Here we are in February, which happens to be National Canned Food Month.  Lots of different edible items are available in cans, and those of us who have gardens often save our produce by canning it in jars.  In this case, “can” refers to a container.  The word “can” also has another definition.  When used as a verb, it means “to be able to.”  An example, “I can do this!”

Last week, I wrote about a dilemma I was facing.  I had to decide whether to keep driving my minivan or replace it with something newer.  As I do with almost any decision I need to make, I prayed for wisdom from the Lord.  He has proven Himself faithful over and over again, so I knew that I could place myself in His hands and know that I would be well taken care of.

Before I began looking in earnest for a vehicle, my son Jonathan went through my finances with me.  We also discussed different makes and models.  At the time, I showed him one I found on the Internet that looked promising.  I still searched, but I kept going back to the same SUV.  Finally, after more research and a lot of exploring other options, I decided to find out if the one I located was still available. It was at a dealership located in Carmel, north of Indianapolis.  A salesman replied to my online message, even though it was almost closing time on a Saturday evening.

It was now time to pray specifically about this particular vehicle.  I didn’t want to do something I would regret later.  I also wanted advice from someone who knew a whole lot more about cars than I do.  I called some friends, Norman and Linda, to see if they were available to go look at it with me on Monday afternoon.  They were.  I liked the medium-sized SUV pretty well but wasn’t sure about it.  A lot of my indecision was based on the fact that it wasn’t in my comfort zone.  But I knew that I wasn’t going to be at ease driving any vehicle other than my minivan until I got used to it.

On Monday evening, I decided to get advice from my son Adam.  His thoughts caused me to think about my dilemma in a different light, and I knew it was time to say goodbye to my minivan.  I had been planning to keep it.  I slept a lot better that night, knowing that I could do something that may be hard, but was in my best interest. Tuesday afternoon found me cleaning out the vehicle I had dubbed, “Nelliebelle.”  Something I discovered in my conversation with Adam was that my sons’ office was not far at all from the auto dealership in Carmel.  They were willing to meet me for lunch on Wednesday and then go with me to check on the SUV.

One thing that had me perturbed was the thought of driving an unfamiliar car on I-465.  I don’t like driving that road anyway, and it made me extremely nervous to think about getting right on the interstate.  However, the Lord provided the answer to that problem, too.  My neighbor Nancy drives a vehicle that is much the same as the one I chose.  She goes to Bible Study with me on Wednesdays, so she agreed to go with me to Carmel.  If I purchased the vehicle, she would drive it around 465. 

I appreciated the salesman and the others I dealt with at the dealership.  I felt no pressure, and they were willing to work with me so that I could purchase my “new” vehicle at a cost that was within my price range.  Even though it was further to travel, I would go there again with no problem. 

“I can do this!” was a phrase that kept going through my mind throughout the whole car-buying process.  I had lots of help from friends and family, but the decision was ultimately mine to make.  It was something I had prayed about, felt peace about, and I could see the Lord’s hand working in the whole process.  Now I am getting used to a different vehicle, but I know that He will see me through that as well. 

I can also cook, and have two new recipes and two older ones that use canned food items.  The soup is wonderful, the chicken salad tasty, and the others are good, too.  Try them!  You can do it!

Turkey Taco Chili

1 pound ground turkey

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic

1 (1-ounce) packet taco seasoning

1 (1-ounce) packet ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix

4 cups chicken broth

1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies

1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15.5-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 (14 to 15-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained

Brown turkey, onion, and garlic in large pot or Dutch oven, stirring to break up meat, until meat is fully cooked.  Add remaining ingredients.    Heat 20 to 30 minutes until hot throughout.  If desired, serve with corn muffins.  Yield: 5-6 servings.

Fruited Chicken Salad

4 cups diced, cooked chicken

1 (20-ounce) can pineapple tidbits (in juice), drained

1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup sliced black olives

2 tablespoons grated onion (may use 1 teaspoon onion powder)

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 (0.3-ounce) can chow mein noodles

Lettuce leaves

Combine first 6 ingredients in large bowl; mix well.

Combine mayonnaise, mustard, and salt; toss with chicken mixture.  Cover and chill.  Place noodles on 8 lettuce leaves.  Spoon chicken mixture over noodles.  Yield: 8 servings.


1 (15-ounce) can corn

1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans

1 (15-ounce) can red or black beans

1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans

1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas

3/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup sweet onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Rinse and drain each can of beans and corn.

Toss beans, corn and onion together with olive oil in a large bowl.

Add salt and pepper; mix well.

Warm vinegar in small saucepan; add sugar; stir to dissolve. Mix with beans.

Toss well with parsley.   Serves 6-8

Note: Salad is better when served the next day.

Warm Fruit Compote

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon corn starch

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup orange juice concentrate

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 can (20 ounces) pineapple chunks or tidbits, drained

1 can (15-1/4 ounces) sliced pears, drained and halved

1 can (15 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained


1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate

In a large saucepan, combine the brown sugar and cornstarch.  Stir in the water, orange juice concentrate and butter.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Reduce heat.  Add the fruit; heat through.  In a small mixing bowl, beat the topping ingredients until smooth.  Dollop over fruit.

Yield: 6 servings.