just a smidgen

Flat Stanley? No, It’s Flat Ruthie’s Chicken Soup for Stars

Haaaave you met Stanley…

Poor little Stanley Lambchop was smashed flat one night by a bulletin board that his mother hung over his bed… This engaging children’s book tells of Flat Stanley’s adventures as he was subsequently (and conveniently) then folded and mailed in an envelope. Schools all over the world took up the “Flat Stanley Project” and mailed their “Flat Stanley’s” to classmates and pen pals. The receiver of “Flat Stanley” was to take him everywhere with them and journal their adventures together before returning him to their owner.

I received an envelope last week and it contained another little flat person..  Flat Ruthie… Ruth H is an avid photographer and decided if she couldn’t meet us all in person, she would just, ummm.. mail herself… and has set up Cardboard Me Travels so that we could follow her on her journey.

“Hi, Smidge!! I am so excited to be here!” shouted Flat Ruthie.

If Ruthie had dropped in over Christmas, she might have found herself in a more relaxed home filled with all sorts of Christmas baking. As it turns out, Ruth arrived on my doorstep in my mailbox when I picked up the huge stack that had piled up since Boxing Day.

Sorry to say, Ruth… you had to follow me around on a typical Monday. I tried to be a great host but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do… and I had lots to catch up on after a great holiday break with my family!

This post also answers those “What do you do all day?” and “What do you do with all that food?” questions I am always asked.

The day started out at the crack of dawn, Ruth was lured out of bed at 5:30 with a cup of Earl Grey tea. Emails had to be sorted out, blogs read and commented on…

“Can I go to www.cardboardmetravels.com?” Ruthie begged.

I was tough on Ruth, I think she was hoping for some of my famous Nom Nom Best Bacon-Banana-Blueberry Pancakes Ever, but I only tossed her a banana as we headed out the door for the gym. It might not sound like much, but you can’t eat a lot before a Spin Class with this guy (professional triathlete)…

“Are you kidding me? My tiny legs can’t spin that fast!”

45 minutes of grueling cycling later, I handed Ruth a towel and off we went for a great Monday morning latte with my cycle pal, Sharon. The barista even made Ruth a little milk heart art in her latte:)

“If only I could figure out how they make this latte art!”

Enough lazing around… it was time to head to the grocery store and whip down the aisles to pick up ingredients for a quick supper. My mother-in-law and my daughter’s boyfriend Travis both have colds, so a fast and healthy home-made Chicken Soup for Stars was on the menu.

“I love these cute little stars.. should we add the whole box? Well, maybe that would be too many!”

“I just love these healthy snacks… but where’s the chocolate??”

Back home, I whipped out my magic bullet and made us both a healthy protein shake made with one banana, a scoop of vanilla protein powder, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 4 ice cubes then filled with low-fat milk and blended…

“This is all we’re having for lunch??” Ruth groaned “I didn’t gain that much weight over Xmas!”

I explained how crocuses grow wild in early spring on Nose Hill.. the place where my Dad and I would walk when I was a young ‘un… I love these and have never successfully grown them in my garden, so these ones from the grocery store would have to do…

“Why did you buy these crocuses?”

Then Ruthie helped me chop the veggies then toss them into the pan for a quick saute, chicken and broth added, a few seasoning and the soup could be left to simmer while we each had a quick shower.

“Smidge, the colors of the vegetables have brightened… time to add the rest!”

Then all those dishes had to get washed, Ruthie dried for me while we chatted about the Christmas holidays…

“Ruthie, you were so helpful with cleanup,” said Smidge.

The cooled soup was ladled into a glass sealing jar and a baker’s dozen bagels from Wayne’s Bagel Shop were packed up and off we went to deliver the goods to Dave’s mom. We had a great visit and the dogs got to play as well.

“I may need some help carrying this…” mumbled Ruthie.

On the way home I suddenly remembered that it was my turn to prepare snack for the orchestra! A quick call to Sunterra to order a last minute tray of wraps and a fruit platter took care of that. All we had left to do was bake a few wonderful oatmeal cookies.

“Can I have lick the beater?” begged a starving Ruthie.

I even let Ruth use my new cookie scoop. Ruth thought they were awesome and wanted to share the recipe with you, but that’ll have to be another day…

“Cool little gadget makes perfect cookies!” thought Ruthie

After the we finished baking the cookies, Ruth and I took Lucky for a quick walk… although sunny, the wind felt cold so we didn’t get too far that day. Then we whipped down to Sunterra to pick up our finished trays.  Back home for a quick bowl of soup and off we went to load up the truck.

“I love the little accidental heart on the carrot, you love hearts too, Smidge, don’t you?”

Cello, music, stand, food trays, cutlery, napkins, camera… oh, and I almost forgot Ruth! Off we went to a night at orchestra practice. New music was given and we sight read our way through “Snow in April”, composer Tim Janz and “Little Suite” by Carl Nielsen. Next week we get our parts for Vivaldi’s Concerto for two Cellos in G minor, I can’t wait! Ruthie listened quietly and helped set up the snack.

“I can hardly wait to share these cookies at snack time!”

Finally, an exhausted Ruth and I headed home where we stayed up and chatted with my daughter Katie… then it was light’s out… at around 11:30 pm!

I sure wish that I had time to take Ruth around to all of my favorite spots in Calgary… but she’ll just have to be content with reading my blog ♥

It’s time for me to bid a fond farewell to Ruth… before I mail her back home… her family must really be missing her!!

Here’s our quick Chicken Soup with Stars recipe for those who just can’t shake that cold…

Chicken Soup for Stars

Chicken Soup for Stars
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 2 peppers, red and yellow
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 4-5 carrots
  • 6-8 small new potatoes, flesh on
  • 2 tsp tarragon
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1 store bought rotisserie chicken
  • (or leftover chicken)
  • 3 liters chicken stock
  • Star shaped soup noodles, rice or small pasta noodles
  1. Splash olive oil in large soup pot and heat on medium-high.
  2. Chop onion and diced garlic and add to the pot. Stir to lightly brown and soften the onion. Meanwhile, dice and chop remaining ingredients. Add to the pot.
  3. Remove meat from the chicken and dice. Add to the vegetables. Cover with chicken stock.
  4. Season the soup with tarragon and salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Ten minutes before serving add rice or pasta to the soup to cook.
  6. If sharing… allow to cool and pour into glass heat-proof mason jars, add a loaf of homemade bread and hand-deliver… with love..


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