What’s for Dinner – Taco Soup

Taco soup

With only a few months left of crackling fires and warm blankets, it seemed appropriate for me to share one of our favorite wintry dishes – taco soup.

This recipe is a staple at our house, especially during the fall and winter months.  It is simple and relatively quick, and most definitely a crowd-pleaser.  Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, grated cheese, and a Caesar salad or baked potatoes.  It easily doubles, triples, quadruples, etc., etc., to accommodate your needs.  Feel free to comment if you have any questions!


1 lb. ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 pkg. ranch dressing mix

1 pkg. taco mix

One can each of the following:

Pinto beans, whole kernel corn, black beans, stewed tomatoes, and Rotel tomatoes with chillies (mild).


Brown meat and onions together.  Drain grease and discard.  Pour contents of each can into large pot, NOT draining the liquid.  Add the meat and onions and seasoning packets.  Stir to combine, simmering on low heat.  Bring to a light boil being careful not to let it stick, stirring very often.  Let simmer for a while, bringing all the flavors together.

Special thanks to a great aunt who fixed this meal for our family one winter’s eve, then happily shared the recipe with us!

If you have fallen in love with the picture above on the left, you will enjoy seeing my post from the once elegant Mentone Springs Hotel.  This historic edifice tragically burned to the ground only six months after my visit.   https://southernbess.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/mentone-springs-hotel-mentone-al/



Bringing in the New Year

There’s an old Bing Crosby film entitled, “Holiday Inn”, which is filled with lots of dancing and singing (of course).  As Bing celebrates the New Year, he and his lady friend begin to sing a song which begins with,

“One minute till midnight, one minute to go
One minute to say goodbye before we say hello…”

I thought it was an appropriate way to say hello to the New Year while saying goodbye to the old using a song line from a film which did the same… quite simply because I love movie quotes (and old films!).  Happy New Year everyone! Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds in "Holiday Inn".

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Note: this post was originally published on December 25th, 2013.  It is one of my most popular posts to date, and I thought it was appropriate to share it once again here on Christmas Eve.

You are in for a real treat tonight.  You know how I like to post a poem or excerpts from one, with my pictures?  This time, I have included THREE hum-dinger poems which are sure to delight your soul.  Each one was oh, so, good, and each begged to be included and read by you, the awaiting audience.  I could not turn any of them down.

Prepare yourself for a winter’s hibernation… this will take a while to relish.

Wherever you are on this festive Eve, with tomorrow bringing more cheer, do enjoy yourself.  But remember, “Whether home be rich or poor, If contentment mark the door, He who finds it good to live, Has the best that life can give.”


GUESSING TIME by Edgar A. Guest

It’s guessing time at our house; every evening after tea

We start guessing what old Santa’s going to leave us on our tree.

Everyone of us holds secrets that the others try to steal,

And the eyes and lips are plainly having trouble to conceal.

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And a little lip that quivered just a bit the other night

Was a sad and startling warning that I mustn’t guess it right.

“Guess what you will get for Christmas!” is the cry that starts the fun.

And I answer: “Give the letter with which the name’s begun.


Oh, the eyes that dance around me and the joyous faces there

Keep me nightly guessing wildly: “Is it something I can wear?”

I implore them all to tell me in a frantic sort of way

And pretend that I am puzzled, just to keep them feeling gay.


Oh, the wise and knowing glances that across the table fly

And the winks exchanged with mother, that they think I never spy;

Oh, the whispered confidences that are poured into her ear, 

And the laughter gay that follows as I try my best to hear!


Oh, the shouts of glad derision when I bet that it’s a cane,

And the merry answering chorus: “No, it’s not.  Just guess again!”

It’s guessing time at our house, and the fun is running fast,

And I wish somehow this contest of delight could always last,



For the love that’s in their faces and their laughter ringing clear

Is their dad’s most precious present when the Christmas time is near.

And soon as it is over, when the tree is bare and plain,

I shall start in looking forward to the time to guess again.


HOMECOMING by Edgar A. Guest

I watch them at the depot- the mothers at the gate-

Who ask the age old question: “Is the train on time or late?”

The annual tears of gladness; the same sweet laughter gay;

The loved ones home returning to spend the Christmas day.

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I watch them staring, peering, along the railroad track

And think how glad the season that brings the loved ones back!

How long and bleak the absence of those obliged to roam!

But, oh, the joy of Christmas which brings the children home!



Oh, glorious, happy moment when love flings wide the door!

The family united; the table filled once more.

The mother and the father, the grandfolks all content.

Oh, little Child of Bethlehem, all this your coming meant.


And, (if you’re still with me), I saved the best for last:

ME, TOO! by Barton Rees Pogue

Bah! Humbug!” so the old fellow said,

As he slammed the door and went home to bed.


“Merry Christmas!” He had snorted at one,

“Little good it does you, little good ever done!


I say similar things… how about you?

I bluster around, I’m an old Scrooge, too!


This Christmas stuff is silly, has little defense;

It’s all commercial, there’s too much expense!

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Then good-will increases, merry greetings I hear,

And I end up by wishing it would last all year!


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Have you finished?  By the time you do, it might be time to say,

“Wake up sleepy head!  It’s Christmas morning!”

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

This post was originally published on December 25, 2013.