Peeling the Appealing

And every day when I've been good, I get an orange after food.
- Robert Louis Stevenson

I’m never nearly as determined and specific as I am when eating citrus fruit. In every instance, I find myself meticulous in preparation and care. Tangerines become challenges in which the perfect peel is the ultimate goal, with tiny uniform sections delicate yet strong with juice that bursts forward. Softball sized grapefruits require focus on thick-skinned segments that must be handled and overcome. Even lemons and limes receive special attention, ensuring that slices are even and practically transparent.

Maintaining a balanced, loving relationship requires many of the same components. There are days when the stubborn nature of a loved one seems insurmountable at first glance, but with the proper handling, can unravel and break down into a manner worth every minute’s work. People are delicate at first glance, while proving themselves much stronger than even they could have guessed. By taking the time to delve beneath the skin that can be bitter, tough, virtually inedible, and finding there the sweetest, most vibrant sensation – we unearth the ultimate reward.


Can I Get You a Beer?

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
- Benjamin Franklin

I'm not much of a beer drinker. (And before you get all indignant that I shouldn't be a beer drinker while pregnant, I'll clarify that I wasn't much of a beer drinker before I got pregnant.) I enjoy a glass or twelve of wine (again, not currently) but the love for beer solely belongs to my husband.

However, when we were driving home from eating breakfast at a new place in our neighborhood yesterday (more on that later), I noted the cold dry day and decided that it would be the perfect day for soup. A quick stop at the grocery store gave me all I needed to toss together a warm gooey beer cheese soup, and we spent a lazy afternoon watching football and playing Scrabble while it simmered away in the Crock Pot.

This recipe (and I use that term loosely) produces a good amount of soup, enough for leftovers the next day.

Beer Cheese Soup

Celery, onions, carrots, diced (about 2 cups total)
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 block 2% milk Velveeta, cubed
1 1/2 cups beer
Paprika, garlic powder, worcestershire, spicy mustard to taste

Combine all ingredients except beer in Crock Pot - I set mine to the "high, 6 hours" setting and then turned it down to low about 4 hours in. Once vegetables are tender and cheese has thoroughly melted, puree with immersion blender until smooth. Add beer and continue cooking on low until ready to serve.

I also had some whole wheat hamburger buns that were nearing the end of their shelf life, so I cubed them, tossed them with olive oil, garlic powder, salt & pepper and toasted them in a 200 degree oven for about 20 minutes. They were a great addition to the soup.

I may not be a beer drinker, but this I can get behind.