Today was perfect "Let's eat outdoors weather". Friends who have a ranch about 15 miles thataway came over to take the excess water lilies and iris out of out backyard pond over to the new tanks they've put in at the ranch. I had just time to put together a hearty, colorful soup before they arrived; they brought frozen "biscuits inna can" that I baked, and then served.
It was just the kind of occasion for which I'd wanted the picnic table. We had the checked cloth (dark green and white and not quite as big as the table, but who cared?), the casual plates (pale gray with a bold cobalt blue stylized floral design in the center), red-handled tableware, biscuits in a deep pottery bowl with a blue stripe and wrapped in a blue and white cloth, and as centerpiece the big red enameled cast-iron LeCreuset pot. A light cool breeze, the squirrels flirting in the now-leafless trees (it's their mating season here), birds coming in to water, and no mosquitoes at all. Nor flies. And the cat stayed in the front yard.
E- is one of my alpha readers for the book I'm in the final stages of, so in addition to watching squirrels and birds, we discussed her reaction to parts of that; J- and my husband were discussing water storage and other rural pursuits, and planning how to get the heavy (wet and heavy) plants from the pond out to their truck.
All very relaxing after a morning spent hard at work on the book.
The soup was assembled from components I try to keep on hand (though they vary from time to time.)
1 quart frozen homemade chicken stock
2 packets (2 cups each) frozen chunks of cooked turkey
1 28 oz can Ro-Tel
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 stalk celery, sliced crosswise into little chunks
about 1/4 of a green bell pepper (leftover in the fridge) diced
about 1/3 of an orange bell pepper (leftover, ditto) sliced fine
about 1/3 of a red bell pepper (leftover, ditto) sliced a little more coarsely
If our rancher friends had given me another 30 minutes warning, I would've added some pearl barley, for even more heft, but this was colorful and tasted just fine.