Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Chicken Corn Chowder Recipe

Love chicken corn chowder? I have an easy recipe to make a large stockpot full of the stuff! This will feed at least 10-12 people. I only have 4 in my family, but like to cook large quantities to feed us over several days and to make sure I have enough to share with others.

Oh, and these are estimates, I don't really measure when I cook:

1.75 to 2 lbs. of cubed boneless chicken breasts (to make the recipe REALLY easy, use the Tyson's frozen, diced chicken breasts, saves lots of time!)

1 large diced onion

5 cans of extra sweet niblets corn

2 cans of creamed corn

2 1/2 cans of evaporated milk (12 oz. size)

12 large potatoes peeled and cubed (to make this recipe REALLY easy, just buy about 5 cans of the diced/cubed potatoes)

5-6 tablespoons of cornstarch

1 cup of butter

Seasonings: salt, pepper, Season All, garlic, basil (add as much as you like, depending on what seasonings you prefer)


In a large stockpot, melt the butter and add the chicken and onion. Cook until the chicken is ready.

Add potatoes and water. Cook until potatoes are tender. Add evaporated milk, then add creamed corn and finally corn. Add as much of the water from the corn as you need. I used 3 cans of corn with water, but drained the last two cans and added only the corn. You will have to judge based on how full your pot is and how much liquid you like in your soup. Bring to a boil.

Remove pot from the burner and in a separate container stir cornstarch with a small amount of COLD water. Add the cornstarch mixture and return the soup to the burner to boil. Add seasoning.

Then just let it simmer until you are ready to eat! YUMMY!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fall off the Bone, Easy, Yummy Barbecue Rib Recipe

I made some ribs tonight that were so good, it would be selfish of me not to share! If you've read my blog before, you know that I don't really measure, but here is a guesstimate of the recipe:

2 to 2.5 lbs. of country style ribs
1-2 TBSP. pepper
2-3 TBSP. of dijon mustard
1 1/2 bottles of Jack Daniels Honey Smokehouse Barbecue sauce (or your favorite sauce, I recommend a sweet sauce for this recipe)
About 8 oz. of cherry preserves
1-2 TBSP. of garlic salt

First, rub the pepper on the ribs (Careful with the spices, since these are being cooked in a crockpot and seasonings are usually stronger when cooked in a crockpot).

Place the ribs in the bottom of the crockpot.

In a bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients (barbecue sauce, dijon mustard, cherry preserves and garlic salt).

Pour mixture over the ribs and cook on high for about 4 hours for 6-8 hours on low.

Super easy, super yummy!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Radford and Pulaski - an Oustiders Inside Perspective.

I’m a transplant. Well, at least I thought I was. What I have learned is that I’m actually an “outsider.” No, I don’t run with a pack of leather jacket wearing “greasers” and no, my husband doesn’t call me “Pony Boy,” but I am still an outsider. Why? Because I haven’t lived in the New River Valley long enough. What is considered long enough? My guesstimate is that you need to have been born here, or lived in this beautiful area for at least 25 years, minimum.

Almost five years ago I moved to the Town of Pulaski from Northern Virginia. I was looking for a quieter life style. I wanted a great place to raise a family, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I found that in Pulaski. I loved it there. The people were friendly, the cost of living was low and the pace was much slower than what I was use to. I was welcomed to a quaint little town that had a ton of potential and a group of people willing to work hard to help the town meet its potential. I loved the “can do” attitude. I loved the faith these people had in their town. I jumped right in.

Then, one day, about 6 months after moving to Pulaski, I went to a store in Radford. When I was asked where I was from, I proudly said, “Pulaski!” The woman proceeded to look me up and down, take a step backwards and say, “Oh.” This was my first taste of the negative stereotype. I didn’t understand. How could anyone not like Pulaski? Then, the woman asked, “But are you FROM there?” My reply, “No, I’m a transplant from Northern Virginia.” I could literally see her internal sigh of relief. “I didn’t think you were from there, I figured you were an outsider.” I was baffled. This woman gathered all she needed to know about me by where I was “from.” Her attitude went from disgust to cheerful in .0025 seconds flat after learning I was actually born in Northern Virginia and not Pulaski. In this case, being an outsider was a good thing.

I started to notice the same response everywhere I went outside of Pulaski. I started to find myself defending the “underdog.” I was on a one woman mission to turn around the stereotype, one person at a time. I started telling people, whether they asked or not, where I was from and why it was such a great place. I was a walking brochure for the town.

After a couple of years, I actually started to notice a change. Not because of me, there were lots of positive things going on in Pulaski and lots of positive people working towards the same goal. I like to think that in some small way, I helped. But, what I did notice along the way is that even though the people were friendly. Even though they welcomed me, I was still treated a little different. When speaking at a meeting and someone else, who had lived here their entire life began to speak, the lifelong resident would find more support. This wasn’t just with me. I noticed it with other outsiders, too. Regardless of who had the better idea, the better point, unless you’ve lived here long enough, it was hard for some to take you seriously. Now, not everyone was like this, but I did run into it time and again. As have many other outsiders, according to conversations I’ve had with them.

After living in Pulaski for a few years, I married and moved to Radford, where my husband already lived. I have now been in Radford for a year and a half, so I am still the same outsider, different town. I have a feeling that just about every small town has this phenomenon. In most cases, outsiders are welcomed, but with a bit of hesitation. Everyone in Radford has been very nice and hospitable. I have made many new friends and absolutely love living here. Radford has wonderful schools, friendly, hard working people and many beautiful parks. But, I can still tell that I’m an outsider.

The one thing I have found disheartening is that in some circles there seems to be an “us versus them” mentality between these two fabulous towns. In my experience, I have found that Radford and Pulaski have much more in common than they realize. As a Cougar turned Bobcat, I think both towns could really benefit each other if they work together. They have a lot of the same ideals, community pride and amazing, interesting people.

There is a bridge that extends over the New River between Radford and Pulaski County. This bridge is often looked at as the dividing point. I think it should be looked at as just that, a bridge, something that connects the two communities. It is just one of the many things they have in common and one of the many ways they should be connected.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Internet - My Thankful Thursday Post

The internet. It can be aggravating. It can be disruptive. It can be distracting. But, what would we do without it? I use the internet to keep my long distance friends and relatives up to date on our family. I use the internet as a source of income, as it is a requirement for my company. I also use the internet to reach those I have never met.

While reviewing the stats on my blog, I noticed that thousands of people have read it. People from China, Russia, Germany, Israel, just to name a few. Because of the internet, people from all over the world have read my thoughts and hopefully, gained some encouragement, motivation and possibly, a few laughs. I hope at least one person has read my words and could relate. I hope it has helped someone feel like they weren't alone. I hope that one day, my children and grandchildren will read my words and feel comfort and love.

Most important, out of all this, I hope it helps others to turn to God. He is the reason I am so thankful. He is the reason I am so blessed.