Monday, June 30, 2008

Welcome to The Divas In The Kitchen™

We did it Kristi - we have brought our network of divas live!!!
One of my best friends, Kristi P. Crates, died October 29, 2007 of cancer, at the early age 0f 35. This site and all good things to come are dedicated to Kristi in her memory and in her honor.
Kristi (on the right), Michelle M. and I (Elise R. - on the left) started "The Divas In The Kitchen" over 30 years ago, when we were just kids. Of course it wasn't called The Divas In The Kitchen™, it was called three southern girls growing up together, sharing good times and pretending to be "divas" in our mommas' kitchens! We used to sing and dance and get in the way of some serious southern cookin' as our moms prepared for the holidays! Being of various religious faiths did not matter, what mattered is that we felt the magic in the air as our families got ready for our respective holidays.
To celebrate our friendship and borrow from our common southern roots, Kristi, Michelle and I historically held cookie exchanges, a southern tradition where friends come together to share their favorite homemade baked cookies, family honored recipes, stories of old and new, and simply enjoy eachothers' company as a way of re-connecting during our busy modern lives.

In the early 1990's, Kristi, who at the time was in her 20's, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, a form of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. The condition was serious, and Kristi began the biggest challenge of her life – the challenge to survive! Over the next decade and a half, Kristi had undergone numerous surgeries, chemo treatments and other life-saving medical measures. Over the course of these treatments, she had lost her appetite, lost her hair, lost her energy, but had never lost her will, nor her courage, nor her grace, nor her dignity to continue to push forward and beat this disease!
Unfortunately, Kristi recently passed away on October 29, 2007.

In her mother's words, Kristi "died as she lived." Her faith, courage, spirit, and generous heart inspired all who knew and loved her.

Like most people, Kristi had good days and bad; however, unlike most people, Kristi treasured even the bad days as she knew it was one more day to be here, sharing her life, love and friendship with her family and friends. Kristi had the unique ability to laugh and make others laugh, even in the most strenuous of circumstances. Her outlook was always optimistic and her infectious smile could illuminate even the darkest of days.

In the summer of 2007, when it looked like Kristi's condition was worsening, we decided to share the strength and optimism Kristi brought to her own personal battle with cancer to others – others who are challenged with their own struggles.

Our cookie exchange has been forever changed as we evolve our southern tradition of the cookie party to include a new chapter - using our gathering as a means to collect modest offerings for charitable organizations and causes we place value in.
We also have decided to share this idea with others, encouraging people all over the country to share their support with their favorite charitable causes.
Becoming a Diva In the Kitchen means simply that you share your insight as a modern day women on topics such as cooking, baking, recipes, hostessing ideas, entertaining tips, and most importantly, you share your goodwill with others!
Get together with your friends, join our network and do good in this world! By sharing your stories of fun and philanthropy, you will inspire others to do the same!!!
If we all contribute a little, together we have a made a huge difference.
Please join us by getting a group of your own "diva" friends together, do good things and share your experiences with us here!

Easy Chicken Pasta

Easy Chicken Pasta

What's For Supper Ya'll?

White Beans, Pasta and Chicken
8 ounces dried cavatappi, fusilli, rotini, ditaloni, or other short pasta tubes
1 15- to 19-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
12 ounces cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 cup snipped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional - I usually skip it)
Olive oil (optional - but I recommend at least a little for moisture)
1. In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions; drain well and set aside.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine 3/4 cup of the beans and the chicken broth. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Place bean puree in pan used for cooking the pasta; bring to boiling. Return pasta to pan.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook garlic in 1 tablespoon hot olive oil for 1 minute. Add tomatoes; cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining beans, shredded chicken, snipped parsley, pepper and salt. Heat through.
4. Add the tomato mixture to hot pasta; toss to cost. Top with parsley sprigs and additional olive oil. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Posted by Stacy Nelson, Easy Dinner

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