Day Ten – Aloe Glow

Okay, so we’ve stopped pretending I meant the 31 days of December right? RIGHT? Because holy crap, December started to run away with itself. So much overtime, so many different projects to tackle around the house, so much angst related to “the holidays.” And I just found out that people I don’t even know have read my blog. I’m not kidding, my eyebrows have not yet receded from above my hairline at that little tidbit (I was posting on a mutual friend’s page when someone I have never even heard of referenced something I wrote here. MY FLABBER, IT IS GHASTED.)

I made myself a cup of tea TWO MORNINGS AGO. I drank it two evenings ago, long after it had gotten cold. I had one or two sips while it was hot, then promptly forgot about it and went about my day. So I can attest to the fact that Aloe Glow is, in fact, better iced than hot (it was pretty good hot too, though). At the time, though, I had put the package away, so all I could tell you was that it had hibiscus and aloe, and that it was fruity and delicious. (it also has apple, pineapple, dragonfruit, horsetail?!?, rose petals, marigold blossoms, and a few other bits and bobs in a rooibos blend). I didn’t savor it. There was no mindfulness. I was stressed out from work and downed it for hydration when I finally remembered it was there. It really was delicious though, and I kept trying to remind myself that I had to write about it. And I kept getting distracted by other things.

So here you go, two days late (technically five days late, it being the 15th and all). That was day 10’s tea. I’ve located a few for the next few days, so hopefully, I’ll be able to keep up for a little while. This is my Saturday at the side-gig, and it was a much-needed day off (I did hop on at lunchtime to help with an unruly call queue, but only for an hour and a bit). Started cleaning my room. Made a couple of pots of soup. Indulged in a bit of self-care (about to put my hair up and have a nice hot shower before bed).

About those pots of soup… I had an odd craving and a pound of shrimp in the freezer, so I decided to make a bastardized sort of Manhattan shrimp chowder (didn’t have any clams). I had bought a bottle of extra-spicy Clamato last week with the intention of making some kind of fish- or seafood-based soup. But I couldn’t find fish that looked good enough to pick up. Since jumbo shrimp were on sale, I bought some of those and decided to have at it.

To one bottle of extra-spicy Clamato, I added one onion, 2 carrots, 2 white potatoes, 1 cup of frozen corn, half a pound of mushrooms, two handfuls of wild rice, some red chili flakes, thyme, basil, and turmeric. And my pound of peeled, deveined, chopped up shrimp. Set it to boil, then reduced it to a simmer for about an hour (that wild rice takes a while). I had to make a second pot because my youngest doesn’t react well to seafood. So for hers, I did all the same veg, used tomato juice instead of Clamato, and chopped up a chicken breast to add to it (hers also replaced the mushrooms with frozen peas because each kid has their preference). Her batch is completely gone (I can hear her grabbing the last bowl right now). Ours still has a bit left (it was a bigger batch), so a jar has been put aside for my mom, and I’m sure my oldest will keep noshing on it all night. Hopefully, there will be a bit left for breakfast. I can always tell when something I’ve cooked has been a success because leftovers are a pipe dream.

Soup is such a forgiving medium. I don’t think I’ve ever made a BAD batch of soup. They haven’t all been gourmet delights, but they’re usually pretty good, always comforting, and everybody tends to like them. I get a much better rate of success with soup than I do with baking, certainly. Some folks have a gift for that. I’m not one of them. If I can’t mix it in a bowl and dump it in a baking dish, it’s too complicated for me. Not really, but I’m lazy. I prefer stews and curries, chowders and soups. My artistry lies not in how something looks, but in how it tastes, how it evokes memories and feelings, how it warms you from the inside out. It’s in the spices I never measure, in how I chop the vegetables small enough to not overcrowd the spoon, in how I combine flavors and textures. I’ve tried to approximate recipes on this blog before, and you get a pretty good idea of what I create. But it’s never exact because I don’t use recipes. I just kind of feel my way around what I’m doing. Kind of like the rest of my life.

For now, I’ll feel my way through a shower and bed. Talk to you all tomorrow (probably…)

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