Monday, September 27, 2010

Daybook, 9/27/10

Outside my window... it is gray and chilly. One of our maple trees is bright red. The rest of them are pretending it's summer for a little longer.

I am thinking... that I am looking forward to my evening alone. Roger teaches a class on Monday nights, so I have a four hour block of "free" time. That mystery novel is calling my name...or maybe I'll crochet...

I am thankful for... grocery prices in this area. I recently had a Facebook chat with a young mom I know in New Orleans, and she is paying twice what I am for milk, hamburger, all kinds of things.

From the kitchen... grilled chicken quesadillas. The chicken is from a whole "beer can" chicken we did several weeks ago; I always cut up and freeze any leftovers. Grate a little cheese, get out the salsa and sour cream, and dinner is easy. Bonus today: I also have leftover guacamole. Yum!

I am wearing... tan pants, a pink Tshirt and socks, black walking shoes, and a pink sweatshirt! Three days ago it was 88 degrees here.

I am creating... menu plans and a grocery list. I have to keep revamping the menu plans, because until I learn to cook for just two again, we have been having more leftovers to deal with. I think I'm cooking one dinner, and it turns into two. Or three.

I am Bible study tomorrow, and then to the library to pick up the book they're holding for me. But I only have five other books out right now, and I'm almost done with one of them. I think this is a 2010 record low!

I am reading... The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove by Cathy Erway. It's not quite what I was expecting, but she's a good writer and I'm enjoying it.

I am hoping... that my van doesn't have anything seriously wrong with it. It was making "funny noises" --which stopped-- on Saturday, so we are going to have our mechanic check it. Meanwhile, I am driving it around town as usual.

I am hearing... sizzles from the griddle. When your computer is in the kitchen, you can cook and blog at the same time.

Around the house... things stay much tidier with no kids at home. I think it's funny that this comes as somewhat of a shock to me.

A few plans for the rest of the week: apple picking on Thursday, if the weather cooperates. This is another area where I need to scale back, or I'll wind up with enough apples for three households. And two of them have done their own apple picking... But there will be apple pie for dinner.

Words I'm pondering : My mother taught third grade through all of my growing up, and every year I helped her ready the bulletin boards in her classroom for the first day of school. This always went on the biggest one at the back, suitably illustrated.

Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)


The golden-rod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.

The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest,
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook,

From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing....
This is a view out over the Pennsylvania valley I grew up in, taken from a mountain vantage point that I could see from my back porch. I think I'm homesick, a little, every fall.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tasty Tuesday -- Tex-Mex Stuffed Peppers

This is the first Tasty Tuesday post where I wish I had/could use a camera to document the recipe. It's also the first recipe I've posted that's really "mine" as opposed to an adaptation or credited pass through. But we had it for dinner last night, and it was too good not to share!

Tex-Mex Stuffed Peppers (serves 6-8)

(This is not a version of the classic Mexican Chiles Rellenos, but a south-of-the-border take on the one-dish meal Mom used to make.)

The Peppers:
6 large dark green fresh poblano peppers --
choose "fat" ones if possible. People who aren't used to much spice can use small green bell peppers. But the poblanos are much tastier

For the filling:
1# ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 pkg taco seasoning
(or whatever you normally use to season tacos)
1 cup raw rice
1 t. salt
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
(heat lovers can use a drained can of Ro-Tel)

For the topping:
1 cup (4 ounces) cheese, shredded
( PLEASE shred the cheese yourself. And it should be something that will melt, like queso chihuahua, Monterey jack, or cheddar)
1 cup crushed plain tortilla chips, like Tostitos

To cook:
1 cup salsa or picante sauce.
Your choice of heat, but the sauce should be runny rather than chunky.


1. Wash the poblanos, then broil them whole 3-4 inches from the heat. Turn them often with tongs until they are blistered and lightly browned over most of their surface. Remove them from the oven and place them in a gallon-sized zipper bag, close the bag, and let them steam for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.

2. Combine the meat and onion in a large skillet that has a tight-fitting lid. Cook over medium heat until the meat is browned and the onion is soft. Drain any fat. To the meat and onion, add the taco-seasoning mix (dry), rice, salt, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat (stirring a few times.) Give a final stir, cover, turn the heat as low as possible, and do not peek for 20 minutes. When the time is up and water is absorbed, remove from the heat and stir in the tomatoes.

3. During the 20 minutes you are not peeking at the rice, clean the peppers. With your fingers or paper towels, pull off the loosened skin. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise (from stem to tip) trying to get the halves deeper rather than flatter. Carefully trim out the stems, and remove and discard the seeds and any pith. Lightly rinse and drain the pepper halves.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour the salsa or picante sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. (Glass is pretty, but metal is fine.) Shake the pan so the sauce covers the whole bottom. When the filling is cool enough to handle, fill each pepper half with the mixture, rounding it up as much as needed. Place halves alternately (thin end, then fat end...) in the prepared dish, setting them on the salsa. Carefully mound any extra filling evenly on the pepper halves. Top each with cheese, then with crushed chips. Cover with foil. ( At this point they may be refrigerated up to 24 hours. Increase baking time to 45-60 minutes) Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, uncovering for the last ten minutes, until filling is hot, cheese is bubbly, and crumbs are slightly browned. Serve with sour cream.

OH, yeah: As you would any time you work with hot peppers, PLEASE wash your hands thoroughly with soap after touching them.
Or you might regret it when you rub your eye. I'm just saying...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Word and Question 4 (aka The Poetry Game)

Although this meme began at Shredded Cheddar, this month it's being hosted by Crosses and Cradles. Head on over there and follow the links in the comments for the other participants. And be nice.... next month I'm hosting it here!

Word: month

Question: Is your fate made of paper?

Sometimes I wonder who planned them,
These foothills and mountains of paper:
Records of birth and of marriage,
Taxes and grades and insurance.

Daily, it seems, piles grow higher;
Bank statements, pizza ads, fliers.
Month after month they keep coming--
Bills, and requests for donations.

Someday we all will escape them
When in the grave we are lying.
But then our heirs will be burdened
With more papers, proof of our dying!

(I really struggled with the punctuation for this, and would love advice on how that can be improved. Of course I might not take it!)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Daybook -- 9/15/10

Outside my window... it's starting to be dusk. At 7:15 PM. But then fall starts officially next week.

I am thinking... that when I am done with this post I am going to go and take a hot bath. For some reason my joints and muscles are extra-stiff today.

I am thankful for...
the internet. In the last 48 hours I have video-chatted with Kelson in Florida, Google-voice talked to Brandon in California, and Twitter-followed them AND my other children, sometimes laughing, sometimes praying. But always happy to be in touch.

From the kitchen... "corn man" corn, tomatoes, and marinated cucumbers. The corn man has a large market building now, and sells plants and all kinds of local produce. But we have been buying corn from him since he sold it out of the back of his pickup
in a local parking lot. I used to do frizzled ham when we had this meal, but eventually we just went for corn as the main dish. Simple and delicious.

I am wearing... navy pants, a cream cotton twin-set, and black loafers. It was cool here today, although sunny and beautiful.

I am creating... a pink baby afghan. If I could just decide which pattern I wanted to use, I might get somewhere. But to this point it's been "do a trial swatch, and then frog*." I need to make up my mind. *Rip it, rip it!

I am going... back to Arwen's again on Friday. Bryan is away for work for ten days, and right now she has a friend visiting, but Roger and I are going to go down and hang with her and Camilla and Blaise for the weekend. Our car is getting a lot of highway miles.

I am reading... my library books as fast as I can. Nothing earth-shattering, but somehow I managed to check out eight or so on various occasions so that none of the due dates are the same. I just logged on to the library website and made a list of which book is due when, so that I can read them in the order I need to return them. Another reason I am thankful for the internet!

I am hoping... to get a good night's sleep tonight, assisted by that hot bath and some ibuprofen. The poor sleep and the aches and pains seem to be a chicken-or-the-egg thing, so I'm going to see if I can short-circuit it.

I am hearing... nothing much. It is very quiet around here now that Kelson is at college.

Around the house... I need to dust! Roger takes care of the floors, but I am responsible for everything above ankle level. And with the busyness and excitement of the last month, I haven't dusted. Maybe tomorrow.

A few plans for the rest of the week: tomorrow the first Noon Concert of the school year at our local community college with my friend Julie, a quick grocery run, and then the first church choir practice after summer break in the evening. A very musical day.

Words I'm pondering : "A miracle is when God does something that wouldn't happen if He didn't do it." -- C.S. Lewis

Here is a picture thought I am sharing....
This is Lauren Elizabeth, who is three weeks old today. Yes, she is a pretty girl ( ;-D), and she actually is this alert relatively often. I don't remember my own kids been awake and interested nearly as much at this age.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


Well, I have a NEW description up in my blog header. I needed it because I have a NEW granddaughter. Lauren Elizabeth was born on Wednesday August 25, 7# 10oz., 19", healthy and beautiful!! I am delighted for Branwen and Larry, Daniel and Matthew, but I am also delighted for me, because I finally get to make a pink baby afghan. I have made one for each grandchild, but I made them in advance, and the only one I knew the sex of in advance was Blaise, who got blue, of course. But really, all of them were variations on blue and white. Branwen and I agreed that I could wait to begin the afghan, since they had plenty of generic blankets. So now I know, and I bought four skeins of pink yarn! By Tuesday I hope to have made up my mind which (lacy!) pattern I'm going to use. One is easier, one is prettier. Hard choices.

I also needed to change my header because we are NEWly empty-nesters. The day after Lauren was born Kelson took a plane to his new life at college in Florida. So far this has not affected the amount of sleep I've gotten, but we shall see. Maybe I'll need a NEW new header, with a picture of me awake!