Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Home for the Holidays. Big Bad Collars.


This is my childhood home.  Thanksgiving weekend was around -14.  Unusual.  But the snow is not.  When you grew up with this, the desert can never compare.

Out at my brother George's.   Yes, Heidi (his wife), kind as she is, convinced Boomer to let George come back in the house, despite his shooting record.  She even let George stay in for Thanksgiving dinner.

Actually, that was a dinner I was sad to miss!  Heidi is a fabulous cook...and bakes like you would imagine in heaven!  That dinner was 18 years in the making:  Her first hosting in her new home with room to seat all!  Many years ago they bought their dream land...and came complete with an aging double wide!  Heidi always knew where her dream house windows would face.  Every time I drive out there I think "why are they out here?" and when I make the last corner through rolling fields and Aspen groves, I always think "that's why they are out here."

Speaking of comforts of home and fabulous family cooks, my local sister-in-law, Courtney, makes a chicken noodle soup that can thaw the coldest toes and warm the soul.  If you have any doubts what to do with the last bits of left over turkey, this is your plan.  Turkey fits wonderfully in the recipe.  The eight-year-old loves it so much, she took it to school for their 2nd grade potluck and cookbook last year.

Gwyneth's Favorite Chicken Noodle Soup (from Courtney)
2 Cooked & Cubed Chicken Breasts*
2 Quarts Chicken Broth
1 Pint Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Bag Reames Homestyle Noodles**
2 Celery Stalks-chopped
2 Carrots-sliced
1 Can Sweet Corn
-Sometimes I add a sliced yellow squash or zucchini.
Salt & Pepper

In a large pot, I add broth, chicken, celery, carrots, corn(including liquid) and simmer until veggies are tender. Once tender, I add the noodles and cream. Simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste ; serve. Enjoy!

*I cook chicken breasts in salted water with a couple sprigs of fresh thyme. Drain & rinse. Chop into bite size pieces.

**My secret...use these noodles! They are the best! I buy them at Safeway, in the freezer section. I have also seen them at Walmart.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In the mean time...Big Bad Collars.

Yep...this time it was Strep!... Will this never end!!!

Anyway, in the meantime...

Anyone want to go caroling?

On the fifth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me
Five Spaaaace heaters,
Four Bunny rabbits,
Three empty piggy banks,
Two terrified cats,
And Raccoon in Bramble bush.

by George

Yep...there's a story behind that one...a rather long one...just think what a dog would put on it's letter to Santa...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stream of consciousness...Big Bad Collars.


Now that I have loured you in with an adorable puppy picture...

I will attempt to claim intellectual identity by trying to fake literary content as "stream of consciousness" (aka rambling my thoughts along...)

First and Foremost:  I'M BACK!  It is hard to reenter the real world filled with responsibilities.  Part of me is hermit...I really could just go out in the cabin in the deep woods and be happy.  I was very content my years of teaching on a very rural island in Japan.  And the Grand Canyon is just that...very grand!  I always try to think what it was like to first discover or stumble upon something...just imagining what it would have been like to come out of the pines and just view into that gaping, impassable hole.  No wonder Powell was determined to explore every end of it!

Crashing down on me is the fact that the holidays are HERE!!!  I am sooooo not ready.  So assuming you are like me...low on cash, low on time...I will put out some ideas for food and gifts that are high impact yet low cost...in cash and time.  (And the big question is...will I actually finish last year's christmas gifts before this year's holiday?!?)

On the subject of money...and little anecdote that may soothe your cash flow soul:

My kids piggy banks have been sooo tapped out!  I was just talking with a friend  who was suffering guilt raiding the kid's bank to help make Santa's visit possible.  Now I will say my kids are very proud to have helped the family:  each have bought groceries when we couldn't have otherwise and each was inordinately joyed to take the family out for dinner as a grand treat when there were no other treats.  With that said, my 8 year old came home with the funniest story from school:

Apparently Gwyneth was describing a hat she was dying to buy to her girlfriends.  She had to explain, however, that she couldn't get it until her parents had the money to pay her back the money they had borrowed for groceries.  Well, apparently every kid's piggy bank in Gilbert, AZ has been raided by their parents!  The girls, 5 or 6 of them, all chimed in that their piggy banks were empty too!  "Ya, my mom had to empty mine."  "Oh, mine's been empty forever..."  But the best part was how all chipper these kids were about it.  No one was sad or angry...they all laughed about their piggy bank raiding parents. 

They were all honest and hopeful.

I hope to take a cue from them.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Still here...and sulking!

Sorry about that...been a rough week!  But we are still standing...

Let's just say urgent care one day, bad brake job = car out of commission another day (I mean seriously out of commission:  they didn't tighten the bolts, right front brake broke apart and seized the wheel, chunks in the wheel...yes I know I am sounding very technical here...let's just say we are counting our blessings!), not to mention the prolonged joys of pneumonia.  I am just glad that week can be put to rest!

Today is a new day!  My sister and her buddy arrive today!  Road trip and hiking with the girls!  (But I unfortunately have to bow out on the main hike...my lungs aren't repaired enough to responsibly do the 4,000 ft elevation change...sulk...sulk...sulk...luckily my steadfast Gail will stay with me on the Grand Canyon rim while the others hike in...though she says we still must fulfill our bucket list someday!  But please quit calling it the "bucket list"!  Gail's 'premonitions' have been coming a little too true lately!!!)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Morning of the Living Dead. Big Bad Collars.

Happy Day after Halloween.  
AKA November 1.
  Maybe there is reason why today and tomorrow are celebrations of the dead...my daughter's school was filled with Zombies stumbling into the schoolyard, Zombie parents attempting to drive and drop off the little zombies.  It looked like the scene in "Shaun of the Dead" when he is obliviously going through the convenience store, not noticing the Zombie population functioning around him.