I hope by now that you are really tempted to give Crock Pot Wednesdays a try.  Our second $25 giveaway gift certificate that will be awarded comes from K. Chenault Designs, an online store full of Karen Barton Chenault’s creations.  I’m only showing just a small number of the items that she can create and personalize just for you.  You can visit her store in order to see more of what you might want to choose.
At one time, Karen was president of our middle school student council which I sponsored.  I have to tell you that she was AWESOME at it.  I know that word is overused, but it truly fits her.  When she was in charge, she was IN CHARGE.  Not only is she a creative and talented mother of three, she is a gorgeous person both inside and out.  I hope you will take the time to visit her shop just to learn a little bit more about her. 
Brazilian Black Bean Soup is another one of our favorites that I originally found in Cuisine At Home, February 2006.  That issue also contains my favorite pot sticker recipe that I will share at a later date.  This soup is rich and meaty with just the right of spicy heat.  I typically use the canned black beans, but  you can cook up a batch from scratch if you prefer. 
Brazilian Black Bean Soup 

Makes 7 cups

4 strips thick-sliced bacon, diced
8 ounces kielbasa,diced
1 cup onions, diced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder (I sometimes substitute chipotle chili powder.)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup dry converted white rice
5 cups chicken broth (low-sodium)
3 cups collard greens, stemmed and chopped
1 cup Roma tomatoes, seeded, diced (I sometimes substitute in a can of Rotel chilies and tomatoes.)
orange wedges
sliced serrano chilies
olive oil

Sauté bacon in the soup pot over medium-high heat until crisp; remove and drain on paper towels.  Add kielbasa and brown in the bacon drippings; remove, drain on paper towels.  Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings.

Add onions, garlic, chili powder and salt.  Sauté until vegetables are soft, about 3 minutes.
Stir in beans and coarsely mash (We prefer ours mostly chunky.).  Add rice, cook for one minute, then deglaze with 1 cup of broth, scraping up bits at the bottom of the pot.  Add remaining broth along with the bacon and sausage; reduce the heat to medium and simmer until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
Sauté greens and tomatoes in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat until just wilted; stir into soup and simmer to heat through.
Serve with orange wedges and sliced chilies.  I usually stir in the chilies with the soup, but I omit the orange wedges.  Instead, I like to squeeze in the juice of one orange to the pot.  You can certainly do this to suit your taste.  You might even try lime juice for a different kick.
 65102002_7oz_MW_SwtYllw_CB I typically serve this with Mexican Corn Bread Sticks (not everything has to be from scratch!) or Blue Corn Bread Sticks.  You might also try Stephen Pyles’ recipe for those because it is delicious as well.  If you don’t have a corn stick pan, just make your corn bread as usual in a cast iron skillet. 
corn stick pan
I was lucky enough to inherit two of these pans  from my grandmother — well-used and well-seasoned.
Note:  I adapt this to the crock pot.  Typically, I would do most of this the night before and set it to heat while I am at work.  After the meat and vegetables are ready, I put them in the crock pot along with the chili powder, salt  and chicken broth.  I prepare the rice separately or use leftover rice and do not add it until I get home from work.  (You can just serve it over the rice if you prefer.)  While that is heating, I will sauté the collard greens and tomatoes and then stir them in before serving.  I like to let them simmer with the soup about 20 – 30 minutes, but it isn’t absolutely necessary.

Linked to:
Souper Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen

 PhotobucketMenu Plan Monday  hosted this week by The Happy Housewife.

Blue Monday with Smiling Sally

Magazine Mondays hosted by Cream Puffs in Venicemagazine-mondays-logo-1-cpiv.jpg

You’ll want to check back here and at  Tasty Tuesdays at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam , Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays at Blessed with Grace  and Tuesdays at the Table hosted by Cole at All the Small Stuff. for the final giveaway announcement.  Get those crock pots plugged in!