Posts Tagged ‘chicken noodle soup’


September 18, 2009

Ever since I posted something last Friday for Fight Back Friday, I couldn’t wait for this Friday to arrive so I could write a new post and read posts by others. However, last Friday inspired me so much that I spent a lot of the weekend and early part of the week cooking and blogging about what we made. Now I don’t feel that I have much to write. I can tell you that in the last week we’ve made two batches of tomato sauce, chicken noodle soup, curried butternut squash soup, “hambuger helper,” grilled cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, pancakes, and salad dressing. There’s probably something I’m forgetting, but once you start cooking at home it becomes so natural that you don’t think much about it. Or at least it seems so in our case. We’ve always cooked a few times a week, but honestly we went out or got carryout once or twice a week and ate convenience meals at home, plus all the Starbucks we used to enjoy! So now we are barely going out to eat and are seriously avoiding fast food and it feels really good.

By the way, the “hamburger helper” is just browned beef and whatever veggies and leftovers we have. Tom has made this twice now and it was really yummy both times. It doesn’t always look yummy, but it is. He’s used homemade tomato sauce and/or broth to keep it from getting too dry. I think the next leftover surprise will be a quiche, assuming we get enough eggs from our chickies in the next few days. Also, the meatballs I made included one of our own chicken’s eggs, bread crumbs from bread I bought at the farmer’s market, and beef from grass-fed, locally raised cows. Our freezer is full of beef right now.

And yet, let me make some confessions.

  • Confession 1: On Tuesday or Wednesday we took the kids to Granny’s house and ordered pizza while Tom and I went out to dinner. We did go to a local restaurant rather than a chain (not that there are a lot of chains in Macomb). We were both tired and needed some time to talk, so going out to dinner seemed perfect.
  • Confession 2: On the way to Peoria last week, we purchased cookies at the gas station. I love cookies, but these cookies were god-awful sweet. It made me want to make cookies at home more often.

So, while we aren’t perfect in our quest for local, organic, sustainable food I feel we are doing great. We are doing better than we did a year ago and that counts for something. I suspect that a year from now we will be doing even better and I hope to hardly go to the grocery store at all and only go out to dinner every once in an while. Sometimes I wish we could make big changes all at once or go cold turkey, but baby steps are still steps in the right direction.

This post is part of Fight back Friday. Click on the link to find other interesting posts!


Homemade food

September 11, 2009

We’ve gone to several carnivals and fairs this summer. The latest was in the small town closest to us. The kids love to get lemon shake-ups, which is basically lemonade that is shaken, I guess. I suspect these are made with corn syrup, but I am not sure. It’s some kind of sugary water with ice, squeezed lemons, and cut lemon. The vendors also sell lime and strawberry shake-ups. The kids love these so much that they’ve been asking us to make them at home. To my surprise and delight, Aidan said the ones that his dad makes are much better than the ones at the carnival. Tom usually makes them with stevia, water, and lemons. Sometimes we use honey or cane sugar. I really think that better ingredients make better food, and it seems that the kids agree most of the time.

The one exception seems to be Taco Bell. Aidan has commented that Taco Bell has the best taco meat. I just cannot make taco seasoning like Taco Bell. However, I saw a packet at the store and looked at it and figured out why I can’t compete: MSG. Using MSG is cheating. It’s saying that you can’t make your food flavorful, so you have to cheat by giving it an extra boost. Needless to say, we try to avoid MSG. So now it’s time to avoid Taco Bell (not that we go often, but they just built a new building in our town so it’s been a treat for the kids, though I’ve pointed out that the food is not new, just the building.

Yesterday I bought some tomatoes from the farmer’s market and combined them with the ones from our garden. The sauce is halfway done since I peeled and seeded the tomatoes yesterday. The last time I made the sauce I also used fresh basil and parsley from our garden and it was super yummy. Tom ended up using some of it with some ground beef, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, peas, and green beans. It was like Hamburger Helper from scratch and it was delicious, not to mention way more nutritious.

I also made my own honey mustard dressing yesterday. I had considered buying more honey mustard dressing at the grocery store yesterday, but then I looked at the ingredients again and saw high fructose corn syrup was listed second or third. I figured it would not be hard to make my own and that mine would be completely sweetened with honey rather than high-fructose corn syrup. It had three ingredients: plain yogurt, dijon mustard, and honey. That’s it! Easy and yummy.

The other foods I would like to cook today are chicken noodle soup and curried butternut squash soup. We have a defrosted chicken in the fridge and some chicken stock that Tom made from the last chicken we roasted. These chickens are from a lady that lives nearby. Eventually we will be eating chickens we’ve raised ourselves. I expect our flock of 23 will reproduce nicely come spring.

As far as the curried butternut squash soup goes, I will be using the following from our garden: butternut squash, celery, and chives. The onions will be either from our garden or the farmer’s market (it’s hard to keep track of where it’s from once it’s piled together on the table!). I’ll post the recipe later, once I test it out again. It’s a recipe I found online and modified. I haven’t made it in a while so I’d like to test it again before I post the recipe. I might have to make it in steps since we are heading out of town for the night. I’ve found it works well to do things in steps, like peeling and seeding the tomatoes and then putting them in the refrigerator until I’m ready to make sauce. I think I will probably cook the onion, celery, and garlic part up and put it in the fridge so I can finish the rest later. After all, the squash isn’t going to go bad any time soon!

This post is part of Fight Back Friday.