Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Food Disasters

My husband says we are destined to become his parents. Perhaps he is right. Just the other day, without thinking I responded to his query about the banana bread I'd just baked with "That's not for you!" Baked for our upcoming Christmas celebrations, it was being circled like fresh kill by turkey vultures. I relented and let them eat it, thinking of my father-in-law, who claims to never get to eat the great food my mother-in-law makes because it is for the church or some other function.

Food elicits good memories for most of us, but also vivid memories when the result is not so good. Most of us have a turkey story. I remember seeing my husband and mother-in-law trying to turn a 30 pound turkey and seeing it roll across the floor. In my own family, we remember the time I heard my mother scream from the kitchen. Our standard poodle had stolen the whole raw turkey from the counter, tearing a wing from it. Mom later served the cooked turkey, remarking how sad it was that the poor turkey was born with only one wing.

Then, there was the time that my visiting sister just wanted a nice cup of coffee, first thing in the morning. Absentmindedly, I had used my usual sugar container to store my canning salt. Poor Teresa uses a lot of sugar in her coffee. Next thing I knew, she was spewing coffee in the sink. "Are you trying to poison me?" she choked. After I realized what had happened and got up from the floor after collapsing with laughter, I explained.

My family will remember the time that I took extra pains to make two beautiful custard pies to give to friends as a thank you gift for rides to work. My mother came running to my screams when we discovered that my mentally handicapped brother had eaten the entire filling of one pie, and was working on the second, scooping the filling out with his fingers. Arggggg...!

There are probably many more - like did you know that you can't use bread flour to make a cake, or that black walnuts don't taste at all like regular walnuts - but I'll save for another time. Perhaps you have some food disasters? Email me and I'll put the best ones on my blog (with your permission).

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Southwestern Chicken

Did you like this gift idea and recipe? Please click on one of my ads to the right. Though it costs you nothing, that is how I get paid! Thanks!

Okay, here is my last recipe which you can make into a Christmas gift by putting the spices in a baggie and attaching the recipe card. This is my favorite recipe. The chicken can be part of a main course, but one of our favorite ways to serve is cut up over a nice salad.

In a ziplock baggie, combine:
2 t. dried parsley
2 t. chili powder
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. basil
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Attach to the baggie a card which reads:

Southwestern Chicken
Mix this spice packet with the following in a gallon sized bag:
1/3 cup oil
3 T vinegar
1 lb. boneless chicken

Marinate chicken for 20 minutes or for better flavor, overnight. Grill or broil chicken until done.

Note: for larger families, you may want to double the spices and the amounts in the directions. do not stretch the marinade, but make more marinade to get the desired effect in taste.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Herb Marinated Chicken Spice Gift

To make a quick gift for Christmas, put the following herbs in a ziplock bag:
2 t. basil
2 t. oregano
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. salt
t. = teaspoon

Copy and paste the following information and print out, attaching to the baggie:
Herb Marinated Chicken

In a ziplock bag,
mix this spice packet with:

1/4 Cup olive oil
2 T Lemon juice
4 Boneless chicken breasts

Marinate 20 minutes in the refrigerator or longer for stronger flavor.

Remove chicken from marinade. Grill or broil over medium heat 5-7 minutes. Turn over, baste and grill 5-7 minutes longer or until chicken is done.

Grandma Rosa's Spaghetti Sauce

My great-grandma Rosa was the oldest of nine children born in Tuscany, Italy. This is the recipe the family brought from Italy. I have written it below to make as a gift for Christmas. If making it for yourself at home, I would substitute real garlic for powdered. If you'd like, you can also substitute 1 T fresh parsely for the dried for more flavor.

In a ziplock bag, put the following spices:
2 1/2 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons parsely
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sugar

Copy and paste the following, print out on card stock and attach to the baggie:

Grandma Rosa’s Spaghetti Sauce

In a large pot, combine:
1 spice packet
2 - 12 oz. cans tomato paste
2 - 29 oz. cans tomato sauce
4 - 12 oz. cans water
1 large whole onion
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional) or 1 dried cayenne pepper

Simmer for about two hours or until desired thickness achieved. Remove onion. Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles with meatballs.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Cincinnati Chili

Looking for a quick Christmas present that is homemade? Here is a family recipe for Cincinnati Chili, which is unlike most other chili recipes.

Spice packet:
Put in a small ziplock bag the following:

3 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 Teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 Teaspoons allspice
2 Teaspoons ground cumin
2 Bay leaves
2 Teaspoons salt

Copy the following text and print out little tags which you can staple to the front of the baggie:

Cincinnati Chili
In a large pot, combine:
1 spice packet
2-3 lbs. ground beef, browned and drained
15 oz. can tomato sauce
2 Dashes worcestershire sauce
1 quart water
1 large onion, chopped fine
3/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
15 oz. can chili beans (optional)

Simmer for about two hours or until desired thickness achieved. Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles.

2 Way: Chili over spaghetti
3 Way: add finely grated cheddar cheese on top
4 Way: add finely chopped onions on top
5 Way: All of the above with beans added to chili

Usually served with oyster crackers or cornbread.
Alternate: Spoon over hot dog in a bun, add grated cheese for a "coney".

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Why blog?

He was about my age when he died. There are many things I’d like to know about him, questions I’d like to ask, but he left behind only a few clues. Naturalization papers that declared him a U.S. citizen right about the same time he was entering the army to fight his mother country and his own brothers. There is a photo of him in a baker’s cap. A letter to his widow informs her of his death in a V.A. hospital in Dayton.

His son, my father, was only twelve years old when he died, and can remember little about my grandfather. We know he left a medieval-looking village, Fritzlar, Germany when he was about seventeen. Why, we do not know, but we know that he worked for his uncle, a baker. Wouldn’t you like to know, though, what propelled a native-born German to, shortly after arriving in America, join the armed forces and fight his brothers’ army? Was it the promise of citizenship, did he have strong political views, was it for the money? And, how was he treated, a German in an American army, fighting the Germans?

After inhaling mustard gas on the beaches of Normandy, and the end of the war, he returned to Cincinnati and the Depression era. Money must’ve been pretty tight, as Dad remembers being very poor, collecting scrap metal for a few extra dollars. Sometime after we again went to war with his native country, the mustard gas finally took its toll on him, but the questions remain unanswered.

In part, my questions about him are why I want to start writing more. We are here but a short time, and unless we write of our life and experiences, we take them with us when we go. No one can ask any questions, but only look for any clues to what we might have been like. There are those that knew us well, but even that view of ourselves is filtered through their eyes. This is a record of who I am now, as I know I will become and change into someone else, an older “me”. This is a way of leaving clues of what I might’ve been like, and what life was like for me in this time. Perhaps time travel is possible – through the written word.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Creepy Crawler Bug Maker

My first conscious memory of Christmas is a blinding white light. As I felt my way down the hallway and stairs towards the Christmas loot, I could hear the whir of the camera my dad held. "Put your hands down and smile. Look at me," he'd direct. Thank goodness technology has changed and today's camcorders don't require stadium lights held on a pole. In flannel pajamas and overly curled hair, my sisters and I have some wonderful Christmas memories. I remember Dad trying to find the one burned out light bulb in the string of lights that made the whole tree dark. Only now in my married family, as the designated Christmas tree light technician, do I understand why he would send us from the room "until I tell you to come back".

Ol' Santa was good to us. One of my most memorable gifts was a Creepy Crawler Bug Maker. It had metal trays into which you poured some goop, dropped it into a hot plate, and minutes later, you had a stretchy creepy bug. I can still remember the smell of the plastic cooking. It is a wonder we weren't poisoned by toxic fumes. Though I don't remember asking for it, I was thrilled with it.

Five hours north of where I lived, a little boy three years my junior shook his head, confused. He had wanted very much a Creepy Crawler Bug Maker. Little did he know that already his path had crossed with mine and that someday, he would marry the young girl that Santa had mistakenly given his Creepy Crawler Bug Maker. In the meantime, what was he to do with his new Easy Bake Oven??

Friday, December 10, 2004

Tools of the Trade

"Harry* thinks we need to buy a backhoe now," commented my husband's cousin at the wedding reception table. We were catching up with family news, having not seen each other since August. Harry and Shawna* had moved into their own "money pit" this past year, escaping suburbia for rural New Jersey. As is often the case, there were a few little surprises in store for them in their new residence, including the state of the septic system, hence, the backhoe. Having enjoyed his experience with the borrowed machinery, Harry felt they should own their very own backhoe, in the event of another ditch-digging emergency.

We laughed at the preposterous idea, while at the same time comiserating that there were costly machines and tools in our very houses that our men had purchased so that they could be prepared for just about anything. "Yet," Shawna said, "if I pull out both racks of my dishwasher at the same time, the whole kitchen tilts." Appliances used daily, more than the saw and special drill bits that gather dust in my garage, limp along in my life. My mother-in-law fares no better. While visiting recently, I could not get her dishwasher to start. "Oh, you have to lean against the door with your hip and jab the start button hard with the handle of a knife, " she instructed.

We have a special implement that attaches to our tractor (yes, tractor, not lawn mower) that is called a hay fork. This little item is used three times a year to move a roll of hay from our hay trailer, also used but three times a year, to the ground. In contrast, our fifteen year old refrigerator, opened about a zillion times a day, is held together with packing tape. The interior is a cave without illumination, since the lights long stopped working. I hate to even think what lurks in the dark corners. And while I'm on the refrigerator, why is it that the little plastic shelves, which break off like saltine crackers, aren't better made but cost almost as much as the refrigerator costs to replace?

My washing machine, which runs continuously, lasted fifteen years with several replacements of the agitator spline. It was a good machine, if you did not mind the sound of a jet engine just off your kitchen. It finally died from an overload of sheets and towels, and I stood agonizing over the models in the showroom. After much soul searching, I thought of Harry's backhoe, and bought the most expensive one I could afford.

*names changed to protect the guilty

Monday, December 06, 2004

Learning All the Time

We are a family of homeschoolers interested in learning about blogging. We thought this may be a way to share things we've enjoyed and learned along the way.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts