Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Not photo-shopped
Sometimes the best view is the one we find when we leave the path.

Copyright 2009-2012 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Busy Day Chicken Soup

Denny and I have been out of pocket the last few weeks with houseguests, traveling, writing and practicing our New Years plans to exercise.  All good, but I haven't made a slow-from-scratch meal for a month...which is why I can share this recipe.

Start to finish, you'll have homemade soup in 4 easy steps, about 15 minutes to a potful of goodness and good for you too. The ingredients are easy to keep on hand and the quantity makes workday lunches for two for a week.

Busy Day Soup
Makes about 3 quarts

1)  Add liquids to a 3 quart pot over medium heat:
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups water
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2)  Add herbs and spices for flavor.  I use the following but use whatever you have on hand and like:
1 bay leaf 
1/2 tsp dried rosemary 
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp (to taste) red pepper flakes  
Salt & pepper to taste
3) Bring liquid to a simmer and add vegetables.  No need to thaw:
1 - 16 oz. package frozen chopped soup vegetables (potatoes, carrots, peas, corn, green beans, okra, celery, onions--or whatever mix you like)
1 - 16 oz. frozen Fajita vegetable mix (onions, red and green bell peppers)
1 cup frozen corn 
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

4) Let the vegetables simmer 5-10 minutes until just tender.  Meanwhile, chop the cooked chicken (lately ours is from a store-bought rotisserie chicken). Then add:

1 - 14.5 oz can (undrained) diced tomatoes with garlic and onions (I like Muir Glen organic for great tomato flavor)
1 or 2 cups chopped cooked chicken, more if you have it, less if you don't.
--Adding the tomatoes and chicken at the end preserves tomato brightness and keeps the chicken from falling apart.

5) Return to simmer until heated through, adjust salt and pepper to taste.  

And enjoy a warming, guilt-free, flavorful lunch.

Copyright 2009-2012 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hill Country Sculpture Gardens

I missed a few weeks blogging. But since the goats in my last post, I've laid down pages and pictures for other venues on 18th century colonial life, Texas native trees, wildlife gardening and more. Among the most fun was this short article about visiting the beginning and the end of American colonial times, Jamestown and Yorktown, Virginia.

Jamestown is a long way from the Hill Country and there's no connection to Texas, except curiosity, so it doesn't rightly belong in a Hill Country blog.
But life is all of a piece...and isn't it a good thing that we can eat the cake of experience wherever we find it.

Entrance to the sculpture garden at The Old Oaks Ranch Fiber Arts Center, Wimberley.

I'm working now on a story I'm calling The Hill Country Sculpture Garden Trail.  Five exceptional  collections, all open-air.  I'm amazed at finding five oases of three-dimensional thought less than two hours drive apart, and off well-known tourist tracks.

<---from Main Street, Marble Falls

The Hill Country Sculpture Garden Trail doesn't exist yet, except in my mind...until my story is published.

You might be thinking it doesn't sound like work-- taking drives in the scenic Texas Hill Country.  Or visiting venues where thought pauses for breath.
in the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, Austin

You might also think a bite of refreshment is more a reward than work.  

And you would be right.
from the Fredericksburg Pie Company, Fredericksburg

The work comes later.  But it's a good kind of work, reliving and sharing, opening new roads for unknown friends.

Copyright 2009-2012 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.