Thursday, January 27, 2011

Where Does Flavor Come From?

Where does flavor come from, Mommy?  Well, Dear.  Flavor comes from real food.  Some nice people are suing Taco Bell saying that the meat in their tacos isn't all meat and has a bunch of chemicals in it.

Actually, Dear, all fast food has chemicals in it.

Some people are saying that we need the chemicals for flavor, that the chemicals make it taste good.  But those are bad people and you are never to talk to them. 

Chemicals are imitation flavor.  Remember that, now! 

Mommy doesn't know why people would be confused about taco seasoning.  Because it is really easy.  We have our own taco seasoning recipe that tastes good, is easy to make and is made of real dried herbs and spices from our cabinet at home. 

Here is how we make it

Taco Seasoning Mix.
2 t. dry minced onion
1 t. salt
1 t. chili powder
1/2 t. dried minced garlic
1/4 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. ground cumin

See?  It's really very easy.  We get hamburger from the freezer, cook it, add the mix that Mommy makes and put it in the taco.  This recipe makes the equivalent of one of those packaged taco seasoning mixes from the store.  This isn't a perfect solution, but have your read the ingredients of those packages?

Remember that this whole thing just isn't brain surgery.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

BIG, BIG personalities

What I'm about to tell you is going to sound like a tall tale, but I swear to God it is 100% the truth. 

Papa/Husband brought Brilliant Baby and a cup of coffee to me in bed this morning.  This kid is used to a little snuggle first thing in the morning, so he got right under the covers. 

But Curious George was on down stairs and I was watching the Channel 8 news so he wasn't likely to be happy for long.  I handed him my cell phone. 
He flips it open, smiles big and starts pushing buttons.  I leaned towards him to keep an eye on him, just to make sure he doesn't like call my sister or something.  Almost immediately, I hear a sound and look closely and he has taken a picture with my phone.  Well, a picture of the blankets on the bed, but a picture!  He looks up at me and says "ha ha"  and some other baby stuff that I can't translate.

He continues pushing buttons and I glance over to see that he has the menu of my address book open on my phone.  I say 'No No, Baby" and reach for the phone.  He says "Ahhhh" loudly and pulls away. 

Just then I see the screen where you send text messages.  It's just a wonder I know what it looks like because I rarely send text messages.  Almost never, if the truth were known, but I do know what it looks like.

Just then I hear a tone that I know is the tone when a text message is sent.  Okay, which of my friends or relatives did he send a blank message to?  So I take the phone from him.  He let's out the Indian warpath yelp.  He has sent a text message to his father.  And he has sent the picture of the blanket as an attachment.  To his father.  He has selected his father's name from a list in my address book.  His father.  No text, of course.  Brilliant Baby can't speak real words, let alone spell. 

Just then, I hear a phone tone in another room.  And I hear Step Son say "what the heck?" and I yell out, "Your son did that."  Step Son says, "Whatever!" in his surfer-dude voice (that's another story worth telling one day). 

We settle back into Channel 8 news.  He still has my phone and he did the exact same thing again.  Sent his Dad a blank text with the blanket picture as an attachment.  To his Dad.  With a picture of a blanket.   

We get up and start getting ready.  Now BB is an Osborne. 

And Osbornes have Big, Big personalities, every last freaking one of them.  I mean that in the nicest, kindest, most sympathetic and helpful way, Dear.  But It's genetic.  Just saying.

Look what fun we had.  
Hiding in Papa's Closet.

This was a good game.

And now to MeeMaw's closet.

And, Yes, he still has my phone.

Remember to have fun, but remember to be out of the job market when this kid and his generation enters it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


There was a time when we ate out quite a bit.  I'm not really a mixed drink person, but once upon a time, I used to order a Margarita here and there.  

Anyway, I decided the other day that I would learn to make a homemade Margarita.  I've done some research And here it is!

You'll need fresh squeeze lime juice, tequila, simple syrup and Triple Sec. 

If you want to rim the glass with margarita salt, you'll need that too. 

Make the simple syrup by heating 1 c. water and adding 1 c. sugar.  Desolve the sugar in the water and cool.  Put it in the refrigerator.  Do this ahead. 

Put the glasses in the freezer for a little while to get them very cold.  The filtered water dispenser on my frig door has a crushed ice setting.  I crushed some ice before I started and put that in the freezer as well. 

Now.  To assemble the drinks.  Take one glass from the freezer.  Dip it into the lime juice, then the margarita salt.  Pour a little of the crushed ice into the glass.

I don't usually measure in ounces and my recipe is in ounces.   I searched my kitchen for a measuring cup in ounces prior to starting.  That would be the middle set of numbers.

For each glass, 3 ounces tequila, 2 ounces lime juice, 1 ounce simple syrup and 1 t. triple sec.  Pour into the glass and make another. 

Just to be clear here:  3 ounces of tequila is a lot for this light weight.  So...

It was delicious, and I recommend the recipe.

But remember to be careful.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Show Is The Thing.

I'm a behind the camera sort of person.  That's okay.  Not everyone belongs on the stage.

His sister is always practicing for the "show." 

I remember her talking about this for over a year.  She likes to be the center of attention.

Others are preparing for the show also.  

The Barbies have put on their best and have come out to watch.

Others want to see the show.

Jessica and Scooby Doo are waiting.  They've become good friends. 

Show biz people.  I mean really!  This one kind of worries me.  

Remember to practice for the show. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Guacamole and Avocados

I just thought you'd like to know.  Avocado is good for you.
  • It has been shown to inhibit prostate cancer.  I don't have one, but a love people who do.
  • It has been shown to prevent breast cancer.  That's a good thing.
  • There are some benefits for heart health, lower cholestrol, reduction of stroke risk.

  • It has antioxidants.  That's good for you, although I can't tell you why.
Are you ready to eat Avocados yet?

As I've mentioned, I come from farmers.  My Grandparents actively worked a farm during my childhood in the central Willamette Valley, Oregon.  They don't grow avocados where I grew up.  I remember a vacation when I was a kid with my parents and Grandparents in California.  I think this was a trip to Disneyland. 
We were driving around looking at things and came upon avocado trees.  We stopped, of course.  The farmer offered for us to pick up the fallen fruits for some very low cost.  My family loved a bargain.  They got a paper sack and picked up a bunch of them.  We took them back to the motel room and ate them. 

My grandmother salted avocados, along with tomatoes, and watermelon.  I remember her standing there with a spoon and a salt shaker shoveling avocado into her mouth.  It's just a wonder we aren't completely fat!  I come from a family of eaters.  

So here is how I make Guacamole.

2 avocados, peel and pit removed, mashed well with a fork 

1 t. salt

The juice of 1/2 lemon for 2 small avocados or the juice of 1 lemon for 2 large avocados

about 1/4 of a Japapeno pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped (That's not much.  You probably want more, so go ahead and add more.)

1 T. Olive oil

Mix well.  Get out the chips.

Makes me happy!  How about you?

Darn!  Now I want a Margarita.  Remember to check back later, if you dare.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Winter, Little Helper, and Ground Beef Enchilada Casserole

I'm just a little over Winter and there is a lot to go.  I'm dreaming of leaves on the Japanese Maple. 

And warm sunny afternoons in my own little piece of paradise.

And no jokes today.  Nothing seems funny.

But get over it.  Here is Papa at work in his office.  And Brilliant Baby is a big help at Autocad.  Doesn't he look like he'll grow up to be a mechanical engineer?  Or maybe he could get a degree in business and help on my end.  Either way, your choice, Baby.  I see in your soul every day.   I'm thinking you'll be a man who builds things. Step Grand Daughter can be our Operations Manager in about 20 years.  One can hope. Or Dream.

After work, we come home and are tired.  It's late and we need a fast dinner.  Tonight we are having Ground Beef Enchilada Casserole and Guacamole.  
1 lb ground beef
2 t. minced dried onion 
1 t. salt
1T. Chili Powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 c. water
4 10 " Don Pauncho corn tortillas, cut into strips like lasagna noodles
1 1/4 c. salsa
1 1/2 c. Tillamook sour cream 
1 can Santiam corn, drained
1 1/2 c. medium Tillamook cheddar cheese, grated. 

Brown the meat in a skillet and drain out any remain liquid.  Add the next 5 ingredients.  Stir and simmer briefly.

Did you know Don Pancho is an Oregon company and is manufactured in Salem?  Look for them in a store near you. Cut them into strips like lasagna noodles.

The casserole is assembled in layers.  Start with the meat, a scoop in the bottom of the dish.

Approximately 1/4 or 1/5 of each ingredient is layered into the casserole then repeat until all ingredients are added.

A layer of the tortilla strips, then start over. 

Fill the casserole dish with all ingredients alternating layers as you wish. 

Bake it at 350 for about 25 minute or until it is hot and bubbly. 

Oh, and the guacamole was good, too.  More about that tomorrow. And I seem to be feeling a little better.  Hope you are too.   

Monday, January 17, 2011

Meat, Mom and Mayham

1.  If you are interested in local meat from a good source in the Vancouver, Portland area, let me know.  It would mean taking at least 1/2 a cow, but the quality is good and you can go look the cow in the eyeballs, if you want to.  Let me know if you have questions about how this works.  I'm getting some experience I'd be happy to share.

2.  This is my Mom and Sister.  I've blogged some about my mom being in an assisted living facility and us moving her when we found she was not receiving the care we had hoped.  I'm pleased to report that she is mentally clearer than I've seen her in a while and I think it is because she is getting her basic needs met better.  I asked the administrator what percentage of the people in her facility have family involved in their care.  She said 50%.  She said she has clients with family close by who never come see them.  She has one client with a restraining order against her own child.  And one client whose child has taken her money and house and is currently being investigated for it.  She has clients whose children have "grudges."  Heck, I've more than one grudge.  Who cares?  That doesn't mean I'm not going to take as good of care of my mother as possible.  Love You, Mama.  As you get older, take care of your parents.  I'm Serious, People! 

3.  Step Grand Daughter's favorite thing is a lavender and pink unicorn pillow pet. 

The unicorn's name is Polly.  Polly is a female unicorn.  I asked her what the unicorn does with her horn.  I thought she'd say "do magic" or something.  She said Polly "pokes bad people" with her horn, but her horn is "soft."  Not sure what to make of that.  Any ideas?
Don't get creeped out by this.  Brilliant Baby's favorite thing is a talking Elmo.

His other favorite thing is Sister's favorite thing. 

I'm pretty sure that choking a unicorn is bad luck, Right?

Remember to be nice and get along.  This is really important, People! 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Italian Sausage Calzone

First of all, I'm sure you are interested in how the cat is doing. Under some sort of shady dealings, the Barbies have been evicted from their house and Ms. Cali has taken possession.  The Barbies currently reside at Hotel Storage Box and are seeking legal advice.  More to come on that. 

Italian Sausage Calzone
I've made this many times, but not recently.  It isn't exactly a recipe as much as a procedure which you can modify to your taste.  Start with your favorite pizza dough or try this one. 

Activate 1 package of yeast with 1 cup warm water and stir to combine.  I had Step Grand Daughter smell it.  I thought she would like it.  My two favorite smells in the world are activated yeast and fresh dill.  She declared that the yeast smelled "disgusting," and I already know I'm weird, so she's probably right. And I must admit, it doesn't look very attractive.

In a large mixing bowl, 3 c. AP flour, 1/2 t. salt, 2 T. Olive oil.  Add the activated yeast mixture.  
Stir the dough to combine.  Mix or knead till smooth.  May need a little more flour. 

Let rise in a greased bowl until doubled.  If you have a warm house, it may rise on the counter.  I grew up in a cold house.  My mother raised dough by turning her oven to the lowest setting until it came to temp.  Then she turned off the oven and put the dough in it to rise with the oven turned off.  

My new oven has a dough proofing setting which I hadn't yet used.  I decided to use it.  Too hot.  The old fashioned way is better, as usual. 

Turn the raised dough onto a floured board.  Punch it down, then cut it in 4 pieces.  

The filling is just 1/2 an onion finely diced, 1 red pepper finely diced.  A little olive oil.  Cook the vegetables down until they are nice and soft and shiny. 

Remove them to a pie place and cook 1 pound of mild Italian sausage.  Use spicier stuff if you want.  I'm thinking the kiddos might like this better.  Once the meat is cooked, add the vegetables back.  

To assemble, roll each piece of dough to a round.  Add a fourth of the filling, 1/4 c. or more of your favorite canned pizza sauce and 1/2 c. Tillamook Italian cheese, which is a blend of mozzarella and Parmesan.  Again, season this more if you want.

Fold over and crimp with a fork.  Sprinkle with a little flour if it gets sticky. 

Paint the top with a lot of beaten egg.  I'm a believer painting the egg wash thickly.

Put them all on a well greased or well sprayed metal pan.  Bake at 475 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until browned.

I made double this.  Whatever we don't eat, will be lunch or leftovers.

Remember to smell the yeast and experience whatever life brings you.  If you like it, do it again.  If not, you had the experience.

Linked with Whatcha Making Wednesday at Scrap Addicts and Hearth and Soul at