Kitchen Prayer & Quick Irish Soda Bread

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It’s been 2521 days since I lost my son. It’s been nearly that long since I have been able to pray. Unanswered prayers asking to keep my kids safe just set me off onto a negative path. Crazy mad at God doesn’t accurately describe the feeling of losing my son in a senseless accident, but when a wise and faithful friend named Angie wrote on her FB page “faith does not protect us from our sorrow, but prayer will hold you up” it hit me. I’ve been angry too long and it is of no use. In fact the anger is a complete waste of energy that could be better spent in meditation. Putting spirituality back into my life has been a fine turning point. I thank my friends, Kare, Rebecka, Mark, Hilary and my cousin Carol who have gently nudged me forward to believe that life is better with a higher power in it. How about you?

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You know what else makes life better? Recipe videos. That’s right. If you are a visual learner as I am cookbook photos and on-line videos make cooking and baking so much easier. Today I feature a re-do of this Irish Soda Bread blog from 2016. Click on that link to get the written recipe, turn up the volume and sit back and enjoy the show.

 

Are you serving a corned beef and cabbage dinner or Beef Stew? This Irish soda bread will go great beside either. If you like Guinness check out my beef stew and boxty recipe here.  Happy St. Patrick’s, happy week, happy delicious day in the kitchen with your family.

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Faith & Chicken Soup

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People who have religion and a strong faith in God are to be admired. It seems they can weather any storm, any hardship and all tragic events that come into their lives. They believe in God’s plan and that God is in control. They trust in God. They understand this world is not paradise and pain and death and dying are inevitable. They believe suffering happens for a reason. Each crisis is looked upon as a learning experience and a reminder that following in the steps of Jesus Christ brings relief and hope.

Honestly, I hate God’s plan for me and every other mother who has lost a child. As spiritual as I am I am not particularly religious. Raised by a strict Catholic mother and a father who thought the Catholic church was nothing more than a big business my upbringing was filled with catechism questions and doubts. In fact, later in life, all I ever prayed was, “Please Lord keep my children safe”, so you can imagine my current dilemma. As much as I tried to get religion, I am my father’s daughter and can’t rely on faith to help me through this.  However, William believed in God and that has helped. In his final preparations for his Afghanistan deployment he carefully packed his favorite prayers. He relied on God to get him through a crisis. He was also prepared to die believing that we would all see each other again. The thought that I will see him again warms my heart and fills me with joy. Walking in his light and being more like him–maybe that is God’s plan.

found in his fatigue pocket

found in his fatigue pocket

well used in Afghanistan; found in his wallet

well used in Afghanistan; found in his wallet

 

The weather has turned cold. Time for a comforting soup. Quinoa Chicken Chowder warms the soul while nourishing the body. It’s important to take care of oneself before, during and after the storm and an easy one-pot meal that includes all the food groups helps. Enjoy this award winning recipe. It dates back to 1997 and took first place in the Gold Kist Farms Winning Taste Recipe Contest.

Quinoa Chicken Chowder

2 tablespoons butter

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces

¼ cup uncooked quinoa

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 large onion, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

1 whole dried chipotle pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth

1 cup fresh, frozen or canned corn, drained

2 cups milk

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

crisp tortilla chips, optional

Melt butter in Dutch oven or large stockpot over medium heat. Add chicken, quinoa, potato, onion, peppers, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until chicken is no longer pink. Add broth and corn; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa is cooked and potatoes are tender. Add milk, salt and pepper; cook until just heated through. Remove and discard chipotle pepper (or if you like it hot mince it up and add back to the soup). Stir in cilantro. Ladle soup into serving bowls and top with cheese and tortillas. Serves 4 to 6.