Last week I shared Matt’s favorite soup recipe. Today, I’d like to introduce you to my all-time favorite soup. My mom started making this filling dish many years ago, and I really think that I could eat half of the pot by myself. This soup is perfect for a chilly day and hearty enough for the men in your life to feel satisfied. It can simmer in a crock pot making your home smell delicious! They leftovers freeze well and are great to grab for a quick lunch at work. With only 15 minutes of preparation and an hour to cook, you’ll have a healthy meal in no time! Try this soup out; you won’t be disappointed!
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 medium onions
- 1/2 of a medium bell pepper*
- 2 cloves garlic*
- 1 package taco seasoning
- 2 cans Ranch style beans OR 1 can Ranch style + 1 can black beans
- 1 can stewed tomatoes
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 1 can whole kernel corn
- 1 can creamed corn
- 1 can hominy
- 1 can water (rinsing out the tomato sauce can)
*The pepper and garlic are not in the original recipe. I like to add them for an extra boost of flavor if I have them on hand.
- Brown ground beef with onions, pepper, and garlic.
- Drain grease.
- Follow taco seasoning package to season meat. If you want to avoid using prepackaged seasoning packets, season the meat and/or soup yourself with salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, dash of cumin, and garlic powder.
- Place meat in soup pot or crock pot.
- Add rest of ingredients.
- Simmer for one hour on stove top, five-ish hours on low crock pot setting.
- Stir occasionally to keep from sticking to pan.
- Makes 6 large servings
- Garnish each bowl with your choice of sour cream, grated cheese, Fritos, and/or avocados.
You can easily make this soup stretch for more people by adding an extra can of beans or more meat.
Feel free to use frozen or fresh corn or tomatoes if you don’t like canned.
I like to make a pot of beans by themselves for one meal during the week, then use the leftovers to transform into this soup later or for the freezer.
Try experimenting with different types of beans and lentils.
This is a great recipe to put together Saturday night in your crockpot, then turn on before church Sunday morning. No waiting for lunch after church plus you save some money going out to eat! You will need to use a large crockpot. The 3 quart size isn’t quite big enough…Read More
Right now in southeast Texas the temperature rests at 75 degrees, the skies are partly cloudy, and the wind blows at 25mph. Not exactly the ideal weather for the fifteenth of December while my radio plays, “The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful… let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.” Catchy tune, nice image, but not true outside my window!
Regardless of the weather, this is hot chocolate season! We kick this time of year off on the day after Thanksgiving while we decorate our Christmas tree. I make a pot of hot chocolate that we deck with marshmallows, whip cream, and candy cane pieces. Then we sip away at a few cups as we carefully place ornaments on the branches.
This simple recipe is easy to make and can be reduced to a one cup size if you need an evening drink while enjoying a movie or made by the gallon for a large crowd. Below I have the measurements and directions for four servings and another list for one serving. Enjoy!
Hot Chocolate for One:
- 2 Tbs. sugar
- 1 Tbs. cocoa
- Dash of salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 teas. vanilla
- Combine sugar, cocoa, and salt in mug
- Heat milk in microwave until hot – approx. 2 minutes
- Add milk to dry ingredients
- Stir well, add vanilla, stir again (continue to stir while drinking because cocoa tends to settle at the bottom of cup.
Hot Chocolate for Four:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- dash of salt
- 1/3 cup hot water
- 4 cups milk
- 3/4 teas. vanilla
- Combine sugar, cocoa, and salt in pan on stove top.
- Add water
- Stir while cooking over medium heat until mixture boils.
- Boil and stir 2 minutes
- Stir in milk and heat. DO NOT BOIL. Watch carefully to avoid scorching.
- Remove from heat and add vanilla
- Pour into cups and garnish with marshmallows, peppermint, or whip cream
This can also be reheated in a crock pot or by the cup. Make sure to stir as cocoa will settle at the bottom of the pan or cup if it sits for awhile.Read More
My mom weaned me on vanilla Dannon yogurt. Since then it has always been one of my favorite things to eat. Whether I have a fruit variety as an afternoon snack, vanilla with granola for breakfast, or a cinnamon apple variety frozen into a popsicle, yogurt has been a staple of my diet my entire life.
As you know, I recently have been moving towards healthier eating habits for myself and my family. Have you ever looked at the ingredients on the back of a yogurt container? Here’s the back of Yoplait’s Strawberry Original Yogurt:
Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Low Fat Milk, Sugar, Strawberries, Modified Corn Starch, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Nonfat Milk, Kosher Gelatin, Citric Acid, Tricalcium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Pectin, Colored with Carmine, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3 (emphasis mine)
Not quite as “natural” and “healthy” as it could be, right? Not only is there a LOT of added processed sugar, but they’ve added vitamins, corn starch, and other chemically altered substances, including coloring. Dannon’s Strawberry Fruit on Bottom contains a similar list (with a little more sugar):
Cultured grade A lowfat milk, strawberries, sugar, fructose syrup, high fructose corn syrup, contains less than 1% of pectin, modified corn starch, natural flavor, kosher gelatin, purple carrot juice concentrate, carmine and turmeric (for color), malic acid, calcium phosphate. Contains active yogurt cultures including L. acidophilus.
Dannon’s natural vanilla yogurt is a bit better. Here’s the list:
Grade A reduced fat milk, sugar, natural vanilla flavor, pectin. Contains active yogurt cultures including L. acidophilus.
While this is a better option, it’s still not as good as it could be. Which is why, when I found out how easy making homemade yogurt can be, I jumped on trying it. Not only is this an easy, healthier way to enjoy this dish, but it is extremely inexpensive to make.
My first attempt was edible, but not great. I made it in the oven heated to warm. My second attempt was divine. Absolutely delicious!!! Here’s the second recipe found at this website.
Homemade Yogurt in the Crock-pot
- Turn your crock pot to low and pour in 1/2 gallon of milk.
- Heat on low for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
- Once 2 hours and 30 minutes have elapsed turn your crock pot off and unplug it. Let the milk cool in the crock with the lid on for 3 hours.
- After 3 hours remove 1-2 cups of the warmed milk and place in a bowl. To that add 1/2 cup of yogurt with live active cultures and mix very well. I used 1/2 cup of Oak Farms plain yogurt
- Pour the yogurt-milk mixture back into the milk and whisk thoroughly.
- Place the cover back on the crock and wrap the entire crock pot in a thick bath towel or two.
- Let it culture overnight, 8-12 hours.
- In the morning stir yogurt (if desired) and store in glass quart jars or a container of your choice.
- For optimum texture, refrigerate for at least 8 hours before using.
I have used my yogurt to cook with, make ranch dressing, and in a bowl with honey, cinnamon, vanilla, and fruit (see picture). Make sure to save 1/2 cup for your next batch.
Give this tasty yogurt a try. I bet you’ll never go back to the store-stuff.Read More
This recipe is taken from “Heavenly Delights from Heritage,” a cookbook made by my childhood church, Heritage Baptist, in Georgetown, Texas. This particular recipe was a family favorite growing up and is now used by me often in my own home. One of my childhood role models, Linda Ferrell, submitted this recipe. I usually serve this with a green vegetable (peas or green beans) and a salad.
- 3-4 sliced potatoes
- 3-4 sliced carrots (OR one can of sliced carrots OR a cup of sliced mini carrots)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 lb. hamburger, browned
- 1 can cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
- Salt, pepper, garlic powder, Tony’s seasoning (or Lawry’s or another seasoned salt)
Sunday – a day of rest.
When I was a child, I remember reading in the Little House on the Prairie books about Laura Ingalls having to sit perfectly still all day on Sunday. Their family would attend church, then sit at home reading the Bible for the remainder of the day. They weren’t even allowed to laugh! I remember thinking how awful that would be.
How completely different is our culture today! Stores are open, people work or play on golf courses and the lake – Sunday has become the second Saturday of the week. Even Christians are busy, busy! I don’t know about you, but at the end of a Sunday, I normally feel exhausted and ready for Monday. With rising early, rushing to get ready for church, fellowshipping with friends, then headed back to church for Bible study Sunday night, the day can leave our family slightly grumpy.
God obviously didn’t have exhaustion in mind when he gave the fourth commandment to Moses in Exodus 20:
8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
Now that we are no longer living under the law, we are not required to keep this commandment in strict form the way the legalistic Jews attempted. Jesus, when on earth, angered the Pharisees by feeding His disciples and healing the sick on the Sabbath. By His teaching, we know that God looks, not only on our actions, but at our heart attitude when it comes to obeying Him.
What about Sunday? What about serving and attending church? What about resting and taking a day off? How can we glorify God on this day?
Rather then attempt to dissect every imaginable way to celebrate Sunday, I’ll share my personal ways. I once heard a pastor teach that Sunday should look different than any other day of the week in your life. If you normally work, Sunday should be your day off. If you usually are doing housework, take a break on Sunday. (Unfortunately, I can’t stop changing diapers for these 24 hours every week… hmmm…. maybe I need to find a way to make that happen!)
Here are a few ways I celebrate Sunday:
- Attend Church
This should be an obvious statement, but our family attends a Bible believing, Bible teaching church. Each Sunday we are encouraged in the Lord as we hear his word taught and fellowship with other believers.
- Enjoy Family
This looks different each week as I do my best to spend time with my girls and love on my husband. We may chat about the sermon, sit on the floor and play ball, or snuggle on the couch watching a movie.
- Little Cooking
Meaning, I cook as little as possible. I will make a large batch of dinner Saturday night, or, more often, I prepare a meal for the crock-pot to cook while we’re at church. Coming into the house hungry with our lunch smelling yummy and waiting on us is fabulous! Breakfast consists of toast or muffins or something easy. For the evening meal, we usually snack on leftovers or have something simple like grilled cheese or popcorn and fruit.
- Little (or no) Cleaning
A typical Sunday equals no extra housework. I usually just rinse the dishes and leave them in the sink; I don’t sweep or vacuum, and I barely pick up the house. Obviously, I do the things that must be done… changing diapers, putting food away so it doesn’t spoil, cleaning up spilled milk and taking out the sticky trash, etc. But if it can wait for tomorrow, I let it!
- Take a nap
Ahhh! Sunday naps are THE BEST! As often as I can, I will snuggle under the covers to relax.
- Spend time with extended family
This is not an every week ordeal. Occasionally, though, we will visit with friends or family during the afternoon or evening as a way to relax and enjoy our day.
- Saturday Prep
On Saturdays I spend time planning for the next day. This involves not only cooking (as mentioned above), but preparing our home and ourselves for a peaceful Sunday. I choose the clothes the girls and I will be wearing and lay them out to make sure we have each shoe, bow, and slip that we need – clean and in one place. I get our diaper bag ready, complete with diapers, sippy cups, and snacks. My Bible is laid next to my purse so I don’t forget it! I try to go to bed with a clean house Saturday night. This doesn’t always happen (just ask my husband about this weekend!!). But, it certainly helps Sunday to stay smooth when we can function in our home without doing unnecessary cleaning.
- Turn off the computer
On Saturday night, I normally turn my computer off and leave it off until Sunday night after our Bible study. I stay off of Facebook, my blog, email, etc. This is a way for me to “take a break” from the normal week. While I certainly don’t feel like it’s a sin to be on the computer on a Sunday (and I still do get on occasionally), I know that it’s beneficial for me to have this break once a week to focus on other, more eternal, things since I am prone to allow what’s online to consume me.
- Keeping my heart on Jesus
Unfortunately, this is the hardest area for me! I would love to tell you that I get up early to have an extended quiet time on the Lord’s day or that I always pray on my way to church for open ears and an open heart. But, I don’t do those things each week. My heart, however, is that each Sunday, and every other day for that matter, I will be seeking Christ more – that Sunday will be the spring board for a week of focusing on my Savior and who He is and what He is teaching me.
How about you? How do you celebrate Sundays in your home? I’d LOVE to hear your ideas!!
“Call the Sabbath a delight
and the holy day of the LORD honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
Then you shall take delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” Isaiah 58:13-14