French Onion Soup Twist... Chris's Grilled Cheese Tomato Soup!

French Onion Soup Twist... Chris's Grilled Cheese Tomato Soup!

Ok, so those of you who like French Onion soup may like this new invention. Someone may have done this already, but I have not seen it. The thing I like like about French Onion soup is the way the bread goes with the cheese and soup.

Today I got out my handy 6" cast iron skillet for a grilled cheese. I always have Tomato soup with it, so I thought why not combine everything in the skillet - And it came out yummy!

Heat one can of Progresso Tomato Basil soup on low-medium in a small sauce pan. Separately, heat your skillet on medium heat. Melt enough butter to cover the bottom. Get two slices of your favorite honey wheat bread. Grate fresh, medium sharp white cheddar cheese (1/3-1/2cup) onto one slice. Top with other slice of bread and put it in the skillet. Press the sandwich down to flatten it in the skillet. Turn over when golden brown. You may need to add a little more butter to the skillet. When the second side is almost done, turn the heat off both burners for the skillet and the soup. Now pour the soup into the skillet over the sandwich (approx. 1 cup).
I ended up putting a little more soup in than what is pictured. Add the amount you desire to your sandwich. Then grate some more cheese on top. I ate it right out of the skillet! It saves a dish and keeps everything warm while you're eating. Just be careful, the skillet is very hot. If you've got these three ingredients and fifteen minutes, you have yourself a nice lunch or snack!

1 Can Progresso Tomato Basil Soup
1/2 cup Shredded Medium White Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 Slices of Honey Wheat Bread

PS: If you don't have a cast iron skillet, just put your sandwich in the bottom of your favorite soup bowl and pour the soup over top.

Now go and ENJOY Chris's Grilled Cheese Soup!

Homemade Mac-N-Cheese with Chipotle Gouda!

Homemade Mac-N-Cheese with Chipotle Gouda!

I just made this and it was yummy! After a couple of requests for the recipe, here it is...
If you don't know how to make a roux, just google it and watch a video. It's pretty easy.

Top Chef University Review: Taking your kitchen skills to the next level Part 2

Top Chef University Review: Taking your kitchen skills to the next level Part 2

I've officially completed part two of the twelve parts to TCU. The 22 videos took a couple of days to get through. It was a thorough explanation of sauces, soups, salads, dips, broths, stocks, and more! It was a wealth of information, and I was afraid that by the time I got to the test, I would have forgotten a lot of it. Fortunately the test was 15 multiple choice questions, and I scored a passing grade.

I think my plan is going to be to complete all of the courses and then go back and repeat the videos while making the dishes. Right now, I'm just listening in the first round to get the basic ideas and methods, so I'll be ready when I dive in and start cooking.

At this point, I still highly recommend taking the plunge for this training and education. I consider myself a novice cook, and this curriculum should definitely take me to the next level.

Top Chef University Review: Taking your kitchen skills to the next level Part 1

Top Chef University Review: Taking your kitchen skills to the next level Part 1

I came upon a Groupon for a twelve month membership to TCU for just $49.00. I always like learning new things. I researched TCU online and only found a handful of people who had joined. For the Groupon price, I thought, what do I have to lose. I know I can learn at least $49 worth. From what I read, they have the Groupon deal fairly often. I took the plunge yesterday and signed in today for my first lesson. I'll admit I was a little lost after I signed in. There were no written instructions, but the home page had the videos front and center. I assumed you watched the videos in order, so I started. Each video was probably around five minutes long. At the end of each video, it asks you if you understood the video. If you answer yes, it says "Pass" and takes you to the next video. I'm not sure what happens if you answer no other than the obvious. After watching about fifteen of these videos today, approximately 90-120 minutes, I was tested with a series of about fifteen questions and had to pass with 80% or better. I had 60 seconds to answer each question. I missed two, not knowing the definition of a couple of french terms. Overall, I am really liking the video series. There are twelve culinary courses that amount to some 200+ videos.

There are a couple of things that could be improved on the site. The videos cannot be paused which was a  surprise. It is inevitable that at some point during the 200 videos, I just might be interrupted. A pause button would be nice, otherwise I have to start the video over. I also felt that some topics got in-depth explanations while others did not. So far I've gone through the beginning set of videos and feel like I've already got my money's worth. Here are a few of the things I've learned... 
First, I didn't know I was holding my chef's knife wrong all these years. I always thought you hold it at the handle. They showed me that you actually come over the handle to the blade with your index finger and your thumb. When I tried it, I realized that I had a lot more control over the blade. They went over the different types of knives, their best use, and how to properly cut fruits and veggies. I know it sounds elementary, but there are certain ways to cut things efficiently. Also, always use your nose when shopping in the produce section. A strawberry should smell like a strawberry! It should not be odorless which results in tasteless. Did you know that cinnamon is dried bark? Next, your fridge should be set at forty degrees for optimum food temp and the freezer should be at zero degrees. I learned that using an oven thermometer is important, because ovens can vary greatly from the setting.  They also recommend a list of the staples to have on hand as well as which pots and pans are important in the kitchen. 

I have completed the first of twelve sections about kitchen basics and food techniques. I am impressed so far and am looking forward to the next series. Many of the other bloggers left off after the joined and didn't follow through. I'll let you know how the next section goes in part two of this series. Stay tuned. If you have any questions, please ask here on the blog using the comment section.

UPDATE: After logging in again I found the pause button and the full screen option! Maybe they saw my comments or there was a problem with my browser??

What I gleaned from reading Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life....

What on earth am I here for?

It is a question many people ask. I am sharing the nuggets I took from the book hoping to inspire you to read it and discover your purpose here on earth. In the coming months I will drill down and fine tune my ministries and missions. It is an exciting time in our lives, especially because we have a child on the way. Some items on this list may speak to you, and others are still in the book for you to discover. So here they are in no particular order:

Focus on what matters most.

God made us so he could love us.

Does this particular activity help me fulfill one of the purposes of my life?

Use the gifts, talents, opportunities, energy, relationships and resources he gives me.

Relationships and character are far more important than fame, wealth, and achievements or even fun.

Bringing enjoyment to God, living for His pleasure is the first purpose of your life.

Worship is to bring pleasure to God.

Work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God.

Learning to love God and be loved by Him is our greatest objective in life.

Obedience unlocks understanding.

Church is designed to help you discover, develop and use your gifts.

My five purposes: Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry and Evangelism.

Speak the truth in love.

Do not criticize, compare or judge others.

Move ahead in your weakness. Do the right thing in spite of your fears or feelings.

Serving others with our God given abilities is serving God.

Get involved with more serving experiences instead of bible studies.

Recognize the emotional heartbeat that races when we think about subjects, activities, or circumstances that interest us.

Use your natural interests to serve Him and others.

God wants you to serve him passionately, not dutifully.

First sign of finding your ministry is enthusiasm.

You do it for enjoyment.

You don’t need applause or payment because you love doing it.

The average person has at least 500 skills and abilities.

Whatever you’re good at, you should be doing at the church.

Spiritual gifts and abilities are always confirmed by others.

Don’t try to figure out your gifts before serving. Experiment with different ministries to discover gifts.

Keep a spiritual journal with experiences we have learned from. Write down your doubts, fears and struggles with God.

Take advantage of every training opportunity to develop your SHAPE and skills.

Your ministry is service to believers. Your mission is your service to unbelievers.

You must warn them so that they may live.

Pray: God help me do what you are blessing.

He cares most about the redemption of the people He made.

Develop a purpose statement for my life and review it regularly.

Who do I desire to help the most?

You cannot fulfill God’s purpose if you envy the lives of others.

You are as happy as you choose to be.

Encouragement is essential to your spiritual health and development…Join a small group.

Value God’s opinion more than anyone else’s.

I hope you enjoy the blog. Please leave your comments below. It's the only way I know you are enjoying the articles. Thank you.

What makes relationships work?

In our busy world our relationships suffer more than ever. Rick Warren sheds some light on relationships...
"Busyness is a great enemy of relationships. Relationships, not achievements or the acquisition of things, are what matters most in life. So why do we allow our relationships to get the short end of the stick? When our schedules become overloaded, we start skimming relationally, cutting back on

Why doesn't God answer some of our prayers?

There are many conditions on getting your prayers answered. God will not answer prayer that is against His will or His laws. You cannot ask God for the sun to turn cold, nor can you ask for something rolling off the table to float or fall upward. Even Jesus didn't get everything he wanted. On the night before He died He prayed, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me" (Matt. 26:39). God may also not answer your prayer because you ask God to take away things that He doesn't want removed. As an illustration, God promises trouble to every person (Job 5:7), so we should pray for wisdom in the midst of our troubles for how to solve them or live with them (James 1:5). God may not answer you prayer to take away your troubles because there are other lessons to be learned. Sometimes you don't get your prayers answered because you quit praying too soon. Perhaps God began answering your prayer, but you did not continue asking, so you did not get the answer. Other times they don't get answered because we don't have faith (Mark 11:24). Sometimes we don't ask in Jesus' name (John 14:14), don't abide in the Word of God (John 15:7), or don't pray according to His will (1 John 5:14-15). -Elmer Towns

What should my attitude be in prayer? How to pray.

Prayer is communication with God, requiring neither wisdom nor experience. The weakest believer, like a simple child, can talk to the heavenly Father. As you commune with God in prayer, thank Him in advance for answering your prayers. Let Him know that you are confident that He will answer you according to His will. Praise Him for who He is, for what He has done for you , and for what He is going to do in the future. - Elmer Towns

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What does the Holy Spirit do?

Well, being without the internet doesn't stop one from reading. So here are some nuggets on the Holy Spirit from the past few days...
What does the Holy Spirit do?
When the Holy Spirit convicts, He will take away the blindness of Satan and cause people to see the nature and work of God. The purpose of the indwelling Holy Spirit is to guide, teach, empower, impart the love of God to the believer, strengthen, and give assurance of salvation. "Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation (wastefulness); but be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18). The god of this world (the devil) blinds the mind (2 Cor. 4:4), but the Holy Spirit takes away spiritual blindness so one is able to see more clearly God's will and purpose for his or her life. -Elmer Towns


When you seek miracles, make sure you properly define miracles. C.S. Lewis defines miracles as "an interference in the laws of nature by supernatural power." When most people think of miracles, they think "sign-miracles." They think of God's interference in the laws of nature. However, every Christian has experienced the miraculous: conversion, answers to prayer, divine indwelling, devine insight into Scripture, divine leading, and divine protection. -Elmer Towns

What happens to me at death?

What happens to me at death?

According to Genesis 35:18, your soul and body seperate: "as her soul was departing (for she died)." Angels take/escort you to heaven (Luke 16:22), and you immediately enter the presence of God: "... to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8). Your earthly body decays.
 -Elmer Towns