Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tuscan Style Vegetable Soup

A couple of months ago I was surfing the net and came upon a blog that had posted this very delicious soup recipe.
I profoundly apologise because for some reason I didn't write down the name of the blog. The blog owner, where I found the soup recipe, wrote that she had originally gotten it from food She said she had tweaked it slightly to her liking. I did the same thing and as a result this recipe is slightly different from the original two. However, if you posted this recipe on your blog please let me know in the comment section. I will be happy to add the name of your blog here. Again, I truly apologize.
I have served this vegetable soup several times now and it's been a hit with everyone! I can't tell you how many times I have been asked for the recipe.
My recipe calls for KG's Slap and Tickle. Unfortunately it cannot be found in any stores or web sites as of yet. Our son Kurt, who loves to cook, developed it. He is in the process of starting a little side business selling his rub. He originally developed the rub to put on meat but it's so good that we actually use it as a seasoning for just about everything. Kurt has given his rub to a few select family members and friends to try and so far everyone seems to like it. I posted a picture of the bottle and label he designed here in case you ever see it in the grocery store and would like to try it. We we are very proud of Kurt for taking the initiative to develop the rub from his passion for cooking. Hence, the little plug here :>)
Now it's on to the recipe.......
1 and 1/2 (15-ounce can) low sodium cannelloni beans drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 large sweet onion diced
3 stalks celery diced
1 yellow zucchini diced
2-3 carrots diced
1-1/2 cup cabbage (I use the pre-shredded)
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon KG's Slap and Tickle (Or another bottle of the mixed seasoning of your choice)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
32 oz box of chicken or vegetable broth (I use chicken broth)
1 large tomato or two small tomatoes diced (The tomato really adds flavor so don't skimp here)
2 to 3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
(olive oil to drizzle on soup when served. Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on soup if desired. I also serve the soup with chucks of warm bakery or home made bread. I make small plates of extra virgin olive oil and Italian herbs to dip the bread into.)
Heat the oil in a large soup pan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, cabbage, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the butter.
Then add the broth and tomatoes. Bring to boil. Add the cannelloni beans and the spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
add the Parmesan cheese.
Charli loves this soup! I add a little of the broth and a few small chucks of bread to her dry dog food and she eats it right up. She especially loves the smells in the house as the soup is cooking. Yep, you will find her sitting on the kitchen rug on those days hoping a little crumb or something will fall her way.
If you try this soup I hope you like it as much as our family does. The soup also makes a nice base for adding other ingredients like sausage, shrimp and chicken.
With warmest regards, Carol

Monday, February 20, 2012

'The Art of Racing in The Rain

'The Art of Racing in the Rain'
When a member of our book club suggested we read this book I have to admit I was a little skeptical upon hearing it was written from a dog's perspective. I imagined a flowery and silly book without much substance.
My husband suggested we read the book together, out loud, alternating chapters. He can be so sweet! He worries about my eye strain and he knows once I start a book, even if I don't like it, I will usually finish reading to the end.
We crawled into bed on a cold and windy Sunday afternoon, with Charli snuggled between us, and started reading. After the first chapter we both were hooked. We could not put the book down.
'The Art of Racing in The Rain', written by Garth Stein, will most likely leave you wanting a dog or hugging the one you have just a little tighter. If you love animals I think you will enjoy this book. In fact the book has become so popular with readers that it is now being made into a movie. I have included the link here if you would like to take a peek
I think what makes 'The Art of Racing in The Rain' so special is the fact that it is written from a dog's perspective. Garth Stein makes his book come to life in a very creative and believable way.
Enzo is the dog who is the narrator of this story. He is a highly intelligent pooch who has educated himself by listening to people and watching programs on TV. Enzo is a philosopher who believes that there is life after death. He believes that if dogs are ready they can come back as men.
Enzo is frustrated because he wants to be able to communicate and do all of the things that men can do, but of course he is unable to do so, being the dog that he is. I think this song might explain it best. It's called Enzo's song and you can listen to it by clicking this link
'The art of Racing in The Rain' is a heart warming book that will take you on a roller coaster of emotions. It is a book about love, faith, and family that is inspiring, at times heartbreaking, and still other times down right funny.
The book centers around Denny who is an up and coming race car driver. Denny has always wanted a dog and he chooses Enzo. From a puppy through old age Enzo and Danny are inseparable. People come and go throughout the book but the one thing that never changes is the special bond and relationship between Denny and Enzo. They also share Denny's passion for race car driving.
Denny marries Eve and they have a child. We learn of all of these things through Enzo. We, as the reader, experience the joy, sadness, happiness, challenges, and success's of this family through this beloved dog.
When tragedy hits the family Enzo is helpless to do anything but be supportive to Danny. Enzo admires Danny's ability to cope and believes that it's Danny's skills as a race car driver that has made him stay so strong and focused. When Danny finally falters under the pressure and thinks about giving up it is Enzo who helps him get back on track in the ways only a dog can do.
When Enzo comes to the end of his life he doesn't want to leave Danny but he wants to go on to what he believes will be his new life. He wants to be able to run and not be in pain any more. It is Danny who holds him, comforts him, and tells him it's OK to go.
Danny continues through life never forgetting his beloved dog Enzo. Then in the end of the book something extraordinary happens! I'm not sharing it with you here though because I don't want to spoil the book for anyone who wants to read it.
With warmest regards, Carol

A Snowy Day at School

A Snowy Day at School.....
Recently our family had the pleasure of visiting Ryan and Aayden's Elementary school to celebrate an annual event entitled 'Colonial Days'.
While we were there I couldn't help but notice all of the delightful snowmen hanging outside of the classrooms on the walls. I have to say that I really enjoy this type of art.
I miss the days when our son's, and later our grandson Thomas, used to bring home their colorful art work from school. I was one of those mom's and grandmother's that hung it up all over the house. I used to sometimes hang it in my windows, on my door, my walls, and yes, even on my refrigerator. I hung up some of the drawings and crafts year after year until they literally fell apart.
For years I kept much of our son's art work packed away in plastic boxes. Recently I decided the time had come to give it back to it's respective owners. It was a very difficult decision for me. To this day I cannot part with the home made Christmas ornaments they made me though the years.
This type of art has always fascinated me and warmed my heart. I always wonder how each little mind comes up with such interesting and unique designs. That, plus the fact, that I have always been drawn to bold and beautiful primary colors.
With the weather like it's been in our area I think the time has come to file these pictures away until next year, when God willing, you will most likely see some of them on the side bar of this blog.
Our granddaughter Jessica told me she saw her first robin yesterday. Charli and I go out in the yard every morning but so far we haven't seen one. We continue to wait patiently and know it won't be long.
I hope all of you are well and having a good week!
God bless you ♥
With warmest regards, Carol

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The 'Holiday Finery Tea'

The 'Holiday Finery Tea'
One of the things I didn't get a chance to share with you last year was the 'Holiday Finery Tea' which was hosted by the historical museum and village here in my home town. Our village has been host to many delightful teas over the past couple of years and I have written about some of them here. The tea's are always held in the historical church which is located on the village grounds.
These tea's are always very enjoyable and cheery events. I think many people in my area feel the same way as I do about them because on tea day the church is always jam packed.
The staff at the village work very hard to make these tea's special for all of us. Walking into the church there are always new friends to meet and old friends to greet. Then us ladies sit back, enjoy a little reprieve from our daily routine, smile, laugh, sip tea, and nibble on cookies. If that were not enough, we also learn a little bit of history, and sometimes, are entertained with music or dance.
The 'Holiday Finery Tea' certainly did not disappoint. In fact it was so popular that the tickets were completely sold out.
At the 'Holiday Finery Tea' we enjoyed a lovely winter fashion show consisting of dresses, feathers, shawls, purses, gloves, and hats dating from the 1800's to the the 1950's. All of the wonderful hats and beautiful accessories were on loan from 'Hoffman's Millinery Treasures' which is owned by Lori Hoffman. Lori also gave the presentation and shared some very interesting tidbits and stories about her hats and how she came about owning them. I have posted some pictures here. I hope you enjoy seeing them.
It's been such a strange winter here with hardly any snow at all. We already have buds on the branches of the trees and the bushes. The birds are beginning to return to our area.
I took Charli out yesterday to get a new green collar for Saint Patricks Day. I cannot believe how time is flying! Before you know it we will all be making plans for Christmas again.
I hope all of you have a warm and wonderful weekend.
Many blessings to all of you ♥
With warmest regards, Carol

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Whether your decorating your home with little hearts, planning a dinner for your special someone, baking scrumptious pink and red treats, making your own special Valentines, or writing out sweet Valentine's cards for your family and friends, I hope your day is filled with love and blessed in every way possible!
Happy Saint Valentine's Day everyone! ♥
With warmest regards, Carol (and Charli of course)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Thundershirt, who would have thought!

The Thundershirt, who would have thought!
Do you remember last summer when our gal Charli started losing weight, acting out, and running away from home all of the time? Well, I'm happy to say she is doing much better these days, but still the problems with anxiety persist, and it does seem to be getting worse as she ages.
Last summer our vet, after ruling out every possible physical cause, diagnosed Charli's problems as psychological. She has had a long history of anxiety and even though she was behaving differently then she had in the past he felt it was all related to her original diagnosis. He put her on an advanced formula that supports balanced canine behavior called Composure. The Composure has helped a lot but there are still those times when Charli works herself into a state and we can't seem to calm her down no matter what we do. That was until recently.
A month ago my cell phone, low on batteries, sent a signal at one o'clock in the morning indicating it needed to be charged. That little signal through Charli into a tail spin. She was literally frantic! She slammed her body into our walls and actually tried to dig her way through our garage door in order to get out of the house. Once she was outside she refused to come back in. There I stood freezing, coaxing, and worried sick that one of the coyotes that have been roaming our neighborhood would get into our yard and tear her apart. Finally, after more than forty minutes, Charli came back in the house only to continue to pace, cry, and jump on and off the furniture. It all culminated with her trying to get back out of the house by leaping at our living room window. She hit the glass, fell back, and stunned herself into a stupor. Luckily she was not hurt in any major way! The very next day I called my vet and he put her on an as needed tranquilizer, something I swore I would never do.
Shortly there after I was mentioning Charli's latested incident to a friend of mine and she suggested that Charli might benefit from a Thundershirt. She said it had worked for her. Well off we went to Pet Smart. It's a good thing that I took Charli with me because dogs really need to be fitted for these shirts. According to the staff if these shirts are not snug to the dog's body they will not work.
Two days after purchasing the shirt Charli woke me in a panic because it was raining. It wasn't a hard rain but she could hear it hitting the pavement. I put her in her Thundershirt and several minutes later she settle right down beside me. As the wind picked up, the rain started slamming against the window panes, and Charli was so calm that she actually fell back to sleep. It was unbelievable!
There have been several times since that rainy night when I have used the Thundershirt. I don't know if the shirt will work for every dog but in Charli's case we have had amazing results. If you have an anxiety prone pooch the Thundershirt might be something worth considering.
If you have tried the Thundershirt I would be interested in hearing what kind of results you have had.
I hope all of you are having a good week! Many blessings to all of you ♥
With warmest regards, Carol
Related Posts with Thumbnails