Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Preschooler's words:
"You are a bologna."
"How dare you, Dufus?!" (diaper change)
"The dark side of the ring." (Daddy found his ring)
"I'm counting on it."
""The dark side of my pocket. Nothing's ever been there before." (puts parachute guy in hoodie)

Monday, May 05, 2014

It's a Sweet Life!

This sweet pepper from dinner yesterday had a pretty interior. :-)



-----We watched "Ender's Game" a few nights ago. A Redbox rental. Great...like the book was.
-----Yesterday, we did a fire in the firepit. It was cozy and beautiful though we had to put it out after a few minutes because the wind was picking up. I got a photo of my happy Husband standing with Preschooler. This was Toddler's first fire and she was fascinated. It would have been fun if my son who is at Basic Training could have been there.



A couple of Preschooler moments yesterday:
---Told me that he loves Daddy because "He's a wild man. I am a wild man. We are both wild mans."
---Put his sister's socks on his hands and said "clap hands" in German.

"He's one of my neighbors. He is just a wild neighbor of mine. He's mine. He's silly doing that."
-Preschooler on our elderly neighbor backing up over and over while mowing the boulevard grass. I am sure there is some reason why he was doing the mowing so slowly and repetitively. Though I never did figure out why he drove so close to our tree line last year that he got caught on a small fruit tree.



-----I wish that we had a pair of binoculars to see Comet Jacques this month. We will try to see it with the naked eye anyway...if awake.
-----We are planning Toddler and Preschooler's first planetarium trip later in the month. :-)
-----I am slowly listening to a lecture on small bodies by Mike "Pluto Killer" Brown. Small bodies are basically anything that orbits the sun other than the eight planets. I am interested in finding out about the various comets.
-----I have been sharing with friends and relatives one of the milder ways that I make Spanish Rice...as a sort of PSA. Husband cannot have cumin and jalapenos upset his stomach. I know I can't be the only one out there who wants tasty Hispanic dishes while still having to deal with allergies and sensitivities.
-----The house has been nicely smelling of garlic and beef all day. We are having a classic pot roast sans carrots with whiskey substituted for the beef broth. Slow cookers are awesome!
-----With dinner, we are trying some artisanal sweet potato rolls. They are a freezer product and I will have to add a photo and review here later.
-----I got a nice photo of Husband cleaning a leather jacket to be made into Goth attire (spikes,studs and such) . :-) I felt appreciated because I had only recently given him the leather cleaning spray, from when I once owned a pair of leather tennis shoes, and he is already using it. I don't know what the name of that spray is but will have to look, so I can recommend it...suffice it to say that leather-cleaning spray from the shoe store works efficiently and well. :-)
-----Photos of the kids today: Toddler standing and playing with a clump of tree leaves. Preschooler once he started tiring...it is very hard to get a photo of a little boy who is quickly jumping around pretending to be a coconut.

Friday, May 02, 2014

In My Life.....

My son is in his third day of basic training!
My thoughts are with him everyday and we will miss him over these 4-5 months!!!

11:15 A.M.
Gloomy outside again today. Something is wrong with our Netflix so Preschooler did not get to watch his fave after breakfast this morning (Ben 10). Preschooler is watching X-Men. Making a Spanish Rice with Bacon in a bit. I came up with a whole page of blog ideas last night. I woke up with a sinus headache (for the fourth day in a row) and took a fun selfie of how tousled and high my bangs are...of course, I used the "Rise" filter. :-)
I can feel that sinus headache persisting underneath it all.

(Later in the day)
Me: Did you see the picture I took of my hair this morning?
Husband: Yes, I did.
Me: What did you think of it?
Husband: It was interesting.


12:15 P.M.
Toddler's response to Daddy's request for a Good Morning Hug..."Not today."
First bit of bacon is finished for Spanish Rice at lunch. A bit ago, Toddler was wearing his Thor helmet with one wing in the front and one in the back and discussing the X-Men with Daddy.



My mind and my olfactory nerves were celebrating the fact that bacon is super and the second batch yielded enough fat for the Spanish Rice.



Sweet peppers make me happy. They are always beautiful. :-)


Chop,chop,chop.
There were also two Sunset Produce yellow onions chopped.
---I was happy to find that there are recipes on the Sunset Produce site and I plan to explore them when I get time.



Mmm. Veggies sautéing in bacon fat for Spanish Rice. The house smelled really GOOD. When done, they joined the (now crumbled) bacon in the fridge and the rice was browned in the tad of bacon drippings left and some canola.
---If making this be sure to get all the veggies out before browning the rice. You do not want to be picking out crispy bits of vegetables while cooking (or worse, while eating).
---If you have never made Spanish Rice, this is the spectacular part. You put the liquid in when the rice is still hot and it makes steam and sizzle. For safety sake, I now just put part of the liquid at first. The liquid for the boil and simmer is to be put all the way up to about 1/4 inch from the top of the pan!
---We saved the onion peels for dyeing eggs. I want to achieve a red color with our next batch. We try natural stuff for coloring eggs all year.  :-)



This boil and simmer-down was water and a cup or two of Natural Harvest Organic Free Range Chicken Broth. When the boil came, I also put in a bouillon cube. :-)

Took some great photos during the waiting parts
---Husband snuggling with our sleeping daughter and watching cartoons
---Daughter wearing her fairy wings that family friends gifted her with.

The rice after the first boil and simmer-down.




Seasoning
4 teaspoons minced garlic
Sea salt to taste
Restaurant-style black pepper to taste
Plenty of dried cilantro
Really good Hot Hungarian paprika sprinkled on top

   

I did a second boil and simmer-down (rare for me). Normally, the seasoning is done mainly in the simmer-down. Here I added a couple more cups of chicken broth and another cup of water. When it was simmering, I sprinkled taco seasoning across the top. (We like this one because it does not bother Husband's soy allergy. A gift from Mother-in-Law who knows how hard it is to avoid soy.) I included the really good paprika in this photo. :-)
---A second boil and simmer-down is normally just if the rice has not cooked good enough. When you do a second boil and simmer, it must be watched very careful so it is not overdone (causing mushy rice).
---There is normally cumin put in the seasoning but Husband has a problem with it. Cumin is so much a part of many good Hispanic dishes. There is also a diced jalapeno(s) normally put in during the simmer-down (again Husband's stomach). We will prevail over food allergies and sensitivities! See our solutions!


I was so happy to find tomato paste in the cupboard (puree can be used but just doesn't cut it). When a good amount of liquid was gone and I was starting to get a mass of rice again, I added 4 tablespoons of tomato paste and made sure it was mixed in well as the simmer-down finished. At this point it would have been too spicy for husband's stomach, too many raw spices for my system to handle and too unfinished for my palate.
The rice was allowed to cool for about twenty minutes and then put in a big plastic bowl.
"It's like gold. If you want to make a girl happy, buy her tomato paste."



Hunt's 100% Natural Tomato Paste. There is a code on the back, to enter online, that will help Hungry Children.



The rice after a twenty minute rest.
See the tomato paste was mixed in well.



---A can of Happy Harvest (Aldi) diced tomatoes...drained with liquid left to the surface of the tomatoes in the can.
---A can of Happy Harvest Stewed Tomatoes drained and each piece cut in half in the pan with a spoon. There are various bits of other veggies included with this brand of stewed tomatoes. This could also be rinsed to remove some of the salt before adding it to the pan.
---Heated through for five minutes (and then the veggies and bacon get added in).
---I told Husband how I wished this was a large amount of fresh tomatoes!



All the fat that didn't go back in the dish. I tilted the plate slightly back by storing it on top of stuff in the fridge and that made the fat so much easier to remove as it drained to one place. Doing it this way makes it so the veggies don't have to be left out, refrigerated separately or removed from the congealed fat.
---Of course, I showed Husband the grossness. Yes, it really was yellow. I don't know the sanitation aspects of using the grease again at this point...I suppose.



Heating the veggies, tomatoes and bacon through on medium low for about ten minutes until all the tomato liquid and any bacon grease is absorbed. This smells WONDERFUL and reminds me of the "Mexican Goulash" that my father used to make...I think the thing missing in this mixture is chicken...yes, I had to taste this part for the happy memory.

So, as is often the case at our house, the Spanish Rice took five or six hours. It ended up being First Dinner. I take my Spanish Rice seriously. :-)



The veggies and rice are reunited.
The finished dish was yummy!


We all played for a bit and Husband and I worked online on various projects after the rice.We took a couple of awesome photos of Preschooler. He was riding on a toy zebra, wearing a big cardboard ring around his neck as armor (Daddy made it), holding onto the rim of his baseball hat, having his plastic ball bat down the back of his shirt and giving an awesome intense look. Preschooler looked ready for battle and said he was a super hero. I would have guessed he was a knight and Husband thought he was ready to battle Zombies. :-)

---We spent some time hanging out on the porch and got a sweet photo of our daughter wearing a soft and warm purple unicorn blanket with a pink horn. The unicorn part goes on her head. A present from her grandparents. :-)
---We bundled up and went outside to play in the backyard. Took a picture of our son among his Little Tikes stuff and a couple of pictures of Daddy helping our daughter with a riding toy.

Husband went to gather supplies for some Audiofeed Music Festival projects. When he came back in, I was informed the police had just been called on my Husband....I was like WHAT??! Apparently, we have a busybody neighbor who decided she does not like us burning cardboard in the firepit and there is an ordinance against it. Bonfires and coping with a city with very little recycling efforts are going to be all the harder now that we are the only people in the neighborhood who have this "ordinance" enforced...sigh.
---The general Facebook consensus was this is STUPID! We are talking a firepit and she would not even have been able to see it was cardboard if we had not built a storage structure instead of keeping the cardboard collecting on the back porch. Apparently, the police were told it was trash we were burning and probably led to believe it was some sort of towering inferno.The police think we can use it as a firestarter without it being a problem (actually what it is....we progress through to bonfire and/or hotdogs and marshmallows). We will just have to dispose of bigger pieces and cut everything down smaller from now on. Let us hope we do not decide to do any kind of burning on a day this lady's windows are open (pretty far away) again. There are all sorts of ordinances including a clause to alter the context, if appropriate, to a situation and have that be against the code (what?). I hope our Bonfire Season is not totally crushed. Wow.


Took some photos before bed of Toddler and Preschooler playing in the wagon...including with the huge Tigger that Preschooler got for Easter. Also, photographed Toddler as she went around with my shoes...she took several steps. :-)


We did get the Netflix fixed and Preschooler started watching "Jumanji: The Animated Series" today. I screened the first three episodes yesterday. Great for kids..repetitive for adults. I want to read the book.


We were supposed to have a friend over tonight but that will have to be rescheduled. :-(


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I hope you enjoyed some of our day. 

May your every day be an adventure!

:-)



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