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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

and then there was the time we ALL got the stomach flu...

Yeah, that happened this weekend. Guess it's a rite of parenting passage, to have everyone in your home knocked out with the pukes at the same time.  Norah started throwing up Thursday while home with my mom, and seemed better by the time we got home from work. We sent her to Pa's on Friday as usual and both of us went to work, and she was fine there all day. Then, 6 am on Saturday morning, BAM, I had the full blown GI bug. Just in time for Matt's mother's memorial service :(. Norah's GI tract got the lower end of the bug Saturday as well, and hasn't quit since Saturday, poor thing. She now runs away when we say it's time for a diaper change.  This cloth diapering family has gone through a whole package of disposables this weekend, because I just could not bring myself to wash that many diapers in one day (seriously, at least 15 in 24 hours and still going).  She and I stayed home and missed the memorial service for Carole (yeah, felt like wife of the century there).  3:30 am Sunday, it struck again, and Matt was down for the count all day.  I was mostly on the mend by Sunday, so spent the day going from top to bottom of the house with a bottle of Lysol and Clorox wipes - at least I could be thankful for the last nearly 70 degree day of the year so I could open the windows and air the house out! least the adults in the house are back to normal today. Poor Norah is still off, but hopefully it will run its course in the next day or so. I'm ready to deal with a normal amount of bodily fluids again, thank you. And our washer and dryer will be grateful for the break in the heaps of laundry that piled up after all of this. Thankful for running water, Gatorade, and antibacterial Febreeze this week!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cozy Farro Stew

I was home yesterday with a not-feeling-so-hot toddler, and with only one car which Matt had at work, I was stuck at home without a vehicle and my food options were somewhat limited. Sure, we have canned soup, tortillas and cheese for a quick "quesadilla", cereal and such...but I wanted something warm and cozy on a chilly November day (how can it be November already?). I started poking around the fridge and cupboards to see what we had that I could use to create something. Didn't have ground turkey, beans or canned tomatoes for chili. Didn't have thawed chicken for chicken noodle soup. But, I scrounged up some habanero green chili chicken sausage that had to be cooked like, today, and found some farro (which is an Italian grain with a size and texture similar to barley, but with a nuttier flavor) and that jump started this delicious pot of hearty fall stew! I will be making this again for sure! Also, if I'd had kale instead of spinach, I would have used that as I prefer the texture of kale in soups over the wilty spinach, but I wrote it as I made it with what I had on hand, so there you go. 

Farro Stew with Chicken Sausage and Spinach

  • Ingredients:
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 chicken sausage links, casings removed (I had these on hand)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
  • 6 cups chicken stock (homemade is best - I had plenty in the freezer)
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 cup farro (could substitute pearled barley but I prefer the nuttiness of farro)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1/4 t. celery seed
  • about 3 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves, washed (or 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves torn into bite sized pieces)
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (I had some fresh frozen tomatoes from this summer to use up, so just substituted those)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for serving

  • 1. Heat 2 T olive oil in dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Turn heat down slightly and add garlic, stirring constantly to avoid burning and cook until garlic becomes fragrant, about 1 min. 
  • 2.  While onions are cooking, in a separate pan, heat 2 T olive oil and crumble sausage links into small pieces, cooking until browned over medium heat. 
  • 3.  To dutch oven, add carrots, celery, farro, sausage, all herbs and seasonings, tomatoes and stock.  Bring to a boil then turn heat down to simmer for 35-40 minutes, covered, until farro is cooked to a slightly chewy texture, stirring occasionally.
  • 4.  Add spinach and stir to wilt into stew.  Serve with grated fresh Parmesan cheese.