Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ornament Swap

Monday evening, I hosted my fourth annual Soup Supper and Ornament Swap for the ladies of my church. That meant, I worked hard all day trying to accomplish the impossible task of getting every room of my house clean all on the same day! On top of that, I made three big pots of soup to serve.

Everyone seems to be busier or more stressed this year, and the crowd was much smaller than in years past, but we had a fun time of fellowship with those who came. A smaller crowd meant it was a little less crazy and I had more time to talk to everyone who came.

My soups all turned out well, and the ladies seemed to enjoy trying them all. It was nice because the weather has been colder this December, so everyone was in the mood for a bowl of hot, nourishing soup. Several ladies asked for one or more of the recipes, so I am going to include my soup recipes at the end of this post.

After consuming multiple bowls of soup, fresh hot yeast rolls, and a number of tantalizing desserts which were brought, we began the ornament swap. This is how we do it:

Each person draws a number. The lady who drew number 1 goes first by selecting a wrapped ornament from the pile and opening it. Then the lady who drew number 2 goes next, and so on. From that point on, each lady has a choice. She can either select a wrapped ornament from the pile, or "steal" an ornament from someone else. If an ornament is stolen from someone, that person may choose another unwrapped ornament, or may "steal" an opened ornament from someone else. When everyone has chosen an ornament, the lady who went first has the chance to look over all the ornaments and "steal" one if she chooses. We do, however, set a limit on the number of times an ornament can change hands, so if one ornament has been "stolen" 3 times, that one is Locked and cannot be taken again. This game can end up being hilarious fun, especially when there is scheming and "fighting" over a coveted ornament! This group of ladies wasn't so rowdy, but we still had fun! :)

Here a few pictures that I snapped of the swap:

Bethany really amazed me because she totally understood what was going on, kept count and knew when it was her turn, and was quite on top of everything! I was pretty impressed over her grasp of the game for a five year old!

This is the ornament I ended up with. Isn't it pretty? It jingles too! :)

As promised, here are the soup recipes:

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 cans chicken broth
1 can Mexican style diced tomatoes
3 Tablespoons lime juice (or lemon juice)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup frozen corn
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
Optional Toppings: chopped green onions, shredded Mexican 4 cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips

Saute onion, pepper and garlic in a bit of olive oil in a large dutch oven. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes or a few hours and serve with optional garnishes.

I prepared this soup in my crock pot, and recommend that option, as it was very easy and turned out great!

Cheeseburger Soup
This is a family favorite!

1 pound ground beef
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
1 cup diced celery
6 cups chicken broth
8 cups diced potatoes
2 teaspoons parsley
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
3 cups milk
4 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

In a large dutch oven, brown the ground beef, onion, carrots, and celery.

When the meat is brown and the vegetables are tender, add the chicken broth, diced potatoes, and seasonings.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender.

In another pan melt the butter, add the flour and cook and stir with a wire whisk until bubbly.

Then add the milk, stirring with a whisk until thickened and smooth. Stir in the cheese. Add to the soup.

Heat soup through, stirring frequently to avoid sticking. Serve right away. This soup is DELICIOUS! Always a big hit! I must give all credit for this wonderful recipe to my former pastor's wife, Vicki.

Jean Ann's Chicken Soup

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound boneless chicken, cut up in bite-size pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
5 cups chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon coriander (I did not have this spice.)
1 can black beans, drained
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 cup small pasta, uncooked
sliced or chopped zucchini, optional

Brown chicken pieces with onion and garlic in olive oil. (I used leftover cooked, diced chicken instead.)

Add broth, tomatoes, seasonings and beans. Add zucchini, if using it. Let simmer for at least 15 minutes or a few hours.

Add pasta about 15 minutes before serving. Cook until pasta is tender.

Serve topped with grated cheddar or Parmesan cheese. (I like it with the grated Parmesan!)

Note: I doubled or tripled all soups!


dyslexic different thinking me said...

You are so full of wonderful ideas! I love this! I want to host one of these for the ladies at my church next year!

Rebecca's Refining said...

Looks like you had a great time....and thanks for the new soup recipes!!

Noel said...

It has been a cold December and we had chicken tortilla soup just last week too :D The ornament swap looks like fun :) Have a wonderful Christmas!

Jules said...

This is a wonderful idea. We did this recently with $2 gifts but I like the idea of ornaments best as everyone gets to take home something they can use. And how did you manage to clean your whole house and make three pots of soup in one day????? I'd be lucky to get half that done. (Slinks away realising that yet again I am no super-mum.)

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