Friends, how are you holding up? At our house, we're doing our best to stay safe and taking good care of each other
Admittedly, last week felt a touch more difficult than usual. I'm sure many can relate. No real reason why other than (gestures at everything)
But by Saturday, the fog had started to lift. We spent the better part of the afternoon driving around aimlessly, stopping at the drive-through for a coffee and tea. I hosted our book club on Sunday. They were two of the brightest spots in the week and lifted my spirits like nothing else.
Mostly, they reminded me that there are still so many lovely and meaningful things happening in the world. And just how important it is to connect with other people, in whatever ways we're able.
Today, just a few short videos that made me smile. I hope they might be the bright spots you need if you're feeling a bit down too.
— — —
One of the best 56 seconds of the week.
Can you guess who is allowed to roam free right now? Penguins. Yes. Penguins! Since Chicago's Shedd Aquarium is closed, the staff let the penguins wander around and say “Hi” to their fellow animal friends. They're absolutely adorable.
(Video Credit – YouTube – The Guardian – Penguins openly exploring aquarium closed due to Coronavirus)
— — —
Andrea Bocelli's performance to an empty cathedral at the Duomo in Milan. My goodness, it's beautiful
(Video Credit – YouTube – Andrea Bocelli – Amazing Grace)
— — —
An Ode to Joy. A flash mob from a few years ago has particular resonance now. Watch and be moved
(Video Credit – YouTube – cd tube – Flashmob Flash Mob – Ode an die Freude (Ode to Joy) Beethoven Symphony No. 9)
— — —
Last fall, my husband came home with a recipe he found in The New York Times daily email. “I thought it would be something you'd like to try” And it quickly became a favorite. One of those recipes you make over and over again.
Every time I make a batch, I feel a bit better because of it. It's a recipe to be shared. Especially because it's the sort of hearty, timeless, comforting soup that helps during times like these. Simply one of the tastiest and soul-warming meals, I’ve had the pleasure of making.
There's some chopping to do, which keeps the hands busy and the mind focused. The foundation ingredients are flexible and straightforward. And if you have produce that needs to be used, a soup like this is perfect – eat some, freeze some
It's hard to beat anything simmered in seasoned homemade chicken stock and cream.
Onions, carrots, celery, and mushrooms are my typical starting point, but substitutions are just as easy and delicious. Simply sauté your herbs and veggies, simmer with chicken stock and cream, stir in the chicken and gnocchi, and dinner is served in 30 minutes from start to finish.
There's always a long discussion about who has dibs on the left-overs
A few notes:
A rotisserie chicken and store-bought gnocchi are easy shortcuts for keeping things simple. Plus, if you have a rotisserie chicken, it's easy to make homemade stock from the carcass. (There's truly nothing better than homemade stock)
I worried the gnocchi would get mushy for leftovers, but it held up really well
I've made the soup using cream, half-and-half, and milk. Whichever you choose, it will be delicious. One trick? Make sure to add it slowly, to avoid curdling
If you're someone who likes more liquid for dipping bread into, add another cup or so of chicken broth
~ Adapted from The New York Times
The Easiest Chicken and Dumplings
- 2-3 Tbsp butter
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped into ½" pieces (~ 1 cup)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 5 oz mushrooms, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
- 2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 Tbsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp poultry seasoning
- sea salt + black pepper
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 5 cups chicken stock (homemade is best)
- 1 cup half and half (or cream or milk)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 (16 oz) package gnocchi
- ½ rotisserie chicken meat, torn or cut into bite-sized pieces (~ 2 cups)
- fresh herbs like tarragon, parsley, thyme, or dill
- squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- shavings of Parmesan cheese
- In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the carrots, celery, onion, mushrooms, garlic, rosemary, thyme poultry seasoning, a strong pinch of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the veggies have softened slightly (~ 5 - 10 minutes)
- Sprinkle with the flour, then cook for another couple of minutes, stirring frequently.
- Gradually stir in the stock and cream, another pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Increase the heat and bring to a boil
- Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the gnocchi, and continue to cook until it's tender (~ 5 minutes). In the last couple of minutes, stir in the chicken and peas.
- Divide among bowls and top with a small squeeze of lemon, a shaving of Parmesan cheese, and fresh herbs.