Things

Plop us down in one place for a year and suddenly we have things. Stacks of things. Lots of things. Things sitting out that could be put away. How do we accumulate all these things? How often do you pare down the things you have accumulated?

When we first moved into this house we rented a storage unit. We had things we were not certain we needed or should be rid of. Now it is mostly Christmas decorations, (I try to get rid of more every year). We are going to get rid of our storage unit and put our things in with someone else. Why pay for 2 when all the things fit in one unit!

However, that does not cover what is in the house. I have been slowly going through drawers and closets getting rid of things not used in the past year. We have been here for over a year so now is the time!

Are you overrun with things? I find things sometimes distract me from the Lord. The photos in my office remind me of Him and also of good times Bob and I have celebrated.

This lovely statue in Colorado is entitled “You might as well dance!”

And Arches National Park where I spotted the Trinity, or was it the Three Wise men in the shadows?

Regardless, the shadows remind me I am never alone

As I rearrange pots and pans and other things to better locations I am reminded to always fix my eyes upon Him. May you be blessed to do the same! More important than things is seeking His Kingdom.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 

Matthew 6:33

Learning Curve

Oh my goodness. I was brought up short by my ignorance during a visit with my oldest Grandgirl the other day.

She met her boyfriend on Snap Chat. And he is a looker! Lives about 27 miles away. They have a limit of seeing one another 4 times a week, at least before school began. With the price of gas I am not surprised on that limit.

She wanted to come over and bake a cookie recipe with me that she got from Tik Tok, I think. It has pretzels, chocolate chips and chopped caramels in it. She baked those with him, too. Told me she did not think they would be too hard for him. Oh my, dear. The male ego is fragile. Hope she did not say that to him!

She had to teach him how to crack an egg. She liked that fact. The cookies were delicious!

I am so out of touch! Yes, I suppose I must lean into this learning curve. Parts of me sarcastically say, “Really?” When we began an account on Facebook our children were upset as they saw it as their domain. Now they have moved along without us. The Grandgirls helped me load Snap Chat a few years ago. Without practice I have forgotten how to use it and the value of even having it on my devices. Not certain I even want TikTok. Here is more information in case you are interested.

“TikTok is a short-form, video-sharing app that allows users to create and share 15-second videos, on any topic.”

https://influencermarketinghub.com/what-is-tiktok/

I do not take many videos. If I mastered videography would I only want you to see it for 15 seconds?

And what about Snapchat?

Snapchat is an American multimedia instant messaging app and service developed by Snap Inc., originally Snapchat Inc. One of the principal features of Snapchat is that pictures and messages are usually only available for a short time before they become inaccessible to their recipients.

Wikipedia

Do I really need more apps and time destroyers? I’m thinking not, but perhaps I am just thinking old! One pastor called one of these apps a tool of the devil. I think that demon can find his way into anything, but not certain the entire platform is evil? More likely the techno-crazed modern brain is caught up in too much information bombarding daily. It is amazing how modern technology has made it possible for us to be connected to others if we want to be!

Not likely I will load and use either of those apps. Just thought you might want to know how out of touch this Grammy is! I do pray for the protection of my grandchildren and all those using these apps. Most of all, may they turn their eyes to the Lord God Almighty.

But my eyes are toward you, O GOD, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!

Psalm 141:8 ESV

Hatch Chilis!

First time we visited Betty and Dan Cooksey in New Mexico they took us to Wagner’s Produce where they were roasting green Chilis.

Last year, 2021, the local Kroger store advertised that they had Hatch Chilies. Hatch is considered the best of the green chilis. They grow in one area.

The New Mexico tourism site says:

30,000 people flock to this small community situated along the fertile Rio Grande river valley in southern New Mexico. Any time of year, visitors can find stockpiles of roasted chile. During harvest time, you can hear the sizzle of chile skins searing and smell the sweet roasted fruit pods with every inhale. You can see ristras being made and may catch a glimpse of the glamorous Chile Queen.

Well, phooey! New Mexico tourism spelled it chilie. I thought it was chili. Anyway you spell it, think TASTY! ( by the way, ristras are the string of drying chilis.)

Hatch or otherwise, once you get a hankering for the taste of chili in your food, you know nothing else is like it! Theses are not the peppers that roast your tongue (unless you choose hot or extra hot which I never have). You are likely thinking of jalapenos.

Green chilis are large, growing to 6 inches long, with a blocky shape that narrows at the end. “Jalapenos” are very small, rarely growing longer than 3 inches. They have a more uniformly narrow shape.

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/difference-between-green-chillies-green-jalapeno-peppers-75402.html

When the Kroger advertisd arrived with the announcement that the Chilis were in I bought about 6. Unfortunately we forgot to take them out of the plastic bag immediately once I got home and one spoiled within a couple hours. I put the remainder on a paper towel with the reminder to roast them the next day on our grill.

So above is the progression. When they were fully charred I put them in a plastic bag to rest on the countertop. Wish I could have sent you the fragrance.! Yum!

When I was peeling them I tried to remember if the heat was in the seeds or membranes inside the pepper pods? I think Dan told us membranes, so I tried to remove both. I am after the flavor not the heat. While I had the grill turned on I cooked burgers for our supper. Bob had a piece of chili on his and loved it.

Last time I roasted them I froze on sheets of waxed paper. Bad news – the waxed paper stuck to the chili, so this time I tried plastic wrap instead.

Opening the wrap for the second photo about had me drooling! I forgot to tell you! The chilis get peeled and seeded with GLOVES ON! The active ingredient is capsacian. You might have heard about that from pain relieving rubs? I tasted a frozen bit of chili juice when I unwrapped the ones above for the photo. Rinsed my fingers, but did not scrub with soap and water. Just rubbed my eye a few hours later. Ouch! Heat!

In case you think this is only a New Mexico thing, for several years now Kroger’s has been selling green chili bagels in Cincinnati. Dan makes the best ones though. Toast the bagel, add chili, bacon and cheese. Heat until cheese melts. Yummy! In Albuquerque MacDonald’s sells green chili hamburgers. There is even green chili ice cream in a few places.

I think I need to make some mac ‘n cheese with chili. Yep, I feel the craving growing!

Humor and Aging

Without your glasses are you using the Spray ‘n Wash stain stick or Underarm deodorant?

With your glasses off are those eye drops or scalp drops?

Steroid cream says do not use internally. Doctor says apply to your gums. Go figure!

If you are on a low salt diet is it okay to soak your foot in Epsom Salts? How about swimming in a friend’s in ground salt water pool?

Level of pain determines which cream I use on my face! Arthritis and TMJ are NO FUN!!

How come we find time to do so many things, including visiting others, and rarely find time to do things for us (like shooting photos downtown or cutting quilt squares)?

Since I never learned how to cook for two I have plenty of food to share with others!

My, oh my, this life brings humor if we are willing to look for it! I do not envy my kids or caregivers as I age. How come I think many of those comfort options will be dropped then as non-essential? A counselor who did her internship at a nursing home said she wants to hire someone when she grows old to pluck the hairs that grow in unusual places. How about my left elbow? Can I count on you to do that for me?!?

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  • Water Prayer

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Our Favorite Company!

This post has been republished due to a technical issue preventing some followers from seeing the initial publication…. So I guess the pressure to write this week has been taken off!

Dan and Betty Cooksey have been visiting with us for a couple days. What a delight to see our oldest friends from New Mexico. We are always at ease with them. We share approximate ages, they are married about 3 years longer than us, but best of all we share a deep and abiding faith in Christ.

It has been a whirlwind here. If I have missed a posting or two that is because I have been too busy for my own good! Or perhaps this is all FOR my good? I am lumping along in my orthotic boot with plantar fasciitis, writing a group lesson plan for Saturday (trust stands guard), group lesson plan for Thursday (Philippians Chapter 2), the blog (you are reading), company and preparing for the backyard landscapers to arrive any minute here to create a new garden strip across the back of the yard. All that amidst high humidity and nasty high temperatures, etc.

photo by r m dutina

We did get to visit our son’s food stand created with his friend Ryan, at Findlay Market. He has been making sour dough biscuits and serving them with either fresh eggs, cheese and optional sausage or berries and whipped cream. I opted for the eggs and told Bob I did not think I could possibly get it in my mouth.

photo by r m dutina

Well look at that BIG mouth!

photos by r m dutina

As you can see for a photo I can eat that with determination! Could not finish it until the next morning for breakfast. It was SO delicious! From scratch sour dough biscuit, 3 eggs fresh from a market vendor, cheese from a market vendor, prepared by Ryan and Jeff with care and attention. I will probably opt for berries and whipped cream next time!

Shel Silverstein summed it up perfectly in his verse about Scale:

Once Again, Anchovy Rain

This post has been republished due to a technical issue preventing some followers from seeing the initial publication…. So I guess the pressure to write this week has been taken off!

Did you hear about the glut of anchovies in Marin County, California? To me it would just stink. To Bob it would be like quail in Numbers 11:31-32!

Bob said just put down a pizza crust and let him bake it! Ugh!!

Not raining quail, but something like that!

Now a wind went out from the Lord and drove quail in from the sea. It scattered them up to two cubits deep all around the camp, as far as a day’s walk in any direction. All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No one gathered less than ten homers. Then they spread them out all around the camp. 

Numbers 11:31-32 NIV

Omicron Wave and Return of Restrictions

Unavailable, even in store brand!

When there was a supply chain crisis and tube biscuits vanished from the store, (also known as Whop-whop biscuits from when we used to strike them on the Formica countertop to open),

Whop Whop Biscuits!

Ha! No worries! While visiting in Nashville, Nita taught me to use frozen Pillsbury biscuits. Yes, indeed, there they were! Pillsbury frozen biscuits 🙂 Never fear, comfort foods are near!

Many thanks, Nita!!

When Omicron variant was running rampant we returned to staying home more. It was difficult not to get down and blue and feel as if THIS WILL NEVER END!! So I decided to cook!

Baked brownies with dark chocolate frosting. I usually make them with walnuts in half the pan. Then when I frost them I put walnuts on half the frosting. Lately we have wanted them either all nuts ( like us) or all without nuts to share with neighbor.

Ribs in the magic pot! Jill Evans taught me how to do this. You cook the ribs in the Magic pot. I usually freeze half of them for another time. Then when ready to make dinner brush them with Bar-be-Que sauce and run them under the broiler until glazed. OH yum! Make a couple sides and you are living large!

One of our favorites is Slow cooked Oatmeal in the crock pot. Oatmeal is just good for us period. I make a batch and put it in the fridge. Scoop out some for breakfast, creamy and thick. I like mine with lots of milk and a bit of cinnamon sugar. Bob likes his with raisins added.

With pork tenderloin I can never go wrong. I sear it on the grill for extra flavor. Then rub in spices and bake.

I finally tried chicken breast in the magic pot from a frozen state. Several gals told em to try this. Yep! It worked and was SO moist.

Turkey wild rice soup made with broth we created from the bones at Thanksgiving is so yummy. Merged several recipes several years ago and this is one of Bob’s all time favorites. We think it tastes best after being refrigerated overnight before consuming. We freeze the excess and enjoy it several times. Put it with one of those frozen biscuits with brownie for dessert! Nope, we are not losing any weight here! But not ballooning with Covid pounds either.

WILD RICE & MUSHROOM TURKEY SOUP                4-6 servings

4 T. unsalted butter                             1 Large onion, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped                         3 carrots chopped

4 oz. Mushrooms (or more!), sliced                     3 T. flour

5 cups turkey or chicken broth/stock  2-1/2 c. cooked wild rice

1 branch fresh thyme ½ t. dry             12 oz. cooked turkey, chopped

3 T. dry sherry  ½ c. non-fat sour cream       1 t. each salt & pepper

Melt butter over med-hi heat. Add onion, celery, carrot: cook & stir until softened 4-5 min. Add mushrooms and cook until they begin to give off some liquid, 2-3 min. Sprinkle flour over veges. Stir well and cook 1 min.

Add stock, rice and thyme. Cover and heat to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer until veges tender – 15 min.

Add sherry and turkey, cook 1 min. Remove from heat, add sour cream, salt & pepper.

Recipe created 11-05  Updated  2-22

Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

An Almost Immediate Refresher Course in Be Glad

I usually cook meats and foods like sweet potatoes in larger portions than we need for a meal for two senior citizens. We freeze the extras and have ready meals for days I/we do not feel like cooking.

Recently we ate the last portion of Beef Brisket from the freezer stash. Mind you, we do not eat much beef, but brisket became something we love ever since Betty cooked and served it to us in New Mexico. She uses Claude’s Barbeque Brisket Marinade from El Paso, Texas.( I cannot find it here in Ohio so I went so far as to order it from Texas! Yes, it is THAT good!) https://www.claudessauces.com/collections/claude-s-sauces Last week, I found a piece of brisket marked down at Kroger’s. It was a splurge, but I bought it anyway.

We have two wonderful women who come in once every two weeks to clean the floors and tub/shower tiles. I can no longer clean the house in one day, even with Bob’s help. They are a delight and always leave things sparkling clean. They were here Saturday morning. That evening I put the beef in a baking bag to marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Baked it in the cooking bag Sunday afternoon and the house smelled delightful – almost overwhelmingly so!

After the meat cooled I snipped a small corner of the bag so I could drain and save the juices for making a gravy after I sliced down the meat and separated it into portions. Usually I do these sorts of things in the sink in case I make a mess. I was tired and not thinking clearly. I tried to get the juices into a measuring cup on the glass stove top. In short order the baking bag got away from me. The open tip actually began spinning around. Yep, you guessed it! Brisket juice all over the stove top, down the front of the stove, on the floor, down my pants leg, left shoe top. I finally got it aimed and into the pan where I had cooked the brisket. As I hollered “Oh no!!” Bob came to my rescue asking, “What can I do? What can I do?” I had just placed clean rags on top of the dryer. I asked him to get me the rags. I almost slid in the juice while trying to clean it up. I wiped up enough that I would not fall. Called the beagle over.

After all the excitement it took some encouragement to assure Lucky it was okay to come lick this up. She was entranced by the exquisite flavor. I mean that dog stayed there licking and polishing that floor the entire time I was working to clean up my mess. In the past I nicknamed myself, “Little Molly Make-a-mess.” So apt. Remember when I quoted Hanson as writing, “We also focus on our own mistakes and flaws – and on the feelings of guilt, shame, inadequacy, and even self-hatred that get stirred up.” I had begun with internal self-castigation and shaming. And then I was glancing down at that dog.

Having just read and then re-read the selection by Rick Hanson, I knew I had several choices here. I could choose to be glad or spiral down into negative, dark thinking. As I stripped off my clothing in the laundry room it hit me that this could have been so much worse had I not cooled the meat before I began. I washed by new slacks right then, but the oil stain remained from the brisket juice. Washed them again. Have not checked that status yet.

Dressed in clean clothing, I went back to cleaning up the stove top, stove front and floor. That dog was still amazed at her blessing from on high in the form of brisket juice. Much more juice than she would ever be given otherwise! She was delighted!

For the first time I used the Lysol cleaner from the other house to clean the stove and mop this portion of the floor. It would cut the grease better than water with vinegar and a drop of Dawn as recommended for regular use on this type of flooring. I used the sponge mop that I prefer. And I was able to do it! Even after bending over to wash the front of the oven door.

Draining the catch pan and measuring cup I got enough juice to fill a 2 cup measure and then a bit more. I began to slice the meat. Got about halfway through when my hand began to rebel (Arthur-Itis is not my friend!) Bob finished for me. Love that man! His help is invaluable.

Measured out portions and had a large dish for our meals this week. Likely too much so will freeze some of that also. Three other portion bags for freezing. While making the gravy Lucky sat on the rug in front of the refrigerator, likely hoping for “More, please!” The gravy worked just fine without the part on the floor. In actual fact, it was better than if I had made the mess in the sink where I likely would have lost more of the juices from cooking right down the drain.

Later in the evening the dog kept going back to that portion of the floor. She does not get the fact that I mopped it. Perhaps she prays for me to make another mess. Larger. Soon. Until then, she will need to be content to lick a little bit of gravy off my plate after dinner. Last thing we need is a chunky beagle!

What might have ruined an evening became an occasion for rejoicing with the Beagle, seeing that even when I make a mess it is not a catastrophe, just a mess. I am even more grateful for our cleaning women and their abilities to make our home sparkle. I was able to “Be Glad” even though things did not go as I planned.

Guideposts and Prayer

Guideposts offers many ways to get prayer including a Facebook page! One paper item they publish is called 60 Days of Prayer. I opened it randomly and came to such an important lessons as the holiday entertaining begins.

First they quoted the New International Bible.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:41-42

And then this important message: “Give yourself the gift of letting go. Let go of the need to be perfect. Perfect gifts, perfect gatherings, planning the perfect day. When you focus on perfection you miss the most important part of the holiday. Instead, sit at Jesus’ feet and focus on Him.”

Now I know for some of you the letting go would not occur unless you broke your hand! Been there. Done that. And, as the saying goes, I have the t-shirt!!

Guideposts went on the make a prayer saying “I plan on keeping You the center of my celebration.”

That would be a tremendous way to celebrate Christmas, 2021, don’t you think?

Our Christmas dinner meal usually looks like sandwiches with deli items from the meat and cheese store. The kids are too excited to have a sit-down meal! My son makes mac and cheese as only a chef can. Daughter’s broccoli salad is delicious. Pickles, Skyline dip, salsa and chips, homemade cookies and United Dairy Farmers ice cream.

Gifts are likely to come from a wish list, but sometimes the family surprises us with an unexpected item. Mostly, we just like having them here. The plan for now is for our daughter’s family to come around 11 in the morning for gifts and quiche. Our son’s family to arrive around 4 for gifts and sandwiches. (The two do not meet as some are vaccinated and some are not.) All of this of course is dependent upon the Omicron variant.

Looking at Omicron, I am stunned back to the feelings of December, 2020. The Delta variant is still spreading. This new variant is more contagious and spreading faster around the globe than anything we have likely seen during our lifetime! The news doctors say if we are vaccinated and ‘boostered’ we are still likely to get it, but a much milder case than those who have not been vaccinated. They have not given their opinion regarding those with other conditions such as diabetes and COPD. The reports say “For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death — for yourselves, families, and the hospitals who may soon overwhelm,” White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said at a news briefing Friday, December 17th. “We need the American people to do their part.” Hospitals nationwide are now being overwhelmed. What does that say about those needing treatment for heart attacks, strokes, cancer. When all the beds go to Covid illnesses surgeries get cancelled. Other needs are neglected.

One friend has an adult unvaccinated son who caught the Delta variant. He isolated in his room for 7 days. His wife and 10 month old daughter got sick. He was finally admitted to the hospital because he was having such difficulty breathing. Was there for almost a week. Extremely ill, on oxygen, medications. He lost a tremendous amount of weight. Is now released but has absolutely no energy for even the simplest things. Another older friend and her husband caught Delta. She was in pain such as she has never known and exhausted for almost two weeks. Slept constantly. On the mend.

Oh Lord, have mercy. Give wisdom and conviction to those who are not vaccinated. Help each of us to keep our eyes upon You no matter what this illness does next. Be the center of our celebrations, no matter what tries to distract us. Amen.

Hatch Chile

Have you ever visited New Mexico this time of year? From now until early October the chile is harvested, roasted, stored, eaten, made into sauces, etc. Last autumn I thought I posted about the roasting at Wagner’s market in Corrales. Cannot find such a post so I will recap!

During our very first visit to New Mexico in 2004 Dan and Betty took us to Wagner’s Farm to witness roasting and small the deliciousness of roasting chile.

This is how you find the market on Corrales Road.

I wish I could share the fragrance of roasting chile with you. Perhaps you can create your own! This year our local Kroger store was selling New Mexico Hatch chile for $.99 a pound. I have never, ever seen that before! So I bought a bag and decided to work the magic on our grill.

You roast the chile on the grill until they are charred. (Darker than this photo.) This makes for a great fragrance and easy peeling later. But wait, there’s more!!

Remove the chile from the grill and place in a plastic bag. This lets them steam and continue to cook a bit. When they are cool you can process them further. And gadzooks! our kitchen smelled like Wagner’s!!

There is just nothing like the fragrance of roasted chile. Before you place your order at Wagner’s you have to decide how hot you want the chile! Here are 30 seconds of prices and ideas from 2020.

Buy your bushel and let the magic begin! If you watch/listen to at least 1 min 37 seconds you can hear the chiles start to crackle over the flames.

Here are Bob and Dan in Corrales 2020 processing the chile after Betty broke her ankle in Colorado and Molly hurt her back.

After they cool, you MUST put on rubber gloves as the capsacian from the chile can burn your eyes and mucus membranes. You slide off the charred skin and remove the membranes and seeds. Now Betty says to taste them and see how hot they are. If you want them hotter leave some seeds in. I confess, I did not taste mine. If storing them, I lay them out on waxed paper and freeze. That way they are easier to separate later. Or just toss them in whatever you are cooking to add flavor and heat! Cuban Black beans, burritos, tacos, casseroles, toasted English muffins with melted cheddar, you name it!

When we visited New Mexico we double bagged the chile in plastic and packed in a plastic box in our suitcase. They made it home just fine.

So there you have it! Hope you can purchase and enjoy some in your home town!