A Chicken Velvet Hug

Happy New Year everyone! 2014 is just scary to hear in some ways. The Y2K scare was 14 years ago. How crazy is that?!

I don’t know about you, but we, specifically our stomachs, are still recovering from the holidays. We were really good this year too. We didn’t start the Christmas gluttony till Christmas Eve. We hosted my whole family, and I made cinnamon rolls, apple pie, sweet potato pie, prime rib, a turkey, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, honey glazed carrots, cornbread stuffing (completely from scratch), sugar cookies… a lot. By the end of it, we had a ton of leftovers, and ate prime rib for 5 days straight.

I don’t need to have prime rib again for a while.

By Sunday night, our stomachs were eager for something not so rich. Something to put in our stomachs and tell them it was all going to be alright. Our stomachs needed a hug.

There is only one food that truly can give your stomach the hug it needs: Chicken Soup. 

Soup is among my favorite foods. I love the stuff. The Husband? Not so much. He thinks it’s an appetizer, and that it isn’t enough to be a meal. Boys. 

I say this to pretense that the soups I make now are often a little creamier than perhaps some would like. If its a thicker soup, I’ve convinced him that it’s a meal. This led to my rendition of Chicken Velvet Soup. Not only do our stomachs get a hug, they get a soft warm blanket as well. Full service here. Honestly, I don’t think anything with velvet in the name should be anything less than creamy and thick. 

So, without further ado, here is my take of Chicken Velvet Soup

Ingredients:

1/2 c. Butter (because most great things have butter)

1.5-2 c. Flour 

4 cloves of Garlic, minced

2 c Half and Half

1 pint Chicken Broth

2 c Shredded Chicken

Cayenne Pepper

Salt

 

1. Melt the butter in the saucepan. When it is melted, add in garlic and saute for a few minutes, till you get the good garlicky smell smell. 

2. Slowly add flour to butter, stirring to combine it well. The amount of flour you use is going to depend on how thick you want the soup to be. More flour = thicker soup. Start with less, and then build up as desired. 

 3. Add Half and Half, and Broth, stirring continuously. I sometimes use homemade broth, sometimes just store-bought. If you want to add a little more flour to thicken it up, now is the time. Just make sure you are stirring well. 

4. Add your cooked chicken. I like to buy whole chickens when they are on sale, when you can get a whole chicken under 5 bucks. Then stick it in the oven for a couple hours, then shred the whole bird and put in baggies and put in the freezer, usually then having a enough four main dishes. When I do this, the whole soup takes me about 15 minutes to cook. When I am really ambitious, I make the bones into broth and freeze it too. Waste not, want not. 

5. Let cook through, stirring occasionally. Add cayenne pepper and salt to taste. I like everything spicy. The Husband, not so much. I put in a pinch or two of cayenne, and then keep the Tapatio sauce nearby to add the heat that I love. Marriage is about compromise. 

At the end, you should have a finished product that looks like this:

Image

 

 

Now grab the crackers, and prepare to help your stomach get out of the fetal position in the corner with a light but satisfying hug meal. 

Enjoy! 

Discouragement, Honesty, Trust, Faith and Cooking…

I used to write. A lot. Then life happened.

Stuff like a wedding, moves, jobs all got in the way. Then something else got in the way; Discouragement.
I lost my job last May. I got another one, and it fell apart within a month, finding out that I was caught up in an ongoing scam that includes years of people not getting paid, which I am now among.

That was in August, and I have been unemployed, looking for work since, while having the husband applying to med school. If you don’t know about applying to med school, here are the main things you need to know about the process: It’s an expensive, uncertain to the max, and stressful year-long process.

So, with no job, no money, huge question marks over us for the next year, huge expenses, it has been a challenging time. Add to it often feeling invisible in the job market, often being told that I am extremely impressive and won’t have any problem finding a job  by people turning me down, and I have at times over the last several months felt overwhelmed, sad, useless, and hopeless.

At times, well-meaning people have made me feel even worse with “encouragement”. They didn’t mean to, they meant to be helpful, but when all anyone talks about to you, or in relation to you is about your failure to get a new job, it feels like that is your identity. Failure.

Due to this, I found that I didn’t think I had much to add to anything by writing. Sometimes, I just wanted to hide.

I’ve decided to start writing again though. Really, what do I have to lose? What I hope to gain is a bit of purpose for myself, some fun, and perhaps to be able to help others, whether it be life lessons, or cooking lessons.

There are a few things I’ve learned through these last few months:

1. I’ve learned to trust my husband more. I hate finances and money. It’s my biggest anxiety causer, as it is, I would guess, for many. He doesn’t flinch, and just makes it happen. I can’t even tell you the last time I looked at the bank account. He just takes care of that, and while I still have a bit of concern about money, I trust he will take care of it. While money problems are often a reason for many couples to suffer division, it has helped bring us together, although we have had our bumps along the way. We have a trust in each other born from adversity from this experience that many couples may never experience. We don’t have much, and fancy dinners etc aren’t in our vocabulary, but we have been able to learn to be content in just being with each other, no frills needed.

2. I’ve learned to trust God more. This is an ongoing battle for me. You see, God has not always just magically made things happen for me in my life. I hate the notion of “prosperity gospel”. God has blessed me in many ways, but for most my life, money has not really been one. Money does not equal God’s care or blessing. I’ve had many times when money was desperately needed, and did not show up. In this situation we find ourselves in, provision has shown up from some of the most unexpected places. The more I trust God, the more He has been faithful, though I really wish his plan for my job would be shown soon. Like, really soon.

3. I am a creator at my core. I am happiest when I am creating. Whether it be dinner, friendships, building furniture, crafts, writing… whatever. My favorite phrase is “I made it”. Cooking has often been my sole area of feeling accomplished in the past few months. Nights out together or with friends have become a rare treat, so cooking good food at home has become my passion. I have pinned hundreds of recipes. I’ve invented recipes. Our nights out are more about a break and convenience than the actual food, because, frankly, I can probably make it better. Except Ortiz’s burritos… they put crack in those things. This has also led to me working out a lot more, cause “fat and happy” is a misnomer.

So look out, I am going to be blogging a lot more… next time, less deep stuff, more yummy stuff! My chicken velvet soup recipe to be exact…