for me decades ago and I always used it filled with flowers. I'd forgotten about it and when I bought the table runner I knew I had to pull it back out for this tablescape. It is filled with baby's breath and bright yellow tulips. Is there anything better than tulips on a dreary winter day?

A porcelain blossom and shot glass votives finish the centerpiece.

     From above you can see the layered napkins. I combined new (Walmart) blue napkins with vintage white napkins and tied them with a bit of yarn.

Of course, we have to see the table by candlelight...

I am joining Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch for
Tablescape Thursday. Please take time to visit her
 beautiful blog and see all the other table settings.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

February Morning

Please join Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday
and Kathleen @ Faded Charm for White Wednesday

Monday, February 21, 2011

Nursing Home Makeover

     I know this won't be best interior decorating you have ever seen...or anywhere close. Many of you expressed your feelings about my in-laws move to the nursing home last week. I wanted to share with you the few changes we made over the weekend to try to brighten the room for them.

I'm joining Marty @ A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday
Please visit her and see all the table tops that are
 far more beautiful and creative than
what you will see in my post today!

Just to remind you of the "before" hospital room look...ugh.

     I decided to go with the "dorm" look. I was able to get very bright bedspreads and they had the extra length needed to not slip off hospital beds. What you can't see is that my in-laws had their own chairs from home (a recliner and a rocker) brought in and put on either side of the large window. That alone made them very happy, even if it took up more of the minimal space available.

     The bedspreads were from Bed, Bath and Beyond. They are reversable. I used the stripe side on his bed and the flowered side on hers.

     Small baskets in bright colors from Target to hold greeting cards and my father-in-laws chocolate candy. I added a package of bright napkins to the candy basket.

     For each night table I bought round plastic placemats in matching colors to the bedspreads. I wanted something to distract from the institutional look and yet it had to be able to be wiped off by the cleaning staff. My in-laws were really pleased by the time we left. My father-in-law seems okay with being there. He has his television, his candy and he can order off the menu anything he wants to eat. My mother-in-law is struggling. We took them out to eat and she really enjoyed the fresh air. She got very tired and said she knows that they need to be there, but it is so hard to be in a place that is like that when you know your home is just down the road. They are in much better shape than the other people we are seeing there, which makes it even more difficult for them. They both say that the staff is treating them great and they feel very secure. That is really more important I guess than the color of paint on the walls.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wishful Thinking!

     It felt so much like spring this past week that I think the predicted snow will really be a shock! I decided to get a wreath ready for the front door. I may not hang it until March 1, but it was fun to play with the pastel colors.

     I've decided to use "Easter egg colors" this year in my spring decorating. I was so pleased to find the polka dot ribbon with pastels.

     I find that I get more for my money if I buy my florals in a bush and tear them apart. I started with 2 identical hydrangea bushes in a soft green. When all the pieces were separted, I had lots to work with.

     Starting with a $4.99 grapevine wreath from Hobby Lobby, I used a glue gun to attach the blossoms in groupings. After the blossoms are secure, a few larger leaves were added, followed by some branches of leaves to fill the spaces between the blossoms. The ribbon is the last thing I work with.

     One of the things that I think adds to a wreath is to attach ribbon all through the wreath. I think it creates a more finished look that simply adding a bow.

     This is the finished piece. I tend to like things that aren't symmetrical and are slightly "odd". You could created a more perfect look by adding blossoms all over the wreath if you like.

     I am joining Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch for Met Monday.
You really must visit her and see all the creative ideas this week in Blogland!

I am also joining Mary @ Little Red House for Mosaic Monday

Thursday, February 17, 2011


     I have been distracted this week. I feel as if my blogging has taken a back seat to other things spinning around in my head. When I have had free time, I have found myself staring at the television or playing Bejeweled on my computer just to relax my brain a little bit. There were no fancy tables set at my house this week, so I'm simply sharing breakfast with you this morning. In fact, I just finished off my All-Bran flakes and fruit as I loaded the pictures!

My tall skinny mug was part of my Valentine gift from my husband,
 I love the shape of it.

I've been seeing some spring birds in the yard as our temps
got into the 60's yesterday. If only it would stay that way!

Why have I been distracted? I've been trying to figure out how to turn
this depressing room...

     ...into something like this. We did talk to the in-laws last night and they said the food is good and they are being treated well. They have both started physical therapy and seemed to enjoy it. They actually didn't sound miserable...this is good. Moving to a nursing home is so hard.

I've been planning a spring trip and I think we have decided to
go tour this amazing place and visit fun places between here and there.

Today is my husband's birthday and I've also been looking for a Fire Pit for the patio.
He has been wanting one and there are so many styles to choose from.

     Hopefully by next week I will get my head back into the game and catch up with both reading and writing. Most of the time I'm good at multi-tasking, but sometimes my brain just overloads and being creative is the first thing to go!

I am joining Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch
 for Tablescape Thursday. Please take a moment
to stop and say hello to our wonderful hostess!