(This is a weekly post that I will be doing to honor my wonderful mother, Wanda, who passed away on September 22, 2009. It is a place for me to share precious memories of her…for myself, for you, and most importantly, for my children.)
My mother was a wonderful writer. She wrote all the time. In journals, in her Bibles, in cards, letters, newspapers, and magazines.
For a time, she wrote for the city newspaper. She was the contributing food editor, and the column was called Wanda’s Kitchen.
I wanted to share her article about her delicious vegetable soup…perfect for chilly Fall weather!
(Of course, I picked this article because it was also about me!)
The poem at the end of the article was one of my favorites. Mom would send it to me in a card whenever I was facing a difficult time in my life. We even talked about this poem recently before she passed away. I have it hanging on my refrigerator to this day.
by Wanda Long
I like to fix vegetable soup every other week during the winter. It’s an economical meal that can be made from leftovers.
Sunday dinner’s leftover roast beef can be divided into large chunks for the beef stew meat. A large Tupperware container placed in the freezer is perfect for dumping leftover corn, beans, peas, and lima beans into after each meal. Before long, there’s enough leftover meat and vegetables to make a large pot of soup.
The meat gives a marvelous meaty flavor to my hearty vegetable soup. There were times when I added plenty of stew meat to the soup only to discover when we began to eat, that the meat had mysteriously disappeared!
Staring bug-eyed at all three of my children, I would blurt out. “Who ate all the meat?!” With innocent looks, each child would exclaim, “I didn’t do it!”or “It wasn’t me!”
I always told the children that I just knew there must be a ghost living in our house who writes on our walls, breaks things, puts gobs of paper in our commodes, eats the meat out of our vegetable soup….and so on.
After a bit of clever investigating, I finally found out who the little culprit was that was getting the meat, it was our middle child, Traci. (We’ve always called her our “magic link”.)
However it seemed that no matter how many times I scolded her, she still managed to sneak off with some of the stew meat every time I fixed vegetable soup. It made her older sister and younger brother furious. Her dad and I were lucky to occasionally find one teensy piece of meat in our vegetable soup.
I knew I had to come up with a plan to “save” the stew meat for all the family when I fixed vegetable soup. So, I began cutting each chunk of meat into shreds. The meat-thief thought the meat was too hard to pick out and …she finally gave up. From that time to this, the whole family enjoys nice juicy pieces of shredded beef in our vegetable soup.
1 1/2 – 2 lbs beef stew meat, boneless (shredded)
46 oz. can tomato juice
2 16 oz. cans mixed vegetables
1 16 oz. can whole kernel corn
1 16 oz. can cut green beans
1 16 oz. can lima beans
1 large onion, chopped
3 to 4 medium-sized potatoes, cubed
salt & pepper, as desired
1 1/2 teaspoons beef flavored bouillon granules
Place beef stew in a large dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. If water boils down, add more. Remove from heat. Pour off water to get rid of fat.
Add remaining ingredients (except spaghetti) to meat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add spaghetti the last 15 minutes of cooking time.
Don’t forget to praise your children. Try putting a colorful sticker or ribbon on your child’s plate for a job well done. Watch their eyes light up as they sit down for a meal!
Food for thought:
“View From the Hill”
Worry is like a distant hill
We glimpse against the sky,
We wonder how we ever will
Get up a hill so high.
Yet, when we reach the top, we see
The roadway left behind,
Is not as steep and sheer as we
Have pictured in our mind.
P.S. Let’s just say when I make Mom’s vegetable soup for my family…the meat’s not shredded! :)