Friday, November 19, 2021

RAO'S TOMATO SOUP HACK w/ Jalapeno Popper Chaffles

Mmm! Don't you just love a hot bowl of soup on a chilly, Fall night? Especially if it's something you can whip up in a flash?! Then you'll love this one!

After a very long absence from my blog, I've decided to pop back on and try to breathe life back into it. My life has become horrendously busy since I began this lowly little blog. 

In Dec of 2021, my husband and I will celebrate 41 years of marriage! Our son and his wife Monica have been missionaries to the country of Ireland since 2013 (nearly 8 years now) and we have 12 grandchildren (as well as 5 waiting on us in Heaven). Both of our daughters, married preachers and their husbands are on staff here at out church. One is our Assistant Pastor and the other is our Youth Pastor. I don't take that blessing for granted. I am a blessed woman. We serve in a very busy ministry. I teach a weekly, online, ladies Bible study, on YouTube every week (if you search Starr Tharp on YouTube, it should pop up). I teach Sunday school to 3-6 grade girls. I sing in the choir. I help in our addictions ministry. I am also the church secretary. I have a lot of irons in the fire.  I bake and sell Cinnamon rolls during the holidays for those that desire to purchase them. The other day my daughter was visiting and she brought coffee and a couple of Cinnabon cinnamon rolls with extra icing, for us to share. I enjoyed the coffee fully, but I only enjoyed a few bites of the roll. It didn't taste as good as I remembered them. I used to really like them, but somewhere along the way of "big business" it has lost it's flavor. You just can't go wrong with good, homemade baking & cooking! Life is too short to eat a flavorless cinnamon roll! 

Even though life has gotten so busy, I have never lost my love of cooking. This blog started out as a hobby for me, really. Then the world EXPLODED with FOODIES everywhere! All of a sudden food prep became an art and a science. And everybody was a professional, not only in food prep but in photography! I didn't feel qualified to run with the "big dogs" so I kind of bowed out for a long time. Interestingly enough though, it didn't take long in experimenting with Pinterest recipes, to realize not everybody that says they know how to cook, really does! Think "Pinterest Fails!" Recently I was digging for a recipe that is a family favorite. I knew it was on my blog, and while looking through all the recipes I've posted, it renewed my desire to start posting again. 

I follow the Keto Twins on YouTube and recently they featured the Rao's Tomato soup hack. It sounded feasible, easy and delicious. I was dining solo tonight, and feeling especially FAT with the impending holidays, and decided I'd lighten up on my dinner choice for this evening. I had a jar of Rao's marinara in the pantry, and chicken base and heavy whipping cream in the fridge. I had also picked up a few jalapeno peppers at the market while I was out this afternoon. I had everything I needed! 

What a super simple, quick meal! If you are short on time with meal prep, you simply must give this a try! Also if  you love tomato soup & grilled cheese but neither are on your low carb diet, you simply must give this a try! I believe you'll be as pleasantly surprised as I was!

I was too hungry to wait and figure the carb count on this. But I know, Rao's is 5 carbs per 1/2 cup. You dilute it 1:1 with chicken broth, and then add heavy whipping cream. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that would drop the carb count to less than half that amount, since chicken broth is technically 0 carbs, and there are only about 1.5 carbs in 1/2 cup of HWC. I'll definitely make this again and at that time, I'll be a little more focused on the carb count. Until then, I'm going to relish in my newfound, quick and easy, keto, low carb (and cozy) new menu item!  

RAO'S TOMATO SOUP HACK w/ Jalapeno Popper Chaffles

1 (24 oz) jar Rao's Homemade Marinara

1 cup prepared chicken broth (I use "Better than Bouillon" Roasted chicken base - it's 1 cup hot water to 1 tsp chicken base)

1/2 cup Heavy whipping cream

Fresh (or freeze dried) Basil, optional


Pour entire jar of Rao's marinara into a medium saucepan, add in chicken broth and stir to combine. Heat over medium, until it reaches a low boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer for several minutes, or until you are ready to eat. At this point, if you find it too chunky, you can use an immersion blender to smooth it out. Remove from heat and stir in heavy whipping cream and basil. If the cream cools the soup down too much, just pop the pan back onto the burner for a few minutes to get it back to a simmering heat. Serve piping hot with Jalapeno Popper Chaffles. (recipe below)


1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 Tblsp almond flour

2 Tblsp cooked, crumbled bacon

1/2 Tblsp (or more if desired) finely diced, Jalapeno peppers (seeds removed)

Dash of garlic powder


Heat your mini dash waffle maker. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and add in remaining ingredients. Mix well to combine. Spray your waffle maker with non stick cooking spray. Spoon 1/4 - 1/3 cup of mixture onto waffle iron. This recipe normally makes 2 chaffles, but I got 3 out of my batter. Close the lid and cook for 3 minutes. Repeat until all the batter is used. I spread a little butter over mine when it came out of the waffle iron. But you could also spread cream cheese over these too, for a yummy treat! 


Look for someone to be a blessing to today! 😊💓

Monday, January 30, 2017


If you have never tried a yeast raised waffle, you are missing out on a real treat! If your idea of a "good" waffle is "Waffle House" you are still missing out, I have made waffles for years for my family, Just recently though I came across the yeast raised waffle. Let me tell you, it is a game changer! I will NEVER make my old waffle recipe again! This one is THAT good! It is light and fluffy on the inside and mildly crispy on the outside. The perfect combo to stand up to that melty butter and warm syrup that you'll drizzle over it! Put this one on your "to make" list this week! You won't be sorry that you did!

Yield: 8 waffles
Marion Cunningham’s Raised Waffles
From The Breakfast Book
½ cup warm water
1 package (2 ¼ tsp.) dry yeast
2 cups whole milk, warmed
1 stick (½ cup) butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tsp. table salt
1 tsp. sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
Pour the water into a large mixing bowl.   Sprinkle the yeast over the water, and let stand to dissolve for 5 minutes.
Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar, and flour, and beat until well blended and smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it stand 30 to 40 minutes at room temperature.
Pre-heat your waffle maker,  Spray waffle iron with cooking spray.
Just before cooking the waffles, add the eggs and baking soda and vanilla and stir to mix well. The batter will be very thin.  I did about a ladle and a half for each waffle and I had full waffles each time.  
Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy. Remove from waffle iron and serve immediately with softened butter and warm maple syrup.
*These keep well in the freezer and after a few minutes in the toaster oven, they taste like you just made them! 

Friday, October 30, 2015


Fall! I love it! When the temps start dipping down into the 50's and the leaves on the maple trees begin to turn bright orange. Mmm! My favorite time of year. What is it about Fall that makes us homemakers want to spend more time in the kitchen, baking goodies and simmering pots of delicious soup? It's crazy how that happens! I haven't had a good bowl of homemade potato soup in SO long. Tonight the hubs was traveling out of town to preach. I was going to accompany him, but since we just returned home from a lengthy trip (800 miles) he insisted that I stay put and relax a bit. I adore that man! With him gone and me dining solo for dinner, hot soup sounded perfect! And what goes better with soup than a sandwich? I chose grilled cheddar/provolone but good ol' PBJ pairs perfect with this soup too! This soup is no muss, no fuss, no fancy ingredients. Just homey, cozy, feel good, potato soup like Grandma used to make!
1/2 stick butter
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
6 medium potatoes, diced
2 cups whole milk
1 (8 oz) bag shredded, cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream (optional)
In medium saucepan over med high heat, melt butter. Add diced onion and minced garlic. Stir until onion is soft and translucent. Add flour and stir for 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken broth, stirring constantly until it thickens a bit. Add potatoes and milk and cook for at least 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat and add shredded cheddar. Stir until cheese is melted and blended into the soup. Season with salt and pepper.
Garnish with additional shredded cheddar and sour cream, if desired.
Serve with a toasted cheese or PBJ sandwich. ENJOY!

Friday, August 7, 2015


We just ended our Summer Revival Meetings with The Tharp Brothers (Hubby & his brothers!) It was a TREMENDOUS meeting! I love my brother's in law. All 3 of these men are wonderful, Godly men, full of the Holy Ghost. Every time they come here to MO, they are such a blessing to us. Every year they look for something to do for us. This year just before they came, my washer AND dryer BOTH went capoot! Almost simultaneously! I felt awful about it. But appliance repairs just weren't in the budget, just yet. Especially TWO of them! I just made sure to have everything washed up at the Laundromat before they got here. But they, many times will throw their shirts or other personal laundry in while they are here. Well wouldn't you know on their last day here (which is supposed to be a "down" day of relaxing) they get up early and mow the lawn and then they tear into my machines! They fixed the washer! Hallelujah! But the dryer was beyond help. :-( But PTL for Craig's List! Hubby found a nice, very affordable, Kenmore gas dryer on there and now I'm back in business!
Since they are always such a blessing to us, I wanted to make sure to have some of their favorite things while they were here. My brother in law, Russ's favorite pie is Peanut Butter. So this one was for him!
There are at least 3 major variations on Peanut Butter pie. There is the pudding one, the cream cheese one and the chiffon one (made with unflavored gelatin). This the cream cheese one.  I think it has the best texture and balance of peanut butter flavor. I didn't get fancy enough to snap a pic of it garnished. But it's a REAL keeper! Goes together in a snap too!
Tomorrow I'll post my other brother in law's favorite pie: Coconut cream!

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup Jif creamy peanut butter
  • 13 cup milk
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip  or 2 - 3cups of fresh whipped cream
  • 1 graham cracker pie crust or 1 chocolate crumb crust or 1 baked pie shell.


  1. Mix all ingredients together and place in pie shell.
  2. Chill for at least an hour before serving.
  3. Can also be frozen.
  4. If desired, garnish with additional whipped topping, drizzle with chocolate syrup, sprinkle with peanuts or crushed peanut butter cups.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


My daughter, Hannah has been telling me for several months now that she and her family like shrimp and grits and that I should try making it. I'm not a Southern gal. I was raised in Northern Indiana and then spent 30 years in MI. So up til now I had not had the opportunity to try it. It's definitely not a Northern dish! But let me tell you... this recipe packs a wallop of flavor! I think I would move it right up into the ranks of my top 10 favorites! I love shrimp anyway. And this just made me love it even more! Most of the recipes I read for this dish sounded quite bland - even those on the websites of popular TV chefs. But adding just the right spice to it, did the trick! If you like shrimp, you should put this on your menu for next week! It went together in a snap! I also don't use the regular white grits, but opted instead for polenta (yellow grits). Very yummy dish! And even better - hubby gave it a thumbs up! Not sure if it was because of the bacon that's added into the dish, but either way, he made me a happy woman! This one's going in the "keep" file!


For the grits portion, I used my creamy polenta recipe that is featured on my blog in other places.

1 1/2 cups low fat milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 (14 oz) can fat free, low sodium chicken broth
1 cup instant dry polenta
1/4 cup preshredded Parmesan, romano, asiago cheese blend (or just parmesan works too)
1/2 cup shredded, medium cheddar cheese
4 Tblsp butter

Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a med saucepan. Reduce heat to low and slowly add polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk, to prevent lumps. Cook 3 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add parmesan, cheese blend and butter, stirring until cheese melts. Serve immediately. If it seems to thick, add a little more milk. It should be the consistency of creamy mashed potatoes. Yield: 8 servings (1/2 cup). Keep warm while you prepare the shrimp.


  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  •  1 tsp Slap yer Momma seasoning (could also sub old bay, or your favorite Cajun seasoning)
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped (I cut mine with my kitchen shears)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
    Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned; with slotted spoon, remove bacon to a separate bowl. In bacon fat that remains in skillet, add shrimp. Season with Slap yer Momma. Cook until shrimp turns pink. Add chopped bacon, parsley, green onions and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes.
    Spoon grits into a serving bowl. Spoon shrimp mixture over top. (some say to stir the shrimp into the grits, but I think it presents nicer if you spoon it over the top) Serve immediately.

    Tuesday, March 17, 2015


    These cookies are nostalgic to me. My Grandpa made THEE best oatmeal cookies I've ever had. I am 53 years old and I still remember with great fondness, the look, smell and taste of his oatmeal cookies. I don't believe he ever used a recipe. They were made with such love that he probably could have prepared them with his eyes closed and one arm tied behind his back. What made them EXTRA special to me, was when he was coming to the end of a batch, he would save out enough cookie dough to make a "giant" cookie, JUST FOR ME! His cookies were perfect. Moist and flavorful in the middle and just enough of a crispy edge to balance out the soft middle. I loved my Grandpa. He was a Naval war vet. He passed into Heaven when I was just a little girl in 1st grade. But he made a tremendous impact on me. As I grew older and became interested in cooking, I remembered his oatmeal cookies and asked my mother if she would share his recipe with me. Sadly she told me, "he took that recipe to the grave with him." That broke my heart. "BUT," she said, "I know what his secret ingredient was that made them so special. Mincemeat! So I began experimenting with various oatmeal cookie recipes and before too long - VOILA! My Grandpa's cookies! I was thrilled, to say the least! If you've never tried using mincemeat in your oatmeal cookies, you are missing out! Talk about depth of flavor and MOIST! You won't be sorry you added it!


    2 sticks butter, softened
    1 1/2 cups brown sugar
    1/2 cup white sugar
    3 eggs
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 1/2 cups flour
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp baking powder
    3 cups quick cooking oats
    1 (9 oz) pkg Nonesuch condensed mincemeat

    Preheat oven to 350. Spray baking sheets liberally with cooking spray.
    In mixing bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Stir into creamed mixture. Stir in oats. Crumble mincemeat with your fingers and stir that in until combined. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto greased cookie sheets, Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to cooling racks or foil sheets to finish cooling completely. Store in airtight container for up to a week.

    Monday, March 16, 2015


    Throw out everything you ever thought you knew about making Peanut butter cookies and memorize this recipe. It's the last one you'll ever need. These literally were the most PERFECT peanut butter cookies I've ever made! I detest a dry, crumbly, peanut butter cookie! It HAS to be moist to be able to savor that decadent peanut butter flavor you crave in this cookie. These don't have to be dunked, to be enjoyed! You can eat one all by itself and still be in heaven. Although a tall, cold glass of milk or a steaming, hot cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee are perfect compliments to this cookie. I'll NEVER use the "traditional" peanut butter cookie recipe, ever again. THIS one is IT for me!

    There are lots of tips and tricks that cookie bakers can share with you to get a "perfect" cookie. But for this one, my biggest tip for you is DON'T OVER-BAKE THEM! And don't skip the step where you coat them in sugar before baking.


    1 cup brown sugar (that's right, I said BROWN sugar!)
    1 stick butter, softened
    1/2 cup Jif peanut butter
    1 large egg
    1 tsp Vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 Tblsp sugar or more, for coating cookie dough balls before baking

    Preheat oven to 350.
    In large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, softened butter and peanut butter. Beat with mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix again until combined. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt and add to the cookie dough mixture. Stir again until combined.
    Using a small metal cookie scoop (or a spoon) measure out 1" cookie dough balls. If you don't have a cookie scoop, then just use a spoon to scoop the dough out. Use hands to roll the dough into balls. Roll each one in sugar and transfer to baking sheet. Place cookies 2" apart. Lightly press the tines of a dinner fork flat against each dough ball, creating an indentation. Then make another light indentation perpendicular to the first. Creating that classic "criss-cross" pattern that is so familiar on a peanut butter cookie.
    Bake until the cookies are a very light brown - 8 to 10 minutes. 8 minutes was the perfect time for my oven. Cook an additional 5 minutes on the baking sheet. Transfer cookies to sheet of foil to finish cooling. Repeat with remaining dough. Store baked cookies in airtight container for up to a week.