Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ultimate Veggie Soup

I posted on FaceBook earlier today that we were having soup tonight, which led to at least one request for the recipe. Now this is one of those dishes that doesn't really have a recipe. I was actually surprised the first time I saw a recipe for vegetable soup. I mean, come on, you get out a pan and start adding. That's how my mom always made it and that's pretty much how I make it. So, this is, more or less, how I made veggie soup for dinner tonight. Next time it'll be different. That's the beauty of vegetable soup - some ingredients I always use but the rest is decided by how I feel and what I have on hand.

Ultimate Veggie Soup

1. Begin by getting out the largest soup pot you have. It still probably won't be big enough.

2. Brown beef in the pan. You don't need to do this, but it does give it more flavor. Oh, today I used maybe 1 pound of leftover grilled steak from dinner last night. My in-laws use ground beef.

3. Providing you haven't forgotten it, brown the onion as well. Yes, I forgot the onion this afternoon. We're going to add it in after dinner.

4. Start dumping in veggies. Tonight's dinner has a 28 oz of chopped tomatoes, a can of green beans, the rest of the green beans from dinner the other night, chopped potatoes (about 2 large), carrots (a couple), sweet potatoes (same as potatoes), chopped discard bits from celery stalks that I cleaned the other night, broccoli. We would have put in about a cup of corn, but didn't want to bother digging into the deep freezer.

The broccoli is from some fresh stalks I bought a few weeks ago. When I cleaned them for steaming, I also cut up the stalks and tossed them in a freezer bag. The celery is from where I cup some up from lunches. I took the bits of stalk that were good but not really celery stick material, as well as the leafy bits, and chopped them. Tossed them in the freezer in a bag as well.

The potatoes, sweet potatoes, and some of the carrots are from our garden, so amounts are estimated. I also like lima beans, but didn't have any. Okra is also good. Really, toss in veggies you think would taste good when cooked for a long time - peas get mushy, but keep their taste. Regular broccoli tops just get mushy.

Sometimes I toss in 2-3 beef boullion cubes for added flavor. We don't mind the extra saltyness, even if it isn't good for us.

5. Add water to cover. Add even more if you like more broth. We're more of a less is more household in that area. Also add in garlic, salt, pepper. I like to add barley (if I remember) and other seasonings closer to when we're going to eat. I really like to use summer savory - one of my favorite herbs to season with - and basil, but use what you like. I also added 4 tbsp of Beneful fiber. We'll never taste it and my blood sugar will be at a happier level with the addition.

Cook for at least an hour. I bring it to a boil and after about 15 minutes set it to simmer on the lowest setting for as long as I can. It's even better the next day.

We serve it in big bowls with a loaf of bakery bread. Fresh baked bread would be even better, but I never seem to be that coordinated.

That's it: how I make vegetable soup. Hope you're enjoying the Friday Fiction posts.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Fiction: The Aeterna, parts 3 and 4

Sorry about last Friday. I was 1)sick and 2) working past a deadline. Here's the continuation of the story. I'm noticing some editing issues, but I'm leaving it as is. This was written a good while ago and I've learned much since then.


The morning sun found her out on a daily run, the distance doubled in the last few weeks. All of her training routines had been increased. Past experiences taught her to take advantage of the forewarning the ring allowed her. She needed her "mortal" form at its peak physical and mental condition. Running along the river, she thought how to best tell Thomas the truth. The weight of the ring nearly resembled lead. Putting it off became an unaffordable luxury now for Pernicies had found her once more. Maybe I should tell him nothing, merely disappearing from his life. Sigh. Damn, I know I can't do that because he doesn't deserve better. Even if it is for his own good. Aye! My fondness for these mortal humans will probably be my undoing one day.

The strained silence weighed heavily on dinner that evening. Thomas, noticing her preoccupation, attempted to break through, but met continual failure. Not once did she mention her day, or inquire about his. No lighthearted banter. Few smiles. "This is it," he muttered. "My favorite meal and so preoccupied I could be naked and not be noticed. Must be important, but I don't think it's the old 'you're a great friend, but...' story. This is like eating by myself just before the executioner arrives."
"Thomas?" Venia's tentative voice cut into his ruminations. "There's something I need to tell you." She saw the look of comprehension cross his face. Boy is he in for a surprise. "No, darling, it's not whatever it is you're thinking."
"Well, if you don't know what I'm thinking, how do you know it's not what you're about to tell me?" He teased her, trying to get a smile to break her tense countenance. Normally it would have worked, but she was too keyed up tonight to play along. Damn. Pernicies is close. The ring feels like lead.
"I know it's not what you're thinking because it's not something that would occur to you." Taking a deep breath, she continued determinedly on. "Thomas, I'm not human"
"Right. You're telling me that actually you're some space alien in disguise, here preparing for future world domination?"
"Damn it, Thomas!" Nerves made her short-tempered. Boy am I screwing this up, she thought disgustedly. "Oh, never mind. I'm making a mess of this." Deep sigh. "I've got to go away for awhile. Maybe a few days. Maybe a few weeks. It's someone from my past...and I really don't want you anywhere in the middle. Look, we can discuss this when it's finished..."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just for Fun

Proof that I AM a nerd, but not a dork. :-)

NerdTests.com says I'm an Uber Cool Nerd God.  Click here to take the Nerd Test, get geeky images and jokes, and talk to others on the nerd forum!

Oh, and that would be Uber Cool Nerd GODDESS. Apparently the dorks who made the test forgot about us chicks.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Fiction - The Aeterna, part two

It's just a little bit this week. When I wrote this, I wasn't think of breaking it up into serialized little bits...

The Aeterna, part two

Making her way home, she down glanced at the ring placed there millennia ago. The magus performing the ceremony paid for it with his life, knowing, as Venia had, that it was the only means of containing Pernicies’ appetites. Pernicies never forgave his duality twin her betrayal, but could do little about it. The rings kept them bound to their solid, human form while dampening many innate abilities. Feeding off the life 'essence' of the mortals was still essential, but their victims survived, merely sleeping off the effects. After Thomas knew of her true state, he could remove the ring, releasing her for short periods of time. She smiled. It would be good to truly stretch for the first time in a hundred years.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Off to write

I'm off to work on the next article due, but wanted to leave you with this little gem, from The Totally Useless History of the World, by Ian Crofton, before I go, just for fun.

Battleships in Space (21 June) The German fleet interned at Csapa Flow, in the Orkneys, was scuttled on the orders of Rear Admiral Ludwig Reuter, to prevent the ships falling into British hands. In all, 51 ships lie on the bottom. The steel from these submerged wrecks is used in satellites, as all steel made since 1945 is contaminated with radiation from nuclear tests, which would upset the delicate instrumentation needed in space.

Okay, off to work! Have a fun, SAFE Labor Day weekend if you're reading this here in the States. Oh, and if you're enjoying the fiction, or the messy pics of my desk (you should see it now!), please, take a moment and post a comment. Honestly, I need that feedback.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Fiction: The Aeterna, part one

Hunger pains gnawing relentlessly, Venia walked the street. Soon she would tell Thomas of her peculiar nature, but first she needed the certainty of his trust. Perhaps tomorrow night, or the night thereafter. The silver ring's increasing weight reinforced the idea of time as precious. Perhaps after tonight she would no longer need to feed from strangers. Usually, she merely needed to walk down some quietly sleeping street, drawing sustenance from the houses' inhabitants. Not tonight: Only physical contact could appease the incessant hunger. She had waited too long, not wanting to leave Thomas.

All I need is the right victim...Tendrils of energy flickered around her, seeking at the windows of homes she passed. A couple in passion's sleepy hold tugged at her awareness. She smiled. Now there was a pleasant meal. If only she didn't need contact. An apartment further down beckoned her attention. Its resident smiled blankly up at her entrance, lost in the oblivious embrace of some narcotic. Perfect. Too bad his next trip would only encourage his habit. Placing her hands to the sides of his head, the power drain began. When she departed he was peacefully sleeping off the effects of the drugs.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Friday Fiction Teaser

Here's a quick teaser for the latest Friday Fiction beginning this week. A bit melodramatic, isn't it? I promise the rest of it is much, much better. Now to go figure out how to break it up into a couple of bits for posting.

The Aeterna


Pernicies paused, power surging through his being. His power had grown alarmingly, all but completely consuming the current victim. Soon I will come for you, Venia. You will have no where to turn. I will be free of this wretched curse you've forced upon me.