Sunday, November 30, 2014

Soup-er Sunday: Chorizo Sweet Potato

I love to cook and I love to feed people.  I have been wanting to write more.  A friend once told me that if you want to be a writer, you need to write, regularly.  So, I am going to try to put the writing and the cooking together and, on Sundays, post my favorite thing to make: soup.

There is nothing like a good bowl of soup.  Now that the weather has turned colder it is a meal I frequently make.  I have found that the best soups are usually fairly simple to make.  When they start getting complicated, they lose my interest and oftentimes just aren't all that good.

There are so many good recipes out there that we never have to have the same thing twice.  When the soup turns out especially good, like this one did, it goes in my personal cookbook.

I usually can read a recipe and determine if it something we are going to like.  I cannibalized several recipes I found online to get this version.  Most of the ones I found were heavy-handed in adding seasonings.  If you can find a good Chorizo, you will have plenty of flavor already there.

Chorizo Sweet Potato Soup

1 pound Chorizo sausage
6-8 cups of chicken stock
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and dices
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 medium onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste

Place sweet potatoes in large pot and cover with chicken broth. Bring to a rolling boil and then turn temperature down to gentle simmer.  Cook until sweet potatoes are soft when pricked with a fork.

In a separate pan, brown sausage, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks.

Add carrots, celery and onion to sausage and cook until slightly softened.
 Using an immersion blender, puree potatoes to desired consistency.  I left the mixture just a little bit chunky.  Add sausage mixture.  Season with salt and pepper as needed.  Simmer on low 20-30 minutes.


I used homemade chicken stock so I can safely say that this is gluten free.  If using store bought broth, check the package.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

REMINDER: Advent Prayer Buddies

Just a reminder that there is still time to sign up for Advent Prayer Buddies.  Most likely I will be doing the assignments on Friday and sending emails out shortly thereafter.

Those interested in participating, please email me at:
I will need from you is:
Your first name or first initial
Your blog address (or email address if you are not a blogger)
Your intentions
Your full name
Your address
(Address can be provided if your Prayer Buddy plans to send you a small gift at Christmas)


Monday, November 24, 2014

Wonder Doubled: An Inspiring Half Century

We have a new post up at the USCCB website For Your Marriage.

Donna just reached a birthday which often results in those of us who have experienced it declaring: “That can’t be right, I don’t feel that old!” So, we had a wonderful group of family and friends over last weekend to celebrate the occasion. A few weeks ago, I began to collect some old photos for the usual poster board of memories. When the collection of photographs and souvenirs outgrew my office work space, I knew I’d need many more poster boards.

You can read the whole article here.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Picture This

A couple of Saturdays ago Himself and Sis threw me a birthday party.  It was epic.  No, really, in my mind it was.  They invited family and friends that are important to me.  There were a few friends I hadn't seen in far too long (my fault, mea culpa)  and others we see frequently.  It was fun to catch up with all that was going on in everyone’s life.  Afterwards I promised myself that it is not going to be a year or two or four until the next time we see each other.

For some of the decorations Himself put together a number of picture boards.  He spent weeks secretly, and then not so secretly, going through photo albums, boxes of trinkets, and scrapbooks finding mementos of my life.  He created boards of my travels and hobbies, friends and family.  Oh what fun it was to look at them all!

“Around the World in Fifty Years” had pictures of a Jaycee trip to Hawaii, and my adventures in Europe and Russia.  Our engagement pilgrimage to Rome was also featured as well as our trips to Chicago and Virginia Beach.

One board was mostly things I did with the Jaycees.  There were the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame run and the radio celebrity golf outing projects that I chaired.   Parties, mud volleyball, bowling, and a night at the races were on that board as well.

Himself found photos and artifacts that I had forgot existed.  When I earned the Girl Scout Gold award way back when I received a letter from President Reagan congratulating me on the achievement.  I didn't remember that at all.

The best part of these boards, though, was the stories they invoked the night of the party and the days since then.  It was such a joy to share the memories with everyone.  I often heard Remember this? and I forgot about that and Did you really. . . ?

We remembered where our lives joined and intersected, times that were important or fun.  Weddings, graduations, family vacations - they were all there.  We thought about people who aren't with us any longer and ones that are a distance away.  Silliness and seriousness were pictured, too.

I have always been a prolific picture taker.  But all too often I take the photo, look at it and then file it away, never to be seen again.  If that occurs, what was the point of taking the picture in the first place?

Yes, the party was epic.  I viewed my past, thought about the future, and, most of all, enjoyed the present.


 PS. And, no, I didn't really run with bulls or jump out of an airplane.  Himself is just really good with Photoshop!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Winter Wonderland

I played hooky yesterday, kinda.  And it was wonderful.

When I woke up I just didn't want to go into the office.  I couldn't do it.   I decided to take one of the floating holidays that I just discovered I had last week.  I emailed my boss and his response confirmed my decision.  The roads were bad and the commute long and slow.

We headed to the closest county park.  It just happens to have a seven acre, fenced in area for dogs.  Jack loves it and so do we since we can go for a walk with him off-leash.  I can’t begin to tell you how nice that is.  Jack has two speeds – either really fast or stopped.  Our walks are usually walk, walk, walk, stop, sniff, sniff, sniff, repeat.  At this park we can all move at our own speed.

It had started snowing the night before and the temperature was right at the point where it sticks to everything.  The trees were so beautiful and the wind was fairly calm, at least until Himself stood under a tree to take a picture of the covered canopy above us.  Nothing like a face full of snow!

We wandered the paths until the cold started chilling our bones.  Back home we went to hot cups of coffee and a lazy afternoon.  All-in-all, a perfect kind of day.

I wonder if the snow LOVES the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again." 
Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll


Friday, November 14, 2014

Advent Prayer Buddies

If you watch much TV or read on the internet even a bit you are frequently reminded that Christmas is right around the corner.  You had better get shopping and decorating and planning those parties because the big day will be here before you know it!

There are not a lot of reminders on preparing spiritually.  About the only one I have seen is for Fr. Barron’s daily emails.

When I first started blogging a number of years ago there was the practice of Prayer Buddies during the Advent and Lenten seasons.  I miss that.  I found it to be a powerful time in focusing spiritually on the season at hand.  It was a blessing to spend time praying for someone else’s intentions and knowing someone was doing the same for me.

I would like to resurrect the practice this year.  During Advent, you can say prayers, novenas, and rosaries, light candles, and offer up suffering for your secret Prayer Buddy and whatever intentions he or she specifies.

Those interested in participating, please email me at:
I will need from you is:
Your first name or first initial
Your blog address (or email address if you are not a blogger)
Your intentions
Your full name
Your address
(Address can be provided if your Prayer Buddy plans to send you a small gift at Christmas)
DEADLINE FOR SIGN-UPS IS: Wednesday, November 26th


Thursday, November 6, 2014

My Next 50 Years

Last week I was talking with a coworker who was celebrating her 29th birthday.  She was already dreading her thirtieth next year.  Why? I asked.  She just shrugged.  I thought my thirties were pretty darn good.  I think that is when I finally got comfortable being me.  I didn't need to change to impress anyone.  I knew who my friends were.  I had fun.  I worked hard.  I met and married my husband.  Life was good and comfortable.
My forties seemed difficult.  Health issues, my own and those of family members, became more abundant.  Job situations fluctuated.  I learned who my friends weren't.  We lost family members.  We gained ones as well.  And, guess what?  Life was still good.
I'm now looking at this marker of time, a half century.  I know what is important: faith, family and friends.  Whether I have fifty more years, weeks, days or seconds, I want to appreciate it all.  Life is good.

I think I’ll take a moment, celebrate my age
The ending of an era and the turning of a page
Now it’s time to focus in on where I go from here
Lord have mercy on my next fifty years

Hey my next fifty years I’m gonna have some fun
Try to forget about all the crazy things I’ve done
Maybe now I’ve conquered all my adolescent fears
And I’ll do it better in my next fifty years

My next fifty years I’m gonna settle all the scores
Cry a little less, laugh a little more
Find a world of happiness without the hate and fear
Figure out just what I’m doing here
In my next fifty years

Oh my next fifty years, I’m gonna watch my weight
Eat a few more salads and not stay up so late
Drink a little lemonade and not so many beers
Maybe I’ll remember my next fifty years


Saturday, November 1, 2014

First Photo - November

October was a month full of changes.  The weather went from warm and dry to cold and rainy.  The flowers are all spent and the vegetable garden is mostly put to bed for the year; just a few carrots, beets, and leeks remain. 

Most of the leaves are gone from the trees, except from our Linden.  It's an odd tree, that one.  The leaves are slow to change, then they do all at once.  They are slow to fall off, then they do, all at once.  I expect that tomorrow that tree will be bare.

Oct 17th , Oct 24th and Oct 29th

We snapped a few photos mid-month to document just how fast the change was occurring.  This past Wednesday we were treated to a migration, probably of Starlings, who thought that tree was a good resting place. 

We think that, too.