Archive | October, 2012

Lemon Chicken & Orzo Soup with Sweet Cornbread

We had friends over the other night and I made an enormous (and I really mean eee-nor-mous) pot of this soup.  We had so much left over after we all partook that I sent them home with a quart of it, froze another quart, and then ate the rest of it all week while Elliott was out of town.  Lena ate it with me, sweet little thang.

(Why does she have two spoons and three cups?!)

Anyway, I was thinking of all my East Coast friends who are stuck in Hurricane Sandy and this sounded like a cozy meal to enjoy tonight.  If you’ve still got power (and can read this) and also have the ingredients (hah?), here are both delicious recipes:

Lemon Chicken & Orzo Soup
adapted from this recipe / serves 8


  • 3lbs chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces (thank you, Emily W!)
  • 4.5 cups low-sodium or homemade chicken broth 
  • 4.5 cups water
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped carrot 
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped onion 
  • 1 cup chopped celery 
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 8 ounces uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (or 2 T dried parsley)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon wedges (optional)
  • Coarsely cracked black pepper (optional)


  • Mix water and chicken broth in a large pot.  Add carrot, onion, celery, and salt to pan.
  • Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. 
  • Add reserved chicken, and simmer 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Keep warm.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. 
  • Add pasta to pan with chicken and broth mixture; stir in parsley, rind, and juice. 
  • Garnish each serving with lemon wedges and cracked black pepper, if desired. 

Sweet Golden Cornbread
adapted from this recipe / makes one 9-inch pan


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil 


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray or lightly grease a 9-inche round cake pan.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
  • Stir in egg, milk, and vegetable oil until well combined.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

I’m linking up with 33 Shades of Green and Not Just a Housewife today.  This means those two websites have compiled a list of lots of bloggers who are posting tasty recipes or interesting crafts today
13 :: in eat this

fall color in Sicily

Ever since I returned to Sicily last week, I’ve been feeling sad about leaving beautiful fall color behind in Virginia.  We love living here, but there’s just nothing like autumn on the East Coast.  I think it’s the rich color saturation of everything: leaves, clothes, sky, scarves, apples, boots, lipstick, pumpkins. 
Last week my friend Becca mentioned that there is fall color on Mt. Etna, the highest volcano in Europe, which is just a 45-min drive from our house.   Quick, gather a crew and let’s go hiking!  With two of our closest family friends here, we drove up to the slopes of the volcano, picnics packed and children in tow. 

Aren’t the kids cute?  Elliott and I got to see what “hiking” will look like in a few years when Lena’s a little older and we add a babe or two to our family!  These are some rockstar parents, folks.

 I’m linking up with Weekend Update Blog Hop and The Weekend File.
11 :: in friends, hiking, Mt Etna, Sicily, weekend

a little Virginia autumn for your weekend

^ “Umm, Mama, I’d really like to go on a walk with you but I just have to figure out how to bring all my shoes along too.”

The weekend before we left Virginia and returned to Sicily, my parents, siblings, Elliott, Lena, and I drove to a pretty little getaway in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Elliott and I swung by UVA to pick up my sister Emily on our way to the house my mom had rented for all of us.  We soaked up time together with hikes in the mountains, leisurely meals and conversation indoors, and quiet moments around the fire pit or in the hot tub outside.  Lena especially enjoyed the huge walking stick bugs (“bee!  bee!” and giggles) that her daddy caught for her.

I’ll leave you with a portrait of a blogging couple.  This is how we spend many evenings together but usually no one else is around to say, “Aww, you two are so cute with your matching computers!” and take a picture. 

5 :: in family, Lena, Virginia, weekend

urchin poufs

Elliott saw this photo in KLM’s inflight magazine and brought it home for me.  He knows me well.  I’m completely smitten with Christien Meindertsma‘s oversized knitting projects, especially her “urchin poufs.”

What do you think?  Wow or whoa?

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16 :: in links I love

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