Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy Friday Feast For My Fish Friday Friends! (Try Saying That Really Fast)

I LOVE fish tacos. I love them fried. I love them grilled. I love shrimp tacos.

Oh, wait, that would be a different recipe.

I have previously posted a recipe for Spicy Jalapeno Horseradish Coleslaw in 2011--http://donnalenz.blogspot.com/2011/12/spicy-jalapeno-horseradish-coleslaw.html

It just happens that I love that stuff on fish tacos. This time I did it a little different, to mixed reviews at my house.

Chuck liked the creamy sauce mixed into the cabbage. I liked it separate.

When eating at restaurants, I have had the fish tacos in many different forms. The one below reflects my personal taste. If you want to mix the creamy sauce in with the vinegary slaw (as in the original recipe), call Chuck over for dinner.

FISH TACOS WITH SPICY COLESLAW AND CREAMY HORSERADISH SAUCE

6 mild fish fillets, cooked  (if breaded—baked. If raw, either grilled or pan seared.)
6 corn tortillas, browned in skillet
Spicy Horseradish Coleslaw

I did the first step in the coleslaw recipe, which was mix ¼  cup vinegar, ¼ cup sugar, dash of salt and pepper and pour over 1 bag of chopped coleslaw mix, ¼ cup chopped onion and one seeded diced jalapeno. I let this marinate for 30 minutes.

I mixed the 3 Tbls. mayo, 3 Tbls. horseradish, 1 Tbls. mustard, and added 1-2 tsp of habanero sauce (not in original coleslaw recipe, see photo of product below) and mixed well. I spooned into a zipper snack bag and let set for 30 min.


During the wait time for the slaw, I toasted the corn tortillas and baked the fish portions. 





I assembled the tacos this way:
Tortilla
Top with fish
Spoon on coleslaw
Snip the corner of the little baggie and drizzle on the creamy sauce.


What could be easier?  I think having the creamy sauce separate from the cabbage allows you to taste the horseradish better, which I like with fish. If you like, go ahead and blend all the sauces into the cabbage, and it is still mighty tasty!

YUM.  (The only thing that might make these better is chopped fresh cilantro. DOUBLE YUM.)


This is the habanero sauce. Not much flavor to conflict with anything you add it to, just HOT. 


This quantity is enough for two to three people. My original coleslaw recipe will feed an army. Keep in mind, you can cool this recipe down by reducing or leaving out the chopped jalapeno and habanero sauce. I would not recommend leaving out the horseradish, as it is the key flavor. 

Enjoy, my friends. Peace. 








Sunday, March 9, 2014

Life is a Rock, But the Radio Rolled Me



I was pretty young when I figured out that music was something that would be a constant in my life. I remember learning how to do “The Twist” as a very young girl, and moving to the music of the 1960’s. I was too young to faint for Elvis or scream for The Beatles, but they still drove the evolution in music that I became immersed in.



The music of the 60’s went from the chorale sounding groups like Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons (Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, My Eyes Adore You), the Shangr-Las (Leader of the Pack), into a blues-driven sound of the Isley Brothers (Who’s That Lady, It’s Your Thing) and Wilson Pickett (Mustang Sally). Some of my favorites from that era:

·         Incense And Peppermints                                Strawberry Alarm Clock
·         Venus                                                            Shocking Blue
·         Time of the Season         `                              The Zombies
·         Lightenin’ Strikes                                            Lou Christie
·         Sounds of Silence                                            Simon and Garfunkel
·         To Sir, With Love                                           Lulu
·         Dizzy                                                             Tommy Roe
·         We Gotta Get Out of This Place                       The Animals
·         Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In                           5th Dimension
·         Crimson and Clover                                         Tommy James and the Shondells




The socially conscious era of the Vietnam War and changes here at home had begun to surface in music. Many groups addressed the political and social unrest of that decade through music, creating some of the most powerful songs to date:

·         War                                                                    Edwin Starr
·         Ohio                                                                  Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
·         Paint It Black                                                      The Rolling Stones




The 1970’s moved us into even more of a rock mode. The heavy hitters of the early 70’s were still influenced by the evolving technology of recording. The 60’s were dominated by vinyl records, but there was a new chick in town—the multi-track tape recording.  The 60’s had moved us from 4-track to 8 track recording. Our first car audio system was a 4-track, installed by my brother. It was not long until it progressed to 8-track, and I lugged those cases of tapes all over the country.  I was one of the few who had a quadraphonic stereo at home that simulated surround sound, after purchasing that specific type of 8-track tape.




A few of my 70’s favorite singles:
·         Holdin’ On to Yesterday                                     Ambrosia
·         A Horse With No Name                                      America
·         In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida                                           Iron Butterfly
·         Mama Told Me Not To Come                               Three Dog NIght
·         Dream Weaver                                                 Gary Wright
·         Never Been Any Reason                                     Head East
·         The Rapper                                                      Jaggerz
·         My Sharona                                                      The Knack
·         Bad Motor Scooter                                            Montrose
·         Rock N Roll Hoochie Koo                                   Rick Derringer
·         Reelin’ In the Years                                          Steely Dan
·         Lady                                                               Styx
·         Roundabout                                                     Yes
·         Ride Captain Ride                                            Blues Image
·         Come and Get It                                              Badfinger
·         Hooked on a Feeling                                         Blue Suede




Also, I want to thank pretty much all the biggies: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Kiss, Bad Company, Led Zepplin, The Who, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Boston, The Doobie Brothers, The Eagles, Elton John, The Guess Who, Heart, Jethro Tull, Queen, Seals and Crofts, Rush, Steve Miller Band, and ZZ Top, just to name a few. I knew the words to every song on every album , and you made it heaven on earth for me. Disco made a short visit, and while I loved me some BeeGees and Donna Summer, it was not altogether my favorite. I went to bed listening to KIXZ, Amarillo TX, or KOMA, Oklahoma City, OK. I woke up to the same thing. In Hartley, TX , those two radio stations were the only musical influence I had.




But the world was about to change again. Those big bulky 8-tracks were about to be replaced with slim little cassettes. I actually still have my first cassette tape—“American Pie” by Don McLean. This meant those huge tape carriers could be replaced by a much smaller version, and might even fit under the seat. And, I had a little portable player I could cart around! 


As we slid out of the 70’s into the 80’s, things really began to change. August 1, 1981 the way we look at music as well as TV was altered forever. A little channel called MTV (Music Television) debuted with a video of the song, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles, and the era of the music video was born.  Oh my goodness, this time period was the heyday for magnificently hokey videos. The special effects were not special, the themes were ridiculous, and I loved every second of it. The hair was big, the pants were tight, the sets were crappy, but the music was awesome!  For the first time you had a visual to go with the music. I still remember so many of the videos—they did not really have to have anything to do with the song, but they always made you remember it! I can still hear my girls, at four or five years old singing "The Warrior" by Scandal, and "Sara" by Jefferson Starship.


Some favs:
·         Take On Me                                                            A-HA
·         Girls Just Wanna Have Fun                                       Cindy Lauper
·         Karma Chamelion                                                   Culture Club
·         How Will I Know                                                    Whitney Houston
·         Cradle of Love                                                       Billy Idol
·         Pour Some Sugar On Me                                           Def Leppard
·         Sweet Dreams                                                         Eurythmics
·         I Want A New Drug                                                   Huey Lewis and the News
·         Like a Virgin                                                            Madonna
·         Beat It                                                                    Michael Jackson
·         She Drives Me Crazy                                                Fine Young Cannibals
·         We Got the Beat                                                     The Go-Go’s     
·         Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go                                 Wham



Who can forget Tawny Kitean writhing around on the hood of that car in the video for “Is This Love?” by Whitesnake? Or what ridiculously good dancers Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson were? Or any of Madonna’s or Michael Jackson’s outfits?  How about those gorgeous models in black dresses in Robert Palmer’s video “Addicted to Love”?   Or the chicken dancing in “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel? How about the Thompson Twins’ goofy haircuts?  Was it only me, or were all of Duran Duran and The Car’s videos really odd? 

And then there was Rick Springfield. Oh. My. Goodness.


I still love to watch those old videos.  Somewhere things went awry with the video channels- they started adding regular shows and movies, then reality TV, and then it was no longer about music. I can’t quite figure it out, we have more artists out there now than ever before, but they lost a great platform when MTV and VH1 stopped music video programming 24/7. Youtube is great, but you have to be looking for that particular artist. And let’s face it, the videos today are just not the same. There is not a sequined glove or mullet in sight. No weird costumes, fake space ships, or over-stretched spandex.  No Walking on Sunshine, Dancing in the Dark, Bette Davis Eyes or Sunglasses At Night. 

I have found a couple of Youtube channels that have some good videos. Here is the link for the 70’s one- since videos were not that popular yet, a lot of them are from TV shows, which are just as good-some are just still photos. Either way, it will stir a memory.


If you are lonesome for the 80’s, go check out this video on Youtube. It is 5 hours of 80’s videos in one link. Take a look and enjoy!

If you don't recall these songs I listed above, check them out. They are the building blocks of pop culture for the last 30 years! And, in case you don't remember the song I pulled the title of this post from, listen to it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15wq1Yg_Ac4


Please comment about the cool bands that were your favorites!  I love remembering good music!
Peace friends!  Rock on!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

BOTTLE CAP TABLES

There are a few things in life I truly enjoy.

Music.
Being creative.
Beer.

So one day I said to myself, "Self. How do you combine these three things??" And the answer came to me.
"Put on some music. Turn it up loud. Make something. Drink beer."
And I thought to myself, good gawd, I am brilliant!  What a great idea!  And the pieces below are the result.

I had a cheapy little side table the we had finally given up on. The base was metal, so I kept it. I enlisted a few of my fellow beer-drinking lushes...oops, I mean friends and family to help accumulate some cool beer bottle caps.

The first thing I did was wash the caps and sort out the ones who were near-perfect. There were a few that were a little dinged, but I placed them upside down on a 2"X 4" block of wood, and used a wooden dowel to gently tap those out with the rubber hammer.

I sealed the wood base for the top. I cut a piece of cardboard to exactly the same size as that top. I used this as a guide to create a pattern for the top.

Once I had the pattern, I used a trowel to apply adhesive to the wood top. It is the same adhesive you would use to lay tile. I then, one by one, applied the bottle caps into the pattern on the wood.





I allowed the mastic to dry overnight. Then I mixed a batch of tan grout. This, too, is the same stuff you use when tiling. I applied it as the directions said, and allowed to dry for two day. Then I used grout sealer to keep it looking good!  



Then I did a coffee table for the friends who assisted in the procurement of the bottle caps. (Drinking beer.) It was solid wood, and had tile inserted in the top. I chipped the tile out, and inlaid the caps in the same manner as I did the table above, using white grout this time to show off the color of the caps. It is essential you lay out the pattern on a template, so you can establish spacing and  place them on the actual table in the same position and maintain your pattern.


I painted the legs and base to echo the colors and patterns that they had in the accessories in their living area. I light distressing with sandpaper, and a coat of finishing wax on the wood and it was good to go.


These were really fun projects. Especially the preparation. (Drinking beer.)


Peace, friends!


Folding Card Table Rescue

I had rescued this little folding card table from the trash pile at my friend's house. It was a little scroungy.


The hubby had been using it when he smoked brisket, so I had to give it a good cleaning with ammonia. I purchased a $5.00 table cloth at Wally World, and got a matching can of paint. I painted the legs and frame.



I laid out the tablecloth and turned the table upside down on it. I cut about 1 1/2" away from the sides. 



I used a metal scraper to tuck the new cloth into the space between the top and the metal frame, going carefully to not tear the tablecloth. I trimmed the corners of the cloth into a round shape to match the top's shape, and carefully tucked it in.


There are screws on each corner, and centered in each side. I just cut a slit in the tablecloth at those spots, and eased the cloth around it. The top is tight enough to the frame that it holds the cloth snug without gluing on the underneath, but you could if you wanted to.



Here she is, ready to go!  Looks good as new! Peace, friends!


Friday, February 21, 2014

Yeah, We Got a Great Big Convoy, Ain't She a Beautiful Sight...

“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” --George Carlin

I grew up in Hartley, a town with a couple of stop signs and a yellow blinking light. Then I moved to Dalhart, a town with several traffic lights and stop signs. I lived 4 blocks from work, and I would get irritated if I had to stop for more than 2 cars. Then I moved to San Marcos. Lawd help me. I had driven in many major cities across the country, but nothing can prepare you for the daily grind of interstate driving, especially that little bit of heaven known as “The Corridor”.  This is the area of IH-35 between Austin and San Antonio, and it is one interesting little stretch of blacktop. If it runs, it is on there. I have followed cars that the frame was so bent I could see both the front and back tires at once--AND they are going 80 mph!! I have seen cars missing the windshield. Duct tape is a common repair choice, and one of my favorites was a car with a flashlight duct taped to the bumper shining toward the license plate. I wonder how these cars pass inspection. (Haha, that's a good one! Inspection!)

When you drive down IH-35, you see all manner of scrapes, gouges, and skid marks on the road and concrete barriers, light poles sheared off, etc. I have always been curious about how these marks were made on roads. After a few years of driving here, I have a pretty good idea now.  I have seen texting, makeup application, eating, shaving, (faces, not legs—yet), and fighting.  You have the slow-pokes mixing it up with the speed demons. Add in trucks, buses, motorhomes, and some of the vehicles I mentioned above, and it is a recipe for disaster.

There are three lanes. Right hand lane is for getting off and on (60 mph), middle lane is for mid-speeds (70-75 mph), and the left lane is for passing (80++mph, just get the hell outta my way).  There are semis, buses, trucks, cars, trucks pulling cars…you get the idea. It’s like NASCAR, but there is no guarantee on their driving skills. Many times that C.W.McCall song “Convoy” comes to mind…

Well we shot the line
And we went for broke
With a thousand screamin’ trucks
And eleven long-haired Friends of Jesus
In a chartreuse microbus…”

One thing I have learned: never trust that other guy’s knowledge about how to tie something down. I have seen some crazy stuff bouncing down the roadway! You will see a little of everything--furniture, tires, ladders, pallets, car seats, and the occasional bag of clothes or trash. But one of the most exciting ones was a laundry basket that appeared to be full of toiletries slid off the top of a load in a pickup—and they all just spread across the lanes like a wave. Deodorant, toilet paper, shampoo bottles…just fanned out in front of us. The other drivers just couldn’t seem to NOT try to avoid the stuff, and just begin to swerve like crazy! Running over the little tube of deodorant would do a lot less damage than hitting the car next to you, but it is just instinct to pull the wheel. My daughter Shana witnessed a couch landing right in front of her one day.  She was far enough back to avoid it, but she was surely excited when she got home. I have had many things flung at me, but one of the more memorable ones was a large chunk of asphalt-it luckily bounced off my windshield. Then, there are the really interesting things, like having the whole trailer come loose and go careening down the road, or dumping a full-sized tractor off the gooseneck. My last trip through Austin was the latter, took me 2 hours. Reducing three lanes to one, and feeding that off onto the shoulder tends to really cramp things up when you have the volume of vehicles that this interstate does. 

The plus side is I talk to Jesus a lot. I appreciate the drive on good traffic days. I appreciate the scenery on the bad traffic days. If the weather is good, I open the roof, turn up the music, and chill. If the weather is bad, I open the roof, turn on the a/c or heater, turn up the music and chill--because there is no use in getting your knickers in a knot. We manipulate our lives, pretending we are in control, and we ignore the fact that we really are not in control of a lot of things that happen. We can only control our response to it. As the old movie trailers used to tell us, “just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show”. 

"Cause we got a great big convoy 
Rockin' through the night. 
Yeah, we got a great big convoy, 
Ain't she a beautiful sight? 
Come on and join our convoy 
Ain't nothin' gonna get in our way. 
We gonna roll this truckin' convoy 
'Cross the U-S-A.
Convoy" 




Yep, you'll be singing that one for a couple of hours. 
(hee hee hee)  
Peace, friends. 




Sunday, February 9, 2014

15 Minutes of Fame

It used to be said that someone who made it to the top of the media attention heap for a short time had their “15 minutes of fame”. That meant they were famous for a very short time, then moved on to obscurity. Through technology, it seems that time period has shortened considerably. We have so many distractions that no one seems to be able to stay front and center for long.

My boss went to a business seminar the other day and the speaker told the group that Facebook is on the way out as a business tool because no one has time for it. They are gravitating toward Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.  For those of you who are not familiar with those, Twitter is basically one-line statements, Instagram is photos,  and Snapchat is a photo/video that you can add a few words to that lasts less than 10 seconds, and it is gone. No one actually reads e-mail anymore, if they can’t get the message from what is in the subject line, forget it. So with this in mind, going forward will it be called “15 SECONDS of fame?”

I know AT&T told us to “reach out and touch someone” in 1979, but they could have never envisioned how glued we all are to our phones. There is virtually no time that we can’t obtain information on a global scale. (That is, unless you are in West Texas and can’t get a phone signal. Then, you better know how to read road signs.) It wasn’t that long ago that the concept of carrying a computer in your pocket was some crazy idea in a science fiction book. In our minds, if we had one of those we would be wearing space suits and zooming around in space cars that made noises like the ones on "The Jetsons". (You just heard that noise in your head, didn’t you.) But instead, here we are clomping around in our Tom’s and jeans, with a computer in our North Face pocket that used to take up a whole room.

We have Amber alerts, weather updates, breaking news—all pushed to us 24/7. I tease that I have a touch of ADD, because I definitely tend to bounce around attention-wise from time to time. (I can hear you laughing, you know.) Truth is, I just don’t care about the majority of the stuff that is coming my way. The incoming information is so vast, we have to narrow it down to move on to the next thing. Granted, a lot of what is slung our way is not worthy of more than a blink, but when you are in a downpour how do you pick out one drop? Do we really need to know about an earthquake in South America moments after it happens?  Or the latest hijinks of Miley Cyrus or that the Dow dropped 2 points? When you have the attention span of a goldfish, should you fill it up with garbage? Do we really want to risk not being able to order a pizza because the battery on our phone was sucked dead by all these push notifications? 

Truth is, there have always been bad situations somewhere on this planet since the beginning of time. Violence, politics, floods, earthquakes, murders, corruption—it has always been there. The difference is now we have the technology to pull it from anywhere and put it in our face. I think instead of heightening our awareness about what is going on in our world; it has dulled our sensitivity to it. As we clickity-click along on that superhighway called the internet, we just shake our head and move on to the next link.  How is having all this served to us in our pocket really improving our life?

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my smart phone. Maps, Google search, weather, camera, music—I use the tar out of all of it. While I have it all at my fingertips, I don’t check the news.  I really don’t watch it on TV anymore. And, I still manage to know all I need to know about what is going on in our world. Am I happier? I think so, because let’s face it, "the news" isn’t news if it is something good and uplifting, and I try to focus on the good in life these days. 

And you are still hearing the sound this thing made in your head, aren't you? Ahhh, makes me smile. 
Peace, friends.



CHECK OUT THE YOUTUBE OF "THE JETSONS" THEME SONG!
(In case you forgot what it sounded like, hee hee!)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

"MY STYLE"

I got pulled down that black hole known as Pinterest a couple of years ago.  For creative, crafty, painting-sewing-photo taking furniture refurbisher like me, it is simply idea heaven.  But the bigger aspect of Pinterest is that there are virtually hundreds of subjects covered--travel, food, business, and even things on the risqué side. (Don’t ask me how I know that. Well, it was a mistake, I just saw this photo, clicked on it, and before I knew it I was on the wrong side of town.)

Anyway, for those of you who are not familiar with Pinterest, it is an online pinboard site that you can “pin” links to webpages, photos, etc  on your own “boards”. That allows you to go back to that web page by clicking on the “pin” and access it. When you first begin, they have created a few boards for you and pre-named them. One of the boards was named “MY STYLE”. I giggled and deleted it, thinking to myself, “Style is not something I have. Delete.”

You see, I have style challenges. I am not a girly-girl, but I like some girly stuff. I see those gals out there with the big hair and the big nails and the big purse and the big rhinestone outfits, and while I think it is cute, I would just....no. Not working that hard at it, I guess. Maybe I should call my style "LAZY".

I love that Youtube about the difference between the way men and women shower.  The woman takes in a minimum of 17 products, shampoos, scrubs, loofahs, pumices, and conditioners and after 40 minutes, walks out smelling like a flower shop.  The man walks in, washes everything with bar soap, including his hair, and leaves, dropping wet towels along the way. Me, I fall somewhere in the middle, but everything in my shower smells more like laundry soap than flowers.  My home décor is nowhere close to Pottery Barn, but is not quite Motel 6, either. I don’t like to spend a lot of money on clothes, mainly because it offends me that someone thinks I want to pay a hundred bucks for a pair of pants that looks like they were run over by a freight train. All 200 cars. I know there are more washings in that $40.00 pair without all the holes, anyway.  So, I guess I should call my style “PRACTICAL”.

When looking at the “Women’s Fashions” section in Pinterest, I realize there are a lot of options out there, but a lot of them are not made for a woman of my stature. My brother said it well once, quote-

“The guy who designed us had just got a promotion. His previous job was designing fire plugs.”
        -–Ken Miller 

And as silly as it sounds, he is pretty close.  Growing up in the ’50’s when 36-24-36 was the desirable measurements for a woman, rolling in at 36-36-36 made it hard to find clothes. I have to smile when I think about my Grandmother Clifton in Dalhart. She had sets of matching shoes, purse, and hat—bone and white for summer, black for winter, and navy was for anytime, I guess. But she was adamant you could not wear the bone or white colored shoes before Easter or after Labor Day. She wore hosiery,  a hat, and gloves to church. Her earrings and necklace matched. While that was the norm for women in the '50's, I am glad those days have gone by. 

“Ain’t nobody got time for dat!”                                                     —Sweet Brown

Then, you add in that I am now a “woman of a certain age” (which is just nicey-nice talk saying a woman is no longer young but is not REALLY old YET) and it becomes a real labrynth to find “my style”. Let’s be honest, some body parts just should not see the light of day after 50. That means short shorts are out, and we have to reel the neckline up on the tank tops. An armhole that stops that upper arm from looking like a spare parachute is nice, too. On the legs, factor in my 4 knee surgeries and waaay too many hours in the sun, and I am safe to just put on pants and call it a day.

I have actually gone back and created a style board for myself, and I have found a few things to pin. Mostly sporty looking stuff, that I will girly up by carrying my girly phone cover. Or maybe a fussy necklace.  On the Grammys the other night, they had a “shoe cam” where they had the celebrities show off their ridiculously expensive bunion makers. Chuck asked me at one point, “Did you see ANY shoes you liked” I just laughed at him. I have never seen anyone be able to walk with any grace at all in platform spikes-they all lurch along like Frankenstein.  The allure of them is lost on me.  But show me a cool pair of boots or running shoes, and I am all “ooooohhhhh, yeah”.

And so it is with a lot of “fashion”. My criteria is quite different than most women.  Does it fit?  Is it comfortable? Am I willing to pay that for it? Does this keep my muffin top from looking like a whole loaf?  If it meets these, it’s “my style”.  What's yours?






Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Bathrobe

Anyone who knows me well will tell you I am pretty thrifty when it comes to personal belongings.  I have always stowed away my decorative items for a while, only to pull them back out and use them again in a couple of years. I have always only kept one set of sheets for each bed, I wash them and put them back on.  I have cookware that I got as wedding gifts that I still use on a daily basis. I keep clothing and wear it until it is worn out.

This brings up my bathrobe. Just how worn out is worn out?  It is still a very plush blue velour, and is very snuggly (which is the most important requirement for a bathrobe). The only sign of wear is at the neck—from being hung on a hook in my closet. For 35-plus years. Ok, ok, I realize this might strike you as a bit odd, to keep something for that long—but I have to reiterate—it is still good!  It has always been able to perform its bathrobe duties-- covered me when I was cold, dried me when I was wet—it worked.  Since the styles don’t really change, I had not really put much thought into a new one. I ordered it from J.C. Penny’s in Dalhart from the catalog counter because I could get a “tall”, and I knew the sleeves would be long enough. I can’t remember the exact date, but I think around 1976. It’s a wonder it wasn’t avocado green instead of blue. Or had peace sign  or “Keep On Truckin” patches sewn on it.

So I start thinking about what this bathrobe has been through. It wrapped me as a newlywed on a cold winter’s night. It tried to cover all of me during my two pregnancies, but my baby belly peeped out the front.  It was a welcome comfort home after a couple of surgeries.  It has been dripped on, drug through, and dipped in almost everything imaginable. It has ventured outside on a few occasions, but I can honestly say it never took a car ride (I never was that robe-wearing mom driving her kids to school). It’s had a million food items on it—syrup, bacon grease, mayo, mustard, and for some odd reason, I always ended up with pancake batter on the sleeves. And yes, I dipped the belt in the toilet water more than once.


So I decided it was time to retire the old girl. She has stood with me, and done everything I have asked. I have replaced her with a cheery pink one, but it doesn’t feel as soft. The hubby said, “Now, you ARE going to get rid of the old one, aren’t you?” and I honestly had to take a breath before I said yes.  I am not a keeper, I donate pretty much anything I am not using, but I think he knew I would have a difficult time letting go of this old girl. How long will the pink one last? Who knows, but my money is on the fact that it will not even touch how long the blue one lasted. And yes, my money is also on the fact that the belt will get baptized in the toilet water.  





Sunday, January 26, 2014

'White Chili"--Turkey Green Chile Stew

I made a “white” chili this weekend that my husband said was “the best soup you have ever made”, to quote him. It WAS deeeee-licious, if I do say so myself.

GREEN CHILE TURKEY CHILI

2.5 lbs ground turkey
1 onion chopped
3 tbls cumin
1 tbls chili powder
3 tbls granulated garlic
2 tbls minced fresh garlic
1 tbls pepper
1 to 1 1/2 cups (yes, I said CUPS) minced Hatch green chile (frozen is best if you can’t get fresh roasted)
2 cans Great Northern Beans
2 cans cannellini beans
3 cans Navy Beans
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded
Tortilla chips
Cilantro (optional)

Brown turkey and drain well. Add onion and dry spices, stir often until onion is cooked.  Add chicken broth, water, green chilies, and fresh garlic- let simmer for 30 minutes.  While simmering, open one can of Navy beans. Puree in food processor or with stick blender, set aside for later.  Add the remaining 6 cans of beans, heat on super low  for at least one hour for flavors to blend. Just before serving, add in bean puree and heat through. Top with fresh chopped cilantro and Monterrey Jack cheese, serve with tortilla chips.
Makes a 5 1/2 qt. dutch oven full, serves 8-10.

I would rank the heat on this at a 6 out of 10, using the real deal roasted Hatch green chile. If using canned, you will not get the heat or the flavor. I recommend using frozen, like Bueno brand, and just add some and let simmer a few minutes for the oils to come out, and test until you get the heat index right for your tastes. You will also notice I did not add salt. The salt in the canned beans is adequate, as we are trying to cut back.

HAZARDOUS COMBUSTION WARNING! While this recipe had outstanding flavor, just the right spiciness, and looked gorgeous, there has to be a warning label. It is not recommended that you consume this before a long car trip, a first date, or a job interview. Let me put it this way: while you are making it, just hum to yourself that age-old little ditty:

Beans, beans, the musical fruit!  The more you eat, the more you….

Ok, you get the picture. You have been warned. And, I have to say, it is totally worth it.





Friday, January 17, 2014

TIME FOR A REVIEW. THERE WILL BE A TEST, CLASS....

I haven’t blogged in forever. It’s not that I gave it up, it’s just that life happens. We get caught up in the daily grind. I am a spontaneous writer—when I get an idea, I have to write it then, or it is lost. I have done some deep thinking this week as we have lost Chuck’s sister very unexpectedly with a brain aneursym. A little "life review", as it were.  First we lost his Dad, Ted, in August, then our brother-in-law Tom in October. They were both ill, which doesn’t make it any easier, but I had a little time to prepare myself for their passing. Christie’s passing was a shock. She was my age (which I prefer to think is not all that old), and in a blink she was gone. Looking back at her life made me look back at mine. What have I done in this life? Am I where I want to be? If I go tomorrow, what is my legacy?  With that in mind, I am laying out what I feel is important:

Love one another. Don’t judge one another. We are all just humping along, trying to get through this life the best way we know how. And yes, there are those out there who don’t share your beliefs, morals, hygiene, or (Lord help us) fashion sense.  Jesus tells us over and over to love them anyway, and it’s not your job to judge them. For the most part, it is useless to try to change anyone’s mind.  Just love them.

Smile. Be kind. You never know when that grouchy hateful person might just need one.  Help people who need helping. Open doors, carry a bag, whatever. Throw a wink in with that smile. Maybe that person will pass your kindness on. Or the smile.

Be accountable. I struggle with this one. There are always excuses,”the sun was in my eyes”,“the dog ate my homework” or“I was going to come over, but the ShamWow infomercial came on TV and I lost track of time”. If you screw up, own it.

Tell those closest to you that you care. Why is it that we tend to not tell our husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, children, parents, etc, that we love and treasure them? Like they should just know it? Does the fact that we are still hanging around picking up their shoes and cooking a meal once in awhile mean that we love them?  We all like to hear we are loved and valued.

Reach out to people. As you all know, I am a social networking fan. Facebook sucks up more of my time than it should, but I enjoy keeping up with friends. I don’t accept friend requests from someone I have not met. While I may not chat with all of them often, I love to look at their photos of their kids, grandkids, cats, dogs, and goofy videos.  I read their comments, "like" their posts, and watch their journey through life. I laugh at them, pray with them, and poke them occasionally. I post what is going on my end, and post all my random silly pictures and jokes in the hopes of giving away a few smiles—if I can make a couple of people laugh, I have done my job. Not everyone shares my twisted, wacky sense of humor, and if they get tired of my posts, they are welcome to unfollow me. If they disagree with my beliefs and lifestyle, they are welcome to unfriend me. Mostly, I have found people just like to complain about it, but they are still on Facebook looking at my crap.

Don't sweat the small stuff. Ask yourself, "will I remember this in 5 years?" If the answer is no, cut it loose. Mop up the mess, wipe yourself off, and get back to it. Life's too short to nitpick.

Listen to some music. Whatever your preference is, it soothes us, lifts our mood, and for me, takes me to places only music can. Get up and dance once in a while. It is a real stress reliever, and in my case, provides comic relief to anyone close by.

Take care of yourself. Remember that we are not bodies that have souls, we are souls that have bodies. Our body has to carry us through this life, and our soul carries on through the next one. Nourish both.

For me, I try to approach life like I do driving--with reckless abandon.  Peace, friends.