I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Chikin soup for the rattled soul

Here we are with winter having come and blessedly departed with little more than a feeble attempt at winter-ness, and a spring shaping up to be one of the more pleasant ones in recent memory. I should be dancin'.

Unfortunately, for over a month now I've had my grumble panties on, due to a recent experience with Microsoft involving their new operating system, which I swore I would never buy, as I was bound and determined to switch to Ubuntu (I may still be Microsoft-free some day, just not yet).

I weakened and put Windows 7 Home on my aging desktop computer in November 2011, and I hate to admit it but really, they did something right this time. I actually LIKE this iteration. Everything was fine until February 19.

When Microsoft decided I wasn't genuine anymore. Excuse me?

I was genuine for over three months: activation went fine, updates went fine, everything went fine. Until February 19. I tried to get a response from Microsoft for a month, and finally talked to someone in Uzbekistan (I think) today who actually gave me some information. And although my accent didn't always understand his accent, eventually we got to an answer.

The seller blocked my product key because I returned the product. Excuse me again?

I'm not quite sure how exactly you would return a download, but for some reason this seller decided I did so. At least that's what Microsoft is telling me. So now I have a second email in to the seller (forgot to mention before that I did contact them as soon as it happened, and got no response). We shall see if this begets a response.

So you know what happens when your product key gets blocked? Well, you still have some semblance of 'use' of your computer, with lots of adventures thrown in. Your desktop wallpaper reverts to black, your computer crashes frequently, and you drink even more wine than normal. So given that I'm pretty much out of my Goth stage and would prefer not to have black wallpaper, I am keeping my fingers crossed that this seller ponies up and sprinkles the genuine dust on me again.

And that leads me to the recipe for today. Which falls squarely in my repertoire of things you don't really need a recipe for. Even though I am bird free, I love me a good chikin noodle soup when the world is rattling my cage. Here's how I've been getting unrattled.

Also, please don't mind the crappy photo, the soup tastes a lot better than it looks here. I grabbed this shot at work under fluorescent lights with splashes all over the bowl because I was madly shoveling soup in my face while working, and I hadn't taken a decent picture at home. My keyboard is pretty gross looking, but the soup? This one always taste like more.

Chikin Noodle Soup

1 Tbs. Earth Balance margarine or olive oil
8 oz. Trader Joe's Chicken-less Strips, or similar seitan strips, homemade if you have some on hand

1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

6 cups water
2 Tbs. vegan chicken-style broth paste or powder (I used Better Than Bouillon Vegan Chicken Broth concentrate, and it is REALLY good), enough for six cups
2 bay leaves
salt to taste (if broth is not salted)
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped (I forgot it, but use some if you have it)
4 oz. small pasta shapes (~1 cup), such as farfalline (seen here) or small shells

Heat the margarine or oil in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add the veggie strips and sauté to brown a bit, about 5 minutes. Remove strips to a small bowl or plate and set aside.

If necessary, add more margarine or oil to the pan and sauté onion through garlic for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are beginning to soften.

Add the water, broth paste/powder, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add the veggie strips, parsley, and pasta. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until pasta is just al dente. Add salt (if necessary), and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Inspired by a recipe at Chow Vegan.


  1. I have to use Windows for my job (my own computer is a Mac) and I just loathe it. Loathe it! I'm sorry Microsoft is causing you problems too.

    The soup looks perfect! I've been a little congested lately, so I really need to make some this weekend...

  2. We have Windows at work also, but we also have an IT group, which spends BIG BUCKS on Microsoft product for hundreds of desktops. Makes a difference.

    I'm still waiting for a resolution from the vendor. As it's been so long since I bought the product, I'm not sure I have a case with PayPal, but if these guys try to give me the slip, I will definitely file a complaint. Macs and/or Ubuntu are looking better all the time...

    As far as the congestion goes- soup! You need soup!