Monday, September 27, 2010

I love FALL post 2: soup season!

I'm so excited because I woke up and the temperature was 49 degrees! Of course, it's increased since then, but that brisk fall air that I love so much certainly hasn't disappeared yet, even after noon, so I am one happy girl who is saying that it is really starting to feel like fall--even here in Texas:-)

While I can pretty much eat soup any time of year (yes, even in the summer), another reason I love fall is because it truly is the start of "soup season"! So today, we're having one of our absolute fave (and healthy/SBD-friendly) soup recipes: Glenna D's Black Bean Soup!

My friend, Glenna (hence the recipe name:-) shared this recipe on her blog last year, and we've made it numerous times since then! Interested? Here's the recipe:

Glenna's Black Bean Soup
5 slices turkey bacon
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
4 cans black beans, drained
2 cans chicken broth
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
salt or (I use) garlic salt, to taste
pepper, (if desired)

Brown turkey bacon (add olive oil)
Add onions and garlic until softened
Add drained beans, chicken broth and seasonings
Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes
Take half (or more) of soup and place in blender (with towel instead of lid so won't explode from the heat!) and puree

What makes this soup so yummy is what you top it with: light sour cream, some shredded cheese, and JARRED JALAPENOS!! (These are an absolute MUST! They're kind of pickled tasted, so they add just enough of a kick, but won't burn your tongue.)

I also made grilled chicken (just on the george foreman, seasoned with some poultry seasoning and a special seasoning blend our friends the Gerdanc's gave us from a store in Illinois.) It really compliments the soup.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I love FALL post 1: Dinner in a Pumpkin

It seems like ever since moving back to my home-state of Texas, I find myself getting "home"sick every year around this time. Even though I have lived in Texas for most of my life (and I do LOVE Texas!), my husband and I "grew up" as a married couple in Illinois. We lived there for the first six years of our married life and started our family there. So, Illinois holds a very special place in our hearts, and in many ways, it, too, feels like "home" to us.

I'm a very cold-natured person, so winters in Illi were never very fun for me. I remember saying every winter, "I just will NEVER get used to this weather!" But there was one season that I fell asbsolutely in loving with while in Illinois: fall. Sure, the temps change a bit in Texas, too, but fall in Texas is NOTHING like fall in Illinois. I fell in love with the brisk air, the beautiful cloudy "fall" looking skies, the sound of the trees rustling through the windy air, and the beauty of the leaves morphing into so many different shades, each one visible on each individual leaf. I loved even just driving down the streets and watching a shower of leaves slowly cascading along the roads. Maybe I've romanticized it a bit in my mind, but fall really is beautiful in Illinois.

Unfortunately, I won't get to see the beauty of fall in Illinois this year, but there are still other things about fall I can enjoy right here in God's country. So, for the month of October, I'll be devoting several posts to my love of fall, staring today with one of my all-time fave things about fall: DINNER IN A PUMPKIN!

I've been eating dinner in a pumpkin every single fall since I was in 5th grade. It's a family fave of ours, and maybe it will become one for your family, too...

1 6-8 lb. pumpking (about the size of a basketball--not too big bc then it will take FOREVER to cook!)
1 to 1½ lbs lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 package fresh sliced mushrooms
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 ½ cups cooked rice (I used whole grain rice)
1 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 tblsp brown sugar (the splenda kind will work, too if you want it more SBD friendly)
3 tblsp soy sauce
-Cut off top of pumpkin, clean thoroughly and drain. (Do this first so it has time to drain. Try to get as much of the stringy stuff out as you can)
-Brown hamburger meat, mushrooms, onions
-Add other ingredients
-Place meat mixture inside pumpkin with top on. (I usually place it in a pan, too in case any juice drains out)

Bake at 350 until pumpkin is tender (it usually takes a few hours, but mostly depends on the size of pumpkin.)

*We also eat the inside of the pumpkin- it tastes just like squash and is especially good with butter (we use spray butter), salt, and pepper.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

IN the rain...

DISCLAIMER: sorry if I keep harping on the same subject, but the Lord has just really been teaching me a lot through rain during this season of my life. Maybe it's bc Im inwardly really wanting one of those Vera Bradley umbrellas, but I'm hoping it goes a little deeper than that:)

I've always hated getting stuck in the rain.  You know, where you've gone into the grocery store with a sunny sky and then come out to a downpour? Or you're meeting someone for dinner and it starts raining...but you forgot your umbrella, so in you run, as fast as you can to try and escape the inevitable frizzy hair, damp clothes, and wet, slippery shoes.  I've never been one to just stand out and play in the rain-i don't run IN the rain; I run FROM the rain!  Today gave me a whole new perspective tho...

We were in Galveston, driving along the seawall, and the rain just started pouring down in steady sheets.  I found myself dreading having to eventually get out of the car, and that's when I noticed those who had already ventured out into the storm.  There were runners all over the sidewalks, many of them who were just beginning their runs with the start of the rain, and others who were in the middle or maybe even nearing the end of their runs.  But, no matter their position, they all had one thing in common: these people were not running FROM the rain; they were running IN the rain!  The weather was not a distraction to them at all, or at least not to any onlookers.  You see, they were on a mission to complete their race, regardless of their surrounding conditions.

As I thought about this, I was reminded of several weeks ago when we were getting a lot of rain where I live.  I try to stick closely to my training program, and I was determined that week to not let the weather slow me down.  So, when I started sprinkling right before I began my run, I decided to not let a little rain stop my plans and just continued with my normal training by running in the rain.  I remember thinking it was a pretty cool feeling to be so committed to something and just go with the flow.  And it was even neat to face different elements and see how I overcame them to complete my task.  But is that always my attitude? Sadly, no.  But Joe I long to be like that-to be so committed to my mission from God that I will stop at NOTHING to accomplish it!

Storms in life are inevitable, yet usually unpredictable.  We can choose to try to run from them, but oh what we can learn when we choose to persevere in them.  

"lord, help me to stay the course and to finish well and to finish strong..."