HayStacks for Supper

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HayStacks for Supper

This was always one of my kids’ favorite meals.  Savory Haystacks for supper, and sweet Haystacks cookies for dessert!!!!!  We were first introduced to Haystacks as a supper food when our family was invited to dinner after church.  It’s been a staple in my repertoire ever since. It’s similar to Frito Pie, but with rice and taco toppings.  And Haystack Cookies are my very favorite cookies that my mom used to make when I was a kid.  Want to butter your kids up for something?  Make them a batch of Haystacks.  You’ll have them eating our of your hand! Ha ha!

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I make my savory, Frito Taco Hay Stacks from leftover chili with beans.  See my chili recipe HERE (it’s the second recipe down in the series on that page).

Plus…

  • Cooked Rice (I love Green Chili Rice! Just make rice as directed on package, substituting chicken broth for the water, and adding a small can of green chilis)
  • 1 family size bag Fritos (regular or spicy)
  • Make a pico-de-gallo with equal parts diced tomato, diced green onion, and diced fresh jalapeno (stems and seeds removed); add some chopped cilantro, the juice of one lime, and a pinch of kosher salt
  • Chopped Romaine lettuce
  • Chopped jumbo black olives
  • Chopped jalapenos (fresh or pickled)
  • Chopped avocado  (or guacamole)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Make a dressing of equal parts salsa and sour cream

To serve:

Place a handful of Fritos on each person’s plate

Top Fritos with a serving of rice

Ladle on some warmed up leftover chili

Top the chili with cheese, lettuce, avacado, pico, cilantro, and black olives

Pour dressing on top

ENJOY!!!!

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1 (11-oz) pkg Butterscotch baking chips

1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter

1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts

1 (12-oz) pkg La Choy chow mein noodles

Melt butterscotch chips in the top pot of a double boiler (bottom pot should have a few inches of water and be brought to boiling), stirring constantly.

Once chips have melted, remove pan from heat and stir in peanut butter and peanuts. Add chow mein noodles and toss gently to coat them all over completely. Drop by spoonfuls onto a foil lined cookie sheet. Allow to cool and set up before serving. May be refrigerated to hasten the cooling/setting up process in warm climates.

Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”  

1 Corinthians 3:12-13 (KJV)

 

FUN and GAMES

A fun after-supper game for the kids… Make a giant straw haystack in the back yard and hide it full of plastic Easter eggs.  One Easter Egg can have a slip of paper inside with a picture of a needle on it.  Whoever finds “the needle in the haystack” will win a special prize.  All the other eggs can have candy, or trinkets, or even puzzles to solve – or that will lead them on a treasure hunt, or dares for the finder to act out in them.  The kids will have so much fun finding the needle in the haystack, solving puzzles, searching for treasure, and acting out the dares!!!  And when they are done, they’ll have a blast piling the hay back into a heap and pouncing into it over and over again.  Great activity for when you want to have guests with kids over.  The grown ups can gather around a fire while the kids are over yonder playing in the hay!

 

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”  Mark 10:25

 

Did you know…

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Mrs H’s Mexican Street Corn

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Mrs H’s Mexican Street Corn

If you’ve never had it, you are about to meet your new favorite food.  You’ll be dreaming of it.  In fact, as soon as fresh corn-on-the-cob starts showing up in your grocery store, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say you will probably eat corn three times a week for the first month.  I’ll almost bet you’ll never want corn-on-the-cob any other way!!!!!!!   I’m ruined too!!!!

  • 8 ears shucked sweet corn (leave the stems on)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Mexican crema (my grocer carries two types, a sweet cream type,which tastes like heavy whipping cream, and a sour cream kind. Both have a slightly thicker consistency than whipping cream)
  • 1/2 cup finely crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (I make my own blend, see recipe below)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, mashed and finely minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 lime, for zest, and then cut into wedges

After you have shucked your corn and cleaned off all the silks, you can grill your corn out on the BBQ grill (watching it carefully and turning it often so it doesn’t burn or get dry), or in the oven at 425 degrees F, turning about every 7 minutes or so until cooked all the way around.  Once it is cooked on all sides and has some charred spots it’s time to dress it up.

While the corn is grilling, mix together the mayo (please don’t use the fat-free stuff.  Live a little!!!), crema, garlic, and add about 1/4 tsp of the chili powder, zest the lime and then add the zest to the mayo mixture.  Toss in about half of the crumbled cotija.  Mix well and keep in fridge until ready to use.  Cut the lime into 8 wedges and save for serving.

As soon as the corn is grilled, spread each cob with a generous amount of the mayo mix on all sides. Don’t be chincy with the mayo.  Follow that with a sprinkle all around of chili powder, and then cotija cheese crumbles.  Sprinkle on cilantro (or serve it seperately, for those decidedly annoying guests who think they don’t like it, like my husband – who is seriously missing out on a huge tongue delight, big time; don’t be like him).  Serve immediately with a wedge of lime for each cob!    You’ve died and gone to heaven, right?  I’m there with ya!!!!!!

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Colleen’s Homemade Chili Powder

  • 3 Ancho Chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 3 Cascabel/Guajillo chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 4 Arbol/Cayenne chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 2 Pasilla chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 2 New Mexico Red chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon dried Mexican Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon hot Paprika

Place the chiles and cumin seeds in a saute pan or cast iron skillet and toast over medium heat about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and place in a glass bowl to cool completely.  Once cool, place in a blender, along with the other ingredients and process until a fine powder. Allow the powder to settle for several minutes before lifting the lid.  Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.  Use for making chili, to season corn, or in BBQ sauces and dry rubs.

 

“And it came to pass on a second solemn Sabbath, that He went through the corn fields, and His disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, and rubbed them in their hands.”  Luke 6:1 Geneva Bible

 

 

 

Colleen’s Chicken Salad (for sandwiches)

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Colleen’s Chicken Salad (for sandwiches)

(((Serves a crowd)))

 

ingredients

6 chicken breasts, organic skinless and boneless (or 2 fully cooked deli rotisserie chickens, skinned and deboned)

1 cup diced celery

½ red bell pepper, diced

1 large jalapeno, diced (seeds and stems removed)

1 small white onion, minced (or half of a larger size white onion)

2 green table onions, washed and chopped

1 ½ cups quartered red grapes

1 20-oz can crushed pineapple, drained

2 small gala apples, very thinly sliced

2/3 cup chopped pecans

Salt and Pepper to taste

Mayonnaise

Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried

Raisin bread, sliced,  OR … fresh deli croissants

instructions

 

 

Place chicken breasts in a large pot, cover with water, season to taste with salt & pepper (I sometimes toss in a lemon and an orange if I have them, cut in half), and bring to a boil on the stove.  Boil for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.  Test by removing the largest piece and cutting it in half.

Meanwhile chop the celery, bell pepper, jalapeno, onions, grapes, and apples and set aside.

When the chicken has cooked and cooled, cut it into very small chunks and place in a large mixing bowl.  Add the chopped ingredients (minus the apple), the crushed pineapple, pecans, and season with a little salt and pepper.  Add enough mayo to moisten as desired and toss with chicken until all ingredients are incorporated.  I usually start with a cup of mayo, and then add more as I mix until it has the creamy texture I want.  Taste it to make sure it is yummy.  Add more salt and pepper if desired.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

To assemble sandwiches, slice raisin bread to desired thickness, toast if desired.  Or, if using croissants, slice them in half.  Spread a thin layer of mayo over both top and bottom slices.  Next, lay a leaf of lettuce on the bottom slices.  Arrange a few apple slices on top of the lettuce, and then top the apples with a heaping serving spoon of chicken salad and press it down to spread it to the edges of the bread.  Carefully lay the top slice of bread on top.  Slice each sandwich in half, if desired.

Serve with a raw veggie medley (carrot, celery, cucumber slices), or seasoned cottage cheese, or an assortment of cheeses, or your favorite chips (personally I am a Sun Chips kind of gal)…plus a nice iced Chai latte to wash it all down with!  Mmm..mmm..mmm!!

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“For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused, if it be recieved with thanskgiving; For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”  

1 Timothy 4:4-5

Barabbas

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Barabbas

Have you ever thought about the man Pilate brought out before the people?  The criminal case that was … dismissed!

A man who was guilty in the courtroom of heaven, but dismissed by man, and a man who was innocent in the courtroom of heaven, condemed by man.

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Matthew 27:16-26 NKJV

16 And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.

17Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”

18For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy.

19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.”

20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus.

21 The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas!”

22 Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”

23 Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!”

24 When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.”

25 And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”

26 Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.

Pilate didn’t give the people just any prisoner, he gave them only one choice, Barabbas.  Matthew says that Barabbas was a “notorious prisoner” (which if this was the only account of the story could lead us to imagine he was possibly a repeat offender, or maybe an insurrectionist who caused a lot of trouble with the other prisoners).  Then Mark comes along with his testimony…

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Mark 15:7-15

7 And there was one named Barabbas, who was chained with his fellow rebels; they had committed murder in the rebellion.

8 Then the multitude, crying aloud, began to ask him to do just as he had always done for them.

9But Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”

10 For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy.

11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd, so that he should rather release Barabbas to them.

12 Pilate answered and said to them again, “What then do you want me to do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?”

13 So they cried out again, “Crucify Him!”

14 Then Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, “Crucify Him!”

15 So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.

Notice in verses 9 and 12 the title Pilate uses for Jesus.  John uses this same title in his testimony a little further down as well.  Mark also says Barabbas was a “rebel” who had “committed murder,” along with his gang of rebels, in a rebellion.  Peter testifies to the same in Acts 3:14.  Luke then comes along with a 3rd testimony…

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Luke 23:13, 14, 18-25

13 Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people,

14 said to them, “You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him

Did Pilate choose Barabbas because he more aptly fit the accusation of “one who misleads the people” when placed side by side of their choice of Jesus?

18 And they all cried out at once, saying, “Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas”–

19 who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder

20 Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them.

21 But they shouted, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!

22 Then he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go.”

23 But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed.

24 So Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested.

25 And he released to them the one they requested, who for rebellion and murder had been thrown into prison; but he delivered Jesus to their will.

So, the question about where the rebellion took place is answered by Luke.  It was in the city, not in the prison, and Luke backs up Mark that there was murder involved (accidental or intentional, we’ll probably  never know).

Lastly is the testimony of the fourth witness…

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John 18:39-40

39 “But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”

40 Then they all cried again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

John adds that Barabbas was a “robber.” It is the first time robbery is attached to Barabbas. Now to give Barabbas the benefit of the doubt here, I imagine he could be a completely unsavory fella, or he could also be a hero – of the order of Robin Hood, prince of thieves.  Did he steal from the people for his own benefit, or from the government for the benefit of the poor?  Did someone end up dead as collateral damage?  I guess we’ll never know.  But here is an interesting note on some commentary I found for Mark 15:7…

[Barabbas.] Let us mention also with him a very famous rogue in the Talmudists, Ben Dinai, whose name also was Eleazar. Of whom they have this passage worthy of chronological observation; “From the time that murderers were multiplied, the beheading the red cow ceased; namely, from the time that Eleazar Ben Dinai came; who was also called Techinnah Ben Perishah: but again they called him, The son of a murderer.” Of him mention is made elsewhere, where it is written Ben Donai. See also Ben Nezer, the king of the robbers.

So, John could be identifying Barabbas with this group.  Perhaps even a disciple or trusted partner of Ben Dinai?  If so, what a crazy time for Jesus to come upon the scene, in the middle of a revolution.

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Over here, in this corner of the ring is a man who has caused an uprising, is a notorious prisoner, killed someone, and misled the people: Barabbas, of “THE ROBBERS!”

And in the other corner is a man who sought out the poor, the maimed, the blind, and the lame, healed their sickness and disease, and brought the dead back to life, Jesus, “KING OF THE JEWS.”

Standing all around are the people, forced to choose between a man whose name means “father’s son” (Bar = son + Abba = father – Strongs #912 in the Greek dictionary, or #1347 in Chaldean with #5 in Aramaic – the mixed dialog of Palestine), but in fact is the son of a murderer, OR THE  Son of THE heavenly Father, Creator of all things, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, THE SON of the Father of fathers.

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Who did they choose?  Better yet, who do YOU choose?

I have thought often about this particular time in human history which Jesus handpicked for His first coming; a horribly barbaric time, when criminals were crucified on crosses, and flogged with forty stripes.  Jesus could have chosen any day, and any time period when there would have been courts of law that were considerably more fair, and a death penalty that would have been mere lethal injection.  But it wasn’t until this moment that I realized how deeply curious this all is.  The Father put Jesus (The Son of Abba-Father) on a stage before the people with a man whose name means a son of a father.

Consider also that the other members of Barabbas’ gang were quite possibly the two criminals that were crucified with Jesus that day.  Barabbas + the two thieves make an unholy trio (- like the beast, the false prophet, and the dragon).  One of them remained harsh and vile, while one (unlike Satan’s cabinet) repented of his wrongs and chose Jesus – the FIRST criminal case … DISMISSED in the court of heaven – woo hoo!.

But then, let me draw further on that unholy trio comparison, because it is the picture of the choice that has been thrust upon humanity from the beginning of time.  If Barabbas was the son of a father, who was his father?  Spiritually speaking, who is the father of evil?

Barabbas  (father’s son)

  1.  A “rebel” who “along with his gang of rebels, led a rebellion
  2.  “One who misleads the people”
  3.  One who “committed murder”
  4. “A robber”

Satan  (son of perdition)

  1.  “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9).  “His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth” (Revelation 12:4).  
  2. “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”…  Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.” (Genesis 3:1,4)

  3. “…the devil… was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”  John 8:44
  4.  “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10

Satan is a wolf in sheep’s clothing – an imposter (anti-christ).  A son of iniquity.  Always on the prowl, seeking whom he may devour.  An accuser of the brethren who accuses us before the Father day and night, who first gets us to sin and then runs to rat us out to God. He most defiantly misleads the people.

And he is presently sharing the stage with Jesus.  What a contrast in characters.  One is a taker of life.  The other, a SON who laid down His life.  One tempts us to sin, and the other a SON who takes away our sins and the sins of the world.  An insurrectionist  against an intercessionist.

Jesus changed the course of history when He came, and the thing is, He knew what He was walking into and that very few would choose Him, and a very vocal majority would not choose Him.  He forgave them (us) anyway, and asked God to forgive them (us)  for they knew not what they were doing.  They didn’t know that they didn’t take Jesus’ life, and that He laid His life down freely of His own accord.  The truth was hidden from all of them, like a parable (but only partially from the disciples).  Had the crowd NOT chosen Barabbas, Jesus would not have been the “Scapegoat,” the “Passover Lamb” that He came here to be. That we all needed Him to be.

I have realized something today.  This story shows me that we often choose people instead of Jesus.  And our hopes are often dashed by the people we have chosen (friends, spouses, jobs, politicians, pastors, bosses, etc.).  God asks us to choose wisely, to not be unevenly yoked, or cast our pearls before swine.  Oh how we need the wisdom of God in order to make wise choices.

On His last night, the Son, Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane, and fell on the ground, and prayed, Abba, Father (Father of fathers), all things are possible for You.  Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”

~ Free Will or God’s Will? ~

This is the choice we have to make every moment of every day of our lives.  In the beginning God gave us all free will, even when He knew His creation wouldn’t choose Him.  And Satan has had a field day with the free will thing. (Click here for an informative article about God’s will with a free printable of scripture cards… because God is not willing that any should perish). God the Father sent His Son Jesus onto that tragic scene 2000 years ago to give us the tools to defeat Satan ~ the criminal that stands on the stage of life opposite Jesus.

a son or The Son?

Satan came to party hardy and trash our house (mind/body/soul).  Jesus came to sweep our houses clean and put them in order…

“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”  Matthew 12:43-45; Luke 11:24-26

“It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known it and turned away from the holy commandment passed on to them.  But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”  2 Peter 2:21, 22

Apart from God we can do nothing!  

“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  (Matthew 26:41)

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.”  John 16:7

“And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:” John 20:22

“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4,5) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)  “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4)

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”  Psalm 51:10-12

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—”  Ephesians 6:10-18

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:15-20

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.  For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, AbbaFather (Father of fathers).  The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”  Romans 8:14-17

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, AbbaFather (Father of fathers)!  Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”  Galatians 4: 4-7

“And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.”  Matthew 23:9

(In other words: Do not exalt any human being on earth to the place of God in your heart. Warning! They will let you down. They are imperfect.)

“Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?”  Hebrews 12:9

(We live in a crazy mixed up time when so many fathers are absent from the home and the lives of their children. God intended earthly fathers to be a picture of our heavenly father; that we as children would feel their sacrificial love and witness their protection and in return have great honor and respect for them. Who messed it all up?  Someone less than a father, I assure you!)

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” 1 John 3:1

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For the free printable coloring page click  >>>  Easter-cross

Perhaps you feel lonely, abandoned, heavy, guilty, burdened with sins, the weight of which keeps you from choosing Jesus.  God the father sent His Son to that cross for you!  To set you free.  He paid the penalty for your sin.  By His blood your criminal case with God can be hereby … DISMISSED!

Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).  He said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32)

Jesus was lifted up on a cross, just like the symbol of healing God gave to Moses for the Hebrews in the wilderness (Numbers 21:8-9 & John 3:14-15).  By His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).

Jesus was lifted up from the earth, and ascended into the heavens (Acts 1:9-11), as our High Priest, to sprinkle His atoning sacrifice on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies (Hebrews 9:1-10:17), and as our King, to be seated upon His throne, having conquered sin and death.

If Jesus is lifted up in our hearts and in our lives and in our words and in our ways, He will draw not only us, but all of those around us unto Himself, by His Spirit.  (Remember the thief on the cross who was exonerated by Jesus?  – he didn’t have any time left to do any good works.)

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Lord, may you come and sweep this house and put it in order and then fill me with Your Holy Spirit.  Kick the devil out and seal up every crack and crevasse where he might seek to enter again.  Set my feet upon solid rock and protect me from the storms that the adversary brings against me.  When he comes in like a flood, may You raise up a standard against him.  May the plans of my enemy be exposed and may the fate he plans for me be his own, as Haman.  Set Your hedge around me Lord.  Encompass me with safe boundaries.  Expand my territory so that the gates of hell may not prevail.  And when my accuser comes to you asking to sift me as wheat, Lord may the answer be NO!  Let me not make excuses for the trespasses I’ve committed, but be forgiven of my sins, and cleansed from all unrighteousness.  Bless me and my family that we may bless others.  Give us eyes to see and hearts to feel compassion, and hands overflowing with generosity for those in need.  Suit us up in the Spiritual Armor.  Comfort us with the peace that passes understanding.  Fill us with wisdom and knowledge to light our path and be a beacon of hope for others.  All glory and honor to You.  In Jesus’ Name. Amen 

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  Joshua 24:15

Taste and see that the Lord is good!

.In Christ the solid rock I stand.  All other ground is sinking sand!  

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Smart Mopper

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Smart Mopper

Got Ceramic Tile Floors?

Housekeeping tip:  Save a Bundle and have the cleanest floors you’ve ever had!!!!!

I’m possibly the last person on the planet to figure this out, but I’m gonna be the first to blog about it, because if there is just one lone little person out there that hasn’t figured this out, YOU are going to be soooooooo happy, happy, happy to discover this blog post today!!!!  You might even send me flowers, or chocolates, or tickets to the next Spurs game.  (Really, it’s okay.  I don’t want flowers.  Clicking the “Like” star at the bottom of this post will be thanks enough.  =)  ).

How many of you out there have a Swiffer?

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We all do, right?  And probably several similar “mops” with newer fangled gizmos (like liquid tanks that spray cleaner, either hand cranked or battery operated), making them even more expensive than they already are.  How many of you put your Swiffer in a closet when you ran out of the disposible wipes, or the batteries died, and went back to the regular mop because the wipes are so expensive?  But the regular mop, while cheaper to use, isn’t really all that clean.  The first dunk in the mop bucket is clean, but after that you are just spreading around dirty water, progressively dirtier water as you go.  Ick.

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These guys AREN’T cheap!

With 2300 square feet of ceramic tile floors, I had to find a better, cleaner, more affordable way.  And here it is…

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Equipment:  A “dirty” bucket.  A “clean” bucket (oblong shaped).  A couple packages of washcloths.  A basket to put the clean washcloths in – with hooks to attach it to the side of the bucket.  A jug of Bleach.  And that lost and forgotten old Swiffer.

Procedure:  Place a gallon or so of boiling water and a half cup of concentrated Bleach into your “clean” bucket.  You can also add a squirt of dish soap if you want (I do).  You don’t need gobs of water.  Just a couple inches are probably sufficient.

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Attach a clean, dry washcloth to your Swiffer mop…

…and then dunk it into the hot bleach water, and mop until the cloth runs out of wetness.  I can usually do a small room (bathroom, hallway), or about half a large room (bedroom, dining room) with one cloth.  One of the beautiful things about a Swiffer is that swivel head that lets you get under and behind tight spaces.

Another beauty is that you get to pull off the dirty cloth from the top, so your hands never get dirty, and then just drop it down in your “dirty” bucket.

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Then, get a new fresh clean washcloth and attach it to the Swiffer.  Dunk it in the bleach water (which never gets dirty by the way, because you  never dunk a dirty mop into it, HA!  soooo cool), and continue mopping.

One of the other awesome things about the washcloths, besides how much cheaper they are than the Swiffer wipes, is that they are wider than the mop head, so they get in under things soooo much better than the Swiffer wipes.  And because they are coarse and loopy I think they scrub better too!

When you are done mopping, just dump your dirty washcloths into the washer (along with all your throw rugs to make a full load) and wash them!  Fold them and store them in the little washcloth caddy on the side of your mop bucket and you’re ready for the next time.

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Couldn’t be easier!

My floors have never been this clean.  They sparkle!!!!

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Genius right?

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dscn7688The washcloths cost $2.97 for a package of 12 at Wal-mart. Hint: the ones in the mop & broom section of the grocery isles are cheaper than the ones in the pots and pans section, and you get more in the package, 9 vs 12.  As far as I can tell they are the exact same cloths.

Compare the cost of the Swiffer wet wipes at $8.47 for a 24 count at Wal-mart, which are a continuous expense.  I go through about 20 washcloths to clean all my floors – that’s almost a whole box of Swiffer wipes.  

Bleach is cheap ($2.94/gal.), especially the plain old store brand, and you can’t get a better clean.  Bleach kills germs and mildew, and doesn’t leave a residue.  If you want the fancier bleaches that have scents, go for it!!!!  And if you prefer PineSol, or some other cleaner, that is totally up to you.

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My oblong bucket cost me around $8.00, and the little washcloth caddy another $8.00.  I found it in the Wal-mart isle where the plastic tubs and garbage cans and kitchen organizer things are.  I had to cut the hooks that came with it off shorter and bend them so the medal basket would fit on the side of my mop bucket without hitting the floor.  You might want to buy a couple of “S” hooks to replace the ones that come with the caddy and use them dscn7686instead if you don’t want to cut yours.

The reason I wanted my washcloth caddy to attach to my mop bucket is just for ease of portability, so I can grab both my “dirty” and “clean” buckets by the handles in one hand, Swiffer in the other, and move it all with me as I mop.

P.S.  I want to thank my BFF Treva for inspiring me to come up with this system.  Mopping floors happened to be one of those topics that just came up in one of our phone chats recently.  I’m not even sure how we got onto the subject.  But she said she cuts up her old bath towels and uses them with her Swiffer.  And with that an idea was born.  Well, I didn’t have any old bath towels.  Mine always end up going to the shop or garage to be used for rags and car drying cloths.  But, washcloths are pretty cheap!

And there you go.  My tip of the week…or month…or year.  Hope it helps you save a little money and makes you as happy as it has made me.

“So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.”   

1 Peter 2:1-3  The Message 

Daily Prompt: Festive

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Daily Prompt: Festive

via Daily Prompt: Festive

dscn7518Tis the season for TAMALES, fa la la la la la la la la…

What could be more festive than tamales?  Just the shear process of making them is by definition, FESTIVE!  All the women of the family, closest friends, and surrounding neighbors gathered together in one tiny house.  Cherished loved ones in aprons hovering over perfectly seasoned smoldering pork and stewing chicken.  Gifted hands dutifully chopping and cleaning jalapeños and onions.  Skilled hands making masa with lard, kneading it for an hour to get it just right, and washing and soaking corn husks.  Little hands scrubbing countertops and tables in preparation of the assembly process.  Pots of steaming water bubbling away furiously on the stove.  Music and chatter, mostly Spanish, lingering festively in the atmosphere.  Restless children bustling underfoot.  Moms and grandmoms hollering at them, and also sharing stories of Christmases past, faith, and Jesus and Mary and Joseph, women having babies, and the glory of God.  Aunts, cousins, and in-laws laughing, tasting, teasing, gossiping, squabbling, crying, and making merry with one another.   Everyone settling into their station to lovingly mass produce dozens upon dozens of these tasty little treats, for their grateful families…and ours.

 

Even the act of eating tamales is festive.  In fact, Christmas isn’t Christmas without tamales (especially if you’re in Texas)…freshly made, piping hot little packages of glistening gold, waiting to be unwrapped, and then decorated with red and green, and flocked with white.

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My very favorite tamales are savory pork with spicy jalapeno and dripping with bacon fat.  Mmmm.  Oh my goodness!  I love them hot and fresh from the steamer, buck naked, and so scorching that I can barely hold onto the wrapper to unwrap it, blowing and blowing, and deliriously addicted to its intoxicating aroma as it passes over my lips and melts on my tongue.  If that were the only way I could ever have them, it would be plenty enough for me, but a little hot sauce, red or green, makes them even better!  And, oh how I adore them dolled up Tex-Mex style, like a taco.  Three sleepy amigos laying on my plate, brought to life with green onions and lettuce and cheese and pico de gallo and black olives and sour cream with salsa mixed in it, spooned on top.  Or, how lovely they are dressed with green tomatillo salsa and some chopped green onion, or smothered in spicy New Mexico green chili, or Terlingua red chili.  Or swimming in a spicy, creamy pepper-jack cheese sauce and heaped with fresh pico on top. Or, my favorite way, decked out like a bowl of tortilla soup, sitting in their husks and splashed with a squeeze of lime, then slathered in red or green salsa, with a handful of chopped, fresh cilantro, chopped green onion, guacamole, and a generous crumble of queso fresco tossed on top.  (I’m seeing a Tamale Bar in my future; an Ugly Sweater Christmas party with a Tamale Bar and a house decorated in hot chili pepper lights – see how festive tamales are?).  Oh how I love them!!!!!!!  I love them sooooo much!   I feel almost guilty penning my intimate thoughts.  Fifty shades of GOLD.  Is it okay to lick the husks?  <blushing!>

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Just lift the lid and let the steam swirl up onto your face.  Gaze upon their golden deliciousness!  Decorate them with your favorite red and green, and white!  Serve them at parties or eat them on the street.  Give them to your family, or sneak a midnight treat!   Eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every day of the week and the whole month of December.  I know all these tamales will lead to diet resolutions, but for now please let us savor our binomial distributions!  Muy fantástico!

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* feliz navidad *

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P.S.

 

 

 

Soup’s On!

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Soup’s On!

In this post are my recipes for…

  1. Green Chili
  2. Red Chili
  3. Chicken Tortilla Soup
  4. Creamy Poblano Soup
  5. Farmhouse Potato with bacon and jalapeno
  6. White Bean, Andouille, and Kale Soup
  7. Zuppa Tuscano
  8. Nacho Cheese Soup
  9. Clam Chowder in a bread Boule

It’s that time of year when a bowl of steaming hot soup with a side of hot, fresh baked, heavily buttered, crusty bread not only warms the body, but the heart and soul as well.  I have been asked soooo many times for these soup recipes that I decided to make a place for them here.

My husband says it is impossible for me to make a small batch of anything.  Tis true I suppose.  So, if you find yourself with more soup than you can eat, please wrap some up and take it to a neighbor, or share it with friends in the office, or bring a bowl to your child’s teacher, for lunch on a blustery winter day!

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Mom’s Green Chili

…First we have to make the roast!…

1  8-lb Boston Butt Pork Roast, patted dry and rubbed all over with this dry rub:

1 heaping Tablespoon Chili Powder

1 heaping Tablespoon dried Cumin

1 heaping Tablespoon smoked hot Paprika (Pimenton Picante)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper mélange

Place roast on grate in roasting pan, cover with foil, and put into a preheated 350°F oven for about an hour.  After an hour, turn the oven temp down to 225°F leave roast in oven to finish baking until meat is falling off the bone, approximately 3 to 6 hours.  I actually leave mine in all day (6 to 8 hours) tightly covered.

I usually always make my green chili from this leftover roast.  After the roast has cooled I pull it apart into large chunks (this is a very fatty roast, and I discard all the fat and bone), wrap the meat up in a freezer zip-bag and either put it in the fridge for the next day, or in the freezer, to make my next batch of Green Chili (recipe follows).

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dscn9111Mom’s Spicy Red Chili 

  • 3 lbs ground beef (I sometimes switch out one pound with ground bison, or you could use venison)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3  (14-oz) cans diced fire roasted tomatoes (reduced or NO sodium)
  • 3 (14-oz) cans of low-sodium chicken broth (I use the empty tomatoes can to measure my broth from a larger carton)
  • 3 (14-oz) cans of low-sodium beef stock (again, I use my empty tomatoes can to measure my stock from a larger carton)
  • 9 Tbsp of chili powder (added at different intervals)  (I make my own; it’s sooooo much better than anything you can buy at the market – see recipe below)
  • 3 Tbsp of yellow corn meal or fine masa flour (used to make tamales)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, mashed and minced

In a large, high-sided frying pan, or dutch oven, fry burger meat on medium high heat until cooked through.  Remove from heat.  Drain off excess fat. Return dutch oven to medium high heat and add onion to the ground meat.  Stir and cook together a few minutes.  Dump in the tomatoes, chicken and beef stocks, garlic, 6 spoonsful of the chili powder, and then the corn meal.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer.  Cover and let cook for 1 hour.

Remove lid, stir, and add 2-3 more spoonsful of chili powder.  Taste for seasoning.  If a soupier chili is desired, add a tomato can full of water.  If you want a thicker chili, stir in a tablespoon or two more of masa.  Stir, replace lid and let cook another 30 minutes.  Taste to make sure it is yummy before serving.  Add a can or two of drained rinsed beans if desired.  I like to add 1 (14-oz) can of pintos and 1  (14-oz) can of red beans.

Serve with crackers (I have to spread real butter on mine) or cornbread (I usually always make a Mexican style cornbread – I use a honey cornbread mix and add shredded cheese, diced onion, and diced jalapeno to the mix).  Chili may be served with any of the following toppings: crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese, chopped red or green onions, diced jalapenos, a dallop of sour cream, etc.   This recipe makes a lot, but you can use the leftovers to make Frito Pies, Chili-cheese Dogs, and Hay Stacks.

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Colleen’s Homemade Chili Powder

  • 3 Ancho Chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn into small pieces
  • 3 Cascabel/Guajillo chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn
  • 4 Arbol/Cayenne chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn
  • 2 Pasilla chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn
  • 2 New Mexico Red chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and torn
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon dried Mexican Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon hot Paprika

Place the chiles and cumin seeds in a saute pan or cast iron skillet and toast over medium heat about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and place in a glass bowl to cool completely.  Once cool, place in a blender (my Bullet is perfect), along with the other ingredients and process until a fine powder. Allow the powder to settle for several minutes before lifting the lid.  Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.  Use for making chili, to season Mexican Street Corn, or as an ingredient in BBQ sauces and dry rubs.

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Mom’s Chicken Tortilla Soup (mildly spicy)

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Mom’s Creamy Poblano Soup (spicy)

Let me start with my prep work on this one.  First, I grow my own Poblano Chilies in my garden, and in the fall/early winter when the weather calls for frost I harvest everything and hurry and preserve it, either by drying or freezing.

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After (1) picking my Poblanos and (2) washing them, I (3) roast them in the oven until the skins are charred and bubbled all the way around, then I (4) seal them in plastic bags and let them sit until I am done with all my roasting.  Finally I (5) put on a pair of latex gloves and begin sliding the skins off, pulling the stems out, and wiping all the seeds from the insides.

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Then I fold each chili in half and tuck them inside a freezer zip-bag, about 15 chilies to a bag, squeeze all the air out, zip the bags closed, fold the bags over, and tuck about three bags of the chilies into another zip-bag.  Then I stash these bags in my freezer for soup all winter long (or until they run out).

Recipe:

8 cups Chicken Broth (I’m kind of an organic girl, so if I can’t find organic broth I usually make my own)

2 large Yukon gold potatoes, diced

2 large onions, diced

Kernels from 6 cobs of sweet corn

1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste

1 stick of butter

4 cloves of garlic

¼ cup fresh parsley

Bring broth to a boil and add all the ingredients after that.  Cook until tender.  Add:

15 processed Poblano Chilies (as described above)

Whirl contents of the soup pot in a blender until smooth, then return to the soup pot and add:

6 cups Heavy Cream (or 3 cups heavy cream and 3 cups Half-and-half)

Let this simmer on the stove until ready to serve.  When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with shredded Pepper Jack cheese. 

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Mom’s Creamy Farmhouse Potato Soup, with Bacon and Jalapenos

12 medium potatoes (I actually prefer russets for this soup, plus they keep better so I usually have them on hand), peeled and cut into bite-size chunks

1 large white onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 ribs of celery, chopped

2 to 3 Jalapenos, finely minced (if your jalapenos are mild, use more, if spicy use less, to taste)

1 large (48-oz) container of chicken broth

2 small or 1 large can of Cream of Chicken soup (I prefer Campbells)

1 stick of butter

2 cups of whole milk

1 8-oz package Cream Cheese, at room temp

Salt & Pepper to taste

Fry bacon either while soup cooks, or before starting the soup.  Lay on paper towels, and set aside.  Place potatoes, onion, garlic, celery, and jalapenos in a large soup pot.  Add the chicken broth and enough water to cover the potatoes about one inch over.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes depending on the size of the chunks.  Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir until blended and cream cheese is melted and fully incorporated.  Taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a steaming simmer, stirring occasionally so the bottom of the soup doesn’t stick and burn.  Ladle into bowls and garnish just before serving!  Make the garnish pretty by first adding a dollop of sour cream to the center, then sprinkle with crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, and chopped green onion (and pass the diced jalapeno for those who want a little more heat).  Bon appetite!

Garnishes:

Sour cream

½ lb crispy fried bacon

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1 bunch green onions, chopped

Fresh chopped Parsley

2 large jalapenos, minced

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20170219_152315-1Mom’s Spicy White Bean, Andouille, and Kale Soup

This is one of those soups that I make for my daughter.  She and I LOVE this soup, especially on a cold winter day (when we can lounge in our jammies and eat and watch a marathon of something on TV).  My crazy husband is not a fan of Kale, or really anything green-leafy and floating in his soup, so this is a special treat for when he is out-of-town and the girls and I can have a girl’s night! 

1 pkg Andouille sausage (if you can find the semi-hard Chorizo, that works too, or even a jalapeno smoked sausage), cut into bite-size pieces

2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into small chunks

½ white onion, chopped

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 finely minced Poblano chile

4 cups Chicken broth

1 14.5-oz can fire-roasted tomatoes

1 bunch of kale (fresh, raw, and washed well, stems chopped off and discarded), torn roughly into bite-size pieces  – I love Kale, so for me moooore is better!!!!

1 14-oz can Cannellini beans, drained and washed (Garbanzo’s will also work)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Fry the sausage in a heavy soup pot until crispy on the edges.  Toss in the potatoes, onions, garlic, and poblano.  Saute for a few moments and then add the chicken broth and tomatoes.  Simmer for about 20 minutes, and then add the kale.  Taste it and add salt to taste.  Grind some pepper also to taste.  Simmer another 20 minutes and add the beans.  Allow them to heat through.  When steaming hot, serve with warm, crusty bread slathered in fresh, creamery butter.  Oh Lord, I’ve died and gone to heaven!!!!

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Mom’s Zuppa Tuscano (spicy)

I found this recipe online, published by Big Oven, and tweaked it to make it my own.

1 lb Italian sausage (my grocery meat dept. has parmesan and something else Italian meatballs that I brown and chop up, plus the Italian sausage in casings – which I remove from the casings, brown and break up)

1 tsp red pepper flakes; (I grow all sorts of hot peppers in my garden– Hungarian paprika, cayenne, poblano, serrano, jalapeno, thai hots, habanero, etc. – and dry them and grind them into powder.  This is what I use in my soup.)

3 large russet potatoes, cut into chunks

1 large onion, diced

1 lb. bacon, chopped (I cook mine crispy the day before, wrap it in paper towel, and place in a plastic bag in the fridge. Unlike Big Oven, I don’t add it to the soup until after I’ve added the kale and cream)

4 garlic cloves; minced (I use the biggest outside ones)

3 cups kale, chopped (I’m sorry, I really never measure this, I just add until it looks good, probably more than 3 cups because I LOVE Kale).  Remove the tough ribs and tear the leaves roughly.  Rinse really well.

2 boxes (32 oz ea) chicken broth

2 cups water

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

Liberal sprinkling of white pepper

(I add about a ¼ tsp of my *special chili pequin and pepper mélange seasoning also)

Original recipe makes 10 Servings.  Cook Bacon ahead of time and have ready.  Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a pot. Drain excess fat, remove sausage and set aside. In the same pan, sauté onions and garlic (I cooked mine in a little butter). Sauté for approximately 5 mins. or until the onions are soft. Add the chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until soft, about 15-20 minutes. Add kale during the last 5 minutes. Add heavy cream and the cooked sausage and cook until heated through. Add white pepper to taste.

If you want the soup a little thicker, you can make a blonde roux in a separate pan and incorporate it into the soup. I make my own *spice mixture of ground pepper mélange, ground chili pequin, and kosher salt and I sprinkle my portion with it just before serving. I also add some to the soup, but careful not to overload, it in case some folks were sensitive to the spice. The soup is especially good when served with warm, buttered crusty bread!

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Mom’s Spicy Nacho Cheese Soup

1 gallon can of Nacho (or Cheddar) Cheese

2 cups Chicken broth

4 cups water

1 Poblano chili, diced

6 ribs of celery, diced

2 cups of ham, diced

1 small white onion, minced

Place all ingredients in a large crockpot, cover and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours, or until celery and onion are tender and soup is piping hot.  Great served with Panini sandwiches!

Serving Suggestion:

Thin sliced Italian Bread, brushed with olive oil on one side

Fillings:

Mozzarella

Provolone

Heirloom Tomatoes

Prosciutto

Pepperoni

Fresh basil

Roasted red peppers

Portabella mushrooms

Spinach

Arugula

And whatever else makes your tongue dance

Put your sandwiches together, olive oiled sides out, and then grill in a Panini press.  I don’t personally own a Panini press, but the George Foreman grill works pretty well if you clamp it down.

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Colleen’s Clam Chowder

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Colleen’s Clam Chowder, served in a fresh sour dough bread boule from the bakery!  Toast the lid and drizzle it with garlic butter for an added treat!

 

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May our soup bowls be deep and our friends plentious!!!!

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“And one day Jacob was cooking some soup when Esau came in from the fields in great need of food”  Genesis 25:29