Welcome back to my home, pull up a chair and take a load off and relax. We will have some nice conversation while I brew up this week’s soup selection. The recipe that we are going to prepare today is “Black-Eyed Pea, Kale and Ham Soup,” selected at random by one of my neighbor’s, Patricia Cronkwright. Sounds very interesting, it is a recipe that was contributed by Dione Doty of Bella Vista, AR. We still have snow on the ground, and it is a perfect day for some good soup and even better conversation. As usual I will do most of the talking, however, I do invite your responses, comments, and questions.
Wow, speaking of weather, that was some crazy weather that started last Sunday. It seemed like I was still back in West Michigan with the freezing rain and then two snowstorms. I actually used the snow shovel that I brought with me when I moved here in October of 2018.
Last week’s recipe, “Green Chili Enchilada Soup”, had just enough “heat” to help keep us warm on that snowy day and tasted great too. Sue Hacker, the contributor of the recipe, says that she just loves the way that it reminds her husband and her of the Mexican restaurant that they frequent. I diverse, I tend to do that. Back to the recipe, the soup was very easy to “throw” together. All of the ingredients, except the cream cheese, goes into your crockpot all at once. I cooked it on high for roughly 3 ½ hours, took out the chicken thighs and whisked in the softened cream cheese. I then shredded the chicken with a couple of forks and threw it back into the crockpot. Let the soup come back up to temperature and serve. Like I said, it seemed to me, that it had just the right amount of “heat” to the taste. However, each person has their own taste and could easily sprinkle in some hot sauce. I actually prefer Louisiana Gold® as a choice of all the hot sauces out there, it has a nice flavor in addition to the added heat.
I thought that it would be easy to select a “Recipe of the Month” for March, but wow each of the three recipes that I have prepare over these past weeks, have been fabulous. I am probably going to end up “pick one out of a hat”. Needless to say, our Benton County Empty Bowls 150 Great Soup Recipes is really going to be a great cookbook. You can save $5 by ordering a copy in advance for $20, until March 31st. That is when it will be sent off to the publisher and we have to decide what quantity that our initial order should be, 300, 400 or 500 copies.
The gathering of recipes is going well, we currently have around 100 soup recipes plus some side dish and dessert recipes. So, we are about 2/3 of the way to our goal of 150 soup recipes. We have even had some input from local TV personalities, a chef in Texas that went to University of Arkansas, two of the Board Members of Northwest Arkansas food Bank, a couple of recipes from Juanita’s Foods and of course more of the fine folks that live in our local community. You may still contribute recipes to us up until March 15th. I will then have a couple of weeks to complete the editing. We also still need a few more illustrations for our Tabbed Section Dividers.
Speaking of local community, hunger does not stop at the state line just north of us, we here at BCEB have expanded our area of outreach and will be including the two counties north of us located in Missouri, McDonald, and Barry. Therefore, we are going to also help the food insecure people of those two counties, that number is 8,550 people. When added to the 68,240 people that are food insecure in the four counties around us here in Northwest Arkansas, that brings the total to just under 76,800 people that are having food issues. These numbers are the latest according to the Feeding America website at feedingamerica.org.
In Arkansas almost 1 out of every 4 children and 1 out of every 5 seniors (over 60) are struggling with food insecurity. Helping the children and our seniors are the two groups that BCEB likes to focus on the most. Those two areas are where we redistribute the money raised from selling our handcrafted bowls. I know that these numbers can seem daunting and staggering at time. However, we just need to approach it like eating an elephant…. One Bite at a Time!
See y’all next Sunday, until then, do not be afraid to try something new and different. Enjoy life!