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Just a simple gal living on the outskirts of Portland making ends meet. I have lived in Portland for over 20 years and I am happy to call it home. On this blog you will find everything from cooking to my crazy life. I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Chili Colorado

I have made this recipe a handful of times over the last few years. I have used both beef and pork to make it. Pork is definitely the way forward, but beef is a solid second. This recipe is courtsey of Rick Martinez


This is how it's done:


Take 5 dried anchos2 dried pasillas, and 2 dried guajillos, and remove the stems and seeds. Look for chiles that are soft and pliable, like a raisin. If they are brittle, they are old and will be flavorless—don't use them!
Cover chilies with 3 cups of boiling chicken stock and let them steam, covered with plastic wrap, for about 30 minutes until they are plump and tender. Put the chilies and all of the soaking liquid into a blender and purée until very smooth.
Cut 2 pounds of boneless pork shoulder (or what you have on hand) into ½” pieces, season with salt and pepper, and brown the meat in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat with a little bit of vegetable oil to keep it from sticking. Chop up 6 to 8 cloves of garlic and throw it in the pot along with two bay leaves, a tablespoon of ground cumin, and a couple of teaspoons of chopped fresh sage and chopped fresh oregano (in a pinch you can use dried herbs) (Mexican oregano if you have it). Stir that around for about a minute, or until very fragrant. Add in 5 cups of chicken stock and simmer uncovered for about an hour. Then, stir in the chile purée and simmer for another 45 minutes until the meat is very tender and the sauce is a thick, mahogany-red color. Season with additional salt and pepper.



I still don't have my photo where I need them to be, but I promise I will get this all together soon or later. 

We just got back from a lovely vacation to the Oregon Coast and a great visit with very good friends. Were looking forward to going again soon sometime after the holidays. 

Halloween marks the beginning of the holiday season, so there will be a flurry of activity for me and mine. I will try and post, but I can't promise anything. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To Work

It is funny how things work out. Last Feb 2nd while on my way to work I received a text message from my daughter (we worked together) telling me that we both no longer had jobs. After 3+ years that was it, unceremoniously let go. The worst part... I think the entire office who kept their jobs knew ahead of time and said nothing. One of those people I thought was a friend...I have learned something from that whole experience...I do not attempt to make lasting friendships at my new job,  I go to work, make nice with the people there, and they are all really nice, but I don't get too close and go home at the end of the day. I don't understand the phrase or term "work family" I have a family that I go home to every night...that is my family. Work related friendships are best-left at work. Ms. Em thanks for the advice here. 

I have been busy with my new puppy (December 2015) she is a little firecracker and keeps her big brother on his toes all the time. The bf has been busy remodeling the garage and getting more space of out the room we had. When my daughter moved out we made over that bedroom into an office and it is amazing...I honestly think we spend more time in there than any other room in the house. We got a new fridge, and a new couch. After a year we don't miss cable. Less baking more making freezer meals that I can thaw, heat and serve...working full time takes it out of me...including weight...I trimmed down an additional 5 lbs since February 2nd, it was 8 lbs but I gained back 3 lbs.

Right now rolling into fall of 16 things are good, were good, I am looking forward to fall and settling in for the winter. I , as always, hope for a ton of snow to fall on my fair city and give me a couple of snow days off. Dreaming of a white Christmas.

I have a couple of amazing recipes I want to share with you all and I will I promise just let me catch my breath. 






Friday, January 1, 2016

Leftovers

Some people don't understand or appreciate leftovers. Around this house we try really hard not to waste food, so there is a lot of leftovers at times (especially after the holidays). Fortunately the bf doesn't mind taking leftovers to work and I can always take a care package to the daughter at my work...she can always use a healthy lunch.
So last week I had cooked a delicious pork roast. It wasn't a huge pork roast, but even after Jamie and I had eaten our fill there was a good amount left...what to do. Sure you could slice it up and make sandwiches but that is such a chore. What usually happens is you wrap that lump of leftover roast in foil and stick it in the fridge and forget about it. What I do is make a easy sandwich spread.
I take that lump of roast and cut it into smaller lumps then run it through my food processor until it reaches the coarseness I want, then I add mayo, mustard, horseradish, pickles...the possibilities are endless.
Combine all until you have the consistency that you want for sandwich spread put it in a clean bowl and cover and refrigerate for a few hours until the flavors meld. Presto Chango! you have some customized sandwich spread.
This works for all manor of roasts beef, pork or ham (remember deviled ham?) depending on what you want for flavor you can add all kinds of onions, or peppers or? Go Crazy.
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season...for me it starts somewhere a few days before Halloween and extends through today (Jan 1st 2016). I hope this year is a good one for everyone I know near and far.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Tags

I know I have not posted in a long time, but there just hasn't really been any free time to post anything.
Meet Aki! She is the latest addition to the family, and has stolen her big brother Katsu's heart. These two spend hours playing and getting into mischief. This is a rare quiet Kai moment caught on film.
I did put together a little Christmas project this past week during all the hustle and bustle of the Holiday. I found myself staring down an aisle of sparkly, glittery, shiny Christmas wrap, ribbons, tags and bows and I decided I hated all of it. I miss simple, cute with some thought put into it. I made the decision that next year gifts will come in holiday themed kraft paper with colored jute ties...you know the song "brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favorite things"...Well I decided I wanted something in the way of a gift tag that would match the feel of the packages I see in my head for next year (not exactly sugar plums, but you get the idea). I searched on Etsy for the perfect little Christmas tags and found them. Then I searched some more shops and found a small little stamp to stamp the backs to and from...works perfect!
Aren't these the cutest little tags? They came with the little ties as well, or you can get them without the ties and get your own colored bakers twine for the tags.
I found the little stamp on Etsy as well. The ink pad I had from other projects.
See how cute those are. Simple, easy and fun to do.
Wishing one and all a Very Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Just dropping by to wish everyone a wonderful holiday with the ones you love.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Children

I don't usually do blogs about my family. I do mention them from time to time in my blog but that is usually enough. Sadly this last year I have come to a couple of startling realizations 1. My kids are a$$ holes. 2. They both treat me like crap when it suits them.
I started to make some tough choices this past Mother's Day when my son made me feel like I was doing him a favor by picking out some gifts for myself at the local Grocery/Variety store so he could feel good about spending money on me for Mother's Day. I tried to avoid the whole situation by telling him all I wanted was a cup of coffee and his time (which he had told me to expect him at ten...turned out to be noon or later when he finally showed). He wouldn't think of it. He demanded I pick out gifts for myself. When we got back to the house I made the mistake of bringing up the Holidays Thanksgiving, Christmas and trying to make tentative plans with both my son and daughter and let them know I had limited cash this year, which I was hoping would help them out as well. When my daughter and son both in unison started spewing the reasons Christmas couldn't happen..."Oh I don't have any money, I'm trying to save money, I'm not doing Christmas, I have to move out, I'm not spending any money on anybody"... You get the idea. Suddenly a light came on...an epiphany if you will...I am over my kids. I am done trying to make them happy, I am done raising them. I told them both..."O.k. fine No Christmas". "You both can find your own things to do". "I have no problem with that, the BF and I always have plenty to do anyway". "Oh and since were not doing Christmas gifts I am also NOT cooking Christmas dinner" "I do have a few small stocking stuffers packed away for you guys for Christmas, so that will be it" "No worries you don't have to get us anything". It worked like magic both of them just quite griping. Of course the rest of the afternoon was crap...My son and daughter spent time staring at their cell phones or visiting with the neighbor. Oh Happy Mother's Day to me. A couple weeks after this incident I also canceled Thanksgiving...liberating I tell you.
I think I have seen my son once since then...but I am not sure. He called once asked where I was at. I told him grocery shopping and he informed me that I was too late to see him because he was now not in the neighborhood...I had missed his initial call by ten min. Sweet kid. I have had heated arguments with the daughter to get her off her ass and into a place of her own. Not the place I would have chosen, but she refused to listen to good advice (mine or anyone else)and got left with no options. She had to be out of my house October 1st (she was informed of this the first week of June). She did move out and things have gotten easier between us, but she still forgets occasionally to be nice and respectful and not such a bitch. I don't set out to engage either one of my kids unless needed ...it is emotionally unhealthy for me.
My birthday was October 4th and not so much as a card from either one. My daughter wished me a Happy Birthday, my son waited to call until late in the day when he figured I would be upset that he hadn't called earlier...I hadn't given him a thought actually the BF and I did all the things I wanted to do on my birthday and I spent the whole weekend enjoying myself. I am done giving a crap about what these kids think. When he did finally call it was to whine about his motocross injury and the time he has lost from work, or something...it is always about him. He never asks me what I am doing or if I am o.k. I kept the phone call short and acidic...I wasn't in the mood to listen to him.
I don't call my son and haven't since even before Mother's Day...there is no point to it. I was shocked last night when he called. I though maybe he called to wish me a Happy Halloween!...nope. I picked up the phone and the first words he said to me were "You forget you have a son?" I simply replied "You forget you have a mother?" Then his next comment was..."when was the last time you talked to your daughter"...See he didn't call because he wanted to catch up or find out how I am doing. He called to complain to me about his sister, who had been badgering him to take her out to lunch in Jan on her birthday, and that the only time he hears from family is when they want something from him (Moi? I don't think so sunshine). He called because he wanted me to pick a side ( I did not). Then of course he wanted to remind me that he wasn't doing Christmas this year because he was being the Grinch, and because he was too busy trying to save money to buy a house and go on vacation to Vegas...I am sure there are a few hundred dollars he needs to spend on dirt bike parts as well. I told him he didn't need to remind me of that. I also told him that his sister was his problem not mine and he would have to deal with her. I also told him he has always been a Grinch and his sister a bitch (nope not sorry if you are reading this). These two for the past 10 years have tried their damnedest to ruin every single holiday with their bickering, lack of spirit, lack of help and general non participation. This behavior starts every single year right around my birthday and goes all the way through Mother's day of the following year. Their behavior has kept me in a constant state of anxiety and upset to the point of tears every single year. Honestly I no longer give a $hit if I they spend time with me, or call. It is easier if they don't.
This was not some experiment in reverse psychology. I am not secretly wishing my children show up on Christmas with bags of gifts, and offer to do the cooking and dishes...No, please no, stay away...far away. This is me venting my spleen and letting other mothers know you don't have to take that crap from adult kids...cut them loose. Let it and them go. I am sorry your kids are horrible, so are mine...move on.
Dont' think for one second I won't be having a lovely Holiday season. The BF and I have lots of plans in the works. There will be yummy food, and lots of time spent with each other and our critters, movies, some light hiking if the weather permits. Trust me I am not going to be sitting in front of my Christmas tree crying my eyes out over the loss of my kid's Christmas spirit. They lost it all on their own...let them go find it for themselves.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Pie crust cookies

I saw this recipe on Pinterst a few weeks back and I thought I would give it a try to see if I liked it enough to possibly make and take it somewhere. It was o.k., but not great. I can see where improvement could be make.
You start with two refrigerated pie crusts sprinkle a little flour on your board and lay out the first crust. slightly roll it to get rid of any wrinkle and make it lie flat (wish I could slightly roll my forehead and get rid of any wrinkles).
spray the top of the cookie sheet with a little baking spray and sprinkle with some finely chopped, dried, sweetened cranberries, finely chopped walnuts or pecans and some cinnamon and sugar.
Take the second crust and place it on top of the first covering the cranberries and nuts inside. Slightly roll them together until they form a single crust with the filling showing through. Spray the top with some more cooking spray and sprinkle additional cinnamon and sugar on top.
Then the fun part. Get out your cookie cutter (metal works best) and cut as many possible shapes from the pie crust round. You can wad the pie crust up and roll is out a second time if you need to.
The fun part! Place cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake like you would pie crust.
They turned out fairly good, but if I had them to do over (and I will do them over) I would brush on melted butter instead of spraying cooking spray, brown sugar and cinnamon instead of white (maybe even drizzle a tiny amount of honey, a little fresh orange zest would go a long way in this recipe. The cookies worked but the flavor was lacking. I am not sure if using homemade pie crust would be doable because store bought pie crusts are more resilient.
I have been busy lately and haven't had time to sit down and really think out a recipe and get it together with photos. The bf and I are expecting a (you fill in the blank), and so we are trying to settle or nest rather. Katsu is doing well, but has had his moments where we just look at him and shake our heads. The last episode involved him eating a plastic cone off his head...I didn't blame him, those are not a great fashion statement, but it caused me extreme stress and worry while he slowly but surely passed all of it. My daughter moved out so we have redecorated her old bedroom into my new office/sitting room. We still have a few things to acquire, but it is coming along really well. I refinanced my house, so it looks like the bank is stuck with me for the next 30 years give or take. So between my daughter moving, house refi, dog acting crazy you can see why I didn't have time. Looking forward to the next few weeks to get things completed...Samhain is just around the corner and in case I don't get back here between now and then I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.