Thursday, January 12, 2012

Not Quite Snowpocalypse - but Soup Weather!

OK, so it's not "snowpocalypse" even if the drivers here have completely lost their minds.

I mean, seriously. This is what it looked like around dinner-time (5:30 p.m. CST).  But that wasn't what it looked like at 9 a.m. when I was driving down Rt. 53 in an early attempt to avoid the crazy drivers.

I was on the way to pick up my new glasses. I have them, but have to return them, as there's something funky on the lenses - which we can't figure out. Bummer.

Anyway, I said to Hubby, "I'll go VERY early today, get the specs and then I'm in for the day. They're gonna be nuts out there."

And Kid #2 confirmed that when he came home, but that's another paragraph.

So I'm driving down Rt. 53 and right about at one of the busiest intersections, people are NUTS. The snow plows are out salting, to get a jump on it. But everyone feels like driving 15 mph slower when there are 2 flakes flying is a really good idea. Except that when they get to the red light and it changes to green, flooring it is a better idea. Not so much...

Here's another shot, all of which are out the front door. I told Hubby that I'd shovel (getting my butt off the chair) and not to worry. Well I did. And in another hour, it needed to be done again. Which I started to do, but Kid #2 came home.

Did I tell you that he got a job??????!!!!?????  Ok, so Christmas sinus surgery wasn't the best, but Kid #2 got a job teaching at the school where he did his student-teaching.

He's tickled. This week is finals, so they're coming home a bit early. He complained about the idiot drivers, and I concurred that, heck - you are in ILLINOIS. It's JANUARY. It SNOWS. Get used to it and pay attention, for pete's sake.

The number of people futzing with their phones, pulling out in front of him, and just generally acting as if they'd never seen snow --- not to mention a rookie snow plow driver --- well, he came home a little annoyed.

So, when I went to do shovel job #2 he came out and told me that he'd take over. Which was good, because my back was complaining as it was. Hubby came back about that time, and lickety-split, the front and back were taken care of.

Snow's still coming down, but it's waning. It'll be interesting to see if we get the 8" we have planned.

It's supposed to snow through the night. Kid #2 is hoping they do NOT cancel school (ok, THAT is a huge change from when he was a high schooler! LOL), and I have lunch and dinner plans, both of which are contingent upon the weather.

This is what the birdfeeder station looks like. Hubby said he'd fill it up once the snow lets up a bit. The birds are getting annoying.

See the house across the street? I'm washing dishes, and watching the adorable toddler, obviously enjoying her first snow. Mommy is out there videotaping the whole thing, and Daddy decides to grab a trash can lid to "sled" with the little girl. Daddy bends over to grab the "sled." Oh.My.Eyes..... butt-crackage. MAJOR butt-crackage. Enough so that I couldn't get my gloves off fast enough!! I'd like to get to know my neighbors (they moved in just about the time I was having surgery), but not THAT well... (sigh)

So, what do you do with a small snow storm? You make soup. Which is what we did. This is a variation on a Weight Watchers recipe. Chicken Florentine Soup with Elbow Macaroni.

Here's my version:

5 or 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped
3 c. Knorr veggie broth (water + the cube)
1 box Barilla elbow pasta, whole wheat variety
8 oz baby spinach
2 T. cilantro cooking base
3 large pieces of roasted red pepper
1 c. frozen peas
Onion powder, crushed black pepper
1 can diced tomatoes, garlic flavor
1/2 t. sage
1 cube Knorr chicken broth + 2 c. water

Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. In large pot, place broth mixture and bring to boil. Add chicken, turn to simmer, let the chicken cook, about 5 minutes. In the meantime, dice up the roasted red pepper. Remove the chicken from the broth, then add the tomatoes and pepper to the pot, stirring till it's all warmed through. Toss in the spinach, and stir about 5 minutes, or till it's wilted. Add the chicken back in, add the noodles, cilantro paste, and then add the onion powder, frozen peas, sage and crushed black pepper to taste.

Put the lid on it and let it simmer for a bit till the peas aren't frozen. Add the extra chicken broth + water mix. Serve it with a nice crusty loaf of bread.

Of course, I can't leave ANY recipe alone. You can substitute any greens you want for the spinach: like kale, nappa cabbage or bok choy. You can add fresh or dried mushrooms for a very intense, earthy flavor. You can use any kind of pasta you'd like: maybe an orzo, a ditalini, or even substitute rice. Use a pesto (home-made or bottled) instead of cilantro for more punch. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese before you serve it.

Either way, it's a great night to sit, soup, and then knit!

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