Monday, January 28, 2013

Spicy Red Bean Soup Recipe

I've been pretty lazy about going to the grocery store lately. This method of kitchen-maintenance can be a little dicy. Sometimes the recipes are a flop, and we have to debate whether to eat it anyway or to order out for pizza (a costly proposition in a large family!) So far, we have only flopped a few times in our marriage and I'm grateful that the Spicy Red Bean Soup that I threw together became a winner that even had requests the next day!


There are several benefits to this recipe:

  • it's easy, 
  • most of the ingredients can be kept in the pantry, 
  • it freezes well, 
  • it's cheap to make a LOT of it, 
  • it can be made ahead of time in the crock pot, 
  • it's versatile - don't have a can of chili peppers? No trouble, leave them out. Want to throw in some corn? Go for it! Add a can of diced tomatoes and reduce the liquid for a thicker chili. Kids eating too? Reduce the cayenne pepper some.
  • it can be left in the crock pot all day for teenage boys and their friends to grab as a healthy, filling "snack" while they're on the go!
  • it can be made in one pot, meaning less work for Mom!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Comparing Two Winters

Within reason, we are snow lovers in our family. I am not as fond of playing in the snow, but love to work in it and to watch everyone else enjoy the brisk weather. Jeff is my compliment - he likes to play in it, and working in the snow is ... eh... "okay." Last fall, we moved 4.5 hours' drive south of Baltimore to the far eastern reaches of Virginia, and what a difference it makes in the winter weather! From that, we're doing a bit of a winter weather study lately (and praying for more snow!)

Shoveling 28-inches of snow out so the car could be used.

About every 4 or 5 years we got close to 3 feet of snow to play - and work - in. Outside of piled up on the side of the road going up the Washington (state) mountains, I have never seen that much snow in one place, at one time, in  my lifetime! That is all to say that it was truly impressive being in that amount of snow and a lot of fun. 

sliding down the snow "mountain" made by the parents


Aaaaannnnddd then we moved slightly south to the east Virginan coastline. Right on the water, just about. I thought - foolishly perhaps - that we would maybe get more snow here. In hindsight that is silly since we're further south. After listening to our northern friends go on about the snow they were getting (whether in positive or negative vein didn't matter much), we finally got our little bit of snow on the ground. That allowed us to make our first (only?) little Virginia snowman (who is holding hands with the even smaller snowchild.)

No snow to shovel, barely enough to play in
but we had fun anyway!

 So which are you? Are you a snow-lover, or a snow-hater? What is your favorite part of winter?




Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Weekly Menu - January 8

I've often been interested in what others are buying and making for meals when it's closer to the end of a pay period and things are a little tighter. As part of our efforts to become debt free in 2013, I am looking closely at our grocery list and our grocery bills, but in lowering how much we spend, my goal is two-fold: to make meals my family enjoys (most of them anyway) and not to cut back so much that people are going hungry (with teen boys in the house that can be difficult!)

Lunch: peanut butter sandwich with apple slices,
golden raisins and currants
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