Monday, December 27, 2010

Soup's On

I had the sweetest moment of Christmas yesterday and I had to share it with y'all. It just goes to prove that it's not about a day, it's about an attitude.

I teach Sunday School to four and five year olds, my own included. For the month of December we've, of course, been studying about the birth of Jesus. Well yesterday we were discussing the angels bringing the news to the shepherds and their visit to the little family. The kids were sitting there listening while I was talking and putting the shepherds on the flannelgraph kneeling in front of the manger. I told them that this was one of the great things about God. He makes sure everyone knows, rich wise men with gifts of perfume or hard working shepherds who were smelly from the field. He loves us all, calls us all to come to Him. Those little kids looked intently at that picture of the shepherds and Jesus and then my sweet Meredith quietly began to sing. She sang, "Jesus, lamb of God, worthy is your name." Then we all joined in and we sang together. It was the most tender moment of pure Christmas. And it came from a five year old. If they can get it, we should be able to as well.

Today I'll also get back to my menu planning.
Monday--Chicken & Rice Soup, Brown Bread
Tuesday--Pork Roast, Mashed Potato Supreme, Garlicky Green Beans, Applesauce
Wednesday--Spaghetti, garlic bread, salad
Thursday--Chicken Divan, carrots, fruit cups, rolls
Friday--Smoked Kielbasa with Rice, Black Bean & Corn Salad
Saturday--Homemade Pizza

Chicken & Rice Soup
This was a new recipe we tried from a magazine and it was really good. I added more rice to make it a little hardier and a little more seasoning. It's definitely a keeper. The original recipe called for bone in chicken breasts. I used boneless, skinless tenderloins. That way, there's no skimming the fat and no pulling chicken off the bone. Either way works, it's just convenience or preference.

3 qt. water
4 chicken breasts
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper (I added just a bit more)
1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning (I use Bell's)
2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
3 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 c. uncooked rice
1 small onion, finely chopped

In a large pot, place water, chicken, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is tender. With a slotted spoon, remove chicken from broth. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones and cut chicken in small pieces. Skim any fat from broth. Add chicken and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes until vegetables and rice are tender. Yields 10 servings.

Brown Bread
When it was still warm from the oven, Meredith took a bite and declared it "the best thing I ever put in my mouth."

1 1/2 c. boiling water
1 c. oats
2 Tbsp. shortening
2 tsp. salt
1 pkg (1 Tbsp.) yeast
3/4 c. warm water
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. molasses
5 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. melted butter

Combine boiling water, oats, shortening, and salt. Cool to 110 degrees. (By the time you set it aside, do the next step and wait until it foams about an inch, it'll be cool enough) In a separate bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in the warm water. Add to oats. Add brown sugar, molasses, and 3 cups of flour. Mix well. Continue adding flour until a soft dough forms. Turn onto floured surface. Knead 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise one hour. Punch down dough and divide in half. Place each half in a greased loaf pan. Cover and let rise 30-45 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Brush with butter. Cool on wire racks. Yields 2 loaves.


Debra Ganas said...

That Meridith is a very wise and precious child. I am often amazed by what my little AWANA Cubbies say.
I want to learn how to bake yeast breads. I just subscibed to Taste of Home and there is a good recipe for rolls. I will try your recipe too. Especially since Meredith said it's the best thing she ever put in her mouth.
Love that she has her own "Bling" tree.


JennaLane said...

meredith, i love you and i know you realize how special your mommy is. you are a very blessed little girl to have her as a mommy and as a sunday school teacher. give her a hug for me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the leftover chicken and rice soup. This recipe is a keeper for sure. Mom