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Lemony Chicken Barley Soup and A Bit of Cheerfulness

“I’m not happy, I’m cheerful. There’s a difference. A happy woman has no cares at all. A cheerful woman has cares but has learned how to deal with them.” 

I love this quote by Beverly Sills. It speaks of courage, strength, and clarity of thought and purpose in the midst of any devilry the world may throw at us. It’s the sort of woman I want to be, a ray of sunshine in my own bits of darkness.

I gave a happy little sigh when I arrived home to this view last night. 🙂

I pulled open my blinds, climbed into bed with my heating pad and settled in, basking in a room all glowy from the setting sun, delighting in the play of light on my covers.

One particularly bleak and stormy day this week, I drove home and passed a gorgeous flowering tree, ablaze in cheeky white blossoms braving the bluster.

 So even though it was raining something fierce, I hopped out and captured a shot of one blossom, a bit rusty around the edges, but I still think it’s lovely. 🙂

On that same day I got bursts of energy and inspiration, bustling about the kitchen making all sorts of things. I already told you about the Roasted Green Bean Salad with Shredded Chicken, Lime and Cilantro and Roasted Asparagus with Toasted Parmesan, but I promised to tell you what I did with the rest of the shredded chicken. 🙂 So here goes!

They were both quick, simple and healthy. The first was Shredded Chicken Quesadillas With Roasted Green Chilies and Cilantro. A whole wheat tortilla made a suitable base, topped with chicken, roasted green chilies, and sharp cheddar cheese. I broiled them until the cheese was melted and the edges crispy, then sprinkled them liberally with fresh chopped cilantro. Cut into wedges and put in storage containers, a quick heating at work made great lunches for me this week. 🙂

The second was Lemony Chicken Barley Soup. I used the broth from stewing a whole chicken in the crock pot for 8 hours, added onion, celery, carrot, dried cilantro, and sea salt, and let it all simmer. When the veggies were mostly done, I dumped in barley, chicken and a quartered lemon, simmering until the barley was tender. I fished out the lemon wedges, added more lemon juice and some fresh cilantro and voila! A hearty yet bright soup perfect for these blustery spring days we’re having.

I slept almost ten hours last night and feel like a new woman! HOORAY! 🙂 The sun is creeping over the horizon and birds are already twittering outside my window. It’s a new day and I hope it is beautiful for you. 🙂

Lemony Chicken Barley Soup


8 cups chicken broth
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
4 stalks celery, sliced
1 Tbsp dried cilantro
1 lemon, quartered
1-2 cups, shredded chicken
1 cup barley
1-2 lemons, juiced
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  1.  Combine first 5 ingredients in soup pot, bring to boil and simmer until vegetables are tender. 
  2. Add lemon, chicken and barley. Simmer until barley is tender. 
  3. Remove lemon quarters.
  4. Add fresh lemon juice and cilantro and serve.
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