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  • Uncle Richard’s Meatballs-getting this recipe was my highlight of 2018! Great video of him in the post. Love you Zio!
  • Lemon Ricotta Cookies - tied with Lemon Cheesecake bars for first place in my heart - from past blogs.
  • Looking at past blog posts makes me want to eat pasta NOW!
  • Lemon Cheesecake bars- if loving them is wrong, I don't want to be right - from a past blog.
  • Polenta was my dad's favorite - another blast from my blogging past.
  • Seven layer cookie - my truest love in college - a blast from my blogging past.
  • Can't wait for blackberry season -my favorite blackberry tart - from blogs from the past
  • Lemon Ricotta Pancakes - one of my daughter's favorite things - I'm going down blog memory lane.
  • My favorite cream of mushroom soup with thyme and sherry - yum -- blogs from the past!
  • A blast from my Cannoli blog past.
  • Made some almond biscotti a few days ago. Maybe I won't share after all.

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Random Thoughts Soups

What To Do While Furloughed

April 10, 2020
  1. Start your day with a walk because you’re going to be a healthier you today!
  2. Inhale that fresh air, then remember you’ve forgotten your mask.
  3. Worry that someone will call you on it.
  4. Worry while you’re walking that your job won’t be there after your furlough ends.
  5. Cut walk short so you’re not seen mask-less.
  6. Arrive home famished.
  7. Be distracted by funny Social Distancing pic that a friend sent.
  8. Take the dog out and feel guilty because you made him wait so long.
  9. Check your refrigerator, loaded with more food than you could possibly consume in weeks… just in case.
  10. Text your children.
  11. Go online to order See’s Candy for the kids in the family and then realize See’s IS NOT MAKING CANDY AT ALL RIGHT NOW – YES — EVEN AT EASTER!
  12. Worry again.
  13. Read online article about how reducing stress helps boost your immune system.
  14. Worry more.
  15. Call friends and family to make sure all are well.
  16. Cook to take your mind off possible future unemployment.
  17. Eat.
  18. Worry that you ate too much.
  19. Do dishes and clean up kitchen – moving on to entire house, which is probably a hotbed of Corona Virus
  20. Eat dessert – if Rona ends up killing you, you’ll have no regrets.
  21. Regret eating dessert.
  22. Go for another long walk dragging your elderly dog down the sidewalk with you.
  23. Feel guilty for dragging the dog.
  24. Get home and have a glass of wine to help you relax.
  25. Check available jobs online.
  26. Worry because there are no jobs you’re qualified to do.
  27. Check your refrigerator.
  28. Text your children.
  29. Do stress baking to make up for the See’s you can’t send.
  30. Realize all you have for eyes for your darling Easter cookies are cinnamon red dots.
  31. Realize all your cute Easter bunnies, ducks and lambs look like zombies.
  32. Realize you’ve turned your Easter egg cookies into alien faces.
  33. Worry that aliens will scare the kids.
  34. Decide to mail them anyway.
  35. Realize it’s too expensive to mail packages of cookies to everyone.
  36. Try to eat them all yourself.
  37. Repeat.

In general, I’m not the type to worry. I’ve been through so much, I figure I can handle anything. But worry tends to creep in when words like pandemic start getting tossed around. So, I’ve turned to comfort.

I love the comfort of my favorite soft blanket wrapped around me as I nod off watching Netflix. I love my bed, down comforter, mom’s crochet bed topper, and the minimum of four pillows I sleep with every night. I’m christening them John, Paul, George and Ringo.

I love that times like this remind me, that even when my family drives me nuts(luckily not often)I still love them, miss them, and hope they’re all safe. I’ve heard it said that sometimes curses turn out to be blessings. This could be one, if it makes us realize how much we love our family and friends.

And I love my morning walks to the park up the hill too. I’ve discovered park trails that lead off to quiet little corners, where deer feed on fresh grass. I love watching snails dragging their houses, slowly reaching their destination. I love walking slowly through and taking it all in, now that I have the time.

I also love chicken soup with dumplings.

Right in the middle of any poetic reverie, I always revert back to food – it’s a cross I willingly bear. I forgot I loved dumplings, but remembered this week when I was looking for something to take the edge off of furlough. I’d turn to wine, but I’m toast after one glass, so that never works. But dumplings work. My thighs are unhappy, but are going along with it because it keeps me quiet.

So, I took the package of roasted chicken I bought, made soup like my mom used to, and found a good recipe for dumplings. I love that they add a creaminess to chicken soup that’s just right. I love curling my spoon through a dumpling and finding the interior remarkably dry, but perfectly moist. It’s great with some grated cheese too. And I love that when I have chicken soup with dumplings, I’m reminded of my mom.

If she was here, she’d be terrified of the Covid 19 virus. She’d be kneeling in front of light up Jesus praying constantly. And she would have gone crazy because she was such a people person. Staying at home, with no hugs and kisses would have done her in. I’m just hoping the eight billion novenas she made in her lifetime lasts to cover this whole episode. Then I could worry a little less. In the meantime, Chicken Soup with Dumplings will have to get me through. (And don’t worry, I just corrected the recipe after Cousin Cheri called and told me I had mistakenly put in 2 cups of salt and pepper. I love salt, but not that much!)Thank God for family – they actually read this blog!

OH! And I almost forgot. Facetime, call, text, or conference call the family and friends, and have a Happy Easter and Passover! We WILL get through this.

Ma’s Chicken Soup with Dumplings

Yields1 Serving

 4 qts water
 1 Rotisserie chicken carcass with lots of meat left on
 2 stalks of celery chopped in 1 inch chunks including inner leaves
 ½ cup fresh parsley (optional)
 1 clove of garlic sliced
 1 medium onion (quartered
 3 large carrots chopped
 ½ cup pureed tomato sauce (optional)
 Salt and Pepper to taste, or Braggs Liquid Aminos
 1 ½ cups egg noodles OR 1 serving of Dumplings- see recipe below
Dumplings for Chicken Soup
 1 cup flour
 1 tsp salt (this was good, but I love salt, so you might want less)
 1 tsp baking powder
 ½ tsp dried thyme (or if using fresh use 1 tsp)
 2 tbsp butter (melted)
 ½ cup milk

1

Put the chicken and water in a large pot and add the celery, parsley, garlic, onion, and carrots and bring to a boil. Skim off the foam (if there is any).

2

Lower temperature and let soup simmer until chicken is cooked or meat is falling from the bone. Remove meat from the pot, remove the bone and return meat to soup mixture.

3

Add the tomato sauce. Then add 2 cups of noodles OR gently drop the the dumplings on top of the soup, and simmer until noodles or dumplings are cooked. If adding dumplings, cover the pan and let them cook for 15 minutes.

4

You may also take liberties and add my favorite ingredient; sautéed chopped spinach with garlic (but that wasn’t in my mom’s original soup recipe). The grated cheese on top is really yummy!

5

When making the dumplings, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, thyme, and melted butter. Add the milk until the dumplings hold together. They will be sticky. Then drop them in the gently boiling soup using a serving spoon, or smaller, using an ice cream scoop. I like them larger. Let them cook for 15 minutes then serve.

Ingredients

 4 qts water
 1 Rotisserie chicken carcass with lots of meat left on
 2 stalks of celery chopped in 1 inch chunks including inner leaves
 ½ cup fresh parsley (optional)
 1 clove of garlic sliced
 1 medium onion (quartered
 3 large carrots chopped
 ½ cup pureed tomato sauce (optional)
 Salt and Pepper to taste, or Braggs Liquid Aminos
 1 ½ cups egg noodles OR 1 serving of Dumplings- see recipe below
Dumplings for Chicken Soup
 1 cup flour
 1 tsp salt (this was good, but I love salt, so you might want less)
 1 tsp baking powder
 ½ tsp dried thyme (or if using fresh use 1 tsp)
 2 tbsp butter (melted)
 ½ cup milk

Directions

1

Put the chicken and water in a large pot and add the celery, parsley, garlic, onion, and carrots and bring to a boil. Skim off the foam (if there is any).

2

Lower temperature and let soup simmer until chicken is cooked or meat is falling from the bone. Remove meat from the pot, remove the bone and return meat to soup mixture.

3

Add the tomato sauce. Then add 2 cups of noodles OR gently drop the the dumplings on top of the soup, and simmer until noodles or dumplings are cooked. If adding dumplings, cover the pan and let them cook for 15 minutes.

4

You may also take liberties and add my favorite ingredient; sautéed chopped spinach with garlic (but that wasn’t in my mom’s original soup recipe). The grated cheese on top is really yummy!

5

When making the dumplings, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, thyme, and melted butter. Add the milk until the dumplings hold together. They will be sticky. Then drop them in the gently boiling soup using a serving spoon, or smaller, using an ice cream scoop. I like them larger. Let them cook for 15 minutes then serve.

Ma’s Chicken Soup with Dumplings

  • Reply
    Larry Fojtik
    April 13, 2020 at 10:59 am

    Fran, I roared.. and .. my Italian bride from Edgewood/ Swissvale has a ‘light-up Jesus’ picture, too. I want to send you a picture! *Cosmic* hug! Xx

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 14, 2020 at 5:08 pm

      Larry, if I loved you any more, your Italian bride from Edgewood/Swissvale would strangle me. You rock Larry!!!!! Thanks for always reading my blog. Miss you!

  • Reply
    Charles Burkett
    April 11, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    Thank you, Fran. You made me laugh. Your timing was perfect as I was just sitting here thinking how unmotivated and unfocused I’ve become. Maybe I’ll make your chicken soup this week. Your recipes have never failed me. All the best.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 11, 2020 at 4:11 pm

      Awww Chuck. Thank you so much. Good thing you didn’t catch this recipe before I corrected it. You would have ended up with 2 cups of salt in your dumplings – not so tasty! Happy Easter!

  • Reply
    lafriday
    April 11, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    I love you. I just want to point out that by naming your pillows, you are actually sleeping with bed bugs (snicker). Hang in there, Baby. Watch “Better Things” on Netflix. You’ll love it. Happy Zombie Easter! <3

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 11, 2020 at 4:15 pm

      Thank you Linda! At least I’m sleeping with someone finally! I tried calling you the other night and couldn’t get you. Glad to see you are well and your sense of humor is intact! Happy Easter! Love you!

  • Reply
    Nicol Z
    April 10, 2020 at 10:58 pm

    Fran, I love you, and I love your post so much. You are amazing and I believe, like you, that we just might get through all of this better than we think. It’s possible. It will just take a lot of hearts and minds to be on the same page. And maybe with bellies full of your chicken and dumplings!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 11, 2020 at 12:03 am

      Love you right back Nicol! And chicken and dumplings can’t hurt! Virtual coffee soon!

  • Reply
    Jane Jacobs
    April 10, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    Fran, you are remarkable, loving, and spot-on psychic. You’ve been reading my mind or my diary lately?? I love this post, as I love all of your posts.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      April 10, 2020 at 8:13 pm

      Awww Jane, thank you so much! It’s just a reflection of my worry, which is pretty much everyone’s worry. Dumplings will get you through though. Honest! Happy Passover/Easter (I’m never sure which people celebrate what)!

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