Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sunday Favorites- Do You Cook Like Your Mother Did?

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you're all enjoying this weekend. Wanted to share with everyone for Sunday Favorites a post that I wrote on August 1, 2009 about cooking and mothers, especially my mother. Hope you enjoy it and have a great Sunday! Please go over to visit Chari at Happy to Design and see what other favorites posts you might have missed!

Sharing a Favorite Post
August 1, 2009

Had an interesting and thought provoking conversation with my mother this morning. We were watching the Food Network and one of the cooks was making a homemade pizza. She started out by rolling out a frozen, store bought pizza crust and forming it into the pan. Where by, my mom says, "That's not cooking! She's using store bought pizza crust!"

I've been thinking about this because I love the Food Network and I wondered if all our mothers feel that way about our cooking since many of us working, single or not single moms don't have a ton of time to spend in the kitchen making things from scratch.

About a month ago, I told my mom I was going to make some chili beans. My son and daughter love my home made chili beans and they're also a big hit with my son's friends during Super Bowl Sunday!

I was getting my ingredients together while my mom watched and she asked if I wanted her to make the chili for the beans. I told her, "Nope! It's easy mom, see this little packet? It's Taco Bell seasoning." She said, "What's that for?" I told her it was the seasoning for the meat. I then pulled out two big cans of canned beans, one pinto and also a can of white beans. Again she said, "What's that for?" So I told her those were the beans I use. "You don't cook your own beans???" my mom asked in shock! "No mom, I don't make my own beans. I don't have time to sit at home all day waiting for beans!"

Now I know that you can put beans on to cook in a crock pot all day. My sister does this. But we don't eat many beans. It's just my son and me. So opening a can of beans is good enough for us. So I made the chili beans and while they were stewing I pulled out a box mix of corn bread. Well I won't even tell you what my mom said then! But of course she was in shock! Corn bread from a box?

Once my homemade chili beans and corn bread were done, my mom tasted them and said they were good, for beans from a can with Taco Bell Seasoning and hamburger meat in them!

When my mom makes chili beans, she makes beans fresh in a pot. She cleans them and puts them to boil. Throughout the day she boils water and will only add boiling hot water when more water is needed so that the beans don't get dark and they stay light and pretty. I have to admit, it works. My mom's beans are beautiful. I can remember her making beans like this since I was a little girl and I remember always having to replace water in the bean pot with boiling water.

Mom also makes her own chili for the beans. She takes dried New Mexico Chile's. She likes those as she says the New Mexico ones are a bit more flavorful and a little more spicy than the others. She takes the dried Chile's and cuts off the stem, slits them down the middle, cleans out the seeds and puts them in a pot with boiling water and blanches them for a bit. Then she puts them in the blender with a few cloves of fresh garlic and various other spices. I have no clue what they are. She puts some of the hot water that is left from boiling the Chile's and grinds them all up into the sauce.

She then browns her ground beef, adds fresh beans and the Chile sauce she's ground up in the blender and adds more salt and other seasonings to taste and lets them boil so the flavors all come together. Let me tell you. . . they are mmmmmmmmmmmm, wonderful. I love my mom's beans and when she's invited to a potluck her beans are what people request that she bring.

And when she goes to all that trouble to make chili beans she also makes these small breads we grew up calling "panecitos". They're small round bread that's made like tortilla's except they are not rolled out flat like tortillas but are left about the size of a hamburger bun. When the weather gets cooler and my kitchen is not 140 degrees I will do a blog of my mom making panecitos. Remind me!

And that is why my mom says my chili beans are not home made! Hers, in her eyes are homemade! So I thought about this all for awhile and then asked my mom what her mom would have said if she had been invited to dinner and my mom had made homemade Chili Colorado and beans and then she had pulled out a package of store bought tortillas? Wouldn't her mom have commented on why my mom didn't make homemade tortillas and not store bought? And trust me, we know how to make homemade tortillas.

I then told my mom that someday, my daughter and my nieces will watch their daughters put a small pill into a bowl of water and it will automatically turn into chili beans and then I will make fun of them and talk on and on about my homemade chili beans with Taco Bell seasoning and canned beans!

I guess my point is that no one cooks like mom cooks. Homemade like moms made in the 40's, 50's or 60's or homemade like my sister and I cook our children, it's mom's food and nothing tops that!

What do you make that your mom would tease you about if you called it homemade?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Memory

There are going to be lots of Easter Egg Hunts tomorrow. Lot's of little boys and girls all dressed up for Easter running around with their loving parents behind them with cameras and video recorders running. Wonderful memories will be made tomorrow, chocolate eggs, plastic eggs filled with candy and/or money, confetti eggs being cracked on the heads of loved ones...good times.

I've always loved Easter Egg Hunts even though I have never been very good at them. I remember when I was smaller all my cousins would find tons of eggs and I might have one or two.

I will always remember one Easter when we lived in Arizona and we were hunting eggs with all my cousins on the Bruce Church Ranch where we lived. There was a line of mailboxes, about 12 of them and there was an egg hidden in each one.

My dad whispered in my ear "Go look in the mailbox" because he knew what a lousy little egg gatherer I was. I ran to the first one, opened it and JOY...there was a bright beautiful egg. I grabbed it, put it in my basket and ran back to my daddy. Then I turned around to look for more and I saw my cousin Elpedia run and open each mailbox and there was an egg in each one. I burst into tears!

My dad knew that I was again...a lousy little egg gatherer so he told me not to worry and went to the car and brought out a bag full of Easter candy for me. Nothing soothes having an Easter basket empty of colored Easter eggs than filling it with lovely Easter candy!

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Books...Books...and more Books

I've finally had a spare moment to update my Books Read in 2011 list which shows at the very bottom of this page on the sidebar to the right. So far I've read seven books and am more than halfway through number eight.

It seems like I've been a big fan of Jodi Picoult this year. I've always loved this author. She has such a unique way of weaving a story and emphasizing the thoughts of each character. There is never a disappointment in picking up one of her books.

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult is a story of two sisters. One sister, the oldest is very ill with leukemia. The other sister was conceived specifically to provide blood from her birth cord in hopes of helping the older sister to go into remission. Jodi makes you stop and think from all the different viewpoints on whether genetically engineering a child just to save another child is right or wrong, then she ends the story with an unexpected twist. You won't be able to put this one down until you read the very last word! Trust me.

This book was also made into a movie, but the book is so much better than the movie. Aren't they usually? A movie can't do a book justice.

Mercy also by Jodi Picoult really made me mad while I was reading it! One of the main characters, a man is having an affair and when Jodi gets into his head and you actually understand how he feels about his wife and his mistress...well it just makes your blood boil!!!

But the main point of the book is mercy killing. A man kills his wife who is suffering from cancer. Is mercy killing right or wrong? Would you watch someone you love suffer and not do anything to alleviate that suffering when they beg you to end their life? Again, Jodi makes you stop and think.

Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult is another wonderful, powerful book. In this one Jodi tells the story of a little girl traumatized by the ending of her parents marriage due to the father being unfaithful. The little girl, Faith starts talking to God and sees God and has the power to heal, even bringing her grandmother back from death just minutes after being declared legally dead!

One of the main characters in this story is a man who is kind of like a televangelist in reverse. Instead of preaching the Word of the Lord to the masses, he's an atheist to has made it his goal in life to provide proof to discount stories of faith healing and spiritual visions. Is this child really talking to God, can she really heal or is it all a coping mechanism to help her deal with the divorce of her parents? Or maybe the child is simply seeking attention and knows the way to keep the focus on her? You decide, I'm still not sure.

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks was pretty good as well. It has a twist in it that I wasn't expecting. At first I just thought it was a happy-happy feel good book about boy meets girl and they fall in love, but it's actually more than that.

Nicholas Sparks is the author that wrote the book The Notebook which was made into a movie starring James Garner and Gena Rowlands and Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. This movie makes me cry every single time. It's heart wrenching. The Choice will get to you the same way, they should make this book into a movie. I love movies that make me cry!

The English Patient I read because the movie was nominated for so many Academy Awards. Honestly...I didn't like this book at all, mainly because I didn't understand it. I even rented the movie to see if it would help me to understand the book better, I wasn't impressed. Maybe it's just me, maybe the book and the movie was "too deep" for my understanding, but I wouldn't recommend this one at all.

Have you read it? What did you think of it? Would you recommend it?

John Grisham...what can I say, I love him. I love everything he writes. He's the male version of Jodi Picoult, only different. I had read A Painted House many years ago but had forgotten the story. I'm glad I re-read it because I really enjoyed it.

John Grisham usually writes courtroom drama and I love those types of books, but this one was very different. This book was inspired by Grisham's own childhood and tells the story of a young boy growing up in rural Arkansas in the 1950's. The boy, Luke Chandler lives in a small unpainted house with his parents and grandparents. Luke witnesses many secrets that cotton season. Luke loses his childhood innocence and in the end his mother and father take him away from the farm and a certain  life of struggle and hopelessness.

And last but not least, one of my very favorite stories whether in book form or in movie form. I love The Princess Bride!

The Princess Bride is the tale of Princess Buttercup and her beloved Wesley, aka The Dread Pirate Roberts. This story has everything, adventure, murder, a Spanish swordsman, a six-fingered man, a gentle giant, an evil Sicilian, Prince Humperdinck, Miracle Max and his wife the Witch.

If I were to be asked if there is one book that every person must read; one movie that every person must see it would have to be this one. I've even mentioned this book to men and had them quote passages from the movie to me! A wonderful story that I can read and watch again and again! I highly recommend it!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I've been A.W.O.L.

So I've pretty much been absent from my little blog here. I've had the "blahs" I'm afraid. Just personal things going on that for a while now have brought my spirits down and left me with nothing but ugly, negative things in my head. Today I'm feeling a little more myself and I felt like blogging about random things because this is off the cuff, not planned or anything.

First random thought is that even though I've had the blues I've kept up with my low-carb, high-protein diet. Have I lost anymore weight? Well ...NO. But I haven't gained any either (always keeping that glass half-full over here). I have a feeling tomorrow when I weigh in I'll have lost a bit as I feel lighter, but if not, it's ok cause I know I won't cheat or revert back to my old eating habits!

Second random thought ties in with the first one. Because I have lost weight the clothing I was wearing was starting to look sloppy because it was WAY TOO BIG. Can I get a "hallelujah"? No you know what...lets all sing it, c'mon, a little sing along to lift our spirits! I've even provided the words.

See...don't you feel better now. I hope you sang that at the top of your lungs cause remember. . .

Work like you don't need the money.
Love like you've never been hurt.
Dance like no-one's watching.
Sing like no-one's listening.
Live like there's no tomorrow.
Fear like a stone.

Back to my too-big clothing. This past weekend I did what my mom loves to do. I took her thrifting. I can remember back in the old days when I used to go thrifting and I would buy all kinds of cute little nick-nacks and things for my home; dishes, cups, picture frames and assorted what-nots. But my little house is fair to bursting with stuff & I've promised myself for over a year now that I won't buy any more little treasures until I have a yard sale and clean out my garage.

I did however browse the clothing aisles and I found several items. For about $30 I scored 5 pairs of dress pants, 1 pair of capri pants and 5 blouses that can be worn to work. I'm wearing one now in fact! I know it's going to be hard to keep replacing my wardrobe as I continue to lose weight, so thrifting is perfect for me! I have new clothes (new to me) and at a fraction of the price. Aren't you proud of me?

Third random thought is this little item here:

Have any of you used this product before? I LOVE it! I am prone to oily skin but as I love to wear makeup I had a hard time wiping the oiliness off without removing the makeup as well and ending up at the end of the day as this bland, colorless, beige person. Now, thanks to these, I just gently blot the oiliness away and it really does not smudge or remove makeup!!! You all have got to try these. (Thanks April for turning me on to these little gems!)

And one more little thing...because I'm being better at what I eat I realize I need to drink more water. Problem is, I hate water...Yuk! I mean I can drink it if I have to, or if I get thirsty, but I was lucky if I would drink 16 ounces in a week! Now I'm drinking water like its going out of style and these are the reason why.

Have you guys tried these??? I love them, especially the Wild Strawberry flavor! Ok, so that's all the random thoughts I have for today. I hope to begin my little blogging adventure again in the next few days as I still have things to share from my trip to Sacramento and I have a couple of book reviews and stuff. I also haven't done an Iwanna Wednesday in a while and I miss them.
Thanks for sticking by me. I know many of you continue to come check to see if I've posted anything new and I appreciate it. Hugs to all of you my friends, family, followers and readers!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bark for Life - American Cancer Society

Today my daughter April and I joined the American Cancer Society 1st Annual "Bark for Life" walk and I think it was a big success and if I get the chance I'll definitely do it again next year!

There were so many beautiful dogs there and dog people are just the nicest bunch of people ever! The walk was held at Yokuts Park which sits on the edge of the mighty Kern River. In this first mosaic I put a couple of pictures of the river. It's really full and flowing right now because of all the rain and run-off from the snow in the mountains. It was a beautiful, sunny, windy spring day. I even got a little bit of a sunburn!

Here's Chorizo and me in the top right and April and Chorizo in the bottom left.

Chorizo took third prize in the costume contest. She was dressed as a Sundae...a Chorizo Sundae! Here's some random pictures of all the people and their doggies!

It was a lot of fun and hopefully there was a lot of money raised!

Please visit all the other mosaics by clicking HERE and visiting Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday!

Also linking up to Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday.