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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rummy, what a game!

After my mother arrived I dug out the cards so we could play rummy, a game that she dearly loves...and I don't. There was a time when I thought I must have some sort of deficiency, because I just really don't like rummy. It irritates me most of the time; I feel like a praying mantis sitting there waiting for the right card, drawing one at a time, looking all over the table to see if I can play a card on something, hoping that the queen of diamonds will show up, because I have the king and the ace. Then Mom eases THREE QUEENS (including the queen of diamonds) onto the table, and there goes my plan. I am sitting there with a fifteen cent ace and a worthless king, so then I have to hope the 2 of diamonds will show. Of course, it doesn't, and I have to come up with another plan with a 6 of spades, 4 of hearts, 9 of clubs, 8 of hearts, jack of clubs, and so on. This is just way too SLOW for me; it reminds me of shelling black-eyed peas--the world is spinning off without me, leaving me sitting there doing one pea at a time. I like action--spades, hearts, something fast. Today I decided not loving rummy has something to do with personality types--maybe there isn't something terribly wrong with me after all. Even though I can't find anything about personality and card games, it makes sense that there is something to it. This is a good project for the government to use some of their stimulus money for, and why hasn't that illustrious bunch of bureaucrats we have in Washington thought of it? On a more sensible note, I do think rummy is for the high green and gold personalities, and that is not me. Happy New Year, and may the effects of the blue moon on students have waned by Monday.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas happenings.

Merry Christmas, ya'll! I really love Christmas, and feel a little sad when it is over. My tree, with all sorts of ornaments, will stay up for a while. This tree would never be found in the pages of "one of those magazines;" it's a hodge-podge of everything. Here is a decoration that son Roberto made when he was in the third grade, and a little memento that the Farmer's Wife sent for Valentine's Day one year. Memories are what are hanging on my tree.
Mom got a new pair of fleece lined slippers. She was surprised, so apparently she didn't peek. I don't remember how old I was--probably about a fifth grader, when I slipped out of bed undetected, and opened every present under the tree. Somehow I managed to get them all wrapped up again, taped back together well enough so no one suspected a thing the next morning. It must have taken great skill in stealth and small motor skills, because we lived in a small house with squeaky floors making it hard to slip anything past my folks, who seemed to be awake 24/7, with eyes in the back of their heads. The next morning wasn't any fun for me, and I have never peeked in another present since that day.
My tree skirt will be ready for next year. It was a mess up that I just didn't want to tackle until I had time. I saw something similar in a pricey catalog, and decided, "I can do that!" Just remember the points have to have the curve cut inward so it will fit the circle.
I tried my hand at a new Mexican dish called, "asado." One of my students wrote a recipe for me several years ago, and then I got another one from somewhere, so between Jacoby and the other recipe, I got it done. You start with about a 3 pound pork roast, and cube it.
One recipe called for 10 cloves of garlic. Jacoby says you need a sack of peppers, and the other recipe called for ancho peppers, but I just used the long red ones that are in nearly every grocery store. Rehydrate the peppers by soaking them in boiling water, then blend the devil out of them with a cup of hot water (or more, depending on how many pepper you use). Here is how the pepper paste looked.
You brown the meat with the crushed garlic, and other spices, then simmer the meat with the pepper paste for a couple of hours until the meat is tender. Make some tortillas, salad, and if you put the beans on early you should have a nice, interesting, early supper ready to enjoy! These peppers are spicy, but not hot. If you want to heat the dish up, add the chipped red pepper or just eat some jalapeno with the dish.
So here you can see how supper looked--gringo style!


16 dried ancho chilies

10 cloves of garlic, crushed

3 pounds of pork roast cubed

3 T lard or olive oil

1/2 medium onion, diced

1/2 C cilantro

2 tsp. Mexican oregano (or regular)

salt and pepper


1. Take the chilies and remove stems and seeds (can reserve seeds to spice up the asado later). Place chilies in a large bowl, pour warm water over them, and then add two crushed cloves of garlic, and 1 tsp. salt. Soak for 8 hours or overnight.

2. Throw the soaking water away (it will be bitter), and blend with 1/2 C water. Puree until a thick paste is formed. It should be about 4 C thick paste.

3. In a saucepan, saute on medium heat the diced onion until they start to almost brown. Add the remaining 8 cloves of crushed garlic, and cook for one more minute. Add the chili paste, 1 C of water, the cilantro, oregano, salt and pepper.

4. Cook chili sauce on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not be upset if it heaves and bubbles violently.

5. Generously salt and pepper the pork, and brown in olive oil on all sides. You may have to do it in batches.

6. Add the chili sauce, and cook on low heat (covered) for about 2 hours, adding water if necessary.

Choosing dried chilies. They should be pliable like raisins. If they are brittle and crumbly, they are old and not worth anything. Happy cooking!
My exercise program has gone out the window. Would you believe that in the past three or four days I have averaged about 3 miles a day, even though I have worked like I was fighting fire to get all the cooking done. Just goes to show that doing dishes and stirring pots doesn't take many steps!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

La Esparanza and more

Last week I took my shopping day in Odessa. That's right, a shopping day on Monday--a school day. Our superintendent, bless her heart, understands how crowded the stores are on the weekends, and that is the only time school people have to shop, since we live a "fer piece" from Midland or Odessa, so she came up with the idea of a "shopping day." We trade days with someone who is not in the classroom. I traded with the librarian, and my kids just went to the library to work on their assignments. I had lunch with my son, Roberto, and of course, we ate at a Mexican cafe he has discovered--La Esparanza. It has some really good hot sauce, just the left side of painful with really good flavor. Odessa has some real good Tex-Mex, and they don't cut the heat!
My mother arrived yesterday (Saturday), in fine shape, no worse for wear. In fact she enjoyed her flight, and talked to some interesting people on the way. One young man was going home to McCamey, Texas from his job with wind turbines. He said he was ready for some good Mexican food. After church today, we decided we would try a little McCamey Mexican fare. Everything starts with chips and hot sauce. The cook must not have been very mad today, because it was rather mild. The madder the cook, the hotter the sauce!
Mom ordered enchiladas with red sauce, and said they were good, but it was more than she could eat! That cafe is used to feeding men, and men want lots of food for their money. It is Christmas break, and I am looking forward to reading, cooking some healthy low-calorie food, and throwing in a few new recipes, which I will be sure to blog. So, tune in again. Maybe you will see something unusual. I hope your week before Christmas is filled with joy, and lots of friends and family.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Helen Corbitt and Fit or Fat?

It has been a week of losing ground. I have now successfully gained another pound after starting a conservative jogging program, and completing The New Fit or Fat book! It has also been a week of sitting on my rump doing lots of school work. I have a student who is taking biology via Odyssey Ware, and the counselor informed me that he had to been done with it by the end of the semester, because he has to take speech in the classroom. This is good news and bad news! Pushing a special ed. kid through a year's course in one semester requires lots of work on my part, but next semester he will be in the speech teacher's room having fun giving speeches about whatever he likes, and they won't be about biology! I have about a ream of paper sitting over on the counter waiting for me to read, highlight and write the page where the answers can be found, but instead I am telling you about the fun I am having. I ordered a new cookbook--The Best from Helen Corbitt's Kitchens, and did manage to read a little in it last night. I have three of her cookbooks now, and love to read the recipes--in fact she is my cooking hero. I have even bought the brandy for some of the recipes, so when Grandma gets here, occasionally I will try out a special dish, or maybe we will just drink the brandy. Helen Corbitt, a red headed Irish girl, was born in New York in 1906, graduated Skidmore College, B.S. Home Economics and worked as a hospital dietitian. She quit the job eventually and started looking for a more creative outlet. This was during the depression; jobs were scarce, and the only thing she could find was teaching quantity cooking and tea room management in Austin, Texas! Helen said,"Who the hell wants to go to Texas? 'Only I didn't say hell in those day. I learned to swear in Texas, and to tell a cockroach from a scorpion.'" As soon as I get this biology over with I am going to try some of her recipes, and tell you more. It's time for breakfast. I am starving.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Desert Snow

I got up at 4:45 a.m. to jog. That's right, Rosie is planning to start a new fat burning program. I am re-reading Covert Bailey's book called The New Fit or Fat, and have decided that all my fat burning enzymes have gone to sleep or have shrunk to the point that I will continue to gain even by looking at a pie (of course, I rarely just look), so I am going to follow Mr. Bailey's advice to get 12 minutes of aerobic exercise, which is supposed to enhance the development of fat burning enzymes in my bloated cells. He says you have to have at least 12 minutes of exercise at the target heart rate in order to stimulate the growth of these enzymes. Here is how to calculate the target--220 minus your age multiplied by .65 to .8. When I went out at 5:00, I was so surprised to see about 1 1/2 inches of fresh snow on the ground. About 6:15 the recorded call from the superintendent came through--no school! Yes, I know, you Montana people are stunned, but this district will not take a chance on running a bus on snow pack. If the bus kids aren't here our average daily attendance is hurt terribly, money is lost, so we just don't have school. Anyway, I have walked three times today, and am going to get the Christmas tree up as soon as I get off the computer. It is amazing how fast time evaporates--and I thought I had "all day" to get everything done! Actually, it's time for coffee now, and do the tree later. Wish you were all here so we could have a cup together. Have a blessed day!