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View from Hickory Heights Soup warms the chill

There is nothing like a steaming bowl of soup to warm you up on a very cold day. The weather this past weekend certainly lent itself to the making of homemade soup.

Let me begin by saying that it is almost impossible to make a small batch of soup. I dug out my stock pot and started in. I make the broth as well as the rest of the soup when I make chicken noodle. Homemade soup is an economical meal. It is nutritious and filling. You just add come crackers or slices of bread and you are all set.

First, I stewed three chicken thighs. I prefer the thighs since you get a lot of meat on them and they are tasty.

To my stew pot I added seasonings. It is essential to season every step of the way to get the best flavor. I added salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and poultry seasoning.

Once the chicken was cooked – by the way I started out with it frozen and it worked just fine – I removed the meat to a plate to cool a bit. Next, I added three carrots and three stalks of celery. I peeled the carrots, cut them into bite size pieces and chopped the celery while the meat was cooking. I seasoned these with salt and pepper.

While the veggies were cooking, I deboned the chicken cutting it into small pieces. As soon as the veggies were soft, I added the noodles. The noodles I used were a gift from a friend. They are wide and thick and require quite a while to cook. Next, I added my chicken to the pot along with some parsley and simmered the whole works about an hour. Voila – a masterpiece for lunch.

What is best, when I make soup, there are always left overs. I usually have it fresh a second time then put what is left into the freezer for a meal down the road. I do not want the family to tire of what I make by serving it over and over — thus the use of the freezer.

When I need a quick meal, I take out the frozen soup and heat it up. I do this step with most of the soups I make. It is so handy to have soup in the freezer.

Years ago, I made the choice of a freezer over a dryer.

Thank goodness today I am able to have both. With the electric system I had I could only add one more appliance. I chose a freezer for its versatility. Back then I feeding the hayers. I had to have enough food on hand so I did not have to go to the store to be able to cook dinner.

Back then we went to the bakery for day old baked goods. I was so thankful for the freezer. I always had doughnuts, sweet rolls, and cookies. I also had plenty of bread for sandwiches. They were a staple for lunches. I could quickly assemble a plate of sandwiches for everyone to enjoy.

My decision impacted my life in a negative way though. I had to hang my clothes on the line outdoors to dry. If there was inclement weather it did not dry easily. Each of my children made the mistake of bringing home laundry from college and taking wet clothes back with them. They only did it once!

On a day like we had last weekend, I could not get clothes dry at all. What I was able to hang on the line froze almost instantly. I took them in frozen and allowed them to thaw before they dried. When I think back to those days it was a nightmare getting my wash done. I worked all week and only had the weekends to get caught up.

We lived simply. We fixed things when we had the money. The electrical system simply had to wait. I did not complain. It is just how it was.

Back to my soup. I think that I make more soup now than I ever did when the children were young. I started making my own soups when the children and grandchildren were here to eat. I babysat, then fixed supper for all. Soup was a good meal since it was ready whenever they got home. One group could eat, then the other ate later if that is the way things went.

As I write this, I think of my grandson. He dearly loved all of my soups. When it was his birthday, I always made a pot of soup for him. I recall one time that I was making soup when he was here, I read my recipe wrong and put in too much of something. That time we made an extra big batch of soup and he got to take some home with him.

Memories are a funny thing.

Although we remember the bad parts, they do not seem so bad when we recall them. Somehow, I learned to cope with most of my failures.

My husband who was Army trained called it “field expediency.”

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.

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