If I was a working woman (which I'm not), wearing away my nose on the grindstone of public education...I'd be checking the forecast for snow about five times a day. I only looked once. That's because last night, the temperature dipped to 49 degrees here at the homestead. I knew cooler days were on the way, because every few days I sneak a peek at the long-range forecast. Long for me. Ten days ahead.
Because of the impending cool snap, I bought some vegetable beef soup mix last week. You don't think Val would make soup totally from scratch, do you? Hick is lucky he doesn't have me cutting open a can of Campbell's Chunky. At least I wouldn't have to use a pocket knife like a hobo. While it's true that I don't have an electric can opener, I DO have one of those lever/wedge/wheel-and-axle manual kinds (always the ex-science teacher, promoting the simple machines--sorry about that, screw/pulley/inclined plane, your time will come) that works just as well, providing you don't have an undiagnosed case of carpal tunnel syndrome.
I browned some Save A Lot hamburger while waiting for the eight cups of water to come to a rolling boil, more for the flavor than to avoid watching the pot. I opened up some cans of small whole potatoes for dicing (since we don't have real ones because without The Pony desiring them baked, they go rotten too fast), sliced carrots, green beans, diced tomatoes (the last real ones I had, on the stem, kept really well, but when sliced open the seeds were about an inch long and creepy so I threw them out). I drained the fluid from all but the diced tomatoes. By that time, the water roiled, and I whisked in my soup mix. Then I added the hamburger (after sopping up the grease with 3 slices of stale Nutty Oat bread as it cooked, for the dogs' nightly treat), and chopped a white onion (without losing any partial-thumbs) and sweated it to add later. In went the canned veggies, along with three packets of Splenda, and varying sized dashes of Heinz 57 Sauce, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, ketchup, and minced garlic. A few grinds of black pepper from the grinder that my best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel gave me a while back (not the original pepper), and my sweaty onions were ready to join the pot.
Whoopsie! I just remembered! I forgot the yellow mustard dash this time. But that's okay! Because this soup was perfect the first time I tasted it! That doesn't always happen. The soup was done by noon, but I resisted except for tasting the juice. At 4:15 I put it on the stove to warm up, and went out to take a short walk while the dogs fought for my attention. I love this time of year! Even though the wish for snow seems pointless now, I can wish it for my cronies who still toil in the trenches of academia.
I was planning to make Hick some garlic cheese bread to go with the soup, even though he had some the past two nights with his spaghetti and the leftovers. Hick said he was fine without it, but he would take some canned biscuits that were only two weeks past the expiration date, having languished in Frig II since The Pony left before we had time to cook them. Gotta watch out for those canned biscuits. They were instrumental in the downfall of the original Frig.
I called Hick to the kitchen so he could heap his pile of soup himself. He doesn't cotton to the juice, you know. Which I found out when he put a whole beef roast in his bowl, piled twice as high as the rim. He only gets hamburger in it now, which is harder to build with because of its rounded edges. Can you believe that Hick didn't believe me about the biscuits having the butter already baked in? I suppose I should have left out the label. Or showed him the dough before I slid the pan in the oven. He actually tore one apart and said, "So you say there's butter in here?"
That soup was great, if I do say so myself. I guess it's kind of like patting myself on the back for a boxed-mix cake, but it DID take me an hour to assemble.
Sure wish I could have had one of those biscuits.