Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Winter Soups: Dee Dee's Easy Chicken Chili

Thanks for joining us today for my virtual potluck.  My friend and critique buddy Dee Dee Chumley is here. You may remember her from the summer salad potluck. (She brought a salad and margaritas!)  

When I think of Dee Dee, I always giggle. No reason in particular--she's just so funny that I know if she were with me I'd be laughing. Plus, Dee Dee is always having an adventure that she may or may not tell you about.  She's so delightfully mysterious. Dee Dee treats life as something to be enjoyed, and I love that about her.  She also experiments with cooking. I like that, too, because it saves me the trouble. She's one of those people who sees a recipe and will try it within a week. I'll see a recipe, pin it on Pinterest, and try to convince someone else to make it for me.  

That being said, Dee Dee brought a recipe today that I know I'll try. It's healthy, but it's also so easy that even I can't mess it up.

the lovely Dee Dee Chumley

For most of my adult life, I’ve been a yo-yo dieter, experimenting with almost every weight-loss strategy known to man. I still recall one rather unfortunate situation involving something called “Peel-a-Pound” soup. I read about it in the National Enquirer, where it was purported to have worked wonders for Dolly Parton. The soup—consisting mostly of cabbage and tomatoes—wasn’t bad in itself. But when gallons of it are consumed over a three-day period, the experience can be likened to prepping for a colonoscopy. And the end result (no pun intended) is also similar: one solid meal and all the weight returns.
Last February, as I embarked on yet another weight-loss attempt, I resolved it would be my absolute last one. And my goals would be not only losing weight but also establishing healthier eating habits for life. For those reasons, I joined Weight Watchers because I was convinced it was the best program available for achieving those goals. When Brandi announced she was launching another virtual potluck dinner, featuring winter soups, I was all in. I knew I would collect a lot of tasty recipes that would fit into my new, life-long eating plan, and I haven’t been disappointed. The dishes she has “served up” so far have been healthy AND yummy! I know because I’ve tried several of them—and haven’t gained a pound!
My WW Lifetime Member Award.
With so many failures "under my belt," success can taste pretty sweet.
Since it is only good manners to bring a dish when you’re invited to a potluck, here’s my contribution:
Easy Chicken Chili (And I mean EASY!)
Prep time: 10 mins. Cook time: 6 hours  Serves: 6-8

·      4 shredded, cooked chicken breasts
·      2 cups chicken stock or broth
·      2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
·      1 Tbsp. cumin
·      ½ jar salsa
·      2 cans great northern beans, or bean of your choice
·      Salt and pepper to taste

1. Shred chicken
2. Add all ingredients to your crock pot or slow cooker
3. Stir and add lid
4. Cook on High for 6 hours or Low for 12
5. Serve (See, I told you it was easy!)

Magical Meal:
Really, this can be a meal in itself. But, if you want, you can “embellish” it with crackers, cornbread, sour cream, grated cheese, salsa, or—my go-to favorite—hot sauce.
It is also good with this EASY salad:
Arrange spring mix greens on a salad plate; add any fruit you prefer (this time of year, I like apples or pears); add crumbled bleu cheese; sprinkle with walnut pieces; drizzle with dressing of your choice (I like a balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette)

With lots of lean protein and fiber, this is a healthy dish (except for maybe the cheese). But if you want to really up its health factor, skip dessert and go for a walk. J
Here’s to good eating and good health!

Congrats to Dee Dee on her Weight Watchers Lifetime Member Award.  Hooray! For more fun with Dee Dee, swing by her blog or check out her guest post on Oklahoma Women Bloggers.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Winner of Heaven Sent Food and Fiber's Goats' Milk Soap is....


Congratulations! Random.org selected Valarie as the winner of Heaven Sent Food and Fiber's Tea Tree Mint and Oatmeal Soap.  

Thanks for all who entered and shared your desires to learn back-to-basics survival skills.  I, for one, would like to learn to quilt so that I can transform all these memory-filled, past-their-prime t-shirts into works of art. Quilting bee, anyone?

Lastly, many of you asked for a reminder on how to support small farms and Heaven Sent Food and Fiber.  So, here's a note from Coleen:

Since you are signing up through the computer would you vote for our Dream Big Contest Idea? We are competing to win a $5,000 grant to purchase equipment for making socks from our yarns. This is one “warm step” closer to our dream of bringing a small fiber mill to Tahlequah to create agriculture-related  jobs and more options for farmers and ranchers. Go here to vote for our Dream! Share it on your page to have friends and relatives vote too. 

Voting opened today!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Winter Soup: Turkey Chocolate Chili

Lisa's here! Lisa's here! Lisa's here!

If you know Lisa Marotta or read her blog, you are as excited as I am that she came by our virtual potluck today. She's so much fun. She interjects happiness into everything.

Even chili.

She puts chocolate in her chili.

Dr. Lisa Marotta aka The Feelings Doctor
Turkey Chocolate Chili!  (Crockpot)
I adapted this Weight Watchers recipe to fit the tastes of my family and hope you will like its unusual combination of flavors--it smells and tastes so good!
Serves 6                                               5 points plus value (more if you like more cheddar on top)
15 minutes preparation                       Crockpot for 4 hours on high

Check out Lisa's flying pig!

Olive Oil
1 pound uncooked ground turkey breast
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 teaspoon of pre-minced garlic)
1 teaspoon chili powder (or more to taste)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

28 oz original Rotelle with green chilis
¼ Cup water
½ teaspoon table salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped (1 square of Ghiardelli’s semisweet chocolate bar)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Sliced green onions with tops

In a skillet heat the oil, add the turkey and cook, breaking up the meat until it browns.  Add the onion, garlic, chili powder, and cinnamon.  Cook, stirring occasionally until it smells so good you want to nibble (use your will power!) and the onions begin to soften. 

Transfer to your favorite Crockpot and add the Rotelle, water, salt, and black pepper.  Turn up to high for 4 hours and take a break.  Your Crockpot is going to finish the cooking for you while you choose your own adventure (read, nap, make snow angels, chat with friends/family . . . just get out of the kitchen).

In the last 15 minutes of cooking stir in the square of chocolate.  This smoothes the texture and adds another layer of flavoring.

Turkey Chocolate Chili
Magical Meal Suggestion: The Marottas serve Turkey Chocolate Chili in bowls topped with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese and green onions, with a fresh side salad and warm French bread.  We hope you like the combination of spicy and sweet.

P.S. Left-over chocolate squares make a tasty just right dessert!

If you like this recipe, check out the pasta salad Lisa brought to our last potluck.

Also, I have to include this photo...because I love it...

Those certificates behind her are winning writings of Lisa and her friends.
...and also because it reminds me of what Lisa is doing each Monday on her blog. I love reading her Mindfulness Mondays. It's always a short post and it always makes me feel good.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Favorite: Heaven Sent Food and Fiber Goat Soap

On Tuesday, I told you I love Heaven Sent Food and Fiber, so I'm giving away a Valentine so you can get to know their amazing products, too.

Shopping is difficult enough without some research telling me everything contains toxins. Deodorant, soap, etc.  This stuff is supposed to be clean, right?  If you like natural and non-toxic products, I have a soap for you.  Plus, it smells good.

As some of you know, my hubby is very health conscious.  Heaven Sent Food and Fiber's goats' milk soap is the only kind he uses.  (I even went to a monastery and bought some of the monks' homemade product, but he would have nothing to do with it!)

Something you should know about this soap is that it's different from the kind you buy at a superstore. Since it doesn't have a lot of ingredients in it, don't expect suds.  It doesn't mean it's not working.  It just doesn't create all the bubbles...which brings up the question, what chemical causes those suds? Eek. Another thing to know about this soap is that it lasts FOREVER.

Would you like to win your own soap? It's easy!

First, select which soap you'd like to win.

Oatmeal and Honey
Lavendar Rosemary
Rosemary Mint
Tea Tree Mint and Oatmeal

Second, since Coleen's Thorton's farm is self-supporting, let me know what back-to-basics, Little House on the Prairie-type skill you would like to acquire.

Third, post your answers in the comment section below with your contact info, and check back on Valentine's Day to see if you won!

Lastly, if you're interested in supporting small farms, here's a note from Coleen:

Since you are signing up through the computer would you vote for our Dream Big Contest Idea? We are competing to win a $5,000 grant to purchase equipment for making socks from our yarns. This is one “warm step” closer to our dream of bringing a small fiber mill to Tahlequah to create agriculture-related  jobs and more options for farmers and ranchers. Go here to vote for our Dream! Share it on your page to have friends and relatives vote too. 

Check back on Valentine's Day to see who wins!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Winter Soup: Swiss Chard and Sorrel Soup

Coleen Thornton was speaking really fast and wearing a blue tooth headset. She clearly wasn't from around here. Truth be told, I hadn't lived in our small town long, either.  We both plunged feet-first into our new world about the same time. Together, we've shared the big changes along with the reason we chose to live here: Our little community is awesome.

Coleen traded her corporate job, convertible BMW, and "big city" Texas life for her passion--a sustainable farm, soap, and yarn business. This woman knows how to get her hands dirty to pursue her dreams. Watch this news video to learn more about her and the farm. 

My family and I are huge fans of Heaven Sent Food and Fiber . We signed up for their CSA last year. The food is amazing. It's local. It's fresh.  It's better. No lie, y'all. Then, there's her fibers that look and feel so luxurious I've even been tempted to learn to knit or crochet. But I haven't. And the soap? It's the only kind Garrett will use. Plus, Coleen and Paul know how to bribe kids. For example, for Max's Sesame Street birthday party, she donated a bunch of beautiful fiber to make monsters.  Then, when  Coleen heard the kids were having a cowboy/barndance birthday party this year,  she and Paul brought sheep and goats in the middle of triple digit weather!

I'm thrilled you dropped by my virtual potluck today so I can introduce you to Coleen and her farm. I can't wait to try her soup.

Coleen in the "little garden" in Texas that inspired her current life

Swiss Chard and Sorrel Soup

The Ultimate Spring Farmers' Market Soup

1 T butter
    1 onion, chopped
      3 small new potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
        1/2c water
          1 bunch Swiss Chard, stems removed, about 10 cups leaves
            1-1/2t salt
              6-1/2c water
                2 cups sorrel leaves (you can sub the juice from 2 lemons if you can't find sorrel)
                   salt and freshly ground black pepper
                    1/2 -1 c heavy cream (based on your preference for consistency) I will substitute whole raw goats' milk here on the farm.

                    Just look at these fresh ingredients!


                      1. Saute onions and potatoes with butter until just starting to brown.
                      2. Add 1/2c water to onions and potatoes, then Swiss Chard and salt. When wilted add the additional water. Simmer 12 minutes. Add cream once you take it off the stove.
                      3. Puree with an immersion blender (or carefully in a regular blender since its hot). Add additional seasoning to taste.

                      Complete Magical Meal Suggestion
                      This soup is also great as a green smoothy, cold or hot for breakfast or lunch the next day. In fact, I like it better the second day, as the flavors have more time to meld. It pairs well with artisan bread or a pilaf salad for a nutrient dense meal, filling meal.

                      The recipe is modified from http://www.marcussamuelsson.com/recipe/swiss-chard-potato-and-sorrel-soup-with-creme-fraiche-recipe because I couldn't find my book 
                      Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison (Nov 6, 2007) which has the version I like better. I highly recommend this book.

                      If you live near Tahlequah, OK, Heaven Sent Food and Fiber produces the soup ingredients above on their "Full-Diet" 60-acre farm and customers get their vegetables through the weekly CSA or at the Farmers' Market. Find out more at HeavenSentFoodandFiber.com.  

                      Check back on Friday. I feel a giveaway coming on!