Turkey & Rice Soup

I mentioned yesterday we had two turkeys this year for Thanksgiving. SuperMan felt if one was good, two was better. Smile Not really. We just couldn’t decide between smoked or fried, so we ended up doing both. I had gotten a free turkey, so it seemed like a good thing to do. Well, now I have a ton of turkey to deal with and so this will most definitely be on my list of things to make this week (maybe even today).

Turkey Rice Soup

It’s super quick, super easy and super good.

If you’ve got leftover turkey to deal with, you might want to give this a try. I’m betting you have most of the ingredients in your pantry already.

Turkey & Rice Soup

~1 pound cooked turkey (or chicken) diced into bite-sized pieces
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 – 2 1/2 cups (cooked) rice
~ 1/2 cup celery, diced
~ 3/4 cup carrots, diced (I just used a handful of shredded carrots)
2-3 cups chicken broth (I used one box of broth)
Houston House Seasoning to taste

  1. In a large stockpot, combine all ingredients except rice.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30  minutes. (You could also do this in your crock pot on low for 2-3 hours)
  2. About 10 minutes before serving, drop the rice in and mix to combine.  Heat through.
  3. Serve.

Turkey Rice Soup

After the Feast

Well, Happy Monday to you!

I’m still trying to convince myself I’m happy it’s Monday.  I wasn’t too happy at 5AM when the alarm went off, but I’m trying valiantly to embrace the day.  The weekend was so nice and relaxing I hate to get back into the grind of the work week.

We had a really, really nice Thanksgving.  SuperMan was home for four days with us –  no side jobs, no work – and it was heaven. The girls and I really enjoyed having him around.

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Thursday, we enjoyed our Thanksgiving dinner. We couldn’t decide between a smoked turkey and a deep-fried turkey, so SuperMan decided to make both.  (Now, I’m overrun with turkey!)  Little Bit enjoyed helping in the kitchen.

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She helped her daddy with the turkeys and helped me on Wednesday with most of the prep work as well.

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Watching the pecan pie bars baking (recipe soon)

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And while I did most of my “work” in the kitchen on Wednesday, SuperMan did his on Thursday… it worked out well. We didn’t step on each other’s toes that way.

Here they are checking out the smoked turkey – is it done yet?

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And frying the other turkey.  This always makes me so nervous, but the turkey tastes so good!

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After what seemed like forever frying, it was done!

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And then it was time to feast!

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Wonderful day.

And, now we’re faced with MONDAY staring us down, daring us to take on the challenges it brings… and all I want to do is crawl back into my warm flannel sheets!

And menu planning? Well, I’m thinking about it. Not absolutely sure yet what I’ll do. Here’s what I’m thinking of:

I do have lots of fun things planned for the blog this week, though – a few recipes for you and hopefully some more scrapbooking as well as a book review (or two?). So, I hope you will stop back by.

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linking up with OrgJunkie for Menu Plan Monday.

Countdown to Turkey Day

Happy Monday, y’all.

It’s quiet (sort of) around our house this morning. As I sit in my office sipping tea and looking out at the grey morning I can hear Little Bit’s giggles in the sunroom – she’s playing on her computer and Scooby cat is snuggled up next to her, enjoying the heat coming out of the fan of the laptop.

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Big Girl is still sleeping – she had a rough night last night. Lots of swelling and pain in her foot. I tried, at 2 AM this morning, to figure out what we might’ve done yesterday to make it so bad last night. The only thing I can figure is that she was more active yesterday – even in her wheelchair – and that maybe having her foot down more than up is the culprit.

Today, I’ll encourage her, strongly, to stay still a bit more. I think it will be difficult, but I am hoping reminding her of last night will be incentive enough.

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We are quite the trio – the girls and I. Big Girl with her foot and Little Bit and I with our brochitis-like colds.  Quite a pitiful crew.  And Thanksgiving is coming!  To be honest, right this minute, I could care less. But I want us to have a good day, so that will mean rising above the blahs that this virus has given me and taking on some baking and preparations today.

I think, though, that I will keep dinners simple this week – I’m thinking about making some turkey & rice soup today.  Mom’s dear friend sent us a cooked turkey (among other delicacies) last week to eat after surgery day (she didn’t want us to have to cook) and so we have those remains to eat.  Turkey & Rice soup sounds like good comfort food and something I can toss in the crock pot and forget about.

I have some leftover rice in the fridge, too, so it should be really simple to toss together. I’m just wondering how the girls will like it. It will be an experiment, I guess.

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Yesterday, SuperMan piled up all the leaves in the front yard – Little Bit has been asking for a leaf pile to jump in and he decided to oblige.  He uses a blower to do this – I remember raking leaves as a kid. Boy, the blower is so much easier.  For the past two years, I’ve done that job, but this year, I sat with Big Girl and guarded her foot from the over-zealous attentions of the puppies who were “helping” SuperMan in the yard.  They missed her and kept wanting to climb in her lap (not a good idea when they’re 80+ pounds!)

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Once the pile was finished, Sydney and Little Bit couldn’t wait to dive in. They had the best time in the leaves. SuperMan tosses the tennis ball into the leaves and Sydney dives down deep, sniffing and searching. It amazes me that she always, always finds it. Truly a needle in a haystack and yet she sniffs it out every time.  Little Bit just loves leaping into the leaves and the puppies leap in right behind her.  They’re pretty cute to watch.

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I’m not a big fan of leaf piles. Neither is Big Girl.  We both agree that the leaves and grit in our hair and clothes is not the nicest feeling.  My issues, however, go back much further, I think.

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I remember a time as a girl that my grandfather had this huge (huge) leaf PIT. He had a pit dug in the front yard for some reason and everyone in the neighborhood, it seemed, had put their leaves in there. It was like a leaf pool instead of a pile.  All of the cousins were there and everyone was jumping in and having a great time.

I wasn’t too crazy about the idea so I was hanging back and watching. I’m not sure who did it, (daddy maybe?) but someone picked me up and threw me in. I was terrified and came up with a mouthful (and shirtful) of leaves. Not fun.

That was pretty much the end of my leaf pile days.  But, I’m glad that Little Bit loves it and I certainly don’t want to take her joy away. It won’t be long before she decides that she is too old for those type of games.

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So, we’ll be spending our week quietly – other than a post-op checkup on Tuesday we have no big plans. Just enjoying the family time together.

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Holiday Baking (part 2)

I promised you I’d share some of my savory recipes today – some of the family favorites that we enjoy during the holidays. I’m also going to share one that is brand new to us and that we’re trying out this year.

The new recipe we’re trying is a corn casserole recipe. It’s not something that was traditionally made at my house (or Grandma’s) when I was growing up, but I’ve had it when other people have made it and loved it. So, I decided to try my hand at making it this year… introduce a new tradition to the table, so to speak.

I’m excited to see how it turns out!

One of the old standbys we make every holiday is a sweet potato casserole. Mom has been making this for years and years – I think the original recipe is one that she clipped out of a magazine or the newspaper. After it’s debut at one of our family dinners, it quickly replaced the ultra-sweet marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole that we used to eat.  I absolutely LOVE it. I’d eat it every day if I thought I could get away with it.  Of course, since my WLS surgery, I have to be very, very careful when I’m indulging like this or I’ll be curled up in a ball crying in a few hours.  So, I enjoy it sparingly but I do have a tiny bit when we make it for the holidays.

Sweet Potato Casserole

4 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes (you can use one large can of sweet potatoes if you wish)
1/2 – 3/4 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 – 1 cup finely chopped pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, egg, vanilla, milk and butter (1/4 cup). Whip with hand mixer until smooth.
  3. Pour into 2 quart baking dish. (8×8 or 9×9 works well)
  4. For topping, mix remaining ingredients to form a crumble topping.  Sprinkle over sweet potato mixture.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes.

What about you? Any family favorites that you just have to make or it doesn’t seem like the holidays to you?

And, now, I’m off to bake and enjoy my family!!

Holiday Baking

I’m baking today.

Pies and breads and sweets in preparation for the big day on Thursday.

You’d think we were having an army over for dinner and not just the four of us.

But it sort of mushrooms – you think “oh, I’ll just bake a simple meal.” and then someone asks “but you’re going to make this, right?” and you say “yes, of course!” and pretty soon you have a feast on your hands.

But that is part of what Thanksgiving is about, right? Feasting? Well, it’s become that, anyway. It’s really  supposed to be about GIVING THANKS for all the blessings we have, but somehow it has turned into a day about eating. But, I’m OK with that, as long as we remember to be thankful for the fact that we CAN eat all this food and that we are so BLESSED to have an abundance of food to select from and eat.

But, enough of the soap box. I thought I’d share with you some of the things I’m baking today:

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  • Pecan Pie (one of those things that just popped up on the menu, unbidden but welcome) I’m trying this recipe from Tasty Kitchen because it seems very, very close to the one my mom makes.  I used a combination of spiced pecans and plain ones. I saw that on Food Network this past weekend and thought it sounded like a really good idea.

Watergate Salad recipe

  • Watergate Salad (also known in our house as “green stuff”)
    Well, this one is not baked, but I’m making it today.  I’m also making it with sugar-free pudding, sugar-free cool whip and no-sugar-added pineapple so that it will be WLS friendly.  A girl’s gotta have dessert, right?
  • Honey Oatmeal Bread – this is just because I haven’t made any fresh bread in a couple weeks and I thought I’d try a new recipe and see how the family liked it.
  • I’m also planning to bake a mincemeat pie this evening, but I’m cheating and using a jarred filling. It is what my mom always makes and I love it.
  • For Thanksgiving morning, I’m planning to make these for breakfast.Pecan Pie Muffins Recipe

Mom made them a few weeks ago and said they were really good so I’m going to give them a try.

That’ll be enough baking, I think. Don’t you? Smile

Tomorrow I’ll share some of the savory recipes we’re planning for Thanksgiving.

An even BETTER Apple Crisp

I shared with you an apple crisp recipe not too long ago – it was one of the best ones I’ve had in a long time. But, I have continued to tweak the recipe and I think I have an even BETTER recipe to share with you.

I made it Sunday to have as dessert after dinner with friends.  Everyone agreed it was fabulous.  And, SuperMan and I have eaten leftovers for breakfast a couple times this week – it makes an awesome breakfast – think Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal but in the best possible way.

One of the secrets to the new and improved recipe is using Grape Nuts cereal as part of the topping. I found just plain oatmeal was a little too soft and not “crispy” enough for me. I wanted a little crunch, but didn’t want to use nuts (the girls don’t care for nuts) in the topping.

I just happened to be reading my December/January issue of Cook’s Country magazine and they had a recipe for a low-fat apple crisp.  I decided to combine the top half of their recipe with the bottom half of my original recipe.  I also added raisins for a little more fruity goodness…

The result?

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Yummy.

If you are looking for something to add to your holiday menu, I would strongly suggest this little dish.  The version below makes a 9×13 dish and I served it with frozen vanilla yogurt and caramel sauce. *swoon*

Here’s the recipe.

Don’t be afraid to try a little for breakfast! It’s so good… and it’s full of the same breakfast-y ingredients we eat anyway – fruit, oatmeal, cereal, etc.  Why not?

Even Better Apple Crisp

Topping:

1 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
2/3 cup Grape-Nuts cereal
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp salted butter, diced into cubes and chilled
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

Filling:

10 cups of apples, peeled, cored & sliced (I used honey crisp apples)
1 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup apple cider (or juice)

Instructions:

  1. Place the sliced apples in a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and sprinkle over the apples.
  4. Pour the apple cider over the apples.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the topping ingredients, adding the butter last and using your fingers to mash the butter into the topping ingredients.
  6. Sprinkle the topping over the apple mixture, spreading to evenly cover the apples.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes or until the juices are bubbling and topping is a deep golden brown. 
  8. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.KitchenAid black Fruit Slicer Wedger

Note: I use my apple slicer to make my slices because I like big, chunky pieces of the apple in my crisp.  You can use diced apples or smaller slices if you choose, I just prefer to have more discrete bites of fruit in my crisp.