Facebook has its advantages and its disadvantages. A good advantage is that it connected me with Kim Howard. Kim and I have been “friends” for quite some time. We seem to like and share many of the same posts.
Kim comes to the area from outside Williamsport, Pa. When she was 4, the family moved the Philadelphia area. At 6, they moved to Phoenixville. She attended and graduated from Phoenixville Area High School.
She has many interests, which, due to health issues, she currently now keeps up with via Facebook. The list includes: Jungian psychology, mythology, comparative religion, crafts, cooking, pottery, gardening, fashion, music, interior design, antiques, orchids, David Austin Roses and the list goes on. She usually has 25 tabs opened at one time.
But it is art that best defines her. She shares her love of art at all times. Frequently, she changes her profile photo to feature an artist and his or her work.
For almost two years, she has battled with a Candida infection. This has turned her world upside down. This infection has interacted with all her organs, as well as her nervous/muscular system. This leaves her in excruciating pain, and she is unable to take any thing for the pain. For almost two years now, she has not eaten any carbs or sugar. During this time, Kim has lost 70 pounds (and she didn’t even have to exercise) just lying on the sofa. This strict diet, along with taking care of herself, is enabling her to gain back her health to a normal pattern. She seldom ventures far from home. Recently, she has been able to very slowly add some grains, a few beans and lentils, plus a bit of cheese and goat’s milk.
A little information on Candida. It is a parasitic fungus that is yeast-like. It is the most common cause of fungal infections in humans worldwide. For those contracting the infection, it can be a long journey back.
Through it all, Kim is fighting back and looking forward to once again getting out in the world.
Kim’s Chicken Noodle Vegetable Soup
Put one large chicken into a large stockpot with enough water to make the pot 3/4 full, along with about three to four onions cut, five stalks of celery roughly cut in about 2-inch pieces and five peeled carrots the same length. Add lots of chicken bouillon (I used the granules) to taste, plus about 2 tsp. whole pepper in cheesecloth. Boil until chicken is done. Remove chicken; refrigerate overnight. Cool stock, and refrigerate overnight.
Next day: Remove chicken from bone, and rough dice. Remove peppercorns, celery and carrots; either discard or blend with some of the stock and add to broth. Return chicken to pot. Dice six more celery stalks and eight peeled carrots into about 1/2-inch-long pieces. Add a bag of frozen corn and a bag of cut green beans. Sometimes I’ve used bags of frozen mixed veggies. Add salt and more pepper (ground this time) to taste. Add marjoram to taste; I use quite a bit. Add more chicken bouillon if desired. Add the thinnest egg noodles you can get — whole bag or a bag and a half depending on how many you like. Don’t overcook the noodles.
Now the secret ingredients: Add poultry seasoning* to taste (I use a fair amount) and sugar. Yes, some sugar helps. I just put it in by tablespoon full until I think it tastes right.
And the real secret ingredients: Add cinnamon (I use one whole stick) and Chinese Star Anise (just a couple). Let them simmer along with the chicken/veggies and other spices. Then remove when you turn the stove off. Serve, cool and freeze the rest. It will be the consistency of what Rachel Ray calls a Stoup ... which I was making before anyone even knew who Rachel Ray was. Excellent with homemade bread.
*Poultry seasoning: You could use any brand. Kim uses a brand called Bells Poultry Seasoning. This brand is sort of a tradition, as her father used it to season chicken/turkey.
Let Bette hear from you: email@example.com. Search YouTube for “Look Who’s Cooking with Bette Banjack,” as well phoenixvillenews.com (search bar: Banjack) for this column. Find Bette on Facebook by searching “Bette Banjack’s Downtown Kitchen.” Her book, “2 Cups of Yesterday,” is available at Gateway Pharmacy or by contacting her.