Life on Regal-Hill: Jan. 27, 2010

About the first of January I took two different amaryllis out of storage and started watering them again in the hopes of them growing leaves and also blossoming. So far I have only real tall green leaves and no sight of even the beginnings of any blossoms. I have faithfully watered them, had them in bright sunlight and turned them every few days to encourage symmetrical growth. I even gave each one a drink of Miracle Grow when the leaves began to look pale.
Later I read that after the amaryllis has been dormant in cool storage in the basement and you bring it up to have it blossom again, one should scrap away most of the soil and fill the pot with fresh soil and put it back in bright light and 70 degree temperature. Well unless the sun is shining, rare these days, I guess it doesn’t get warm enough. Also the light isn’t bright enough for it and I don’t want to waste electricity for just these plants. I do know now that I wish I had changed the soil as maybe that would have made a difference.
Sometimes I get amaryllis and other indoor flowering bulbs for Christmas gifts. When I saw them in the store this last Christmas season I got a red and white amaryllis and a box of paper whites. I gave the amaryllis as a gift and since I kept the paper whites, I plan to start them soon. It would be nice if they would be in bloom for Easter. Since Easter isn’t until the fourth of April this year I guess I’ll wait a few weeks before I start them. In the meantime, I’ll try to decide what to do with the amaryllis that doesn’t want to blossom.
Winter is a great time to spend more time making food from scratch for your family. Recently I made soup using some leftovers and some ingredients we still had from the garden, like onions and carrots. I even used olive oil, thyme leaves and tarragon leaves. I even put orzo in it. I also used chicken stock from the store. Actually, you can take most any foods and make a soup. However, if you would rather have a tried and true recipe, try these and see just how easy they are to make and enjoy. Try to make enough soup so that there will be enough for at least serving two or three times or freezing for later use.

Veggie Potato Soup
6 medium potatoes, cubed
3 cans (14-1/2 oz. each) vegetable broth
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1 large leek (white portion only) chopped
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried marjoram
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups half-and-half cream
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
In a 5 qt. slow cooker, combine the first 10 ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until vegetables are tender.
In a small bowl, combine flour and cream until smooth; add to slow cooker. Stir in peas. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Yield: 11 servings (2-3/4 qts.)
Taste of Home Simple & Delicious Jan. Feb. 2010

Creamy Tomato Soup
1 can (29 oz.) tomato sauce
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
Dash of hot pepper sauce
Salad croutons, shredded cheddar cheese, quartered grape tomatoes and/or thinly sliced green onions.
In a large saucepan, combine the first seven ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through (do not boil). Garnish with croutons, cheese, tomatoes and/or onions.
Yield: 4 servings
Taste of Home Simple & Delicious Jan. Feb. 2010