Native Plants from Under a Turquoise Sky

5Saguaro century plant

1Yucca

2Agave

4Indian rice grass

3Desert sagebrush

More behind-the-scene photos from Under a Turquoise Sky, at http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/under-a-turquoise-sky/.

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Sopa Burger #Recipe—from Under a Turquoise Sky

index1Prep Time: 30 min.
Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup evaporated milk

1-1/2 teaspoons canola oil

Oil for frying

Filling:

1 pound ground beef

3/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Sauce:

1 can condensed cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir in water, milk, and oil with a fork until a ball forms.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for 2-3 minutes. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Divide into four portions; roll each into a 6-1/2″ circles.
  3. In a small frying pan or deep fryer, heat oil to 375°. Fry circles, one at a time, for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
  4. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion; drain. Stir in the salt, garlic powder and pepper. In a large saucepan, combine the soup, broth, chilies and onion powder; cook until heated through.
  5. Split one side of each sopapilla; fill with 1/2 cup of meat mixture. Top with cheese. Serve with heated sauce.

For more recipes and behind-the-scene photos from Under a Turquoise Sky, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/under-a-turquoise-sky/.

Prickly Pear Jelly—from Under a Turquoise Sky

images5This orange fruit matures in August in the Southwest deserts of the United States.

Perhaps an acquired taste???

The worst part—I think—would be removing the spines.

Kudos to fictional Delores Yazzie for mastering this not-so-simple jelly.index4

Anyone out there ever made this?

I’d love to hear about your process and recipe.

images4For other recipes and behind-the-scene photos from Under a Turquoise Sky, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/under-a-turquoise-sky/.

The Lord’s Prayer in Navajo—1 Minute #video

In the beautiful tonal language of the Diné, you may find an even deeper appreciation for this ancient prayer of faithful Christ followers everywhere.

More more #videos and behind-the-scene photos from Under a Turquoise Sky, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/under-a-turquoise-sky/.

Southwestern #Wedding Traditions—Part 3

The bridal vase is an ancient vessel still used in traditional Native American wedding ceremonies, especially among the Navajo and Pueblo tribes. One spout represents the husband; the other, the wife. The looped handle symbolizes marital unity.images13

A week or two before the couple is married, the groom’s parents build the wedding vase from clay found in a local river bed. Once the vessel has been fired, both families gather. Both sets of parents give their wisdom to the couple, and the wedding vase is traditionally filled with a nectar made by the medicine man. Many contemporary couples choose water or an herbal infused tea to represent the blending of their lives.

First the groom offers his bride the vessel and she drinks from one spout. She then turns the wedding vase clockwise, and the groom then drinks from this same side. Each will then drink from the opposite side of the wedding vase, and then finally in the culmination of the ceremony, they will both drink from the wedding vase together. It is said that if they manage this feat without spilling a drop they will always have a strong, cooperative relationship. The vase then becomes a cherished piece in their household and great care is taken to make sure it is never damaged.

A cherished tradition, the bridal jar is quite beautiful, and its design is an inherent component of its meaning. The rounded base and shared reservoir of the vase represent the couple’s now-shared lives. The looped handle, much like a wedding band, is a visible reminder of the deeper, spiritual connection shared by a husband and wife. The handle creates a circle in the center of the vase that represents the circle of life.

What is one of your favorite wedding traditions?

For more behind-the-scene photos from Under a Turquoise Sky, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/under-a-turquoise-sky/.

#Recipe—Sopapillas—Courtesy of Under a Turquoise Sky

Sopapillas—often called “little pillows”—are a true New Mexico staple. This quick bread actually originated in Albuquerque almost 200 years ago.

Like Southerners use biscuits, both sopapillas and tortillas are utilized as “sop” breads. Their purpose is to soak up the liquids in a dish, or to use for stuffing with the foods. These sop breads are so popular because they can be eaten without utensils.images

Try this the way I learned to make biscuits. Alter ingredient measurements based on the way the dough feels.

Yields: 2 dozen
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 6 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cups warm milk
Vegetable Oil (for frying)

Dough Preparation:

Blend the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter. Add the milk and mix the dough with a fork.

Flour your work area and knead the dough mass by folding it in half. Push down and fold again. Continue to push, punch, and fold until dough is soft but no longer sticky.

Cover the dough with a cloth and let it rest 10-15 minutes.

Divide the dough in half, but keep the other half wrapped in plastic to avoid drying it out.

Roll the dough to 1/8 thickness. Avoid overworking—results in tough sopapillas.

Cut the dough into rectangles approximately 10×5″. Divide into a 5-inch squares, and then cut this into a triangle.

Frying sopappilas:

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or a deep fryer. The oil should be about 400 degrees.

Submerge the sopapilla in the oil. It should puff. The puff makes the sopapilla a sopapilla. But if it doesn’t puff—don’t fret. “Unpuffed” is good, too.

Non-puffing—this is starting to sound like a cigarette commercial—indicates the oil temperature needs to be increased or decreased depending on the humidity or altitude where you live.

Let the sopapilla fry about 2 minutes per side and then turn with a slotted spoon for another 2 minutes. Once golden brown, remove the sopapilla to drain on a paper towel.

My favorite way to eat sopapillas is to drizzle agave over them while warm. They can be refrigerated and reheated at 350 degrees for 10 minutes in the oven.

This recipe makes approximately 2 dozen sopapillas.

How do you like your sopapillas?

For more recipes and behind-the-scene photos from Under a Turquoise Sky, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/under-a-turquoise-sky/.

My Irish Channel inspiration—The world needs more real life CeCe’s

index14The summer after my sophomore year in college (1980s), I had the privilege of living and working in the Irish Channel district of New Orleans with a Baptist mission project and several full time Baptist home missionaries.

This working class neighborhood is bordered on the south by the Mississippi River and on the north by the fabulously wealthy mansions of the historic Garden District. Initially settled by emigrant Irish Americans in the 19th century, the area is now largely populated by African-Americans and Latinos.images15

It’s a tough place to live, to grow up, and attempt to survive, much less thrive. Kailyn’s multiple obstacles to traverse before entering CeCe’s mission house/clinic accurately describe the mission house I lived in that summer. My bedroom overlooked a park across the street where drugs and flesh were bought and sold on a regular basis. Sexual assaults were not uncommon.

images13The most common type of home is called a shotgun house—you can guess why. This was a place law enforcement—at least in those days—preferred not to frequent. I once personally witnessed a police car chasing a suspect who was on foot. When the suspect crossed the invisible boundary separating the Garden District from the Irish Channel, the police car screeched to a halt  and reversed as the suspect continued running into the “sanctuary” of the Irish Channel.

images14Because the Irish Channel was built on the city’s old high ground, it largely escaped the catastrophic devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The mission house which provided invaluable after school and summer opportunities for neighborhood youth as well as essential food pantry items for the populace closed in 2010. The Irish Channel Neighborhood Association is making a valiant attempt to rehabilitate their corner of the world.

For more behind-the-scene photos from Under a Turquoise Sky, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/under-a-turquoise-sky/.

2 minute #Video—Therapy dogs help abused children

I never knew about this type of therapy dog until I researched Under a Turquoise Sky.

For a more in-depth perspective of the valuable services these dogs provide—6 minute #video

Tecolote Cafe—Santa Fe, New Mexico

images1It really is the best breakfast in town.index

index1

I love this place—And Guy Fieri agrees.

imageshttp://www.foodnetwork.com/restaurants/nm/santa-fe/tecolote-cafe-restaurant.html

For more behind-the-scene photos from Under a Turquoise Sky, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/under-a-turquoise-sky/.