Tag Archives: Blog

A Letter to Taylor: No Fail Soup Recipes

My dearest, darling Taylor,

You are so very good at so many things. I know this because we went to college together and were in the same sorority (yes, y’all, Kappa Deltas are ballin’). You write a touching, yet hilarious, blog about motherhood and witty articles in actual publications. And, oh yeah, you’re mom to an adorable little nugget.
Taylor and Wee Connor

Come on. Is there anything cuter?

Look at his delight at the pho. This boy loves soup!

Look at his delight at the pho. This boy loves soup!

Wee Connor loves vegetables and hates bananas. I love Wee Connor.

Wee Connor loves vegetables and hates bananas. I love Wee Connor.

But apparently, dear Taylor, you are not the best at making soup.
IMG_7877
I haven’t tasted your soup. I fear you may be hard on yourself. Cause surely if you can make a human, you can make a soup, right? To be fair, I don’t exactly know how you make humans. It’s in a stock pot, right?
Winter is coming and without soup, you may die in Chicago. So, I’ve got three recipes for easy soup handpicked for you. I could say they’re foolproof, but you ain’t no fool. Friendproof? Eh, I’m still working on that one.
AOT,
Bethany
PS. If anyone else is eavesdropping with their eyeballs, aka eyvesdropping, these recipes will probably not work for you. These will literally only work for Taylor.
This is my Gramma’s recipe for her vegetable beef soup. No Grammas were harmed in the making of this soup. The most time consuming thing is the vegetable choppery. This is soup from an Indiana woman, so you know it’s going to keep you guys warm in the wintertimes. Plus, bonus: it’s delicious.
Say what you will about Rachael Ray (I hate when she calls it EVOO. There I said it.) But some of her recipes are really great. This is one of my favorites. It’s a simple, quick, stick-to-your ribs kind of soup. Plus, it’s easy to double and freezes well for up to 2 weeks.
Don’t be daunted by stock makery. I made the stock, but I had time to make some stock. I think there are places where you can easily take shortcuts. Buy a rotisserie chicken and use that. Buy boxed/canned stock instead of making your own. Would it be better to make your own at home? Eh, maybe. But ain’t nobody got time for that.
For the soup:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts chicken stock, recipe follows
  • 8 ounces dried wide egg noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

For the Chicken Stock:
  • 1 whole free-range chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed, giblets discarded
  • 2 carrots, cut in large chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
  • 2 large white onions, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, halved
  • 1 turnip, halved
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.

Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.

Yield: 2 quarts

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Sick Day: Lipton Noodle Soup Secrets

You guuuuuuuuuuys.

I don’t feel good.

I don’t feel good at all.

It’s so bad that it’s affecting my grammar.

I hope it doesn’t get so bad that I forget how to punctuate.

Sidenote: Everybody needs to remember how to use a comma. Commas and apostrophes haven’t gone extinct, everyone. Dont just run on in your sentence and pretend like you dont need any punctuation because youre lazy or because you think because you write a blog the rules are different because internetz. [sic] Please for the love of Jesus/Buddha/Tom Hanks/WHOEVER you believe in, use a comma. Good grammar is sexy.

I’m working from home today and eating on that BRAT diet. Do y’all remember this?

Bananas (Nope, won’t eat those.)

Rice (Well, I have rice, but I’m not eating it right now.)

Applesauce (Don’t have any of that at home.)

Toast (Toast it is!)

I had a dry piece of toast for breakfast. A sensible meal, if ever I’ve had one. Then I graduated to my favorite sick day lunch: noodley soup.

That’s not what it’s actually called. It’s called Lipton Noodle Soup.

…pretty much the same.

You boil three cups of water. Stir in the packet of unnaturally yellow flavor and noodles. Turn off the heat and wait 5 minutes. Sick day success.

What secrets lie within this pouch, Soup?

What secrets lie within this pouch, Soup?

But wait. What? What what? What what what? Soupsecrets.com? Pray tell, what kind of secrets hath this soup? Did it have a steamy affair with a cracker? Does it actually hate being hot? Does it wish it was born a salad? I must click.

Oh BROTHER.

From soupsecrets.com/zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

From soupsecrets.com/zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

There are no secrets here. No frothy, brothy confessions. No salacious dish. Just boring brandspeak, nutritional content and and some “recipes.”

No. This website is so bad. It’s making me sick again.

i think im gonna herl

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Bits and Bobs: My First Month in RVA

I’ve been saying to myself, “I have to write a blog post. My fans need me.”

But in reality, I’ve had nothing to which I wanted to dedicate a whole post. Please get off my jock, fans. I just want a normal life.

My friend, Anna, is always really incredible about writing about the bits and bobs in her life for her blog Curiouser and Curiouser. So, inspired by Anna, I give you highlights from my first month in Richmond/my life/my binge-watching of Top Chef.

  • No, really, I’ve watched every episode of Top Chef. I’m not kidding. I started from the beginning and just plowed on through. I think I started right before I moved…but even so, that’s PROBABLY an unhealthy level of TV watching. (Who are you to judge, weirdos?) Even the seasons I didn’t like originally had merit when I watched it again. What’s next for me? A season of MasterChef. DONE. Now onto MasterChef Junior and Hell’s Kitchen. And of course, the current season of Top Chef. Perhaps I might try a non-food show. But…I’d have to pay so much more attention…
  • Thanksgiving is in the air and I’m not upset about it. I love Christmas. But the fact that Christmas is trying to push Thanksgiving out of the way? Thanksgiving needs to hit Christmas in the face with a shovel. Defend November, Thanksgiving. I’ve already started fantasizing about my turkey day menu and have made my first stuffing of the year. I’m hosting the meal this year (in addition to cooking….like every year, MOM), so the research starts NOW.
  • I went on an oyster crawl. I remember eating my first raw oyster. I was on a shoot and we were at Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain and my former boss was scoffing that I’d never had a raw oyster. I remember trying it and distinctly NOT liking it. Cause it’s weird. (Seriously, who is the first person who saw an oyster and said, “I better eat what’s inside there.”) Now, I can’t get enough of them. My friend Melissa organized an oyster crawl because Richmond has enough places that serve oysters that you can organize a whole crawl. MMHMM. The stand out was Rappahannock, an oyster bar whose owners are cousins that took over their grandfather’s oyster farm. The story is great, the food is greater. Order a dozen and the shrimp app, and be sure to chew on a licorice root just to see if it tastes like anything. (IT DOES, YOU GUYS, I SWEAR.)
  • I went to a food festival alone. Richmond had their inaugural Fire, Flour & Fork, “a gathering for the Food Curious,” a few weeks ago. I wanted to go and since I have like three friends (hey, it’s more than 0!), I went alone. The meal was stunning. The chef is a guy named Justin Carlisle and he’s got a tiny restaurant in Milwaukee called Ardent. He brought his farm-to-table philosophy to Richmond. Farm-to-table is really an understatement. It’s farm-to-table meets nose-to-tail. It’s farm-to-tail eating. Nose-to-table? (Weird.) He’s sourcing everything local, but not because it’s trendy. Because that’s the only way to truly understand your product. Every bite I ate was better than the last. The homemade muenster cheese was perfection. Mild and creamy and when paired with their milk bread (FROM THE SAME COWS?!), perfection. If you’re in Miwluakee, go. Make a reservation, it’s tiny! Also, it was kind of fun to go alone. I sat with a couple of gramma aged ladies and they were really nice. You can’t have a BAD time at something like that.

 

 

Those are my bits and bobs for now. Go make friends with a random old lady and chew on some licorice root.

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My Writing Process: A Thesis on Blogs & Pantlessness

So, quick update on me and my fanciness: I was invited to be a part of a Blog Tour.

YEAH. I KNOW. I AM A BIG DEAL.

My amazing friend Anna of Curiouser & Curiouser invited me. Those of you who don’t read Anna’s blog should leave this blog and start reading hers.

WAIT!!!!

AFTER you’ve read this post, go read her blog. She is incredibly smart and fun and talks about just about everything. She is a one of my best friends and reading her blog feels like talking to a bestie, doing something we call lilypadding: jumping from topic to topic. (Posts on Advertising! Food! Cocktails! Nail polish! Clothes!) She’s the deal.

Now, onto the Blog Tour. A fellow blogger invites you to answer 4 questions about your blogular process and then you pass the baton on to another blogger.

Without further ado, I’m ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille.

1. What are you working on?

Currently watching the first season of The Rockford Files because I’m sad about James Garner’s death. Also, doing the laundry and wearing no pants. Oh, and waiting on the Chinese food to come because I didn’t feel like cooking.

In reality, I’m a producer at an advertising agency and I write my blog as a creative outlet. In college, I was a theatre major and loved working on/being in plays. I did one show after I graduated, but found it was too tough to commit to the production schedule with the reality of #agencylife. But I still needed creativity in my life. I began to cook more and thought, hey, maybe I could turn this into a blog. So about a year ago, I did. And it’s been WILDLY successful* ever since.

*Wildly=mildly

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Well, for better or worse, I’m not an avid blog reader. There are a few I follow on the reg, but otherwise it’s more like appointment reading. So I can’t say for certain that it’s different than others in the genre. I know there are sassy, f-word laden cooking blogs out there. (I’m looking at you, Thug Kitchen.)

But, what I can say for certain is this blog is written the way that I talk. The goofy asides, the lilypadding, the good and bad jokes, the healthy dose of self-deprecation: 100% Bethany. I’ve been told by more than one reader (and by reader, I mean real life existing friend) that they can hear me when they read the posts.

This blog is me, through and through.

3. Why do you write what you do?

I love food. I love to make people happy with food. And I love to make people laugh. This is all my favorite things in one.

4. How does your writing process work?

Well, the reality of the situation is I don’t write as much as I’d like. I’d like to post one to three times a week. But because of #agencylife, I find it’s very easy to get pulled away from your extracurriculars.

Mostly, I write when I’m inspired. (I’m like Oscar Bloody Wilde over here.) When I’ve eaten somewhere fantastic or made something terrific/terrible, the inspiration will strike me and I find that the words come out just the right way.

But when I’m not inspired, I feel like the words are like lumpy gravy: heavy and wrong. (Just stir it, Una!)

The exciting part is that there’s tons of inspiration out there.

So, that’s My Fake Food Blog. Thank you for coming and be sure to come again.

And in the meantime, visit my other friend Anna’s blog, Seasoned to Taste. Anna is a real life Barefoot Contessa. Everything she does is gorgeous and beautiful and seems effortless. From the food to the presentation to the way she writes about it all. Basically, I want to be her when I grow up.

She’ll impress and inspire you. Particularly if you are like me and haven’t showered today and only put pants on when the delivery guy arrived.

Happy Blog Tour, y’all.

 

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My One Year Blog-Aversary…was 3 days ago

There are a lot of things I’m good at. And there are a lot of things I’m not so good at. One of them is dates.

Not like GOING on dates. Though I can’t say I’m great at that or anything. 

There is a 50% chance I will forget your birthday. Even if it’s listed on Facebook, I will probably miss it. Even my best friends in the world, I balls it up. When my BFF Stowe turned 25, I wished him a happy 23rd birthday. He has never let me live this down. Nor should he! I’m a certified non-genius in this area. It’s not intentional. I’m just bad at this. 

Which is how I managed to miss my one year blog-aversary.

IT’S A WORD.

(…it’s not a word…)

I published my first blog post on 10/6/12. It’s been one year. I have 45 posts. Some food successes, and some food failures. A lot of (bad) jokes. A lot of self deprecation. And far too many Downton Abbey themed animated gifs.

 What have I learned this year whilst living and blogging? 

Sometimes, my blog posts get written on my list of things to do. “Write meatloaf post.” And then, it feels like a burden. Because it’s another thing to get done and crossed off. But it’s not. It’s filling a space that’s been empty since I stopped doing theatre. (Ok, it’s not COMPLETELY filling it. Unless I was singing show tunes while I was cooking. Which I could totally do…) 

But it’s kind of an awesome feeling when someone says they laughed at something in my post. I love making people laugh. And I love to cook. It’s the best of both worlds, really. 

So. A New Year’s Resolution for a new year of bloggery: blog more. 

I’m not going to commit to anything crazy, because my job is still my job (touch wood) and that’s still busy. But I’d like to write at least once a week. So when I get to my second blog-aversary, I have a whole 97 posts. But I’d like to do it even more than that.

…Heh. She said ‘do it.’

You guys are great. Thanks for reading. Go cook and eat things. 

And above all, stay fake. 

Nothing fake here.

Nothing fake here.

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curiouser & curiouser

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