saturday.. er monday soup and sewing

Oh my, do I have some fun to share with you today! It has been cold and snowy here all week in Boise which makes me want to hunker down by the fire with a hot cup of cocoa, a warm soup on the stove and a cozy sewing project to while away the hours. Lucky for me I have just the line-up for a truly perfect afternoon. First, the soup. I love bean soups, but I think that a creamy white bean soup is my favorite. For my birthday J got me a lovely hand-blender that I had been eying for quite some time, and this is just the soup to put it to good use. This soup is not only delicious, but it is also really good for you, full of fiber, iron and protein it is the perfect hearty winter soup to warm you up on a cold day. Also, you can use canned or dried beans in the recipe, but if you use dried beans be sure to soak them overnight and then bring to a boil and simmer them for an hour or two before adding to the soup. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! It’s great served with a crusty loaf of bread.

Creamy White Bean Soup

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 (16 ounce) cans white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups homemade or good quality chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bunch fresh spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 handful fresh chopped parsley
1/4 c good quality extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil. Cook onion and celery in oil for 5 to 8 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic, and cook for 30 seconds, continually stirring. Stir in 3 cans of beans, chicken broth, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and then simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. With slotted spoon, remove 2 cups of the bean and vegetable mixture from soup and set aside.
  3. Using a hand blender, or in stand blender at low speed, blend remaining soup in small batches until smooth, (it helps to remove the center piece of the blender lid to allow steam to escape.) Once blended pour soup back into stock pot and stir in reserved beans and final can of beans.
  4. Bring to a boil, occasionally stirring. Stir in spinach and cook 1 minute or until spinach is wilted. Stir in lemon juice, parsley and olive oil. Remove from heat and serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Felted Stuffed Animals

The sewing project I’ve been working on today is so fun and perfect for any little munchkins in your life that you need an adorable Christmas gift for… this will not disappoint!

The Martha Stewart website has a great section of projects to make with felt and today I’m going to show you the most adorable felt animals that I made using this template from her website. The first step in creating these little lovelies was to felt my wool sweaters. When wool is washed and dried, it is transformed into felt. Some of you may have accidentally discovered this transformation when a favorite sweater comes out of the wash as a miniature version of its former self. While this outcome can be very upsetting when unplanned, an old sweater that you no longer wear can be given new life once transformed into felt. So gather up your old sweaters or stop by your local thrift shop and pick up a few to make some great holiday gifts.  To turn these sweaters into felt you simply need to machine-wash a woolen sweater in hot water, and toss it in a dryer set to a high temperature.  Once you can snip the fabric with scissors and it doesn’t fray you have successfully turned your sweater into felt! You may need to wash and dry it more than once to achieve your felted results.

How fun that this sweater was made in my soon-to-be home! I think I may need to try out some more felted wool projects... Scotland has wool in abundance!

What could beat an adorable barnyard of stuffed animals? Old MacDonald has nothing on these sweet little lambs, chickens and piggies! I was able to whip this project together over the course of the weekend, but if you were really focused it could easily be done in an afternoon. So fun!

saturday soup and sewing

It has been far too long since I had a Saturday I could spend sewing and cooking, but a few weeks ago I had a Saturday that was wide open and I got to sew and cook to my heart’s content. (Unfortunately, I’m only now getting around to blogging about it!) It’s a little ridiculous how happy these types of days make me, but the weather outside is cool and blustery and I’m tucked in our warm little home with the fire going and plenty of time to let creativity roam. Perfection. Today’s project is a gift for my sweet grandma who is moving up to Boise in just a few weeks into the most adorable little bungalow. She’s just had the whole place remodeled and it looks amazing, all light and airy, there is even the neatest little atrium right in the middle of the house. It’s really unique and quite a special place.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups organic chicken broth
  • 4-5 cups fresh organic broccoli
  • 1/4 cup chopped organic onion
  • 1-2 cloves organic garlic
  • 1 cup organic milk (I used 1%)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (I used organic quinoa flour and it worked great, that way the soup is gluten free)
  • 1 cup shredded organic sharp white cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried organic oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Bring broth to a boil. Add broccoli and onion. Cook for five minutes, or until broccoli is tender.
  2. In a separate bowl, slowly add milk to flour, and mix until well blended.
  3. Stir flour mixture into broth mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until soup is thick and bubbly. Add cheese if desired; stir until melted. Add seasonings and serve.

Seat cushions, a table runner and some napkins to match!

The project for today was to help decorate my grandma’s new kitchen. She picked this adorable table out, and without even measuring the space new it would be prefect… and it is! I hope these little accents make her feel right at home.

Saturday Soup (er… Salad!) & Sewing

It has been hot. I mean really, really over-100-degrees- F-hot here in Boise for the past few weeks. So, hot soup has not sounded appealing in the least. But salads have become the go to dish to beat this summer heat, and today I want to share with you one of my favorite chicken salads with a twist. This recipe has been passed around Regent, reinvented, passed again, tweaked, added to, passed some more, and at some point I ended up with the following version that we just love. I hope you enjoy it too, and feel free to add/subtract and substitute to your heart’s content!

Curried Tortellini Chicken Salad

salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 1lb package fresh tortellini (use any flavor you like)
  • 1-2 grilled chicken breasts, shredded or cut into 1/2 inch cubes (adjust amount of meat to suit your preferences, this is also a great way to use up leftover chicken.)
  • 1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (or any other type of nut you like, we also really like pecans, almonds, or cashews)
  • 1/2 green onions, sliced into thin rounds (both green and white parts are fine)
  • 1-2 stalks celery, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 smallish granny smith apple, chopped into small pieces
  • 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 – 2 tsp curry powder
  • 3/4 – 1 c mayonnaise

Directions:

Put on a pot of salted water, bring to a boil. Add tortellini and cook until just al dente. Drain and set aside to cool. In a small bowl whisk together black pepper, salt, curry powder, and mayo. Place all other chopped ingredients into a large bowl, including cooled tortellini and mix (you want to be sure and coat the apples with the lemon juice as this will keep them from browning). Pour curry mixture over salad and toss to mix. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Chill salad until ready to eat. This salad can be made one day ahead as the flavors get even better if they get to hang out together a bit before eating. We like to serve this on a bed of lettuce, but it is great all on its own. Enjoy!

Saturday Sewing Project: Amy’s quilt!

My sewing project this week is a quilt a friend commissioned me to make, (you can see the beginning stages here) and I recently finished and got it shipped off to her. It was a really interesting project because I was working with so many different types of fabric. I learned a lot through this process and quite liked how the finished quilt turned out. It is nice and cozy and I hope it keeps Amy warm and toasty for the cold Scotland winter ahead! (She’s moving to Scotland this fall too, how fun is that?!)

quilt

quilt (1)

quilt (2)

quilt (3)

quilt (4)

quilt (7)

quilt (5)

quilt (6)

sending love from vancouver

mari-and-gramps
This picture was taken of my sweet sister Mari and my dear Gramps last spring during our family reunion in Arkansas. Grams and Gramps hosted our entire family for a wonderful week of long talks, crazy board games, and beautiful rides around the lake on Gramps' beloved pontoon boat. Precious memories I will carry with me forever.

So sorry for the long absence, it has been a rough couple of weeks here in the Kidwell household. But probably the most difficult news has impacted two of my dearly loved family members, my sis Mari and my dear, dear Gramps. My sister had to put to sleep her beloved horse, Quincy, who has been a part of our family since we were little girls. He was an amazing, loving, gentle and kind horse who was deeply loved and will be deeply missed. The next day I learned that my dear grandpa was very ill and was in the ICU. Gramps is an incredible man who has a heart of gold and is the most gentle soul I have ever known. I’m glad to report that Gramps has now made it back home and is on the mend, but it is definitely times like these that make it hard to be living so far away.  So, although I can’t be there in person I hope you two know how dearly you are loved and prayed for! If I was able to be with you I’d make up a big batch of chicken noodle soup to help speed the recovery and soothe the aching hearts. Sending a great big hug from Vancouver and J and I are having steaming bowls of chicken soup in your honor!

Healing Chicken Noodle Soup

chicken-soup

Ingredients – serves 6

  • 1-1/4 cups wide egg noodles (I used star noodles… I love how cute these little noodles look in a bowl of soup!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 6-8 cups chicken broth
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning (I use Adobe chicken seasoning)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1-1/2 cups diced, cooked chicken meat

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles and oil, and boil for 8 minutes, or until tender. Drain, and rinse under cool running water.
  2. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine broth, salt, and poultry seasoning. Bring to a boil. Stir in celery and onion. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in noodles and chicken, and heat through.

Sewing

This week I started my very first quilt commission. I’m really excited about the project and can’t wait to show you the finnished project – but that will have to wait for a few weeks. The woman who comissioned the project is a fellow student at Regent, and as she was preparing to leave Vancouver (she’s headed to Scotland for a PhD as well!)  realized she had quite a few clothes that she wasn’t wearing, but wasn’t ready to part with due to sentimental reasons, so she’s asked me to refashion them into a lovely quilt. What a great idea, huh?! Today I want to share with you a rough sketch of the quilt design and get your feedback on the general layout of the quilt. Does it feel balanced? What do you think of the varying row heights and square widths? I’d love to get your thoughts before I start cutting into the fabric!

quilt-sketch