white chili

have you heard the joke that anything under 70 degrees is called "chili weather" in texas?  well, guilty as charged, and when i get tired of regular chili, i make this white chicken chili year after year.

one medium onion (i always used frozen chopped)
1 tbl. oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (7 oz.) can chopped green chilies
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
2 (14 oz.) cans chicken broth
4 cups cubed cooked chicken
3 (15 oz.) cans great northern beans, rinsed & drained
8 oz. monterey jack cheese
sour cream, to top

in large saucepan, saute onions in oil until tender.  stir in garlic, chilies, cumin, oregano, cayenne and cloves.  cook and stir for 2-3 minutes. add broth, chicken and beans and simmer for 15 minutes.  remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted.  garnish with sour cream (a must for me).  this can easily be made in the crock pot as well.

recipe courtesy of the durning house bed & breakfast in van alstyne, tx.


diy advent calendar

i'm coming into this advent thing a little late. i saw some i liked last year, but they had a little toy for each day, and goodness knows we have enough trinkets. i decided to make my own little advent garland to help the boys have some sense of time concerning christmas. every day they see all of these beautiful things all around and ask "is TODAY christmas?".

i printed out scripture verses (the christmas story) and taped one inside each ring counting down to the day. they will tear one off every morning and my oldest can practice his reading. they'll have fun watching the garland get shorter and shorter...


it's gingerbread time!

at the first sign of christmas, the boys start asking to decorate cookies.  i make them wait until december.... 

5 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 tbl. vinegar

stir together flour, soda, spices and salt.  set aside.  beat shortening for 30 seconds.  add sugar and beat 1-2 minutes.  add egg, molasses, and vinegar and beat well.  not add dry ingredients and beat until just combined.  separated dough into thirds and wrap separately in plastic wrap.  chill for at least 3 hours. (i divide it to keep from making 60 men at one time!)  
unwrap one section and roll to 1/8-1/4 inches on floured surface.  cut into desired shapes and bake in a 375 degree oven for 5 minutes.  This recipe is from my better homes and gardens book and they always turn out soft and make my house smell quite wonderful.

the gumdrops didn't even make it onto the first batch. :)

an upside down man can be a reindeer!

here's a little tip:  use graham crackers to make your gingerbread house. 
it's easier, cheaper, and they can assemble it and eat it as a snack all in one sitting.