"The priest asked Judge Barnes to recommend the services of a few good churchgoing men to help him in his quest. When he had assembled them, the priest led the company off to Tumacácori Mission, where one of the men produced a shovel and dug a hole at a certain distance from the ancient church's altar. The priest descended into a small hidden chamber, returning with several metal cases full of gold bullion." ~ from The Lost Gold of Tumacácori by Gregory McNamee
|Mission San José de Tumacácori is located south of Tucson near the artist community of Tubac.
|A dry fountain decorated with paper flowers.
Further south, by about 30 minutes, you can tour the dilapidated, yet welcoming, Mission San José de Tumacácori. The site was abandoned in the mid 1800s and began to fall to ruin. In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared both the Mission and the Grand Canyon national monuments. In 1937, a museum was built near the mission and there is continuing effort by the national parks system to preserve the site for future generations.
|I was so artistically enamored with the cross decorated with paper flowers that
I took about 150 photos of it from all angles.
Today the cities of Patagonia, Sonoita and Elgin are home to vineyards growing grapes to produce wines. The vineyards also extend well into Cochise County. The city of Willcox is becoming a wine tasting destination for the region. The grapes that grow well in the arid climate of Southern Arizona are Shiraz, Petite Sirah, Barbera, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Voignier and Pinot Grigio. As you can imagine, the area also produces a wonderful variety of chiles. And, believe it or not, the area is home to thousands of pecan trees, owned by The Green Valley Pecan Company.
|Historical buildings in the Southwest were typically constructed of stone, or
thick adobe walls covered with lime plaster. The thermal mass help the
building to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
|Wild and cultivated flowers dot the landscape on the grounds of Tumacácori.
|I wandered around the cemetery after exiting the church.
P.S.: Please "like us" on Facebook where we post some of our favorite finds from our wanderings and from around the "internets".
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Quick Chili Con Carne
Are you familiar with The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook? It was the most used cookbook in my mother's kitchen. It was also the first cookbook I purchased when I left home. I've been making this recipe for over 30 years. Because I like to tinker in the kitchen, I've made a few updates along the way swapping ranch-style pinto beans for kidney beans, chicken sausage for ground beef, fire roasted crushed tomatoes for plain tomato sauce and adding a smokey essence by choosing smoked salt and paprika as flavor boosters. Whatever you do, don't leave out the jalapeño. The little green chile is not typically too hot and it adds a lot of flavor. If you absolutely can't get your hands on a jalapeño, then sprinkle about one teaspoon of chili flakes over the onions while sautéing.
This recipe is super easy and keeps well, gaining in flavor as it ages a day or two. You'll love it on Sonoran Hot Dogs or garnished with your favorite toppings. My favorite additions are sour cream, crumbled corn tortilla chips and shredded cheddar cheese.
|The shelves of the Santa Cruz Chili and Spice Company are lined with salsas, condiments and
a variety of prepared chili powders.
about 1 Tbsp bacon grease, preferred, or ghee
2 medium yellow onions, diced
1 or 2 jalapeño, ribs and seeds discarded, minced
2 green bell peppers, ribs and seeds discarded, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 pounds chicken sausage, bulk or removed from casings
3 Tbsps Santa Cruz Chili and Spice Company Mild Chili Powder
3 Tbsps smoked mild or hot paprika, depending upon how hot you like your food
1-1/2 Tbsps ground cumin
1-1/2 Tbsps dried oregano
1 28-ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes (I use Muir Glen )
4 15-ounce cans Ranch-style beans
1 4-ounce can fire roasted diced green chiles
smoked salt, preferred, or sea salt, to taste
shredded cheddar cheese
crushed tortilla chips
|I like to garnish my bowl of chili with sour cream,
shredded cheddar and crushed tortilla chips.
1. In a large soup pot, melt the bacon grease or ghee over medium heat until melted. Add onions and a large pinch of smoked salt or sea salt. Sauté onions for about 5 minutes, then add diced bell pepper and minced jalapeños. Sauté for 5 minutes, then add bulk sausage, stirring to incorporate and using a spatula to break the sausage up into smaller pieces. Add the minced garlic and stir again. Set a lid slightly ajar on top of the pot to help build heat. Stir about every 5 minutes or so, continuing to crumble the sausage into bite size pieces.
2. Once the sausage is cooked through, about 25 to 30 minutes, add the spices and oregano and stir well. Add the undrained crushed tomatoes and beans, stir well. Gently bring to a boil over medium heat. I like to bring the pot of chili and the garnishes to the table so everyone can serve themselves.