Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Creamy Southwestern Pumpkin Soup

This recipe is courtesy of Southern Living Magazine and my friend LeeAnn.

I've made it several times now, and each time it is amazing and perfect for a fall or winter evening.  Just a warning, though--probably not a recipe for most little ones as it does have some bite to it.

Note that I bolded and italicized the part about puttingit into the food processor in batches.  I promise this will save you a BIG mess in the kitchen.  You think I'd have learned after making it repeatedly...

2 T butter or margarine
1 large onion chopped (I use half an onion as hubby isn't a huge onion fan)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups chicken broth (or stock)
1 large baking potato, peeled and chopped
1 1/4 t salt
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t cumin (I used more because I love the flavor)
1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin (Or a fresh pumpkin, roasted.  I bet you could use butternut squash, too.)
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
2 c milk
3 T fresh lime juice

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onion, jalapeno pepper and garlic; saute for 15 minutes.  Add chicken broth and next 4 ingredients.  Cook, stirring often, 30 minutes or until potato is tender.  Remove from heat and cool slightly (5-10 minutes).

Process potato mixture, pumpkin and 1/4 c cilantro, in batches, in a food processor or blender until smooth, stopping ot scrape down sides.

Return to pot, stir in milk and simmer 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Stir in lime juice.

I do put out sour cream and Greek yogurt when I serve the soup.  I also think you could add cooked chicken to the soup as well as tortilla chips or fritos or even baked tortillas.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Courage to Be Quiet

At the small group Bible study that Bryan and I attend, we are reading through the Book of James.

Tonight was the first night I was able to attend, and even though I don't know everyone there, you know how you just get  a feeling when something starts about whether or not it's going to be good?  I think it is.

We talked about a number of wonderfully thought-provoking, introspective items, but when my friend was finishing our prayers for the night, she, along with good ol' Jimmy, got me thinking about having the courage to be quiet.

James 1:19-20 reads, 'You must understand this, my beloved:  let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness.'

Let's be honest.  You've read my posts.  At the very least, you can tell that I'm not slow to speak or slow to anger.  Those stick out for me like VERY large and sore thumbs that have probably been hit by a number of things and continued to swell because I keep learning the same lessons over and over...but I digress...

The part of the verse that created some great discussion was the "quick to listen" part.  The part I don't think about.  And the reason I don't think about it is probably because I'm NOT quick to listen.  Am I listening?  I think I'm a good listener, but am I really just planning my next move, or sneaking peeks at my email or texting under the table?  Am I hearing what I want to hear or what I think the person means, or am I listening to the words, each one separate and trying to determine their meaning for that time and in that moment?

When my friend prayed, she asked for the "courage to be quiet."  Wow.  When I think of the identified heroes of the world, we see the speeches they made and the causes they stood for.  But, do we notice the times when they didn't speak?  When the action of quiet took more courage than speaking out?

There's a wonderful scene in the movie, Little Women, where Amy has been struck by her teacher at school, and her sister, Jo, is completely outraged and wants to strike out violently against the man.  Her mother, Marmee, however, chooses to write him a strongly-worded letter, which makes Jo practically crazy because she feels it's such an under-reaction.  She confides in her sister Beth later on that she wishes she could be like her father and go to war and fight against the injustices of the world.  And, wise Beth responds that Marmee is fighting, too, in her own way.

What a beautiful thought.  How much more courage does it take for us to be quiet?  How much strength not to fight, but to listen and seek first to understand?  And, maybe, even after hearing everything that's going on and listening quickly, to remain silent.  Perhaps our voices don't need to be heard all of the time...

This is what I ask for this week.  In addition to needing much honing in the areas of being slow to anger and slow to speak, I ask for God to help me to be quick to listen.  I ask, when life's road jarrs me from my bubble of comfort and I become offended or hurt or scared or angry and my inner fire is roaring to life, that I have the courage to be quiet.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Night of the Living Binky (Episode 1)

Well, I figured it was about that time.  I mean, he's 22 months old.  I can just picture him at his 2nd birthday celebration with it hanging out of his mouth.  Or worse yet, the screaming 5-year-old on "Toddlers and Tiaras."  The other two (younger) kids at our daddy daycare haven't had theirs for awhile.  Our relatives are asking about it.  One of my awesome new-age momma friends with a little boy the same age has even managed to part with it. 

The time had come to get rid of the binky.

We had been planning to over summer.  Then over winter break.  But, there was always an excuse.  He was teething.  Or sick.  Or we were sick.  Or tired.  But, finally, we just had to bite the bullet.

A little backstory: Wardie LOVES Yo Gabba Gabba.  Sort of a weird show, but all in all, I can deal with it.  Anyway, there's an episode about babies that we've seen a bajillion times, and he loves the character called "Baby Gogo" who makes a cameo in that episode.

So, last night, I was talking with Wardie and telling him how big he was and "don't you think you're too big to have a binky now?"  He was sort of pretending not to hear me in between shaking his head no.

And then, it hit me: "Wardie, could we put your binky in a box and send it to Baby Gogo?"  And, I saw the wheels turning.  I held a toddler-sized shoebox and he laid the binky in.  Could it be this easy?  And, he took it back out.  And put it in.  And took it out.  All the while, I was talking with him about being a big boy and getting rid of it, and just saying the same things over and over.

Finally, the binky was put to rest and the box was closed.  And I put him to bed with a sippy of milk and a mixed-up version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears partly because I couldn't remember what happened when the bears got home and partly because it seemed like a scary thing to share.  So, Goldilocks fell asleep.  And so did Ward.

I practically pranced downstairs to tell Bryan.  I swaggered into the kitchen, telling him how well it went and patting myself on the back.  We were great parents with a great kid.  We were so satisfied stupid.

About 12:30, I tripped on the kids potty in the floor of the bathroom and he woke up screaming.  "Biiinnnkkkyyy!!"  Sigh.  So, I held him and talked to him.  He threw a tantrum.  I brought him to our bed and we kept talking. 

"Honey, do you remember what you did with your binky?" 
"Baby Gogo." 
"Yes, you gave it to Baby Gogo.  Remember?" 
"Yeeaaahhh" (while crying).

He finally dozed, woke up again, and after a repeat of the conversation, went back to his crib around 2am.  Then slept the rest of the night. 

We talked about it again this morning and again when we dropped him off at our "daddy daycare." 

Hopefully, Episode 1 is the first and final episode.  Only tonight will tell.