Taco Soup, Alabama style

Here we are, still in Alabama, getting more r&r than should even be allowed. I have not got used to the time change and it is quite startling to find it is 1 or 2 in the morning and I am still up reading or playing on the laptop! And sleeping in, like lots of people do, until 9 or 10. Whew! Weird thing for this early-to-bed-early-to-rise gal.

Before I get the Taco Soup, a pseudo chili that is oh so easy and wonderful, (and isn’t that the goal of all good meals, ‘Easy and wonderful’), let me tell you about this past Friday night here in the chilly south.

As I said, I am not used to the time change and was awake until about 2. It had started to rain sometime during dinner and was an on again off again affair. Oh wait, I almost forgot. Before I could get to bed and as we were retiring from several rounds of mexican dominos, my aunt Jo Ann grabbed a flashlight and said “Come on, follow me”, which I did, but asked where to, as we headed up the stairs to the second floor.

“We have to make sure the roof isn’t leaking” she answered, moving toward the attic staircase. I became a bit alarmed. Her attic was a very large, spooky place, as any self-respecting attic would be. While I don’t mind going up there during the day…

“Let me go grab some holy water, I’ll be right back”, I said.

“Oh just come on.” Up we went.

“Wait, I’ll pull a crucifix up on my phone and shine it ahead of us, to ward off the ghosts.” She just laughed and swung the light around the huge room. It had just been re-roofed recently and was clean and dry. She showed me the crooked fireplace that looked like something Tweedledee and Tweedledum might have built. “W’all shoot, looks like we’s off a bit here. Think they’ll notice if’n we just scooch it over a bit?”

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I saw no ghosts, haunts or bats. And no leaks. In the summer the turret is full of dead wasps. In the fall it gets full of dead lady bugs that crunch under your feet as you walk. Eww.

Since everything looked ship-shape, we carefully climbed down the deathly narrow stairs and went off to our bedrooms. I climbed into bed, and as I said, was awake listening to the rain until about 2.

You think I was kidding about these narrow stairs? And do you see a railing? It just adds to the ambiance.
You think I was kidding about these narrow stairs? And do you see a railing? Me neither.  It just adds to the spooky ambiance.

Now about 6:30 a.m. all proverbial hell broke loose. I could hear the thunder and see the lightening, even in my dreams. It was that loud and close. But it wasn’t until the siren started blaring and would not shut up that I finally woke up. I rolled over and could hear my aunt and uncle hollering to each other from across the yard. My uncle is a county sheriff and was called out for the emergency, flooding and trees felling and all. I heard the noise and the siren when it started “THERE IS A STORM WARNING IN EFFECT” it was like the voice of God, calling out through the storm. Like we hadn’t noticed or something. BOOM! CRACK! WAILING SIRENS! Lordy!

I just wanted a little more sleep. I rolled over and tried to persuade myself I was asleep. Then my aunt hollered up “you’re missing all the excitement!” I turned over and she was looking in my door. It suddenly dawned on me that the door had been open for a while. “Did you come up and open my door?” I asked, thinking it might be a southern storm thing, open all the inner doors or whatever.

“No, I thought you did. I thought you might have got scared. Must have been the ghosts.” Gee, thanks for that.

“Oh, it might have blown open with the front door blew open earlier. Knocked over everything in the front hall.” Whaa? The front door blew open? Wouldn’t that have been locked or something? Seems we were having gusts of wind up to 60 mph and one such gust blew open the old door that does not always latch shut. The air pressure might have caused my not-quite-latched door to swing open. (I’ll show you pictures tomorrow). I’ll stick to that story over a ghost any day.

Later it turned into a beautiful day, sunny and warm.

So back to dinner

Aunt-the-innkeeper had invited some dear friends over for dinner, James and Linda Blair. Linda is the one who gave me the recipe for Baptist pound cake last time I was here. I went and put together some homemade ranch-blue dressing, similar to this one,   except I added crumbled Gorgonzola instead of Blue Cheese and skipped the ground up smoked almonds. Jo Ann had made the taco soup as well as an upside down apple pie, which I will also have in another post.

A nice crisp salad.
A nice crisp salad with some garlic cheddar buttermilk biscuits made by yours truly.If you take the basic biscuit recipe, you just add about a cup of shredded cheddar cheese to the flour mix, then when you are ready to pop them into the hot oven, brush the biscuits with a mix of melted  butter, olive oil and  pressed garlic, brushing both before baking and after taking out of the oven.

Now to make up for this almost long post and making you wade through the story to get the recipe, I will share this one from aunty that is very short and simple.


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • 1 can whole corn
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 can ranch beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 large can tomatoes
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes

Brown the beef and drain the grease. Add all the other ingredients and heat.

Add some shredded cheese and broken tortilla chips to enhance wonderfulness.
Add some shredded cheese and broken tortilla chips to enhance wonderfulness.

There you go. That’s how she made it. “Easy-peasy” aunty would say. This, the salad and garlic cheese biscuits. Life is good, if’n we don’t get blowed away by the storms!

Oh, and look what else we had with it

I watched aunty make this guacamole herself.
I watched aunty make this guacamole herself.

Are you jealous?

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And for dessert...
And for dessert…


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