Friday, November 8, 2013

7QT: a DVD, a soup recipe, book recommendations. Blub.

1.  It's no secret that we are huge Duck Dynasty fans, so when Big Idea Productions asked me to review their new Christmas Veggie Tales DVD, and I found out Uncle Si is the voice of an Okra, I hopped on that media bus!



Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas has everything you'd expect from Veggie Tales:  humor, pathos, and a good solid Christian message blazing out in a world that tends to turn history's most humble event into a shopping spree.



Merry Larry is mall employee, an elf to be exact.  When the mall's financial struggles cause the owner to hire an outside lighting company, the electric displays are crowding out the reason for the season.

When Merry Larry hears Little Christina's Christmas wish, he uses the light displays to direct attention to a neighbor in need.



Uncle Si is in there plenty, playing mall janitor, Silas.  His humble folksy voice lends a quiet charm to this Christmas tale.

This is the only image I could find for the Veggie Tales turnips.  I love those guys.
One of the best parts of Merry Larry is the turnip jokes!  You have no idea how many puns can be created from the word "turnip."  I'm chuckling just saying the word "turnip."  Try it.  C'mon!  I think "turnip" is my word of the day.

2.  I was underwhelmed by the Silly Song on this DVD, but pleasantly delighted with the Christian rock Christmas tune at the end credits.

TobyMac's "Light of Christmas" set my children, ages 2 to teen, rocking around the house.  My sixteen year old fell in love with this song.

(I can only hope "Light of Christmas" gets more radio and mall airtime that some of those tired and meaningless, not to mention musically void, compositions like "Last Christmas" or "So This Is Christmas."  Those songs depress me, and after a few times, my ears start to bleed.)

Listen to "Light of Christmas" here.  It's sure to put a spring in your step and a smile on your face!



3.  By the way, St. Nicholas' Feast is a'comin.



He usually brings books or movies with the standard chocolate coins to our shoes.  Merry Larry and the True Meaning of Christmas would be perfect for a child of any age. To paraphrase Uncle Si, "Seriously, it's good stuff."

4.  Hey Jack, it's Soup Weather!

When it comes to hearty and easy soups, I have several in my repertoire that I rotate through.  One of the easiest and best soup recipes is Patrick's Aunt Mary's Italian Sausage and White Bean Soup.

Afraid of bean soups?  Have no fear of soaking or rinsing or any of that ree-di-cuh-lus stuff.  This recipe used CANNED beans.  Easy, peasy.  The recipe calls for cannellini, but I have used Great Northern too.

The recipe also calls for fresh spinach, but I have used frozen spinach, or baby spinach, or fresh kale, or fresh baby kale, or collard greens.  I'm flexible like that.



5.  Italian Sausage and White Bean Soup
Serves 8, but just go ahead and double it because the leftovers are so yummy.

1 lb. Italian sausage (hot or mild, whatever floats your boat)
10 large garlic cloves
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
20 oz spinach (or kale or collard greens, see above.)
4 cans white beans (cannellini or Great Northern)
3 cans low sodium chicken broth (ALWAYS get low sodium broth.  Unless you like to be puffy.)
2 plum tomatoes diced, or 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese, known as "parmis" in our home
salt and pepper to taste (You aren't going to need any salt.  Between the sausage and the broth and the parmis, you can just leave that salt shaker in kitchen.)
red pepper flakes to taste (You will need the red pepper flakes.  That's my favorite part!)

  •  Brown sausage in bite size chunks, first removing casing if link-style.  Drain on paper towel.
  •  Wash and dry spinach, (or buy that pre-washed stuff), and chop into to 2 inch pieces if necessary.
  •  In a large soup pot, saute garlic in olive oil until softened.  Add spinach (or other greens) and cover.  Cook, stirring occasionally until wilted. 
  •  Drain and rinse beans.  Add to pot, along with chicken broth.  Bring to a gentle boil.  Add parmesan and sausage and heat through.
  •  Add tomatoes, and serve immediately.
  •  Please pass the red pepper flakes.
  •  Serve with crusty bread and extra parmesan cheese.

6.  Need book recommendations for a picky reader?  Just email me.  I'm like the sommelier of children's lit.

Seriously.

For example, someone I know has a kid who likes fiction set in the Middle Ages.



I told them to check out Matilda Bone by Karen Cushman, as well as her other titles, like The Midwife's Apprentice, Crispin by Avi (with a warning about how all the clerics are bad in this one), The Door in the Wall by Marguerite deAngeli, and because this is an older child, I recommended Ellis Peter's Brother Cadfael mysteries, also available on Amazon Instant Video in mini-series format.

Voila!

7.  This happened yesterday with Lucy.  Sometimes being a parent of teens is too much fun.



Jill and I have Artsy Toddlers today (don't ask), and Edmund's math curriculum arrived last night, so I can't just "phone it in" anymore.  Lucy is starring in her school play tonight, which I means I have to buy some flowers for curtain call.  I should probably get dressed and beat this day into submission.

Have a great weekend!

Linking up with Jen and her minions.

6 comments:

  1. Last Christmas drives me crazy!!! When it comes on the radio (which it seems is every 4th song) I immediately turn the station. Blech!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm glad to hear that the new Veggie Tales is good. I've been so disappointed since the went belly up and got bought. Less Bible, still good morals, but I miss the Bible stuff.
    Anyway, did you know that Phil Visher has started something new. It's called Buck Denver and he's a puppet that's supposed to be a news anchor. Their Christmas one is SOOOOO WORTH IT!!! Sorry to shout, but I think Phil is a closet Catholic. It's called, "Why Do They Call It Christmas?" My husband was a little leery of how much correcting he would have to do, so imagine his surprise when they brought up Maccabees. Yes, I said Maccabees. Can you believe it?! He came into the room practically cheering! Great humor, great teaching, great mnemonic devices. What's not to love! My library had a copy, but now so do I!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I made a Pandora channel based on Frank Sinatra's Jingle Bells and I have not been sad by a single song ever. Just classic-y songs both religious and secular. No Christmas Shoes, Last Christmas, So This Is Christmas or the Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time. It's GREAT! I will have to get that Veggie Tales for when St. Nick visits this year, I bet that would be a great addition to our advent!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love that you put a recipe in you #7QT! I'm totally inspired and doing that. I think . And gonna make summa that yummy zuppa!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ok, I have been completely baffled by this "Light of Christmas" song. I love it, but it doesn't sound like TobyMac at all. It sounds like Owl City (which is a Clan Donaldson favorite). Turns out, we're both right! It's a TobyMac/Owl City collaboration. Errbody wins!

    ReplyDelete

Friday, November 8, 2013

7QT: a DVD, a soup recipe, book recommendations. Blub.

1.  It's no secret that we are huge Duck Dynasty fans, so when Big Idea Productions asked me to review their new Christmas Veggie Tales DVD, and I found out Uncle Si is the voice of an Okra, I hopped on that media bus!



Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas has everything you'd expect from Veggie Tales:  humor, pathos, and a good solid Christian message blazing out in a world that tends to turn history's most humble event into a shopping spree.



Merry Larry is mall employee, an elf to be exact.  When the mall's financial struggles cause the owner to hire an outside lighting company, the electric displays are crowding out the reason for the season.

When Merry Larry hears Little Christina's Christmas wish, he uses the light displays to direct attention to a neighbor in need.



Uncle Si is in there plenty, playing mall janitor, Silas.  His humble folksy voice lends a quiet charm to this Christmas tale.

This is the only image I could find for the Veggie Tales turnips.  I love those guys.
One of the best parts of Merry Larry is the turnip jokes!  You have no idea how many puns can be created from the word "turnip."  I'm chuckling just saying the word "turnip."  Try it.  C'mon!  I think "turnip" is my word of the day.

2.  I was underwhelmed by the Silly Song on this DVD, but pleasantly delighted with the Christian rock Christmas tune at the end credits.

TobyMac's "Light of Christmas" set my children, ages 2 to teen, rocking around the house.  My sixteen year old fell in love with this song.

(I can only hope "Light of Christmas" gets more radio and mall airtime that some of those tired and meaningless, not to mention musically void, compositions like "Last Christmas" or "So This Is Christmas."  Those songs depress me, and after a few times, my ears start to bleed.)

Listen to "Light of Christmas" here.  It's sure to put a spring in your step and a smile on your face!



3.  By the way, St. Nicholas' Feast is a'comin.



He usually brings books or movies with the standard chocolate coins to our shoes.  Merry Larry and the True Meaning of Christmas would be perfect for a child of any age. To paraphrase Uncle Si, "Seriously, it's good stuff."

4.  Hey Jack, it's Soup Weather!

When it comes to hearty and easy soups, I have several in my repertoire that I rotate through.  One of the easiest and best soup recipes is Patrick's Aunt Mary's Italian Sausage and White Bean Soup.

Afraid of bean soups?  Have no fear of soaking or rinsing or any of that ree-di-cuh-lus stuff.  This recipe used CANNED beans.  Easy, peasy.  The recipe calls for cannellini, but I have used Great Northern too.

The recipe also calls for fresh spinach, but I have used frozen spinach, or baby spinach, or fresh kale, or fresh baby kale, or collard greens.  I'm flexible like that.



5.  Italian Sausage and White Bean Soup
Serves 8, but just go ahead and double it because the leftovers are so yummy.

1 lb. Italian sausage (hot or mild, whatever floats your boat)
10 large garlic cloves
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
20 oz spinach (or kale or collard greens, see above.)
4 cans white beans (cannellini or Great Northern)
3 cans low sodium chicken broth (ALWAYS get low sodium broth.  Unless you like to be puffy.)
2 plum tomatoes diced, or 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese, known as "parmis" in our home
salt and pepper to taste (You aren't going to need any salt.  Between the sausage and the broth and the parmis, you can just leave that salt shaker in kitchen.)
red pepper flakes to taste (You will need the red pepper flakes.  That's my favorite part!)

  •  Brown sausage in bite size chunks, first removing casing if link-style.  Drain on paper towel.
  •  Wash and dry spinach, (or buy that pre-washed stuff), and chop into to 2 inch pieces if necessary.
  •  In a large soup pot, saute garlic in olive oil until softened.  Add spinach (or other greens) and cover.  Cook, stirring occasionally until wilted. 
  •  Drain and rinse beans.  Add to pot, along with chicken broth.  Bring to a gentle boil.  Add parmesan and sausage and heat through.
  •  Add tomatoes, and serve immediately.
  •  Please pass the red pepper flakes.
  •  Serve with crusty bread and extra parmesan cheese.

6.  Need book recommendations for a picky reader?  Just email me.  I'm like the sommelier of children's lit.

Seriously.

For example, someone I know has a kid who likes fiction set in the Middle Ages.



I told them to check out Matilda Bone by Karen Cushman, as well as her other titles, like The Midwife's Apprentice, Crispin by Avi (with a warning about how all the clerics are bad in this one), The Door in the Wall by Marguerite deAngeli, and because this is an older child, I recommended Ellis Peter's Brother Cadfael mysteries, also available on Amazon Instant Video in mini-series format.

Voila!

7.  This happened yesterday with Lucy.  Sometimes being a parent of teens is too much fun.



Jill and I have Artsy Toddlers today (don't ask), and Edmund's math curriculum arrived last night, so I can't just "phone it in" anymore.  Lucy is starring in her school play tonight, which I means I have to buy some flowers for curtain call.  I should probably get dressed and beat this day into submission.

Have a great weekend!

Linking up with Jen and her minions.

6 comments:

  1. Last Christmas drives me crazy!!! When it comes on the radio (which it seems is every 4th song) I immediately turn the station. Blech!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm glad to hear that the new Veggie Tales is good. I've been so disappointed since the went belly up and got bought. Less Bible, still good morals, but I miss the Bible stuff.
    Anyway, did you know that Phil Visher has started something new. It's called Buck Denver and he's a puppet that's supposed to be a news anchor. Their Christmas one is SOOOOO WORTH IT!!! Sorry to shout, but I think Phil is a closet Catholic. It's called, "Why Do They Call It Christmas?" My husband was a little leery of how much correcting he would have to do, so imagine his surprise when they brought up Maccabees. Yes, I said Maccabees. Can you believe it?! He came into the room practically cheering! Great humor, great teaching, great mnemonic devices. What's not to love! My library had a copy, but now so do I!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I made a Pandora channel based on Frank Sinatra's Jingle Bells and I have not been sad by a single song ever. Just classic-y songs both religious and secular. No Christmas Shoes, Last Christmas, So This Is Christmas or the Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time. It's GREAT! I will have to get that Veggie Tales for when St. Nick visits this year, I bet that would be a great addition to our advent!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love that you put a recipe in you #7QT! I'm totally inspired and doing that. I think . And gonna make summa that yummy zuppa!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ok, I have been completely baffled by this "Light of Christmas" song. I love it, but it doesn't sound like TobyMac at all. It sounds like Owl City (which is a Clan Donaldson favorite). Turns out, we're both right! It's a TobyMac/Owl City collaboration. Errbody wins!

    ReplyDelete