Monday, March 31, 2014

Food post - Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

We had a rainy weekend and yesterday it snowed, again!  It was the strangest weather.  At first it was raining and then raining and snowing all at once, you could see rain drops and snowflakes at the same time.  Then huge snowflakes for almost three hours but there was a lot of moisture and though it started to stick, it wasn't long after that it started to melt.  Thankfully the roads are clear.

 So, all that being said, soup still fits in with our comfort needs on a chilly night.  I found the recipe here at Chef in Training.  Nikki, its host, has some wonderful recipes which I enjoyed browsing through.  Thank you Nikki for sharing a wonderful meal.

Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes and jalapenos (I couldn't find them with jalapenos exactly, so I used one that said diced tomatoes with chilies)
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup choppd bell pepper (I used the red)
1 can (10 ounces) Enchilada sauce
2 whole chicken breasts (I used chicken thighs)

Garnish suggestions:

Slices of avocado
Sour Cream
Crushed Tortilla Chips (we used Snyder's of Hanover Reduced-Fat)
Cilantro leaves, chopped or whole
Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese to sprinkle on top
Hot Sauce

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  Stir in the flour and keep stirring until smooth and bubbly.  Remove from heat and add the chicken broth and 1/2 cup milk, a little at a time, stirring to keep smooth.  Return to heat.  Bring the sauce to a gentle boil and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens.  

In a large bowl whisk together the enchilada sauce and chicken broth mixture.  Gradually whisk in the remaining milk until smooth.  Set aside.

In crock pot combine drained beans, tomatoes, corn, onion and bell pepper.  Place the chicken breasts on top of the mixture.  Pour sauce over ingredients in crock pot.  Cover and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.  

When you are ready to serve, remove chicken and cut or shred into bite-sized pieces.  Add chicken back into the soup, mix together.

Garnish with toppings of choice.  Everything suggested compliments this meal beautifully.

What did we think of this dish?  I enjoyed the understated flavoring of this meal and I definitely would not hesitate to make it again.  I am not big on highly spiced food but Gregg used hot sauce to give it extra heat.

I need help with the presentation of my food. Maybe if I had only put three 'petals' on top it would have looked better.  They do say less is more don't they?  Standing alone this is a very 'pretty' meal.

I realized I had forgotten the cheese.  I also forgot to use crushed tortillas, but as we have enough for another meal tomorrow I can use them next time.  I also might put the avocados on the side and just use a dollop of sour cream on the top of the soup, along with the crushed tortillas.  

Added note: finished this off last night.  It was even better the second time round, and the crushed tortilla chips made it even more yummy.  

Saturday, March 29, 2014


The link to Today's Flowers on the home page opens at 12.15 a.m. every Saturday, Eastern Time (US).  The old link will close the previous Thursday at 11.30 P.M.

To see beautiful blooms from around the world you can click here.  My grateful thanks to last week's participants and to all our friends who support Today's Flowers.

Our good friend Luiz Santilli, Jr., created TODAY'S FLOWERS

TF team Pupo - Sandy Carlson - Denise 

Friday, March 28, 2014


This is a continuation from my post last Saturday, which you can see here if you missed it.  We left our hotel that morning and stopped shortly afterwards, so that we could enjoy our daily exercise by walking along the beach.  An added benefit of course was being able to see not only the seagulls but also the pelicans.   As you can see by this first photo, it is a very foggy morning but there I am, camera in hand, enjoying all those birds.  

I thought they were waiting for the fog to clear before taking off over the ocean......

but more likely they are all facing the same direction into the wind to stabilize themselves while standing.  No chance of them getting blown over this way.  Facing in this direction gives the Seagulls an easier takeoff, which I suppose applies to those Pelicans also.  Birds are generally referred to as a 'flight' when in the air and a 'flock' on the ground, but Seagulls on the ground are called a 'colony'.  

So what do you call a group of Pelicans?

A Squadron......

and this Squadron of Pelicans decided it was time to take off.....

but first they had to receive their orders from their Squadron Leader....

who was chatting with his second in command.

"Get ready chaps!"

Uh-oh!  They're doing a scramble.  Scramble?  According to RAF terminology, getting airborn as soon as possible!  But they're looking a bit at a loss as to which direction to take off in.  A bit ropey chaps!

Should we scrub take off?

Whoa, steady now!

No?  It's a go!

And the crowd roars!

The Squadron Leader called it,  "Jolly good show," he says. "Good practice run.  We will do even better tomorrow."

"Let's head back to the NAAFI to get a cup of char".  That's tea to everyone who doesn't know what a cup of char is.

It is said that Pelicans are the largest flying birds, because they have air in their bones that makes them lighter and more graceful than they appear.  

I am joining Misty's Camera Critters,  Eileen's Saturday's Critters.  and Anni's Bird D'PotThank you for hosting ladies, I am always happy to join in these great meme's.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


This week's photos are from our road trip last year.  We were driving through Arizona, and in the distance I saw what I thought was a smiling face looking up at all those clouds floating by.  It really was a phenomenal day for sky-watching.  

I thought my eyes were playing tricks with me, but as we got closer I could see very clearly. 

When a person smiles at me I find myself smiling back, even if it is a lovely mural painted on a building.  I could also see there were wolves on the side. 

As we drove through that area we came across other buildings with different scenes on each wall.  

The artist brought his old 'canvases' back to life with each brush stroke.  

Those old buildings turned into real works of art, but my favorite will always be the smiling face looking up at that beautiful sky.

My thanks to the SkyWatch Team, YogiSandy and Sylvia,  for hosting this wonderful meme.

Please click here to visit other sky watchers.

Happy SkyWatch Friday!


This fence was found in Destin, Florida, where they are trying to preserve the sand dunes and everything that grows on them. 

Thank you Theresa at The Run*A*Round Ranch Report for continuing another great meme.  Click on the blog link to see other participants, and the button below to find out more information.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


I was very happy to keep company with this Green Heron while he was fishing.  These photos were taken in the Everglades a couple of months back.  

You can learn more about this beautiful bird here.

Today I am linking with Michelle's Nature Notes and Stewart's Wild Bird Wednesday.  Thanks for hosting Michelle and Stewart. 

Last Post on the McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Florida - Part 7

Today I am sharing several sculptures from the garden, link here.  As it is the final post (until we can get down there again one day), it will be longer than usual.  Apart from the one at the bottom, these will be more present day pieces.  You can follow the link to Seward Johnson's website.

"Best Seller" shows a man who has fallen asleep in an adirondack chair.  I read that when this sculpture was placed in another exhibition in a park, someone dialed 911 thinking that the man had stayed still for far too long and was worried that he was ill.

This 'fisherman' is actually wading in their famous lily pond.

"Getting Involved" shows a grandmother knitting....

and on the bench next to her, the reason is clearly shown.

"Out of Sight"

"Summer Thinking"

"Photo Shoot"

"Follow the Leader"

"Shaping Up"

This one is called "Follow Me" and is inspired by Edouard Manet's painting, "The Fifer" painted in 1866.  To find out more you can go to this link.

If you haven't had a chance to look at my other six posts and are interested in seeing them, you can click on the links below.  

There is a lady on Pinterest who has collected photographs of other pieces.  You can look at those here.

That's it!  I hope you have enjoyed my series of posts of the sculptures from the Seward Johnson Exhibit.