By Deborah Eisenhut

Keep up the fires of thought, and all will go well.  You fail in your thoughts or you prevail in your thoughts alone,” wrote Henry David Thoreau. I personally believe “good thinking” is a very positive thing.   While away helping family with the ravages of Hurricane Matthew on Hilton Head Island, my mountain home here was put in danger from fire.  While Mother Nature can often be the one in control, humans can play a helpful role with “fires of thought”.  From the time I heard about the fires I began to think good things, positive things, thanking God for the blessing of living in these beautiful mountains.  While wrestling trees down on house and yard, and blocked roads on an island beautiful in its own right, I constantly thanked God for firefighters and first responders, for living in a community of wonderful people who are committed to protecting their own.  It took so much more than thought not to be here and help save my home but I was able to read about it daily and monitor some of what was going on.  Not that I could have fought the fires or dug the ditches or manned the water trucks, but my “fires of thought” were thankful, grateful, and protective for the firefighters and responders who came from near and far to help save our homes and businesses.  I know that local heroes fed and housed and took care of basic needs for all those firefighters coming in and as I cleaned up my own “mess from nature”, I thought the “good fight” for my home.  I am eternally grateful for the presence and prevailing of all those who were able to physically help and did so. Thank you.  Enjoy some fire hot and spicy recipes to warm your thankful heart!

Hot Fire Fries

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp chili powder

½ tsp cayenne powder

½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 bag plain frozen French fries

Ranch dressing

In a small bowl, mix together the spices and set aside.  Bake or fry the French fries according to package directions until golden brown. Shake spice mixture over hot fries and toss to coat.  Serve with ranch dressing.

Fire Crackerz

½ cup canola oil

1 (1-oz) package Ranch dressing mix (dry)

3-4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 box ((13.7 oz) box Cheez-Its

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients.  Spread crackers on large rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Cool and store in resalable bag.

Firehouse Chili

2 tbls canola oil

1 ½ pound good ground beef or turkey or combination

1 large onion, chopped

2 fresh garlic cloves, minced

1 ½ tsp salt

¼ tsp cumin

¼ tsp ground oregano

2 tbls chili powder

2 (8 oz) cans Ro-Tel tomatoes, undrained

1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce

2 (16 oz) dark red kidney beans, undrained

5 ½ ounces tomato juice

Heat oil in a large pot.  Brown beef, onion and garlic.  Drain well.  Add all spices with beans & rest of ingredients.  Mix well and bring to a boil.  Simmer uncover for ½ hour and then cover and cook 1 ½ hours.  If too thick you can add more tomato juice, beef broth or water.  Also you can add a couple tablespoons of ketchup and brown sugar if milder taste is desired.