Leftover Soup

I call my homemade soup leftover soup for the obvious reason; many of the ingredients of each batch are leftovers from my fridge or freezer.  Meat, vegetables, broth, gravy, rice, quinoa; anything and everything goes.

I make my own broth by keeping the pan drippings from roast chicken, turkey or beef in a container in my freezer, all mixed together.  As soon as each addition to the container starts to freeze, i scrape off and discard the fat that has risen to the top.  I also add any excess liquid from steamed vegetables to the bucket in the freezer. Then when the day comes to make soup, out comes the container to use for the base of the soup.  This is a simple, healthy and delicious way to make broth without added artificial flavors or preservatives.  If you are really organized and efficient, you can pour the broth into ice cube trays to be frozen individually instead of all together in a bucket.  This works well when you only need a few spoonfuls of broth for a recipe. I prefer the bucket method.

The broth is flavored with the roasted onions and garlic that I always add to  the bottom of the roasting pan before cooking meat.  The onions and garlic brown up nicely when cooked this way, adding color and flavor to the pan drippings.  These pan drippings can be used to baste the roasting meat and then to either make gravy when the meat is done cooking, or to add to my broth bucket in the freezer.

The other thing I freeze for homemade soup is chicken or turkey bones.  When the carcass is almost picked clean after a roast dinner, i stick it in a freezer bag and store it in the freezer until soup day.  Simmered in a pot of water with added spices such as cilantro, basil or bay leaves, it makes a great base for soups too.  If it appears too watery, I just add some of the broth from  my bucket.

I have also frozen broccoli stalks to add to simmering soup stock for added flavor.  I store them in a freezer bag as well after removing them from the florets anytime I serve broccoli as a vegetable. Once cooked, the stocks can be pureed in a blender to thicken the soup or chopped and added to the finished soup in chunks.  It is amazing what nutritious vegetables you can hide in a soup!

Once I have the base prepared, I add rice, quinoa or beans for texture and heartiness, as well as any other fresh vegetables I have on hand such as grape or cherry tomatoes and mushrooms.  Frozen corn is always an option too for added crunch to the soup.  Occasionally I will roast a batch of mushrooms, onions and peppers to add to the soup pot.  Just before serving, I often add a few tablespoons of jalapeno flavored tzatziki to give the soup a little kick.  See a previous post on this miracle ingredient Skotidakis

The only problem with this leftover soup is, no two batches of soup are ever the same!  When one turns out particularly well, it is difficult to remember what exactly was in it.  My mother-in-law used to love my  homemade soup, but would get quite frustrated when I couldn’t produce a recipe for her to follow to make her own.

Something Stinks in Kanata

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Something Stinks in Kanata

Something stinks in Kanata and for once it is not the Carp dump.  Last Thursday (Nov 13th), Earl of March  (EOM) played AY Jackson (AY) in a high school hockey game that would decide which team made the playoffs.  These high school teams are cross town rivals with many of the players playing together on competitive and house league teams within KMHA for many years.  Most have respect for the abilities of the others, and everyone knew it would be an exciting game.  Many of these players had turned down the chance to play competitive hockey at higher levels so they could play high school hockey with and against their friends during their last year of high school.  The fans were out in full force, including a human sized mascot representing each team.  It is most unfortunate that the rival match did not get resolved on the hockey rink as it should have.   Instead, the National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association (NCSSAA) chose to protect a referee’s poor decision made because of an overreaction in a heated discussion.

The role of the referee in a hockey game is to supervise the action on the ice, not to control the outcome of a game.  The referee in question made several calls that the EOM coach repeatedly requested clarification of.  The official would not approach the EOM bench, but was quick to go to the AY bench to clarify any questions they had.  When AY scored to tie the game at 1 goal each, the referee finally approached the EOM bench.  This was after the referee had placed the wrong EOM player in the penalty box, but would not allow the assistant captain on the ice at the time to tell him so, had not blown his whistle when a pile up (in a non- contact game) occurred at the EOM net (although he did many times at the opposing net) resulting in the tying goal.  Upon approaching the EOM bench, the referee and coach exchanged words and the ref indicated that he was assigning a gross misconduct to the coach.  From the many written reports from the boys on the bench, their coach did not use foul language or did not threaten the referee in any way.  He certainly did not commit a “travesty of the game” as should be necessary for a gross misconduct call.  The coach explained that he could not leave the game as he was the only coach on the bench.  His understanding at that point was that he worked out the difference of opinion with the referee, promising to keep quiet if the game was to continue.

Continue it did, resulting in a 4-1 victory for EOM.  This score was evident on the scoreboard and on the game sheet that was signed off by both officials as being accurate.  All fans agreed it was a hard fought, well deserved victory for EOM.  The coach apologized to the referee once again at the end of the game, receiving no warning or indication of a forfeit.  As a matter of fact, the gross misconduct was never recorded on the game sheet.  However, after the game, the referee filed an independent report including the gross misconduct for the EOM coach and calling the game a forfeit.

There are many parts of this fiasco that should have been considered in the decision to forfeit the game:

-Why did the game continue if the referee felt so threatened or insulted?  Instead he told the coach they were “good to go” and the game continued.  He continued to report goals and penalties to the score/time keeper for recording on the game sheet. He did not mention the fact that he was planning to recommend a forfeit on a separate form to any of the coaches or players, during or after the game when all of the coaches, officials and players shook hands.

-Why were the coaches and players of both teams as well as the convenor not informed of this decision until much later when a 2-0 score for AY (probably should have read 2-0 for the referee) was questioned and assumed to be a typo on a website that displays results?   Even then, there was no indication of a forfeit!   Was the high and mighty NCSSAA athletic coordinator sitting waiting for the “shit to hit the fan” instead of notifying the coaches and convenor?  When was he planning on telling the teams involved?

-What is the function of the game sheet if not to record details of the game including penalties and score?  It is understandable that a separate report be filed if there is insufficient room on the game sheet for penalties incurred, or if an incident occurs after the game sheet has been signed off and separated for disposition to both teams.  Why bother having a game sheet or scoreboard if their recordings are not to be considered accurate reflections of the game?  A separate report should never overrule the statistics reported on the game sheet.

That is exactly what happened.  The separate report was filed by the referee and the game forfeited by EOM, although no one thought to notify the EOM team.    EOM players did not know they “lost” until the next morning.  I’m sure AY players finding out they won was a much happier scene; they certainly had no reason to believe that they won before that.  Obviously the EOM boys were and continue to be heartbroken. I hope the “powers that be” involved in this mess slept well these past few nights, comfortable in the fact that their cowardly and unjust actions had the potential to rock the world of the innocent EOM players.

Five days later an appeal was finally heard by the NCSSAA board, although I had the sick feeling in my stomach that was telling me it was simply a formality and no justice would be served.    The decision that EOM forfeited the game due to a gross misconduct incurred by their coach was upheld.  I guess I was hoping in my heart that the wrong would be righted, even though I had warned my son that it probably would not happen.

I think the saddest part of this story is the fact that a bigger person, either the referee or the NCSSAA athletic coordinator, could have and should have acknowledged that many mistakes were made, all based on an overreaction to an innocent request for an explanation of a penalty call.

There are those that may argue that referees decisions must be upheld.  I understand the predicament of the officials.  They do get yelled at a lot, but if they want to be a hockey official at this level of the game, they should develop thicker skins.  Again, their role is to supervise the action on the ice, not to control the outcome of the game, especially such an important game.  Perhaps the money saved on printing game sheets and running the score boards could be used on training the officials to handle these situations more effectively.

Another argument raised was that the AY boys would be upset if the ruling was overturned.  At the risk of repeating myself, at no time could the AY boys have felt that they had won the game Thursday.  If fact, I hear many of them do not even want to play in the playoffs due to such a hollow victory over many of their friends.

Then there is the argument of the ugly history involved between AY and EOM fans and players.  Why should the players and coaches this year be tarred with the same brush?  Just because of a brawl years ago, that none of these players or coaches participated in, the referee should feel intimidated and throw a coach out for requesting an explanation?  I think not.

As parents we teach our children to face up to our mistakes so they can be rectified as soon as possible.  In this case, the mistakes could have been easily rectified by reversing the forfeit before the playoffs begin.  There were two chances for this to happen; you failed twice Mr NCSSAA athletic coordinator.

The only travesty committed was one of justice.   Everyone that attended the game knew who won, well maybe except for the referee and the NCSSAA athletic coordinator.

Gardens4U: Closed For the Season….Reason??…Freezin!!

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       CLOSED FOR THE SEASON…                                          REASON?…                                                      FREEZIN!!!!

I am sad to report, GARDENS4U is closed for the season.    This week I will be adding evergreen boughs to the planters on my front step and in front of my garage.  Let me know if you would like me to do the same for you here in Kanata.  Follow this link EVERGREEN to view pictures of ones I made up last year.

Next month I will  be selling beautiful Christmas centerpieces in December here in Kanata.  These arrangements have amaryllis bulbs as their focal point and make a unique gift for your mother, mother-in-law, neighbour, hostess, etc.  The amaryllis bulbs have been forced to bloom during the Christmas holiday season. This picture is from last years batch:

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Stay tuned for this season’s list of creations…

Is Winter Coming? Tell that to the Roses and Magnolia in my Gardens!

Is winter coming?  You would never know it looking at my perennial gardens, especially the roses.  Although my calendar says we are approaching mid November and we have been experiencing a bit of cold weather including snow flurries, I am still enjoying plenty of blooms!

My magnolia tree (top left) thinks it is spring; it usually produces these buds first thing in spring before the leaves arrive on the tree.  You can see in the picture that the buds are swollen even though the leaves are dead and ready to fall off, a sign of fall and not spring.  That magnolia tree actually bloomed three times this summer with all of the temperature fluctuations we experienced.

My many roses, including the shrub, climbing, miniature and bush roses are still producing buds and some look like they are in full bloom.

With the warmer temperatures this past week, especially last Tuesday, (see my previous article  Weather ) I had hoped that the rose buds would develop further into gorgeous flowers, but it did not happen.

Although these blooms have brightened up the landscape this past month, it is time to snip off the buds on the roses so their strength will go to the roots for the cold winter!

Multi-tasking: Cleaning out my Lingerie Drawer and Making Garden Ties

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Did you know you can do both of these chores at the same time?  Old nylon stockings make great garden ties; they work great for tying up floppy plants or staking small trees.  The nylon is stretchy, yet strong, and still soft enough so it will not harm the growing plants.  Simply cut the stockings or legs of panty hose into strips, wide ones and skinny ones.

I’ve used the beige ones before, not sure how the black lace will look in my garden!