Sunday, August 30, 2009

Trying Something New

In my opinion, there is nothing tastier than Mexican food. And I really love the authentic kind. A while back Kayla's boyfriend's mom sent us over a few homemade tamales. They were so delicious I decided I would learn how to make them. So I bought this cookbook, Tamales 101. I have not actually made the tamales yet, but one day I will! (When I can buy a steamer, and I get a tad more brave.)There are the most wonderful recipes for sauces in this book. I tried one called Red Pork Chili Sauce.I think it turned out fabulous! And my family really liked it. My granddaughter Kayleeann said it was good, she ate quite a bit of it on chips. And my grandson Gabriel said "I like this kind of food". Here is a picture of a small amount of the finished sauce:

Here is the recipe, in case you want to try it. It makes a whole bunch. When I made it, I only made half of a batch. It was enough to feed about 15 people for dinner, with some left over to freeze for another big dinner! Next time I will make the whole batch and I will freeze a lot of it and have enough for 6 months or more!

Red Pork Chili Sauce
10 ancho (dried poblano) chilies
4 dried California chiles
4 onions, quartered
8 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 to 4 cups pork, chicken, or vegetable stock
1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons sugar, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste

Seed the chilies, rinse, and set aside. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Remove the water from the heat and add the chilies, pushing them down with a spoon so they are fully submerged. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, boil the onions for 25 minutes, until soft.

Remove the soaked chilies from the water, reserving 2 cups of the liquid. In a food processor, blend the chilies, onions, and garlic. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil. Stir in the cumin into the hot oil, being careful not to burn the cumin. Add the chile mixture and simmer for 3 minutes. Add 1 cup of stock, 1 cup of the reserved liquid, and the tomatoes. Add just enough additional stock and reserved liquid to make saucy. Add the sugar and salt and cook for 10 miutes longer, stiring occasionally, until the sauce is the consistency of a thin gravy. Taste and add additional salt and sugar if needed. Set aside to cool. Store I an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days or in the freezer for 2 to 3 months.
Makes 10 cups.

Don't let the unfamiliar chili's in the recipe scare you off. They are available at grocery stores. I bought them at Harmons. Here is a picture of the chilis.They are on a dinner plate, so you can tell the size of them. The red dried ones are the California chilies. I bought them in the Mexican isle of the grocery store. There was a fairly large bag of them for about 4 bucks. I have enough of them to last a very long time now. The green ones are the Pablano chilies. If they were dried they would be called Ancho chilies. I had a heck of a time finding them in the store at first. Then I asked the produce guy where they were. He told me that they are called Pasilla chilies. Since then, I have learned that here in the western US, the chies are incorrectly called Pasilla chilies.

Sorry I didn't take a picture of the food we ate the sauce on. We were too busy eating to think of that. But it is great on homemade tacos. And it would be good on enchiladas or on any kind of meat. It's good on chips too.

I roasted the Pablano chilies before I used them. Roasting is really easy. If you have never roasted a pepper, you should try it. It makes them taste so much better,and you wouldn''t believe how easy it is! Just stick them on a cooking sheet and stick them in the oven. Roast them under the broiler. Turn every few minutes till the pepper is blackened over much of it. Take the pepper out and put it in a bowl with plastic wrap over it. Let it steam and sweat. After a few minutes, the skin peels off pretty easily.

When I made this sauce, I didn't use most the seeds from the peppers. I was afraid it would be too hot and I wanted my grandkids to enjoy it too. So the sauce was not very hot. I'd say it was only a little hotter than mild. Next time I will use more seeds and make it hotter.

When you cut up chilies, you should use plastic gloves, or just keep plastic wrap between the pepper and your skin. The oils of the pepper do burn skin. You may not know it is being burned till the next day. And for sure, don't rub your eyes!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Oquirrh Mountain Temple Dedication

What a special day this last Friday was. I had the opportunity to go to a dedication session of the new Oquirrh Mountian Temple with my son Travis. We were able attend one of the sessions in the temple! It was so beautiful. And so happy and peaceful. We listened to some speakers who talked on the on the special blessings we have of having temples. And how we should recommit ourselves to go to the temples often. Make it a regular habit to go as often as we can, even if it requires sacrifices of some of our free time. We are so blessed to have so many beautiful temples so close to us. There was of course more talked about, but that is what stuck in my head. When we were singing "The Spirit of God" was a very special moment for me. I couldn't help but to feel the Spirit very strongly.

Here is a Nice Article on the temple dedication that I really enjoyed.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Farmer's Market Dinner

The Farmer's Market is now open on Tuesday evening. So this last Tuesday we stopped by the farmers market on the way home from work. The veggies and fruit there were all just beautiful! So much better than what is available at the grocery store. And it was all cheaper than the grocery store too. So we will probably be stopping by the farmers market after work on Tuesdays more often.

We bought some beautiful eggplants, various squashes, green peppers and Anaheim peppers, two different kinds of cucumbers; one Japanese and one lemon cucumber and some big garden fresh tomatoes. When we got home we made a wonderful vegetarian dinner. We made some really good eggplant parmesan, and I made a big pan of sauteed squashed with onions and roasted peppers. We had sides of sliced tomatoes with cottage cheeses. It was all so good, nobody missed the meat.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Are You Ready?

Would you like to find out how prepared you really are for an emergency? I have signed up for a little test of how ready I am. Sometime in September, I'll be getting an email each day for 7 days of a mock disaster of some sort. I will be able to see how prepared I am (or not so prepared) for the real thing without having to actually have the real thing yet. It sounded fun, and like it would be a good learning activity.

Click on the picture above and it will take you to the web page with all the info.

There are other areas on that web site that are great tools to learn about food storage and emergency preparedness. There are "Baby Steps" lists and stuff that help you just get started.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Quick Max Update

Max is doing so much better lately! He no longer shakes very much. And he doesn't seem like he feels anymore pain, he doesn't whine. In fact, last week I was carrying in a large armload of laundry to the couch. I couldn't see the floor in front of me and I tripped right over Max. I landed right on top of his back. I expected him to yelp, and be hurt again. But he just looked at me like he was wondering why I was on top of him.

He is getting pretty good at stairs again. And sometimes he runs up them. But other times, as he is running up them, he trips on his own legs and falls sideways a bit. So I do think there is some damage done somehow. But Max doesn't seem to notice at all. Another difference I notice since his injury is he will get on the furniture much less often. He used to bound up onto the couch or recliner very easily. But now if he gets up at all, it is with help from one of us, or he carefully climbs rather than bounding up in a single jump.

Since Max is pretty close to normal now, he is as annoying as ever. He loves to vocalize his opinions to us and to Chloe both inside and outside the house. He likes to say "Hi! I'm here!" to our neighbors over and over. And he likes to stand at the sliding glass door and let us know he wants it opened. I'm pretty sure he thinks he is in charge.

He has discovered a new favorite toy recently. He loves to play with empty water bottles. I think he thinks they are an interactive toy. Since as he plays with them they crackle and make all kinds of noise. Don't even try to drink a water bottle around him. He will jump up and down in front of you expecting you to throw it to him. He is not patient enough to wait for us to finish our drink first. Max and Chloe had a special treat courtsey of my grandson Gabriel a few days ago. Gabriel took them in the back yard and for some reason squirted chocolate syrup all over both of them. He used quite a bit of the bottle before he got caught and stopped. But Max and Chloe didn't seem to mind.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My New Way of Thinking About the Word of Wisdom

I know I have been slacking on keeping up with my blog. To tell the truth, I have been going through some stuff, and just haven't felt like sharing my feelings. But I am over that now. So, time permitting, I will be doing better at sharing what I think and feel.

In my reading this week I came across some scriptures in 1 Corinthians that helped me to think in a new way with more understanding. I have been doing my best to follow the Word of Wisdom now for the last couple of years. I have given up alcohol. Although I sometimes would like a drink or two, especially in social situations. But all in all, it hasn't been that hard.

Giving up coffee has been a different story. I love coffee. I used to drank it every day. My family still drinks it. We have a fancy coffee maker that grinds the beans automatically every morning, then brews really fresh delicious coffee. Let me tell you, it smells wonderful! I've been doing pretty good about not drinking coffee for the last couple of years. But it has been hard. I crave coffee every day.

Now we all know the health benefits of following the Word of Wisdom, but truthfully, it's not been my biggest reason for following it. I can't see how the little bit of coffee I drank could be all that bad for me. So the reason I have been following the Word of Wisdom, is because I am choosing to be obedient to what the Lord has commanded me. And that is a good enough reason to make it so that most the time I am pretty good about it.

The scriptures for this week are in the sidebar to the right. 1 Corinthians 3: 16-17 and 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20

To me these scriptures give me another very good reason for me to follow the Word of Wisdom, even when I don't really want to. My body is God's sacred creation. It is a temple for my spirit to dwell in. I should respect it as a gift from God and not defile it in any way. It is a precious gift given to me, and there was a price paid for it. That right there is a great reason to take care of it, but it is not only for me. It is also a temple so that the Spirit of God can dwell in me too. I need to keep it clean so the Spirit of God can be with me. Is there anything better than having the Spirit of God dwell with you? I should do whatever I can to take care of it. I should keep it clean, and treat it with the respect it deserves.

So anyway, that is why I am going to renew my resolve to follow the Word of Wisdom to the best of my ability.

Now I can also see how this can apply to keeping your body morally clean. And keeping it well groomed and neat too. And if I think too long on this line, then I also have to start thinking about keeping my body healthy by exercising too. (Ugh..) I suppose I'll keep working on that.