Friday, January 30, 2015

Korean Intern Gift

Our school is hosting Korean Interns and Miss Emma, the young lady assigned to Mrs. B's Kindergarten class, surprised me with a gift today. When she introduced herself to our class, Emma told us her Korean name, but asked that we call her Miss Emma. I suppose she thought it would be easier for five and six year old American students to pronounce and she's probably right.

Emma told me this is how you write Mrs. Lancaster in Korean (Upper Left).

Here is her sweet little message on the back of the card.

I love Emma's little Post-it note best of all.  :)

Pretty cool, huh?! It made my day.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ham and Bean Soup


1 package (12-16 oz.) white beans (soaked overnight)
1 large can or carton chicken broth (48-49 oz.)
2 whole carrots- sliced
2 stalks celery- sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
ham hock (with plenty of meat left on it)
pepper- to taste


Soak beans in a large bowl overnight (Do not skip this step!) 


Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on high approximately 8 hours, checking occasionally and adding water if necessary. Remove ham bone and shred meat with fork before serving.


* After eating a spiral-sliced cooked ham (Easter, Christmas, Etc.), freeze the hock with plenty of meat still attached to the bone. You can find ham hocks in your grocery store meat department, but they usually are not very meaty.

* Do NOT add salt! There is plenty of salt in the ham. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup- Recipe and Picture Tutorial

Typically, blog posts with recipes that include a lot of photos make me nuts. As a seasoned cook, when looking at a recipe, I want to get directly to the ingredients and instructions and I don't need to see each and every picture of the process. However, I am posting this recipe mainly for my girls, who have never attempted to make chicken noodle soup, let alone debone a chicken. 

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup is delicious, especially in the cold winter months, and definitely worth learning. Although it is time consuming, homemade soup tastes so much better than the stuff in a can! It is also easy to freeze for those times when you or someone you love has a cold or the flu.

Step 1- Cooking the Chicken and Stock

1 whole chicken- 4-5 pounds
4-5 celery stalks, with leaves
4-5 medium sized carrots
1 onion, quartered
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 ½ teaspoon parsley flakes

Place chicken and vegetables in kettle. Add just enough water to cover all. 

Add salt, pepper and parsley.

Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for approximately 2.5 hours, or until thickest parts of chicken are cooked.

Cool in pot about 30 minutes. Remove chicken from broth, allowing it to sit on a large plate until cool enough to handle and debone.

This is the part where you're going to have to get your hands messy (Katelyn). Just
pick the meat off, discarding the skin and bones into a plastic bag on the counter. :

Strain the broth and vegetables into a large bowl. (For easy pouring and less mess, I like to place the bowl inside my sink.) 

Discard the vegetables and save the chicken stock (broth), pouring back into your large kettle.

Step 2- Making the Soup

2 cups carrots, sliced
½ cup celery, sliced
2-3 tablespoons grated onion (fresh, not dehydrated)
1 cup dry noodles (I prefer thick pasta like the kind in the photo below. They taste more like homemade noodles than Barilla or American Beauty.)
2-3 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon sugar

Add vegetables to seasoned (salt, pepper and sugar) chicken stock. Bring to boil and add pasta (If you like a lot of noodles in your soup, you may want to add more than 1 cup). Cook according to directions on your pasta package. (This can take up to 20 minutes.) Add chicken and serve.

More motherly advice (aka TIPS)

*Test the chicken stock with a small spoon and add seasonings according to your taste. It's better to add spices gradually than to end up with salty soup.

*If your finished product has more noodles or chicken than you prefer, add 1 or 2 cans of prepared chicken broth (Swanson, Great Value, Etc).

* Do not try to make soup using only chicken breast. I promise, it will not taste as good. Using a whole chicken, with the dark meat, skin and fat, is important for flavor.

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