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    Sunday, January 05, 2014

    SPICY BEEF VEGGIE SOUP RECIPE


    This is my favorite soup recipe for braving those cold winter days (and nights! ;)) 

    SPICY VEGETABLE BEEF SOUP via Teresa Medeiros

    INGREDIENTS
    1 lb ground beef (or stew meat)
    1 cup chopped onion (I like yellow)
    2 cloves garlic
    1 30 oz. jar of Ragu Chunky Garden Combination Spaghetti Sauce
    1 10.5 oz can of beef broth
    2 cups water
    3-4 potatoes sliced ¼ inch thick (I boil these before putting them in the soup to make them fork tender.)
    1 tsp sugar
    1 tsp salt
    ½ tsp black pepper
    1 10 oz. can Rotel (Diced Tomatoes with green chiles). (ORIGINAL is great if you like a little heat, get MILD if not.)
    1 16 oz bag of frozen vegetables (I like to get 2-10oz bags of Birdseye Steamfresh Mixed Vegetables and microwave them per directions, discard about 4 oz, then put them in already cooked and softened.)

    DIRECTIONS
    1) Spray large soup pot with Pam
    2) Put chopped onion and garlic in pot and cook until softened a little
    3) Add ground beef and brown. Drain and return to pot.
    4) Add all other ingredients
    5) Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. (If the soup is going in a crock pot or you have longer to cook it, you can cook the potatoes and the frozen vegetables IN the soup instead of preparing them ahead of time.)

    Serve with cornbread or warm rolls and enjoy!

    Like most soups, the longer you can let it sit before serving, the better it will taste. Also great after being refrigerated overnight, then re-warmed.

    Serves 4 comfortably with a little leftover. Double up as needed. 

    Sunday, October 13, 2013

    A Light in the Valley


    I started my journey through the valley of the shadow of death in 1995 when my 55-year-old mom got very sick. We first realized that something was wrong with her brain when she stopped tolerating the routine meds she took for her bipolar disorder. She lapsed into a coma for over a week and I remember begging God to let her live. If I'd known how dark the valley and how long the road ahead of her, I probably would have been begging Him to go ahead and take her home. We ended up traveling that road for eighteen years.

    For the first five years or so of her illness, I was so incoherent with grief and pain I couldn't express the simple fact that a terrible thing had happened to my mother. There were times when I was so enraged that all I wanted to do was grab God by the lapels, slam Him against the wall and demand that he help her. And there were times when I could do nothing more than writhe on the floor and plead over and over again, "Son of David, have mercy on her."

    Because of her worsening dementia and the fact that we could no longer give her the meds she needed to manage her bipolar disorder, she required long-term commitment and at one point, she was probably the sickest patient at the mental hospital. She would literally run around and around the room, beating against the walls like a trapped bird. I couldn't visit her for more than five minutes at a time because this woman—this sweet, generous, kind-natured woman who had always looked at me as if I hung the stars—had turned into a raging stranger who would scream unspeakable obscenities at me and my dad.

    I remember walking out of the hospital one day and sinking to my knees in the grass, so battered by grief I couldn't even make it to my car. For almost eight years of our journey, I prayed daily that God would let her die. Then I had to live with the guilt of wondering if I wanted Him to end her suffering...or mine.

    Things did improve. The doctors found the right combination of meds. She stabilized and we were able to move her to a nursing home where we fixed up a cozy room for her. She quickly won the hearts of the nurses with her unflagging sense of humor and unquenchable spirit. She spent a lot of time watching her favorite videos. Between me and my dad, we visited her five times a week and we slept well at night, knowing she was warm and dry and even a little bit spoiled. So the valley got a little bit brighter.

    At the nursing home's annual picnic one year, a lovely Christian lady named Wilda Harrison came up and put her arm around me and said, “You are so lucky to still have both your mom and your dad.” I have to confess that my first response was, “Huh?” But then I went home and thought about it. I could still visit my mom whenever I wanted. I could still put my arms around her and hold her tight and tell her I loved her.

    I finally came to an even more startling conclusion. I never really wanted my mother to die. I just wanted for her to be healed. The situation didn't change, but my attitude did and that made all the difference.

    My mom’s earthly journey ended on June 23rd of this year at the age of 73 when God made good on his every promise and took her Home. I still can't bring myself to thank Him for my mother's suffering, nor do I think he would expect me to, but I have come to the fork in the road where I can thank him for mine. Where I can see the blessings that came from it. My mom lived until we had learned all of the lessons she had to teach us. I like to think I'm a more compassionate person than I was before she got sick. I've learned how rewarding loving something wounded and imperfect can be. I've learned how kind and caring others can be when you're hurting. I watched the staff at the nursing home stand in awe of my father's unconditional love for his wife. I stood in awe myself of my mother's spirit, her sense of humor, her sheer determination to survive and find some joy whenever she could and I've decided that there's no one in the world I would rather be like.

    But most importantly, I learned to trust God and his promise that no matter how dark the valley or how long the journey, he will NEVER leave us or forsake us. And as I journeyed through that valley, He gave me this song to sing from Habakkuk 3: 17-18: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

    Friday, May 10, 2013

    Dear Young Women and Teenage Girls of the World: I have NOTHING against 50 SHADES OF GREY or Christian Grey. The book is fiction and Christian is a fantasy. But in REAL LIFE, if a boy or man every tries to 1) separate you from your friends and family 2) tell you what to wear/drive/eat and how many times you should work out a week 3) confess that his fondest desire is to "hurt you", then you should not walk calmly toward the exit. YOU SHOULD RUN SCREAMING FOR THE EXIT!!! Because in real life, you're far more likely to end up with A then B. Never be with a boy or man who makes you feel like less than yourself.

    Sunday, July 22, 2012

    True Heroes

    Three young men died in the Aurora theater shooting while protecting the women they loved (Jon Blunk is pictured.) Young women of the world, the true hero will NEVER be the one who says, "I want to hurt you." He will always be the one who says, "I want to protect you." Or as it says in John 15:13: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

    Sunday, January 01, 2012

    Teresa's Quick 'N' Easy Hoppin' John

    Ring in the New Year with this delicious (and simple to fix) traditional dish!

    1 lb breakfast sausage (you can use mild or hot or low fat if you simply must)
    1 medium onion
    4-16 oz cans of black-eyed peas (we use two regular and two with bacon & jalapeno to give it a little kick)
    1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes or to taste (we omit this if we use the jalapeno beans)
    1 bag of boil-n-bag rice

    1) Cook the sausage in the bottom of a large pot, break apart with fork
    2) As it cooks, peel and chop onion and fix 1 bag boil-n-bag rice per directions on box (which takes 10 minutes)
    3) Drain sausage if needed, retaining 2-3 TBS of fat, and return to pot
    4) Add onion to sausage and cook until onions are soft-5 minutes or so
    5) Add black-eyed peas and red pepper flakes and warm well
    6) Add 1 bag of cooked boil-n-bag rice
    7) Warm well so flavors will combine - 20 minutes or so

    We serve this with Jiffy corn bread mix and it also makes an excellent leftover

    Saturday, November 26, 2011

    Aunt Doris's Hash Brown Casserole Recipe

    Here's a yummy recipe for Hash Brown Casserole my Aunt Doris gave me when we got married. 


    WARNING: It contains not one, but TWO sticks of butter, which is why we only make it at Thanksgiving and Christmas. But it's worth every calorie! :)




    INGREDIENTS
    1 8 oz sour cream
    1 can Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup
    2 melted sticks of butter (melt each stick separately)
    1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
    2 lb bag frozen hash browns (O'Brien style) (Thaw before using)
    Box of crushed Cornflakes


    1) Put thawed hash browns in 9 X 13 pan
    2) Mix rest of ingredients and pour over top, including only ONE stick of the butter
    3) Top with crushed cornflakes
    4) Pour the other melted stick of butter on top of the cornflakes
    5) Bake at 350 degrees 45-60 minutes 


    (You can also include some chopped green pepper and 1/2 cup chopped onion if you're so inclined) 

    Sunday, November 06, 2011

    Coconut-Pecan Frosting (for German Chocolate Cake)


    I am of the opinion that one should never put store-bought Coconut-Pecan Frosting on a German Chocolate cake. This recipe is absolutely scrumptious and fairly simple to make from scratch. Every year I make Hubby a birthday cake with this and he adores it. (And me! ;))






    INGREDIENTS
    1 cup evaporated milk
    1 cup sugar
    3 slightly beaten egg YOLKS
    ½ cup butter
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 1/3 cups Angel Flake Coconut
    1 cup chopped pecans
    Combine 1 cup evaporated milk, 1 cup sugar, 3 slightly beaten egg YOLKS, ½ cup butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened, about 12 minutes.
    Add 1 1/3 Baker's Angel Flake Coconut and 1 cup chopped pecans.
    Cool until thick enough to spread, beating occasionally. Makes enough to frost one cake. (Best to frost tops and let a little drizzle down the sides.)