Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Chicken Soup with Kale

There's nothing like home made chicken soup to make you feel all cozy and warm. The weather has been miserable the past several days so I thought it was high time to make a pot of soup. This may be my best chicken soup yet - although since I only make it once or twice a year, who knows... Forgive me if I've repeated this recipe on this blog.

  • various chicken pieces (I used two breasts and four thighs - bone-in, skin and fat partially trimmed)

  • two large carrots chopped roughly

  • some celery ribs (with leaves)

  • one medium onion cubed

  • 3 parsnips chopped roughly

  • 12 or so peppercorns

  • 2 whole cloves

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • sprig of fresh parsley

  • sprig of fresh thyme

  • some dried dill (I didn't have any fresh)

  • 1/2 cup cooked small pasta (I would have used more, but I'm not supposed to eat pasta right now)

  • a few handfuls of fresh kale, torn into bite-size pieces

  • enough water to cover stuff in pot

Rinse chicken parts and pat dry. Trim some of the skin and fat, but leave some on for flavor. Place chicken parts through dill in large stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Skim off the scum now and then. Let cook for about 2 hours. Remove everything from the pot and strain. I added back some carrots, chopped into bit sized pieces (I love mushy cooked carrots in home made chicken soup). Add back some cooked chicken meat from the soup chicken if you so desire. The meat may shred because it's been cooked so long, but I don't mind that. Add cooked pasta (be sure to cook pasta in a separate pot with water so it doesn't absorb any more of the precious chicken broth than necessary). Season with salt and pepper and maybe more dill or fresh parsley. Finally, add the torn kale and simmer until wilted.

Normally, I'd serve this with a hunk of crusty bread, but that is not allowed right now. You know, I really didn't miss it.

Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts

With the leftover soup chicken, I made chicken salad.

  • chopped (shredded is more like it) left over soup chicken meat

  • a couple of diced celery ribs

  • small amount of diced sweet onion

  • handful of dried cranberries

  • handful of walnut pieces

  • enough mayo to coat to your liking

Since I can't make this into a sandwich, I just ate it with baby spinach leaves dressed with an olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. Yummy.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Bean Haiku

From my friend Pat in Seattle:


With each passing day
The anticipation multiplies
Through cell division

(at this point it goes into the la la part of "Our House")

la la lalala la lalala lalala la la lalala la lalala la


When I first read this, I was thinking "bean" meant the type of bean you eat, not the one growing in my belly. It's been a while since we've called him "bean" since he's really pretty much a small baby now. 10 weeks to go until we get to meet him! Yikes!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Maternity Pants: The good, the bad, and the ugly

The good:
You never have to worry that you forgot to zip up your fly.

The bad:
No front pockets to slide your hands or keys or shopping list into.

The ugly:
That big wide elastic band and panel. If you are wearing the right shirt, no one will see it, but you know it's there.

Monday, October 03, 2005

I Cheated with a Chacarero

I had my first post gestational diabetes diagnosis white bread product in over a week and now I feel like curling up and falling asleep under my desk. I'll be testing my blood in a few minutes and I am curious to see the results.

It was all worth it though, for I had my first Chacarero. What's a Chacarero, you ask? It is a yummy Chilean sandwich consisting of a soft, fresh baked white bread, grilled chicken or beef (I had the chicken), special hot sauce, tomato slices, steamed green beans, salt and pepper, and yummy avocado spread. You can get these from the Chacarero stand in Downtown Crossing, in Boston.

UPDATE: I just tested my blood glucose and it was 129! It shouldn't be higher than 120 2 hours after a meal. Usually, it's in the 80s for me, so this is really bad. Well, now I know. No more cheating for me. It's back to the very low carb diet.

Blue Plate Special

Last night for dinner, I made one of the ultimate comfort food meals (slightly altered for my gestational diabetes/low carb needs). We had good, old-fashioned meat loaf, "mock" mashed potatoes, and string beans.

I asked around for some good meat loaf recipes and more than once, was told that the recipe on the back of the Lipton onion soup mix was good. So, that's what I used, although I halved the recipe since I only had 1 lb of ground beef. Since I can't eat real mashed potatoes right now, I tried pureed cauliflower. I found and altered this recipe from the South Beach cook book.

Wow, was this a yummy dinner. Eating meat has opened a whole new world of culinary pleasure, I am afraid to say. Here are the basic recipes:

Meat Loaf (recipe adapted from the Lipton onion soup mix envelope -- serves 4)

  • 1 lb 90% lean ground beef (to slightly ease my guilt, I got all natural, ranch-raised, hormone and antibiotic free beef)

  • 1/2 packet Lipton onion soup mix

  • 1/2 of 1/3 cup ketchup

  • between 1/4 and 1/2 cup water

  • 1 egg

  • 3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

Mix all ingredients well (bare hands work best). Place into a baking dish and mold into a loaf shape. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve with ketchup for childhood flashbacks and/or hot sauce if you're feeling sassy.

"Mock" Mashed Potatoes (recipe adapted from the South Beach cook book)

  • 1 head cauliflower

  • couple tablespoons of milk

  • couple tablespoons of sour cream (I use low fat)

  • couple pats of real butter

  • salt and pepper to taste

Break up cauliflower into florettes and steam until very soft. Puree in food processor. Add milk, butter, and sour cream while being pureed. Season with salt and pepper. Some sort of cheese would be really good here, too. I'll try that next time.

String beans

  • bunch of string beans (a.k.a. green beans)

  • water

  • fresh lemon juice

  • salt

Trim ends of beans and just cover with water in a pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and let simmer just until beans are slightly soft, or until desired texture. Drain and drizzle with lemon juice and salt to taste.

The verdict:
The meatloaf was great. I don't remember the last time I had real meatloaf -- probably as a kid. It's funny because I don't remember really liking meatloaf all that much when my mom made it. I would look forward to meatloaf sandwiches, except that I can't eat bread right now.

The cauliflower pretending to be mashed potatoes was surprisingly good. The texture was ever so slightly loose since cauliflower isn't starchy like potatoes, but if you add enough butter, sour cream and salt, it's a pretty darned good substitute. Like I said above, I will try adding cheese next time I make this.

String beans are sting beans, and they were fine. I wish I had taken a picture of my plate because it looked so cliche! Maybe when we have the leftovers tonight, I'll do that.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Outside is Complete

Originally uploaded by stacy's plate.
Early last week, the contractors finished the outside of the house, including windows, roof, gutters, and siding.

As of Friday, the inside is all framed out, the rough plumbing for the bathroom is finished and has been inspected, and the electrical is about 85% finished.

Things are moving along, but I think this coming week will be a little more slow as we wait for the electrician to finish and for the remaining inspections.