Monday, January 11, 2010

Warm in the kitchen but cold outside

This picture was taken just as the sun was rising Sunday morning.  I ran out to the porch in subzero temperatures, pointed the camera toward my neighbor's farm, and pushed the zoom button (that is one powerful zoom).   I love that amazingly pure beauty available only against the backdrop of winter's black and white world.

Saturday was intended to be a day I worked on a few in-process projects here at home.  It was (and is) extremely cold and the roads were icy in spots.  However, my son called to ask if I wanted to have lunch with him.  He was working opening-to-closing at the bookstore and his dad would be joining him to work around noon-ish.  Hmmm... the offer of lunch at my favorite Indian restaurant.  He'd bring Dad home in the evening if I wanted to drive him to work and take the car back home.  I couldn't resist.

We had such a nice time chatting over spicy curry dishes... spicy by my Midwestern American standards but "not so much" with our Indian friends.   Hubby doesn't "do" spice or curry so he had no desire to join us before he started work (his "beginning of semester" work week).  I am blessed to have grown children who like to talk to me.  I am even more blessed when either feeds me.

Christopher reluctantly returned to work after lunch and after we'd discussed the problems of the world.  He's getting all the hours in he can while the semester is starting and before his class load is too heavy with homework to earn income.  This semester may end up as the most difficult class-wise of his four years, which means most hours spent on campus and little time available at home.  Having lunch chats over Indian food will not be as easy to arrange.

Since I was already "in town", I stopped by the library to check out A City of Bells and to peruse the room that carries donated books for sale.  A stop by Starbucks on the way home to take advantage of a gift card made getting home and out of the cold even nicer as I had coffee to sip and books to peruse.

The aroma of baked beef bones and onion met me at the door.  I had just placed the makings for beef broth in the oven when Christopher called so I let them bake until I left and then turned the oven off so they could continue browning in the residual heat.  The browned beef, soup bones, onion, and carrots went into the stock pot and simmered for hours until removing in time to let them cool and drain the stock into the LeCruset dutch oven to be kept in the refrigerator overnight.

I stayed home Sunday as hubby had to leave for work immediately after church  (Sunday is a required work day during this week, even for seasonal employees like him).  I only had to add the veggies to the stock and let the soup simmer on the back burner all afternoon.  My mother's vegetable beef soup is a family favorite and always reminds me of her.

It is the only recipe I made her show me step-by-step as a bride.   The difference in our recipes is my browning the stock ingredients before simmering them in the stock pot to make a darker and richer stock.  As she grew older, she placed the beef and soup bones in the Crock Pot to make stock.

I'd left the butter out overnight to soften (just barely in the cold kitchen) enough to make chocolate chip cookies, partly as a treat for hubby and son but an additional dozen or two to place on a plate and take to my neighbor who plowed our driveway when he cleared the gravel lane.

The guys arrived home after a long day at the bookstore, glad to get out of the cold to homemade soup and chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Cooking and baking warms us twice... once as it warms the kitchen and again as it warms those who enjoy the meal.  :)


Anonymous said...

It is indeed a blessing when grown children want to be with us and talk to us!! You are blessed!!

Your day yesterday sounded just perfect!! And YUMMY!!
Blessings, Elizabeth

Sharon Lovejoy said...

and I can smell the lovely aromas and ALMOST taste the tastes.

It is warm here and green, but I long for a deep, deep rain.

Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

Barb said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful few days - I also have a Christopher, who also loves to talk to me and I also love talking to him, children are truly a blessing.

I would love the recipe for vegetable beef soup, it sounds so comforting and warm on a cold day. Have a blessed day.

Emily said...

Nothing like coming in out of the cold to warmth and savorty smells from the kitchen. Isn't it a blessing to be able to serve our families and create a safe and comfortable harbor for them?

Debby said...

ISn't that so true about cooking warming us twice? I absolutely love cooking, so it is not a chore or job to me, but a labor of love.

That said, yes, it warms the house with the physical warmth and warms our hearts and souls with spirit!

matty said...

What a lovely way to spend the day! Don't you love slow food? Something about it warms the heart and bones!

Stay warm,

Anonymous said...

Aren't thoughtful neighbors wonderful?
Love the barn photo.

Charlene said...

I made soup today, too, it fills the house with the wonderful warmth and aromas.

My son is attending college in another state, and it does my heart good that I am his "go-to" person when he needs to talk something out. I called him yesterday, and when he answered the phone, he said "I was hoping it was you". Makes a momma proud.

Vee said...

Oh it's like reading a lovely short chapter. I can appreciate it all even if I'm like your husband and unwilling to eat Indian food curry and spice not being favorites with me. I can almost smell the deliciousness of the food as you entered the kitchen. (We had Eggs Benedict here. I'm this great age and I'd never had them before.)

Anonymous said...

I wasn't sure where to leave this comment but I just finished a great book (non-fiction) called "A Place in the Woods" by Helen Hoover. Its about a couple who go to live in the north woods of Minnesota in the 1950's in a log cabin.

Friend Debra

Mrs.Rabe said...


These kinds of posts are such a delight. They are so full of richness...

Marie said...

Sounds like a wonderful time spent with your son. I can almost smell the aromas and is a good meal for a cold winter's night.

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

I think your day sounded so delicious. I suppose having good soup on a cold day will always remind me of coming home at lunch in elementary school and my sweet mother having homemade vegetable soup. Nothing has ever tasted so good. I believe that the love put into the soup makes it so extra special. That was such a blessing that your neighbor did such a huge kindness.

Allison said...

I have been reading your blog from a distance for a while now and finally thought i would stop in and say hi. I love your style of writing and find it very evocative. Of course your winter is very foreign to me! I am living in South Africa where it is always warm and snow is not the norm. But as with so many lovely blogs i love to experience other peoples lives through their writing and photos. Thanks for sharing.

DarcyLee said...

After reading your post, I am feeling very warm and cozy. There's nothing better than a bowl of homemade soup on a cold day.