Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mmm...Taco Soup. I Mean, Soup. I Mean, Taco Soup!

I finally got around to making Taco Soup last night.  Sorry about not making it Tuesday.  I ate with my in-laws instead! :)

This is so good and so filling and and so simple so healthy! (I mean, if you exclude the fact that everything comes from a can and is probably loaded with sodium, but still...)

Just wanted to say sorry, too, about the pictures.  My wonderful husband had the camera and was not home, so I was forced to use my phone. :/

Cast of Characters:  1 large can of tomato juice, 1 can of corn, 1 can of pinto beans, 1 can of red beans, 1 can of regular Rotel, 1 can of kidney beans, 1 package of taco mix, and 1 can of ranch mix.  Note:  You can substitute ground beef or turkey for of the cans of beans.  Or, you can use just regular diced tomatoes and green chiles instead of Rotel.  This recipe is very easy and very adaptable to whatever you have on hand.

Open up all the cans.

 Pour all the contents of the cans into a large stockpot or Dutch oven.  With their juices.

Pour in the large can of tomato juice.

Add the ranch and taco seasoning packages.


Cover and heat on medium-high to high until it begins to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. And, don't worry, the ranch seasoning will dissolve quickly.

Serve with Fritos and shredded cheese!

Enjoy.  It's so good.  And perfect for chilly Fall days (that is, if Fall ever hits Kentucky)!

Oh, and 5 points to whomever got that my title was a Friends reference.  High five!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


...I am making Taco Soup tonight. I am taking pictures and will blog about said Taco Soup tomorrow.

...I learned how to knit in the round and plan on making this hat as fast as my little fingers can knit.

...Speaking of knitting (We were talking about knitting, weren't we? Sorry, I lost my train of thought staring at that amazing hat), I am back to knitting hats and scarves and such for sale. Any hat (baby, kid, teen, adult) you may want in various colors and styles. And, scarves I will do for a higher price, but really, there is not much better than the feeling of a warm, hand-knit scarf around your neck when it's so cold your eyeballs feel like they're going to freeze. But, then again, I'm a little partial!

...But, for real, let me know if you want me to make anything for you! I'm up for the challenge!

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A New Kind Of Christianity

Ekklesia is beginning to go through the book A New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren. I was sitting here reading the first chapter, when I came across this interesting passage that I couldn't help but put on my blog:

"My disillusionment [to Christianity and the Church] was intensified by what was happening in the Christian community in America during the 1980s and 1990s. A large number of both Protestant and Catholic leaders had aligned with a neoconservative political ideology, trumpeting what they called "conservative family values," but minimizing biblical community values. They supported wars of choice, defended torture, opposed environmental protection, and seemed to care more about protecting the rich from taxes than liberating the poor from poverty or minorities from racism. They spoke against big government as if big was bag, yet they seemed to see big military and big business as inherently good. They wanted to protect unborn human life inside the womb, but didn't seem to care about born human life in slums or prisons or nations they considered enemies. They loved to paint gay people as a threat to marriage, seeming to miss the irony that heterosexual people were damaging marriage at a furious pace without any help from gay couples. The consistently relegated females to second-class status, often while covering up for their fellow males when they fell into scandal or committed criminal abuse. The interpreted the Bible to favor the government of Israel and to marginalize Palestinians, and even before September 11, 2001, I feared that through their influence Muslims were being cast as the new scapegoats, targets of a scary kind of religiously inspired bigotry.

"Their stridency and selectivity in choosing issues and priorities at first annoyed, then depressed, and then angered me. They had created a powerful, wealthy, and stealthy network dedicated to mobilizing fighters in their 'culture war.' I began referring to the new religious establishment they had created as radio-orthodoxy because it depended on radio (and TV). They had turned the way of Jesus, I felt, into the club of the Pharisees, and they didn't speak for me, even though their spokesmen dominated the dialogue night after night on cable TV. The terms 'Evangelical' and even 'Christian' had become like discredited brands through their energetic but misguided work. I increasingly understood why more and more of my friends winced when the name 'Jesus' was mentioned in public. It wasn't due to a loss of respect for Jesus, but for those who most used his name."

Hi. My name is Brittany Ryan. And, if I told you I was a Christian and it automatically made you think about ANY of the negative things listed in the first quoted paragraph, I am deeply and forever sorry. The Jesus I follow; the Jesus of the Bible is nothing like that.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What I Plan on Cooking Wednesday

I'm going to the grocery store tonight (yay!...not). Here's what I am thinking of making. And, yes, I'm going to try my hardest to take as many pictures as possible and bring back "What We're Cooking Wednesday" Fall Edition. :)

So, here's what's on the menu! If you want any of the recipes, just let me know. I'm going to try to put on where the recipes are from (more for my benefit than yours, because I want to remember where they are when I go to make them). And, yes, there are 3 soups, but it's Fall, and I feel like making soups. Sue me! :)

Taco Soup - My newly-organized recipe book (recipe given to me by one Dacia Shoemaker)
Butternut Squash Soup - My recipe book
Black Bean Chili - My recipe book (My mother-in-law's recipe...yum. I'm DEFINITELY going to blog about this one)

Creamy Polenta with Balsamic-Glazed Mushrooms - My recipe book (recipes from Sande, my co-worker, and Southern Living)

Bulghur-Mushroom Stovetop Pilaf - My recipe book (recipe originally from Better Homes and Gardens)

Spaghetti Pie - Most recent Recipe-Swap recipe

Risotto with Gorgonzola - Everyday Pasta by Giada De Laurentiis (Page 206/207)

Chicken Potpie - Cooking class recipe, in my recipe book

Swedish or Barbeque Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes - The Pioneer Woman's recipe

Pot Roast - Broadway United Methodist Church cookbook (page 52) (I have to add that I just got a brand new cast-iron casserole dish from Ikea and CANNOT wait to use it!)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies - My recipe book

Mmmm. I'm so excited to get cooking!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I'm Baaaaaack!!

What you've missed while I took my little blogging sabbatical:

  • Ekklesia went camping at my parents' house outside Dayton. We had a lot of fun and got to explore Dayton a little.
  • We went to Ikea. My friend and I made a pact to move to Europe because of said store. I fell in love. With. A. Couch. Now I just have to get John David up there to buy it!
  • This past weekend was the first weekend I have spent at home in a month. It was very nice. I like relaxing.
  • I picked out my birthday gift from my parents. It's not any of those bags I had you vote on (they weren't available at the stores we went to). Sorry. But, it's really cute. As soon as I take a picture of it, I'll post it for you to judge.
  • I have REALLY started to fall in love with Modern Family.
  • One of our great friends from high school spent some time with us (he lived in NYC). He's going to be performing on the newest Disney Cruise, and John David and I decided we're going to go on our first ever cruise this late winter/early spring.
  • My adorable, sweet niece turned 6 months old. Where in the world does time go?
  • We've decided to take a family trip to Gatlinburg with my in-laws (YAY)!!!! So excited!
  • My husband was gone for two nights last week. He presented at a workshop at CCDA (Christian Community Development Association) in Chicago. I about died (joking...). But, seriously, I don't like being away from him. He's back now. It's all good.
  • I have started organizing my recipe book. Which means, I'm going to be back in the kitchen cooking and taking pictures VERY soon.
  • My garden is done. Partly because it's getting cold. But, mostly because I have let it get overtaken by weeds and now I'm scared to walk in it because of snakes or other critters. But, we're planning on tilling it all down, then I want to plant garlic bulbs for next spring/summer.
  • We have ALMOST finished the study. Almost. We just lack a couple things. As soon as we get those things completed, I'll post pictures.
  • One of the things I look forward to most in my week is watching Project Runway and Austin and Santino with my best friends, Christy, Jen, and Dacia (when she can make it). It's so wonderful!
  • We decided to stay in our house for awhile. So, next project: painting the living room a modern gray.
  • My husband has decided he wants an old VW bug. I am not so sure. This may be one time when I put my foot down (I don't do that a lot. Promise. Just look at our new TV, his scooter, etc. for examples of where I did not put my foot down.) :)
  • I want to start Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred. Yes, I know it will be hard. I don't care.
  • It's starting to be Autumn in Kentucky. Which means, I need to switch to my Fall decorations soon. Bring on the pumpkins!
  • John David and I have started planning what to be at the Annual Kickert Halloween Bash! It's gonna be good, people!
  • I have sadly spent little time outside. That's going to change. Soon.

Ok. That's a lot of information, I know. But I didn't want you faithful blog readers to think I'd just been sitting at home eating bon-bons or something. I've been busy, people! But, I'm back.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


A quote by Pete Rollins in his book How (Not) to Speak of God with parentheticals added by Terry Shoemaker:

"For too long the Church has been seen as an oasis in the desert - offering water to those who are thirsty. In contrast, the (Ekklesia) community appears more as a desert in the oasis of life, offering silence (on doctrinal issues), space (to create and freely think) and desolation (crumbled cornerstone of Jesus) amidst the sickly nourishment of Western capitalism. It is in this desert, as we wander together as nomads, that God is to be found. For it is here that we are nourished by our hunger."

Yep. Pretty much sums us up.

Love you all so much.