Friday, September 25, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup - (perfect for our cool weather!)

Fall is in the air here - and this is how I know - the Gardener asks me to make this soup! Definitely one of our favorites for sure! This is the easiest soup to make - I call it a "dumper" - because you just cook a little and then dump everything else in!

The zucchini is not one of the original ingredients, but a friend told me that she always added it - and I love zucchini - so now it is standard for this recipe whenever I make it.

This recipe calls for shredded cooked chicken - and I almost always use a can of the white meat shredded chicken. That is what makes this recipe so easy and why you can just almost dump everything into the pot. For the soup I made today - I used 2 large chicken breasts that I prepared on the rotisserie yesterday.

The Mexican tomatoes that are used in this soup are kind of hard to find - (at least in this one horse town!) Whenever I find them I usually buy several cans. Also - coming straight from the can they are in pretty big chunks - so I always cut them up before adding to the soup.

If you are counting calories (and who isn't!) - this is a great soup for your calorie budget. One cup equals 150 calories - or 3 weight watcher points. That does not include the tortilla chips that you add on top - we usually use the baked tortilla chips, so the damage is not too bad.

Chicken-Tortilla Soup ingredients:
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 medium zucchini chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup whole kernel corn - (I use a can of corn)
1/4 cup dry white wine -( cooking wine is fine - or you can use the good stuff!)
2 cans mild green chiles
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp chili powder (I admit to being a little more generous)
2 cans chicken broth
2 cans Del Monte Mexican tomatoes
1 can low fat tomato soup - (I use Campbell's Healthy Request)
crushed tortilla chips
Saute the onion, zucchini, and garlic in the olive oil until tender. Add remaining ingredients and place in a dutch oven size pot. Simmer until hot through out - about 20 minutes. You're done. Add the crushed tortilla chips when you serve the soup.
This will not be the last time you make this soup!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Just off my needles - Mason's Christmas sweater

Finally finished the little project that I started on the beach in St. Martin - a Christmas sweater for Baby Mason. I am pretty darn pleased with it - totally love the yarn and the pattern was a breeze. Now - I am ready to start on some other things on my list - like the blue cabled wrap/scarf that I posted about earlier. Also plan to start on another little project that I am just calling for now - The Next Big Thing. Keep watching---

Bought the yarn at my favorite yarn store - the Hobby Lobby!

I can't post the pattern because I bought it on line - but, I will gladly share it with anyone who wants it - just let me know.

Our St. Martin Escape

Our vacation to the beautiful beaches of St. Martin was magnificent! So wonderful that we have already made plans to return! This slideshow moves quickly and takes about 20 minutes to view - a perfect thing to do when you have that first cup of coffee in the mornings! (Be sure to turn the music to the playlist off first - so that you can enjoy the slideshow music.) WARNING - these pictures will make you want to be there!
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Sandcastles on St. Martin

When we were at St. Martin, we met the nicest family from Bavaria, Germany. The father and his 2 daughters made a wonderful sandcastle village on the beach there. They worked on it everyday, making new castles and reparing old ones that had been damaged by wind and waves. We walked the beach several times a day just to see their creations - as they were always changing. I wanted to share these sandcastle memories with you---
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Row 53

A few years ago, as we were cleaning out the attic of our mother's house, I found several bags of old worsted weight yarn. Being a bonified yarn snob, I admit that I pretty much snub my nose at that kind of yarn for my own projects. But I kept it all - just in case----

I have all of this yarn in two large baskets in the sacred yarn room - and actually from time to time, I do find uses for it. Last week when I was having a maniac cleaning and straightening of the yarn room - I found this in the bottom of Mother's yarn collection. This appears to be the beginnings of a cabled scarf, obviously unfinished, but with the needles, cable needle and row counter just as she left them - the counter was set on row 53.

How many times have I put away a project, just as this, saying that I would return to finish it at a later date. Finding this memento was like having a special little visit with my mother. I imagined her fingering the yarn, working the needles, wondering "did the cables come easy for her ?" - who was she making this scarf for?

This treasure needed a home. I framed it inside a little shadow box - just as I had found it. Actually, Mother had placed the knitting needles and cable needle on the wrong side of the scarf, so when I framed it, I turned the cables to the outside on one corner so that her beautiful handiwork could be seen. The true cabled side is actually very beautiful, but I just could not bring myself to take the needles out and place them on the other side of the scarf - I wanted to frame it just as I had found it.

After our parents died, I still remember that my best friend Mary told me that someday, my parents would visit with me again, in my dreams and in my life - somehow I would know that they were there. She was right----

Is this not a wonderful treasure for a Sacred Yarn Room?

"So live that your memories will be part of your happpiness".

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Knitted Baby Blanket - A Fair Isle Challenge

This blanket was actually knitted a few months ago for our Maddy Girl, but I recently just finished putting on the fleece backing. This was my first attempt at anything Fair Isle - and it was not exactly a beginner project (!!!). But - you know - it was great fun - and I am definitely a Fair Isle convert - I love the whole process.

When you knit Fair Isle - you have to deal with all those extra strings on the back of the project. I wanted to do this right - so I consulted books by the expert on Fair Isle, my new favorite knitting Guru - Kaffe Fassett. Kaffe says to leave the strings about 1/4 inch long after weaving them in along the back stitches. So - I did----

Well, - I just could not stand all of those strings hanging and swishing back and forth when I picked up the blanket. (Sorry Kaffe---). So after weaving them in more tightly, I covered the back of the blanket with this wonderful yellow fleece. I sewed it around the edges and then
tied it in random places to the blanket. Now - I am satisfied!

You know - I just thought - if I am going to spend all this time knitting this heirloom - I don't want somebody to say (after I am dead and gone) - why in the world did she leave all those strings hanging? Probably they won't have this Kaffe hero worship thing going on like I do - so I figured I had better fix this now.
If anyone is interested in this little knitting challenge - the pattern is here. I am so silly - I would actually like to make it again in a different color scheme. So many projects, so little time---

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Knitting on the Beach - in St. Marteen

This blog is supposed to be about knitting and also about my travels - so how about both? We just got back from a fabulous trip to the beautiful island of St. Marteen. I plan to post a slide show of our pictures in a few days----. But until then here is a small preview. I call this first picture "Knitting with a View". That is the turquoise waters of the Orient Bay in the background. Don't you love my yarn - I am knitting on a Christmas sweater for our sweet little grandson, Mason.

This is the path that we walked everyday to get to the beach. That sand was as soft as powder. You can just almost feel the ocean breezes when you look at this picture! I will have more pictures posted in just a few days. Sadly - I have to work a few days first!