About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Calling a Halt to Holiday Feasting

It starts in mid-November with Thanksgiving turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie. By early December the baking supplies come out for cookie making--Andes mint chunk, fruitcake, peanut butter blossoms, marshmallow thingeys. Next the cute bags of candies--PB & chocolate fudge(old-fashioned and grainy), buckeye balls, coconut creams, peanut brittle, Brach's choc covered cherries by the layers. Sausage balls and chex mix. Cherry cheesecake pie. Turkey tetrazzini made with half and half and parmesan cheese. Frankly, I'm exhausted and may have to wear sweat pants to an upcoming play at the Kentucky Center. . .

So, this afternoon I've spent some quality time in the kitchen clearing out and making vast quantities of Winter Vegetable Soup and Mexican Cornbread. My style of vegetable soup is easy, economical and chock full of goodness, combining fresh, frozen and canned vegetables. It's cooked in steps so the vegetables stay bright and tender crisp. The cornbread has a touch of fire from green chillies and is almost like a corn pudding. A perfect combination. Here are the recipes:

Winter Vegetable Soup

Step 1 Start with your largest soup pot (mine is an 8 qt.) Soup tends to "grow" as you make it. Brown 1/2 lb. lean ground beef. Add two cans or 4 cups petit diced tomatoes and 4 cups water to the pot. Stir in sm can tomato paste to up the tomato flavor. Add 1/4 cup beef granules if you want a more meaty flavored soup. Bring to boil.

Step 2 While beef browns, make a vegetable "slurry" using your blender.Rough chunk 2 med or 1 large onion, 2 carrots, 2 ribs celery w/leaves, 1 med green bell pepper, small piece cabbage, handful fresh flat leaf parsley stems and all. Add these veggies to the blender with enough water to cover. Pulse until you have a "slurry" of blended vegetables. Don't liquefy. Add this slurry to your soup pot. If you're lucky the pot will be about 1/2 full by now. Simmer this mixture for about 25 minutes to make a hearty vegetable broth.

Step 4 After the broth is simmered until flavors are blended, add 4 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed; 2 potatoes, small cubed; 2 ribs celery, sliced;1 sm wedge cabbage, shredded. Simmer for about 20-30 min until vegetables are tender crisp. Don't "mush" them. All done!

Tex-Mex Cornbread

Step 1 Heat the over to 450 degrees F. Spray a 13x9" pan with cooking spray. Coat well as this mixture wants to stick in the pan. Heat the baking pan in oven while mixing the bread. Watch out as the cooking spray burns easily. You do want the pan hot when you pour the mixture in to keep it from sticking.

Step 2 Blend 1 egg, 1/2 cup milk, 2 TBSP vegetable oil, 1 TSP. sugar, 8.5 oz can cream style corn, 1/2 cup whole kernel corn (frozen or canned), 1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese, and 2 TBSP canned diced green chillies. Add 1 cup yellow self rising cornmeal mix. Stir well and pour into heated pan. Bake between 20-30 minutes until lightly browned.

It's 9:15 pm now and I have all this soup and cornbread portioned out into individual servings and tucked in the refrigerator. Since I don't object to leftovers several days in a row, dinner is served with a quick heat. I find that if I don't have to think about cooking I do much better with eating nutritious meals. And, with food this good don't feel deprived--very important in the waistline wars.

What's your kitchen strategy in the new year?


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Jan n Jer said...

Oh my...I feel your pain. I thought I was doing so good and maintaining my weight over the holidays. NOT!!!! 2 extra pounds have just caught up with me, LOL
I am so glad to get rid of all the goodies and temptations and go back to healthy eating again. Your veggie soup sounds very similar to what I make. I also put cabbage in mine. The corn bread is a variation of mine too. Heres to Healthy eating Faye...all things in moderation is what I have to go back to!!!! Happy New Year my Friend!

The Church Lady said...

I know exactly what you mean, Faye. I have been very laxed with my eating habits over the holidays. I wanted to "enjoy" all the yummy treats of the season. Now it's time to get back on track. Your veggie soup recipe is right on time. I just bought most of these ingredients to make my own, only I will be using beef cubes instead of ground beef.

Will you be going out with the girls for a New Year's celebration? Whatever your plans, hope you and Willie bring in the New Year with great anticipation!

Faye said...

superstar racing--nice to meet you. I checked out your blog but couldn't figure out how to comment. Good luck with your studies in the new year. What is your major--all those scientific formulas and symbols--Greek to me!

janis--it does feel good to have all that tempting stuff out of the kitchen, doesn't it? Everyone has his own ideas about perfectly made vegetable soup and the "correct" vegetables to put in the pot. And then there's always the question of what bread to go along--saltines, oyster crackers, or cornbread in the south! Will you and Jer travel further south for a winter break?

church lady--beef cubes are preferably but since I only had ground beef. . .Willie and I will be spending a quiet New Year's Eve--a little celebrating tomorrow with friends, though. You and Freedom Writer have a good time. All the best in 2011. I'm glad to have met you in cyber space. Oh, a pat for Cooper as well!

Debs said...

I'm glad we don't start in November, otherwise I'd be the size of a small bungalow.

That soup looks so tasty, I'll have to make some.

Swampwitch said...

My kitchen strategy this year ?

Rent it out to the highest bidder !
Happy New Year from Swampy at The Asylum.

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