Sunday, February 28, 2010

I WON!!!! And I can't beleive it!

I'm in the middle, sorry I couldn't get this picture any bigger I got it off the newpaper site.
Spicy Mexican Tortilla Soup Special
That is what the headlines read on Friday morning on the front page...
Yea I made the front page!!!
My husband read in last Sundays paper that they were going to have a contest for soups this week, so he went out on Tuesday and got all the ingredients for his favorite soup and told me I had to make it that night. Just to make him happy I did, never thinking I would actually win. He took it to the newspaper office the next morning for all the judges to taste. That evening I got a call and she said Congratulations Lynn You WON!!! I was shocked, to say the least!! Well her is what the paper said:
Spicy Mexican Tortilla Soup Special
Lynn Usary"s recipe takes top prize in first monthly cook-off
FAIRMONT- There's something special about Lynn Usary's Spicy Mexican Tortilla Soup.
First, it's a prize winner.
Its unique blend of spices placed it at the top of the menu of the first Times West Virginian's monthly "My Favorite Recipe" cook-off, beating out 16 other soups to win her $100 and the blue ribbon.
Second, "It's stupid-simple to make," she said.
Full of chicken, corn, peppers and spices, and topped off with some crunchy tortilla chips, it's one hot meal. but don't let its 16 ingredients intimidate you.
"All you do is cook the chicken and shred it, and literally throw everything else in the pot and let it cool. It doesn't get much simpler than that," she said.
Usary loves to cook " just about anything," she said.
Anybody can learn to cook. It just takes practice. And you have to have fun with it." And she loves to share her recipes, too.
As with all good soups, you can tinker with the ingredients to suit your taste. You can make it less spicy by dialing down the chiles, sauce and spices.
Or, in the words of Food Network superchef Emeril Lagasse, "Bam! Kick it up a notch!" she said with a laugh.
She prefers it hot, but turned down the heat for the contest. " I thought that maybe not everybody likes it that way," she said. "But it's really not that hot. It's a nice spicy hot but not so hot it kills your mouth."
She always cooked and learned a lot from her mother-in-law, Lil Usary, she said. Her favorite thing to make is homemade pizza and bread.
"When we have company over, everybody picks what they want to put on them." And like any good cook, she uses fresh vegetables from her garden: peppers. corn. lettuce, green beans,okra and lots of "tomatoes."
I cook so many different things. (My Husband) Tom and I like such a variety of things. He loves my ribs. I've made the sauce for as long as we've been married, which will be 36 years in May," she said.
She doesn't buy food or cooking magazines, but cook-books are another thing. " I'm the queen of the cook-books," she said with a laugh. I've got two whole cabinets full in the kitchen , plus on top the cabinets. I like the ones with pictures in them. I'm a visual person."
She got this recipe from a friend" years ago." She even included it in a cookbook she made for her daughters.
Still, it took Tom's encouragement to get her to submit it for the cook-off the first cooking contest she's ever entered.
"He said I needed to send it in. He bugged me since he saw it in the paper. " You've got to put your chicken soup in there ."
Now since Tom was the reason she entered the contest in the first place, she's going to share the prize money with him. Right?
"Are you kidding?" she said with a laugh."OK. I'll probably take him out to dinner. He likes to cook as much as I do." (than it went on to say who else entered the contest...
So here it is I hope you try it!!!
Spicy Mexican Tortilla Soup
2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1-15oz. can Mexican style stewed tomatoes
1-10 oz. can enchilada sauce, (mild, medium, or hot)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can black beans, rinsed
2 cups water (add more as needed)
1-14 oz. can chicken broth
1-4 oz. can chopped green chilis
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder, hot
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
1- 10 oz bag frozen corn
1 TBS cilantro
Tortilla chips scoops "To scoop with"
After chicken is cooked and shredded, Put everything in a large pot to cook down for a few hours. Add extra water if needed.
I always double the recipe. It can also be made spicier by adding a can of chopped jalapenos or hot enchilada sauce.
It's great on a cold day... And we have had plenty of those this winter!!! ENJOY!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Snow... Snow...Snow...GO AWAY!!!

The snow is beautiful but I have had just about enough. Our last day of school was an early release on FEB. 5th and it hasn't stoped snowing since... It seems every night when it gets dark it starts pouring it down, covering the roads again... Last night when it started again I just couldn't believe it! We are suppose to get a break the next few days, but another storm is coming on Sunday night and Monday. Just in time for another week of school! This is my back porch today. I haven't seen the tables or grass since the first of the month, and it doesn't look like it is going away any time soon.
We just keep digging out.... Especially for those little dogs of ours. They run out to their little spot and run right back in. Toooo Cold for them...LOL
My neighbor even Plowed a path from her house to mine today, we keep running back and forth with our knitting projects.... In our big boots!

The ice is beautiful...

Drip... Drip...Drip...

Feb 8th

Feb 6th

This is our main street somewhere under all of this. I don't live on a back road or a side street, this is the main road!!! LOL
I used to say," If you don't like the weather Wait a Day". But that hasn't been the case this month! Maybe next month it will be better. I sure hope so. But I really can't complain, I love the time at home just being a couch potato. I hate going out in the winter!!!

Have a Good one and Stay Warm,

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The newest member of the family!!!

(click on picture to inlarge)The newest member of the family...
Aiden Alan Jenkins
He was born Feb 13th at 12:10 pm ... 5 lbs. 10 oz and 20 inches long...
He is my Great Nephew, I can't believe my nephew Michael can be old enough to have 2 beautiful children of his own. My girls use to babysit him and his sister...
We went to the hospital on Sunday and took my parents to see their new Great Grandson. They were thrilled to get to hold him. He is just so cute and sooo tiny, I knitted him his new Blue & Gold hat and I thought it would be to small, thank goodness it wasn't. He still has room to grow into it!!!

We had our 6th snow day(in a row) today from school and it is still snowing. I can't imagine we will have school for another couple of days... ENOUGH ALREADY..... You know me I hate winter and the cold weather. We need sunshine!

Please say a prayer for my mother-in-law she is still in the hospital and not doing well at all...

Have a Good One and stay warm!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Red Cross Shelter Evening!!!

Last night I got a phone call asking for our help, It was snowing like crazy of course and the roads were terrible. It was a call from a friend trying to find someone to man the Red Cross Shelter at our Fire Dept., that just happens to be 4 houses down the street from us! I can look out my front window and see it! There are still so many people without power in our county.There was only one gentleman staying the night that had been without power for days. One of our other neighbors that was volunteering was warn out, because she had been working for a couple of days there and needed a break. We had never done this before but were willing to give it a try. I was so glad we did. When I got there it turned out to be an old grade school classmate and we all had lots to catch up on. After I got there with all my knitting and a book I decided to call my next door neighbor and invite her down for some fun. So we had a knitting party. She has been wanting to learn how to knit and what better time!!! We sat there until midnight laughing and talking about old times.... Than Tom took her home and we all went to bed. Even our two little dogs stayed the night!!!LOL

Some times it is just what you make of a situation, and this one turned out to be a great 24 hours. We got up this morning to a phone call telling us that all we had to do was run to Cracker Barrel and pick up our breakfast, Cracker Barrel is just about 1/2 mile down the road... So Tom took the dogs home and ran to get breakfast...They made us so much food and it was great as always!!! Than I called my neighbor and her Grand Daughter, and my daughter and we all continued our knitting party all afternoon... Around 6 this evening we got to come home, his power was promised to be on by the time he got home from midnight shift tonight and all was well!

I hope all that have had to stay in shelters during this crazy winter weather had the enjoyably time that we all did !!!

Stay Warm and Safe Everyone,


Monday, February 8, 2010

The Sun is Shinning and More Snow is Coming!!!

The sun is shinning bright today, which makes the snow look even more magnificent!!! We had no school of course. The rural roads are a mess and so many without power all over the county. My daughter moved into my mother-in-laws house with the dogs and brought some of the saltwater creatures to put in our tank hoping to save some of them... They tell her she may be without power until the 18th. Now with another major storm on it's way in the morning who knows when she will have power again... and we may not have school all week!!!

How do the branches on pine trees hold the weight of the heavy snow? These branches are touching the ground and normally I can't reach these branches. It is just amazing.

"Remember Miss Petunia"

Well here she is last summer just starting to grow...And here she is now covered in snow, all she needs is a carrot and a scarf around her neck!!!LOL... I can't wait to see her in bloom again...

Well we are bracing for another storm, but while we can still get out we are going out to dinner tonight and to the fabric store. I haven't left the house since Friday afternoon when school let out early! So it is time to get out of here for a while...

Stay Safe and Warm Everyone!!!


Saturday, February 6, 2010

How Many of us Have S.A.D. ?

Do you suffer from S.A.D.?

At northern latitudes, many people experience a lower mood, irritability, decreased energy, and changes in appetite, starting around now and lasting until spring. About 10 percent of people in northern states experience full-blown Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), with depressed mood, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, carbohydrate-craving, and weight gain or loss. Another 30 percent experience sub-syndromal SAD, a low-grade version of seasonal depression.

This has been a tough winter and usually I fight the Winter Blues by keeping busy, but this year with having surgery and not being able to do the things I usually do it has caught up with me...

Too much snow and too little light makes things tough. I am taking lots of Vitamin D3 for all that added sunshine in a pill. But it sure would be nice to see some sunshine...

Although we had 12 + inches of snow yesterday and this morning, around 5:00pm the sun came out for about 20 minutes putting a beautiful cast of color on the white trees...
The skies opened up to the beautiful color of the sun and made things just about as beautiful as it gets this time of the year!!!

Just to catch you up on what has been going on around here, It has been the marathon Birthday Season in our house!!! My Oldest daughter had her Birthday on Jan. 26, My Birthday was Feb. 1, and the youngest daughter was Feb. 4th... So we have done nothing but eat for the last 10 days. Going out to dinner, making the girls favorite meals at home and eating Cake, Cake, Cake!!! I am scared to get on the scale!!!LOL
My mother-in-law has been very ill and in the hospital for nearly 3 weeks. She has been moved to rehab and doing a little better, just trying to get her strength back from surgery... Please add her to your prayer list!!!
I am thinking of nothing but SPRING it is just a little more than 40 days away, I put up my plant stand and lights and planted some seeds yesterday. It felt so good to get my hands in some soil. I can't wait to see those little sprouts coming up!!! My husband gave me my usual Birthday Gift that I ask for every year... A big thing of Pro Mix potting soil, we laugh about it every year! But he knows that is what I really want and he has fun telling everyone he gave me dirt for my Birthday!!!
Thursday before the snow started Tom surprised me with dinner when I got home from work!!! He is a great husband, when I drove up the driveway I could smell it...THE GRILL WAS ON AND HE WAS GRILLING OUT... It was only 33 degrees and there he was outside cooking dinner... Life is good and HE is Great!!!
Well I hope everyone is OK in the crazy Winter Storm and you all have power and keeping warm. Spring will be here soon and the Sun Will Be Out shinning strong!!!

Have A Good One,