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SickeeFebruary 16, 2013

Hooo. What with all that clean living and healthy eating, I've gone and fallen really sick (bronchitis, knocking at pneumonia's door, says the doc). I've been sick 8 days now and still can't walk across a room without breaking into a coughing fit that scares the neighbor's dogs. I'm mightily over this, but it's over me yet, so I'm just dropping in to say a couple of things: 

1. I'm knitting legwarmers. I would have bet all the quarters in my change jar (there are a LOT of them) that I would never say this, but I'd have lost the bet. I want a sock-like thing to tuck into the tops of my boots and go up over my knees on top of my tights, so it looks like thigh-high knitted socks, without the work. Legwarmers, scooted up, right? Is there a term for this? Thigh-warmers just doesn't sound right. (You should search on Ravelry for legwarmers, I'm just saying. There are some doozies. And before anyone gets prickled by my mocking poor, misunderstood, useful legwarmers, please understand that in California we do not wear such things unless we are in Southern California and Making a Fashion Point. And everyone has to be allowed to mock something. Crocheters are a protected group now, so what else do we have?)

*falls over in a coughing fit that looks suspiciously like laughter

Please forgive. I'm a crocheter, too. And being sick makes me an asshole. Ask Lala. 

2. Finished Lady Marple. This is seriously exactly the sweater I've been wanting, and it was a joy to knit. She just needs buttons and for me to feel well enough to model it. 


3. On Wednesday, I felt better for approximately forty seconds, during which I made soup. This was bottom of the barrel, kids, and it turned out SO WELL I have to share it with you. We had no stock. We had no nothing, and this still worked. You probably have every ingredient to make this right now, and it's easy and fast. The roasting is the secret here--if you throw squash into a soup, it cooks, all right, but it remains rather flavorless. Roast the veggies and chicken first? Magical soup. The total is WAY more than the sum of its parts. (Also, if I call for something you don't have, don't worry! Use a different spice! Time to play!) 

Magic Soup

Heat oven to 425. Peel and cube that butternut squash that's been languishing on the table since Thanksgiving. Rough-chop one onion (or shallot, or garlic, or all three!). Place these on a foil-lined cookie sheet along with the kinda freezer-burned chicken breast (or thigh, bone-in, bone-out, whatever) or two that you just defrosted in the microwave. Roast at 425 for about 30-45 minutes, till you like the way it looks. Bring about 8 cups water to a boil. Remove the chicken to a plate, add the veggies in to the boiling water. Lower to a nice happy simmer, and use a potato masher, big fork, or immersion blender to mash some of the squash/onion up. Add a tsp of cumin, a tsp of ground coriander, some powdered garlic if you didn't feel like adding fresh, a little rosemary perhaps, another chili powder that you like, whatever you love. SALT is necessary--perhaps a Tbs? Also necessary: an acid of some sort. I used the juice of a lemon, but vinegar would work, too. That makes it happy and bright. Shred or cube the chicken, add it to the pot, simmer till you get so hungry you can't stand it and EAT. 

Now. I can't stop coughing, so I'm going to push the computer aside and lie back down and pretend I feel well and that I'm having a glorious lie-in (which won't work--it never works--why can't we ENJOY being in bed when we have to be there? Grrr). I hope you're well. xo


Aww, Rachael. I'm sorry to learn you're so sick, poor sweetie. Oddly enough just yesterday I was talking about wanting to make some boot toppers like you describe. Tomorrow I'll be searching the Madrona market for the right yarn. I'm going to do a cable-and-lace combo, so that the stitch pattern will make vertical striping but still breathe. Can't wait to see yours! I hope you still have the energy for knitting.

Aww, sweetie, sorry you're sick. I'm down and out, too...so are my munchkins. I don't have bronchitis or a cough, just a horrible headache, runny nose and the *need* to lay around all day. I'm gonna try making your soup to bring me out of it. :)

Also, LOVE the leg warmer idea. I want to head to Goodwill and find a really old sweater, and cut the sleeves off to use over my boots, but haven't gotten around to it yet. Good luck! I'm sure yours will be gawgeous.


Magic soup is pho. Really truly will fix what ails you and it's cheap.

You want really tall boot toppers! Oh, I LOVE your sweater! Just beautiful. I just got over the creeping crud, so I sympathize big time. Hope you're well soon!

Oh dude. Cough sucks! It sticks around forever, too. The legwarmers will be awesome, great idea not to waste your time, energy & money on long over the knee socks, because they might slide down anyway! Legwarmer are IT! And good for you to be out and proud about it!!!

Rachael - so sorry that you aren't feeling well. Nothing sucks so much as being sick. Believe me, I have a lot of experience with this lately. Just take care of yourself. My husband is doing the horrible coughing thing right now, so I think I will try your magic soup on him...fingers crossed that you'll both be feeling better soon!

Haha! I like you when you're sick, Ms. Sassy Pants!

Oh Pooh, Rachael! So sorry you are sick. Was wondering where you were. Your roasted vegs/soup sounds amazing! Just bought some cut up veggies a few minutes ago. Will definitely try it. Please get better soon - or we will worry about you. Am going to send you a silly photo that a friend posted on Facebook. It was totally by accident - it is a "cat-without the mouseStache"! Priceless. The cat just did it! You can laugh but don't cough!

Rachel, I just had bronchitis,too, and here's what helped. No sugary cough drops. Sit still. Drink more water than you usually do, enough that you have to hit the bathroom every two hours. And a chest decongestant such as Mucinex. I buy a CVS generic that is terrific, just get the one that says expectorant and not DM (cough suppressant). It's totally safe. I learned about this from a friend with MS who starts taking the chest decongestant at the first sign of a cough because she can't afford to get bronchitis or pneumonia. I hope you feel better soon!

The fake turtlenecks are called dickies. So are the fake boot top to thigh socks called trickies? Or maybe for men they would still be dickies! Just a bit of humor for our amusement.
Get well soon. Keep moving so you cough that crap out.

Aw, I'm so sorry you're sick! That is one gorgeous sweater. And I definitely understand the weird urge for legwarmers even after scoffing at legwarmers for who knows how long... I comfort myself with the reminder that nobody else will know they're legwarmers. Everyone will be fooled into thinking that I'm wearing tall socks! Knitterly deception.

My new fav fix everything and impress everyone recipe: Roasted Garlic Soup.60 cloves of garlic, comforting yummy goodness. It appears to be a camped in the kitchen all day end result but its really short prep time and time for a few good chapters to read/write during simmering. Your soup is a really close second. Bookmarking this one and tossing some kale in just before serving.

I have some legwarmers like that (bought them in Japan years ago), and I wear them all the time :) They're great over tights on cold mornings, then I can ditch them when it gets warmer. I like the layers, you know?

Hope you feel better soon, Rachael!

Rachael, Hope your soup and legwarmer knitting help you turn the corner and feel better soon. I can relate to the coughing thing - my kids told me I was scaring people in Barnes and Noble when I thought I was coughing discretely into my pretty embroidered hankie.

LOVE your sweater!

Yes to mucinex and water. And yes to magic soup. And sleep. I know being sick as a grown up is horrible. Its jst mo fun. Why was it so fun as a kid? I guess school being horrible is the answer. And someone bringing you soup. I send you imaginary soup!

That does sound as if all the lurgies of the world have joined forces to avenge your clean living - I hope you feel better soon and delicious soup is definitely the way to go.

I hope you feel better soon! And your sweater looks fantastic.

Hope your feeling better - i can totally sympathise with you - i often get chest infections so bad i almost throw up coughing so hard - usually end up sleeping (ha ha) on a almost 90 degree angle just to breath at night - usualy the only thing that helps is codine or cortison tablets (they give them to me for bad asthma too - they leave the worse taste in your mouth). Try and enjoy your time in bed and feel better soon

I keep saying Magic Soup in a Forrest Gump voice. Hope you feel better soon.

Get well soon! Love the sweater.

You need some hot lemonade sickee. Please. You need to get better!

Oh man. I sympathize. I've been sick for a week now and It Is No Fun. And I had no one to make me Magic Soup. Even the cats were tired of me whining but they thought it was a huge bonus that Mommy was home with ALL the blankets on the bed. (They do love them some fuzzy blankets.)

I was actually excited to come to work today because I was getting out of the house.

Feel better soon

I think it is better to be flat out sick than to feel like crap for a week or more and no one KNOWS. Hope you feel better soon!

Hope you're feeling much, much better today! Love, love, love the sweater (and totally share the always-make-fun-of-yet-oddly-compelled-to-knit-legwarmers. And I'm definitely trying the magic soup recipe!

Boot Toppers, not leg warmers. These are a legitimate fashion accessory for the last couple of hundred years (google Boot hose for some stunning 17th century examples)

Ohhhh, poor Rachel. Love the sweater, and the "Hey, I'm Sick" attitude. Sending healing thoughts your way ...
Nancy FP in Ferndale

Damn, ANOTHER sweater I wanna knit. And just how did you know I have a chicken breast or two inadequately wrapped, deep in my freezer, hmm?

Boot toppers is the search term you are looking for and there are a ton of those on ravelry too. :-)

Feel better soon.

That lung thing is going around and nailing all kinds of virtuous, healthy people. Hang tough! and thank you for the soup recipe. It sounds fab!

Get better. I love yer stories. Smile.

Saw the finished Marple on Rav last night - hope that means you're feeling better!

Hi Rachael,hope you get well soon,will try your soup recipe-it sounds really great.Sending smiles and good mood your way

Heavens, I can't leave you alone for day (or 4)--look what trouble you get yourself into! Bronchitis, blech! I'm making the crossed fingers sign and banishing the gunk from your respiratory tract -- feel better soon! Your soup sounds delish, and will surely be just the thing to help.

Will try recipe, sound delish. Sorry to hear you are so sick :( Get better dearie :) Hugs to you and Lala.

This is my go-to soup. I make it A LOT. Best part is it only takes about an hour and you have soup ready to go. I use my 5QT dutch oven on the stove and it comes out perfect. Leftovers for days! And paired with my bread from the book "Artisan Bread in 5 mInutes a day" and it's nirvana.



I do this all in one pot, and no, I do not drain the sausage after cooking it.

I throw in some chopped garlic (usually from the jar) while cooking the sausage and use my own garlic salt when salting the soup.

I don't use bacon bits (never have bacon in the house) and I use veggie stock (personal preference).

Also, I just splash in whatever milk I have on hand instead of cream. It's usually non-fat or 2% and it comes out just fine.

For the Kale, I debone it. I just want the leaves and not the woody stalks.

What I love about this soup is while one ingredient is cooking, you prepare the next. Right around the time the next ingredient is ready to be thrown in, it's time to throw it in. It's a well-timed recipe and usually doesn't take me any longer than cooking any other dinner.

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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