Italian Wedding Soup

There is nothing better than cooking soup on a cold snowy Saturday that is warm and comforting to the soul.  This is my Italian grandmother’s Italian Wedding Soup Recipe. There are a lot of steps to this delicious soup, but it is worth your time.  You can freeze some for later.

Italian Wedding Soup

Ingredients

For the soup:

4-6 chicken thighs, skin removed
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
3 packages frozen chopped spinach (fresh spinach or escarole)
salt and pepper

For the meatballs:

1/2 pound ground chuck
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. parsley
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 slice stale bread, cubed
1 egg
salt and pepper

For the croutons:

4-5 slices stale bread, cubed
2-3 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp. olive oil

Directions

For the soup:

In a large soup pot combine chicken thighs, onion, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Add 10 cups of water. Bring to boil and simmer broth for about 50 minutes. After chicken is cooked, remove from bone, chop and return to stock.

Cook the spinach in a separate pot, strain and set aside.

For the meatballs:

In a large bowl combine ground chuck, Parmesan cheese, onion, parsley, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, bread, egg and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together with hands. Roll meatball mixture in hands to form tiny meatballs. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in fry pan. Brown meatballs on all sides. Remove from pan. Set aside.

For the croutons:

Beat 2-3 eggs in a large bowl. Add cubed bread to egg mixture and coat well. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large pan. Saute croutons until golden brown. Set aside.

Soup:

Add the cooked spinach and meatballs to the stock, stir and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Ladle into soup bowls, add croutons and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

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74° in December

Thanksgiving meal is over and already burned off from the gym, I mean ZUMBA!

Tree is decorated, cards are addressed and mailed.  Christmas shopping complete and presents wrapped, gift cards…check, house cleaned and decorated.  Christmas eve dinner planned, lunch with friends scheduled, I’m done!  Stick a fork in me!

Christmas customs have changed over the years.  Everything has to be easy and fast.  Memories of years past with all of the preparation including Christmas Eve dinner cooking smelts, Italian Wedding Soup, a roast, tossed salad, baked potatoes, cookies and more.  Everyone sitting around mom’s dining room table chatting, telling jokes and eating way too much.  Don’t worry, if you don’t eat it now, mom put a grocery-size doggie bag together for us to take home.

Christmas day was a day of travel to spend time with in-laws and draw in their traditions.  Country cooking is about abundance from turkey, ham, stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, and, of course, homemade biscuits.  Did I mention cakes, pies, peanut brittle, cookies and banana pudding? I gained 5 pounds just thinking about all the food.

Kids opening their presents are the highlight of the evening.  Excitement watching them light up like a Christmas tree is a vision etched in my mind.  Technology has taken over. Anything that is tablet or smart phone related is a cool gift.  One thing has not changed over the years, where the women hang out at the dining room table talking about work, hot flashes and how guilty they feel about eating too much.  The men are talking about who knows what in another room.  New Year’s resolutions include dieting and getting back on track.  Yeah, sure.

I cherish all of the moments spending time with family.  Many have gone to be with the Lord.  Oh, how I miss them.  I will always remember our special times together.

With a new year comes new resolutions. Welcome!

 

 

 

 

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Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy

Don’t you remember when you were out of school for the summer and thought those long days would never end? Not a care in the world, hanging out with friends, skateboarding, riding our bikes to the pool, living in flip-flops.  It was easier back then knowing someone was taking care of us.

The dog days of summer with the temperatures skyrocketing like the 4th of July fireworks to the 90’s.  Loving that it got dark so late.  Fire flies twinkling against the black night sky. Did you capture them and put ’em in a jar with a lid you poked holes in for oxygen?  Stars were so bright you’d think you could reach out and touch one and take it to use as a lantern.  Mosquitos bit your ankles and welts would form.  Scratching them until they bled.  One remedy to stop the itch was to put toothpaste on the bite.  Bottoms of your feet got so black from running around with no shoes all day. I smile thinking back to those simple but fun-filled days.

My friends and I would sit on the front porch after dark and tell stories about hook man and the headless horseman.  Really, I was a little scared.  We’d look up the street where there was a wooded area and wonder if any of those creatures would appear and chase after us.  It was so much fun to make up scary stories.

I think I am still a kid at heart, because I always look forward to summer and all of the fun and exciting things to do at the beach.  Thinking back to childhood is fun.  Go ahead, act like a kid.  Kick off your flip-flops and feel the sand in your toes.  Eat pizza, fries, and funnel cakes on the boardwalk.  Laugh at yourself.  Spend time with those you love.  But…. “always remember to breathe” in the fantastical sea air and all that summer has to offer.

 

 

 

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Easter Blessings

 

Spring is upon us. The date on the calendar is March 27, 2016. Easter is early this year. This holy time is so special to Christians. It’s not about fluffy bunnies, Easter egg hunts or baskets of chocolate candy. Yes, it is about a time to celebrate, but not for commercial reasons. It’s a time to recognize the reason for the season is about Jesus Christ who arose from the dead. Rejoice that He lives! My friends, we are celebrating a real man made of flesh and blood who walked among us, prayed with us, healed us, loved us unconditionally and then was crucified, died and was buried so that our sins could be forgiven. But, on the third day, he arose from the dead. What a miracle! Shout it from the rooftops that our Jesus lives!

Look to the cross and celebrate your blessings. This is a special time to be with the ones your love. Enjoy your family; break bread with them. Hold them near and dear to your heart. Tell them you love them.

Easter is a time of renewal and of healing. When we see the daffodils blooming, we think of growth not only in our gardens but within ourselves. Spent time in prayer and journal reflecting how our Lord has blessed you. New Years is a time of setting resolutions, and Easter can be a time to spend in prayer for the months ahead. Make prayer a part of your purposefulness. May God Bless you during this holy time.

A Poem from Rachel Gray, Age 9

Easter Eve

The wind is blowing,

The air is cold;

The trees are barking,

The dogs are sleeping.

The cats are chasing mice,

And there is a quiet, quiet house

lying on the earth.

The grass is wiggling,

The branches on the trees are chatting;

The ground is whistling,

And the pigs are oinking very slowly.

God’s children are talking,

cause Easter’s on its way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grandmom’s Hope Chest

My relationship with my grandmother had a great impact on me from the time I was a little girl until the day she passed away. Often I look back and reminisce on grandmom’s wisdom and strength. When you hear the word grandmom, do you think of a second-in-charge mom, that holds you close to her heart and loves you unconditionally? Was she the one you would run to for comfort? Do you miss her like crazy? Do you talk to her like she is with you now?

It’s when she’s gone that she becomes a very important part of your life.   Why don’t we realize how insightful our grandmothers really were until it is too late….or is it?

My grandmother taught me more than any scholastic book ever could. She gave me an education in life. I don’t profess to be a domestic diva by any means. However, grandmom showed me how to cook traditional Italian foods, how to clean, wash clothes and hang them out on the line. Breathing in I can still smell the scent of freshly hung linens. She told me stories about the good old days when families ate together, played games, listened to the radio, danced, told jokes and really laughed.  I learned a lot from my maternal grandmother that was the oldest of 10 children and only had a second grade education.

One day when I was visiting, grandmom she greeted me with a big smile and, “how you doing Sherrie (that was my nickname back then). Come on upstairs, I want to show you something.” Dutifully I followed her to the spare bedroom. When we got inside the room I asked her what we were looking at. She pointed to a cedar chest. She said, “Look Sherrie, this is my hope chest. See what’s inside. When I was a young girl, it was a tradition to have a hope chest that contained a trousseau that was a collection by the bride taken with her when she married.” Fixing my attention on the hope chest, I was excited that there was an accumulation of her best embroidered linens, crocheted table clothes, blankets and other momentous handed down from her grandmother and mother.

Suddenly I felt enchanted. “Sherrie, you know I’m an old lady. I want you to have this when I’m gone.” I smiled so wide and hugged her. “Gladly I will,” I said. “I will cherish all the memories tucked away inside this hope chest forever.”

After that, I didn’t think too much of it until just the other day I started looking for my scrapbooking materials. I opened the chest and the smell of cedar penetrated my senses. I dug down into the chest searching through until I came across some crocheted blankets and linens that I know grandmom loved so much. I sat on the floor and just thought about her for a few minutes and remembered the time she told me she wanted me to have this chest. I found my scrapbooking stuff and closed the lid thinking how blessed I am to have had a grandmother like her.

 

 

 

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Hello world!

This is my very first blog!  My book has been out for a little over a  year, but I couldn’t stop there. I hope to share some topics that will resonate with you. I hope to inspire you. Traveling along life’s journey here on earth I hope you “Breathe in the Love of the Lord.”  Live life to the fullest, laugh and have fun!

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