Friday, February 23, 2018

Good Soup, Kid!

Good Soup, Kid!

The weather here has been crazy - two days of record high temps, sunny and beautiful.   Yesterday and today the temperature plummeted and it is damp, rainy, and raw.   The perfect day for soup!
As a kid, my mother would make wonderful soups and when we would take a taste she would always say "good soup, kid".   I don't know exactly where this expression came from, but it may be from when she was a girl during the Great Depression.   The family took in boarders and supposedly this was the expression the one man always said about my grandmother's soups.   I don't know if this is the case, but as they say - never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
This is one of my favorite soups.  It reminds me of a soup called Hamburger Soup that my sister Theresa's mother-in-law used to make.   Our family had never had hamburger soup, and it quickly became a favorite of mine.   Several years ago I found this recipe and it sounded like it might be close to the original - 
I have changed the recipe a bit to make it a vegetarian dish -

Vegetable Beef ( or No Beef ) Soup

1 lb. lean ground beef, browned and drained.  BUT...I use one package of soy crumbles.   They are easy, on hand in the freezer, and we do not notice the difference as the soup cooks all day and takes the taste of the other ingredients.
1 14-1/2 ounce can of stewed tomatoes
1 15-1/2 ounce can of tomato sauce (I use a can of diced tomatoes instead of sauce.)
1 packet of dry onion soup mix
1 10-1/2 oz. can of beef broth( I use vegetable broth.)
1 15 oz package of frozen mixed vegetables ( and any other leftover veggies that are in the refrigerator!)

Mix all together in a slow cooker.  Stir in one soup can of water.   Cook on low temperature for 8 to 12 hours.  Enjoy with a loaf of crusty bread.

I made this yesterday before breakfast.   It was a raw, rainy day and we ventured out only to go to a great presentation on The First Ladies at the Cultural Center here at Willow Valley.   We spent the afternoon reading, watching a great old movie ( The Lady Vanishes, 1938), and enjoying the scent of a good soup simmering for our supper.   This meal makes enough for 6 dinner sized servings.  I put the remaining soup in freezer containers and am all set for the next cold and chilly day - just reheat in the microwave and enjoy.

What soups do you enjoy making?  Thanks for stopping by Our New Vista - please leave a comment below!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hard to believe it has been a week since the Philadelphia EAGLES won the Super Bowl!  What an exciting game and wonderful win.   Our Valentine wreath was covered with Eagle signs and now finally can be revealed again.   I love to decorate for each holiday - and even though we downsized to an apartment and got rid of a lot of our "stuff", I made sure to hang onto the decorations I myself to one plastic tote for most holidays...a bright, hot pink one for Valentine decor so it is easy to spot and pull out of our storage unit.
This is our new console table from Pier 1.  We love it!  Something was needed for this area of our great room...and this fit the bill.   I was so happy to find this "anywhere" line of furniture at Pier 1, and happy to learn that it was also on sale.   Love that you can choose your shade of wood, and also choose either knobs or pulls.  We chose the knob feature to go with other furniture in the room...and then changed them to a silver tone to coordinate with the brushed chrome fixtures in the area. The two shelve provide lots of display space, and the drawers are handy catchalls for little used remotes, coasters, and the wind up key to the grandfather clock.

This was the little table we originally purchased for the area in front of the window.  While it was the perfect height - it came right to the windowsill - it was not big enough to fill the space and looked out of place.   I was SO pleased to find that it fit perfectly in the foyer...right between the powder room and guest closet.  The wood colors go perfectly with the frame on Starry Night.

There is no outlet on that wall ( that is the issue with getting this unit at the last minute after the wiring was already done...) so I put a battery operated set of tiny lights in the mercury glass vase and that provides enough glow in the evening.  The lights are on a timer so I don't need to fuss with them.  And across the hallway, near the entry we have another table...
This chest has been with us for more than 20 years and we keep finding a place for it no matter where we move.  I love to have a place to set my keys ( the chest has 3 drawers) and a place to quickly check my hair to make sure I am presentable when the doorbell rings!
The LOVE plate is a purchase from Ross a few years ago...and the little heart garland is a Christmas decoration from K-Mart I found at the end of the season this year.

The dining room server that stands in as a sofa table has a few Valentine touches, too.
Last evening we hosted a dinner for two couples in our building.   We are making so many new friends and are enjoying getting to know people a little better at small dinners.  Being of Slovak descent and my sweet husband of Ukrainian heritage we love all the Eastern European foods such as pirogi, halupki, etc.   One of our new neighbors also has Easter European roots and made fresh, homemade kielbasa at the holidays and gifted us with a ring.  I put it in the freezer until my sister-in-law delivered pierogi and halupki (stuffed cabbage) made at her church food sale.  With the kielbasa, peas, applesauce, and wonderful Ukrainian bread from a store bakery we enjoyed a feast that reminded us of our childhood dinners.   Another couple brought homemade Kolachy - or nut roll - for dessert and it was wonderful.  It reminded me of my mother's!  

Speaking of my mother...this Quaker Lace tablecloth was a wedding gift to my parents in 1939...It was always used for special dinners in our home and I am lucky enough to have it to cherish...and to use.   It is showing some wear, but I keep stitching it in worn spots as I notice them. I loved using it last night, along with our wedding china, my mother's cut glass dish, and having good friends around the table.
I love to have a little "take home" gift for each guest....last night I used these little silver hearts tied with heart ribbon on each napkin.  The hearts were Christmas ornaments I bought at the end of the season at Dollar Tree thinking I would find a use for them...and I did.  We had a wonderful evening with our friends...and look forward to many more.   Now onto Valentine's Day...
Please comment below and let me know how you celebrate Valentine's Day...or any family treasures you use when you entertain!  Wishing you all a Happy Valentine's Day!

April Showers Reading Hours!

  April Showers Reading Hours We certainly have had our share of April showers here in Pennsylvania...but that has brought a lot of indoor t...