Ringing In The New Year

While most people were out celebrating at parties with friends and/or family, I was home with my Dad getting shit-faced drunk! Yep. You read that right.

We were in a bit of a predicament over the weekend. We were running very low on propane and that is our primary source of heat. The weather was bitingly cold and we were having to conserve as much propane as possible while waiting for the propane delivery guy. It’s the busy season and they are hauling ass trying to get to everyone — but as I write this, our propane has still not been delivered!

The temperature ranged from a high of 25 degrees down to a low of -10! I can’t recall ever having -10 degree temps in the 25 years I have lived here! It was a LONG weekend. We were bundled up, wearing the thickest, most winterized clothing we could find. We used the propane heat to warm up the house first thing in the mornings and then later in the evenings. In between, we used electric heaters which didn’t really cut the mustard. We were cold but we weren’t freezing.

Anyway, on a biting 9 degree New Year’s Eve, Dad and I decided to ring in the new year with a bottle of champagne and strawberry daiquiris! The alcohol lifted our spirits, warmed our innards, and made for some good story-telling and laughter!

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The Best Soup Ever!

I made my favorite soup today, Stuffed Bell Pepper! My fave soup use to be Green Chili Chicken Lime, but not anymore! It’s still delicious but I have to side with the Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup! If you like bell peppers and Italian sausage, you will love this recipe!

I will share the recipe with you but before I do that, let me tell you that you can morph this recipe to make it your own. There IS wiggle room to make changes! Of course, if you don’t like bell pepper then that will be a problem because it’s not Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup without bell peppers! BUT — there are other changes you can make.

If you don’t like spicy Italian sausage (the kind I use), then you can use sweet Italian sausage instead. You could also use ground beef or ground turkey if you like — but neither of those is not as flavorful as Italian sausage! This recipe calls for a can of diced tomatoes with green chilis, but you can use plain diced tomatoes if you don’t want the added spicy flavor of the green chilis. If you DO like green chilis you could add more to accommodate your tastes! I use boxed chicken broth but I have used beef. You can use canned broth, low sodium, and your own homemade stock is great too! If you’re in a pinch and all you have is bouillon then that works but bouillon adds a LOT more sodium. If you like onion, you can add onion. If you like green bell peppers better than other colors, that’s fine! You can use a variety of colors as I do sometimes. You can use white rice or brown rice, instant or regular. It’s totally up to you!

Now, on to the recipe! Be sure to let me know how you like it if you decide to make it and also, what you did to change it to make it your own!

Aunt Debbie’s Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup

Ingredients:

1 lb. spicy Italian sausage (bulk or removed from casings)

14.5 oz. canned tomatoes with green chilis

3 bell peppers (roughly chopped, green or variety of colors)

64 oz. chicken broth

2 cups cooked rice (if using instant, can be added directly to soup without cooking first. Be sure to use the amount that gives you 2 cups cooked)

Cheddar cheese, shredded, used for garnish if desired.

Directions:

Remove sausage from casings and brown in a soup pot. Drain fat. Add can of tomatoes and extra green chilis if desired. Add chopped bell peppers and chicken broth. Let cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes. Then add rice. Let cook an additional 30 minutes, or until bell peppers are tender. Scoop into bowls or large soup mugs and top with shredded cheddar cheese.

There ya go! Great for a cold, winter’s day!

 

Ba Hum Bug or Why I Hate The Holidays

I used to love this time of year! When my kids were little, Christmas was a blast! We always decorated the house and put up a tree. We had certain traditions that we carried on through the years; new traditions and old traditions from when I was a child. We made cookies and popcorn cake. We made handmade pizza on Christmas Eve and watched Christmas movies like Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and the original Grinch That Stole Christmas and others. We always had a little talk about what Christmas was all about and we watched a little movie about Jesus. Seeing the excitement on the kids’ faces as Christmas approached was amazing which made up for the work and stress of preparing for this special day!

As the years went by, the holidays became more stressful and less fun because the kids were older and you know how hard it is to shop for teenagers! They are very hard to please at times and it was so stressful trying to make things special for them. They were never, EVER, ungrateful but things just weren’t the same as when they were small.

After the kids left home and started giving me grandchildren, I started getting excited again about the holidays. But things went sour after only a couple Christmases and well, I won’t go into that because it’s still very raw. I got 2 Christmases with grandson #1 and now I rarely see him. I don’t even have a relationship with him. I’m not treated as family but more of an outsider. I got a few Christmases with granddaughter, but now she is being raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, which means no more holidays with her. (For the record, I don’t have a problem with JW specifically.) I do have a relationship with my granddaughter, though. She’s my sweetheart and we are very close. Grandson #3 is out of state with his mother. I can understand no holidays with him because kids and their parents move out of state all the time. I have to say I feel robbed not being able to celebrate holidays with the other 2 grandkids since they are both just 30 minutes away.

I haven’t put up a tree in probably 6 years. What’s the point? It’s just my dad and I and maybe my son for a short time. I always buy a few gifts but it’s just not the same without the kids and grandkids. It’s depressing and I just want to crawl in a hole until it’s all over and the new year starts. You may be thinking I should put up a tree anyway because it might make me feel better. Well, maybe. But maybe it will make the depression worse. I don’t know. Besides, I am disabled and I just can’t be doing that kind of thing anymore.

Anyway, I just grin and bear it and wait for it to pass….with a little help from my therapist and Captain Morgan.

Ba-Hum-Bug and cheers!

 

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Photo Courtesy of Captain Morgan