chicken

Snow Much Fun!

After four days of warm(ish) weather last week, the snow was soft enough that the boys were able to make a snowman.

The Construction Crew

Jude was the foreman of the project, but all three boys participated, and had a total hoot doing it!

Cheetahboy building the snowman
Monkey building the snowman

When they were done, they informed me that it was supposed to look like Daddy (whom we were expecting home from a five-day business trip the next day).

"The straw is his hair, see?" Jude pointed out.

"Ah." I replied.

"Can you take a picture?" he asked.

"Of course," I replied.

Daddy Frankensnowman

This Wednesday morning, we noticed that the cats thought building a snowman was a good idea, too.

Cat and Snowman buddies

On the day of the snowman-building, it was warm enough that I had instructed the boys to leave the chicken coop door open for a few hours so the chickens could enjoy the sun. Noah got a little over-exuberant and hauled a couple birds all the way over to the house and set them in the snow. Jude promptly put them back, but not before I snapped this photo of one of them.

Like a Chicken in a Snowbank

This stunned look says, "What the heck am I doing over here?!! And now what do I do?"

Poor girl.

Chicken Poppyseed Rotini

Today, I started cooking up pasta for lunch around 11:30, thinking that we would have baked Macaroni and Cheese--always a sure-fire winner, and not too labour-intensive (a great combo for lunch on a homeschooling day).

However, as soon as I got the pasta in the water, I realized that we didn't have any milk or cream. Or tomato sauce. What can you do with pasta--other than toss it in butter or olive oil with salt and pepper (not so protein-filled) without the two basic sauce bases?

My handy-dandy little "Greatest Ever Pasta" book to the rescue. I used a recipe I had tried years ago and liked as inspiration for an impromptu pasta casserole. Saved by the butter again! (And leftover chicken.)

Chicken Poppyseed Rotini

Feeds 5-8 people

1 lb. brown rice rotini or other pasta shape
1 c. frozen peas
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lemon (about 3-4 tbsp.)
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
2 tbsp. poppy seeds
1 cooked chicken breast (or more, if desired--I only had one), diced
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Pepper, to taste

Cook pasta as directed on the package. When it has about 5 minutes left, add peas to pasta water. Drain and rinse as usual when finished.

While pasta is cooking, melt butter and mustard together in a small saucepan. Add all remaining ingredients and simmer for several minutes.

When pasta is finished and drained, combine all together in a serving bowl. Bon appetit!

I confess--I thought it was totally delish, but my kids only ate it because they were hungry and that was all there was. Jude was turned off by the mustard and the texture of the poppyseeds. I think Noah just thought it looked weird.

That's okay--all the more for me! Wheeeee!

Good Ol' Mulligan Stew

I haven't shared any soups with you for a while, have I? I've been experimenting with a few new ones, lately--some worth sharing, some not. Today, I've decided to post one of the "sharing" ones.

Believe it or not, I had never made Mulligatawny Soup before a few weeks ago, although my memory of Chef Richard's version (at the Black Knight Inn in Red Deer) was mouth-watering.

Although I started with the recipe from the Company's Coming cookbook Soups & Sandwiches, I have altered it significantly to adjust for personal tastes, as well as to disguise onions from picky eaters amongst my children. I took out the flour and decided to blend it to thicken the soup, instead. I am not sure if the "true-blue" version is supposed to be thicker than this or not--but this tastes delicious, anyway.

Bon appétit!

Mulligatawny Soup
Makes about 8 cups.

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. raw, organic butter
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. curry paste (I used 1 tbsp. each mild and hot to make medium)
3 medium apples, washed and diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. fresh-ground pepper
6 cups homemade chicken stock
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 cups cooked Basic Brown Rice
1/2 cup heavy cream (preferably raw & organic)

In a large saucepan, melt butter and olive oil together, then add onions and garlic. Sauté until onions are soft and clear, then add curry paste, apples, carrots, sea salt, and pepper. Stir-fry for another minute or two, until apples soften, then add chicken stock. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until carrots are soft. Remove from heat and blend right in pot with a hand-held blender (or allow to cool slightly and run through a blender in batches, then return to pot).

Add cooked chicken, cooked rice, and cream. Heat through on low and serve immediately.

Goes well with sprouted-grain toast and butter or salad.

As a kid, I had the Hoyt Axton song "Fearless the Wonder Dog" memorized, thinking it was one of the funniest things ever. Thanks to the line from the song that made up this post's title, every time I think about this soup the song becomes lodged in my brain, somewhere right behind my left ear, for about 2.5 days. I was unable to find the lyrics on the internet anywhere, so here, to the best of my memory, they are.

Fearless the Wonder Dog
Hoyt Axton

Fearless the Wonder Dog is a very friend of mine.
He can't dance, he can't sing, but he will eat most anything.

Peanuts and popcorn and cracker jacks
and candy apples, too
Cinnamon toast and celery
and good ol' Mulligan stew,
Oh! Fearless the wonder dog is a very friend of mine!

Fearless the Wonder Dog is an elephant or bat
He can be a honey bee, or Honey, he can be a cat!

Lion or black bear or kangaroo,
Unicorn or deer
If you want to see him change
Just step over here.
Oh! Fearless the Wonder Dog is a very friend of mine!

*bows* Thank you, thank you!

Cream of Broccoli, Chicken and Cheddar Soup

This is what I made for supper last night. (Okay, okay. I know that I said Sunday is traditionally Rice Pudding night in our house, but yesterday was the Sunday School picnic, and we didn't get home in time for me to make that for supper.

It was super-delish, and thanks to the chicken in it, Jude even consumed about half a bowl, despite it's otherwise-greenish pallor that is usually the "Don't Eat This!" flag to the oldest child in our house.

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 heads broccoli, stems and florets finely chopped, separately
4 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 med. red potatoes, peeled and diced in 1/2-inch chunks (amount depends on how thick you like your soup)
8 c. homemade chicken stock
3 tsp. sea salt
1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you like it)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 c. whole milk
1 c. diced cooked chicken
1 c. shredded cheddar (organic is best)
1 c. whipping cream (opt.) or serve with sour cream or Creme Fraiche.

Melt butter and olive oil together in a large pot. Add chopped onion, chopped broccoli stems and minced garlic--saute until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add chicken stock, broccoli florets, potatoes, and sea salt. Cook on med-low heat until potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Blend in pot with hand-held blender, or put through blender in batches and return to pot.

Add cayenne pepper, pepper, milk, chicken, cheddar, and whipping cream. Heat gently over low, do not let it boil. Serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream or Creme Fraiche, if you wish.

(I will add Crème Fraiche recipe at a later date--this is so much yummier than sour cream from the store!)

Makes about 16 cups. Freezes wonderfully.