Gratitude, Main Dish, Soup, Turkey

Surprise, Shoes and Chili

Today I am surprised and thankful for:

1. The beautiful words of wisdom from a book I am currently reading, Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer, by David Steindl-Rast (1984). My day was framed with these words:

“What counts on your path to fulfillment is that we remember the great truth that moments of surprise want to teach us: everything is gratuitous, everything is gift. The degree to which we are awake to this truth is the measure of our gratefulness. And gratefulness is the measure of our aliveness. Are we not dead to whatever we take for granted? Surely to be numb is to be dead. For those who awaken to life through surprise, death lies behind, not ahead. To live life open for surprise, in spite of all the dying which life implies, makes us ever more alive.”

2. My favorite shoes. If you are around me very much, you know the ones of which I speak. These are the most comfortable shoes I own. They are casual and dressy. I am surprised and blessed today for my favorite pair of shoes.

3. Chili. I made one of our family favorites tonight and it turned out yummalicious! The best part is all of the veggies that you get to sneak in under the radar. This is also a very low-fat version with a whole lot of flavor. Enjoy!

Jen’s Turkey Chili

Jen’s Turkey Chili


2 pounds ground turkey meat

1 pound light smoked sausage

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 T Olive Oil

1 large yellow onion, pureed in food processor

3 stalks celery, pureed in food processor

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 cans chopped green chilis

4 cubes beef bouillon

1/4 cup chili powder

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon white sugar

1/2 cup beer

2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice

3 (15 ounce) cans chili beans

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste


1. Brown ground turkey, sausage, and Worcestershire sauce in separate frying pan and cook until evenly browned.

2. Puree onion in food processor. Heat oil in large soup pot, add onion and and sauté for 5 minutes.

3. Puree celery and add to soup pot. Simmer 5 minutes.

4. Add garlic, bouillon, chili powder, oregano, cumin, basil, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, sugar, and beer. Let spices heat and blend with vegetables for 5 more minutes … be sure to scrape bottom of pan occasionally.

5. Add diced tomatoes, green chiles and tomato paste. Stir to blend. Add meat and sausage mixture.

6. Cover and simmer over low heat for at least 3 hours, stirring occasionally. The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste.

7. Add beans about 30 minutes before done. Remove from heat and serve, or refrigerate, and serve the next day.

What are you thankful for today?

Gratitude, Main Dish

Spiritual Direction, Mussels, and Coffee

Today I am thankful for:

1. Spiritual Direction: One of my favorite spots in Houston is the Cenacle Retreat Center. As you pass through the gates, a feeling of peace washes over. The grounds created for quiet contemplation connect the seeker with the beauty of nature. I visit once a month for spiritual direction. I can seek, struggle, and grow alongside my spiritual director in a time filled with support and compassion. She is a blessing to me, and I am thankful for the kindness and acceptance she gives as I seek out God’s will for my life. One time, we were delighted to witness a mother peacock followed by her three babies… right outside our window. Connection. Peace. Compassion. Grateful.

Cenacle Retreat Center

2.  Mussels. Tonight we made mussels and paleo fish sticks for dinner. This was the first time I attempted one of our family favorites. I have always been nervous about cooking seafood for some reason. Everything turned out wonderful. Yay! Every time I eat mussels I am reminded of our trip to Brugge, Belgium. Evidently, mussels is one of the national dishes in Belgium. Combine the experience of this medieval city (called the Venice of the north) with chocolate and mussels, and the experience is heavenly. Belgium has the best chocolate in the world, by the way. Seriously. Savor. Delight!

Brugge, Belgium

3. Coffee. My husband grinds fresh coffee to wake us up every morning. One of my favorite moments of the day is when he and I sip coffee together and share what we will be doing for the day. We connect, slowly wake up and enjoy really good coffee. Lovely.

What are you thankful for today?

Gratitude, Main Dish, Turkey

Feta Cheese, Alarm Clocks, and Sisters

Today I am thankful for:

1. Feta Cheese. I eat it on everything from salads to burritos. Today I made Cousin Cosmos Greek Chicken (Paleo Style with turkey cutlets), a family favorite stuffed with feta cheese. It was a joy to sit around the table, eat a savory meal, and share our highs and lows with one another. Blessed!

2. Getting up this morning. I wake up at 5:45 to get everyone off to where they need to be. You have to understand that I am not a 5:45 kind of girl … I am a very happy equator girl where the sun comes up at 7:00 am every day of the year!!! I know this because I have lived near the equator. Anyway, when the alarm clock goes off, my initial reaction is “this sucks.” Seriously. Then, I lay in bed for a moment and start remembering my blessings for the day. I get to wake up and have breakfast with my two favorite kids,  a little coffee time with my DSH (dear sweet husband), and spend 40 minutes in the car just hanging out with my kids. The gratitude literally changes “this sucks” to “rise and shine.” Well, not exactly, I am still pretty brain dead, but I am thankful I have something to wake up for. Savor!

3. Sisters. I am blessed to have two beautiful younger sisters who are my best friends. We have been through a lot together, we know each other’s strengths and struggles, and we support one another. We were not always this way. But, we have grown up and worked hard to make our relationships a blessing to one another. I do not know what I would do without my sisters and am grateful that they are a part of my life. Connection!

Kelly Rae Roberts

What are you thankful for today?

Gratitude, Main Dish

Elections, Salmon, and Afghans

1. Living in the midst of an election season can be draining. We are bombarded with speeches that tear down, blame, and provoke fear. Sometimes people feel entitled to write foul language on other’s facebook pages when they carry a different political view. It can feel burdensome. Yet, I want to say that today I am thankful to experience free speech in a country that has peaceful elections.

During my senior year in high school, I lived in Kenya, a country that was experimenting with their first multi-party election. The election was accompanied by riots and violence. My school was informed that a naval carrier was offshore to air lift us out if the danger became too great. At 18, I was caught up in the excitement of the dramatic situation, not really understanding what was happening around me. Our graduation was nearly canceled because of the riots and potential danger to the families who planned to attend.

This is a challenging time. No matter what happens in November, one thing is for sure. We still have one another, a God who loves us, and so many beautiful little gifts that make life worth living. I am thankful today for this election.

2. Salmon– This is a delicious, easy recipe that my kids love. That is saying a lot for a nutritious fish recipe! It is especially great for anyone who is nervous about cooking fish. The only change is that I halve the salt. Just click on the link and it will take you to the recipe.

Salmon II

3. Afghans – All through the years, I have loved to crochet beautiful afghans. Life has been so busy these past couple of years that I have not had time to enjoy this hobby. Today I decided it was time to pick it up again. I found a lovely pattern and cannot wait to get started. The afghan in this picture is one that I made for my daughter when she was a little girl. I loved the trellis and flowers effect. So feminine.

Thank you for sharing your blessings via facebook and the comments section. It makes my heart smile to share God’s blessings with you.

What are you thankful for today?

Main Dish, Turkey

Spicy Smothered Turkey Cutlet Chops

This is a yummy substitute for smothered pork chops and ooooh so good! Enjoy!

Cook Time: 1 hour and 30 min.

Ready in: approx.2 hours

Makes 6 servings

1/3 cup olive oil

1 T minced fresh garlic

1 c panko or gluten free panko

1 T minced fresh parsley

1 tsp Salt

½ tsp ground red pepper

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp onion powder

6 Turkey Cutlets

1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

½ cup milk

1/3 cup white wine

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease 15 X 10 casserole dish. Rinse turkey cutlets and pat dry.2. In small saucepan heat olive oil and garlic. When garlic starts to sizzle, take off burner.3. In shallow dish, mix panko, parsley, salt, red pepper, black pepper and onion powder.4. Dip chops in olive oil, then coat with crumb mixture. Arrange chops in casserole. Drizzle with remaining oil. Cover with foil.5. Bake in preheated over for 1 hour. While baking, combine the cream of mushroom soup, milk, and white wine in a medium bowl. After the chops have baked for an hour, cover them with the soup mixture. Replace foil and bake for another 25 minutes.Do not remove foil for 10 minutes after chops are finished baking.