Can you believe this???  They use to call me “Skinny.”  When I went into Nursing School , I had a classmate named Martha Hayman that was thin like me.  People would ask us if we were related and because they thought that we began to call each other “Cuz” (short for cousin).

At night, the cafeteria was opened for students wanting a late night snack.  Martha and I would fill up on huge bowls of ice cream trying to gain weight.  When that didn’t happen, we went to the student clinic doctor for help.  He gave us each three prescriptions.  One of those Rxs was the nastiest tasting liquid I have ever put in my mouth…still to no avail.  Neither of us could gain weight.

I stayed slender UNTIL I married Mac.  Understand that Mac is a slim, 6’ 5” man.  He likes to tell people he is only 5’ 12” tall.  After we were married, I decided I needed to put some pounds on that “tall drink of water.”  Guess what???  Although he gained about 30 lbs, it is me that has gained the most.  Mac is still tall and slender.

Martha is now married to Don Tatum and they reside in Waco , Texas .  Since graduating from nursing school, Martha is known by the name “Suzy” (her middle name is Sue).  However, her classmates will always think of her as Martha.  She and I keep in touch by email.  When Mac’s health was better, we had visited in their home a couple of times, once attending a Baylor Football game with them.  She is one of the best cooks I know and in the past has shared some of her favorite recipes with me (and the Record).  Recently she emailed me this soup recipe.  With the cooler, windy days of March, this soup would be an excellent choice for a toasty meal.  If not serving serving immediately, add the cilantro at serving time for peak flavor.  I haven’t tried it yet but I know if Martha says it is good then it is excellent and a KEEPER.


• 2 Tbsp. oil
•  1 large onion, chopped
• 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
• 2 tsp. minced garlic
• 3 cups chicken broth
• 1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
• 1 cup mild picante sauce
• 1 (15 oz.) ranch-style beans. undrained’                                    
• 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 cup frozen corn
• 1 tsp. ground cumin
• 1⁄2 tsp. black pepper
• 1⁄2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
• 1⁄2 tsp. chili powder
• 1⁄8 tsp. paprika
• 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
• 1⁄4 cup chopped cilantro
• Tortilla chips, optional
• Sliced avocados, optional
• Shredded cheddar cheese, optional
• Sour cream, optional

Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium heat; add onion, carrots and garlic.  Cook until onion is tender, about 6 minutes.  Increase heat to high and add broth, tomatoes, picante sauce, beans, corn and spices.  Bring to a boil. Add chicken and cilantro.  Cook until thoroughly heated.  Ladle into soup bowls and top with tortilla chips, sliced avocados, cheese and sour cream, if desired.