Saturday, September 29, 2012

Grams Made Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup

It finally rained last night. We had about an inch and a half overnight. It's been alternately overcast and sunny today. But, it's much cooler than it has been. It's such a nice change in the weather. I've been fighting a cold all week, so I thought some chicken soup would be just the thing for today.

I looked around to see what I had in the pantry and the freezer and decided on Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup. The original recipe is from a cookbook Katy gave me a few years ago, America's Test Kitchen, The Best Simple Recipes. It's a great cookbook and I've learned a lot of basic cooking techniques from it. The recipes all take 30 minutes or less. I've liked every single recipe that I've made from it.

A couple of my Facebook friends asked me to share the recipe. My recipe has been modified from the original. The original calls from white rice and fresh herbs. I didn't have either today so I substituted dried herbs and adjusted the amounts. I love that this soup is thickened with egg yolks instead of flour or corn starch. It ups the protein total and the leftovers don't turn to glue in the refrigerator.

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and Pepper
1/2 large onion, minced
1 cup carrots, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 cup quick cooking brown rice
1 tablespoon dried parsley
juice from 2 lemons
4 large egg yolks

Boil broth in saucepan over high heat. Cover and set aside.

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook until brown on both sides. Remove chicken to a plate (it will not be cooked through).

Lower heat to medium-low, add onion and cook until lightly browned. Stir in hot broth, scraping up any browned bits. Add carrots, thyme, and rice. Cover and simmer on low heat.

Transfer chicken to cutting board and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add chicken and parsley to soup and continue simmering until chicken is cooked through and rice is soft.

Whisk lemon juice and egg yolks together in a bowl or heat-proof measuring cup. Whisking constantly, gradually ladle 1 cup of hot soup into the egg mixture. Then slowly stir the egg mixture back into soup. Cook about 10 minutes longer on low heat.

The Sunday Funnies - Medical Edition

There are a lot of things about getting older that just plain suck. I don't really enjoy having to color my hair more often because the roots are gray. And I don't even know what to say about the wrinkles. But among the most unpleasant, for me at least, are the myriad of medical tests that get added as we age.

Grandad and Grams are in their late 50s, so we now have to have a colonoscopy every five years. I had my first one last spring and Grandad recently had his second one. It's this second one that included one of the funniest things I've ever heard.

The procedure is done at a local outpatient hospital. Everyone there is having day surgery of one kind or another; most are having the same procedure, a colonoscopy.

When you arrive, the patient is taken back to a holding area where they change into a hospital gown, answer all the usual pre-op questions, relax (and I use the term loosely) on a gurney until time to go back for the procedure. Once they're ready, whoever is accompanying them is invited back to sit with them in the holding area until they go back to the procedure room. The holding area holds eight patients and each patient is separated from the others by only curtains. This means that you can hear what's going on with every patient.

Grandad was taken back and prepped, then I was called to sit with him. We were sitting there  chatting quietly when we heard another patient come in. We couldn't see her, but it seemed that she was quite elderly and a little hard of hearing. Therefore, we could hear the entire process. First she could not figure out how to put the gown on so the nurse helped her. She got the gown on and settled down on the bed while someone went out to get the woman who was with her. I think she was a caregiver of some sort rather than a relative. Then the nurse started asking all the usual questions.

What is your name? What are you going to have done today? How old are you? What medications do you take? Have you eaten anything today? Are you allergic to any medications?

We weren't really listening to the questions and answers, but the lady was hearing impaired and it was difficult not to hear them. It was the answer to that last question that caused us to start laughing out loud. When the nurse asked "Are you allergic to any medications?" The lady answered in a nice loud voice, "Yes, I'm allergic to cocaine." This interesting answer was followed by an awkward silence. Then the nurse asked again, "What medications are you allergic to?" Again, the answer was the same and even louder with more confidence, "I told you, I'm allergic to COCAINE."
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 At this point, Grandad and I were just looking at each other in stunned silence. Then we heard the caregiver say "No ma'am, you are allergic to CODEINE." At this point, everyone in the holding area roared with laughter.
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It was a nice moment of levity in an otherwise tedious day. And because of the curtains, we couldn't see who we were laughing at so no one had to be embarrassed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sparkling Silliness

Our Little Princess E loves all things that sparkle. I have a small box on my dresser that I keep all my bracelets in. She discovered it as soon as she could reach the dresser. Every time she visits she opens the box and puts all of them on at the same time.

This time when she had them all on, she came back into the living room and the silliness ensued.

I'm still not certain that I have found all of them around the house. But that's okay with me, I rarely wear any of them and she loves them. I get more joy from watching her play with them than I ever have from wearing them myself.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Princesses and the Beach

Labor Day weekend was awesome! My good friend Brenda got married. Brenda's parents have been our next door neighbors for 25 years. I'm so happy that Brenda found her Mr. Wright. I know they're going to be happy for the rest of their lives together.

Katy and Our Little Princesses came from San Antonio for the wedding. On Saturday morning, we took the girls to Padre Island. It was their first trip to the beach and it was so much fun.

Princess E loved, loved, loved the beach. She liked it so much that on Sunday she said, "Momma, I need to go back to the beach." Just look at the delight on her face. I think she may grow up to be a surfer girl.

Princess J was not equally impressed. She did enjoy the sand and building a sandcastle. But she did not like the moving water. She would sit and play until a little wave came in, then she would stand up and run towards Grandad, away from the water.

There was plenty of time for us all to play together.

We were lucky. Whitecap Beach was clean and beautiful the morning we were there. Just a week before we heard on the news that there were lots of stinging jellyfish and Portugese Men-of-War. We didn't see any. We went early in the day and it was not crowded. We shared the beach with a flock of seagulls. Several times while we were there, we saw a flock of brown pelicans fly over. And just as we were about to leave, a little tropical shower came in off of the water.

We ended the morning with lunch at JB's German Bakery which is located on the island. It was our first time to eat there, but it will not be our last. It was delicious. The fresh baked goods were delicious. The grilled cheese sandwich that the girls shared was delicious. I think it was Gouda on rye bread. I had a roast pork sandwich with German potato salad. I didn't have any of the pastries, but they looked absolutely delicious.