the beckasoup blog

0 notes

Treasure Chest

Yesterday, during our tornado afternoon off, Mr. Soup and I decided to go through an old foot locker of my Grandfather’s. We brought it home since upon initial inspection it looked like it was full of old bottles, ball jars, and insulators; which we collect. But, I was delighted to see it there was so much more. Here are a few gems:

Royal Typewriter: 

Still had the tape in it.


Lucky Club Soda bottles:

I’ve never heard of “Lucky Club” before.

Blue Mason Jars:

I love the Atlas E-Z Seals with the glass lids, one still has its rubber seal!

Small military parachute:

Probably used to drop rations and supplies.

Transformer:

Looks like it was used to power a train or car set.

…and my personal favorite:

A scrapbook filled with clippings of Disney’s True Life Adventures!

According to Wikipedia, they were a daily comic strip released between 1955 and 1971. Most of these date between 1955 and 1956. They are all nature and science related. I think they are so cool! 

Also, check out the cover on the scrapbook. Aw.

7 notes

An open letter to the City of Huntsville Planning Commission

An open letter to the City of Huntsville Planning Commission

Rebecca Goodwin
Huntsville resident, chicken fan.

image

Dear Planning Commission members,

I was witness to your vote of ‘No’ on the Urban Chicken ordinance Tuesday night. I didn’t speak during the public hearing, the experts and other members of the community stated all the salient points that needed to be addressed. So, I figured I wouldn’t bore you with my own personal plea. But, due to the fact the ‘Nay’ votes were all obviously made along very personal preferences and biases, and since you chose to ignore the support and recommendations of the experts in the room, I will choose to make this personal as well.

I am an Army brat who after years away at school and 8 years working in the entertainment industry in New York City decided to move back home to Alabama in search of a simpler way of life. I work for my family’s locally owned government contracting business. I met my husband here, a New Hampshire farm boy who works in IT security out on Redstone Arsenal. We are by many measures your typical Huntsville 30-something couple trying to carve out a life for ourselves here in the Rocket City. We own a home in the community of Westlawn, a hidden gem of a neighborhood full of 1940s era bungalows and cottages. In our small backyard, we have a 600 square-foot garden where we grow our own vegetables all year long.  

It is worth noting that my existing garden is bigger than my apartment was in New York.  

I mention that only because one of the hard realities I had to face when moving back to Alabama was how much more difficult it was to obtain the fresh, locally grown and produced food to which I had become accustomed.  Ironic, right? In our country’s largest metropolitan area farmers markets were to be found year-round in every neighborhood…rich and poor. But here, in our highly agriculturally rich state, my options are incredibly limited. The lovely Green Street Market is the closest to my home, but its short hours make it difficult to get to, and quite honestly the times I have gone, the actual fresh produce seemed outweighed by other things such as wood-fired pizzas and arts and crafts.

So what is a sustainably-minded Huntsville citizen to do? Grow a garden, obviously. Shop at Earth Fare, okay. But what if we want more? What if we want fresh eggs? Fresh eggs that we know with 100% certainty have been treated humanely and are fed organically because these eggs come from chickens in our own backyard? Well, according to you, John Olshefski, Kimberly Battle, Anthony Antonios, Sharon Tyson, Peggy Richard, Gary Whitley, Jeffery Rice and Janet Watson… we should move to the county.

But why? Why would any city organization encourage productive members of their society to move out of it?  My husband and I live where we choose to because being a part of a vibrant city life is as important to us as living a sustainable one. Could we afford to move to the county? Probably. But why should we have to do that in order to be given the right to use the property we own to feed ourselves? Surely it can’t be out of fear of disease, noise, smells or chickens running rampant in our city streets? Tuesday night, experts from the Health Department, The Cooperative Extension service, and Animal Services all addressed these concerns and declared them non-issues along with their support of the ordinance.

No, with your vote, you are telling us that we should move out of our home and find a new one because you don’t personally like the idea of chickens.  Because you can’t see past your own noses far enough to see how this could benefit your fellow city residents. Because you deem a decades old existing ordinance that by design eliminates responsible ownership of backyard chickens for a majority of residents within the city limits as “good enough.”

You, Peggy Richard, a realtor who worried about potentially losing a home sale to somebody’s backyard chicken coop.

You, Kimberly Battle, who didn’t want chickens in your own small yard and by the bored and baffled look on your face didn’t seem interested in understanding why anyone would want to in the first place.

You, Sharon Tyson, who told us all how much you loved the fresh backyard eggs you have eaten from your own brother’s chickens, but hypocritically deny the right of your fellow citizens to enjoy a similar experience.

You, John Olshefski, who DOZED OFF during the public hearing and didn’t offer one word of discussion on the topic.

You, and the other Nay voting members of this un-elected commission, you as members of our city government are meant to exercise what would be best for the people, not what would be best for yourselves. Chickens may not be what you would personally want, and that’s completely understandable and fine, but it is your job to look beyond your own concerns and needs. And the fact that you so blatantly did the exact opposite of this is just wrong…and sad.

 I personally believe that the endless sprawl of sub-divisions into existing farmland is horrifying when so many beautiful homes in the city center remain neglected and empty. But, I understand that some people like McMansions and suburban sprawl, so…fine.  You didn’t hear any argument from me when you approved NINE new developments Tuesday night without so much a word of discussion or a batted eyelash.

 So, okay…. maybe we will move out of the city and take our tax dollars with us. I don’t expect any of you care. We are just two anonymous, normal people.  But, we won’t be the only ones.  Refuse to believe it or not, for many Huntsville families, this IS a deal-breaker issue. No chickens…no tax money.

 In the State of Alabama constitution it states, “The sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions, it is usurpation and oppression.” That’s all any of we supporters of the ordinance are trying to do… just that, enjoy our life, liberty, and property in a healthy, sustainable, and responsible way. Ordered with no judgment and no oppression and two eggs, over-easy on the side.

 Sincerely, 
Rebecca Goodwin

0 notes

2014 Life List

Home

1. Buy my first house, all by myself.
2. Eat a pineapple that I grew.
3. Build a deck on my house, and host a fabulous party on it.
4. Completely Restore and Remodel an old house
5. Have a tour of my house featured on Offbeat Home
6. Grow a really fabulous garden.
7. Own custom painted Furniture
8. Raise Chickens in the backyard
9. Have the land to raise Goats

Travel

10. Visit Europe via Riverboat
11. See Rome
12. Touch Bernini’s baldacchino (okay they don’t actually let you touch it) 
13. Hike in New Zealand
14. Take a tropical resort vacation
15. Go to Vegas
16. Visit Graceland
17. Shop on Rodeo Drive
18. See the Hollywood Sign
19. Stick my toes in the Pacific Ocean
20. See the building where my Grandfather fought at Pearl Harbor
21. Go to Paris (and like it this time)
22. Spend New Year’s Eve in a different country every year
23. Travel somewhere amazing alone, just once
24. Take more walks.
25. Go camping several times a year
26. Go to Dragon*Con
27. Go to Space Camp with a group of my adult girlfriends
28. Go up on the Vomit Comet
29. Go for a ride in the TARDIS

Experience

30. Take the Ertés to Antiques Roadshow
31. See my name in movie credits
32. Win an Emmy
33. Give an acceptance speech
34. Win a costume contest wearing a costume I made.
35. Host a regularly scheduled dinner party for friends.
36. Find/buy a Fireking Jadite Ball pitcher at a yard sale/thrift store
37. Shop the world’s longest yard sale.
38. Win money on a Game a Show
39. Hold a hummingbird in my hand
40. Take an aerial silks class
41. Drive in a rally cross race

Serve
42. Serve Thanksgiving dinner at a homeless shelter
43. Become an animal foster
44. Make a substantial donation to a charity I love
45. Donate a Birthday to Charity:Water

Work & Finance

46. Be debt free.
47. Find a place of financial comfort and security
48. Start my own (successful) business that allows me to work from home.
49. Earn my PMP (Project Manager Professional) certification
50. Host a TV show

Skill

51. Learn at least three classic cocktails that I like, can make myself, and can order at any bar.
a. Mojito
b. Old Fashioned
c. 
d.
52. Learn how to cobble shoes
53. Learn Spanish
54. Then, Italian
55. Understand String Theory
56. Finally learn to drive a manual transmission
57. Take a Photoshop class
58. Hula Hoop multiple hoops at once (win MTSI hula hoop contest!)
59. Finally master Descending Angel on the pole.

Create

60. Create a piece of original Art for my home
61. Make my Dalek goddess costume
62. Design and publish my long overdue Becca the Stylist website.
63. Start a really good independent craft market in Huntsville

Self & Wellness

64. Meet the man of my dreams
65. Marry the man of my dreams
66. Stay married to the man of my dreams
67. Adopt my first Dog from the shelter
68. Eat meatless at least one day a week
69. Find an exercise program that I love and will stick to
70. Take on 3 new Active/Healthy hobbies-
a. Swing Dance/ Ballroom classes
b. Geocaching
c. ?
71. Take S-Factor classes again
72. Take regular bubble baths.
73. Get Acupuncture

0 notes

Slow-cooker Tortilla Soup = delicious.

2-4 Bone-in Chicken thighs
15 oz. Can Fire Roasted crushed tomatoes (Muir Glen)
8-10 oz. of enchilada sauce (Frontera)
1 Medium onion, roughly chopped
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chiles
2 garlic cloves smashed and roughly chopped
1 Quart chicken broth or stock (Better than Bullion)
10 oz. frozen corn
2 cans organic black beans drained and thoroughly washed.
1 Tbsp Chopped or dried Cilantro
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Chili powder
1 tsp Cumin

Corn Tortillas 

Start by browning your chicken thighs. Dry them and season them with Salt, pepper, and Garlic powder and brown them skin side down to start in oil and butter.
While they are browning, add Tomatoes, enchilada sauce, can of chilies, and garlic to the cooker. Turn heat on low. 
Once the Chicken is thoroughly browned on both sides, remove the skin. Feel free to re-brown the now skinless side, as well as cooking through the skin for garnish later, if you are into that sort of thing. Once the chicken is completely browned, add it to the cooker. Discard or save the skin.
Add onions to the pan drippings to brown and deglaze the pan with a little stock. Scrape onions and all contents of the pan into the cooker. Add the rest of the stock and all the seasonings. 
Add the beans and corn. 
Stir it all together.

Leave the temp on low for 6-8 hours, or turn up the heat to high for 3-4 hours. 

Stir occasionally (its a good excuse to smell all the deliciousness).
Once the thighs float to the top, you know they are ready to shred. Remove them, and tear all the meat from the bone. Discard the bone, add meat back into the pot. 

Make the Tortilla strips shortly before serving. Cut corn tortillas into strips and fry them. I used Organic Veggie shortening. Works like a dream. Use a small fry pan and fry up one tortillas worth at a time, takes about 30 seconds per. Season with salt as they dry on a paper towel.

Serve your soup topped with Sour Cream, a little cheese, chopped green onions, jalapenos, and your fresh fried tortillas! 

0 notes

Life List: 2013 Update

Home

1.             Buy my first house, all by myself.

2.             Eat a pineapple that I grew.

3.             Build a deck on my house, and host a fabulous party on it.

4.             Completely Restore and Remodel an old house

5.             Have a tour of my house featured on Offbeat Home

6.             Grow a really fabulous garden.

7.             Take bubble baths regularly

8.             Own custom painted Furniture

Travel

9.               Visit Europe via Riverboat

10.               See Rome

11.               Touch Bernini’s baldacchino

12.               Hike in New Zealand

13.               Take a tropical resort vacation

14.               Go to Vegas

15.               Visit Graceland

16.               Shop on Rodeo Drive

17.               See the Hollywood Sign

18.               Stick my toes in the Pacific Ocean

19.               See the building where my Grandfather fought at Pearl Harbor

20.               Go to Paris (and like it this time)

21.               Spend New Year’s Eve in a different country every year

22.               Travel somewhere amazing alone, just once

23.               Take more walks.

24.               Go to Dragon*Con

25.               Go to Space Camp with a group of my adult girlfriends

26.               Go up on the Vomit Comet

27.               Go for a ride in the TARDIS

Experience

28.               Take the Ertés to Antiques Roadshow

29.               See my name in movie credits

30.               Win an Emmy

31.               Give an acceptance speech

32.               Win a costume contest wearing a costume I made.

33.               Host a regularly scheduled dinner party for friends.

34.               Find/buy a Fireking Jadite Ball pitcher at a yard sale/thrift store

35.               Shop the world’s longest yard sale.

36.               Win money on a Game a Show

37.               Hold a hummingbird in my hand

38.               Take an aerial silks class

 

Serve

39.               Serve Thanksgiving dinner at a homeless shelter

40.               Become an animal foster

41.               Make a substantial donation to a charity I love

42.               Donate a Birthday to Charity:Water

Work & Finance

43.               Be debt free.

44.               Find a place of financial comfort and security

45.               Start my own (successful) business that allows me to work from home.

46.               Earn my PMP (Project Manager Professional) certification

47.               Host a TV show

 

Skill

48.               Learn at least three classic cocktails that I like, can make myself, and can order at any bar.

49.               Learn how to cobble shoes

50.               Learn Spanish

51.               Then, Italian

52.               Understand String Theory

53.               Finally learn to drive a manual transmission

54.               Take a Photoshop class

55.               Hula Hoop multiple hoops at once

56.               Learn how to tweet, really.

57.               Finally master Descending Angel on the pole.

Create

58.               Create a piece of original Art for my home

59.               Make my Dalek goddess costume

60.               Design and publish my long overdue Becca the Stylist website.

61.               Start a really good independent craft market in Huntsville

Personal

62.               Meet the man of my dreams

63.               Marry the man of my dreams

64.               Stay married to the man of my dreams

65.               Adopt my first Dog from the shelter

66.               Find an exercise program that I love and will stick to

67.               Take S-Factor classes again

68.               Take regular bubble baths.

69.               Get Acupuncture

 

 

0 notes

Life List

Home

1. Buy my first house, all by myself.

2.Eat a pineapple that I grew.

3.Build a deck on my house, and host a fabulous party on it.

4.Completely Restore and Remodel an old house

5.Have a tour of my house featured on Offbeat Home

6.Grow a really fabulous garden.

7.Own custom painted Furniture

Travel

8.Visit Europe via Riverboat

9.See Rome

10.Touch Bernini’s baldacchino

11. Hike in New Zealand

12. See the Grand Canyon

13.Go to Vegas

14.Visit Graceland

15. Shop on Rodeo Drive

16. Get a picture with the Hollywood Sign

17. Stick my toes in the Pacific Ocean

18. See the building where my Grandfather fought at Pearl Harbor

19. Go to Paris (and like it this time)

20. Travel somewhere amazing alone, just once

21. Go to Space Camp with a group of my adult girlfriends

22. Go up on the Vomit Comet

23. Go for a ride in the TARDIS

Experience

24. Take the Ertés to Antiques Roadshow

25. See my name in movie credits

26. Win an Emmy

27. Give an acceptance speech

28.  Win a costume contest wearing a costume I made.

29. Host a regularly scheduled dinner party for friends.

30. Find/buy a Fireking Jadite Ball pitcher at a yard sale/thrift store

31. Shop the world’s longest yard sale.

32. Win money on a Game a Show

 

Serve

33.  Serve Thanksgiving dinner at a homeless shelter

34.  Become an animal foster

35. Make a substantial donation to a charity I love

Work & Finance

36. Pay off my debt

37. Find a place of financial comfort and security

38. Start my own (successful) business that allows me to work from home.

39. Earn my PMP (Project Manager Professional) certification

40. Host a TV show

Skill

41.  Learn how to cobble shoes

42.  Learn Spanish

43.  Then, Italian

44.  Understand String Theory

45.  Finally learn to drive a manual transmission

46.  Take a Photoshop class

47.  Hula Hoop multiple hoops at once

Create

48.  Create a piece of original Art for my home

49.  Finish my Dalek costume in time for DragonCon

50. Design and publish my long overdue Becca the Stylist website.

51. Start a really good independent craft market in Huntsville

Personal

52. Meet and Marry the man of my dreams

53. Stay married to the man of my dreams

54. Adopt my first Dog from the shelter

55. Adopt a child from a 3rd world country

56. Find an exercise program that I love and will stick to

57. Take S-Factor classes again

58. Finally master Descending Angel on the pole.

 

 

0 notes

Easy Chicken Piccata

I’m making an attempt to cook more. I love to cook, but the key for me is to have simple tasty meals that I can whip out quickly. I’ve been in the mood for capers lately, so I remembered a recipe for Chicken Piccata from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook that I made years ago. I was a less practiced cook then, and I remember it taking forever and making a mess. I had an inkling it could be done a lot easier than I had made it for myself before. I was right.

Easy Chicken Piccata

Chicken Cutlets (Cut from Boneless Skinless breasts)
Flour (for coating)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Butter (duh)
Small Onion or shallot, finely chopped
I garlic clove, finely chopped
Lemon juice (fresh is great… I used plastic. Don’t judge me.)
Capers
1 or 2 Roasted Red Peppers from a jar, chopped
White Wine
Parsley (dried is fine. I’m not all judgey like you people…) 
More Butter


Ok. Dry your cutlets and generously season with salt and pepper. Dredge lightly in flour, shake off excess.
Melt some butter in a hot pan. Place your cutlets into the pan to sear. Don’t crowd the pan. Cutlets need their space, yo. Since they are thin they will cook quickly, and will be completely done in like 3 minutes. Make sure they are lovely and brown on each side. Remove from pan, and cover with some foil. 

If the pan is looking a little dry toss in a little more butter. Add your onion and garlic and cook onion are soft. Deglaze the pan with white wine and lemon juice. Scrape up all the brown bits and stir in. Turn down the heat and simmer until thick. Poor yourself a glass of that wine too. you deserve it! I actually added the liquid twice, since I wanted plenty of sauce. If any chicken juice accumulates while resting, add it too.

Once its thickish, add your chopped pepper, capers and parsely. Stir. Turn off the heat and whisk in a couple Tbsps of butter until glossy.

Un-tent your chicken and pour the sauce all over it.

Shove it in your face. Seriously. You won’t be able to help yourself. That’s what I did… and that is why there is no picture of this beautiful and yummy dish.

Now, I understand that not everyone likes capers. I think those people are crazy, but whatevs. Its technically not piccata without the capers. But really, add whatever you want. Olives would be good, or even just a ton of fresh herbs. That is what is so good about pan sauces like this, totally up to interpretation. Just use what you have on hand.

Maybe I’ll remember to take a picture next time and I’ll add it. 

Enjoy!

xo
-B 



 

Filed under cooking chicken lemon capers recipes

0 notes

This shirt was not ok when I had one 20 years ago in Jr. High. It’s not ok now either…

This shirt was not ok when I had one 20 years ago in Jr. High. It’s not ok now either…