it was unusual that kelvin didn't wake up until 11am: i figured he was still recovering from his long weekend new york city trip. but after he came into the living room briefly, he disappeared back into the bedroom, which was unusual. maybe he needed some more sleep i thought. but that's when i realized that sandy didn't go to work this morning and was still in bed. when i finally saw them both in the kitchen making lunch (she was frying an egg), sandy told me sheepishly that she didn't hear her alarm clock. with the government shutdown and her advisor not in the office for over a month now, it's actually a testament to sandy's dedication to her research that she continues to go in everyday even when nobody's around. she could just as easily do her work at home.

sandy and kelvin then camped out in the living room for the rest of the day: kelvin binge watching episodes of dexter, sandy working on her laptop with the screen brightness turned down to minimum. i ate a yogurt then went to star market to look for ingredients to make mexican chicken soup. before i left i vacuumed the foyer because they had tracked a mess of salt crystals into the house (my upstairs neighbors were also to blame for caking the front steps in salt).

the weather was cold (in the 20's) but sunny and actually felt nice to be walking around outside. originally i wanted to go to market basket, but i didn't feel like trudging in the icy snow covered sidewalks. star market was having an unannounced clearance sale on all packaged diamond-brand nuts: originally $5.99, now just 99¢. i couldn't believe it at first but verified the price with a price check scanner. they only had one bag of hazelnuts, the rest were mixed nuts and a few bags of almonds. i grabbed 2 more bags of mixed nuts, figured i'd give them a try with these bargain prices. i also got a box of green mountain hazelnut coffee keurig cups which i thought was on sale ($3.99) but i'd later find out they weren't ($9.99). additional purchases: perdue chicken breasts ($2.97), can of black beans ($1), land o lakes hot chocolate mix packets (2/$1), celestial seasoning bengal spice tea ($2.79), and a bag of frozen corn ($1.50).

back at the house, i went out again, this time to the larger porter square star market, in the hopes of scoring more clearance hazelnuts. i was surprised by how little selection they had, just a few bags of almonds. disappointed, i was about to leave, until i saw their 12-piece bag of fried chicken on sale for just $7.99. i tried their fried chicken before and wasn't impressed, but these looked better and was a bargain at that price. since i was already in the area, i called my mother to ask if she needed anything from michael's. she sent me a $5 off coupon and asked me to find a lion's brand yarn called "shaw in a ball." after a lengthy search (with the bag of fried chicken smell wafting from my grocery tote) i finally found them. i sent my mother a photo and waited for her to tell me which ones she wanted. michael's was having a buy 2 get 1 free sale, and she was hoping she could get the sale price along with her coupon. when i went to pay however, they said i couldn't do that so i ended up just getting a single skein.

when i returned home i moved all my things to the kitchen dining table, as sandy and kelvin had taken over the living room. i told them i had fried chicken in the kitchen, and it didn't take long for kelvin to swing by and sample a few pieces. he said they weren't bad, and when i tried them they were actually pretty good. the skin had a lot of crunch, my only objection is they weren't salty enough (compared to MB fried chicken), but that's not a bad thing. i would definitely get them again.

i roasted the mixed nuts in the toaster oven. while i waited, i realized i forgot to get a 28-oz. of crushed tomatoes (cento $1.99), so i went out again. times like this, i'm really glad i live so close to a super market. it didn't take long before i discovered i also didn't have any onions (), so back i went again, this time for onion. i paid with coins both times, trying to use up my loose change. i tried the mixed nuts, an almond and a walnut, they were okay, but i still prefer hazelnuts.

approaching 6pm i returned to the living room, hoping to catch some news. i waited for kelvin to finish one more dexter episode before switching to ABC world news. the big local story was the disappearance of a 23-year old girl from boston since saturday who had just been found in charlestown, apparently the victim of a kidnapping. i watched 15 minutes worth of news before going into the kitchen to get started on the mexican chicken soup.

earlier i'd already told kelvin and sandy i was making my soup, so it might prevented them from making any dinner plans for tonight. i didn't know if they'd like it, particularly sandy, who doesn't eat spicy, and this soup was pretty hot since i add a whole 7 oz. can of goya chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. i figured if it doesn't work out, she could have some fried chicken.

spicy mexican chicken soup 

1 onion, diced
garlic, chopped
olive oil
1 can 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
2 cans chicken broth
7 oz. chipotle peppers
2 chicken breasts, cooked, shredded
1 can 15 oz. black beans
1 cup israeli couscous
1 cup frozen corn
shredded cheese (parmesan/mozzarella)
cilantro, chopped
scallions, chopped