Field Trip Fun – Recipe: Taco Soup

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After a busy, fun weekend, I was not ready to see the weekend come to a close.  Fortunately, my mother stayed with us an extra day and did not leave until Monday.

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Ethan had his field trip on Monday, and, even though siblings were allowed to attend, my mother offered to keep Summer so that I could enjoy the day with Ethan.  Since the littles started school, I have never had the opportunity to have a one-on-one field trip.  I usually have at least two, if not all three, littles with me.  As wonderful as those memories have been, I was very happy to have the special time with Ethan yesterday.

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We went to Inner Space Caverns, and it was so much fun to explore the cave through Ethan’s eyes.  He had apparently listened to the other children, so he was a bit frightened at first to head down into the dark.  But, he quickly became fascinated with all of the formations that surrounded us.

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It was quite a hike down into the cave, which made the journey back up all up hill, with the final stretch being quite steep.  It was good physical and occupational therapy for Ethan, so I considered it a very well-rounded day.

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After meeting up with his class for some pictures, we left early to meet my mother and Summer for lunch before my mom had to head back out of town.  Then, I did something that I hardly ever do.  I put a movie on for Summer and Ethan and took a nap.  I was just exhausted, and I knew that I still had to make it through a busy evening that included soccer practice.

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Since we are not big on fast food or dining out, when we have busy days, I always try to plan ahead so that we still have a hot dinner on the table.  While we did not have this Taco Soup for dinner last night, it is a perfect soup for busy days that start with a field trip and end with evening soccer practice.  It is so easy to put together, and it can easily heat up on the stove while everyone is grabbing those last minute pre-dinner showers.

Taco Soup

Taco Soup

Ingredients

1-2 pounds hamburger meat

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 can Bush's Chili Beans, with juice

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 12 ounce package frozen corn

16 ounces beef broth

1 10 ounce can Rotel tomatoes, blended

2 15 ounce cans diced tomatoes, blended

Shredded cheese, optional

Cilantro, optional

Sour cream, optional

Instructions

  1. In a large cooking pan, brown the ground beef.
  2. Drain and return to the pan.
  3. Add all of the seasonings, mixing together until just combined.
  4. Pour in both cans of beans, the corn, the beef broth, and the blended tomatoes.
  5. Stir together, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Test to see if you want to add additional spices. This one is mild so that the littles can eat it.
  7. Spoon into bowls, and top with shredded cheese, cilantro, and sour cream.
http://cookingformykids.com/2012/04/03/field-trip-fun-recipe-taco-soup-2/

Enjoy!

I linked up at the following:

BruCrew Life for Trick or Treat Tuesday

Naptime Creations for Tasty Tuesday Party

Blessed with Grace for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Mandy’s Recipe Box for Totally Tasty Tuesdays

Chef in Training for Tuesday Talent Show

33 Shades of Green for Tasty Tuesdays

 

Soups for the Soul

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While we have had a very mild winter, I have still made sure that soup has been on the menu often because I love it.

As I was looking through my soup posts for the SoupaPalooza link party that Dine & Dish and Tidy Mom are hosting, I discovered that I have several soup recipes on my little blog.

So, just in case we have more cold days ahead….or if you are like me and enjoy soup no matter the season or the weather, here are some soup recipes for you.

Chicken Enchilada Soup

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Tomato Soup

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Chicken and Rice Soup

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Hot & Sour Soup

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Chicken Corn Chowder

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Green Chili Chicken & Rice Soup

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

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Enjoy!

And, if you are looking for some more soup recipes, make sure to come join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by KitchenAid, Red Star Yeast and Le Creuset.

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.