Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Picture of the soup!!

Chicken Noodle Soup

I FINALLY got my dad's chicken noodle soup right.  I know it's spring time, but here in Oklahoma it's been cold.  That's not abnormal, so I thought a nice homemade soup would help keep me warm.  The hard part is the chicken if you use a whole chicken.  This isn't a quick recipe, so make sure you have enough time to make it.  The time is definitely worth it though!!

Here's what you need:
1 whole chicken
several stalks of celery
2 white onions
2 large bell peppers
2 bags Amish extra wide egg noodles
large pan (super large is great, as is a cast iron pot)

Here's what you do:
Skin the chicken, place in your pot/pan.  Fill with water.
Boil the chicken for approximately 4 hours (or until the chicken is literally falling apart).
Keep a watchful eye on it, adding water as it boils down (trust me, don't let it boil away!).  Basically, keep the chicken covered in water (it will float as it gets done).
Take off heat when done.
Using tongs (easiest way), pull out all the chicken and place on plate(s).  Sift through pulling out bones and cartilage and random bits of fat.  This is messy and hot, so just be aware.
Put chicken back into water.
Cut up onions, celery, and bell peppers any way you like.  Throw in pot.  You can add as little or as much as you like, my amounts are just an estimate of how much you could possibly need.
Throw in egg noodles (again, as much or little as you want)
Turn on low/medium heat, cook until vegetables are tender.

Keep it refrigerated.  Make sure you have a bowl big enough to transfer it to or your pan will fit in the the fridge.

If you don't want to go through the hassle of skinning and boning the chicken, you can use boneless, skinless chicken breast.  I'm not sure how many to use (we never do that), and personally the soup wouldn't be as good without the marrow flavor and the mix of white/dark meat.  I believe that it is healthier with the marrow and mix, but don't quote me on that!

Writing Blog

I finally got my new blog up and running!  Like I have said, I like to write.  This blog is dedicated to that part of my life.  Everything posted is very much rough drafts (unless I say it's an edited version), which to me means that any and all constructive criticism is welcome.  I'm a very blunt person, so some of what I write may not be appropriate for all audiences. 

Here's the link: Confessions

No, this is not a blog of "fictional" confessions from my life.  It is me confessing the literary ideas I have.  It will include both poetry and prose.

Thanks for taking a look!  Enjoy!


Friday, March 25, 2011

Started the garden finally!

Matt and I finally started working on our little garden today.  I'm so excited!!!  Like I said before, I prefer the taste of homegrown food over store bought any day.

We still need to dig up the plot of yard, but we have a few weeks to do so.

Spinach, Cucumbers, and Radishes.  YUM!
The one on the left has chili peppers, okra, and banana peppers.  The right is the one above.  And the bottom one has grape and large tomatoes.

I'll keep you updated with pictures as things go along, and share with you any tips or tricks I learn as well (or things that you shouldn't do).


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Stuffed Portabellas

Like I said last night, I made stuffed portabellas for dinner tonight.  WOW.  That's really all I have to say for this one.  I kinda just flew by the seat of my pants on the recipe.  Oddly enough, its very spring flavored to me.

Here's what I used:
1/2 cup long grain white rice
3 large portabella mushrooms (whole)
1/2 lb ground beef (93/7)
1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce
4 tbsp cream cheese
1 clove garlic, diced
oregano (optional)
garlic powder (optional)

Here's what I did:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook rice according to packaging.
Brown ground beef, season with oregano and garlic powder to your liking (seasoning optional).
Mix and heat spaghetti sauce and cream cheese in small sauce pan with chives and diced garlic.
Carefully spoon out the feathery underside of the portabellas, along with a small part of the meat of the mushrooms (I added some of this to the sauce, but not too much.)  The excess can be a good salad topper.
Before and after spooning out the underside.
 Measure out equal parts rice and hamburger meat, add sauce until you reach your desired consistency, without making it running,
Carefully spoon the stuffing mixture into the mushrooms, making sure they are well stuffed (you have to be careful, though, they fall apart very easily).
Spoon a small amount of remaining sauce on top of the finish mushrooms.
Pre baking
Spray baking sheet with pan or other nonstick spray (I cover with foil, as well).
Place mushrooms on baking sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes.

Finish product!
The flavor of the portabella is still noticeable even with this flavorful filling.

After making this, I realized you can alter this to suit your eating habits as well.  Instead of hamburger meat, you can use ground turkey (for those who can't have hamburger) or ground soy meat (for vegetarians or vegans).  I'm sure the vegan alternative for cream cheese, Vegan Gourmet Cream Cheese, would taste great as well.

Hope you enjoy this wonderful recipe!


I can't seem to sleep...

Another late night for me...
OMG this sounds SOOOOO good right now!!!  Where can I find this???  Not in Norman, that's for sure :(

This always seems to happen when I get sick.  One of my roommates had a stomach flu that I caught and proceeded to pass on to Matt (at least, I think that's what happened).  So I decided going to work was a bad idea seeing as how vomiting on donors would probably get me fired...

My unplanned day off consisted of laying around, blog hopping, and puppy watching.  Oh and getting into a huge fight with my mother.

My mother is one of my best friends.  While this wasn't always the case--in fact, we hardly ever got along while I was in high school--it is now.  I really don't remember the last time we had an actual fight.  Until today.

For some reason, my loan bill is going to her, my co-signer, and not me.  So instead of enlightening me on this odd occurrence, she's been paying on it.  Well, when my dad got my taxes done a few weeks ago, he failed to send me the check he always sends (back story-he sends me a check for the difference when they run me as a dependent and not as one).  I saw my mom when Matt and I went to Tulsa to visit my Meme last week.  She told me they were keeping my tax refund.

I have been stewing over this for a week now.  I finally told her I didn't want to come visit when Matt and I drove down to see his folks.  This ended up causing a big argument in which I basically refused to sign the check over when it comes in.

I realize all this sounds very childish, but I feel that I have earned that money.  I know I am young and my mother does still help me out financially if its needed, but keeping MY money to pay on a loan I didn't know had started billing me is absolutely ridiculous.

I think this is why I can't sleep...

Ugh... I don't know how I feel about venting on here quite yet....

On a lighter note, I plan on cooking stuffed portabella mushrooms and ribs for dinner tomorrow (I will totally share the recipe if it goes well!!),
Nom nom nom, I love portabellas!!!

starting my little garden (at least in peat pots),
Hopefully mine look this great in a few weeks!

and watching an obscure movie so I can review it for everyone.  Hopefully I have time for laundry during all of this!!! :)


Sunday, March 20, 2011

I love reading!!!

Yes, I'm still awake.  Imagine that.  Actually I fell asleep for a few hours and completely missed a good friend's birthday.  I feel like shit for that, but I really didn't mean to fall asleep.

Anyway, I was blog hopping (which has become quite the time consuming activity lately) and I came across a few reading challenges on Let's Start Saving Now.  Being the reading buff that I am, I was instantly hooked.  So I am now participating in a few of these challenges.

Very excited about this one.  I can definitely read 100 books by the end of the year.

I hope.

Thankfully, this one can be combined with other reading challenges she has listed.  A few of which I'm excited about.

(6 or 12 King books)

(24 of these)

(all 10 in this series)

I'm super excited about this.  My mother recently told me I needed a new hobby, maybe this counts?  Meh, I don't care.  I love to read.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lessons from Childhood

Oklahoma can be so beautiful.  I'm sitting in my yard right now looking at whatever tree it is that I have in my front yard (its some sort of odd, bush-like tree; not very tall, but the branches reach wide and start low to the ground).  The purple blossoms make me happy.  As does the bird's nest near the top.

My purple tree

I've always been a country girl.  I grew up in southeast and northeast Oklahoma.  Until I moved to Norman a few years back, I'd always lived outside of town (unless you count Tahlequah in the dorms, I don't).

Sitting here makes me think of my childhood and the lessons I learned.

  • Living in copperhead country, you never went outside barefoot.  Unless you wanted daddy to yell at you and send you back in for tennis shoes.  No flip flops, except in town, because they didn't protect your feet from all the things that could bite you.  Not only did we have copperheads, we had a few rattle snakes, blue racers (extremely fast snakes that came in pairs.  EEK!), scorpions, centipedes, all sorts of things.  All this paranoia about us kids getting bit has made a little too overcautious I think.  I always check my shoes for spiders and scorpions (even though I have never seen one since leaving southern Oklahoma).  I won't go outside barefoot unless I know there are no snakes or other biting creatures.  My yard has hundreds of ant hills (don't know if they are occupied though), so I always check my dogs for ant bites and won't go out back barefoot.
  •  Animal care is of utmost importance.  My dad always had at least two bird dogs while I was growing up.  Not much has really changed there.  The only time I ever saw my dad discipline the dogs harshly was when they would get out of huge yard.  He had them trained very well, even my mutt puppy knew better.  One day my Meme (grandmother) surprised me with a rabbit.  Even though I hadn't asked for it (I HAD asked for a rabbit but not from her or really expected one), I was told that she was my responsibility.  That rabbit was the biggest baby you have ever seen.  She was spoiled rotten.  I had her for almost 6 years before she died, which considering she was full grown when I got her is a long time.  I joined 4H and started raising rabbits.  To pay for their food, I bred them and sold the babies.  The earned their keep and gave me much pleasure throughout the years.  Now that I have my own dogs, I try to take very good care of them.  They are fed on a schedule, trained (well Tank not so much yet, we're working on that), and treated very well.  While I was taught animals are for outside and are not people, I've fallen victim to letting them think they are people and keeping them inside.  It suits their personalities and fits our little family well.  They are my children and are raised as so.  I detest animal abuse and will quickly turn in anyone I suspect of it.  No animal deserves that.
The Kids

  • Property boundaries are there for a reason.  Living in the country, this was somewhat blurred since we all walked across each others' pastures to get from house to house, but it was still known that you did not alter another person's property.  We had neighbors that insisted part of our land was theirs, even though our deed specifically stated it was ours.  The man who thought this was former State Representative Mike Mass.  He tried to push my father into agreeing to this because of his political standing (very corrupt man, look him up).  His sons would ride their four-wheelers through our fences and tear up our pasture.  It was quite aggravating and caused my father much frustration.  I don't know what exactly stopped them, but one day it all stopped.  Now that I live in town, this has come in handy.  I know better than to just chill on someone else's yard.  Unfortunately, my neighbors have not taught their children this.  I've come multiple times to them playing my yard, which while not that big of a deal, drives my pit bull crazy and she barks and growls through the door at them.  I'm afraid they think she is a mean dog (which she isn't, she's a big puss), but they are in fact invading her territory and she can't go out to investigate them.  Also, one of the neighbor kids continues to come into my backyard and steal our dog toys (only the Kongs, which if you know dog toys, are somewhat expensive).  It's infuriating. 
  • Home-grown and homemade food always tastes better.  We had a HUGE garden when I was young; seriously, it was at least an acre or two.  I hardly ever remember buying vegetables.  I loved to help in the garden.  My favorite was when it was time to dig up the potatoes.  I think I would eat half of what I dug up.  If you've ever been a super serious gardener, I know you're grimacing thinking about what you put in the soil to make things grow bigger and better.  At the age, I didn't care.  I still really don't.  I know what we put out there, and I'm still alive today.  I think you develop a tolerance to that sort of thing when you grow up around it.  No pesticides (other than the necessary) or shine spray to fuck with the taste.  I hated it when winter would come and we would have to buy tomatoes from the grocery store.  They tasted like cardboard, and still do come winter.  We would buy ingredients for certain things, but for the most part everything was homemade (minus cake mixes, bread, and dairy/meat products).  I'm wanting to get a garden started here.  I'm not sure how well it would do, though.  Vegetables are SO expensive, yet we are constantly told we need to eat healthy.  It's hard to do so when you can't afford it.  It's also very meditative for me; it takes me back to a simpler time in my life.
  • Oklahoma weather is unpredictable.  I call it bipolar.  I remember being rushed to the basement hundreds of times.  Dad would stand outside and watch it while talking to his brother to keep up on the forecast.  The next day it would be pretty and sunny.  No matter how many times the sky turned green or a tornado formed above our house, we were never hit.  We did have one go through the backyard and pick up my rabbit hutch about ten foot in the air and drop it.  Boy did Jim Giles get an ear full that night.  He never showed any rotation in our area, not even close to it.  Dad was furious.  I was oblivious: at a friend's house, aggravated that the internet wouldn't work because I wanted to talk to a boy.  Typical 13 year old.  Even as I sit here, the weather can't make up its mind.  For a few minutes it's warm and sunny, then the clouds roll in and I want a light jacket, then it's sunny again.  I was told it was supposed to rain.  I'll believe it when I have to take my computer inside for fear of ruining it.
I think I'm going to continue to sunbath in my tennis shoes now ;)


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Idea? Possibly

So I just finished the movie Bitch Slap.  It has no actors that should be named and no plot line to really talk about.  It jumps around a lot and has some interesting girl-on-girl action (interesting because they somehow have sex with ALL of their clothes still on).

This isn't the point of my post, well not completely anyway.  I'm going to toy with idea of starting a weekly post about movies.  Preferably movies that few have seen or even heard of.  I'll give it a go and see if there is any response or if I even enjoy doing it.

This is going to be a short post, I think.  My friend who had heart surgery is doing very well by the way.  Bitching about not being able to get out of bed or the hospital, but that's expected lol.

Wow these credits are ridiculous.  Considering the movie I just sat through, that's saying something.  Lots of women dancing sensually in their underwear with the Asian chick from the movie (named Kinky) singing about herself.  It's too much.  I think my brain has been officially mushed....

Good night all!  Have a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Not sure where I'm gonna go with this

It has been way too long since I lasted posted.  I feel like I completely failed on the 30 Days of Truth Challenge.  Right now, life is way too complicated and busy for me to commit to an every day challenge.  I think I'll pick up where I left off shortly, but my posts will be an "as they come" format not necessarily every day.

Our dog Roxi was deathly ill a few weeks ago.  Tank dug up an old phone line and she chewed on the end of it.  We found out the hard (and expensive) way that this can lead to copper poisoning.  We woke up to what looked like a murder scene in our kitchen.  I've never seen so much blood, other than in the movies.  Poor baby girl was urinating blood, which was her body's way of trying to flush the toxin out.

We rushed her to the vet, where she stayed overnight.  Copper poisoning is very rare and hard to prove unless the animal swallows a penny (specifically one dated 1983 and earlier) and it can be seen on an x-ray.  Apparently one tiny flake can cause what we experienced.  With her at the vet, I had the task of taking care of both Matt and Tank.  Both were severely depressed.  Matt made himself sick with worry and barely slept.  Tank wouldn't eat without his big sister at home.  My poor bubbas (his nickname) was skin and bone by the time we brought Roxi home.  I fear he would have starved himself if she hadn't have made it.

Matt dug up 20 foot of phone line from the backyard.

Both dogs are doing very well now.  Tank has been to the dog park twice now, he's a big hit out there.  When our "roommate" finally moved out and the backdoor has been open more often, he picked up on his house training very quickly.  It's amazing how intelligent dogs are when given the chance to show you.  But you know, I don't know anything about my own dogs.  It's not like I live with them and work with them everyday or anything.  Oh the ignorance of some people amazes me.

This is spring break for those still in classes.  I took off the whole week to spend time with Matt, and for a much needed reprieve.  Tomorrow one of my best friends is having heart surgery.  I'm not sure how I'm reacting to the idea of it.  I've lost so many people in my life.  Just the thought of losing him kills me.

It's times like this that the wall from my past goes up and I shut every one out to keep from getting hurt.  I have no where to go to think in Norman.  I miss my dock on the bayou, my days in the trees on the bank.  I miss the NSU campus where I could find a secluded place and just sit.  I miss the Honors' Lounge.  Sitting on the couches, watching my peers socialize and do their homework.  Don't get me wrong, I love Norman.  But I haven't found my quiet place yet.  If I could I would drive to Grandpa Del's and sit in the backyard in the trees near his pond.  I can't do that anymore though.  Not only have the trees been cut, but it's not the same without him there.  The house is cold, dark and empty.  The ghosts that are my childhood memories haunt me there.

Matt has said that we will have a house of memories like that one day.  Thinking about how I feel about the house now, part of me doesn't know if I want it.  I don't want to leave those I love a house of ghosts.

Sorry about the sudden turn of mood.  I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, which isn't always a good thing.

However, I have been thinking about picking up my writing again.  Fiction and poetry, not just blogging.  I kinda want to publish some of it on here, but I don't know if anyone would be interested in reading my ramblings.  I don't know... It's like putting part of my soul on display for the world to see and pick apart.  I would appreciate some feedback on the idea.  I think I may put up some of my old stuff just to gauge the response.  Maybe I'll create a blog just for my writings so that I still have this one for my more personal postings.

I think I have written enough for now.  I'll probably be on here quite a bit tomorrow while I sit at the hospital.