Italian Wedding Soup (Dairy Free)

As I look back over blog entries I have made in the last several months, I notice a plethora of recipes. I don’t know why this is… I don’t think I am cooking more than usual… I think I have just fine-tuned some things and therefore established new favorites. The favorites and the recipes that have become traditional and memory- makers, get posted on the blog.

My joy in discovering a meatball recipe we love led me to ponder recipes that could incorporate these delights. 🙂 My mind traversed down memory lane. The first and last time I ate Italian Wedding Soup was at a dear friend’s wedding which I believe was 14 years ago! I enjoyed that soup and I wondered if I could make one myself. I researched. I was amazed. A quick research of Italian Wedding Soup recipes will bring you multiple variations. So, I took a little of this and a little of that to create this one which became an instant family favorite. Love. Our family really enjoys a tasty soup and this one is so comforting- almost as comforting as home-made chicken noodle. In my research, I did find out that this soup is used in that manner- for nourishment after illness- in other countries. It is also NOT traditionally served at Italian weddings.(At least as far as these internet articles stated -and more than one at that- however, I am not Italian so I cannot verify this personally!)

It is called Italian Wedding Soup because the flavors “marry well” with each other creating a delicious unity. It is also a beautiful soup with the vibrant colors combining appetizingly. I tried for a picture but wasn’t able to do it justice.

Italian Wedding Soup
Ingredients:
3 Large Carrots or a 1 pound bag of baby carrots, finely chopped
3 Cups or so of finely diced chicken. It is best to use chicken that has been slow-cooked and therefore shreds. Dice the shreds. However, you could use any left-over chicken, finely diced.
Home-Made Flavorful Chicken Stock
Water
Mini Meatballs
approximately 8 eggs ( it seems to work best to count for one (around) egg per person when dropping eggs into soup)
1 9 ounce bag baby spinach chopped
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
Tiny pasta like Orzo or Stars (optional- I did not make it with this)

Directions:
Layer chopped carrots in bottom of soup pot. Layer diced chicken on top of carrot layer. Fill pot half-way with home-made broth/stock. Fill it the rest of the way with water. Bring to a rolling boil. Add the pre-cooked meatballs and gently boil for fifteen minutes.
In a bowl, crack eggs and whisk briskly until nicely combined.
With one hand, gently swirl soup in a circular direction, while pouring egg mixture into soup in a thin stream with other hand. Let cook for ten minutes.
Season with ½ tsp. pepper, ½ tsp. basil, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt.
Cook until carrots are entirely tender.

Just before serving, add 7-9 ounces chopped baby spinach. Cook for just a few minutes until spinach is combined and slightly cooked but not entirely wilted.

Turn stove off.

Serve immediately with home-made crusty bread and crackers.

Leftovers are also delcious!

The Things They Say

My four year old is painting, painting, painting.

I sit down for a minute to read a section of my bible study book in the same room.

Suddenly, I hear,
“Mommy- what is he doing?”
“Why painting…” I answer innocently. This child is a wonder with his focus and concentration.

“You should see him.” Oldest son says to me and to said child, “Go show Mommy.”

He comes over to me. His entire hand up to his elbow is painted many hues of crayola washable kids paint.

I rush him to the bathroom sink and start to wash.

“This is wrong…” I tell him. “You don’t paint your skin.”

He replies in total seriousness, “You painted Abi’s toenails… that’s skin.”

I am momentarily flummoxed.

The Things They Say.

The Things They Say

This week my little girl (8) created a store complete with:

The store is laid out on the train table top.

A door with a lock and a little sign that says open or close.

The store is currently closed. 🙂

Various stock of all kinds of differing prices. All labeled carefully.
A cash box for collecting the monies.
Everything neatly organized. A wall created and chairs for comfort.
And while she runs the store, she is caring for two sets of twins in the background. 😉

Two sets of twins peacefully sleeping in the back of the store.

We created some pieces of paper money that she handed out so family could shop her store.

Several siblings have shopped the store this week. Buying her stock… and then returning it so she can replenish the supply. (Ha! They “eat” the plastic food and then give it back. O.My.)

One son(9) offered sage financial advice and improvements- all of his own accord- demanding a receipt of purchases and suggesting several other ideas.

After one day of earnest shopping, no more shoppers could be enticed. Various bits of stock could be found in unique places- mainly my four year old’s bed which housed a lone plastic hot dog and a little plastic piece of hot pepper.
All the stock was returned.

This afternoon, my little boy (6) was earnestly calculating and cutting bits of paper.

Little Boy -6- busily manufacturing “money”.

Adding in his head and labeling paper bits- $25.

The pile grows…

Upon inquiring, I learned this:

“Abi said she would sell her store for 200.00 dollars! “ Eyes wide, voice hushed. The immensity of this amount of money not lost upon his small soul.
He is busily making piece of money after piece of money.
“I am going to buy her out!” He states.
He is now at $600.00 and “that’s a lot.” He states gravely.

If only it were that easy… to generate money. 😉 This is the thought that runs through my head and also- that my daughter is an astute businesswoman at this young age. Enticing brothers to buy out her store… ( I do think Daddy’s suggestion had something to do with this… although I can’t quite place the how and why.)

As he is busily working on this, two older brothers(11 & 12) are enthralled- their competitive juices are stirred. They attempt to begin crafting money. A small dispute breaks out.

“Nate- what are you doing?” I cry out.

Jonah answers in all emphatic seriousness:

“He’s trying to become a millionaire like me!!!”

The things they say (and do!)

Meatballs Take Two

A variation on my meatball love recipe.

I created this quite by accident. It doesn’t seem to be “too oatmealy” or “too spicy/garlicky.” It hasn’t passed the kid test yet. 😉 It does stretch the meat a bit further with the extra oatmeal. This is what happens when you follow a recipe in your head and not the one you carefully wrote down!

10 pounds ground beef
10 eggs
5 cups oatmeal
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

(as you can see, this has quite a bit more oatmeal, and quite a bit more seasoning)

Form into mini meatballs. I like to use my pampered chef mini scoop.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until no longer pink.

Drain on paper towels. Freeze or eat immediately!

Chocolate Wacky Cake

Wacky Cake

3 Cups Flour
2 Cups Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
6 TB Cocoa
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Vinegar
10 Tablespoons Oil
2 Cups Cold Water

Toppings:

Option 1: Confectioner’s Sugar- dust over cooled cake
Option 2: Confectioner’s Sugar with fresh fruit such as strawberries or raspberries- dust over cooled cake and garnish each piece with fruit
Option 3: 1 bag Chocolate Chips- pour chips over hot cake and allow to melt; once melted- smooth carefully over entire cake covering to the edges. This creates a fudgy topping if served that day/night. If served the next day, the topping is crunchy. Speed up the crunch by popping it into the freezer for a bit before serving. We like it best crunchy. 🙂

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
Mix Dry Ingredients in a Bowl.
Add Vanilla, Vinegar, Oil and Water. Blend well.
Pour into an ungreased 13 by 9 inch baking dish OR a 11 by 16 inch baking dish. Using the larger baking dish creates a bar-like cake which is very nice.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Enjoy!!!