A few more of a sweet little boy…

 

It’s Fun Being Great…

Fun is being a great-aunt to sweet nephews and nieces. To me it’s totally fun seeing the offspring of my family as the generations begin to extend. Your children having children makes you a grandmother and then your nephews and nieces having children makes you “great!” Both are absolutely wonderful!

Here are a few photos of the youngest great-nephew. He’s such a cutie and was full of curiosity the day we visited together.

A holiday tradition…”A Christmas Carol”

Going to see “A Christmas Carol” at Memphis Theater has become a holiday tradition for my granddaughter and me. This year was our third performance of watching Scrooge transform from a lonely, miserly, miserable human being to a loving, kind, and very generous man.

As I was watching the play this year, it dawned on me for the first time that what Scrooge was missing in his life, or maybe once had but lost, was love. Genuine, lasting love. The kind of love we find in Christ. The kind of love that God our Father showers on us. The kind of love that can’t be taken away. The kind of love that makes us want to shout with joy, jump with happiness, and share with overflowing generosity. Poor Scrooge missed this kind of love most of his life, but when he found it at the end of the play he made up for lost time! So, if anyone calls you a “Scrooge,” just say, “Thank you, and Merry Christmas!”

In the words of Scrooge and Tiny Tim, “God bless us! Yes, God bless us everyone!”

This year we took a children’s copy of “A Christmas Carol” and had “Scrooge” sign it.

I think she’s trying to figure out if that’s her uncle or if he’s really Scrooge.

My granddaughter knew the story this year by heart and was telling me what was going to happen next. Last year she was scared of the Marley’s ghost for several days after the play. I had to hide the book too. She wanted to read it, but was scared at the same time! (Doesn’t the macabre do that with all of us? It does me. I’m drawn to a scary movie, all the while knowing that I’m going to be scared.)

It’s nice to have a connections when it comes to getting photos taken with some of the cast members.
Thank you Great-uncle Mark for another wonderful performance as Ebenezer Scrooge, Esq.

My cute little elf!

This cute little elf is such a joy to have around. After I finished taking her photo, she had to take photos of her babies. The unfortunate thing was that I gave her the remote for the camera and 50 photos later I realized what I had done!! She is becoming quite the photographer and I totally love that!!

 

It’s Soup Again…

I love soup if you haven’t figured that out yet! It’s a meal all in one bowl – warm and yummy for the tummy! This time I made a huge batch of vegetable beef soup. I froze it in small batches to have throughout the winter. Now, on the days when I go to the gym, supper is ready when I get home!

I’m a bargain shopper at the grocery and the day I went they had this really nice bottom round pot roast on special. Immediately I thought about vegetable soup! I checked in the fozen foods aisle and they also had frozen veggies on special. Eight delicious dinners cost less than $25! That’s about $3 a meal for both me and my husband.

Like most of the recipes I make, this one you can change up and add whatever you have on hand. Quantities don’t matter, just add in whatever sounds good that day! The only veggies I would stay away from for this recipe is broccoli and cauliflower, anything like that, but go for the beans, peas, root vegetables, corn, okra.

Full of good-for-you veggies this soup is so easy to make! You just brown some cubed meat, add whatever vegetables you like,  a little seasoning, and you have a hot, delicious meal in a bowl!

Open bags of frozen vegetables (or use canned ones) and add to the pot. This recipe could be made vegetarian, just leave out the meat and substitute the beef broth for tomato juice and water.

I love the color in this soup! All those bright green pieces of okra and green beans, golden corn, red tomatoes…YUM!

I happened to have some fresh herbs in the fridge, so I added some springs of rosemary and thyme. I usually use dried seasonings because I don’t usually have fresh around, but oh, my, those fresh ones added so much flavor! I may have to make sure I keep some on hand from now on.

I ladled the cooled soup into zip lock bags and placed the in the freezer for those cold, winter nights when a bowl of hot vegetable beef soup will hit the spot!

The recipe for this one is really hard to pin down because it’s one of those that you add a little of this and a little of that. The measurements and amounts really don’t have to be exact, just put in what you have on hand and season to your taste. My daughter hates these kind of recipes of mine because she wants to know exactly how much of everything goes in. Just experiment – you can’t go wrong with this one!

BEEF VEGETABLE SOUP
About 1-2 lbs cubed beef roast (this depends on how much beef you have)
1-2 tablespoons oil
1 onion chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
Your favorite frozen or canned vegetables (I used 1 package each of Lima beans, green beans, black eyed peas, corn, cut okra, & 1/2 bag of carrots.)
1 can diced tomatoes
2-3 potatoes cubed
2-3 beef bouillon cubes & 2-3 cups water or use beef broth
Seasonings to taste: salt, pepper, basil, oregano, bay leaves, rosemary, & thyme.

In a dutch oven add pour 1-2 tablespoons oil. Add beef cubes and brown. Add onions and celery. Season the beef mixture and then pour in broth and tomatoes and stir to deglaze the pan scraping up the little browned bits on the bottom. Cook for about 30 minutes. Add the vegetables (use the vegetables your family likes best). Cook until the vegetables are almost done and then add cubed potatoes and cook until tender. Serve with some toasted artisan bread or hot cornbread!

A Soup By Any Other Name Would Taste As Good…

Whether you call this Cheese Soup or Potato Cheese Soup is still tasty!

This recipe is so easy to make and so delicious! Like most of my recipes you can change it up and it’s still the best thing ever. The original recipe calls for corn, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I left it out. It also says to cook for several hours, but who has time for that these days! I cooked mine in less than 30 minutes. It was so-o-o warm and tasty on a cold winter’s night!

I have several old cookbooks that the ladies of my church published many, many years ago. I still go back to them for those tried and true recipes that I remember savoring at potluck dinners. This recipe is for Cheese Soup and is one my family’s favorite. It’s from one of the best cooks at our church who happens to be one of my best friends. Whenever I have a question about recipes, kids, or life in general, I can always call her and get sound advice or just a listening ear.

Since I tend to use whatever I have on hand, I substituted a yellow onion for a red one that I had in the fridge. I found two small sweet peppers in the vegetable drawer so I cut them up and added them to the veggie mix.

You can cut the veggies into small pieces like I did or make the soup more country style by cutting the vegetables into bigger chunks. To hurry the soup along, I sauted the cut up veggies until tender and then added the other ingredients instead of cooking everything for several hours.

I cut the potatoes into small pieces so they would cook faster. These were pretty Yukon gold potatoes so I left the skin on for more nutritional value.

The recipe calls for water with bouillon as the liquid, but I had a box of chicken broth in the fridge, so I used it and made up the difference in water and chicken bouillon.

One of my most favorite mini appliances is this immersion blender. After the potatoes were soft, I placed the hand blender in the pot of soup and pureed away – but not too much. You want to eave some chunks of potato. This makes the soup a little thicker which my family likes. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can leave this part out and the soup is still yummy!

Using Velveeta makes the soup cheesy and creamy, but you could use whatever cheese you have on hand. Just cut it into small pieces, add to the potato mixture, and melt.

Tips & Tricks: Don’t let the soup boil after you add the cheese, it could curdle on you – I know. Turn the soup on low and let the cheese melt as you stir it.

Top the steaming bowl of soup with bacon pieces and serve with hot, buttered cornbread or toast! M-m-m good!

Cheese Soup (I call it Potato Cheese Soup)
4 cups water
2 cups whole kernel corn (can be frozen or canned)
2 cups chopped potatoes
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
4 beef or chicken bouillon cubes (use 1 cube per cup of water)
1 lb Velveeta cheese, cubes
1 tsp Tabasco sauce

Place all ingredients except cheese in pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and cook for 2 hours. Add cubed cheese and stir until well blended. Serves 6 (original recipe from Pat Brown)

A Creek + A Bridge = Fun…

I love the holidays when family gets together. This year three of my great-nephews and nieces and my granddaughter were here for Thanksgiving ranging from ages three to eight. It was so fun to hear their laughter and sequels and, yes, even their crying. Kids seem to have fun anywhere doing anything and add a creek and a bridge, and their in heaven!

(Have any of you other photographers ever done this – forgot to check the settings on your camera before you started shooting? ISO was set way too high and I wasn’t wearing my glasses! This is one of those “I’ll remember next time” moments.)

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