Sunday, March 3, 2019

Welcome March!

I hope March ushers in a bit of spring weather-it's at least light later in the day. No longer do I leave work in twilight.  We are still pretty snow heavy making it difficult to drive and while it was bitter cold today THE SUN WAS SHINING!!  Wore my sunglasses to Cedar Rapids and back to have lunch with our son.  We had pizza together and talked for a long time. Just wonderful to be with him. Wish we could have lunch with the oldest daughter-meeting in Brooklyn takes a few days prep and many miles. 

I finished Stay with me by Ayobami Adebayo and loved her writing. This story tells the tale of Akin and Yejide's marriage through both characters. How they meet at university, fall in love, and begin to break away after trying to have a baby and the problems that arise as their communication fall away. Anyone in a relationship that's gone sour can relate to how they begin to pull apart.  The story is sad yet beautifully told and I liked the backdrop of the political turmoil happening in Nigeria at the time. 

And I've started Jesmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones; about a family in Mississippi getting ready for a hurricane.  This is an author that's been on my to-read list and I'm glad I'm finally finding time to read her work.  

In between chapters I managed to make a little food for my lovely little family.   I lovingly created two recipes given to me by friends; a chicken tortilla soup and a corn casserole. Both recipes helped to warm us up last night.  

Here is the soup recipe from my friend Kay:

Kathy's Chicken Tortilla Soup (my notes)

4 chicken breasts halves (buy organic, local, free range when possible)
2 15-oz cans of black beans, drained (I thought ahead and used dried bb, soaking them the night b4)
2 cans Rotel tomatoes with chilies - do not drain (I had one can of diced tomatoes and one can of green enchilada sauce-yes, I improvised so I did NOT have to go out in the cold)
1 can shoepeg corn, drained (I used a bag of frozen)
14.5 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup salsa (I used our homemade)

Optional toppings:
Tortilla chips
Grated Cheese
Sour Cream

1. In the bottom of a slow cooker, place the chicken breasts.
2. Open the remaining cans and pour over the breasts.
3. Add the salsa
4. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Just before serving remove and shred the chicken and return to soup. 
5. Stir and serve. 

Even with my improvisation the recipe was perfect for a cold Saturday night. It was pretty easy compared to other recipes I love. My brother and I were both cooking at the same time in different cities; his recipes looked so amazing I could almost smell them via his texted pictures.  His were more labor-intensive but you've got to go with what works for you on any given day. 

The corn recipe from Amber was just as easy to put together, rich and textured, and that made my day. I'm pretty sure both these recipes are from church/school cookbooks from the 90's.

Corn Casserole 

1 can creamed corn
1 can whole kernel corn, with juice
1 stick butter (soft to mix)
1 cup sour cream
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 egg, beaten
onion and seasonings (opt.)

(In a bowl) mix all ingredients together. Bake at 350* for 45 minutes in a 9 x 13-in baking dish.  
Variation: Can put 1 small package of shredded Mozzarella cheese on top and bake another 10 minutes or until melted. (next time I might add goat cheese; I did not add any cheese this time and I added a bit of cayenne and cumin as my seasonings, plus a whole lot of freshly ground pepper)

See what I mean-super healthy!!  We have to stay entertained and warm over these long winter months. What are you reading/creating/concocting?