Friday, February 24, 2012

Carrots- Not Just for Dippin' In Ranch

Photo by lillieinthecity via Flickr

Nope- no photo of the actual Curried Carrot Soup that I made the other night. We ate it way too fast to get pictures. So I'll use Lillian's photo of Carrot Soup, which has ginger. The recipe I'm going to share with you today doesn't have ginger. Sorry. But good news, it does have curry!

Before we get started today- I have chosen to "clean up" how I post. Tutorials are huge fun to work on and I love doing them but they are also time consuming. I don't have scads of spare time these days so I'll save the step-by-step photos for projects that would really benefit from such detail. That means unless it's something tricky, fun, or cool most recipes will be presented in a pretty straight-forward manner. Hope that's OK.

So-  let's get to the food!

I first got turned on to Carrot Soup after tasting my husband's at a favorite little bakery we like to visit. It was fabulous and right away I started researching and experimenting with Curried Carrot Soup. Most versions of carrot soup are fairly similar. My version of Curried Carrot soup is super easy and I hope you find it tasty as well.

You need:

3 tablespoons butter or olive oil- both are good
1 medium onion, chopped
2 pounds of whole carrots, cleaned, peeled, trimmed*
     You'll end up with about 1 1/2 pounds
2 cans of chicken broth- low sodium
1 cube of chicken bullion- I use the low sodium kind
1 - 2 tablespoons curry powder, depending on your tolerance for hot stuff
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Sea salt- about a teaspoon
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, optional but oh so yummy

*You can also use those cute little baby carrots but they will cost you a bit more. Just sayin'

Cut your carrots into about 3 inch pieces. Saute them with the butter and onions in a large Dutch oven until the carrots just begin to get tender. Add the remaining ingredients except for the yogurt. Simmer in the Dutch oven with the lid on for 15-20 minutes.

Puree small batches at a time in your blender or food processor. Careful- it will be hot! Once each batch is pureed, transfer it into a large bowl for safe keeping. See, you don't want to put too much in the blender at one time because when you hit the puree button, your ceiling will get a groovy orange tie-dye effect happening. Um, or so I've heard. Return the soup to the Dutch oven once everything has gone through the blender. Bring it back to a gentle simmer for a few minutes and then take it off the heat. Add the Greek yogurt and mix it in well. Once you ladle the soup into your bowls you can add a plop of yogurt. We have ours with a nice sturdy whole grain bread and a big honkin' glass of milk. Of course you can make this just fine without the yogurt but, again, of so yummy. And the yogurt helps cut the heat if you like a lot of curry.

Photo by roboppy via Flickr

I am not a big fan of cooked carrots but if you whirl them up with some curry powder, oh man! But I'm on a "curry bender" right now so even curry ice cream sounds good to me. No, I'm not pregnant.

Photo by tinatinatinatinatina via Flickr

I'm thinking that after all the years of gardening we've gotten enough of the rocks out of our garden patch to grow some nice straight carrots this summer. Mmmm- marinated carrots, hot pickled carrots, raw carrots freshly pulled from the soil.

Hey, thanks so much for visiting today. I hope you try the soup recipe and I'm always open to any suggestions for making it better. Have a great day and I'll see you again.

Carrot Moth photo by guppiecat via Flickr

Friday, February 17, 2012

It Is Well

Oh my----  it's odd how good it felt to log back in just now. The issues that led to my blog hiatus have not been resolved and it doesn't look as though they will be resolved for another four months or so. By that time I should at least know my options. No, I'm not really going to go into the details but I have begun to get over the initial shock of this forced life change. Not only am I eating again, I've gained back those twelve pounds that flew off of me back over the holidays. Darn. Mainly, however, I have decided to have faith. So we'll just go forward and see what happens.

I saw a plaque similar to the one above on Pinterest a few months ago and thought it would be fun to try to make one for my parlor. The one I saw on Pinterest had sweet birds on it but since I've already done birds elsewhere in the house I went with somethingdifferent. The hymn, "It Is Well", has always been one of my favorites and has come to have special meaning in the past years as my husband and I travelled over some bumpy roads together and I came to a commitment of faith. And now, here it is again, speaking perfectly to my state of mind. The canvas that I made (above) is not nearly as fancy or artsy or well done as the one I saw on Pinterest but I wanted it to be a calm, still reminder that in spite of it all, it is well and it will continue be well.

One of the things I worked on the past few weeks was to clean up my sewing room. I would love to be artistic enough to call it my studio but I'm not and since it started out as the sewing room, that's what we call it. Anyway, I came across some pre-stretched canvases that a friend had given me after she discovered them cleaning out a rental unit. Gotta love free crafty stuff. So I printed out my letters to check the size and then traced them onto an enlarged copy of the hymn.

Then of course I had to cut them all out. It just seemed so much easier to do the letters this way than to drag out the Cricut and fiddle around trying to get it right. My Cricut and I have a love-hate relationship. Anyway, I wanted the lettering to generally follow the hymn so if you read the music across the letters you get the hymn in its proper order.

So---  first I painted the canvas with a metallic gray paint for the base...

... and then a watercolor-y blue.

The I left it on the table for a couple of days. I would go in every so often and stare at it and wonder what to do next. I was off work that week so it was nice to have time to stroll, instead of race, through a project.

Once I arrived at a background that I thought would work...

... I added this leafy scroll thing. Turns out, I'm not at all crazy with how it came out (hate it, actually) but, whatever. It is well.

Next I coated the cut out letters with the paper flavored Modge Podge with just a dab of the silver Shimmer Modge Podge mixed in and let it dry before I glued the letters to the canvas.

The most difficult part of this project- the most technically challenging aspect- was hanging it. Because our old farmhouse has horse hair plaster walls, hammering nails into the walls usually involves a drill. But I wasn't in the drilling mood and after some muttering and sternly worded warnings to the wall, nails, picture, and furniture, the job was accomplished. No fingers smashed!

So now whether I come upstairs from the first floor or downstairs from the bedroom, I look into the parlor to see my canvas, not because it's such a huge tremendous piece of art but because it is a gentle reminder  to myself that in spite of the stress and turmoil, it is well. It is well because I have chosen to live out this bumpy stretch of uncertainty by trusting that God not only heard my prayers all those months ago and took me at my word but by continuing to rest my soul in Him and live as though I mean it. He will answer according to His will, and that is just fine with me.

Hey, I'll show you the parlor sometime. We started work on it many years ago and then it became first Zippy's bedroom and then her playroom. Once other projects in the house moved forward to completion, I was able to take back my parlor this past month from the Lego mayhem that was going on in there. Yea, I know, fake plants- but when you see the room, you'll understand my dilemma with the layout. I'll give you a hint on the big project in there---  grout.

I've genuinely missed my little jungle and all of you beautiful butterflies who visit me here. Though postings will most likely be sporadic for a while, I'm happy to be back.

Chrysalis of a Yellow Coster butterfly, indigenous to SE Asia.
Found mostly in the Himalayas.