When I think of New Years, I think of football games, movie marathons and SOUP! Nothing warms up a chilly January day like your hands wrapped around a bowl of nice hot crab soup. Thought I’d share a recipe for my favorite soup (FYI—no part of this is lowfat—that’s why it’s so yummy! LOL).
¾ cup butter
¾ cup flour
2 chicken bouillon cubes (crushed)
white pepper (dash)
salt (to taste)
1 tablespoon Old Bay
1 quart whole white milk (beware–skim/low fat milk won’t thicken)
1 quart half and half
1 pound back fin crabmeat (I use Phillip’s crabmeat from Costco)
In a Dutch oven, melt butter. Blend in flour, pepper, and Old Bay. Stir and simmer over low heat 2-3 minutes. Add milk, half and half, and bouillon. Simmer and stir constantly until bullion is absorbed and the mixture thickens enough to coat a metal spoon. Salt to taste. Add crabmeat. Heat through; do NOT boil. You can double recipe for a bigger amount.
Wild Irish Christmas recently released at Ellora’s Cave and I thought I’d share a bit of it with you today.
It’s Christmas Eve, and the Collins siblings have given their father a precious gift. All seven have gathered together to spend the night in his apartment above the family pub, the warm, loving home where Patrick and Sunday raised their large brood.
You’ve witnessed each child find their happy-ever-after. Now gather ’round the tree and join the Collins family as they pass a bottle of Jameson, and Patrick shares the story of how he won the heart of Sunday, his true love, his soul mate…and the mother of his seven Wild Irish.
Patrick claimed his recliner as the rest of his kids pulled up chairs or grabbed pillows and plopped down on the floor around the tree. “I still can’t believe you’re all spending the night here.”
Keira grinned. “We’re here because it’s the holidays, Pop. You haven’t been yourself the last few months. We worry.”
Patrick grasped his oldest daughter’s hand. “I’m a tired, old fool. I suppose I lost my way for a bit. Let the daily grind get me down. You crazy kids have reminded me what’s important in life with this gesture. It’s a lovely gift.”
Keira squeezed his hand. “We love you. It’s been years since the eight of us were alone together in this apartment…all busy with kids and jobs. We thought it was time we took a night to reconnect. To remember where we came from.”
“Oh,” Sean added, “and a word to the wise, Pop. Next year, when the girls ask you what you want for Christmas, say a flashy tie or an animal-print Snuggie or some bull like that. Don’t say, I only want you all to be happy and healthy. Leaves too much room for interpretation—especially from Riley.”
Riley picked up a pillow and lobbed it at her younger brother’s head. “Way to ruin Keira’s sappy speech, smartass.”
“Language, Riley,” Patrick said, the words a familiar joke more than a true rebuke.
“Sorry, Pop.” Her face told him she wasn’t sorry at all.
Tris lifted the whiskey, proposing a quick toast. “We’re here, Pop, because we’re family. To the Collins clan.” He took a swig from the bottle and passed it to Teagan, who followed suit with her own cheers.
Patrick wasn’t sure what it said about his character that he was proud of the way all seven of his offspring could hold their whiskey.
As the bottle moved from hand to hand, they each offered up words of thanks or wishes for the New Year. When it reached Patrick, he lifted the bottle and proposed a toast he hadn’t used since the last Christmas he’d celebrated with his wife, Sunday.
“To Conall Brannagh.”
Ewan took the bottle from his father. “Who?”
“Conall Brannagh,” Patrick repeated. “If your mother had chosen him over me, none of us would be here tonight.”
Sean leaned forward, a definite gleam of interest in his eyes. “So you had some competition for Mom, eh? I never knew that.”
Keira grabbed a bag of pretzels. “I didn’t either. Was Mom in love with him?”
Teagan looked at Patrick. “I always thought you were her first love.”
Patrick smiled at his daughter. “I was her last love, Teagan. That’s a much better spot to claim. Besides, I don’t know if it’s fair to say she loved Conall, though he certainly turned the women’s heads. What’s the word you girls use for handsome men? Dreamy?”
Riley laughed. “Um…yeah, not in this decade. I definitely don’t use the word dreamy to describe Aaron.”
“Then what would you say?” Pat asked.
“He’s hot. Totally doable.”
Killian turned to look at his younger sister and shook his head. “Jesus. How are we related?”
“Dreamy works for me, Pop,” Teagan said quickly.
Patrick looked at his kids and silently marveled at how different they were. Somehow, miraculously, their unique qualities meshed perfectly, creating an amazing family.
Ewan, always the steady one, hadn’t been distracted by the asides. “So Mom thought this Conall was dreamy?”
“All the girls in Killarney thought Conall was handsome, but he only had eyes for Sunday. Not that I could blame him. Your mother was a beauty, with that long dark hair and those crystal-blue eyes. She caught every man’s attention.”
“But you didn’t fall in love with her because of her looks, right?” Keira asked.
“Och, Lord no. While Sunday’s face was pleasing, it was her heart, so kind and compassionate, that I found attractive. That’s what captured me by my hand and—pardon the expression—balls and kept me holding on to her for dear life.”
“So what was the story with this Conall guy?” Tris asked.
“Well now, that is a tale.” Patrick leaned back and closed his eyes, letting his mind drift to a different place, a different time.
“I was working on my family’s sheep farm during the day while tending bar at Scully’s Pub every night. I was a young buck of twenty when Sunday, who was just nineteen, moved to Killarney to live with her aunt. Scully hired her to sing in the pub and from the first moment I laid eyes on her, I was lost…”
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