Sunday, October 28, 2018

African Chicken Peanut soup...

soup prep

It's Sunday and I'm making African Chicken Peanut  soup. We love this recipe and I think I've posted it before. It's a lot of ingredients, but still easy and makes a bunch! The Peanut butter is added at the end and although the soup is good without it, I think it is the ingredient that makes it amazing.

African Chicken-Peanut Soup
This recipe gives a traditional African dish some American appeal.
Cooking spray
1     1/2 cups cubed peeled sweet potato
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
2     garlic cloves, minced
1     jalapeäo pepper, seeded and minced
2     cups chopped cooked chicken breast (about 8 ounces)
1     cup bottled salsa
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2     (16-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 (15-ounce) cans Healthy Choice Chicken With Rice Soup or any less-sodium chicken-and-rice soup, undiluted 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
Place a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot. Add sweet potato, onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeöo; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in chicken and next 5 ingredients (chicken through beans); bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Add peanut butter, stirring with a whisk; cook 2 minutes.
11 servings (serving size: 1 cup)
My Hints:

I use Progresso chicken and wild rice soup (not less-salt) and I skip the jalapeano .

One other thing I do because I find it easier is I bake my sweet potatoes in the oven first... you don't want them too soft to cut up and put in the soup, but you do want the skin to peel off easily. I find peeling and cutting sweet potatoes after they're cooked much easier.

And next is an update on some of my pottery projects.  I'll post these later on my Cheeky Chickens Studio  blog also.

My finished cat planter in the front window.
 It doesn't have a plant in it as my cats would nibble.

Finished ceramic egg bird house

Finished ceramic windchimes

The 2nd set of windchimes (bunnies and carrots) are still at the studio. I missed class Saturday due to this croupy crud. But they should be out of the kiln and ready to string next week.

Well... off to enjoy my chicken soup!

Friday, October 26, 2018

National Feral Cat Day...

National Feral Cat Day was October 16th!

Some of our feral cats (over the years): one time in our yard.

This one has the prettiest blue eyes

This one is long haired and has the shiniest coat

These days we have one family of 4 in the back and a family of 5 in the front. Occasionally they swap areas, but not a lot.  They all know each other and get along fairly well... unless a stranger shows up. We  have one black tall skinny feral that is mean and likes to fight (the others usually chase him away). One or two of the feral males that come by are ear clipped which means they were neutered with the catch, neuter, and release program. These cause no problems and seem to be welcome.

The weather will be getting colder soon... so please try to put out some form of protection/comfort for the ferals near you. We have found raccoons sleeping contentedly with the cats under the heat lamps in the back as well as possums using the cat bed in the front on cold nights. 

For those of you interested, I'm still struggling with the croupy crud... (nights are the hardest, still sleeping on the sofa with the cats so I can sit up  - but the cats love the company). Went back to the doctor Thursday. No pneumonia (hurray!), changed my cough meds to something stronger (Rx Hydrocodone) so I could get some sleep. My Pharmacist called me to warn me this was a strong med. I told him that I would hold off on it and see how I do. Got a Depomedrol injection that seems to have worked a bit... got a 2 hour nap that afternoon. DH starting to cough...

my sweet Tux... he worries so.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

it's been a while...

my comfort cat

Tux spent the night with me on the sofa last night. It's been a while (and I'm grateful for that) since I've been sick. Realized Friday that my chest was getting awfully congested and my coughing (I do have a chronic cough since radiation back in 2000) was increasing. Hoped it was just old age (I find that fluid sometimes builds up at night which causes me to cough a lot in the mornings) or perhaps allergies (although allergies have never been a problem for me).

So I took some Mucinex Saturday morning before heading out to my pottery class. But by about 1pm (class runs until 4:30) I realized that things weren't getting better and even the hot tea I had brought in a thermos wasn't helping... so I had DH come and pick me up.  I usually drive myself but that morning I didn't even feel well enough to do that (should have taken that as a hint to stay home). 

Anyhow... between Tylenol and Mucinex... with plenty of water and hot tea, Tux and I got through the night. We spent it as you can see on the sofa in the den as it was necessary to 'sit up' to sleep - lying down only made things worse. Besides, DH would never have gotten any sleep with my coughing. 

Feeling better today. Still congested, but the Mucinex and Tylenol help a lot. I'm guessing it's just a bug of some sort as I was running a little fever yesterday evening. However, I may check in with my doctor if it isn't entirely gone in a day or so as my last CAT SCAN back when I had my appendectomy last year showed some fluid around my heart. I gather that this is probably also the result of the radiation and possibly the cause of my chronic cough. I doubt if it has anything to do with this episode, but perhaps it wouldn't hurt to check.

On a happier note, today is our oldest son's 50th Birthday! He's the one living on Oahu. I can't believe he's 50 years old. But I'm going to share with you a picture of him at one year old. He was such a happy child.

Well, have a wonderful Sunday! This week starts early voting... so hopefully everyone will vote! While sometimes we feel that there's nothing we can do... this is something that we can!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

flu shots, weather, feral kittens, and pottery

Would like this for my Thanksgiving Table

It's been a while since I've posted, but again... nothing terribly interesting to post about. DH and I did get our flu shots this week. Hurray! And so far, no reaction at all... just a tiny bit sore when I lay on that arm. We get the regular flu vaccine, not the souped up one for the over 65. I've heard that some do get reactions from that one and so far, the regular one has worked well for us.

We've had a lot of rain here in North Texas, but nothing like some places are getting. Florida really got hit hard with Hurricane Michael. We lived in Florida for the first 2 years after college... on Satellite Beach, then Melbourne. This was in 1968. Got to watch a lot of rockets being launched.  But in general, we never really got any bad weather... one hurricane that I can remember. Those poor people who live where Hurricane Michael hit directly on the Gulf side will take a long time to recover. They will need all the help they can get.

I know that a lot of people don't believe in Climate Change. But really... something is happening. We seem to be getting an unusual amount of catastrophic weather.

But it is October and Halloween will be here in a few weeks... and we're already seeing not only Halloween decorations,  but some Christmas here and there.  DH and I don't do a lot for Halloween... a few pumpkins on a bale of hay out front and I found a cute sign for the front door today. And of course we do open our doors for trick or treaters on the 31st. But we've gotten fewer and fewer over the last few years. I think most go to Church or School related Halloween parties these days. I think this is safer myself. 

I think I've mentioned before that we have 2 black feral mama cats that have both black and Siamese kittens. The one in the back has 1 black and 2 Siamese and the one in the front has 2 black and 3 Siamese looking kittens. Here is a picture of the 5 kittens who have taken to sleeping in the kitty basket on the front porch at night. It's taken with my iPhone off the Nest Doorbell site so it's not terribly clear. But aren't they cute?

The mama didn't have those kittens in our yard... but brought them by when they were about 6-8 weeks old.   

I'm finishing this post up this morning (Sunday). DH is in the process of making a huge pot of red beans and rice - my all time favorite food! (house smells wonderful) And I'm working on pottery projects... finished black birding and now all need a final firing (windchime pieces and Tiki).

drying after blackbirding

My new project that I just started on this morning is kind of architectural in nature. It's 3 tiles that will sit one on top of each other on the wall and end up looking like an apartment building (I hope).

And I will leave you with my little sculpture of a fox... haven't even underglazed him yet. (Foxes are my next favorite animal to sculpt next to chickens).

Have a great Sunday!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

the political climate...

If you haven't noticed (and I'm sure you haven't) I haven't been commenting much these days. I do read my favorite blogs, but just haven't had much to say. The political climate is such that it's really beginning to affect people's morale - at least that's what I'm seeing.
There has got to be an answer to this negativity - but each side sees what they want to see. Truth doesn't really matter anymore. It can be spun in any direction. Winning is all... no matter the cost.

If the truth be known I believe that most of us basically want the same things... but have different ideas about how to go about it. I've never been  'into politics'...  being from the South we were taught to never talk politics or religion (or finances for that matter) - at least this is what I came away with from my childhood. We always voted, but kept how we voted to ourselves. In today's political climate, I would think this is good advice. How I vote is my personal choice... 

I will say that I think debate between the candidates is a good thing. And if people on the street want to debate, that's fine. What I don't condone is people thinking they have a right to push their reasons and opinions on another person who hasn't asked for their advice. And I have to wonder why some people feel that they know the facts and the other people don't. IMO, it all comes down to interpretation of the 'facts'. It's as useless as people saying, '' a fact is a fact".... or the issue is either black or white (old expression - has nothing to do with race - at least as far as I know). As I've gotten older, I've come to the conclusion that very few things are black or white.... most are grey.

Again, this is not a political post.... just has to do with the political climate. It makes me sad because in general I have always been a more or less optimistic person, but these days everyone seems so full of venom that it's hard to find the good. It's win at any cost. Is this what we've become? 

Sorry if I offended anyone by this vent. But I really dislike the way things are going and am beginning to think that we're heading for real trouble if this continues to escalate. 

Now... I'm going back to my sculpting! (It calms me) Here's a pic of my work space at the moment: