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Monday, November 26, 2012

Quick Turkey Chili (and Matching Blueberry Cobbler)

I have a confession. I am not a fan of ground turkey...I just have never had a very good experience with the stuff. But I must say, this recipe has convinced me that we might've gotten off on the wrong foot.  

Because this Turkey Chili is amazingly delicious. I found the recipe here at Southern Living and didn't change much at all. I think the super success of this recipe might be found in the method of cooking the ground turkey, I'm not sure. All I know is that this is flavorful and tender, truly scrumptious stuff. Your "non ground turkey eating" family will never even know!

Here's what you do.....

First, brown the onion in some oil.  This is different from the way I would normally prepare chili.  I brown my meat first adding the onion to cook when the meat is almost finished.

Once the onion is almost translucent, add minced garlic and the ground turkey.  This is the only gross picture I'll show you (and the reason I have before not been convinced to use ground turkey - it's pale and sticky). Mix it all together and begin to chop up the meat. You also will add the chili powder and the cumin here - and quite a bunch of it. As you stir it into the meat it darkens and flavors the meat.

You can still see bits of pink in the meat below, but because of the spices it all browns up looking like more familiar hamburger meat. Keep it browning up.....

Add tomato paste and stir it up, continuing to brown.

When you add all the rest of the ingredients, it looks scrumptious (like the Title picture) and you just let it simmer for 30 minutes. I'm sure it would be great in a crock-pot too.

Now for the secret not skip this part.  I'm not a fancy recipe foodie kind of girl.  I have to be able to find things easily at my local Walmart.  This isn't too fancy or weird, just pick some up. It's right near the parsley in the produce aisle.

Cilantro. Wash it. Chop it. Add it to the chili at the last minute. Love it.

And while you're at it whip up this easy delicious Blueberry Cobbler (really a Crisp, but whatever). The recipe is found here and it's fantastic. I follow the directions exactly, using 2 bags of frozen blueberries (12 oz each).  The smell of the Turkey Chili on the stovetop and the Blueberry Cobbler in the oven was magic. Kind of like when you find an amazing Scentsy duo. I'm new to Scentsy, and kind of in love.

Hope you'll try these, let me know if you do!

Quick Turkey Chili
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pound lean ground turkey
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 large can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
1 can Ranch style beans (16 oz)
1 cup chicken broth
1 extra small can corn, drained (or half of a regular can)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Saute chopped onion in hot oil in a large skillet or stock pot for 5 minutes or until tender.  Add garlic and saute 1 minute.  Add turkey, chili powder, and cumin and cook stirring to break up the meat and mix in the spices.  Cook until meat is no longer pink.  Add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients except for the chopped cilantro. Bring chili to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often for 30 minutes.  Stir in chopped cilantro and serve.  Fritos, shredded cheese, and sour cream would be great here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ugly Comparisons

I love this quote.  Evidently it comes from Theodore Roosevelt.  
Which makes me think of Tom Selleck and Blue Bloods.......anyone else love that show? (Because you are the only ones that will understand the super leap my mind just made there.)
But nevermind.  I'm comparing.

When my husband and I moved to Shawnee almost 10 years ago some of our very first friends had us over.  This quote is framed on the counter in her bathroom. It was the first time I ever saw it {way before Pinterest}. Our conversation when I asked her about it was the beginning of a beautifully deep and resilient friendship that is forever dear to me. 

The ugly danger of comparison has been a topic in my learning and teaching and conversations ever since, but especially for the last several months. This morning while brushing my teeth and contemplating issues both deep and shallow, the subject of comparison had a head-on collision with some other things I've got going on in my noggin.....let's see if I can tie it together the way it worked over spitting and rinsing this morning. It starts with a little thread from some teaching about True Beauty....

1 Peter 3:4 says this in the Amplified; 

"But let it {our adorning} be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God."

We get the "gentle and quiet spirit" thing wrong when we think it means to be quiet on the outside.  What it really means is to be quiet on the inside.  Just because a woman can sit quietly and control her words and demeanor doesn't mean she doesn't have a super F5 tornado swirling around inside.  The most loud, outgoing woman can be preciously quieted on the inside, a beautiful example of True Unfading Beauty....

So if Peaceful, Holy-Spirit Quieted insides are a measure of True Beauty; what is the measure of True Ugly?  Could it be a heart that strives? An anxiety-ridden, stirred up inside? A couple of years ago I wrote about peace and joy after Christmas.  I thought about those definitions, especially peace, this morning when all of these ideas were swirling around in my mind trying to find footing to start walking. For me; the quote should read:

Comparison is the thief of Peace.  

Here is how this works for me, and PLEASE understand I mean no meanness....truly! I would imagine you have your own versions of these stories. 

I read a book for minister's wives and am so blessed and perfectly encouraged until, UNTIL we get to the chapter describing how Sunday mornings should go. When the author describes her perfectly homemade Sunday morning family breakfast served on the back porch; I'm done.  And Comparison sets her teeth in.  I am alternately offended with the author and disgusted with myself because my sweet little PKs are the ones who know where to find leftover donuts in various Sunday School classes because they often get NO breakfast on Sunday mornings.  Seriously, I hope this is the closest to "gang leader" my kids ever get.  And of course, I have no idea what the preacher eats for breakfast because I'm not even awake when the preacher leaves the house on Sunday mornings {note to any new or unfamiliar readers - I'm the pastor's wife}. Comparison here ate me for breakfast for awhile. Yes that pun was very intentional.

Or how about this one (completely imaginary, of course)....I get on Pinterest to find an idea for a Christmas gift for my hubs.  I find a 12-day schedule full of gifts and romantic notions including a new water bottle with a hand-crocheted cover complete with a big button. I don't know about you, but comparison can have my heart in an uproar and on a  journey dating all the way back to "my Grandma could crochet, she even taught me once, she would be so disappointed that I can't crochet...." before I even know I've taken a step away from Him. {I may or may not have dug out my favorite Grandma King afghan to further ruminate in the comparison, TMI for sure}. This is why comparison is so dangerous, it roots in our minds so quickly and then runs for our hearts.

Comparison takes a heart taught and comforted and settled by her Creator and stirs her up with anxiety and the pursuit of the unsatisfying, transforming Beauty into Invisibility.

Can you see it?  We need to stop it and we can. Comparison is not our friend, it's the opposite of us, opposed to the True Beauty God created us to bear. So let's be women of unfading beauty, who make Psalm 46:10 our goal to "Cease Striving and know that HE is God."

As we settle into knowing Him we know ourselves and each other.  We love ourselves and each other. We don't create friendships where comparison can thrive in competition, we create safe community where we can celebrate authentic and imperfect identities {which happens to be way more fun than trying to be a fake version of perfect none of us can even define}!

So this post has taken me way longer to write than it should've and of course I'm already being tested big time.  I keep swearing that I'm going to write an entire blog post on Ice Cream so that I can be "tested" on that subject.  But I won't, I'll just keep on blogging about what I'm learning in real life in the Real Word, and hoping we can learn together.  So I'm settling into refusing Comparison....anyone want to walk away with me?  Take that, Comparison.