Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hearty Pennsylvania Dutch Rivel Soup

My hubby was raised in Pennsylvania Dutch country, and comes from family that split from the Amish community generations ago.  Thus it comes as no surprise that this recipe is a major comfort food for Karl.

Personally coming from a background of both my parents being full-fledged Irish, this recipe had escaped me until marrying Karl.  It was discovered when my mother-in-law had made some and served it to Karl when he had gone over to their place to fetch something.  He came back all happy and sharing with me how great it was to have that particular soup again.

"Ribble soup?"

"No, RiVel soup."

"Oh....what's that?"

"You don't know?  It's chicken and corn and dough balls."

"Sounds good.  How do you make it?"

"I dunno."

I should have expected that answer.

Seeing how much he was smiling as he tried to describe what it was to me, I decided to ask his mom for the recipe and make it GF.  My first attempt got rave reviews from Karl, so it's been a keeper ever since!  I was also a quick convert to loving the soup, not to mention how wonderfully frugal and easy it is to make!

You'll Need:

- chicken thighs (about a 12-16 thighs for a family of four)
- optional: chicken legs, skin still on (adds a nice extra boost of flavor to the broth when you leave the skin on)
- corn (about a cup)
- carrots (if prefer- they aren't traditional for this recipe, but I like to add them sometimes)
- 2-3 stalks of celery
- 1 bayleaf
- salt and pepper
- celery salt
- 3 tbsp parsley
- 1 & 1/2 tbsp olive oil

If preferred, you can also add 1/2 cup chicken broth, but it's not really necessary. 

For the dough:
- 2 cups brown rice flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup water

Note: When I cook, I rarely measure because I like to go on instinctual creativity and just have fun with the process.  I cook by 'feeling' out what goes with what, eyeing things up, or personal taste, so feel free to tweak this recipe to make it your own as well.  Have fun experimenting!  :)

To Start:

- place all of the chicken into a pot and get the water boiling.  Let it boil for about 10 mins or until the foamy white fat comes to the surface (you can skim the fat off if you prefer), then bring it down to a simmer.
- add the salt & pepper, bayleaf, parsley, celery, olive oil, celery salt, corn, and carrots to the soup.
- put a lid over the pot and let it keep simmering for about 45 mins.
- test the chicken to make sure it is cooked through.  Letting the pot still simmer, take the chicken out of the pot and cut/shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces, then add back into the pot.
- in bowl, mix the flour and eggs (with your hands is best) until mixture turns into small crumbly balls, sizes ranging from pea-sized to cherry tomatoes.
- bring the pot of soup back up to a boil and drop handful after handful of the dough balls into the water until all the dough is in the pot.  Wait 1-2 more mins for dough to cook, then turn off stove and serve!

(thanks simpysugarandglutenfree, vegetarianmama, wholeintentions, onecreativemommy and glutenfreehomemaker for the feature!)

Update: Huge thanks to Amy at simplysugarandglutenfree for featuring this recipe in her top picks from last week's "Slightly Indulgent Tuesday" recipe share!  That's awesome, I'm thrilled by your mention and am glad you liked it! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Big Announcement!

We've been sitting on this news for a few days, making confirmations and then letting family know before officially announcing it on the interwebs, so here goes!

No, we're not having a kiddo.

No, we didn't win the lottery.



Box waiting to be filled with junk ftw!

Awesome-er still, it's not another apartment, but a house we'll be renting!  By golly, but we are beside ourselves with excitement (even Karl has been seen jumping up and down at the news).  Our first time ever in our own place.  Get ready future neighbors: we may crank our music and yell quite a bit just because we can the first few weeks.  ;)

Such an answer to prayer.  We've been looking to buy a home for nearly three years, but no house or land has fit both what we need and our budget.  Then this past year health conditions in the apartment are so bad with the mold that Karl has had an ongoing cough for months and I've been wheezing, so that was our cue that we needed to get out asap!   We're so grateful that we can now continue our house-search in not only more healthy conditions, but a place of our own.

Officially, the move-in day is Oct 6th!  Friends/family: If you're free and willing, we'd love to have your help! (we'll provide food and back braces afterwards!).  If you can't make it for the move-in day, we'll be having a party once we're settled in to celebrate our new place, as well as both our birthdays.  (we figured we'd get it all out of the way in one go, heh).

Cheers for change!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

5th & 10th Anniversaries Weekend!

This past weekend Karl and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary by spending a Saturday in the historic district of Philadelphia (we're both history buffs).  It was a sunny and beautiful high 70's all weekend, much like the weather we had 5 years ago for our wedding day. :)

First stop: The National Constitution Center

 Karl was excited to be at the Center.  This is Karl's excited face.  :-P

They didn't allow for cameras inside, but I still sneaked a few with my phone. (breakin' the law, breakin' the law...')
 Shaking hands with Ben Franklin.

George Washington was taller than Karl! (& Karl is a good 6+ ft tall)

Next was the Liberty Bell.  After griping about no longer being able to actually touch the bell, we did the tourist deal and stood next to it for a pic like everyone else.

Since we had an hour to kill before our tour of Independence Hall, we went and relaxed in the lovely Washington Square park.  While there we saw a pair of newlyweds come in and have their pix taken.  Sept 15th is indeed a nice day to get married.  ;)

Independence Hall:

This is inside the very room where our founding fathers discussed and created the Constitution.  The head table against the wall at the front was Washington's.  That chair is the original chair he sat in, which is amazing to think about.  Though the men in this room met with the common goal of unifying the states, the gathered men would bicker and argue as they tried to come to agreement on issues of economy, rights, the function of government, judicial system, currency, and so much more.  Things that we still debate to this day.  Though there was much back and forth on concerns, the men also knew that if they did not come to an agreement, the fledgling nation that had only recently been freed of British rule would fall.  They had to unite.

Benjamin Franklin would often find himself gazing at the sun on Washington's chair, and wonder whether it was a setting or rising sun.  At times when progress for compromise seemed to be at a standstill, it would appear to him as that of a setting sun.  However, on the historic day when the men were signing the Constitution, Ben Franklin did the following:

"Whilst the last members were signing [the Constitution], Doctor Franklin, looking towards the Presidents chair, at the back of which a rising sun happened to be painted, observed to a few members near him, that painters had found it difficult to distinguish in their art, a rising, from a setting, sun. I have, said he, often and often, in the course of the session, and the vicissitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the President, without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting; but now at length, I have the happiness to know, that it is a rising, and not a setting sun. " 

Really is quite humbling to know how close we came as a new nation to never even being, and how one document would change the future of many.

Washington statue outside of Independence Hall

Sunday we went to Karl's 10 year anniversary highschool class reunion.  It was, and still is a small school, so we had the reunion in a local park.  I was friends with more people in Karl's class than my own when we were in highschool, so I was also looking forward to this.  Heather brought a ton of photos for us to look through and laugh over.  Oh how awkward highschool is....good memories though, not to mention it's where Karl and I met.  :)

It was fun getting to catch up with friends and meet their babies/munchkins.  One particular baby girl made the cutest pout whenever she would start crying.  I don't say "cute" lightly when it comes to babies, so you know it must have been darling.

To round things off, we also received some surprising news that was an answer to prayer on Sunday.  But that news will have to wait until the next post.  ;) 

It was such a nice weekend, and Karl and I truly can't believe how five years have flown by.  I am so grateful for my loving, funny, and supportive Karl.  We share countless inside jokes, have awesome talks and debates about anything from the technology of ancient civilizations to whether the "x" and "o" means kisses and hugs, or hugs and kisses (for the record, I say x = kiss, o= hug).  I look forward to many many many more years to come with my "trophy husband", the one and only Karl.  ;) 


Monday, September 17, 2012

Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Improvisation is what created this recipe one night.  I had half a lemon I didn't want to waste, some chicken, and rosemary seemed a good choice to balance out the slight tangy flavor the lemons imparted.  Voila!

This recipe also fits the bill for what I like a meal to be: easy-peasy, allergy-free, healthy, inexpensive, from wholesome foods and fast to make!   Sometimes improv is the best ally.

You'll Need:
- thin chicken strips
- rosemary or italian seasoning
- salt & pepper
- 1 lemon
- olive oil

To Start:
- preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- add olive oil to bottom of skillet - turn heat to med-high.
- place chicken in skillet.  Add rosemary/italian seasoning, salt & pepper.
- brown just the outsides of the chicken in the pan to seal the juices, leaving the insides pink to finish cooking in the oven.
- place half-cooked chicken in a baking dish and into the oven for about 10 mins.
- cut thin slices from the lemon.
- when the chicken is testing to be nearly done, add a slice of lemon to each chicken and let it bake a few more mins.

Next week I'll be putting forth my best effort to bake a GF/DF birthday cake that does not make me still think of the gluten-filled yummy-goodness I've left behind.  Past attempts of this have been unsuccessful, but I'm armed with a new recipe and hopeful!

(thanks to glutenfreehomemaker, vegetarianmamma, and slightly indulgent tuesday for the feature!)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake (GF/DF)

Oh yes.  Fall is here.

You'll Need:

- 3 tbsps water
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed
Note: Soaked flaxseed acts just as similarly as an egg when used, and adds omega-3's and fiber to the cake (we celiacs need our fiber!).  Otherwise, substitute one egg.

- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 3/4 cup sorghum
- 1 & 1/4 cup skinned and chopped apple
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 water (or milk)
- dash cinnamon

- cinnamon
- brown sugar

To Start:

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- If using the flaxseed rather than an egg, add the flaxseed into the 3 tbsps of water in a small separate bowl and let it sit and thicken 5-10 mins.
- In another bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and soda.
- Add the oil and thickened flaxseed oil (or egg), apple pieces, and mix while adding the water.
- Pour mix into 8-inch square baking pan and bake for 20 minutes or until it's golden brown on top
- When it's golden, take it out and add the sugar and cinnamon topping as a nice coating, then put it back into the oven for another 10 mins, or until an inserted toothpick comes up clean.

This baby won't last long.  Ours lasted 2 days.  ;)

(thanks to glutenfreehomemaker, vegetarianmama and simplysugarandglutenfree for the feature!)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Silver Screen Night #1: Trocadero (Phila, PA)

August 26th, 2012, we had a filmmaker's dream come true with the opportunity to screen Infinite and Guests of a Nation (see pictures from the "making of" Guests here and here) to an audience of over 200 at the historical Trocadero theater in Philadelphia, PA. 

 Our awesome cast of gentlemen (minus Nick Groch) from Guests of a Nation @ the Troc.
L-R: Shawn Feehly, Todd Lawson, Andy Breving, Mark Sullivan, Conor Fallon, Jon Mulhearn.

Both Infinite and Guests were just completed in mid-August, so to have a screening this soon was such a privilege.  Our two films were shown alongside a number of local filmmakers. My particular favorites were the silent film That Voodoo You Do by Andrew Bennett, and the well-acted and creatively woven Welcome Home by Danny Donnelly.

A majority of the cast and crew from our films sat together in the balcony and had ourselves a jolly good time as we waited for our films to appear on the silver screen.  Adding to the anticipation, only the director and editor had seen the finished films, making it a first viewing for us as well as the audience.   To say we were excited is an understatement.

When the films did play, the reception by the audience was amazing.  You could have heard a pin drop at some moments while Guests was playing.  The clapping and cheering (much of it instigated by our balcony section) went on for a long time as the credits rolled for both Infinite and Guests.

Comments after the screening from our cast were glowing, which added another smile to many of our faces.  A happy cast is worth its weight in gold.  We also received the following affirming reviews the next day:

"Guests of a Nation is a gut-wrenching and thought provoking journey into 1920s Ireland. Containing brilliant acting by the entire cast and phenomenal direction by Speers, Guests of a Nation stands out as a true masterpiece." - Dave Traverso
"Guests of a Nation blew me away. Very impressed." - Mark DeVito
"Movies take you into another world, away from yours for a period of time. Guests Of A Nation, Welcome Home, etc ...each film I viewed had its own unique vision, ultimately taking me away from my everyday world and to the edge of my seat. Great camera work, actors and stories..."
- Theresa Clark
"With remarkable special effects and a mind-blowing premise, Infinite far exceeds the traditional student film and ventures into the realm of epic fantasies." - Dave Traverso

Wootness.  ;)

Borrowing my Dad's saying, I was "pleased as punch" at the outcome of the finished films.  It is interesting to especially compare Guests to our first humble film, Divided, which ironically is also a historical fiction film.  Over the years since our crew of five people on Divided, we have grown with each production as we undertook new challenges and relied on new crew members, artists, and actors to help us grow in the craft.  Many of our actors & crew have ultimately become friends, and I am so proud of how far everyone has come in their individual area of expertise, and how much I love working with the circle of people we have come to know and trust.  Seriously, I found the first day of our production for Guests felt much like a family reunion, and that's not something you'll find very often in the film industry.  It is a treasure not to be taken for granted if you work with a crew like that. 

I look forward to seeing what the future holds for all of us.  Onward to a few more screenings coming down the line, and then come Spring 2013, hopefully playing in some film festivals!  Stay tuned!

Recent Press:
The Morning Call: Army Lifted Aspiring Director Daniel Speers of Chester Co. (5.17.12)
Flying Kite: Iraq War Vet's PA-Made Film A Reflection of Time Served (8.17.12)
Keystone Edge "" (8.23.12)
City Paper: Reel Time (8.24.12)

Movie Critic Dave: Recap: A Night of Short Films at the Troc (8.27.12)

Anyone wondering why I titled this "Silver Screen Night #1"?  Well, undoubtedly one would presume it's because it's the first of many.  You would be correct, because......

Tonight is our 2nd showing at the Reading R/C Theater!  Post to follow!  :-D

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dollar Tree - Now Accepts Coupons! BOGO Puffs Tissues

I went to the Dollar Tree today to get some napkins and a new toilet brush (sad to say, they no longer had toilet brushes).  BUT they made up for it when I saw a poster reading...

(image courtesy of dollartree.com)

*que epic music*  No seriously,  do it.  Click and listen as you read the awesomeness to follow.

I asked a clerk about it, and she told me they had just started it over the Labor Day weekend.  Cool beans yo.

This changes some of my strategy now for getting household items - there is potential to come away with free or nearly free things, like their Dawn or Ajax dish soaps, Crest and Colgate toothpaste, canned goods, etc.

For myself, I had a coupon for $1 off 2 boxes of Puffs tissues.  My eyes caught sight of their stock of Puffs, and that epic music started playing again in my head.

So, I paid $1.06 (total w/ tax) for 2 boxes of 100 ct Puffs tissues!  Just 2 months ago I paid (and it was on sale) $4.88 for a 3-pk of Puffs tissues, 124 ct each.  Admittedly, that 3-pk purchase is what gave me a $5 coupon booklet for P&G products such as Puffs, Crest, Dawn soap, etc., so it'll pay off a bit in the end.  But, $1.63 per box versus $.53 per box is a deal I'll gladly go for again!

Spread the word (and the epic music love)!

Banana Bread (GF/DF)

Ah, Autumn.  My favorite season of all.  Time for pumpkins, bananas, apples, mums and sunflowers (and wondering how the heck another summer went by so fast!).

Autumn is also a time when I start to get a hankering for comfort foods, and banana bread is no exception.  This is my go-to recipe when I feel like having something sweet...or my bananas are looking rather black, whichever comes first.


Banana bread is also my first GF baked goodie that I perfected in my early days after being newly diagnosed to taste like real gluten-filled banana bread.  So yeah, banana bread has a soft spot in my psyche now.  It was through my experimentation to get this recipe that I found my basic flour combo for all other baked goodies I've done ever since.  I've had many a friend eat this and comment on it being moist and yummy, never guessing it's GF.  Definitely a winner!  ;)

You'll Need:

- 3 very ripened med-large bananas
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 & 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp honey
- dash cinnamon
-  1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp GF baking powder
- 1 cup sorghum flour
- 1 cup brown rice flour

To Start:

- start heating oven at 350 degrees.
- smash bananas with a fork in bowl until lumps are small and you can stir the mash (it'll feel similar to the consistency you feel when stirring oatmeal).
- add the eggs and whisk them into the bananas with the fork.
- add olive oil, brown sugar, and honey.  Mix.
- in separate bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon)
- pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients bowl a cup at a time and mix well until you see no more white from the flour in the mix.
- pour mix into baking loaf pan and place in oven for approx 30-45 mins.  Check at the 30 minute mark to see how crusty/browned the top of the loaf is.
- once loaf is looking a golden brown on the outside (it should by 45 mins), turn oven heat down to 275 degrees to finish the insides.  Bake another 15-20 mins.
- Do the "toothpick test" to know if the inside is baked through.  Toothpick should come up clean when it is finished baking.

Have with a glass of milk or hot apple cider, curl up with a book, and you're set for the evening. 

Thanks, glutenfreehomemaker, vegetarianmama, and simplysugarandglutenfree for the feature!

Get updates about our old home restoration, DIY tutorials, and project ideas to your inbox!