Even though today the temperature outside was almost in the seventies, we tried to make a little "white christmas". We read Snowflake Bentley and Gingerbread friends. Then we watched The Santa Claus. Brian had never seen it, and the girls found it very funny.
Then we made coffee filter snowflakes. Because, lets face it, now that I am not allowed to have coffee, we have alot of filters to dispose of. It was really super easy, we just folded the coffee filter in half, folded it in half again, and then in half again. Then we cut designs into the folded paper, and whaaaa- la, a snowflake!
The kids were really very impressed with this craft. I think they really enjoyed unfolding the snowflake to see what they had created more than anything else. What was surprising is that John joined us for this one. Up till now, I thought he was sorta craftphobic. Hm, maybe he was just excited to get at the scissors....
This is what we had for dinner. I found the recipe here at my new most favorite site. It was TOO easy, so I figured I would share. You just soak the beans the night before, throw them (and their water) in the crockpot with chicken broth and a jar of salsa and some frozen corn. Then wait 9 hours. Afterwards, you can stir in sourcream and/or cheese. We had some fresh dinner rolls with it. This was absolutely AWESOME. What surprised me the most was that the kids ate it, I would never ever have predicted that. Chloe wants me to make it again tomorrow.
The official recipe
--1 pound chicken (I used frozen breast tenderloins)
--1 cup dried black beans (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
--4 cups chicken broth
--1 cup sliced mushrooms
--1 cup frozen corn
--1 jar prepared salsa (16 oz)
--1 1/2 tsp cumin
--1/2 cup sour cream (to stir in at the end)
--shredded cheddar cheese, avocado slices, cilantro (all optional)
I used a 6.5 quart crockpot. You will need a 4 quart or larger.
If you know you are going to make this the night before (yay for meal planning!) soak the black beans in enough water to cover and another 2 inches overnight. In the morning, drain the water and rinse the beans.
If you don't have super hard water or live in a super high altitude, you can quick soak the beans by pouring boiling water over them and let them sit for an hour or two. I did an hour, but 2 would really be better if you have the time.
Drain and rinse the beans. Add to the crockpot. Put in the chicken, and add the broth and salsa. Pour in the corn and mushrooms, and add the cumin. Stir, but don't disturb the beans---let them stay at the bottom of the pot, closest to the heating element.
Cover and cook on high for 9 hours. Yup. High. For 9 hours. It took a crazy long time for the beans to soften, but they did.
If you are using beans you soaked overnight, canned beans, or pre-cooked beans, you can cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-5--similar to normal soup-cooking time.
If you'd like to thicken the broth (I did this), you can use your immersible blender (I love that thing) to blend a bit of the beans and chicken. If you don't have one, scoop out 2 cups of the soup and carefully blend in your traditonal blender. Stir the mixture back into the crockpot.
Stir in the 1/2 cup of sour cream before serving, and garnish with shredded cheese and avocado slices.