Leftover Turkey Chili with Beans

Here’s what we did with the rest of the leftover Thanksgiving turkey. I love my crock pot!

Leftover Turkey Chili with Beans

1 small bag dry red beans (you could use any bean, I don’t like kidney beans), mine were soaked overnight in water

shredded leftover turkey

2 cups water

1/4 of an onion

2 tomatoes (which we had leftover from the Turkey Tacos), diced

Cumin ,Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Adobo seasoning, Red Pepper flakes, Red Chile Powder, Cilantro

now throw it all in a crock pot. Mine cooked on low for 12 hours.

Serve with cornbread (I like jiffy because it’s inexpensive and can be made non-dairy) and add toppings if you want: cheese, sour cream, green onions….whatever you like on your chili.



Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Tacos with Spanish Rice Recipe

Ok….we had to really get creative in order to liven up the turkey leftovers.  We’ve been trying to come up with different ideas all week. Tomorrow we are trying Turkey Chili Con Carne (Chili Beans) with Jiffy corn bread. I had everything in my cabinet but the sour cream and guac, (which some people insisted on) and the corn tortillas.


Leftover Turkey Tacos with Spanish Rice


Turkey Tacos

Leftover turkey, shredded

Minced garlic

¼ Onion, diced

Taco seasoning (you could buy it or make it)*see recipe below*


Rice instant or leftover

½ can tomato sauce (I used a big can and froze the rest for later)

½ onion diced

Cilantro (fresh or dried)

Toppings (optional):


Sour Cream


Onion (the rest of the one we were cooking with), diced

Tomato, diced

Lettuce, chopped

I never realized how simple it was to make Spanish rice. I had it all within my reach too. We used leftover steamed white rice from our Turkey Sinagang dinner last night. Put in a cup of water, half a small can tomato sauce, a little sautéed onion, sautéed minced garlic, and cilantro (we used the dried herbs that she from her garden in New Mexico, but I would use fresh as well). We let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  I wanted to throw in some green bell pepper but we didn’t have one and my friend is not a fan of them. I’ll try it next time.

We mixed homemade taco seasoning* into a cup of water and threw it on the skillet with the already heating turkey, sautéed minced garlic and onions.

We chopped up some tomatoes, onions and cooked green chiles (you could substitute Rotel for the tomatoes and green chile as well) for toppings on our tacos. Adding sour cream and guacamole was optional.

We fried up corn tortillas for the taco wrap in oil for less than a minute each

All together it only took us about 20.


*My homemade taco seasoning (stuff I always have in my cabinet):

1 TBSP cumin

1TBSP of Chile powder  (I use powdered New Mexico red chile , but you can use any chile powder)

A  pinch of garlic powder

A  pinch of Adobo seasoning,

Driving through VA Wine-Country- Self-Taught Photography 4

As I’ve said before, I LOVE photographing God’s creation. It absolutely fascinates me. My best friend is still here for another week and today we decided to take a road trip through VA’s wine country. It was beautiful even though we didn’t go during the prime seasons; spring and fall.

I’ve been shooting in only AV (Aperture Priority) Mode for quite some time now and have been using manual focus for about 3 weeks. I understand the basics of Aperture, Shutter and ISO and how they affect each other; I just need to figure out how to apply the information in each situation.  The higher the Aperture the smaller amount of light comes in; the smaller the Fstop, the shorter the depth of field.

I’m trying to understand the White Balance (WB) settings. I want to learn how each one affects the other settings as well.

I love the editing part too. I only have Windows Live Photo Gallery, though. I want to get Photoshop and Lightroom. Playing with the filters and the coloring and shading, is a blast. You can do all kinds of fun stuff.

Here are some of the treasures we got

Remington VA pictures- Self-Taught Photography 3

There’s this cute little town 5 minutes up the road from my house. It’s called Remington. It is quaint and the buildings are cool. I’ve been wanting to take pics here for a while too.

Bealeton Cemetary pics

I’ve always had a thing for graveyards. I love to read what people have written about their loved ones. Hubby thinks it’s disrespectful: I think those sentiments were written for us all to see. The oldest stone we could find was dated 1874; with the next oldest being 1878.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bealeton%2C_Virginia says:

“Bealeton grew up as a Depot of the former Orange & Alexandria Rail Road (since renamed Southern Rail Road), and the old railroad station building can be seen in the Bealeton Station development in front of the new Bealeton Library building. The building was previously located on County Road 805, Bealeton Rd. which runs parallel and near the railway. The area was a major traveling point during the Civil War and saw many skirmishes related to nearby engagements.

Despite the presence of southern troops during the early years of the war the northern troops succeeded in pushing the Confederate line south of the Rappahannock River and eventually into Fredericksburg. This move led to the control of the Orange & Alexandria Railroad, thus allowing the Union army to transport supplies deep into southern Virginia.

Bealeton lost importance with the decline of rail road travel and became a bedroom community of Warrenton, Virginia & Northern Virginia primarily. This was aided by the comprehensive plan that made authorized water and sewer availability in 1967. Bealeton retains many large farms and provides a unique blend of agriculture, commercial, and residential development”

I’ve lived here for 4 years and have been wanting to go to the cemetary since we came. i took the week off work to do some picture taking trips with my BFF.

Here’s some of what we took:











Pumpkin Mousse Cheesecake

I finally got a full day off with my best friend, so we decided to make the desserts (I got this recipe from the Rachel Ray site) for our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow and spend the rest of the day with Hubby and Nephew (my son didn’t want to go). We went to see the new Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn Part 2 and hit our favorite burrito restaurant.

When we started the dessert we had plenty of time to finish before leaving for the movie. But, we hit a couple speed bumps.

My son had used the last of the milk, after Nephew made a smoothie as well, and I was unaware that we had no backup (I am non-dairy, I don’t always pay attention to milk). So we had to stop and go to the store. Then we got confused and were baking the wrong part (we put the pumpkin part in instead of the cheesecake part, which ended up ruining the crusts). So we had to abandon ship before we missed the movie.

We stopped to buy new pie crusts on the way home to save time and when we got home went straight to work. We decided to rewhip both the mousse and the cheesecake part. We made a non-dairy version too.  We had both desserts in the oven at the same time so it took longer (I made a note on the recipe). We also didn’t feel good about leaving the pumpkin mousse uncooked with raw egg whites, so we cooked that as well.

Pumpkin Mousse Cake (off the Rachel Ray Website)


For the Crust

1/2 cup (1 stick) melted unsalted butter, plus more, unmelted, for pan

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

For the Cheesecake

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature

2 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

For the Pumpkin Mousse

1 (1/4-ounce) envelope gelatin

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree

3 large egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 large egg whites


Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, and sugar; stir until well combined. Press graham cracker mixture into bottom of prepared baking dish in an even layer; set aside.

Make the cheesecake: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together cream cheese, eggs, and sugar until fluffy. Spread cheesecake mixture over crust in baking dish. Transfer to oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Make the mousse: Fill a small bowl or liquid measuring cup with 1/4 cup water; sprinkle gelatin over top and let soften. In a large heatproof bowl, mix together pumpkin, egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, milk, salt, and cinnamon. Set bowl over (but not touching) simmering water; whisk pumpkin mixture until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and whisk in gelatin

mixture. Let cool to room temperature.

In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue whisking until medium peaks form. Fold into cooled pumpkin mixture. Spread pumpkin mixture over cheesecake; Cover and transfer to refrigerator until set, at least 8 hours and up to overnight.

I added this:  If two pies are made they will not cook in 20 it was about 15 minutes extra. Then we added the pumpkin mix and put in the oven for 16 minutes on 350 still


Self-taught Photography 2

I’m going to start at the very beginning with learning my camera. I turned off the auto focus and am going to be shooting in AV mode (Aperture Priority AE) until I get it down pat. I’ve been doing some research and found some great tutorial websites. These are pretty informative:



There is a wealth of “how-to” photography sites out there. One can learn how to do pretty much anything on the internet.

For this first shot, I forgot to check my white balance (which was set to “tungsten light”. I had been playing around with manual focus in my garage. Self note: check all my settings; this is not a point and shoot camera). I started by setting my aperture at F22.

I tried only adjusting the aperture at first, but when that didn’t work I set my white balance to “Daylight”. VA is regularly shady (usually cloudy), but yesterday it was bright and sunny. So I came down 3 F-stops.

You can actually see the dandelion now, but it’s still a little on the bright side so I came down a couple more F-stops.

After working through the whole range of aperture, I decided to see if I could fine tune with the exposure compensation +/- and got these

I love how the stem on the flower pops on this last picture.  I think I captured the details pretty well with the fine tuning.

I like manual focus. I like the freedom of it. Now I need to figure out how to couple MF with the focal points on the camera.

Thoughts from the Back Porch- Self-Taught Photography 1

My best friend is here visiting me from New Mexico, where I’m from. Over the last 20 years the 2 of us have taken innumerable pictures. Basically our lives have been documented in photographs.  We got into scrapbooking for years, but it’s a little expensive….. I’m going digital now.

There was supposed to be a meteor shower overnight: The Leonid Meteor Shower. “The Leonids occur every year on or around Nov. 18, when Earth glides through a diaphanous trail of dust left behind by the comet Tempel-Tuttle” says http://www.space.com/13613-leonid-meteor-shower-peak-1966-storm.html. Fox News had some good info too http://www.foxnews.com/science/2012/11/16/leonid-meteor-shower-peaks-before-dawn-saturday/?intcmp=trending. Peak hours were midnight to 3am.

And so, shutter-bugs to the core, at 1 o’clock in the morning, we bundled up in multiple layers of sweatshirts and coats, set our shutter speed to 30 seconds (I think next time I’ll try the bulb setting) and headed outside.  I have a Canon EOS Rebel T3 and she has the T3i. I’ve had mine since Christmas; she got hers last Tuesday.  She has an 85 mm lens; I have a 55 mm (we all have to start somewhere).

After wandering my pitch-dark backyard in our socks and flip flops and finding nothing, we decided to try our hand at pictures of the stars. My camera was on a tripod; I  got a bunch of blue dots (except one shot that got a little streak). She tried it without the tripod and got a light trail from the neighbors back porch spotlight; (she doesn’t sit still and has the attention span of a flea) you couldn’t even see the stars.

We went in when we realized we were being stalked by a possum. Those are pretty mean critters. It kept running out from under the deck. It wasn’t hissing at us or anything, but I didn’t want to stick around for it.  I have a feeling it lives under my deck. I think it is probably a good idea to look into possum repellant.

Thoughts from the Couch Part 2

Thoughts from the CouchI separated this into 2 thoughts so I could address them individually. I couldn’t let the other comment go without a thought.

As the 3 of us sat on the couches, Nephew also said, “and when I have kids, I’ll never kick them out either, like my dad did”.

He is 22 and was recently kicked out of his dad’s house; which is how he came to be here. He had dropped out of school his senior year and been doing nothing but hanging out with friends for 4 years. He didn’t have an ID, SS#, or even a birth certificate. (Hubby takes him for the last piece of it, his SS card tomorrow. Then he can look for a job; his 1st one- yay!)

Now, I love my nephew, but no one ever taught him that he has to work for what he wants (or that lesson never sunk in). That seems to be a common misconception for people; that they “deserve” what they have and that they are “owed or entitled’ something and it will be handed to them. They have “a right” to the telephone; they have “a right” to computer access; they have “a right” to television; they have “a right “to a job; “What’s in it for me” is the main question.

Neither God nor the world owes us anything. There is no such thing as fair….for that matter in most of life, fair is irrelevant. Nephew might have been kicked out for the “wrong” reasons, but it was the best thing to ever happen to him.  I can’t wait ‘til he realizes that someday.

(me) “One day you will eat your words.”

(Nephew) “Oh, no I won’t,”

(me)“So you’re going to keep your kids there and continue to take care of them while they sit around with no job, no direction? You’re gonna support them forever and not teach them how to live on their own? How many more years would you have sat there doing nothing?”

(Nephew)“**crickets chirping**……oh, I guess you’re right”.

First, let’s address this; there is power in words. We should always be careful what we declare. When we defiantly announce that we “will never…. (fill in the blank)”, God will usually present us with that very situation.

Proverbs 18:20-22 (NIV)

20 From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled;with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

My mouth runs away before my thoughts catch up to it sometimes, but I try not to make declarations. It will bite me in the butt every time.

If Nephew hadn’t gotten kicked out, he would have been stuck in the same rut for who knows how many years; he would have no idea how much groceries cost and learn moderation; he wouldn’t know how to hand wash a dish (something everyone should know, technology breaks and in my city most people don’t use the dishwasher because of the water problems); he wouldn’t have realized bathrooms and laundry need cleaned regularly; he would have just allowed his dad to continue supporting his lazy lifestyle (his own words, “I am just a lazy person”).

I just hope he continues to learn and grow here. Hopefully he will build a relationship with God, too. I get frustrated with some things he does or doesn’t do, but I have to remember he comes from a different background than me and there were things he just wasn’t taught. That is so common in this age. I wonder if he just took everything for granted and figured he didn’t have to bother learning to be self reliant and not expect others to take care of him. I don’t think he even knows the reason he never bothered to do anything for himself. I’ll just keep reminding him that he was created on purpose, not by accident…..God doesn’t make mistakes, we do.

7 Day Detox- Day 7

Day Seven Today your food intake will consist of brown rice, fruit juices and all the vegetables you care to consume.

Tomorrow morning you will be 10-17 lbs. lighter than one week ago. If you desire further weight loss, repeat the program again. You may repeat this program as often as you like, however, it is suggested that you are allowed two glasses of white wine in addition to the instructions on the program. You may substitute champagne for white wine. Under no circumstances are you to drink any other alcoholic beverages with the exception of beer which is allowed. Any liquor (bourbon, vodka, rum) is forbidden. Cream drinks are especially forbidden. You may have an occasional cordial such as creme de menthe or schnapps, but you must always limit yourself to two drinks. If you have wine, drink only wine that day. If you have beer, drink only beer that day, etc. Alcohol adds empty calories to your diet. However, after the first week it will help your digestion and settle your stomach.


Ok, Day 7….hardest day of all!

The rice and vegetables did nothing for me. I use brown rice regularly and I love vegetables.

But what my body really wants is substance. All Oreo jokes aside, I can’t wait to have a chicken salad lettuce wrap. I made chicken salad the other day for the dudes and it has been calling my name ever since. Normally my chicken salad is the bomb but Hubby said it didn’t taste the same this time. I have always used the taste as you go kind of cook (unfortunately the results always come out different. That’s why I’ve started documenting my recipes). I was doing the 7 Day Detox so I didn’t taste test. I wanted to get the full effect of the plan.

We were sitting on the couch in the evening after Dancing with the Stars Elimination show (I am an addict and have seen every season), and Hubby sat down with a freshly brewed cup of coffee. He asked if I wanted one: black.

During this Detox I realized something; I honestly forgot that I used to like my coffee black in my pre-hubby days. Hubby turned me on to the art of cream and sugar (ok, I can’t totally blame him). Since then I have graduated to sugar, powdered cream AND a splash of flavored liquid cream. Talk about a morning carb-fest!

In all reality, that was the easiest eating plan I have ever followed. I ate as much as I wanted, so I was always full. It is something I would be willing to repeat every once in a while. My waist went down by 3 ½ inches. Hubby said I look slimmer. It’s been eons since I weighed myself. If I had to venture to guess, I probably weigh about 150 (give or take 5).

The point of this was to cleanse my system and see how much healthier I felt. I don’t get the science behind the food plan, but it worked.  I know the excess water flushed me out, as well. I’m pretty sure I can stick to the water habit. If I drink one full jug of water (74 ounces) throughout the day and watch my caffeine intake it should be easy. I need to take my jug to work with me too. Just because the soda is free doesn’t mean I should drink it all the time. I really need to break my sugar addiction.

At the beginning of December, I’ll take you through another detox called the Lemonade Diet. It is a 10 day program. More details on that later. I’m still in the midst of research. My next project is going to be Photography based with a co-running project in Recipes. My best friend of 20some years is here for a 3 week visit from New Mexico. One of our favorite things to do together is cook.

I feel like a kid on Christmas eve waiting for Santa. She’ll be here tomorrow!

Cost Breakdown
¼ bag of frozen peppers and onion blend $0.27

¼ bag frozen broccoli $0.50

½ bag frozen California blend veggies $0.60

Brown rice ¼ a bag (made in a rice steamer) $0.25

Apple juice ½ gallon container $2.00

Total Cost: approximately $3.65

Total Combined Cost of the 7 Day Detox for me (and my belly was full feeling the whole time):  approximately $40