Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What Thanksgiving Means to Me

Since Thanksgiving is around the corner, I decided to jot down some of the things I’m thankful for:

  • Having a place to come home to that keeps me warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
  • Being able to put food on the table even if it’s as simple as possible.
  • I can keep in touch with family even through means of Facebook
  • Being able to deepen my friendships with people I care most about
  • I can spend some time with my friends and enjoy each others company
  • Living in a beautiful place in which I don’t have to deal with terrible city traffic, just tourists
  • Learning skills that will help me and my family live a healthful eating lifestyle
  • Peace and comfort from God even though life has thrown lots of curve balls
  • Growing older with my hubby

I hope you have a incredible Thanksgiving Day spending time with those you love the most and eating to your heart’s content! Open-mouthed smile

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stuffed Peppers with Wild Rice

When I came home from work I was in a complete mood for crispy oven-baked breaded chicken drumsticks.  Ha, that’s a mouthful!  I’ve never made it before, but out of nowhere I just felt the urge for some good finger-lickin’ food.  Unfortunately I didn’t have any chicken at all – I was totally bummed about that.  I didn’t want to leave the house for the rest of the evening because it was too cold!  Why would I leave my warm, comfy home for windy 50 degree weather?  No thanks.  I thought about making fajitas, but I only had ground beef; and the thought of having ground beef with fajitas was completely unappealing.  Then MigL came up with the bright idea which resulted in tonight’s dinner.  “How about stuffed peppers?”  I haven’t made these in at least three years, so I decided, why not?  I had all of the ingredients I needed.  These turned out way better than when I made them the first time!

Now I’m looking forward to some much needed rest and a day off tomorrow and then it’s Thanksgiving time!




Stuffed Peppers with Wild Rice

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 cup diced tomatoes (or 1 can of Rotel)
2 cups tomato sauce
1 tablespoon cumin
1 cup wild rice
1 cup white rice
4 green bell peppers, large
1 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated

Cook the wild rice.  Cook the white rice.  Set aside.  Brown the beef in a skillet.  Drain off any excess fat.  Add the onion and garlic.  Cook until just soft.  Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce and cumin.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15-20 minutes.  Cut the tops off the peppers.  Remove any seeds.  Place in boiling water for 3 minutes.  Drain.  Add the two rices to the meat mixture.  Fill the peppers with the mix.  Place the peppers in a baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Top with the cheese and bake for 15 minutes longer.  Serve warm.

Latin Cook’s note
I didn’t add any garlic or cumin this time around since I felt kind of lazy;  however the dish still turned out pretty well despite the omitted step.  I mixed the tomato sauce in the mix right before I added the cheese and it turned out nice and moist.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Que Frio! (So Cold!)

I know it’s going to be a chilly night because my nose gets unusually cold whenever we have cold weather.  I hear it’s supposed to snow in Angwin, about 30 minutes from Napa.  I suppose my nose knows.  It reminds me of my mom’s nose, partly because I have her nose, but also because every time it got cold at our house (we didn’t have heating or AC) she was always very cold mostly during the winter and her nose was extremely cold, like ice.  My dad and I used to joke around with her saying “está nevando” (it’s snowing) only because we never got as cold as she did and she’d have to put on several layers of clothes, a big winter coat and warm socks just to get warm.  At home, in Southern California, I remember that my nose and feet got cold – and whenever my feet stayed incredibly cold throughout the night, even if I had thick socks on, there was frost the next morning.  It never failed.
Don’t you think somebody should invent a “nose warmer”?  Perhaps it should be me!
Nose glove
This is probably my worst rendition ever of what I’m envisioning, but it’d be like a mask, except it’d be fuzzy solely to keep your nose warm!  It’d have holes at the bottom so that your nose wouldn’t get nose claustrophobia (as I sometimes get when I’m underneath the covers and feel like I can’t breathe and have to instantly break for air).  And just like a mask, you’d have individual adjustable strings to wrap around your ears.  Genius, eh?  I could call it, “Nuzzie”, the warm fuzzy for your nose!  I can see the infomercials now..”but wait, THERE’S MORE!  If you order within the next 15 minutes, you’ll get a second Nuzzie for half off!  We’ll even throw in a fuzzy hat!”
I really enjoy listening to the rain at night with the window slightly cracked to bring in a bit of fresh rainy air.  It really does feel like November.  Just this week we had 85 degree weather and now it’s about 48 degrees.  Welcome to California. 
I’m off to make some hot chocolate and take a bite out of some brownies that I made last night while listening to the trickles of rain.  Happy Friday!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hankering for doughnuts

A few days ago I got such a ridiculously strong hankering for doughnuts, at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday night, no less.  Do you know how many doughnut shops are open at that time?  None.  Now mind you, I haven’t had doughnuts in YEARS!  I was watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”, which has absolutely nothing to do with doughnuts nor were there commercials for doughnuts.  Just out of the blue, I wanted a freshly made (or two), soft glazed doughnut.  What’s so wrong with that?  I didn’t want those week-old (+) doughnuts neatly stacked in a cardboard box – you know what I’m talking about, the ones in the bread aisle?  Yuck.

I began furiously and vigorously searching for a doughnut shop nearby.  Something like Winchell's, or Dunkin’ Doughnuts, even Krispy Kreme.  114 miles, 0 locations found and 42.8 miles, respectively.  Granted, Napa and their neighbors don’t like chain restaurants, but c’mon, people!  So I then decided to look for something local – because as much as I was in the mood for some sweet goodness I wasn’t about to drive 40+ miles.  And then I found it.  Happy’s Donut Tree Too.  The more I read about it, I was willing and ready to risk the 5 minute drive from my house.

“Their donuts are very good and smell amazing (… they are light and fluffy inside and have a very thick frosting and glaze selection).”

Yes, please!  How late and when are they open?

“You have to work hard to get them because they don't make many so you want to get there before the rest of the savvy few do.”

Somehow I missed reading this portion.  It would have been really nice if I’d remembered it the next morning.  I was so thrilled to find this doughnut joint and wanted to get there as quick as I could.  Except that it was now 10 p.m., and I couldn’t get rid of my doughnut craving.  I’d discovered that they’re open 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. Geez, where else do they sell doughnuts?  That’s right, the grocery store!  I decided to bite the bullet (cause if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em) and made the trip to Raley’s.  Oh sweet golden chocolaty nuggets!  It’s the golden ticket!  It was calling my name.

I was so ecstatic to make this unique trip to grocery store.  Oh Raley’s, how you saved my sugar craving!  The Sugar Gods listened and provided!

Homer doughnut

Yes, this is exactly how I felt after biting into a long, chocolaty doughnut with the crème filling (of which name I can’t remember for the life of me).  It was exactly what the doctor ordered.  Sugar peace at last.

After some much needed grocery shopping the next morning, I decided to take a swing by Happy’s.  By the sound of it, I couldn’t be disappointed, right?  It was only Noon and for sure they’d have doughnuts left, right?  I parked across the street from Happy’s (because there isn’t any parking) and bravely crossed the tumultuous street.  When I finally walked in I was shocked to see Happy’s empty.  I mean completely empty.  It looked like they were closing (for the day).   They had a half sheet baking tray of the stuff they were still trying to sell, at 12:30.  Rats!  I didn’t really care for what they had, as I was REALLY looking forward to doughnut holes.  I think the doughnut place near my parent’s home was open mostly all day!  I wish Happy’s could be open later too.  Needless to say, I went home unhappy from Happy’s.

I still haven’t gone to Happy’s, but one of these mornings, by golly, I’ll have a doughnut hole.  And it’ll be delicious and worthwhile.

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