Valentine’s Day, Take 1 – Recipe: Hot and Sour Soup

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It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.  Well, kind of…

Our day started off like any other day.  Hurrying to get off to school, taking quick pictures of cute littles, and making a list of everything that I needed to get done for the day.

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Summer and I ran some last minute Valentine errands.

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And, then we went to lunch with Ethan, followed by lunch with Gabriel, followed by Ethan’s class party, and then followed by Gabriel’s class party.  It was busy, but we were in a groove and having a good day.

PhotobucketWhen we got home, I surveyed the menu to determine what I needed to start working on first.  The littles were all happily playing, so I turned on the radio and started cooking and dancing.  I was having a great time preparing our love day dinner.

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The menu was simple but fun.

Chocolate covered strawberries,

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Fried rice,

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Sweet and sour chicken, and steamed vegetables.

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It was somewhere between preparing the hot and sour soup and the fried rice when things started slowly falling apart.

Gabriel walked into the kitchen in tears, telling me that his head hurt. I took his temperature, and it was 99.4.  I told him to rest while I got Summer out of the bath.  When I found him, he was cuddled up by a space heater.  I knew that things were not looking good.   His temp was 99.8.

I helped him draw his bath because he was weak and shaking, and I quickly went to finish up dinner.  I went back to take Gabriel’s temperature, and it was 101.2.

I decorated the table, finished up the food, and took some quick pictures.  Sean walked in the door, and I updated him.  Gabriel was enjoying the bath and did not want to eat, so we all quickly toasted and ate without him.

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After I scarfed down my dinner, I went to check on Gabriel, and his temp was 102.3.  I asked Sean to clean the kitchen, and Gabriel and I got in the car to go to urgent care.

By the time we arrived, his temp was 104.1.  Needless to say, the hearts and flowers and chocolates were the last thing on my mind.  It was Valentine’s Day, but it suddenly did not matter.  My oldest little needed his momma.  It was a call to action, and I was up for the challenge.  He was scared and miserable.  All I could do was listen to the doctors, pray, and hold onto my little guy.

PhotobucketThey ran a flu test, strep test, and did a chest x-ray.  Oddly enough, the flu and strep tests were both negative.  And, the chest x-ray looked good.  However, given his symptoms, and given the fact that Summer had it this weekend, he was diagnosed with strep.  They had given him Motrin and Tylenol while we were there, and his fever came down to 103.7, just enough to take off the edge and fear.

Oh, and in the midst of all of this…I received this text from Sean, “Hits keep coming.  Need a plumber.  The sink is backed up.”  Bless his heart.  While he was cleaning, taking care of the other two littles, and trying to save Valentine’s Day, the kitchen sink backed up.

So, we did not have a traditional Valentine’s Day.  It was almost there.  We could see it on the horizon.  The table was set, Sean brought beautiful flowers, and we tried to enjoy our dinner, pretending like everything was okay.  But, we ended the night with a trip to urgent care and a backed-up sink.  We will not soon forget Valentine’s Day 2012.  It was memorable, and life is all about making memories – the good and the bad.  The beauty in it all is being able to look through the bad and see the good in spite of it all.

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And, the best part?  We get to continue it all tonight.  We have not even exchanged Valentine’s yet or really even had dessert, unless you count shoving our faces with a few bites of brownie at 9:30 last night, upon my return from urgent care.  I count that as a stress dessert,  so it totally does not count.  I love to extend celebrations, and that is exactly what we get to do tonight, hopefully with fixed plumbing and a little guy who feels like celebrating.

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Wow…that was long…but I simply have to share this recipe with you before I stop rambling.  Gabriel and I love Hot and Sour Soup. When I was preparing our menu, I tried to include things that everyone loves, so I made this for him.  I found the recipe at Sweet Pea’s Kitchen.  If you have not visited Christina’s blog, you really should.  She has a recipe index filled with absolutely amazing recipes, like this amazing Hot and Sour Soup.  Yes, the night held good and bad, but this soup definitely came in on the great column.

Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and Sour Soup

Ingredients

7 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained

4 tablespoons soy sauce, divided

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

3 tablespoons cornstarch, plus an additional 1 1/2 teaspoons, divided

3 tablespoons cold water, plus 1 additional teaspoon

1 large egg

6 cups chicken stock

1 cup bamboo shoots, sliced lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick strips

4 ounces fresh mushrooms, stems removed and sliced

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar plus 1 tablespoon cooking sherry

2 teaspoons Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Kosher salt, to taste

Green onions, sliced, optional

Instructions

  1. Strain tofu to remove as much liquid as possible.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon soy sauce, sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Set aside
  3. In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water. Set aside.
  4. In another separate small bowl, mix remaining 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch with remaining 1 teaspoon water in small bowl Add and beat until combined. Set aside.
  5. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring chicken stock to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the bamboo shoots and mushrooms and simmer until mushrooms are just tender, about 5 minutes.
  7. While the broth is simmering, dice tofu into 1/2-inch cubes. Add tofu and soy sauce mixture to the soup. Simmer for about 2 minutes.
  8. Stir cornstarch mixture to recombine. Add to soup and increase heat to medium-high.
  9. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soup thickens and turns translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in vinegar, chili oil, pepper, and remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce; turn off heat.
  10. Without stirring the soup, use a soup spoon to slowly drizzle very thin streams of egg mixture into pot in circular motion. Let soup sit 1 minute, then return saucepan to medium-high heat.
  11. Bring soup to gentle boil, then immediately remove from heat. Gently stir soup to evenly distribute egg.
  12. Ladle into bowls and top with green onions.
http://cookingformykids.com/2012/02/15/valentines-day-take-1-recipe-hot-and-sour-soup/

Enjoy!

I shared this recipe at This Chick Cooks, Polkadots on Parade, Lil’ Luna, The King’s Court and Lady Behind the Curtain.

A Snow Day – Recipe: Tomato Soup

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It sleeted yesterday.

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And, then it snowed.

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I was getting lunch prepared, and I got a call from my mom, “Tell the kids to look outside.  It is sleeting.”  We ran to watch.

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A few minutes later, I want to sample my sister’s queso, and as I was walking back home, we saw a big snow flake fall.  I walked in our back door and said, “It is starting to snow!”  That took the excitement level up a notch.

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I started taking pictures, and Sean started throwing on jackets, hats, and shoes.  Before I knew it, there was one then two then three then four then five littles in my backyard.  Yes, my nieces could not resist joining in on the fun, too.

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With the weather we have been having, we all knew that this might be our only winter day.  And, because of that, yes, we let Summer, the one who was a sweet, sick little angel on Saturday, play in two 5-minute intervals.  We did not want her to miss out on the fun.

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The snow/sleet fun only lasted for about 30 minutes, but that is all that it took to fill up their winter fun memory bank.  They jumped on the trampoline, ran around the yard, and slid down the slide.  It was good, perfect, wonderful fun.  It was a brief moment in time that created a huge, happy memory for my littles.

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While we did not have this soup to warm up our bellies yesterday, it truly would have been the perfect weather for it.  I made it last week on a day that I wanted something simple but good.  After seeing Bev share her delicious Roasted Tomato Soup recipe and Robyn share her Tomato Soup recipe, I was inspired to come up with one of my own.  All I can say is that it was just what my taste buds ordered.  I made grilled cheese sandwiches with Lia’s Garlic Spread and Nonna’s homemade sourdough bread.  Yes, it was all simple, but it was absolutely one of my favorite meals.  Simple is good.

Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup

Ingredients

3 gloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

48 ounces chicken stock

2 15 ounce cans tomato sauce (I used Muir Glen's tomato sauce. I am typically not brand-loyal to many things, but I do believe that they make the best canned tomato products, in my opinion.)

2 tablespoons whipping cream

Ground black pepper, to taste

Kosher salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Add the olive oil to a stock pot, and heat over medium heat.
  2. Add the minced garlic.
  3. Saute for about 3 minutes.
  4. Pour in the chicken stock and tomato sauce.
  5. Sprinkle in some ground black pepper and kosher salt.
  6. Cook for 10-15 minutes over medium or medium low heat.
  7. Pour in the whipping cream and cook for another 5 minutes over low to medium low heat.
  8. Taste and add extra ground black pepper and/or kosher salt, according to your taste preference.
  9. Sprinkle with a small amount or parsley, and serve with a grilled cheese sandwich.
http://cookingformykids.com/2012/02/13/a-snow-day-recipe-tomato-soup/

Enjoy!

I shared this recipe at A Southern Fairytale, Cooking with Karyn, Delightfully Dowling, Skip to My Lou, Mrs. Happy Homemaker, Make Ahead Meals, Frugal Antics and Add a Pinch.

Winter Days – Recipe: Green Chili Chicken and Rice Soup

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Just when I was thinking that we were going to skip Winter and move right into Spring, we received some cooler weather.

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I guess that it was fitting since we are technically on a Winter Break, but I do wish that it would have waited a few days so that we could have enjoyed more of the break by being outside.

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Never one to let a little weather stop us from having fun, we have just spent more time indoors cuddled up watching movies.  That is one of the things that we definitely all love to do.

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Another great thing about colder days is that it is an opportunity to enjoy soup.  I found this Green Chili Chicken and Lime Soup recipe over at Picky Palate, and I knew that it would be perfect.  If, by some chance, you have not visited Jenny’s blog, you really should.  She always has wonderful, creative, delicious recipes, and she has a cookbook coming out in September, which is sure to be amazing.

Green Chili Chicken and Rice Soup

Green Chili Chicken and Rice Soup

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, choppe

4 cloves fresh garlic, minced

80 oz chicken broth (I used fresh broth and added in additional from a carton)

10 oz can rotel tomatoes, mild, blended

7 oz can diced green chilies

4 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

2 1/2 cups cooked rice

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

Kosher salt, pepper, and parsley, to taste

1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped

Fresh diced avocados, optional

Shredded cheddar cheese, optional

Tortilla chips, optional

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in crockpot. Fill with water. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder. Cook on high for 6 hours. Move the chicken to a cutting board. Strain the broth - it should yield about 8-10 cups.
  2. Place oil into a large dutch oven over medium heat. Saute onion for 5 minutes then add in garlic; cook for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in chicken broth, blended Ro-tel, green chilies, shredded chicken, rice, lime juice and seasonings.
  4. Cook for 5 minutes; taste and season
  5. Ladle into soup bowls, and top with cilantro, cheese, avocados, and crushed tortilla chips.
http://cookingformykids.com/2012/02/07/winter-days-recipe-green-chili-chicken-and-rice-soup/

Enjoy!

I shared this recipe at 2 Maids, 33 Shades of Green, Blessed with Grace, Mandy’s Recipe Box, Permanent Posies, Not Just a Housewife, Naptime Creations, Chef in Training and Skip the Housework.