Thursday, March 24, 2011

Guest Recipe Blogger

It's Spring Break and I am on the road with my husband and three boys.  First stop: the brother-in-law and his family! We just had a fabulous dinner of beef tacos with "gringo" green chili and, of course, guacamole!!!  It was fabulous!!  I asked Paul if he would introduce himself and post the recipe.  He agreed! Enjoy!!  (Sorry, no photos.... we ate it all before I even thought about it!!)

Hi, my name is Paul.  I live in Colorado Springs.  I like long walks in the moonlight, collecting Beanie Babies, and extra hot fudge on my raspberry sherbet.  Obviously, the highlight of my year was my sister-in-law Laura visiting, so you are getting me at my most euphoric.  We had Mexican food tonight, with some excellent green chile.  Here is my "Gringo Green Chile" recipe.  My recommendation is to buy the green chiles pre-chopped from King Soopers or Walmart.  Also, you can double the amount of green chiles (up to 4 pounds) if you want, which doesn't affect the taste and makes more green chile to share.

1 pound cooked shredded pork (can be bought smoked and pre-shredded at Costco)

1 medium yellow onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. of chopped fresh green chiles (mild), drained of excess water 
1 lb. of chopped fresh green chiles (hot), drained of excess water
½ tsp. oregano
1 ½ tsp. garlic salt
1 can Rotel (mild or hot, depending on your taste)
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
4-6 T. flour
1 ½ T. brown sugar
2 tsp. cumin

Cook pork (if not cooked).  If cooked, mix in pan over medium heat with a little oil and the flour; stir until flour is mixed into pork (which makes the chile less soupy when finished.  Add everything into crock pot, cook on low for 6 hours. 

Hey, if Paulie can make it then surely his brother can make it!!  So maybe I'll be off the hook for dinner when we get home?

I won't count on it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Saint Patty's Day!

I have to admit... I'm not a huge fan of St Patty's Day.  I think it's bc as a kid I always forgot it was St Patty's Day and proceeded to get pinched by "friends", not gently, mind you, all the way to school on the bus and on the playground b/4 the bell rang when the teacher finally pinned me with a green shamrock that no one could really see b/c it was so small and so I continued to get pinched from behind all day!!! Argh!! Just thinking of it makes me want to go back and take out a few of those who had the strongest fingers - John Holmberg, if you're out there....  watch out!!  :) 

So, really, why do those of us who are not Irish celebrate an Irish holiday?  What is St Patrick's Day anyway?  It's obviously to remember a patron saint but who can tell me who he was (other than his name) and what he did?  I certainly can't but I'm quite certain he doesn't look like a leprechaun and even more certain he didn't get drunk on green beer....  Wikipedia, help!!!

St Patrick's Day is.... "a religious holiday celebrated internationally on 17 March. It is named after Saint Patrick (c. AD 387–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland. It is observed by the Roman Catholic Church...  and Lutherans. Saint Patrick's Day was made an official feast day in the early 17th century, and has gradually become a celebration of Irish culture in general.[2]
The day is generally characterised by the attendance of church services, wearing of green attire (especially shamrocks), and the lifting of Lenten restrictions on fasting and drinking, which is often proscribed during the rest of the season.[3][4][5][6]

Well, it seems two out of three  ain't bad... somehow the chruch services of the day lost their influence and simply gave way to the wearing of the green and a drink fest!!  My Catholic friends.... are there still church services that people go to?  I can't say that I know.  

More on the actual saint....

Little is known of Patrick's early life, though it is known that he was born in Roman Britain in the 4th century, into a wealthy Romano-British family. His father and grandfather were deacons in the Church. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave.[9] It is believed he was held somewhere on the west coast of Ireland, possibly Mayo, but the exact location is unknown. According to his Confession, he was told by God in a dream to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. Upon returning, he quickly joined the Church in Auxerre in Gaul and studied to be a priest.[citation needed]
In 432, he again said that he was called back to Ireland, though as a bishop, to Christianize the Irish from their native polytheism. Irish folklore tells that one of his teaching methods included using the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people. After nearly thirty years of evangelism, he died on 17 March 461, and according to tradition, was buried at Downpatrick. Although there were other more successful missions to Ireland from Rome, Patrick endured as the principal champion of Irish Christianity and is held in esteem in the Irish Church.

Ah ha!!! That explains much!!! (I'm learning this right along with you!)  And NOW I see the importance of this guy! I do wonder why the day has become an international holiday and my guess is b/c Catholicism infiltrated so many countries, bringing their beliefs and holidays with them. 

So, maybe I'm a little less "bah humbug" about the holiday.  It has some good history behind it that makes it a day worth noting. However, like so many other religious festivals it has turned into something trite and secular, providing excuses to overindulge and maybe that's what rubs me wrong....  the Easter Bunny packaged as a marshmallow and coated in waxy chocolate? Really?  This is what we celebrate on the day we were set free from nasty sin that clutters our lives and causes us to be slaves to things that God originally meant for our good? Santa Claus and his impossible mission around the world and down chimneys in one night?  Isn't easier to believe that Christ was born to teach us, love us  and die for us, ultimately saving us?  Leprechauns?  Old St Patty is probably rolling in his grave to see that all his hard work of bringing people to the one true God has lead to a celebration of that which he was trying to discredit!  

I'm only opposed to these things in that they get in the way of what was initially celebrated. It makes me wonder why people who don't believe in God couldn't get creative enough to come up with their own holidays on different days but had to steal the Christian holidays and make them into something they're not.

I digress....

What I do love about the Irish. and am willing to celebrate, is their lilting talk, their love of life, their love for camaraderie, their fighting spirit, their undying devotion to those they love, and their unwavering patriotism!  To these I raise my glass of warm Guiness and say "Cheers!! Long live Ireland!" And "Cheers to Saint Patty!! A man brave enough to escape from his captors only to return in order to love them!" (At least that's how I hope he led them to God!!)

I'll shut up now, except to leave you with this well-know and loved Irish Blessing that I adopted long ago b/c it's so poetic and.... just what you would hope for a friend!  Even if it's as soon as tomorrow that you would see them!!!

Happy St Patty's Day, Friends!!!

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Well, I was going to wait to post this recipe until we got close to the weekend when everyone would be excited about having waffles for breakfast on a leisurely Saturday morning, but you may have to buy a few ingredients first which would lead to a NOT leisurely Saturday morning at the grocery store or a leisurely Saturday morning without waffles!!  Neither option is very acceptable.  The other reason for posting now is that these waffles are sooo easy and fast that you can throw them together on a weekday for the kids' breakfast!  It is CSAP week for many of our kids and their teachers get on us about starting their day right with a nutritious breakfast!  So, here's a new menu item for a power-packed, perform-at-your-peak breakfast.

I have been asked for my waffle recipe numerous times, not from anyone who has actually tasted them, but simply bc I talk them up as though they have been dropped from heaven by little waffle angels.  These waffles are the perfect texture of light and crunchy with a tender soft crumb in the middle.  

They are made with whole wheat and, if so desired, some almond meal, which I think gives these waffles staying power!  Yes, it adds a bit more fat, but it's a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat which helps to lower cholesterol and control belly fat.  Almonds also add a high dose of antioxidants to clean up any free radicals floating around in your body, they are packed with protein to keep you full and promote muscle growth (when you actively use your muscles), and they decrease the GI (glycemic index) of the foods you are eating which helps to stabilize blood sugar levels.  And for an extra boost, I add a scoop of whey protein, flax seed, oats and occasionally sunflower seeds. 

So, am I saying that these waffles are the nutritional miracle and everyone should eat them? No, I'm saying that if you are going to eat waffles, eat these.  They are far more nutritious than the white flour kind but they are still a sugar fest b/c they are eaten with syrup!  And PLEASE don't insult me and eat them with imitation maple syrup.  Simply put, anything but the REAL DEAL tapped-out-of-the-maple syrup is...gross!  Ugh!  Don't get me started!!

 BTW - these waffles taste fabulous!!!

CrAZy Good (4 u) Waffles

Heat up a waffle iron.

In a large bowl, put in the following:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup almond meal (if you do not have, increase flour by 1/3 cup)
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup flax seed
1 scoop whey protein, vanilla flavored(about 1/4 cup)
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 TBS sunflower seeds (optional)

Mix until thoroughly combined.

In a small bowl, put in the following:
1 3/4 cup almond milk (original or unsweetened, or cow's milk)
2 eggs
1 TBS sunflower or canola oil
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk until well blended.

Pout the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk with a fork until all the dry ingredients are wet. It is ok to have lumps.  Do not over mix.  Pour batter into waffle iron making sure you don't over fill it! Mine makes two square waffles and I use about 3/4 cup to make them.  Cook them until they are golden brown with just the right amount of crunch to please you! 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thanks to....

I have found my inspiration! 

I am a photographer! I loooove my work! Can I really call it work when I love so dearly what I get to do!? Do people really pay me to spend time with them, enjoy their company, play with their kids and find artsy ways to capture who they are?!  How is that even possible?

Although I love my job, I have a huge desire to take images of things that call to me:  an old bicycle leaning up against the crumbled wall of an Italian villa next to a wrought iron window box spilling over with flowers, a timeless weathered gate opening to a narrow dirt path hemmed in by tall grasses and stubby bushes and canopied by ancient trees, a delicate pastry dappled with a dazzling, slightly out-of-focus sugar glaze that leads the eye to taste the bitty little crumb that has fallen to the plate.  Ahhhhhh... this is what thrills me!

And although they say "a picture is worth a 1,000 words", I apparently have more to say - or my photography just isn't good enough to express it all - b/c I still want to write! As I said in my earlier post (the first ever blog - EVER - of this foto foodie), I have this strange desire to write though I don't really have much to say.....  not a good combo, but there it is. 

And finally.... 

I loooove to travel! I feel so blessed that I have been able to travel through North and Central America, Europe and parts of Africa, and more so to have lived for a time in Spain and England!  My favorite part of traveling is to capture the flavor and essence of a place and the spirit of the locals through images spotlighting the details in the food, markets, streets, cafes, people, decor, etc...

All that said, I have long desired to take my photography, together with my love for travel and writing, and find a way to combine them! However, with my boys the ages they are now - 11, 8, 7 - the time for travel photojournalism is not the present.  It will have to wait til my boys are grown and out of the house b/c I want to be around for them while they are still... around! Thereby, causing my "loves" to sit separately on the shelf, isolated and alone, waiting to be united!

Enter my fourth love.....  Food 
I really enjoy food! No, not just "enjoy"... I'm pretty passionate about my food; healthy, wholesome, truly natural - not what the FDA deems "natural" - food! The exotic blend of flavors I haven't put together before, or the comforting flavors of the Old Standbys, or, let's just be really honest here, GUACAMOLE, on an empty stomach, can lead me to fits of ecstasy!  I say "empty stomach" b/c when I'm not that hungry and I eat such things, I think I miss out on all the flavors that are presented.  Somehow my taste buds aren't quite as sharp, they're a bit dull as though they are still languishing over the last meal and haven't quite gotten prepared for this new one!  But that's another blog for another day! (Yay!! I came up with a topic!)  The point here is that I am thoroughly delighted by food!  And though I KNEW this, I didn't really make any connection with food and my other already mentioned loves.

And so, to my inspiration....

Recently, I was allowed to borrow a book from my good friend Paula written by Heidi Swanson called Super Natural Cooking.  I say "allowed" b/c I can't believe Paula gave up a weekend without such a book!  One look at this book and I was obsessed! I read about Heidi - a photographer, traveler and lover of whole foods - and thought, "this woman is living my life".  I admit, I pouted about it for a few days! Well, wouldn't you if you found your life had been stolen by someone else who was making great success out of it?! And then I realized, she didn't steal my life! It's more like God suddenly gave me more of mine!! He presented me with her life to inspire me!!  Ahhh.... God is good and his timing is perfect!!  

This is the result - the birth of my blog! It costs me nothing but time and allows me to indulge in all of my "loves".  Though the travel may be a bit sparse for now, I hope the photography, food and words will flow; sometimes in a blend of exotic flavors and at other times in the comfort of what is familiar, but ever, always, with a little dollop of guacamole!

(Thank you Paula and thank you Heidi - and thank you Marcy for the intro to Shabby Blogs!!) 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Teaser for what's to come!!!

As the foto foodie, I realize that I'm expected to get some photos up and some yummy food as well. So, yesterday I played!!! Below are some results!  It's amazing I still had some chocolate left to shoot - 15 minutes with an open wrapper, caressing that thin block of dark chocolate, luxuriating in that satisfying thunk each time the knife blade lopped off another little bit, breathing in it's delightfully bittersweet essence with a splash of orange, arranging it just so and then focusing on it shot after tempting shot until I was finally done (emotionally!!) and had the sheer pleasure of rolling cool morsels of bliss around in my mouth, making sure each taste bud was thoroughly happy before I let it slide to the back of my throat! (hmmmmm, just linger here! Can you taste it?!)

Wow! Can I do that again!!

Anyway, I will kick off my recipes with one of my FAVORITE things.....  wanna guess? 

Need a bit more.....

Dead giveaway if you read my "about me"...

Come back on Friday to find out what it is!!! 

But if you are sooo eager, you can come back tomorrow and I'll tell you how my "loves" have been pulled off the shelf and are being united into something thoroughly enjoyable and quite unexpected!!  Sometimes it just takes that wee moment of inspiration.....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The First Ever Blog - EVER - of this foto foodie

I remember back to the days when I used to have time to write, but lacking a topic and the desire, I spent that time doing other things.  Now, with this slow molten bubbling desire I have to get words on to paper, I wonder if I still have the ability, let alone the time to write it all down.  

Just coming out of a private college where the classes were small enough that I had one big term paper, if not more, in each class, every semester, I had the writing skills of an author, journalist, reporter and lobbyist.  I wrote papers in history, literature, poly sci, biology, Spanish and quite possibly chemistry - though I'd rather not think about that - that were held up to the demanding standards of professors who only had to read papers from a few students. But that was years ago - before husband, kids, house, yard, photography, etc.  So, now I lack the time, but the desire is almost bursting out of me; it's been slowly gurgling under the surface for so long that something has to give - it's time to write!

The funny part is, I don't even know WHAT I'm so bursting to be writing about!

For the last few years, I have been feeling a pull towards writing again, the "need" to spew on to paper something that I don't feel I have even put together yet in my mind. I don't know why I feel this pull, it's not like I have much to say - I can barely keep my thoughts together throughout the day, so how can I possibly link them together on paper! And without a solid topic, I can't imagine there are many who really want to travel the rambling hills and valleys of my brain.  So, why bother? 

Yet, here I am!  Starting a blog and having fun doing it! And if no one reads it, if no one really cares what I have to say, then, as my youngest repeatedly says about almost every little thing, "who cares".  I guess I'm doing it for my own good so that this molten lava of words that keeps building pressure in my soul will slowly ooze over into the life of my blog instead of building up so much pressure that one day it explodes from me in the form of ugly, hurtling, jagged rocks and debris!  

And so it begins... the journey of a foto foodie!  I hope it's as fun and inspiring as it is delicious!