Friday, December 10, 2010

Tuna Failures, Gingerbread Houses and Creamy Bacon Spinach Soup...

I got this e-mail from Tonnino Tuna that says, "Congratulations on winning first place!" Which basically means I didn't get the Grand Prize of a trip to NY and a $5000 scholarship award. But I did get....drum roll...a year's supply of tuna. To define that, I get a case (6 bottles) of tuna (yes, it comes in bottles) per month, which is a total of 72 bottles in a year. Yum! It's a disappointment but, after crying for a couple days, I got over it.

The next competition was a gingerbread house competition at a retirement home. Although my gingerbread came out kinda funky (little zombie men - see below), the house turned out okay. It was a sort of pink-Victorian Barbie house, with a Golden Graham's roof top and a red licorice chimney. I came in 4th place, 1 point away from 3rd, simply due to resident votes. The judges LOVED my house and possibly would have given me 2nd or 3rd place if it was just up to them. As a result, however, they raised my prize money from $50 to $120. At least I got most of the money I spent on all that candy and icing...

But let me also clarify, I HAD A LOT OF FUN! I love competing. :)~ I just have to learn it's not all about winning.

And finally... by popular demand....



6 slices bacon
1/4 c. onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14 oz.) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
6 oz. (6-7 cups) fresh baby spinach
1 1/2 c. non-fat milk
6 tbsp. whole-wheat flour
to taste salt and white pepper


1. In an oven preheated at 350 degrees, cook the bacon on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes until crispy; set aside to cool.

2. Pour a couple teaspoons of bacon fat from the baking sheet into a dutch oven, over medium-high heat, add onions and garlic, a pinch of salt and white pepper, and cook until tender. Reduce heat to low.

3. Crumble bacon and add to pot. Stir in broth.

4. Rinse spinach well and add to soup. Increase heat to medium and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

5. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until spinach is wilted and cooked, but not fully broken down.

6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine milk and flour; beat with whisk until very well blended.

7. Stir milk mixture into soup. Simmer on low heat until it thickens, stirring often.
Suggestion: Top with shredded Parmesan cheese. Serve with whole-grain bread.

Serving Size: 2 cups
Number of Servings: 3

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