Posted in Matters of the Heart, Warm the Soul

Warm and Comforting

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My kids that are local are coming for dinner tonight so I thought I would whip up a pot of Pumpkin Chili. Pumpkin may seem like an odd addition to you soup pot but in this recipe, it adds richness making it very hearty and comforting. For those eating less/no meat or avoiding gluten in their diet, it is a dish that satisfies. Enjoy

Pumpkin Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 15-ounce cans fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 15-ounce can 100% pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 15-ounce can corn
  • 12-ounce beer or 1 1/2 water (for gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon each, salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in spices and garlic. cook another minute or two until spices are fragrant, stirring often.
  4. Add tomatoes and pumpkin. whisk to combine.
  5. Stir in black beans, corn, beer or water, and salt and pepper.
  6. Reduce heat to low, simmer covered for at least 30 minutes, stirring often. The longer it cooks, the more flavor develops, so feel free to get started in the morning for a day full of the comforting smell of something yummy for dinner.

 

Food is not about impressing people. It’s about making them feel comfortable.

Ina Garten

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Baked Perfection, Matters of the Heart

Fond Food Memories

https://thepartysinthekitchen.me/2017/09/30/fond-food-memories/

My daughter called today and requested a recipe this morning. “You know, that yummy cake you used to bake when I was little.” This one was a family favorite for sure. It’s from an old cookbook, The Farm Vegetarian Cookbook, that still resides on my bookshelf. It is without a cover, well used (especially the page with the applesauce cake), and reminds me of days gone-by. It was fun to pull it out and reminisce a bit.

Applesauce Cake

Ingredients
• ½ cup vegetable oil
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 1 ½ cups unsweetened applesauce
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions
1. Mix oil and sugar well.
2. Add applesauce and remaining ingredients. Beat until smooth.
3. Pour into 8-inch baking pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes until browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
This cake is even better the next day so you might want to get started. Yumminess awaits. Enjoy!

“Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice.”
Joseph B. Wirthlin

 

Posted in Matters of the Heart

Fellowship: Nourishment for the Soul

 

thepartysinthekitchen.me
A gathering of women from three years ago. This one was in Radeburg, Germany. It was a welcome party for this group as they started a ten-day mission where they would work in the community with women and youth. We had a wonderful time. Germans know how to do hospitality.

 


Recently, I joined a group of lovely ladies to celebrate a year well-lived.

They had just finished their session of serving the women at our church as group leaders for a Bible study. It was their turn to be served a little and just spend time together before the summer started. I was honored to provide a variety of quiches for their brunch. It was a wonderful morning where fellowship was the main event.

Fellowship is one of those words we don’t hear too much outside the church, but it goes on nearly everywhere we look. People coming together to be together is its loose definition. Dictionary.com calls it friendly relationship or companionship. It’s something that is essential to a good life. The problem is, it’s the first thing that gets thrown out of the schedule when life gets busy. We need to be intentional and make time to gather with our fellows, our friends, our chums and not let the demands of life be our only companions.

If fellowship is going to happen in our fast-paced world, we will need to be intention in our planning. Put fellowship on the calendar. Instead of viewing as another demand, protect it as a time of much needed refreshment.

We know that without food we would die. Without fellowship, life is not worth living.

Laurie Colwin


For the brunch, I took a basic quiche recipe and then switched it up to create several different flavor profiles. I made them with a crust, but you can cook them without a crust for a grain-free version. I do it quite often with the Spinach and Feta version.

Basic Quiche

Ingredients

  • 5 eggs
  • ¾ cup half and half or heavy cream (Milk can be used or even a combination of cream and milk.
  • 2 cups of cheese
  • 1 medium onion, chopped and sautéed in a little butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 9” frozen deep dish pie crust.

Directions

  1. Mix eggs, cream salt and pepper in a bowl.
  2. Mix in sautéed onions and any additional ingredients*.
  3. Pour into pie shell.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Keep an eye on it and if it begins to get too brown on top, cover with a sheet of aluminum foil to protect it. Check for doneness by inserting a knife in the center. If it comes out clean, it’s finished.

ENJOY!

Additional ingredients

Bacon and Cheddar Quiche

  • 2 cups cheddar
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped

Mushroom, Leek, and Prosciutto Quiche

  • Omit onion.
  • 2 tablespoons butter for sautéing
  • 16 ounces mushrooms, washed, sliced and sautéed. Do small batches so they don’t get too soggy.
  • 2 leeks, thinly sliced and sautéed.
  • 2 cups Swiss cheese
  • 8 slices prosciutto, chopped

Spinach and Feta Quiche

  • Olive oil for sautéing
  • 6 cups baby spinach, sautéed until just wilted
  • 2 cups crumbled feta cheese

The sky’s the limit with the types of quiche you can come up with. Here’s one I especially like.

 Tomato Basil Quiche

  • 1 medium tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil

Fry tomato slices that have been lightly breaded in Italian breadcrumbs with extra dried basil. After pouring egg and cheese mixture in pie crust, arrange slices on top and sprinkle with additional cheese, and bake.

Please tell me your favorite creation. I would love to hear from you.

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Join the Party! The More the Merrier!

 

Posted in Easy Recipes for Busy Days, Matters of the Heart, Warm the Soul

Dumping Dinner: Chicken and Rice Soup

thepartysinthekitchen.me

I received this text this morning from my daughter, Charity—

Hey, Mom, we all got sick last night and were wondering if you could go to the store for us.

When my daughter says all, she is talking about a lot of people. You see, she has six children, age 10 and under. The flu at her house is serious business especially when she has it, too. So, I did what any mama/grandma would do. I brought her requested items of chicken soup, saltine crackers, and ginger ale to her front door, peeked in, hugged the one non-sick child, and said a quick prayer for their recovery on my way back to my car. Oh, man, it’s gonna be a long day over there.

I wish I had been more prepared. It would have been much more comforting to have some homemade chicken soup to take, but I didn’t have what I needed so I bought the canned instead. Now that I’m back home, I have come up with a Chicken and Rice Soup that can quickly be cooked up on the stove-top or in the crockpot. I have included directions for freezing as well. That way, when you or someone you love comes down sick, in a very short time you can have some comfort simmering away.


Chicken and Rice Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breasts
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried sage
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 8.5 ounce pouch shelf-stable rice or rice-mixture of your choice or 1 ½ cooked rice.

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients except rice into a 6-quart crock pot then cook on low for 4 hours or until chicken breasts are cooked through. If using stove-top, simmer everything except rice until chicken is tender.
  2. Remove chicken and shred. Stir back into soup along with rice.
  3. Serve.
  4. Enjoy!

For freezing:

Dump all ingredients except chicken broth and rice into 1 gallon freezer bag, close, label and freeze. To cook follow directions above adding 2 hours to your cooking time.

Extra:

This soup can be easily transformed into what you crave or adjusted to what you have in your pantry. Experiment and let me know how it turns out.

 

 

 

Posted in Matters of the Heart

Building Hope

We sat on the floor of the newly constructed tiny house eating fried chicken legs. This was the first meal this little home would see. In a collaboration with families from California and a minister in Mexico, a young family would move from their cardboard hut to a house with screens on the windows to keep the flies out and a floor that didn’t turn to mud when it rained. It was an occasion to celebrate, the chicken along with tortillas and fresh salsa—our feast.

The day started early as we pulled up to the dirt lot where the house would be built. In anticipation of the new home that would stand in that location, red geraniums had been planted bring a pop of joy to the otherwise drab landscape.

Once decided where the house would stand, a frenzy of hammering and painting mixed with conversations in broken Spanglish and the laughter that comes with it began.  The whole process became the conduit for two cultures to come together.  And, as the house went up, so did hope for a better life.

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When noontime drew near, more friends and family arrived to witness the ‘house-raising’ and prepare a meal for its workers. The ‘kitchen’ in which the chicken was cooked that day was an open fire in the yard. This was where all the cooking happened for this family, and they were experts in dealing with open flame, creating chicken that was crispy, moist, and delicious. Every bite was savored, leaving nothing but the empty bowl at the end of the meal.

The experience of working side-by-side would change communities both sides of the border. The house, as great a thing as it was, was not the star of the day. Relationships were built with each nail that was hammered. Memories were created, and when looking back, they would be listed as some of the best.

We have always held to the hope, the belief,

the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

 


 

Fried Chicken

The fried chicken served on this day was literally just chicken fried in oil over the open flame. No flour dredge. No nothing. But, YES on delicious.

! Not keen on boiling oil over an open fire? Simply bake or grill your chicken with a little seasoning for a yummy outcome.

Pico de Gallo

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • freshly squeezed lime juice to taste
  • salt to taste

Combine ingredients and chill for an hour.

Flour Tortillas

This a new recipe I tried using a food processor and a tortilla press.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1.  Place all ingredients into food processor. Pulse several times until a soft dough ball is formed.
  2. Remove, cover, and let rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Divide into eight pieces.
  4. Press each piece between parchment paper with tortilla press. Reposition a quarter turn and press again.
  5. Cook over medium heat in lightly oiled skillet about 1 minute each side, or until lightly browned.

Enjoy!


img_20130406_134407_508See more about this ministry at Hands of Mercy.

 

Posted in doing life with friends, Matters of the Heart, Warm the Soul

Blend Well

A loud ruckus could be heard  in Maria’s dining room. This was the first time the gals on the hospitality team that I am part of had met together outside of our regular Thursday mornings. Friendship was evident through the teasing and laughter that was happening around the table. We have gotten to know each other through working together every week. A friendship has grown while serving brunch and cleaning up after in the church kitchen.

Women's Small Group Hospitality Team

Today, however, was our turn to relax. Maria prepared a wonderful meal and the beautiful table settings made everyone feel special. Each of us took a turn to share a little bit of our stories with the others. This proved to create an even stronger bond between us. Our lives became richer through hearing personal challenges each could connect with. I came away from the morning thinking how lucky I was to know and serve with these women.  This group is a special blend of backgrounds, experiences and seasons that makes my life much more delicious.

The greatest sweetener of human life is friendship. ~Joseph Addison


One thing that Maria served our group was a luscious Lemon Poppy Seed Cake. It was a grain free recipe and was oh, so yummy.

Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

prep: 20 minutes     Cooking: 40 minutes    Makes: 8 servings

Ingredients:

CAKE

  • 1/3 cup grass-fed butter (Kerrygold), plus more for greasing pan*
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour, plus 1 teaspoon for dusting pan
  • 1/2 cup raw honey**
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

GLAZE

  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons finely ground raw cashews
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 2 teaspoons honey, melted
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.Make the cake.
  2. Grease a Bundt pan very well with butter, then dust with 1 teaspoon coconut flour, carefully checking that every crack and surface is covered.  This makes sure your cake will easily come out of the Bundt pan after baking.
  3. Place the first 9 ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender and process for 15 seconds, until smooth.
  4. Add 1 egg at a time, blending in-between, until all the eggs have been incorporated.
  5. Gently stir in the poppy seeds and lemon zest by hand.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, place in oven, and bake for 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack, then invert it onto the rack to cool completely.  If necessary, use a rubber spatula to gently release the cake from the pan.  A small chunk broke off on mine as I flipped it over, but it didn’t mess up the taste at all!
  8. Make the glaze.  Grind the cashews in a food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and pulse until combined and smooth.  Drizzle over cooled cake before serving.

Enjoy!

  •  If you like this post, perhaps you would reading another blog I write.  Girl on Adventure is a collection of lessons God is teaching me as I travel along life’s road.