What are you up to this weekend?
The highlight for us was an invitation to friend's house to help break in their new pool table. It'd been such a long time since I'd played, and it was so, much fun(!)
I was also reminded this weekend, that January really is a month of fresh starts, clean slates, and an interesting set of emotions that waver between “We made it through the holidays!” to “Just one more Christmas cookie, please?”
Earlier in the day, the official kick-off to our next Goals in Motion 9-week Challenge. I couldn't help but think, as I got to meet everyone, and the program was outlined, even though I share their excitement and am ready to embrace the new, there's a part of me too that wants to hit pause and savor the old, for just a little while longer.
For it's the old that tells our story, coats our hearts, and forms a new skin entirely. A skin that thinks with years, but thickens with time.
Haruki Murakami once said
“We’re so caught up in our everyday lives that events of the past, like ancient stars that have burned out, are no longer in orbit around our minds. There are just too many things we have to think about every day, too many new things we have to learn. New styles, new information, new technology, new terminology. But still, no matter how much time passes, no matter what takes place in the interim, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion, memories we can never rub away. They remain with us forever, like a touchstone”
So in the spirit of touchstones, and a celebration of the old, the familiar, the tried and true, I couldn't help but think of Chicken Noodle Soup.
This week the Iowa weather was down-right frigid, and it seemed everywhere I went people were telling stories of cold and flu. Sometimes the only thing that will do is a good, old-fashioned chicken noodle soup, no fancy ingredients, just great flavor. A classic comfort food if there ever was one
This hearty soup is practically a meal unto itself. Traditional homestyle flavor with a nice twist.
Photo Credit: Food Network
So, as I look ahead, the story of a new year just waiting to be written, here's to old friends .. old denim .. old photographs .. old lessons, and a new perspective for each.
May 2015 be filled with as much joy and happiness as 2014.
~ Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup
- 2 medium-large yellow onions, unpeeled, halved (or 1 large onion plus 1 large leek, cleaned and cut lengthwise)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed a little
- 1 large carrot
- 1 large parsnip, optional
- 1 celery rib
- 4 quarts cold water
- 4 lbs chicken bones from about two carcasses leftover from a roast or rotisserie or a combination of fresh chicken wings (my first choice), backs, necks or feet
- 1 Tbsp fine-grain sea salt
- ½ Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp dried thyme (or 2 Tbsp chopped fresh)
- 2 tsp dried parsley (or 2 Tbsp chopped fresh)
- ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- To Finish
- 3 bone-in skin-on chicken breast halves
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced or 1 large carrot and 1 large parsnip, diced
- 1 large leek, trimmed and sliced into ½" segments
- 1 - 2 celery ribs, chopped or diced
- 9 oz thin egg noodles (or soup noodles)
- 2 Tbsp finely-chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Make the broth
- [On the stove-top]
- Combine all ingredients for the broth in a large (6 to 8 quart) stockpot over medium-low heat. Raise the temp of the burner gradually as you bring the soup to just under a boil
- Reduce to a gentle simmer, skim any unpleasant looking foam, and cover with a lid.
- Simmer for 2 ½ hours.
- [In a slow-cooker]
- Combine all of the broth ingredients in a large (6 quart or larger) slow-cooker.
- Cook on LOW for 10 hours or HIGH for 5.
- Strain into a large pot (5.5 quarts or more) and let rest in the fridge until needed, or, if you’re finishing the soup right away, bring to a simmer on the stove
- Cook the chicken
- Add the whole chicken breasts to simmering broth.
- Simmer for 20 minutes, until they’re cooked through, then strain broth [for stovetop method] or simply remove cooked chicken breasts [from the slow-cooker method] and set them aside.
- Taste the broth, and adjust the seasonings, if needed
- Finish the soup
- Add the diced vegetables to simmering broth on stove and cook for 5 minutes, until firm-tender. Add soup noodles and cook according to package instructions, usually 6 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, once chicken breasts are cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones and shred or chop into small chunks.
- Return chicken to soup and simmer for 2 minutes, until heated through. Finish with parsley and serve
- (To de-fat the broth: Once the broth portion is complete and the soup has settled a little, you can skim any fat that’s accumulated at the surface with a soup skimmer or spoon, to taste. If you’re going to chill the broth before finishing the soup another day, it’s easiest to take the fat off right before you use it; it will have solidified at the surface)