Friday, December 31, 2010

Perseverance, Green Chile Chicken Cheese Soup & Quick Peanut Butter Cookies



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"The real voyage of discovery consists
not in seeking new landscapes,
but in having new eyes."
~ Marcel Proust


The last day of the year.


I could write about how year after year this season has me in a cooking and baking frenzy expanding the waistbands of everyone that crosses my path. Dinner party after glorious dinner party. Delectable treat after treat. Until I join with the rest of America on the yearly pilgrimage to....sigh.....The Muffin-Top Crossroads: that terrifying place where one must choose their fate....do we buy bigger jeans??? or do we bust out the Fluidity Bar, wipe the dust off of the protein shake container, and let P-90X awaken us from our sugar comas and exercise our hearts and bodies into cardiovascular oblivion. Yes!

Or...I could write about how my husband drove white knuckled through a blizzard in his attempt to reach his love on time for New Years Eve, only to arrive with the onset of a nasty cold. How two coughing, runny nosed children in Pittsburgh Steelers pajamas and one wife with a sore throat were there, waiting and ready to join him by his side for a camp out on the living room floor. How we have been swimming in a sea of blankets and a mountain of pillows in our cave-like atmosphere, only the twinkling lights of the christmas tree illuminating our path...a pile of movies,Twizzlers, M&Ms and left over baked goodies in hand. How I let my daughter eat yogurt and golfishies for dinner....does that make me the worst mom on the planet.....or the coolest mom on the planet? It is a holiday, right?

I could write about how I whipped up a pot of green chile chicken cheese soup *recipe below* to warm our colds and our spirits. How I threw together a quick nosh of pepperoni, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese wrapped in puff pastry and ready to be dipped in marinara sauce for our movie watching and snacking pleasure. And...drum roll please....how I made a batch of "the easiest Peanut Butter Cookies in the universe" *recipe below* so we would have no fear of stepping off of our sugar highs any time soon.

Yes, I could write about all of those things.....

But what I really want to write about, what I really want to share, is my gratitude for all this year has ushered in, through both the joy and the pain. What a full year it has been...

We started this year off with lots of "new"....enjoying all of the changes that our move from where we had spent the last decade of our lives had brought us, the birth of our son, connecting with family and reveling in new friendships that were beginning to forge, appreciating the thrill of stepping outside of our comfort zones, allowing ourselves to be stretched...experiencing great enthusiasms and great losses.....I never could have anticipated all that this year would bring, all of the unexpected "gifts" we would receive even amidst great trial.

I am reminded yet again of the necessity and sheer beauty of letting go, 
going with the flow, enjoying "the journey"with all of it's twists and turns,
discovering the hidden treasures along the way.

I have been thinking much on what it is I'd like to purpose in my heart to do this coming year. And it all comes down to perseverance. Perseverance is defined as "Continuing in a course of action without regard to discouragement, opposition or previous failure.”

Tragedy can strike at any moment, yes? Whether it is our health, or the health of a loved one, sudden financial instability, a broken relationship, death, prodigal children.... And yet through these trials we can either become bitter - or better. We can give up - or grow up.

Lenya Heitzig shared the comment by famous television personality Arthur Godfrey of how he recounts a lesson he learned while watching a local blacksmith separate scrap metal into two piles. She tells the story like this: "After carefully examining each piece, the blacksmith would cast some metal into a pile on his right, while the other scraps were thrown into a heap on his left. Godfrey asked the blacksmith what the two piles represented. The smithy replied, "I can see that some of the metal will be useful when it's put through the fire. There is something in it that will let it go through the fire and come out refined and perfected. But the other metal is useless, it cannot take the fire, so I have to toss it into the junk heap." That experience forged a favorite prayer that Godfrey uttered throughout his life. Whenever a difficult circumstance turned up the heat in his life, he knew that God was using that fiery trial to refine him. Believing that God's ultimate plan was to make him a better man, Arthur would pray "Lord, fire! (not the junk heap!)" "

Oh let that be our prayer! "Lord, Fire! Not the junk heap!" I re-read Hebrews 11 (the great "hall of faith") to be reminded of those who went before us. Let us have patience that produces staying power! Let us abide, continue, endure, tarry so that we can be mature and complete and lacking nothing!

Perseverance: "Continuing in a course of action without regard to discouragement, opposition or previous failure.”

May this coming year be filled with lots of "new" for each of you...new awareness...new significance...new perspective...new purpose...

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Green Chile Chicken Cheese Soup

This soup has been a comfort through many snow storms and chilly days. While I am not generally a fan of "canned soup," this recipe was taught to me from an old friend Anthony used to work with many many moons ago. Mark & Brandy Murray taught me how to make this soup, and I have since adapted it. Although we seem to have lost touch over the years, every time I make it, it reminds me of late nights sipping tonics, listening to great music, and playing Pente in Ranchos de Taos/Llano Quemado with our old friends.

Ingredients:
1 Can of Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Can of Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 soup can of milk
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup of green chile sauce - or - chopped green chile, roasted and peeled
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup of cooked rice
1/2 cup of chicken, cooked and cubed or shredded
shredded cheddar and green onions for garnish

pour the first 4 ingredients into a pot, bring to a boil
add the rice and chicken
*you may even add some cooked mushrooms if you'd like :)
plate, and garnish with cheddar cheese and green onions
serve with a hot tortilla

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Quick Peanut Butter Cookies
My Aunt Debra shared this recipe while chatting during her last visit, and it reminded me that this recipe was emailed to me by Richard Copple's Wife through a recipe exchange the month before. This recipe should come with a warning label....they are too easy to make and you can't eat just one.....


Ingredients:
1 Cup of Peanut Butter
1 Cup of Sugar
1 egg
*yes that is it!!! No flour in this recipe, you only need these three things!!!!

Mix ingredients together, form into balls, put onto greased cookie sheet (or parchment paper lined baking sheet)
you may use a fork to smash them if you desire
Bake at 350 for 12 minutes

*add a topping such as a hershey's kiss or a mini peanut butter cup in the center of each one after it comes out of the oven if you so desire

Mangia!
Praying for a very peaceful and blessed New Year to you all....

23 comments:

  1. Lovely posting on the journey of life. Your welcoming chile dish is indeed food for the soul. Happy 2011. May it bring you all good things.

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  2. I love reading your works of art. So much passion, honesty and love are poured into each one. Happy New Year to you and your family. I look forward to seeing what 2011 has before us. Like Paul I run the race....

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  3. Ah yes, fire not the junk heap!

    Thank you for this comfort for the soul and the tummy, Bella!
    What a wonderful ride this year has been...stepping outside of our comfort zones, perservering through trials, and celebrating triumphs!

    My list of gratitudes is long, and the gift of your friendship is right at the top of my list!
    I am so excited to see what God has in store as we journey forward!
    Happy New Year, sweet, precious sister! xo

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  4. What a lovely reflection on life as we transition from 2010, which I suspect was a year of a lot of "news" for many people, to 2011. Perseverance. "Lord, fire!" Yes!

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  5. I leave your site with hunger pains! Also, wondering if I am being refined. I guess we are all a work in progress, and thus these words would fit right in. Also, thank you so much for your words of encouragement during 2010, and yes we "go forth" in 2011 and look at the positive and blessings we have but sometime are too discouraged to see. It is like the silver lining in the clouds, sometime we have to really look, but they are there. Love, Marie Z.

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  6. This was a wonderful post! I am craving soup and yours just inspired me. I too, am in a food coma, ready for a week of fruits and veggies ( not likely, :-))

    I just came across your blog. I am glad I did!

    Happy New Year!

    Cheers.
    Velva

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  7. I love that story about the fire vs. the junk heap. So true. Thanks for sharing.

    And that soup looks very yummy!

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  8. I am pretty sure you are the coolest mom on the planet :) Wonderful post and love these cookies...but I can not take my eyes off of that soup...gorgeous :)
    Happiest of 2011 to you and your family...
    Hugs!

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  9. hi Jamie
    its easy to see why your husband drove thru a blizzard to get home to you, and my vote is for the coolest mom on the planet! Even as sick as all of you were, my bet is you were one of the happiest luckiest families on the face of the earth.
    It has been a pleasure getting to know you this year, and your friendship has truly been a gift from above.
    Best wishes for a healthy and happy new year
    Dennis

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  10. What a lovely post ... so true about perseverance. It is what separates the wheat from the chaff ... blessings in the new year!

    These cookies are very easy! My mother makes a rcipe for peanut butter cookies that uses a yellow cake mix ... and I thought hers was easy. You've got her on this one! Ha!

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  11. As Chef Dennis said...I can completely understand why your sweet husband drove through that blizzard to reach you. You are probably one of the most beautiful women I know. Your words, your love and your presence must bring such joy and hope into your family's life. This green chile soup sounds just perfect on a cold winter day. I just put some green chiles out to thaw...I must have known I was going to read this post. Thank you for sharing, my dear friend.

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  12. As always, I love your stories and cookies and soup :) You have such a comforting way with words. Blessings to you in the new year! I hope it is off to a fantastic start :)

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  13. Your words are always so encouraging and so refreshing! I tend to definitely be a compulsive planner--someone who wants to know exactly what's going to happen down the road. It's good to be reminded how much better it is to stop trying to control everything and just let go.

    The soup and cookies look super delicious, by the way! :D

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  14. "Give up or Grow up" Wow! That will stick with me forever. I pray those words are now etched into my spirit so I can easily and quickly recall them during my next trial or life struggle. Fire, not junk! :)

    I'm gonna tweet this. Good work.

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  15. BTW! My 4 year old caught a glimpse of the cookies. He said " Mommy! Let's make this 'tut-ees!" Will let ya know how the turn out. :)

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  16. Bella Adore!

    I have a gift for you on my blog. I was going to wait to post this here when you entered a new post because I was afraid you might not see this.
    I'm also hoping you've got the creative juices flowing (instead of sniffles and sneazes) :) and maybe even working on a new post as I write this :)...I do hope all is well at your house!

    Stop by ....I know you've already received this honor, but I could not resist mentioning you on my post ~ You are more than deserving, sweet sis! xo

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  17. Saying hi from SITS! What a thoughtful post and a super interesting peanut butter cookie recipe. So easy and quick. Soup looks super yummy too though with our lactose intolerant family, it's not the most likely candidate :-)

    Thanks for sharing!

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  18. Those cookies look amazing! x

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  19. I'm hosting the Culinary Smackdown Battle on my blog. This month's theme is COOKIES! These look perfect for the contest! Would you please join us for the fun? I have some cool prizes waiting too.

    Amy
    http://utry.it/2011/03/culinary-smackdown-battlecookies.html

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  20. I'm so glad that I didn't miss this post. I attended Calvary Chapel, ABQ back in the late 80's. Love the Heitzigs. Love Calvary Chapel. and love Green Chile Chicken Cheese soup. The best soup that I've ever eaten in my life was a soup just like this that I ate often at an Italian restaurant in ABQ. This recipe looks very similar. Yum! Thank you for blessing me always with your posts and your wonderful recipes.

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  21. Thanks so much for posting this! We made the soup tonight and I linked to the recipe on my blog--thanks again!

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