Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Momma's Heart

New Year's Day morning I was enjoying a quiet moment in the kitchen while making a cup of tea when I heard footsteps on the stairs.   Any of you who have a two story home and children know,  footsteps on the stairs can warn you as to what is ahead...A sleepy, not ready to start my day child, or a "I'm in a hurry because I forgot something or am late" child, or a "you aren't going to believe THIS" child, or, as these footsteps warned me, "I have some horrible news to tell you" child. 

A friend lost her small child in an tragic accident the previous day.  My heart was immediately broken and I cried out "NO!" as the truth sank in...the little one was gone too soon.  Then, my heart found comfort when I told myself, instant death means instant heaven.  Still, all week I have been struggling with the fact that this sweet family will not have that precious little one to hold, their lives are forever changed.   In days past, this friend and I would have most likely lost touch when she moved away from the town where we both once lived to pursue more education and then got married, and began her family.  Technology has allowed us, instead, to keep in touch and for me to "watch" as she announced her pregnancy, birth, and then each birthday of her little one.  So, even though I never actually met this sweet child I feel as though I was blessed to see so much that normally I would have missed.  This child LIVED!  I amazed as I look through pictures and watch a video that have been added by the family at how many adventures such a wee one could enjoy.  Obviously, the momma and daddy have embraced parenting and are training up their children in a way to be admired.  As these types of events usually do, it has caused me to examine my own parenting.  Although my children are adults, my momma's heart was reminded to be present as much as I possibly can.  Life IS short and we know not what tomorrow holds. 

In preparing for my preschool class Sunday school lesson (I teach 4 and 5 year olds) I was researching and stumbled upon a blog.  I wish now I could remember the name of the blog as I do always want to give credit where credit is do but since the author's name is attached I think it is right to share this.  It made me stop and think of each child I am blessed to have in my life and the responsibility I have to each them.  I hope it speaks to you as it did to me.  It is my prayer that these my friend and her husband know deep in their hearts that they did outstanding with their "thirty seconds".

"What can we do with thirty seconds? What can we not do with thirty seconds!... [Suppose] your little child looks out the window and sees a collie. 'What's that?' he asks you. You have five options, which will each take about thirty seconds to make stick:

1. We can tell him, "Look, baby, Mommy has to get dinner."
2. We can tell him, "That's a bow-wow."
3. We can tell him, "That's a dog."
4. We can tell him, "That's a dog called a collie."
The fifth option is to tell him that it is a dog called a collie and then go on to tell him thirty seconds worth of information about that animal...

How sad it is that we put information into a computer with great skill and great precision and put information into our children's brains in a hit-or-miss, slip-shod, and often untruthful way."

-Glenn Doman

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Years Eve fiesta with a Southern twist

Our family spent New Years Eve in our usual way...safely at home.  I was going to say "quietly and safely at home" but that wouldn't be accurate as we actually brought 2013 in with a BANG!  More about that in a minute. 

I decided to make enchiladas for dinner and added a couple of dishes that have a decidedly Southern twist.  After posting some pictures to Facebook and Instagram I had several requests for my recipes so just thought I would post them here for all to enjoy. 


This is my twist on a recipe I found in The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook for Simple, Perfect Enchiladas.  (pages 176-178)

 The Sauce
2 tablespoons Canola oil, in a pinch I have used Olive and Vegetable oil but Canola is best.
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large cans (28 oz each can) of enchilada sauce
3 cans chicken stock or chicken broth
salt and pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped

Make a rue over medium heat using the flour and oil.  Whisk together and bring to a full bubble for 5 minutes, whisking constantly.  Add in the enchilada sauce, chicken stock, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  I allow this to simmer while I prepare the filling.  Be sure to stir often.

Beef Filling
2 pounds ground beef, cooked and well seasoned with salt & black pepper.  This is a great time to use up those bags of frozen left over ground beef from tacos or other recipes.  I always tend to make more than I need and freeze what is left over so I may or may not use more than 2 pounds.  I really just eye it.  Drain off all fat.  Add 1 chopped up medium sized onion, 2 large cans of green chilies ( I think they were 10 oz cans),  a lot of fresh garlic...about 4 tablespoons, and a good dash of cumin and Cayenne pepper.  Cook all together til the onion is transparent. 

I use corn, not flour.  I buy the big bags at Sam's Club and just make the enchiladas until I run out of sauce.  Or sometimes I run out of filling first.  Other times, I just make enough for the 4 of us and freeze the left over sauce and filling for a different time.  Just do what works best for you!
In order to roll the enchiladas you have to heat the tortillas first.  I do this by layering 10 in a paper towel and microwaving for about 30 seconds.  You can also fry them in oil until soft and flexible but this is time consuming and I don't think the flavor changes either way so I use the fast method. 

I use A LOT...a whole lot!  I bought a big bag (8 cups)  of shredded Co Jack and another of Sharp Cheddar (4 cups). I mixed them up in a big bowl then divided that into a smaller bowl so that just in case I didn't use all the cheese my cheese and sauce wouldn't mingle.  This is a messy dish!

Assemble and Bake
Use a 9X13 baking dish (or bigger if you have one). Spread a little sauce in the bottom.  Now, is the messy part!  Grab a warm shell, put some meat filling in using a large spoon (or do like I do, use your hands), cover with cheese, and roll.  Place in baking dish with the folded side down.  Sometimes I even spread a little sour cream over the meat before I cover with cheese.  Continue until you have made all the enchiladas you and your family can eat.    For cheese enchiladas skip the meat mixture and use double the cheese as the filling.  I bake the all cheese variety in a different dish. I used 3 baking dishes last night.  Once you have filled a baking dish, pour some sauce over the tops (use a little or a lot, it's up to you) and sprinkle with more shredded cheese.  Cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes. 

With more cilantro, black olives, and green onion if that is what you like.  I leave mine family prefers them that way. 

Right away with sour cream, salsa, and any side dishes you enjoy. 

whew!  Typing all that out took almost as long as making them!  I hope you enjoy!

Now, for the Southern twist!  Superman has very few "rules" but one of them is that our family must have black eyed peas(BEP) on New Year's Day (NYD).  My family never ate them so after we married I would choke down one to make him happy each NYD.  My daughters did the same once they were old enough to eat them. Or they fed them to our doggies. Anyway, after we moved to NC I ate some at a church function ( I AM trying to embrace the Southern culture/way of eating) and they were AmAzIng!  So, I have made them each year since using dried peas and a ham hock and found I like them!  I guess the canned black eyed peas heated just didn't do this bean justice!  This year, I found 2 ideas on The Pioneer Woman's blog and decided to add them to our Fiesta!  I know what you are thinking, but you made those on New Year's EVE not DAY.  Yes, but I made so much that I wouldn't have to cook on NYD and we would still be able to eat our BEP AND Superman would be Happy! Win, Win!

Hot Black Eyed Pea Dip I made exactly as the recipe called for so I won't post the entire recipe, just a pic of mine.  You can visit The Pioneer Woman and make it next time you are looking for a great dip!

Black Eyed Pea Salsa 
For this, I found several on Pinterest and on The Pioneer Woman so I made mine using those as examples.

1/2 cup canola Oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
fresh ground pepper

6 stalks celery, chopped in small bits
1 bunch of green onions, chopped in small bits
1 whole red bell pepper, the whole thing chopped in small bits
2 whole jalapenos, seeded and chopped in small bits
1 heaping cup of chopped cilantro
2 cans black eyed peas, drained

Mix the dressing. I used my Measure, Mix, and Pour from the Pampered Chef.  It worked great!  Mix the veggies in a bowl.  Pour the dressing over and stir gently.  Place in fridge for about an hour or til chilled.  Serve with chips.  YUMMMY and colorful!

We discovered these chips when the grocery was out of our favorite Hint Of Lime and have to say, we think these are delish! Full of flavor!

Superman ran an errand while I was cooking and brought home some fun with a BANG!  Hopefully, we didn't wake the neighbors with the fun but weren't they pretty?! Superman says, "sometimes it is easier to ask for forgivness than to ask for permission"  ;)

Ally and Mary Lou were the only two who weren't camera shy this year.

Happy New Year to you and yours!  May 2013 be a Year of Increase for you and your family!

How did you celebrate the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013?  Be sure to leave me a comment, I love to read each of them!