While Holly worked, I made a crockpot full of chicken tortilla soup to take for the potluck after our ward conference fireside at church tonight. It's a recipe of Jennifer's that she shared in the recipe group that she, my mom, Julie, and Jodi were involved in. Julie shared with me the way she makes it which is almost the same, but slightly different. I, then, took the recipe and made it with changing it up to make it my recipe! It's funny how we do that. We all have slightly different tastes, but like the main taste in general, so we do what we have to do to make it our own.
This is how I did it: (this is not a picture of mine, but one that is pretty close)
3 10 oz cans Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 16 oz can Hunts diced tomatoes with green chiles
3 8 oz cans tomato sauce
1 can creamed corn
3 garlic cloves minced
6 cups chicken broth
3 T sugar
1-1/2 T chili powder
1 T salt
3/4 t oregano
1-1/2 T cumin
6 cooked and shredded chicken breasts
1/2 pt sour cream
First, I boiled the chicken breasts in salted water until they were cooked. Then I removed them from the water and let them cool. Next, I shredded the chicken and put it in my large crockpot. Now, start opening all the other cans of stuff and dump them all in the crockpot on top of the chicken. Add in all the seasonings. Do not add the sour cream yet. I simmered it in my crockpot for about 3 hours or so.
About 30 minutes before we left to take it to the church, I added some liquified cornstarch to try to thicken it a bit, but it didn't help much. I don't think I put enough cornstarch in the water.
Next, I tempered the sour cream with a spoonful of juice from the soup and then poured it into the soup. I like my tortilla soup kind of creamy so that's why I did that. After talking with Jen when we got home, I found out that you just allow the person eating it to put their own sour cream in and then it gets kind of creamy. (However, I don't think Melon Man would have eaten it if he had to eat it like that and then put sour cream in it...that's just not him. He detests soup as it is but tonight's soup got a "that's VERY GOOD" from him rather than a "not bad" so I was really happy when he actually went and got some more!). So, I'll probably keep putting the sour cream in it directly. Plus, I had gotten some cilantro and wanted to put it in it too, but I forgot. We took tortilla chips and cheese to put in it as well but didn't take the avocados we bought because they weren't ripe enough yet. Oh well.
I guess it must have tasted good because there was not one drop of it left! I couldn't say that about the brownie bites I made though. They were "bloody awful" as Melon Man's friend Bob put it. I agreed with him. I tried to make something "different" and now I know why I don't bake.
Anyway, the fireside was good. It was short and simple - but quite meaningful. I can't wait for tomorrow's talks in Sacrament. The theme is "Come Unto Me." Both of the counselors in the Stake Presidency spoke tonight.
The first, President Thalman, talked about our thoughts and how they are affected by the things we listen to and watch. He talked about when he was a teenager, he rode around in a tractor all day in a field and would listen to the radio all day. He got to know all of the songs VERY well and could repeat them word for word. Now, as he's older, he still hears those songs on the radio sometimes and the words in the songs are words that he does not want in his mind, but because he brought them into his mind all those years ago, they are impossible to remove.
He talked about how he now looks for things to listen to that are uplifting and inspiring and will help him in his daily life. He said that every Friday night, he plugs his iPod into his computer and downloads new things to listen to for the upcoming week. He downloads talks from church leaders, the scriptures, uplifting music, church manuals, and more. Many of those things have helped him in his meetings with the rest of the stake presidency.
I felt a special connection with this talk as I often try to keep the "noise" out of our home and out of my life. TV and radio have so many things on them that are just not uplifting. I have enough stuff going on in my life outside of our home that I do not need negative outside influences adding to that. I call that stuff "noise." I know Melon Man loves to watch the news. But, I often ask him to change the channel. It's just so depressing out there in the world. I love it when our home is quiet. I love it when the TV and radio are turned off. I love to just hear the peace and quiet. Like right now. Melon Man is in bed. Dog is asleep on the floor behind me. Rosie, the bird, (we're babysitting him for Auntie and Uncle Davis) is covered up and asleep too. It's peaceful. I love it like this. It's as if there are no cares in the world right now. It just feels right. Wouldn't it be wonderful if it were like this all the time - just peace? Oh, to dream.
Next, there was a special musical number with the Mathews' and the Walkers. They sang "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing." It was phenomenal! They all sounded so wonderful together. I truly felt the spirit touching my heart. I was so glad I'd come tonight.
The last few weeks, I've been rather puzzled and hurt by the people who are so strongly opposing the building of our new Phoenix temple. They are so hateful. They were able to gather over 16,000 signatures of people who oppose it. I had heard or read that they had some big rallies at some of the local "popular" churches around the area to gather signatures. One of these churches is known for bashing our church a lot. Yesterday, I decided to go on this church's website and see if there was anything about the temple or about our church. Sure enough, they had a sermon series back in September where the pastor preached about different world religions - Catholicism, Islam, and Mormonism. They had recorded the "sermon" and it was on their site, so I decided to watch it and see what they had to say. I got about 10 or 15 minutes into it and could see where it was headed. The pastor, at first, was leading it as a way to learn more about other religions. He wasn't being negative about us, but as the sermon pressed on, he started to twist things around a bit. He drew attention to things that would turn people away immediately - like polygamy. Did he say anything about the fact that polygamy hasn't been practiced in our church for 120 years? No. He just brought it up and left it there. I got to the point that I just had to turn it off.
I'm so tired of people calling us names and saying we've been brainwashed and such. I'm not brainwashed. How can anyone, who opens their heart to the spirit, say anything like that? While I was listening to these four people sing this beautiful song, I could feel in my heart that this church is true - the Holy Ghost confirmed to me that the people in this church are good people - and that we're doing good things. I could see in the faces of these people that they were happy and good and doing the right things. They didn't need alcohol and drugs to be happy. They were happy with their families and with their lives and with following the teachings of Christ. I could see that the men on the stand were disciples of Christ and that there was something special about each of them. President Hancock personally shook Melon Man's and my hands and I could feel something special about him. I knew it was genuine and heartfelt when he told all of us that he is grateful for the prayers he knows are shared on their behalf. I just KNEW I was in the right place, doing the right thing, being the right kind of person my Heavenly Father wanted me to be. Those people who make fun of us can just continue to do so. I know what I feel to be right.
After the musical number, President Rolfe shared his testimony of gratitude. He spoke of the loads we bear and how each of our loads are similar but are different in ways and that the loads we bear affect others. It, too, was a great talk.
I wonder what tomorrow holds. President Hancock and Bishop Ritman are the only speakers, along with a special musical number of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives." Again, the theme is "Come Unto Me". I really think that it will be about refocusing our lives on Christ rather than the things of the world and how doing so will lift our burdens that we all are going through. I am really looking forward to going.