Sep 25, 2015

(spicy) chicken and rice soup

(Spicy) Chicken and Rice Soup (adapted from this recipe)
8 cups cold water
2 tsp "Better Than Bouillon" chicken base
3 chicken breasts  (I used a small pack of TJ's chicken tenders)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup diced celery
1.5 cup brown rice
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes 

topping options:
cream cheese
cheddar cheese

1. Whisk chicken stock base into water.
2. Combine chicken stock with all ingredients except brown rice in a large, heavy pot. Bring to a boil.
3. Reduce to simmer, then cook uncovered for 45 min. Remove chicken from pot and continue cooking broth for an additional 30 min or so. Shred chicken.
4. Raise heat and return to boil, then add rice. Reduce to simmer and cook, covered, for 20 min.
5. Stir chicken into soup, remove bay leaves, and serve - ideally with bread and salad.

Aug 25, 2015

a sleeping baby

Is there anything sweeter? Leo James, one day shy of four weeks old, napping on Luca's bed (while she naps in ours)...

Aug 21, 2015

little byrd starts school

We're getting back into a little rhythm over here ... both Luca and Ellis started school this week. E is now in third grade and Luca has officially entered preschool, going three mornings a week with some of her little buddies at Emmanuel Episcopal Day School. I fully expected tears - she's had lots of changes in her life lately! - but she was excited, running in her room happily and saying "want to go again!" when we pick up her. I'm so proud of this little girl. <3

Aug 20, 2015

a weekend in Highlands, NC

It's the middle of August now, and we're becoming aware of summer nearing its end. Aside from Jim's travel to Berlin and Vancouver for work, and our beach trip to Siesta Key in June, we stuck close to home this year to prepare for the baby. But now that he's here and our family is complete, we decided to work in another weekend trip to Highlands, NC.

My grandmother has owned two homes in this mountain town for as long as I can remember. In my mind, the trips we took to Highlands growing up - just an hour from my hometown, up a windy road - are tinged with a magical, escaptist glow. Her homes are within walking distance of downtown, directly across the street from an ice cream shop with a deck that fish swim below, with a path to the park in her backyard (likely grown over now), and a creek we could hear at night when we slept with our windows open. As children, we were given freedoms not granted at home; we could walk to the park, to town, to get ice cream. 

Anyhow, I hadn't been in years, and Jim had never visited. So on a whim, we packed up the car and drove a nine day-old baby Leo (and two year-old Luca :) up those same windy roads to spend a weekend. I loved sharing the ice cream from my childhood with Luca, and walking around those same streets with Leo snuggled tightly against me. Also, drinking wine on a restaurant patio outside in the cool air with my husband was pretty nice.