Homemade Turkey Soup

Homemade Turkey Soup

Did I ever mention I love to make soup? Not only is it comfort food on a cold, winter day, but the process of chopping up the ingredients and building layers of flavor is so much fun to me. Everybody in the pool! It’s so easy to do and it’s hard to mess up.

A day before I made the turkey soup, I put two turkey thighs (on the bone) in my slow cooker, seasoned them, added a little chicken broth (about 1 cup), and cooked them several hours on low. I refrigerated them until I was ready to make the soup the following day. {Save that yucky congealed broth…You’ll add it to the soup.} You can certainly use any leftover turkey you have if you cooked one recently! I’d recommend sticking with the dark meat for more flavor, though.

The wonderful thing about soup is that you add in what you like and leave out what you don’t like! I’ll tell you what I add in mine and you go from there. Let me mention that I prefer my soup a little thicker, or chunkier, rather than with too much broth. (Doesn’t Rachael Ray call that “stoup”?) Simply add more broth or water if you want more broth. Just make sure to keep tasting it to see if you need more seasoning.

Homemade Turkey Soup by Micha
Ingredients:
2 turkey thighs – seasoned, cooked, meat removed from bones, and cut up or shredded
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 large onion (I like to use sweet or yellow)
8 carrots (not the baby carrots) – peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
12 oz. of fresh green beans, cut up*
2 large cloves of garlic, minced (or grated in with microplane like I do)
2 cartons (32 oz. each) of chicken broth, or turkey broth if you can find it
2-4 cups water, depending on how you like your soup
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt-free garlic and herb seasoning
1 tsp. dried parsley
1  1/2 cups uncooked Ditalini pasta
Salt and pepper to taste
*Any other veggies or additions you prefer. I like to add some frozen corn when I add the pasta.

Directions:
1. Grab a big pot and add your oil, heating it over medium to medium-high heat.
2. While that’s heating, chop up your onion and add it to the pot.
3. Chop carrots and add them to the pot. Keep stirring as you add ingredients.
4. Chop up the celery and add it to the pot.
5. Make sure you are stirring the veggies around so they all get coated with the oil and don’t burn.
6. Cut up the fresh green beans and add them in. If you don’t use fresh green beans and use frozen or canned, add them in with the pasta.
7. Add in the minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Stir!
8. When your veggies are softened a bit, add in that turkey “broth” that you have leftover from cooking the thighs. If you refrigerated it, it will be like a gelatin consistency. Gross, but adds flavor!
9. Pour in 2 cartons of chicken or turkey broth (total of 64 oz.).
10. Add in a few cups of water depending on how you like your soup. I add in about 2-3 cups, but you can add 4.
11. Bring to a boil.
12. While you are waiting for the boil, add in your shredded or cut up turkey.
13. Add paprika, garlic and herb seasoning, and the parsley.
14. Let simmer for about 30 minutes or more, and then add in about 1  1/2 cups Ditalini pasta (or any small pasta). Now is also when you can add frozen or canned veggies if desired, like some corn. Simmer for about 15 minutes more.
15. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste.

P.S. My daughter who doesn’t care so much for pasta loves this soup. She says it’s the Ditalini!

I’m about to go have some leftover soup for lunch now! Hope you try it!
Micha

DIY Hair Detangler

It’s amazing all the stuff they put into beauty and hair care products. Unless you’re a scientist, you probably don’t even know what half of the ingredients are, let alone be able pronounce them. But a few of these products are a necessity and we can’t do without them. For me, one of those products is a spray hair detangler. Combing out my thick, wavy, wet hair is a chore unless I use a detangler. Some of them can be pricey, but even the reasonably priced one I use can add up using it every day. I was intrigued when I saw this post about how to make your own for a lot less.

Pros:

  • You’ll save a bunch of money.
  • You are being green by reusing the same spray bottle rather than buying a new one all the time!
  • Because you only need water and your conditioner to make it, you’ll never run out.
    (Unless you run out of conditioner, of course)

Cons:

  • You have to spend less than 5 minutes to make it rather than go to the store, pay for it, come home, and put it away. Wait, that should be with the other “pros” too, huh?

I’m kind of embarrassed to tell you how easy it is, but I wanted to pass along this money saving idea. All you do is get a spray bottle and your conditioner. For the spray bottle, I just use the one that my purchased detangler came in, but you can get one for $1-$2 almost anywhere. As for the conditioner, it doesn’t have to be an expensive conditioner, but you should be happy with the results. I use Pantene Conditioner. Open the spray bottle and squeeze a big dollop down in there — about 1 tablespoon. The amount will depend on the size spray bottle you use. (See photo for reference on how much I use but keep in mind my bottle is larger than most generic spray bottles).

Now add regular tap water to the spray bottle, but don’t fill it all the way to the top. You need a little room to be able to shake it up and mix it well. Replace trigger and shake, shake, shake…shake, shake, shake…shake your bottle…shake your bottle! (Channeling a little K.C. and the Sunshine Band there.) And now it’s ready to use!

If you find that it’s too thick for your type of spray bottle and trigger, just use less conditioner for the next time. To remedy this the first time you make it, just pour a little out and add more water, shake again, and test it. Some spray bottles can easily clog up, so find one that has a good quality trigger. I also use a big detangling comb as well which you can see in the photo. Maybe I should just cut my hair?!? 🙂

Happy Combing!
~Micha

Homemade Dog Treats

When we got our dog Oscar as a puppy about a year ago, the idea of making him homemade doggie treats seemed like a fun idea. It turns out he has a very sensitive stomach and most of the treats, biscuits, and bones on the market don’t agree with him. I decided to start researching some recipes sooner rather than later. What I found was more than I expected! I had to be careful, though, so I took the basic ingredients and changed a few things. {Oscar loves apples and peanut butter so they were definitely going in there!}

Here’s the adapted recipe:
2 tablespoons plain applesauce (3 tablespoons if you want softer treats)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup rolled oats

See? Nothing fancy. If your dog likes bananas you can substitute a mashed ripe banana for the applesauce. Mine does not. He makes that clear! Add some honey if you want a little more sweetness. Also, you don’t need a special dog bone cookie cutter. Just use any old cutter you happen to have…or use a pizza cutter and slice the dough into pieces that are suitable for your dog’s size. My cookie cutter was about 3 inches wide.

Okay, let’s get baking! Grab a medium/large mixing bowl and a spoon to mix the ingredients. To the bowl, add the applesauce, peanut butter and 1 egg. Combine until blended well.

After mixing first three ingredients together, add the flour, baking powder and rolled oats.
Mix well. At this point I like to get my hands in there and help it out.

When all of the ingredients have been combined, form a ball from the dough and place it on some wax paper for rolling. If you don’t have any wax paper, you can use some wheat flour and dust your work surface.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1/4″ thick. {Pick it up and turn it a few times as you roll.} Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper, lightly grease the baking sheet so they don’t stick. Using your cookie cutter, cut out your treats and place them on the baking sheet. I get about 12-14 treats using my bone cookie cutter.

{Note: I use parchment paper for all my baking. It keeps the goodies from sticking to the pan, I don’t have to grease the pan, and it’s easy peasy when it comes time to clean up. Try it if you have never used it!}

Bake the treats at 325 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. The time will depend on how thick you rolled your dough. Mine took closer to 20 minutes. As soon as you see them get golden brown on the edges, they are done. Remove from oven, cool in pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

They get Oscar’s Seal of Pupproval! (I just made that up as I was typing…)

I love giving these to Oscar and knowing exactly what is in them! Who knows what’s really in the treats you buy off the shelf? Give them a try!
~Micha