Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer recipes

Here are some recipes that I’ve been requested to share.  Let me know if there are any others that you’d like me to post!

Chili con Queso

  • 1 lb Velveeta
  • 1 lb Mexican Velveeta (optional; I often just use 2 lb of plain Velveeta)
  • 1 lb Pepper Jack, grated
  • 1 jar (12 oz) Pace Medium Chunky Salsa
  • 2 cans chopped green chiles
  • 2 cans Hormel No Bean chili
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • Tabasco chipotle sauce, jalapenos, Tapatio, etc for seasoning

Cut Velveeta into cubes. Put in pot and add ¼ cup evaporated milk. Stir on low heat to melt Velveeta. As Velveeta is melting, gradually add evaporated milk until the cheese has a fondue-like consistency (you will probably not use all the evaporated milk). Add pepper jack to mixture, adding evaporated milk as needed. Add salsa, green chiles, and chili; stir. Season to taste.


Watermelon-Berry Lemonade

  • 8  cups cubed seeded watermelon
  • 3  cups hulled and quartered strawberries
  • 2  12-oz. cans frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 8  cups water
  •   Wedges of fresh watermelon (optional)
  •   Whole hulled strawberries (optional)

1. In blender, combine half of the watermelon, strawberries, and lemonade concentrate. Cover; blend until smooth. Transfer to serving container. Repeat with remaining. Add water; chill up to 2 days.

2. Serve over ice with watermelon wedges and strawberries. Makes 12 servings.


Texas Rockets

  • 1/2  pound  chicken breast strips
  • 3/4  cup  Italian dressing, divided
  • 1/2  (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  pepper
  • 12  jalapeño peppers (about 3 1/2 to 4 inches long)
  • 12  thin bacon slices

Place chicken and 1/2 cup Italian dressing in a shallow dish or zip-top plastic freezer bag; cover or seal, and chill 30 minutes.

Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Grill chicken, covered with grill lid, over medium heat (300° to 350°) 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until done, basting with remaining 1/4 cup Italian dressing. Let chicken cool slightly, and finely chop.

Stir together chicken, cream cheese, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

Be sure to wear plastic gloves for the following: cut jalapeño peppers lengthwise down 1 side, leaving other side intact; remove seeds and membranes. Spoon 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons chicken mixture into cavity of each pepper. Wrap each pepper with 1 bacon slice, securing with 2 wooden picks.

Grill stuffed jalapeños, without grill lid, turning frequently, over medium heat 20 to 25 minutes or until bacon is crisp.

Bad mother or just capturing the moment?

We were at a Fourth of July party, and all the adults were talking together.  We, of course, were assuming that our perfect angels were being just that: perfect angels.  Then one of my friends started laughing and said, “Chelsey, are you seeing this?”  And this is what we saw.




I have no idea how full it was when she started, but it was nearly empty when it was taken away.  And she didn’t spill a drop.  So I have to ask myself if I’m a bad mother for a) having no idea when or how my 1-year-old stole a 2-liter bottle of root beer, and b) not taking the soda away immediately; or if I’m a good mother for grabbing the camera first.

Here are some other pictures from our Independence Day extravaganza:



Kids doing snaps.  We could have gone through twice as many boxes of those.  They were a hit.  Averi popped one in her hand and didn’t even flinch.






Thursday, July 1, 2010

When inspiration strikes


Having a dog is kind of like having children.  You love them.  You really do.  But there are so many days when you want throttle them.  The problem with a dog is that you don’t feel like you HAVE to keep it no matter what.  It’s not a moral obligation, unlike children.  This lack of permanence allows you to indulge those thoughts for far longer than you would with regards to the kids.

I had those thoughts on Monday.  To preface, I KNOW that the advice is to never let a greyhound off a leash.  These dogs, in case you didn’t know, are FAST.  If they take off, it’s adios.  But I have never been one to let rules stand in the way unless I am certain they’re good rules.  I love taking Lando on walks in the mesa by our house.  And he LOVES being let off the leash to explore.  He’s such a momma’s boy that he’s always kept fairly close, and will always follow if I turn around.

Except for Monday.

Apparently Lando’s got an independent streak that’s just starting to show, because on Monday I turned around to head back home and called for Lando to come.  He didn’t come.  He wasn’t finished with his walk yet.  So I kept walking toward home, thinking that he would surely follow.  And he kept walking the other way, thinking the same thing.  Eventually when he was quite far in the distance, I realized that he wasn’t coming, so I’d better follow.

I was irritated.  But I knew that he’d come back or stop and let me get him.  After 5 minutes, I started to worry.  Aaron had a meeting he had to get to in the morning, which meant that I had to be back in the house to watch the kids soon.  After a few more minutes, I began panicking.  What if he didn’t stop?  There was no way I could catch up to him.  As long as I was walking, he walked as well, but always 200 m or so ahead of me.  If I began to jog, so did he.  I started offering little prayers: “Heavenly Father, please help me get this dog back.  Please help me get this dog….”  After we’d gone over a mile like this, I was really freaking out.  What was I supposed to do?  Follow until he decided to lay down?  Go back and…do what?  I was kicking myself for ignoring all the advice about NEVER letting a greyhound off leash.

Calling wasn’t working.  Whistling wasn’t working (I can’t whistle anyway).  Acting excited and running in the opposite direction wasn’t working.  Promises of treats weren’t working.  Shouting and casting aspersions upon his ancestors wasn’t working.  Suddenly it occurred to me that I needed to think more logically.  What makes Lando run?  Rabbits.  But what makes Lando come faster than anything except rabbits?  Other dogs.  But I didn’t have another dog with me.

Then suddenly inspiration struck.  I didn’t have to have another dog.  I just had to sound like another dog.  So out on the mesa at 7:30 in the morning I began barking.  Immediately Lando stopped.  His ears pricked.  I kept barking, trying to sound as convincing as I possibly could.  He took off running toward me at full speed, and I kept on barking.  He came to a stop about five feet away from me and cocked his head, trying to figure out where the dogs were.  I seized this moment and was able to grab his collar before he knew what was happening.  And then we ran the entire way home.

Lando has been banned from all off-leash privileges.  And I have learned to recognized and respond to those moments of inspiration, even when they seem as ridiculous as barking on the mesa.