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Posts Tagged ‘great turkey soup recipes’

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The Internet adds another dimension to our lives. This dimension comes with both perks and pitfalls. For example, while busily bouncing from site to site searching for a great pair of lime green shoes with 12″ heels to go with that new dress, the Internet is at the same time tracking you.

I know this because my birthday surprises were diminished somewhat by the fact Rick purchased them on line. Not the boots, they were fabulous, but it kind of took the SURPRISE!!! out of the surprise. According to him he searched for the best deals on the brown leather boots currently decorating my side of the closet while at the same time ordering the lovely flowers decorating my entry hall. We share a computer. Soon after he hit “place order” the boots began showing up in ads at the side of my email account, on Amazon, below Yahoo, and everywhere else I found visiting. If the boots didn’t show up, floral ads prevailed. Hmmmmm. Very interesting. Now I’m blond, but I do not need to be hit in the head with a rubber chicken to figure out something was afoot (no pun intended). After twenty times of seeing the same boots  might this not have something to do with a shoe box sized box arriving in the mail? “I think so, Watson. I really do.” Also, the flowers were glorious, but I wasn’t totally shocked when they arrived.

I get this from a marketing standpoint. Web business is booming. More and more folks are hitting the “add to cart” button these days thus avoiding the prospect of grouchy shoppers and endless lines prevalent in stores during the holiday shopping season. I’ll be right there with them finger poised.

Apparently not only following our interests, internet marketers track what we buy, how much we pay for it and with that in mind all this data influences the prices we are shown when we search. The time you search can vary the price as well from what I’ve heard. So many different threads influence your shopping experience you probably will be completely unaware are weaving together below the surface of the page you are on.

Whether you shop in the stores or on your computer holidays are getting mighty expensive. A Hallmark card might cost upwards of $5.00. With the price of food, it might be more expedient to mail a loaf of bread with “Merry Christmas” written on the side of it and a gayly wrapped jar of peanut butter.

A friend of mine has nine children. Yes, I said nine. When I asked her how she managed all those kids she replied “every time a new one came along we got a bigger dining room table”. Works for me. Their holiday tradition as far as gifts for their adult children is an ornament or Christmas decoration to use the following year. I’m sure this would be effective for a while but as they get older it might require purchasing a larger tree.

I love to shop for Christmas but with our brood it has become highly impractical to go into debt to say “I love you”. A friend of mine spent over $3,000 on Christmas gifts last year for two children and three grandchildren. All of it went on her credit cards. During a phone call last week she said she just got the bills down to a zero balance and Christmas is here again. I told her to step away from the card and get small thoughtful remembrances instead. Make something, give a gift certificate for a nice dinner out. Be creative.

I’m giving my son a Starbuck’s gift certificate inside a mug. As of this date he is one of their most loyal customers, spending a fortunate on coffee inspired drinks, so this seemed like an excellent idea.

Another thing to keep in mind while pushing through the crush of people in the stores is to watch your purse or wallet. Hackers are getting smarter as technology does. If you set your purse down and look away a thief can extract your credit card information as well as passwords before you drop that pair of mittens in your cart. An easy way to keep this from happening I understand is to wrap your cards in tin foil. Makes sense to me. I’ve already gotten notices from Home Depot and Target that most likely my personal information is floating around out there somewhere. Changing passwords and using passwords not easily detectable are both good ideas but as soon as we figure out how to fool identity thiefs, they figure out a way around it. I guess this is the price you pay for the convenience of having made so many amazing steps forward in the technical world.

On a lighter note I haven’t had a ridiculous “Susie Day” in a while. It seems I was overdue. Yesterday was a rainy drizzly sort of day. Not complaining, we definitely need moisture in California in any form. This morning the sun was attempting to break through the fog and finally by this afternoon it turned into a crisp fall sort of day. Leaves draped over everything in the yard sticking up from planters and covering our patio table and barbecue. Feeling industrious I went out front and grabbed my rake. In the middle of gathering the leaves I noticed one of our trees would soon be seriously encroaching on the upper driveway. Our driveway is the worst thing about our house. It was nearly a game changer when we were considering buying here. You come straight down at a grade and either into the garage or turn to the right. If one car is out and the other in the garage it takes about three tries to get out again. Pain.

Anyhow Rick came out to say he had a headache and was going to lie down. Fine. He uses a C-pap for his apnea so usually closes the door to the bedroom. Out of habit rather than toying with me he locked the door. Starting to get cold outside I swept up the last of the leaves depositing them in the scrap bin. Yea for me. Went to go in and the door was locked. Sigh. Really? Now we’re on the second floor when we enter the house and the bedroom is toward the back. I knocked, rang the door bell, yelled, and generally wet myself trying to get in. Finally a half an hour into my routine Rick opened the door. Good news, he was laughing. I was not as amused. At any rate I’m sure our neighbors thought we were having sort of drama and am surprised someone didn’t alert the authorities. In the future I’ll take a key out with me.

Country Captain Soup is something I can remember having years ago. I had a cooked turkey breast, or what was leftover from  a meal, which I substituted for the usual chicken involved and added things here and there to bring it into this decade. It was wonderful on a rainy night.

Crockpot Country Captain Soup Revisited (Turkey)

2 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
2 large mushrooms, sliced thin
2 carrots, sliced thin
4 green onions, sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 tsp. celery salt
2 Tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 can Ro-Tel tomatoes, without juice (omit to reduce heat)
2 cups cooked turkey
8 cups rich chicken broth
3/4 cup cooked snap peas, ends trimmed and vein removed

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, green pepper, mushrooms, carrots, and apple to pan. Cook for 8 mins. or until vegetables are tender. Add celery salt, curry powder, ginger, black and white peppers, and salt. Saute for 1 min.

Add diced and Ro-Tel tomatoes to pan mix well.

Spray 6 quart crockpot with cooking spray. Spoon vegetable/tomato mixture into bottom. Top with turkey. Add chicken broth and mix well. Cook for 8 hours on low.

Cook snap peas in boiling lightly salted water for 6 mins. Drain. Stir into crockpot and cook an additional hour. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

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Photo by Susie Nelson

Photo by Susie Nelson

I have my first cold of the season. Most probably directly related to my crawling around in the recesses of the chilly garage trying to locate my Christmas decorations.

Prophetically, I made turkey soup yesterday so dinner is ready for tonight as well as a natural cure for the common cold. With a fifteen pound bird to dispose of between the two of us, we’re looking forward to turkey soup, turkey shepherd’s pie, turkey Benedict and a host of other clever ways to disguise leftover yard bird. My eyelids are getting heavy already. Whether turkey makes you sleepy, from what I understand, is based in both myth and fact. There is tryptophan in turkey which can cause drowsiness when taken directly, but most likely the drowsiness following a huge holiday meal is your body trying to process appetizers, alcohol, turkey with all the trimmings, and three pieces of pie with whipped cream. Burp.

Facebook was buzzing with turkey pics, family pics, and updates on family gatherings all day. Facebook is probably a fun outlet, but personally it scares me to death. Bullying is so accessible on this type of site, and particularly attractive to young petty little minds with the destruction of another teens self-esteem at the touch of a well-painted fingertip. Yesterday I read an article about how often Facebook is showing up in the courtrooms. The site itself is not being sued, or not that I know of, but litigants on either side of cases are accusing the other side of maligning or misrepresenting them on the well-populated social media giant. I find it truly fascinating what people casually write on these updates. Often they are things I wouldn’t be comfortable saying on the phone to a person I trusted with my innermost thoughts, much less write openly to an audience of millions. It reminds me of people who adjust their body parts while standing on a street corner, whisper something offensive loud enough for Hellen Keller to hone in on, or explore their nasal cavities at a stop sign. WE CAN SEE AND HEAR YOU!

It is suggested you do not post “Leaving for a week on Maui tomorrow”, for example. Not only might your friends be celebrating your impending departure, but someone casing your house hoping to find it empty might be popping the cork on a champagne bottle as well.

Posting your personal status as “single” when you’ve tucked your wedding band in your pocket for an evening on line might not be the best strategy either. If you are tracking hundreds of people it stands to reason someone most likely is tracking your cheating behind as well.

Employers are looking potential candidates for jobs over on line. That hysterically funny selfie posted of you and your gal pals half-naked showing your latest tattoos in front of a strip club in Vegas, bottle of JD in one hand and joint drooping off one pierced lip, gets a thumbs up from your friends. Possibly, if you’re applying for a teaching position at a local parochial school, not so much.

Email can also be a dangerous tool, and voice mail. Knee jerk reactions to a situation left in either queue can come back to haunt you later. Particularly in the case of email where with no intonation on the words, the words often are left to stand alone and can be misinterpreted.

In a world where we all seem to have so much to say, possibly we need to be more discerning about what we say and where we say it.

Humblebrags, a word it seems actually included in some dictionaries, is another interesting social media offspring. It is a way of saying something seemingly self-effacing when actually patting yourself on the back or apprising people of your successes or recent high-dollar purchases. Hmmmm. Sort of like, “I never knew when I bought this enormous house with twenty-nine bathrooms we’d use so much toilet paper”.

Are we becoming a country hooked on instant gratification? The most results for the least amount of effort expended? Can’t help but wonder. Sometimes the thrill of something comes in the waiting. If you go out on a first date and before desert your date puts a ring on your finger and the waiters start singing “Today I Met the Boy I’m Going to Marry”, wouldn’t that diminish the excitement of your first kiss, your first fight, and all the things filling in the middle? Falling in love is part of the journey, not just the actual act of getting married.

Working hard to achieve a goal is extremely rewarding, at least for me. If you’ve set your sights on something in the distance and climb the hills in between and tough out the rainstorms and the hot dry days to get where you want to go, there is an exhilaration accompanying such an accomplishment that can’t be equaled by having it simply handed to you.

For me it’s “all things in moderation”. I love the Internet and use it regularly. It’s a magical wonderful tool as are all the gadgets and Space Odessy like technology coming our way, but we’re an addictive society as a whole so perhaps using these tools wisely is the key. As usual, I’m full of questions, or full of something.

This soup was a great way to gobble up the leftover turkey. Yum.

Spicy Southwestern Turkey Soup

5 cups rich turkey broth
2 cups cooked turkey, shredded
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup green pepper, chopped
1 4 oz. can chopped green chiles
1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
3/4 cup cooked corn kernels
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 pkg. Lawry’s taco seasoning mix, hot
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Salt (as needed)
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 avocados, chunked
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Sour Cream
Lime slices

Place first 12 (through black pepper) ingredients in large stockpot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 45 mins. on low.

Place 1/4 cup of cooked rice in the bottom of six large soup bowls. Ladle soup over top. Top each bowl with 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, chopped avocado, and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and lime slices.

Turkey Broth

1 turkey carcass, meat left on if possible
5 quarts water
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 celery ribs, quartered with leaves
2 carrots, peeled and chunked
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 cups white wine (I used pinot grigio)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/3 cup parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Place turkey pieces in bottom of large stockpot. Add water, vegetables, garlic, wine, and bay leaves. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer over med-low heat for 2 hrs., skimming fat during cooking.

Add thyme, parsley flakes, and black pepper. Continue cooking over med-low heat for 2 hours. Strain large pieces and discard, reserving meat for future use. Cool and refrigerate or freeze.

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Photos by Susie Nelson

Photos by Susie Nelson

Lately it seems every newscast includes a story involving a shooting.  Certainly the spotlight is shining brightly on gun control.   Gun regulation is a volatile issue with strong points taken on both sides, making it a difficult issue to regulate fairly.  Stirring the pot when it comes to the right to bear arms is not new, as evidenced with the date of Patrick Henry’s quote in the title of this piece.

Growing up in Nova Scotia, a hunting and fishing paradise, men took to the woods during hunting season in droves. Glassy eyed trophies of successful trips decorated walls of private lodges and country inns, the animals last expressions held fast by a skilled taxidermist’s needle.   In the fall of my eighth year, I asked to accompany my uncle and two male cousins on such an outing.  The women in my household were not firmly in agreement with my going, if not outright against it.  In protest, my grandmother dressed me for protection that blustery fall morning. So many clothes were layered on my body I would have made a suitable understudy for the Pillsbury Doughboy.  My hat, as I remember even had flaps covering both ears giving me the look like a pint-sized Amelia Earhart. Heavy boots were pulled on over woolen socks, and secured with strong metal grips. All were topped with a warm plaid jacket with a hood and gloves. I could barely move.

Where we were to go was not unfamiliar territory to me. Fred, my grandfather’s younger brother, ran a country store in a small town nearby.  As a child I loved visiting my great-uncle. Summers a double scoop ice cream with my name on was scraped from the sticky tubs in Fred’s cooler into a sugary cone. Winters, Fred’s companion (or “housekeeper”, as my family referred to her as the two never married), Nan, would offer me a cup of steaming chocolate with melting marshmallows. Like a grown-up it was served to me in one of her delicate china cups accompanied by a generous piece of buttery melt in your mouth shortbread.  Huge glass jars on the counters housed all manner of candies and sweets while others displayed boiled eggs in brine and enormous pickles.  It was a junior foodies nirvana.

Standing by the pot belly stove in the cozy store that crisp morning, I waited while the men exchanged stories of the ones that got away and those not so fortunate. A gust of cold wind intruded on the circle of warmth emanating from the stove as the front door swung open.  Standing in front of me was a man who stood as tall as I. Not knowing what to think of a grown man who met me eye to eye, I was struck silent. After a moment the unusual man extended a gloved hand in my direction, and by way of introduction said, “Benny, it is”.  After he’d gone, the men spoke among themselves about the small man. A dwarf in size perhaps, but his prowess with a firearm elevated him to a position head and shoulders above other hunters in the area. Hunting, not a sport in his case but a means of putting meat on his table for his family, was a full-time affair during the high season and it was whispered off-season on occasion as well.  Twice after that visit when in the area I spotted Benny from the Buick’s back window, dressed head to toe in red plaid heading towards the woods. Years later is was rumored a bear prematurely ended his hunting career.

As we entered the thick woods, echoes of my grandmother’s words rang in my ears.  “Don’t stand to close to the guns.  Keep your red hat on.  Don’t wander off.”

Being asked to remain quiet for an eight year old, can make one hour pass like three.  Told to sit behind my uncle and be still, I found myself looking up at the high tree branches above me and building a nest on the ground with the leaves around me.  After what seemed like days, in the meadow before us a massive buck strode into view. Shortly, as if by magic two does materialized from the bushes behind him.  Mesmerized, I watched the beautiful creatures sniff at the air then bend to nibble at the ground.  Although having been told what to expect, when the shot rang out and the buck dropped to his knees I did what little girls do in such situations, I began to cry.  Panicked, both does disappeared as quickly as they came.  Men, their breath hanging suspended in the cold air, surrounded the dead animal.  Knives were removed from their sheaths and expertly they field dressed their kill.  It felt very primal to me, and I suddenly had to tinkle, as my grandmother would have put it.  Sniffling and shuffling about, I was directed to a tree with cover and relieved myself.

Quiet without being asked to be I sat in the back seat on the ride home. On the roof the buck’s hooves tapped occasionally beneath the straps that held it. Never again did I ask to join a hunting expedition, and I didn’t have any experience with guns again until I was in my thirties.

Once home, my grandmother sensing my distress ran me a bath and dressed me in warm pajamas. Sitting on the side of my bed, she spoke to me of her childhood. Brought up on a farm as she had been, she explained, killing animals for food was a part of every day life.  Farm children, at least in rural Ontario, weren’t encouraged to make “pets” of farm animals lest Miss Piggy or Nanny the goat be found starring in Sunday supper served nestled atop a savory dressing or alongside spiced crab apples. Life, as they say, does not always serve up easy lessons growing up.

Since then I’ve only shot a weapon once, a rifle. Being lightweight in frame, the moment I fired the recoil knocked me flat on the ground leaving a huge bruise where it was cupped in my shoulder.  It was at that point I gave up all thoughts of a second career as a commando.

The problem is we can regulate the honest citizen in our country, but who’s going to regulate those with other than hunting a deer or a rabbit in mind?  Our government has it nose firmly stuck in so many areas of our life sometimes it feels like nothing is sacred anymore, but I sit on the fence on this one.  As usual only questions but no answers.

This is the best soup ever.

Turkey Tortilla Soup

2 Tbsp. plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/4 lbs. ground turkey
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots sliced thin
1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks of celery, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 pkg. Lawry’s taco seasoning
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes w/jalapeno peppers, with juice
1 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 14 1/2 oz. cans chicken stock
2 cups water
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

Garnish with sour cream, chopped green onion, cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in large soup pot over med.-high heat. Add turkey and crumble. Cook until browned and cooked through. Drain on paper towels.

Add additional 2 Tbsp of oil to pan. Add yellow onion. Cook for 5-6 mins. until onion is translucent.

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Add carrots, green pepper, and celery. Cook 7-8 mins. or until carrots are tender.

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Stir in corn, garlic, taco seasoning, dry seasonings and cilantro. Add cooked turkey. Cook 2 mins. longer.

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Stir in tomatoes, kidney beans, olives, chicken broth, water and lime juice. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook uncovered for 40 mins., stirring occasionally. Garnish with suggested garnishes. Yum

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