Thursday, April 12, 2012

For Simplicity's Sake

Sometimes I get wrapped up in nonsense.  In my head, the response is so easy.  The answer is clear.  But in action... hmmm, not so much.  Simplifying your life is sometimes a lot harder than it should be.  Maybe that's because I have this strange impulse to wipe the slate clean and redo all aspects of my life when times get tough.  On a conscious level, of course this is ridiculous, but that doesn't mean the imagination doesn't stop.  Attacking the simplification process in a more stable, long-lasting approach is WAAAY more difficult.  But nonsense entanglement is no fun.  So we try.  

Bit by bit, we try.  

I kind of hate feeling out of control.  And there are a lot of things out of my control these days.  That's not to say they aren't potentially good things, but try though I may, I am my mother's daughter.  And this girl wants a handle on things - if not direct control of the situation.  (direct control preferred).  Nothing ever comes to be in the way you anticipate.  I am surprised every time (every time) when my expectations pop up and surprise me when they aren't met... I feel like I'm perpetually restarting myself in naive mode, ignoring, or at least not paying particular attention to the expectations in my head.  Like if I don't recognize them, there will be no let down.  I'll spare you the suspense...  That works never.  Sigh.  

So... control over the big stuff is not the cards today.  It's time to focus on the small stuff.  It's chicken soup time. 

Chicken soup is one of those foods that is consistently comforting.  Be it sick of body, sick of soul, or just so flipping mentally stuck it drives you insane... chicken soup is always the correct prescription.  
It's wholesome.  It's satisfying.  It's slow.  And slow is good in this case.  Sometimes I'm tempted into the canned variety, but I always regret it.  It just doesn't quite....  you know?  There is just something about making a meal from scratch that is so much more satisfying. 

Chicken Soup for the Control Freak's Soul

1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
bay leaves (1-4, to your taste)
salt and pepper
olive oil (enough to coat your pan)
 ~2 T.butter
2-3 large chicken breasts, diced
1 c. chicken broth
vegeta seasoning (if you don't have this, get it!  So worth it)
celery salt

In a medium sized skillet, heat a few teaspoons of olive oil and butter together until butter is melted.  (It seems a bit superfluous, but don't skimp on one or the other.. you need both to build a strong flavor base).  Saute onion, carrots, celery and bay leaves until the veg is soft and onions become translucent.  (I adore the taste of bay leaf, so I always use ~4 leaves, but for the purist, I suppose one would do.)  Remove from skillet and pour into soup pot.  In the existing oily/buttery goodness, saute chicken breasts until slightly caramelized and cooked through. (If you must add more melty non-stick goodness, add butter to avoid potentially stain-ful and painful oil splatter)  Remove from skillet and add to veg.  Add chicken broth and fill with water to desired amount.  Season lightly and bring to a slow boil.  Simmer for ~25 mins.  Add a small handful of vegeta seasoning (found at global food markets and the occasional international aisle) and a light sprinkle of celery salt; simmer for a final 5 mins.  
Delicious served with fresh cheesy bread.  


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