Soup and Suitcases

Posted on | Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | 1 Comment

Tomorrow we're leaving for Las Vegas! (I'm politely ignoring the fact our plane departs at an hour that would make the sun wince) Which means today is dedicated to packing and preparing the house. The only thing worse than realizing you forgot your camera/toothbrush/pants is to come home to a filthy house whilst battling jetlag. I speak from personal experience on both matters. To combat this I make two lists, each delegating my preparations for travel. I write out what needs to be done before I leave and what I need to bring with me. It might mean a bit of extra work but it is definitely worth it for a Type A personality like myself. Without my lists I get mean. Quickly.

I check the weather for the next ten days at my destination and then pack accordingly. I toss in a jacket and a tank top regardless of the weather just in case Mother Nature decides to make fun of meteorologists. A great example -- It's 75 degrees here in Oklahoma in late December, tourists who packed for a cold winter are sweating like pigs. Pack for weather you won't expect, the extra tank top won't kill you.

I try to pack light if I am only going to be away for a week. My normal suitcase list looks like this: two pair of pants, 4-5 shirts, a nice dress, under-things, toiletries/makeup (everything has to fit in a ziploc baggie), an extra pair of shoes, various electronics, medication, a sweater or jacket, and a pair of pajamas. Simple enough.

If the list is for Kael I add pull-ups, stroller, carseat, and 2-3 extra pairs of clothes. And his blankie. If we go anywhere without beloved blankie it will mean sudden death. I also will pack in my purse a few things that will keep him occupied.

When I pack originally my suitcase looks something like this:

Dramatic Reenactment
Trust me there is a system to the madness. I go through my list (as seen at the bottom right of the picture) and toss everything I will need in (or at) my suitcase and once I have everything checked off I go back an organize. I've learned that if I don't do this I always forget something. Have you ever arrived at your destination only to realize you completely forgot to pack pants? It's very annoying.

The end product of my packing looks more like this:

Much Better.

My House List is a bit simpler: laundry, dishes, toss perishable food from fridge, take out the trash, set the thermostat, check locks on doors and windows.

I also use this as an opportunity to use all my soon-to-be expired food to make a few meals that I will eat the week before I head out. This is where the "Soup" part of this blog entry comes in. Soup is a versatile food, you can toss just about any meat or vegetable in it and it will come out delicious. And who can pass up the opportunity to make some home-cooked soup?

Looking through my fridge earlier this week I saw kielbasa that would have definitely expired before I came home along with half a container of chicken stock I needed to use. I also had an onion that was begging to be used. Rummaging through my freezer and pantry for a few moments helped me to find the last few ingredients I would need.

First I sliced up the kielbasa and cooked it in my stew pot with a bit of olive oil. I cannot confirm nor deny if I ate several pieces while putting together the rest of this soup.

After removing the sausage I used the liquid to cook the sliced onion. I'm a weird person and actually enjoy eating raw onions in small quantities, but for soup I prefer them to have a little less kick.

I also added garlic. I love garlic. Love garlic.

Next came the chopped spinach, canneli beans, and the remaining chicken stock. Around this point I puffed up with pride at how beautiful my soup looked. Those colors! Stunning! And chock full of fiber and vitamins!

After all the vegetables had an opportunity to meet each other and meld into a delicious soup in their own right I added the sausage. Then I left it to simmer for a little bit to help blend the flavors. This also gave me a wonderful opportunity to do my dishes. Note my sarcasm, here.

Okay, so the orange bowl doesn't really help to make this dish look like it belongs on th cover of a magazine, but trust me when I say it is delicious and ridiculously filling. I'm polishing off the last of it tonight. With this soup I can tackle red-eye flights, packing for Las Vegas, possibly even the world.

Oh yeah, it's that good.


One Response to “Soup and Suitcases”

  1. --Sharon
    December 21, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    You're not weird because you like raw onions. MOST of the world likes raw onions, which is why they put them on sandwiches at fast food restaurants. Those of us who DON'T like raw onions are the weird ones. It makes it very hard to order certain foods -- I love chicken salad, but won't order it if they won't promise me that it does not contain raw onions, for example. Same with potato salad. Life would be much easier if I DID like raw onions. :/

    I have a leftover-broth trick. If you have ice cube trays you will find that each cube contains about two tablespoons of liquid. I use more vegetable broth than I do chicken, but inevitably I seem to need about half a carton and eventually end up throwing the rest of it away. So I now freeze the leftovers in two-tablespoon cubes and when I need some broth I have it handy in the freezer!


Photobucket I was born and raised in California. I have also lived in Hungary, Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, and I will be moving again this summer. Kael is my incredibly awesome kiddo who is growing up far too quickly, and Alex is my fiance who makes me happier than should be legally allowed. I write about them a lot. I'm mildly obsessed with cooking and photography. I write about those things, too.