Friday, November 9, 2012

Soup: A Bowl Full of Gratitude

Happy November everyone! I love this time of year because people (including myself) slow down in a good way. We stop in the middle of the mad rush called daily life and count our blessings, we reflect, we express thanks and we hope.

For November my #Letslunch group on twitter chose “gratitude” as the theme. How do you represent “gratitude” through food? I threw this question out to my knitting group and had the most interesting conversation.

Turkey came up, but we all agreed that’s because we associate the bird with Thanksgiving. One friend, Rebecca, said apple pies meant gratitude for her. And I can see that. A freshly baked homemade apple pie is made with a lot of love and smells heavenly…it’s definitely something to be grateful for.

I mentioned Khichuri, the Bengali lentil and rice risotto cooked with spices and sometimes veggies. I’m always grateful when someone cooks a pot and invites me over, and that’s what I cook when I want to love and comfort family.

After some more discussion, soup came up. Rebecca pointed out when people are sick, we tend to make soup, and if we are the one’s feeling under the weather, we are always grateful for soup. When the economy is down or a natural disaster strikes (my heart goes out to everyone suffering on the East Coast), people turn to soup kitchens. And then the Peace Ambassadors annual Valentine’s Lunch at the Soup Kitchen came up. I really love being part of that event…I mean there’s good food, music, chocolate and smiles…what’s not to love?

Yes, I’m grateful to be able to participate, and I’m grateful for everyone who helps make it happen – from the wonderful cook (Mr. Biggerstaff) to all the servers, cleaners, decorators, donors, performers, and all other helpers – and I’m grateful for every person who comes to the event and shares Valentine’s Day with us.

So in the end, we all agreed Soup represents Gratitude best…at least for our little group. And the best kind of soup is made with leftovers and what's handy in the pantry...throw it all together and you get a wonderful one-dish meal.

I used Paula Deen's Lady & Sons Beef Vegetable Soup recipe with some changes: 

a) I married into a hunting family, so I had ground venison sausage on hand and used it for the meat.
b) I omitted the okra and replaced it with zucchini squash I happened to have.
c) I replaced the black-eyed peas with red kidney beans.
d) Instead of elbow macaroni, I used rigatoni pasta.
e) I left out the potatoes because I thought it was too much starch.

This November is the first anniversary of my first published story, The Djinn's Dilemma. Woot! I'm thankful for all the family, friends and newly-met friends who helped bring me to this point. As a result I'm saying thank you by throwing the most AWESOME Birthday Bash I could come up with! :) So go check it out!

May this November find you surrounded by good friends and loving family, good books and, of course, good food!

Also, check out the other Gratitude entrees in today's #Letslunch:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Stories By Mina Khan: The #DjinnsDilemma Birthday Bash & SurPrizes!

Stories By Mina Khan: The #DjinnsDilemma Birthday Bash & SurPrizes!: Remember when you were a kid and you used to love birthdays? Well, I still do…especially when it’s of my first published story. The Djinn's Dilemma just turned one Nov. 1. So we are going to CEL-A-BRATE! With a month-long Birthday Bash and Surprizes!!! So make sure you click the link above & check it out!

And here's the virtual cake I picked for the birthday bash:

The Chocolate Wrap Cake by Designer-Cakes

Happy November, y'all!