Thankful Thursday

Good morning! Welcome to “Thankful Thursday,” a weekly time and place inspired by the book, One Thousand Gifts, to think about how we’ve been blessed.  I hope you join in on the fun – what are you thankful for this week?

Here’s my list for this week.  I thank God for:

1 – sunshine

2 – warm blankets and clothing

3 – friends

4 – food

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Thankful Thursday

Good afternoon! Welcome to “Thankful Thursday,” a weekly time and place inspired by the book, One Thousand Gifts, to think about how we’ve been blessed.  I hope you join in on the fun – what are you thankful for this week?

Here’s my list for this week.  I thank God for:

1 – not completely forgetting to do Thankful Thursday like I did last week – oops!

2 – sunshine

3 – easy access to healthy food and clean water

4 – generous people

5 – time to think

Flash

So for those of you who don’t know this, I grew up on a farm.  A farm with animals.  Like sheep, goats, cattle, hogs for a while too.  And a donkey.  A donkey named Sophie.  I was never really emotionally attached to Sophie but I did enjoy seeing her out in the field and after I moved away, I did try to catch a glimpse of her whenever I went back to visit.

I was at the library the other week and saw this book called Flash with a picture of a donkey on it.  I was immediately intrigued and picked it up to see what it was about.  As you see here, the donkey has a flower in its mouth.  I can’t remember ever seeing Sophie with a flower in her mouth but I had to admit, this donkey on the cover looked pretty darn cute and I had to investigate.

Flash

Fast forward to today.  I have finished the book and absolutely loved it.  I think you might too! Turns out Flash is the name of this donkey on the cover and he just showed up one evening very unexpectedly and at a really bad time for author Rachel Anne Ridge.  I mean, when is it a good time for a random donkey to show up in your life?

After unsuccessfully trying to find its owner, Rachel and her family end up keeping the donkey and he quickly becomes part of the family.  Each chapter of the book tells a different story about Rachel’s life as a wife, mother, artist, friend, and just normal every day person who is much like you and me, though now a donkey owner.  Her stories are sometimes humorous, sometimes serious, and always involve a life lesson learned with the help of Flash, the donkey.

Her faith in God is an important part of Rachel’s life and it is really neat to see how the burden-turned-gift of having a donkey taught her so many things about life.  This is a fun read and even if you never had a donkey growing up, I think you’ll enjoy reading about Flash and how he influenced Rachel and her family.

Baby, it’s cold outside, so get to the library or bookstore then curl up under a blanket with some hot cocoa and enjoy this book!

Thankful Thursday

Good morning! Welcome to “Thankful Thursday,” a weekly time and place inspired by the book, One Thousand Gifts, to think about how we’ve been blessed.  I hope you join in on the fun – what are you thankful for this week?

Here’s my list for this week.  I thank God for:

1 – sunshine

2 – encouragement and support from friends/family

3 – opportunities to help others

4 – God’s provision

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Happy New Year! I hope you all are enjoying Day 1 of 2016! How exciting!

I know many people pledge to eat healthier when the new year arrives and here’s a recipe that will help you do just that.  It’s healthy and quite tasty, feeds a crowd and you can make it ahead of time.  I’ve made it a few times now and everyone has loved it.

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake
from Two Peas & Their Pod

Ingredients
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed,diced
1 red pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 orange pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 cup corn frozen kernels
Juice of 1 small lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
Toppings: Sliced green onions, avocado slices, sour cream, optional

What To Do
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cover quinoa and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the peppers and corn. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the lime juice, cumin, chili powder and cilantro. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

In a large bowl, add the cooked quinoa and black beans. Add the sautéed vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Pour in the enchilada sauce and stir. Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

Pour the black bean and quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil. Bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and edges are bubbling. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with toppings, if desired. Serve warm.

My Comments
I didn’t rinse my quinoa – it’s so tiny, I have no idea how to do it without it all going down the drain.  To cook it, I followed the directions on the package.

I left the jalapeno out – I’m such a wimp when it comes to spice!

For the enchilada sauce, I used 2 10-oz cans, which is a little more than 2 cups, but it worked just fine.

I love making this ahead of time – just make it all the way up until you need to put in the oven and refrigerate until you want to bake it.  You might need to add some baking time if you put it in the oven straight from the fridge, or you can set it out of the fridge to come to room temperature before baking.

Some Photos Along the Way
The quinoa, cooked
Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Onion, peppers, garlic and corn
Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Add the lime juice, cumin, chili powder and cilantro
Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

This part is done
Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

The quinoa, beans and vegetable mixture
Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Adding the enchilada sauce
Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Stir in half a cup of cheese
Black Bean and Enchilada Bake

Ready for the oven
Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Fresh out of the oven
Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

 

Healthy never tasted so good! Of course, you have to watch that your toppings don’t spoil your efforts…I served with tortilla chips, corn bread, sour cream and non-fat plain yogurt, avocado slices, cilantro and lime wedges.  YUM!

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2016!