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Flow (with Cream of Chicken Soup)

I was not a child whose gifts included musical talents.  I didn’t care, but I also didn’t have the presence of mind to keep this to myself.

So in fifth grade, I made up some lyrics about how awesome this guy Daniel was.  Then I sang them to Daniel.  The really regrettable part is that I used the refrain and the tune from The Wind Beneath My Wings

I mean, just imagine you’re an eleven-year-old boy.  Imagine you open the door to a girl in a puffy paint t-shirt who starts dropping lyrical Bette Midler bombs about how you were just a beautiful face without a name for so long, but now you make her fly high against the sky, so high she can almost touch the sky.

You’d be super creeped out, right?  So creeped out you’d probably ask your parents to call her parents to come pick her up.  And let me tell you, there is just nothing to talk about when you, your parents and the singing creepster are sitting at the kitchen table waiting for the creepster’s mom to roll up.  Nothing.

After that, I laid off the social singing for a while.

And then in 1995, I registered for my high school’s Talent Night.  Let me tell you what I learned from that.

There is no better way to set off the alarm bells of hundreds of men at one time than to sing Jewel’s “You Were Meant For Me” a capella at a talent show.

As a refresher, the song goes like this:

I hear the clock, it’s six a.m.
I feel so far from where I’ve been
I got my eggs I got my pancakes too
I got my maple syrup, everything but you.
I break the yolks, make a smiley face
I kinda like it in my brand new place
I wipe the spots off the mirror
Don’t leave the keys in the door
Never put wet towels on the floor anymore. . .
I called my momma, she was out for a walk
Consoled a cup of coffee but it didn’t wanna talk. . .

This song is about a chick who is so high maintenance that at 6 a.m. she needs to eat a huge breakfast of pancakes with maple syrup and an omelet.

Also, it’s not clear if she’s the one smiling or if she’s shaping the yolks in the omelet into a smiley face.  If it’s the omelet, do you know how many yolks that would take?  Like, nine.  Would you want to date someone who psychotically makes 9-egg omelets at 6 a.m. on the weekends?  I didn’t think so.

And then, just in case you missed the point about her being profoundly emotionally disturbed, she starts talking to a cup of coffee about her problems.  Then she calls her mom and breaks down while reading the paper.

She has an OCD flare-up later that night, when she notices that the cap is not on the toothpaste.  And all of a sudden, the stuff at the beginning about her wiping the spots off the mirror, taking the keys out of the door, and freaking out about the wet towel on the floor start to make sense.  And not in a good way.

I mean, wow.  I bet there was a line of high school boys waiting to ask me out after the show, but I just didn’t see them because I was up to my eyeballs in congratulatory bouquets.

All this is to say that music is not the best way for some of us to express ourselves.  Indeed, some of us should be told at a young age never to sing in public, ever.

But this kid? I hope he keeps it up, because he is the real thing.

This video is so awesome.

I got nothing on this kid, except maybe his mom doesn’t let him cook with sherry, in which case– no sherried cream of chicken soup for him.

I based this soup on a recipe in the cookbook A Slice of Santa Barbara.  I made it healthier and I added lemon and celery.  I used more spices and sherry to make the flavors pop.

This is far and away my favorite soup now.  It’s not heavy.  The chicken is so plump and tender that Scott thought it was tofu (which would be a great substitution in this, by the way).  It’s savory and timeless and makes you feel good and warm in the cockles of your soul.  It must be the sherry.

If I had better health insurance, I’d say I almost can’t wait to catch a cold so I can try it then, when it’s really soup time.

Sherried Cream of Chicken & Mushroom Soup {Download & Print Recipe}

Ingredients: (Serves 4-6)

5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (There is a lot of chicken in this soup.  You could easily get away with using 4 breasts.)

7 tbsp. butter (less than 1 stick)

1 onion

1 lb. mushrooms (that’s two of conventional boxes)

4 tbsp. flour

5 c. chicken broth or stock

1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. sherry

1/4 c. half-and-half

1/2 c. white wine

2 tsp. hot pepper sauce (I used Texas Pete.)

2 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. fresh tarragon (or 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon)

3 stalks celery


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Clean the chicken breasts and place them in a large pyrex (or other oven-safe) dish.  Cover them with 6 c. water, the white wine and 1/2 of the onion. (This half does not need to be diced.)  Cook for 40 minutes.

While the chicken cooks, rinse mushrooms and slice them.  Rinse, peel and slice the celery.  Dice the remaining 1/2 of the onion.

In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt 3 tbsp. of the butter.  Sautée the onions and celery in the butter until tender, then set aside.  Sautée the mushrooms until tender, then set aside.

When the chicken is done, remove it and chop it into bite-sized pieces.  Set it aside.

In the now empty pot, melt the remaining 4 tbsp. of butter.  Gradually add the 4 tbsp. flour.  Stir continuously to allow the roux to blend.

Add the chicken broth and stir until the roux and the broth are well mixed.

Add the sherry, half-and-half, chicken, mushrooms, and onion.  Stir to combine.  Add the hot pepper sauce (add this in increments, to taste).  Finally, add the lemon and roughly chopped tarragon.  Adjust the flavors to taste and serve when warm.

{Thunder guards a recipe by sitting on it}

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19 Comments Post a comment
  1. 1. I do not know what to say about your singing.
    2. Except, I really wish I could hear you sing right now because I’m thinking it would be AWESOME.
    3. I lost my voice last night, and have to teach later today, so I’m thinking your soup would really help a gal out in this here situation.
    4. No voice = no singing. Which will, in all likelihood, make a lot of people around me very happy today.
    5. Maybe people don’t understand talent when they hear it. They just. Don’t. Get. Us.

    December 7, 2011
  2. Kate #

    Never underestimate the power of music (watch this):

    December 7, 2011
  3. Coach #

    Wow, that video is enough to make me want to have children! The soup sounds lush – we will try it out! (The soup, not the having children. Not right now anyway.)

    December 7, 2011
    • Coach, I hear you. I haven’t figured out how to BORROW children for short periods of time though. Kate may be able to help us out soon enough, with the baby I hope she raises to a Notorious B.I.G. soundtrack (see her link.)

      December 9, 2011
  4. I will never listen to Jewel the same way again.

    December 9, 2011
    • Oh God. I just googled her poetry. The below, for example, I do not understand. Do worms fly? Like, ever? Is she thinking about caterpillars? I wish she had asked us, if she had questions about this. Also, do ants even drool? JEWEL, I FEEL LIKE YOU ARE CONFUSED AND I DON’T KNOW HOW TO HELP YOU.

      But I don’t dislike it. In fact, there are some days when I just want to say “WHY IS THERE DIRT STARING BACK AT ME??”

      I am trying to move mountains with words
      But I am an ant
      I scribble
      I drool
      I move like a worm
      whose world
      encompassed a mile

      How do I rise above?
      Where will this worm
      find wings?
      I look in the mirror
      and I see filth
      Who is that?
      Where did The Angel go?
      Why is there dirt
      staring back at me?

      December 9, 2011
  5. socalsally #

    So, I just finished reading your blog start to finish. (Good thing it’s relatively new!) I do this because on Sunday, the TV is overtaken by the man in my life who insists on watching football all day long.

    Anyhow, just wanted to say that this is the perfect mix of the two things I love most in life. Cooking and dogs. And I think your traffic is about to spike since the Bloggess put you in her weekly roundup, but that should hopefully lead to a lot more good things.

    Keep up the awesomeness.

    Now I’m going to go to the grocery store to buy the ingredients for the bread recipe you posted awhile back. I’ve never made bread, but I suppose it’s never too late to start!

    December 11, 2011
    • So funny that you say that, because the two favorite things Thunder loves most in life are also cooking and dogs!!! (Eating the couch either counts as “cooking” to her, or comes in a close second.) I am so glad you visited. Isn’t the Bloggess fantastic?

      I hope you like the bread— let me know how it goes. The only annoying thing about making bread is the kneading, but for this one you can just listen to your favorite song two times and you’re done. I chose to have a short, bread-making dance party to Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On,” for example.

      December 13, 2011
  6. As well, I just read your blog from start to finish (ok, it was finish to start, I don’t conform!) and also I visit via Jenny the bloggess, enjoyed every minute here, Thunder is awesome and you are hilarious. While I can’t cook, I do have a perfect woman in my life who I shall show the recipes too (it’s the perfect time, as Beyonce says, I just put a ring on it), and maybe she’ll keep feeding me.

    Well, just showing my support and saying hi, new reader, and looking forward to more of Thunder.

    December 11, 2011
    • Keith, Hello!

      Congratulations for putting a ring on it. I sincerely hope you did the Beyonce dance while you were putting a ring on it. My second choice is that SHE started doing the Beyonce dance shortly after you put a ring on it. If neither of these things happened, you guys need to make this right and should plan a 3 minute dance party this evening.

      I am so glad you visited the site, and if you guys discover any awesome recipes as you venture forth on this new life together, you best let me know so that I can be a part of it too.

      December 13, 2011
      • Haha, well we did learn the ‘everybody walk the dinosaur’ dance Saturday night after watching Ice Age, so it wasn’t too far off. We also have other dances to make each other laugh so thank you!

        December 14, 2011
  7. I, too, read your blog A through Z, or 1 through 20 (?). As I have a thing for ears, I’m loving Thunder. And as I have a thing for food, I’m loving the recipes. Girl, you are funny!

    December 12, 2011
    • Hello, Merry! You are too kind. Thank you for visiting. I agree that her ears are out of control. She can swivel them around, too, so sometimes one’s facing backward and the other one is doing something totally different, like locating the next shoe or couch or glove she is going to eat. So far it has been highly effective for her.

      December 13, 2011
  8. April was in CT now CA #

    Count me as another who just read your archives and thoroughly enjoyed myself all while drooling into my lap. You should possibly post a disclaimer on your posts that a bowl to catch said drool is mandatory.

    Thunder is beyond adorable and I’m pretty sure my dachshund is reading my mind because he keeps giving me major side eye like he knows I’m cheating on his cuteness.

    Can’t wait to try some of your recipes, beautiful pictures make me want one of EACH!

    December 12, 2011
    • April! So glad you visited the site. Thunder has never met a dachshund (it took me about ten tries to spell that correctly while looking at your comment, fyi). and I bet they would hit it off famously. They would probably sit around and discuss how no one appreciates the awesomeness of having legs that are 4 inches long. Does your dachshund chew things? Because after that, Thunder would probably go back to chewing the couch.

      December 13, 2011
      • April was in CT now CA #

        Believe me, if I didn’t own one I certainly wouldn’t be able to spell it. It took me a good year and a half after getting him to nail it. I also know chihuahua just because it’s fun to say ‘cha huah huah’ in my mind before typing it as a reminder.

        Thankfully he’s never been much of a chewer unless he was having an anxiety attack while being left home alone. Thankfully he mainly does it now when we move (my hubs is in the military so it’s every few yrs) and we’ve figured out how to gently acclimate him to his new surroundings. He’s a drama queen and high maintenance, but gotta love him. I have no doubt their exact conversation would be about their stubs, no doubt!

        December 13, 2011
        • April, TELL ME you’ve read this post from Hyperbole And A Half. If your dog goes nuts when you move, you are going to love it:

          December 13, 2011
          • April was in CT now CA #

            HA HA!!! I have read that, but totally forgot how hilarious it was so I read it again! Thank mercy he didn’t freak out THAT bad because a 7 day drive across the country would have ended badly. Very, very badly. LOL

            The part with the snow was great because we went from always living where “winter” meant it was 65 that day to living in CT where it snows and adjusting to that with 4 short stubs was THE BEST. Thanks for sharing!

            December 13, 2011

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