A new year has begun.  I slept through the “changing of the guard;” I did not hear my phone chirp out a text message from my sister wishing me a Happy New Year.

Several publications I read during December mentioned choosing a word to focus on for the coming months, suggesting it would be more satisfying than making resolutions that only tend to be broken.  I selected a word for myself: “joy.”  Then I decided to change the word to “peace.”  I kept going back and forth in my mind between the two of them, with other words occasionally popping up as well; “hope” was a strong contender.

I had not settled on my word for the year when the Lord spoke into my heart and presented me with the word “obedience.”  Oh, my!  That is not one I would have chosen for myself.  “Joy” was at the top of my list.  “Hope” and “peace” were close behind it.  Why would I choose “obedience” for my word?  The others were much more satisfying. They were also much more self-centered.

The Lord reminded me that when I am obedient to Him, I will have all the rest – joy, peace, hope, and so much else besides.  Love, strength, endurance, and kindness are just a few of the other benefits.  Although there would have been nothing wrong with choosing one of the words I was contemplating, I learned a long time ago that the Lord’s direction is the best way for me to go.  I am not sure what “obedience” during 2018 will include; however, I do know that I can trust the One who chose it for me.

2018 has started out cold.  Very cold.  At 9:00 a.m. New Year’s Day, the temperature outside was negative 8 degrees.   Brrrr!  It is no wonder that I have been in a “soup-er” mood lately.  Chili, potato broccoli soup, and vegetable soup are all residing in my refrigerator.  Plus there are leftovers from a new recipe I tried for Mulligatawny Soup (which turned out to be delicious).  I am including it this week, plus a couple of others that will help to enjoy January’s designation as National Soup Month.


Mulligatawny Soup

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 celery ribs, chopped

1/2 cup diced carrot

1/4 cup butter

1-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder

4 cups chicken broth

1/2 apple, peeled, cored and chopped

1/4 cup white rice, or quick-cooking rice blend

1-1/2 cups cooked chicken breast, cubed

Salt to taste

Ground black pepper to taste

1 pinch dried thyme

1/2 cup heavy cream, heated

Sauté onions, celery, carrot, and butter in a large soup pot until vegetables soften.  Add flour and curry powder; cook 5 more minutes.  Add chicken broth; mix well; bring to a boil. Simmer about 1/2 hour.  Add apple, rice, chicken, and seasonings. Simmer 15-20 minutes, or until rice is done.  Just before serving, add hot cream.


Tamale Soup

1 pound lean ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 (14-1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

2 (16-ounce) cans pinto beans, undrained

1 (15-ounce) can creamed corn

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1-1/2 cups beef broth (may use chicken broth)

2 (15-ounce) cans tamales, drained and cut into 1-inch pieces

Cook ground beef, chopped onion and pepper in a Dutch oven until ground beef is browned, stirring until meat crumbles.

Add tomatoes, beans, corn, salt, pepper, and broth; simmer 1 hour.

Stir in tamale pieces and simmer 3 minutes, just enough to heat tamales.  Serve immediately.


Tomato Soup with Cheese Dumplings

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 medium onion, chopped fine

1 rib celery, chopped fine

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups chicken broth

2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes (I used crushed)

1 teaspoon light brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup baking mix (such as Bisquick)

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon oregano

6 tablespoons milk


In large pot over medium-low heat, combine olive oil, onion celery, and garlic.  Cover pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies are tender (about 5 minutes).  Raise heat to medium.  Stir in broth, tomatoes, brown sugar, and salt.  Simmer 15 minutes.  Use an immersion blender to purée slightly, leaving a few tomato chunks.  Cover and return soup to a simmer. (Use crushed tomatoes and omit the blender if you do not mind a more chunky soup.)

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine baking mix, Parmesan, and oregano.  Add milk and stir until dough forms.  With flour-dusted hands, roll dough into 12 balls.  Add dumplings to soup; cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through (10 minutes.)

Makes 10 cups.