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Extending the Family Table

Our house is pretty snug, and my chronic illness is pretty unpredictable, and my kiddos get pretty cranky if they miss their bedtimes. So it is a rare occasion in our house in which we invite friends and family to our table. It’s not that I don’t enjoy having company or cooking for crowds. Quite the opposite. I adore feeding a tableful of people, to the point that I wonder if my true heritage lies somewhere in the kitchen of an Italian grandmother. But in spite of my heart’s willingness, my flesh is in a season of focusing inward. So I comfort myself by saying that there will be a time for entertaining, somewhere down the road (to everything, turn, turn, turn….)

But being gracious to my flesh left my heart feeling rather empty. I began to wonder, if I can’t extend my table, can I at least extend my meal?

As I was having these thoughts, I was browsing through a review copy of a book that had come my way (come back on Monday for a book review and a giveaway!). There is a chapter in Grace Before Meals that is intended for World Day of the Sick. This is a Catholic feast day that, according to the Catholic Health Association, has three purposes: to pray for those who are sick, to reflect on and respond to human suffering, and to recognize those who serve as caregivers. (May I be so bold as to suggest that these are good reminders for the human race in general? Catholic or no? Christian or no?)

Father Leo Patalinghug provides three soup recipes just perfect for sharing with a friend or neighbor in need. And so for a recent Family Table Night I set about cooking a gigantic batch of Creamy Vegetable Soup. I tripled the recipe–two batches to feed my family of six, and an extra batch to deliver to a friend with one energetic preschooler and two energetic toddlers. When I called to find out if a jar of soup would be welcome, she sighed into the phone and told me that her family had been battling the stomach flu. Soup would be more than welcome.

Just before dinner time, I loaded up the kiddos and we delivered soup and hugs to our friends. And then we returned home to our own meal. I ladled out bowls full of steaming, delicious soup, and dinner time conversation revolved around how to be gracious to those in need of help. There were no earth shattering solutions to world-hunger or epic poverty, but there were certainly some age-appropriate suggestions on how to love our neighbors.

I’m sharing a family favorite recipe for a simple, delicious soup that’s just right for delivering to a friend or neighbor. Cook up a batch to share? Extend your family’s table beyond the walls of your dining room? Who knows? That solution to world-hunger may just begin with sharing a jar of soup.


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Chicken-Rice Soup

This recipe is adapted from a cookbook that I inherited through marriage and has been a constant source of easy, nutritious soup recipes. This will make a large batch, sufficient for sharing with a friend or neighbor.

Source: Skinny Soups by Ruth Glick and Nancy Baggett

Course: Soup and Chili



  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 6 cups chicken broth, homemade if possible
  • 1 parsnip shredded
  • 1 turnip shredded
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 34 teaspoon thyme
  • 12 teaspoon tarragon
  • 14 teaspoon celery seed
  • 14 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound shredded chicken cooked
  • 12 cup rice uncooked


  1. Saute onion and garlic in butter. Add the veggies and saute until soft. Add remaining ingredients (except chicken and rice). Simmer for 20 min. Add cooked chicken and rice. Simmer 20 minutes until rice is tender.

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And a Giveaway Winner…

I had such fun reading all of your comments for last week’s giveaway, brimming with thankfulness for all kinds of things. Thank you so much for making my Thanksgiving weekend that much more thankful. Congratulations to Sara with comment #11 the winner of the Saying Grace giveaway.


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