Tag Soup the Delicious Way……Vegetarian Blizzard Prepping

We’ve basically been sitting around all day waiting for the forecasted blizzard to start.  It was supposed to start early this afternoon and blanket us in snow until sometime tomorrow.  It’s now evening and the snow has yet to start.  Each hour that passes without snow drops my chance of getting an elusive adult snow day tomorrow!!  If you get me all hyped up for 10 inches of snow…..you really need to deliver the 10 inches of snow!

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I was digging back through my posted recipes hoping that I could just repost a link to tonight’s dinner, but I was shocked to discover I’ve never shared the recipe.  The Engineer loves soup, and nothing sounds better when the weather is due to turn crappy than a large pot of soup simmering away on the stove!  My minestrone recipe is fast, easy, and a perfect way to use up any random veggie odds and ends you might have laying around.  Honestly, anything goes so just load it up with whatever you have laying around in the crisper drawer!  I’ll list what I generally toss in, but the amounts vary by how much soup you want to make, how thick and chunky you want it, and how much of everything you have.  I like mine extra thick and loaded up….extra hardy and filling for those cold nights.

It’s extra perfect for us as January draws to a close.  I never had a chance to get back out in the field to fill my fall turkey tag.  Mostly it was a function of the weather swinging from unseasonably warm to mind numbingly cold.  Plus, the added research and learning that nearly impossible to get fall turkeys to come into calls…..they just aren’t that interesting.  I’m not giving up hope on my #operationthunderchicken, just taking a break to hit the range, train, and refocus before the spring season starts.  The whole state is open, and the tags aren’t issued by county which means I’ll be able to go hunting pretty much anywhere we can get permissions or find public land.  Those odds seem much better….and warmer!

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If you don’t fill your tags…..you can always at least make soup!

Minestrone

  • Onion — 1.5 onions, rough chopped
  • Baby Carrots — about 4 Cups, diced
  • Celery — 5 stalks, chopped
  • Garlic — 2-4 cloves, minced
  • Zucchini — 2 medium zucchinis, diced

Sauté with salt and pepper in a few good drizzles of olive oil until the onions start to soften and go translucent.

Add to the veggies…..

  • Red Wine —  anything you’d drink. Part of an old bottle you have open will work just fine, 1-2 Cups
  • Diced Tomatoes — 28oz can
  • Water — fill your tomato can up twice
  • Bouillon Base — I use “Better than Boullion”…..3 heaping tablespoons
  • Spaghetti Sauce — 40oz….doesn’t need to be exact.  That’s the size jar I can get at Costco, but just use your favorite kind.
  • Spices — Thyme, Oregano, and Basil….about a tablespoon each.  Two Bay Leaves and a small dash of Cayenne Pepper.

Let simmer until the carrots and celery are tender and cooked through.  If you’d rather not use jarred sauce feel free to use just tomatoes, you’ll just need to add more spices and cook it longer to get that home-y, slow cooked sorta taste.  Part of what makes this a fast minestrone is my little jarred sauce cheat step!  Also, if you have any stock laying around….chicken, veggie, or beef…..feel free to add that instead of the water and bullion.  Don’t be nervous if it seems too “soupy” at this stage.  It’s going to simmer for awhile and the next step will soak up some of the extra liquid.

10 minutes before serving time…..

  • Kidney Beans — 2 cans
  • Noodes —  Again, just use what you have laying around.  We had half a pound of rotini so that’s what I used tonight.  I’ve used elbows, small shells….honestly just toss in a couple handfuls of whatever you have

Serve….

  • Spinkle a little parmesan cheese on top
  • Bread for soaking up all the spicy, delicious broth

It’s vegetarian and would be easy to make vegan.  I love it because it’s veggies so you can pound down a couple bowls and not feel guilty at the end of dinner.  The Engineer loves it because it’s soup, and soup is always his jam, and because I let him pass off some of his zucchini chunks to me.  We are about as far from being vegetarian as your can get, but meat isn’t something you miss with this meal. A bowl of this, some warm, fresh baked bread, and some good red wine makes for a homey meal that will please even the most carnivorous of palates.

 

Winter Clean Up

It’s been a productive weekend here at Casa (Mis)Happenings!  We cleaned, we lounged, we played my new lego movie video game, we went to Costco…..typical weekend around here really!  Just so everyone knows…..I suck at video games, but I totally beat The Engineer at my new lego game!!  Don’t tell him I told you that though…. 🙂

It’s the end of an era as I parted ways with my faux leather, gold couch that Momma and Dad painted for first college apartment.  I bought it for $10 off a sidewalk sale, and they proceeded to put probably $50 worth of primer, paint, and metallic gold glaze on it!  We’ve had a good run, but there just wasn’t really room in the house for two couches.  Tomorrow after work it will be off to it’s new home and 3 new doggie loungers!  Hopefully it will keep the 3 doggies and their Momma as comfy as it kept me for several years!

Side note……apparently gold couches are a popular item on the Facebook Marketplace.  I had a ton of interested buyers….way more than I expected honestly.

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Gold, squishy, and puppy cuddle approved!

In order to sell the couch…I had to post pictures.  To get pictures….I had to clean 3 years worth of assorted stuff off of it.  It was occupying a prime spot upstairs in the loft, so it had become a storage bench of plenty of junk.  The biggest item was the curtains that I removed from the master bedroom when I repainted.  They had just been draped over the back of my poor couch for years.  So to start off the weekend, the couch got cleaned, and the curtains were hung in the spare bedroom upstairs!

They aren’t the best, but they aren’t the worst and fit nicely with the grey/blue theme I want to eventually do in the guest room.  I have really grand plans, but one thing at a time I suppose!

To cap off the weekend we cleaned the garage, moved the couch into the cleaned out section of the garage….couches and stairs….ughs…..and I started some new chalk painting projects!  I’ll be sure to share pictures when they are done.  It’s a bit cold out in the garage this time of year so I didn’t get past the initial painting phase.  They always look weird to me when they are just flat paint.  Needs some distressing and some waxing and they will be good to go!  Now it’s time for some homemade nachos, and Mexican mule, and a movie with The Engineer and Scout-a-Roo!

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My New Fluffy

She is glorious, thick, and warm….and I took her out and about with me twice this week!  She also sheds….a ton….but that comes with the fluffy territory I suppose.  If you think I’m talking about a new puppy, sadly your wrong.  I can understand your confusion on the issue, and honestly if you follow the #adoptdontshop mantra…….you can probably get a new puppy companion for less money than I spent on my glorious new fluff!!  I would love a puppy…..but that’s something for another time!

I promised last post that once I got my new scarf completed I’d write an update post.  Well…..she’s all done, and was surprisingly easy!  I say easy like I didn’t get two dozen rows in and decide to rip it all out and start over…..minor technicality.

I can’t take credit for the pattern, all of that goes to the wonderful Knit Collage and their glorious, chunky yarns!  If you love to knit, what to learn how to knit, or want someone you know to knit you something amazing……Knit Collage is the place to go.  Cheap and easy to follow patterns paired with interesting hand spun yarns you won’t find anywhere else.  If you can’t get inspired by clicking through their website there is not a ton of hope for you.  Their yarn skeins are more expensive than what you can get at a big box store, but they are all hand made by a handful of women in India.  This creates small batches of each yarn and also means that every skein will be slightly different.  They are random in the best way possible…..lumpy, shimmery, wooly…….perfection!

First things first….you’ll need to pick your pattern!  I went with the Wildcat Fringe Scarf because it was something unlike other scarves I have hanging in my closet.   Might as well go big and step outside your comfort zone right?!  The link and picture for the scarf are below if you’re wanting to whip up your very own fringed beauty!  If fringe isn’t your cup of tea, pick out your favorite sweater, scarf, or hat and get to knitting!

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Photo and pattern by Knit Collage : https://knitcollage.com/collections/cowls-scarves/products/wild-cat-fringe-scarf-pattern

The pattern calls for 2 skeins of their shimmery Pixie Dust yarn, and one skein of Spun Cloud yarn.  There are several different color options in both yarn types, so you’ll need to start the creative juices going before you even cast on your first stitch.  I wanted my Spun Cloud skein in a grey…..specifically a light grey.  I wanted to do this project and I wanted to do it now, however the light grey was out of stock…..so I improvised!  A quick swap of a skein of Sister yarn for the Spun Cloud and I was back in business.

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Pixie Dust in the color Midnight and Sister in Soft Grey Heather

Sister yarn isn’t quite as thick as Spun Cloud which probably accounts for the reason I needed to rip everything out and start over.  I wasn’t getting nearly the length recommended in the pattern.  I’ve always been and probably always will be a very tight knitter.  Apparently I take a lot of tension out on my knitting projects.  Anyway, the scarf has recommend lengths that should be achieved at various stages of the project.  I won’t give them here as it isn’t my pattern to share.  However I will tell you that a good mantra to recite as you knit is…….just let it be loose!  I don’t think you could possibly knit this too loose, but too tight is for sure a thing and you’ll just end up with a mess.  Too tight is a bummer because you’ve spent good money on this yarn for its hand spun textures and variation, but if the stitches are too tight and small you won’t be able to see and appreciate it.

My finished scarf ended up a bit shorter than the pattern lists.  It’s still plenty long, plus I had plenty of both skeins of yarn left to make the fringe.  You’ll have enough to fringe even if you knit the full length, but you’ll end up with only a handful of fringes in Pixie Dust.  I’m moderately obsessed with it’s texture and lumpiness though so I happily sacrificed some total inches for the chance to show it off on the fringe.  Plus since I know I knit tight, sometimes guesstimating length versus yarn remaining gets tricky….I always vote better safe than sorry!  I used both skeins of Pixie Dust completely up and I have some Sister yarn left over to maybe make a pom pom or something in the future.

Overall, it was a quick and fun project.  It only took maybe 8 hours?!  It’s hard to say what with the starting over, the drinking, and Netflixing that was also occurring while I worked.  It was New Year’s Eve weekend….it was really too cold to do anything other than drink spiked hot chocolate and lounge around with a pile of thick wool yarn in your lap!

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In case you’re worried I just boozed away my whole weekend, I did not.  The Engineer and I got fancy, bundled up against the cold, and went out for a nice dinner and some fancy drinks.  We then proceeded to come home to set alarms and nap before midnight.  I think that’s adulting right?!  Can’t pop corks at midnight if you aren’t awake….so just set alarms for 11:45 and power nap your way into the New Year!  I’m not sure what 2018 has in store for me, but I promise I will bring you all along for the ride!

The “Let’s Take a Nice Picture” process…..