Crab Tortilla Soup

Is there something about yourself that you could share with people and they may not believe it to be true? 

My truth dates back to a few weeks before my 21st birthday. I was on spring break from college and I talked my uncle Robert, a childhood friend Becky and her dad Mr. Mac into a celebratory skydiving trip. My father was not at all impressed and just said, "why would you want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane?" Oh, silly Dad!

 I'm not sure where the talking bubble stickers came from, but it has my sister written all over it. 

I'm not sure where the talking bubble stickers came from, but it has my sister written all over it. 

Not that sky diving wouldn't have been an impressive feat on its own for most people, I had to toss in never having been in an actual airplane. So, yes, the first time I flew in a plane, I didn't land in the plane. I did, however, have a most beautiful landing on my own two feet. Thanks to the professional that was tethered to my back.

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We choose a place called, Skydive Orange and according to their website they are still in business. I really wanted a video, but I was denied. The bigger plane that could accommodate me, my uncle, two professionals, the pilot and the videographer was unavailable. :( No worries, we got some cool pics and I will always have this memory. I'm also sure it would've been formatted for a VHS and who has those anymore. #myageisshowing

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When we arrived to the place of business we were greeted by a guy in a wheel chair. Not all entirely comforting for someone who's never been in a plane before and was about to jump out of one. We spoke with the fella and it turns out he didn't lose the use of his legs while skydiving, he lost the use of his legs on the way to a dive in a plane that crashed before it left the ground.

Yep, that helped calm the nerves. (Read this with much sarcasm.)

As per usual in my family, everyone is invited. I had uncles, aunts, cousins and siblings that came out for the ride. We sat around for about 7 hours watching planes fly up and people glide down.

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 I am struggling with the fact the little boy in this picture wearing the white shirt is GETTING MARRIED NEXT YEAR!! Also, RIP Mommom 

I am struggling with the fact the little boy in this picture wearing the white shirt is GETTING MARRIED NEXT YEAR!! Also, RIP Mommom 

While we waited, we watched two girls train for a solo first jump. Um, NO! In my opinion, those girls were not brave, just stuck on stupid. Now, after I had done my tandem dive I may have considered doing a solo mission because I at least got the feel of what should happen. Quickly the thought went bye, bye when one of the girl's parachutes got tangled up about 50 feet or higher in the air and she plummets to the ground. Luckily, this happened right after my jump and we heard she only injured her ankle. 

When it was finally our turn, they strapped us into our suits and we spent some time going through drills. 

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We traveled to about 13,000 feet and the door to the plane comes open. I'm right next to the door and the first one out. I had to put my foot on this little ledge outside the plane and the first time I was unprepared for the gust that would swing my foot right off the ledge. Then the professional said, on the count of three put the foot on the ledge and roll out. And that's what we did, we somersaulted right out of the airplane and then opened up our bodies like a bird in flight. 

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It was amazing, almost surreal. The sensation is as if you are still. It doesn't feel like you are falling. I was half expecting my stomach to be in my throat like on the first giant hill of a roller coaster. After a minute or so, the chute was pulled and we drifted down to Earth. My professional pulled the toggles a few times to show off some tricks. We spun in a circle and he did this thing where it felt as if we stopped dead in mid air. I did not like that at all.  

When you are high up in the air you don't notice the speed at which you are plummeting to Earth. That feeling doesn't present itself until you are about to touch down. Then the ground comes up on you like a freight train that lost control. My professional gave me the reminder to start running in place as we approached the ground and then BOOM! We ran together across the Earth with the parachute billowing behind us. PERFECT LANDING!

My professional was thrilled with my performance and intrigued I had never actually been in a plane before. He asked if I could sign his book. He had a bunch of other signatures of people and comments from clients in this little book. Wonder what he has done with all those names of people in his little book?

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My uncle landed, then my friend and then her dad. We all made it safely to the ground. My uncle Robert broke open a bottle of champagne and we each had a Dixie cup full. We got in the car and between the adrenaline and the champagne, we passed out almost immediately.

A very exciting time in my life and I was able to share it with some good people. Anyone want to go round two? No, how about some Crab Tortilla Soup instead.

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CRAB TORTILLA SOUP:

1 pound of Maryland crab meat, we like backfin or leftovers from a feast for this soup (you can also substitute with 1 pound of cooked and shredded chicken breast)

2 cups of sweet onions, chopped

1 cup of celery, chopped

2 cups of carrots, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

8 cups of seafood stock or chicken broth

28 ounces of canned whole tomatoes, pureed

2 Serrano peppers, diced

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of coriander

1/2 teaspoon of ancho chili powder

6 white corn tortillas, cut into strips

Cilantro, for garnish

Sour cream, for garnish

Avocado, for garnish

Cheddar cheese or Queso Fresco, for garnish

Tortilla chips, for garnish

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat, saute the onions, carrots and celery. Stir occasionally and after ten minutes, toss in the garlic. After a minute or so you'll start to smell garlic. At this point, add the broth.

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Scrape up any crusty bits with a spatula and add the canned pureed tomatoes, Serrano peppers, cumin, coriander, ancho chili powder and the strips of corn tortillas.

SUMMER TIME TIP: If you have a garden full of fresh tomatoes, bring a pot of water to a boil. Carefully add the tomatoes to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Pull them out of the boiling water and shock them in a bowl filled with ice water. Peel the skins and puree. Add these to your soup instead of canned! Save time peeling the tomatoes and puree the hell out of them.

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Bring the soup up to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer for about 25 minutes. The corn tortillas will start to break down and act as a thickening agent. 

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Add the crab meat during the last 5 minutes of simmering. If you choose to add chicken instead, add this during the last ten minutes of cooking. 

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When the soup is ready, pour into bowls and top with cilantro, sour cream, cheese, avocado, and tortilla chips. I also served ours with a piece of sweet cornbread smothered in butter!

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