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Friday, April 3, 2009

"UNSPOKEN"


She has grown weary of the vast emptiness
As wishes and dreams produce less and less

She's on a stretch of highway without a car in sight
Just hoping for a ride to get her through the night

The silence is deafening as her thoughts shout out
And years of longing have caused her serious doubt

She's waited for one who will reach for her hand
Holding it tightly like no one else can

Into how many pieces can a heart be shattered
Yet still manage to thrive
and believe in things that matter?...

Poem by Nicole

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"EVEN COWGIRLS GET THE SHAFT" AND A RECIPE FROM "COWGIRL BAR AND GRILL".


When I was a young girl, I went through my childhood "phase" of wanting to be a
Cowgirl and have a Horse.

I grew up in a city, but most of the friends that I had, owned a horse..
They were kept at stables, and ultimately their parents ended up having to pay
for them to be taken care of on a daily basis, or the parents had to go with
the kid after school every day to feed/ride/take care of the horse...

I loved to go to their houses, as sometimes they actually had the horse at home..
We would ride in nearby empty lots, woods, and even on the sidewalks next to the streets!
Other times we would be dropped off at the stables, and ride to our hearts content.

Do you remember the old saying, that you should make a wish every time you go
under a bridge? I actually got to the point of LOOKING for bridges, so that I could pass under, all the while "wishing" for a horse...

My Mother made it very clear that her interest in getting me a horse and going to
a stable every day after school was NOT GOING TO HAPPEN IN THIS LIFETIME OR THE NEXT..(Now that I am older I can SO understand this...Whew..I thought that baseball
practice was trying...Imagine having to sloth through mud every afternoon with your
kids at a stable an hour away?)

When I was ten years old, my Grandfather, who had a big farm with all kinds
of animals, got me a Pinto Pony, to be kept at the farm.
We went to the farm, growing up, almost every weekend on Sundays, or sometimes we would spend the weekend. The pony would be kept there, and I could ride it when
we came out on weekends..Perfect plan! It was around when the summer holiday began.

In the summer we went out there even more, and sometimes stayed a few days..
It wasn't exactly "roughing it"..There was a pool, a player piano, a cook
named "Cindy" that would make us anything we wanted, (we always asked her to
make things that my Mother would not allow us to eat, like Cherry Cobbler..),
and other things to keep our attention, as well as being able to spend time with
both our Aunt and our Grandfather...

I was more than thrilled!

The pony had not really been trained though, and was a bit on the "wild" side..

I named him "Pinto"

(I had such an amazing imagination as a child, didn't I? REALLY...naming a Pinto Pony,"Pinto"...It literally brings tears to my eyes..)

Unfortunately about that exact time, I came down with an illness, that put me in
bed for three whole months, the ENTIRE summer...

Time to break out the kleenex..

I was unable to visit the farm, my "Pinto", or do literally ANYTHING...

As I recall, getting up to pee or going for a Doctor's visit was the highlight
of my life at that time...

(Need more kleenex? Toilet paper actually makes a fine substitute...)

By the time I was able to visit "Pinto", he was so wild that he only knew how to
throw people off his back..
Needless to say, Pinto was sold, and that, in short, was my only experience having my own horse...

Oh well, I suppose sadder things have happened...Hmm..let me think...

Actually nothing comes to mind at the moment, except for possibly a Shirley
Temple movie where "Rich little Shirley" is mistaken for a poor girl and kept from
her ailing Father, and has to scrub floors, and is made fun of by the rich snotty
girls...
"Poor Little Rich Girl"...Great film..now THAT I suppose is sadder..Sorta...

Out of all of these memories of my short lived days as a "Cowgirl with a Pony",
I am inspired to post a "Cowgirl Recipe".

This one comes straight from the popular Santa Fe, New Mexico restaurant,
"COWGIRL BBQ RESTAURANT AND GRILL", or sometimes called "COWBOY BAR AND GRILL"

One of their biggest sellers is their "Frito Pie", which they call,

"COWGIRL SMOKED BRISKET CHILI FRITO PIE"

I see this as a great dish for a casual get together..
The restaurant cuts off the top of individual sized Frito bags, puts them on a
plate, slitting the bags across down the middle, and then tops them with chips
then chili...

The Garnishes can then be added which include, Grated Monterey Jack Cheese or
Yellow Cheddar, Sour Cream, Sliced Pickled Jalapenos, Chopped Green Onions, Chopped Parsley, Chopped Cilantro, and Salsa..(maybe some Sliced Black Olives in case anyone
is there from California..don't complain, it's actually pretty good...)

Provide Ice Cold Beers and Soft Drinks in an "Iced Down Washtub, buy some "Western Themed" party dishes/paper plates, throw on the Tammy Wynette and Hank
Williams CDs, grab your PINK RHINESTONE BOOTS, and you've got yourself a
MIGHTY FINE COWGIRL BASH!!!

No need to wait for summer, you can do this indoors!

(I would like to point out here, that my imagination has certainly improved with
age....)

Serves 6-8 (could easily be doubled or tripled...Also, for those that like their food spicier than most, I would add more spice than what they call for..That's always true of my cooking, though..)

3 Tablespoons yellow cornmeal
3 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano leaf (not ground oregano)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Pinch cayenne pepper(optional)
1 pound lean ground beef, drained after browning
1 1/2 pounds trimmed,smoked brisket,cubed (smoke it yourself or buy it already done)
3 cups onion, peeled and chopped, chunky
2 tablespoons oil
1 (28 ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 (10.75 ounce) tomato puree
1 cup beer (optional)
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Fritos (the small size, not the large "dip" size)
If you want to serve as the restaurant does, just buy individual bags...Cute..

I mean, you don't HAVE to be "Cute"...

Most of the time, I am in no mood to be "Cute", so I totally understand if you just want to slap it on a paper plate, slide it across the counter, and say
"TIME TO EAT, YA'LL!!! GIMME A BEER, BUBBA!"

That is TOTALLY OKAY, as I don't think that "Bon Appetite" will be there taking
notes or snapping pictures...

Back to the recipe...

Saute in cast-iron skillet with no oil, and just until toasty brown, the yellow cornmeal, chili powder, black pepper, salt, cumin, oregano leaf, and red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper. Set aside spices to add to chili later.

In separate skillet, brown lean ground beef, and drain. In large (4-to 6 quart) stock or bean pot, saute' chopped onion in 2 tablespoons of oil until pieces start to turn transparent. Add chopped garlic, ground beef and smoked brisket cubes.
Add roasted spices.

Add to pot, canned chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, 2 cups water or vegetable stock, drained kidney beans and 1 cup beer.

Simmer over low heat for at least 1 hour, stirring frequently. Add more water or vegetable stock, if chili seems too thick. If chili seems too thin, add additional cornmeal to thicken.
To increase "heat" to taste, any hot sauce may be added.

Serve chili over Frito corn chips, and let people add their own desired garnishes..

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

HARD TO BELIEVE


Today is my youngest son's 18th Birthday..

This is something that I cannot seem to wrap my head around

I know that I am STILL not quite right after working last weekend (nightshift!)
(hopefully I will get used to the hours...must have a talk with my body...)

It has nothing to do with that, really...

It's just that it seems impossible to me that 18 years with him have passed
SO quickly!

Everything must have been set on " fast forward", when I thought that it was set
on "play"

Where was the "pause" button?

I realize that I am older, and I don't like that, but I am not hung up on it.
I do though, feel a mixture of both gratefulness and melancholy when it comes
to my son's birthday

Especially in the business that I am in, and with all I have seen, I feel very
blessed that he has reached the age of 18 in the good shape that he is in

He is a wonderful son, with a good heart, even if he IS a very difficult teenager
at times.

I adore him beyond what I can express.

I'm sure that you noticed the "birthday car" all wrapped up...

I seriously would LOVE to give him that car

I seriously would LOVE to give ME that car

I know that there ARE parents that give their kids that car

Especially in the school district where we reside..

Well, I have always felt that fantasy is extremely healthy

This is my "fantasy" gift to him

The thought of his reaction is so much fun to imagine!

Now don't feel sorry for this kid

I gave him my car when he turned 16, and it only had 60,000 miles on it

Still, it's not THIS car...

Motherhood has been the most challenging role of my life...

There have been GREAT JOYS AND LAUGHTER,
and sometimes impossibly deep and dark sadness,
fear, loneliness, and uncertainty

There is nothing else that has come close to affecting me as much as being the
Mother to two sons...

Eight years apart...different as night and day...

I have mixed feelings especially with my youngest son, growing up..

Certainly, a "loss" is felt, especially because you simply don't see them
as much anymore, and your relationship changes greatly..

Sometimes though,(not as often as I would like), an Adventurous Feeling comes
over me...

Now what will I do? Being a Mother has been my Central Role for so very long...

What on Earth will I do with myself?

Who knows what could happen..

Work, if I am lucky (and I am lucky "As We Speak"...)

Play with friends, when I/they have time...

Travel again, when the economy and my finances are a lot more stable...

Hope for some unknown horizons to open up...something that will interest me..

For my son, I wish Happiness, Good Health, Fulfillment in terms of School/Work;
that he finds a DREAM to hold onto, and that this Dream becomes his..

Strength, Faith, Friendship, Love, Wisdom ....I wish many things for him, but this is the "cliff notes" version....

On this day 18 years ago, I was blessed with this wonderful boy

It is a very special day for me as well...

We will go with my parents to eat at one of his favorite restaurants...

They serve GREAT Greek Food...

Eytyxismena Genethlia, son! (I'm not Greek, so I had to look that up )

La-breithe mhaith agat, son! (That's the "Irish-gaelic translation..I am of Irish
descent, and STILL had to look that up!)

How about good ol "Happy Birthday, son!" (now if I had to look that one up we'd
be in trouble....)