Thursday, May 26, 2011

Quick update

So, I'm not dead for starters, lol. Just have been crazy busy with work; hence the gap between posts. I successfully recovered from the plague I had around Easter. Still not sure what that was and hope to never have it again. Thankfully no one else caught it. We actually had a fairly nice Easter day, good food, good friends/family, several naps. What more could I ask for really. The hubs took on the role of host, so all I had to do was "stand there and look pretty"-and yes that is a direct quote from my knight in shining armor. He cracks me up.

Haven't been able to make it back to church yet. If I'm not working, we have the stepsons and I'm not willing to give up my time with them for a pet project. I did try to get them to come with me, since they say they're xian, but they didn't want to go. We have however, had several lovely Sundays together, so it's worth the postponement in my mind.

Jobs, I'm down to one. It was to exhausting trying to work both places. I'd get up, dress for BK, grab my uniform for the HHA, lunch and dinner, then head out the door and not get home till after 8pm. Plus, changing cloths in the BK bathroom was less than fun. Now I'm just working at the HHA job. I've more than made up for the hours I lost at BK. I'm getting 40 plus hours a week. It would be better if I could get overtime or even just my mileage reimbursed, but you do whatcha gotta do. The upside is, I've worked it so I can stop at home between clients 3 days a week. This way I can eat lunch with my family, even if they're sleeping while I have breakfast and I'm at work while they have dinner. this week has actually been pretty light, but after last week I needed the break. I'll go more into that in another post.

So that's what's going on in my life. How's yours been?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Your much awaited tea post

Most people I know are not as passionate about tea as I am. A good cup of tea for them is a bag from Celestial Seasonings or Lipton in boiled water. While that isn't wrong, it just isn't the best way to have a really good cup of tea.

The supplies need for a good cup of tea are easy and cheap to obtain if you don't already have them. You will need:

Measuring teaspoon
thermometer-hot read
tea kettle-any make, model or brand it just has to boil water after all
a tea or press pot for more than one cup, your favorite mug if you only want one cup
tea, bagged or loose leaf (I prefer loose leaf)
tea ball, infuser or strainer if using loose leaf

Here's where things get marginally complected, but not very. You need to know what kind of tea you have. There's white, green, black and oolong from the actual tea plant, herbal teas don't actually contain Camellia sinensis (aka tea leaves). Nothing wrong with that, but good to know for brewing purposes. Just because I'm weird like that, herbal "teas" proper name is tisane, though it isn't important to brewing. It's pretty easy to figure out what kind you have. The majority of bagged teas in the grocery store are black unless labeled as white, green, oolong or herbal. A good rule of thumb is 1 teabag for every 8 ounces of water, though always check the packaging of bagged teas. Loose leaf you want 1 to 1.5 teaspoons per 8 ounces of water.

 Here's the temperatures and brew times you want for various teas:


Green-150-160F 2 or 3 minutes
White-175-180F 3-5 minutes depending on how strong you want it
Oolong-190F 6-8 minutes
Black-195-210F 4 to 6 minutes
Roobis-195-210 4 to 6 minutes
Mate-200-208F 5 or 6 minutes

Herbal-temperature varies depending on what herbs, spices, plants are used, though usually right around 200F works for most herbal tisanes

Pour water into your tea pot, press pot or mug then add the tea. If using a measuring spoon for loose leaf, do not pack the leave. This will bruise the leaves and cause a bitter tasting tea. Steep for suggested time and remove tea. Save your bag or infuser, tea can be brewed multiple times and still produce a delicious beverage.

Hot brew for iced tea

Same temperatures as above with half the water you need for intended finished amount, but double the amount of tea and brew time. Meaning if you want 8 cups total, brew in 4 cups hot water, add 8tsp of tea and brew for 4-12 minutes depending on tea. After its brewed remove tea, add 4 cups water and chill in the fridge. Though the hot brew method can cause your tea to cloud. It doesn't affect flavor, only appearance.

 Cold brew for iced tea

In 4 cups cold water add 6-8 teaspoons of loose tea or 6-8 teabags (teabags contain 1tsp of tea on average). Steep in the fridge for 8 hours, overnight works also. Strain tea or remove bags, add 4 cups water. Enjoy. This makes 2 quarts of tea, just FYI. Cold brewing will avoid causing the tea to cloud.

If you prefer stronger tasting tea it's better to add more tea leaves than extend the brewing time. Over brewing and water that is to hot is the usual culprit if your tea taste bitter or grassy tasting in the case of green tea. Other reasons for the tea tasting bad are poor quality leaves, fannings (tea dust) used in many bagged teas, improperly processed leaves and stale leaves. It really is worth it to spend a little extra on good quality loose teas.

There are several reasons for drinking tea, the number one reason being it just tastes good, lol. Tea from the actual Camellia sinensis plant contain polyphenols(the cancer fighting benefit of tea) and certain flavoniods. Green teas benefit over black or oolong is that it contains more EGCG(good for metabolism) and antioxidants. These are still found in black and oolong teas, just in smaller quantities. Oolong containing the smallest amount because of the length of fermentation. White tea contains higher levels of antioxidants than green tea, while maintaining the same levels of EGCG, polyphenols and flavoniods as green tea. Plus it's good for the skin. All the benefit, none of the "grassy" taste from the chlorophyll.The only difference of white, green, black and oolong teas has to do with the time the leaves are picked and how they are processed. They all come from the same plant. White and green tea leaves are picked earlier, the leaves are steamed then dried. Black and oolong tea leaves are picked when the plant has matured. The leaves are partially dried, crushed and fermented. Matcha, the traditional Japanese green tea, is grown in such a way to increase the flavor because of the chlorophyll and amino acid production. The leaves are then steamed, dried and crushed into a fine powder.

Herbal tisane do not offer the same types of benefits the Camellia sinensis plant offers-since they don't contain any "real" tea. They are a blend of herbs, flowers, roots, spices or other parts of some plants. While those plants may offer other health benefits, they do not contain polyphenols or the same beneficial flavonoids as "real" tea. They can be just as tasty though and are definitely worth drinking. Roobis and Mate are very popular right now due to claims they aid in weight loss. While they are very delicious, no tea or tisane has been found to actually promote weight loss. Only a healthy diet and exercise can do that outside of medical intervention.

Store your tea, loose or bagged, in an air tight container that blocks sunlight. Teas will start to loose flavor after about 6 months and go stale in a year from date of purchase. The container will slow the process, but can't stop it entirely. The tea will still be drinkable after going stale, it just won't taste as good.

Now that you know how to make a great tasting cup of tea, experiment with sweeteners. Honey is always a good choice, as is raw or rock sugar. Different teas will taste better with different sweeteners, so don't be afraid to try something new or unusual. Adding a sprig of mint or frozen fruit is a great way to enjoy iced tea as well. There is nothing better than a well brewed cup of tea. It can wake you up in the morning, calm your nerves after a scare, even help you sleep at night.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

How I see the universe as an atheist

This universe is truly, randomly amazing. Pick any mundane object in your home, literally anything. I'll use a pencil simply because there is one sitting on my desk at this moment. If you don't have one in front of you, go get one. Don't worry I'll wait. No, seriously go get the damned pencil. There is a point to this I promise. Ok, now I'm starting to get a little impatient........finally.

So, now you've got your pencil (if you don't I can't help you). Look at it; and I mean really look at it. This simple piece of wood with graphite in the center represents so much more than your amazing ability to write or draw with it. It represents man's rise from bipedal primates to our current form. It all started with our ancestors desire to communicate in the written word. First we had to develop verbal language. Think about this, really, really think about this. Way back when we still lived in caves, someone drew a picture on a wall. Century passed and Roman scribes used a thin metal rod to make marks on papyrus (think of the wonder that allowed humans to develop into Romans!!). From there someone had to use their immense brain to realize that graphite made darker marks. Then they had to realize the graphite was brittle and needed something to stabilize it. Oh I don't know, how about wood? Pure genius. Then someone discovered other materials that you could put in wood and it would leave colors on paper!!

I mean we developed language! Paper! Civilizations! Art! How utterly and mind blowingly AMAZING is that!!!! Hey, it's my blog, I can make up whatever words I want to. Seriously, I can't use enough exclamation points. Are you astounded yet? Well, there's more.

Human curiosity has gotten us to a point where we can actually see the molecular structure of wood, graphite, paper, you. And you know what? Molecules are beautiful.

See. Do you see that?! That's a carbon molecule. The pencil has carbon molecules. You have carbon molecules. You are beautiful! Amazing!! Think of the way atoms and molecules come together to create you. That is where the true beauty lies.

Now, go pick another random object. Think of it in the same way we just did the pencil. This is how I view the universe as an atheist. I don't need a god to make my life amazing or wonderful. I don't need a god to feel connected to something bigger than myself. I'm part of a family, part of a community, part of a country, part of a continent, part of a planet, part of a solar system, part of a galaxy, part of a universe. As Carl Sagan once said "We are all made of star stuff". What could possibly be more awe inspiring than knowing that you are made from the same thing as a ball of burning gasses billions of light years away that possibly gives light and life to another planet? Well, everything! There is nothing that isn't mind boggling in it's seer awesomeness if you take the time to really look at it. My universe is filled with wonder.

None of this would be possible if humans had not followed the evolutionary path that we chanced upon. It wasn't written about in some holy text because when they where written, humans hadn't learned about molecules. They still believed diseases where caused by demons and angry gods. It is only through science that we've come to a point where we can communicate not only through words face to face or words on paper, but we can write words on paper or in cyberspace. Science and human curiosity brought us here. Hell, while the inventors may not have know it at the time, they used the scientific method to bring us the wheel and fire. Think of where we'd be without those two under valued discoveries.

So to anyone who looks on me with pity because I lack belief in a deity, don't. Save your sympathy for humans who really need it. Like the tsunami survivors, people facing genocide, starvation, discrimination and other real tragedies. Do it because they are human and not because they believed in the your deity or because they didn't believe in your deity. Not to over use Mr. Sagan, but he also said "For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love." So after all that, I'll leave you with this:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Finally made it to a church

Not sure what I was expecting, but had a huge anxiety attack. There where soooo many people there, it was terrifying.  Maybe church and social anxiety don't mix. I talked to some greeters there who where really nice, and one even set a folding chair up by one of the doors for me, which I really appreciated. Sitting in the pews I kinda felt trapped. After the service, which was nice but kind of loud during the hymns, I was ushered into the guest services area. The couple there, who's job is to answer any basic questions, suggested I come to the earlier service or skip service altogether and attend the Sunday school. Apparently you can watch the service online as well as get a DVD.

I took Little Man with me, just so he could get some play time with kids his age, and boy did he. The church is huge! They have a nursery for various age groups. He was in a room full of about 10-15 other 2yr olds. When I picked him up the attendants said he was the most popular kid there, playing with everyone and even going up to the shy ones and getting them to be involved in the group activities. He was really angry that we had to leave and shocked the attendants with his fit, lol. They said he was so well behaved they didn't think he could throw a fit like that. I laughed and said "well, he is perfectly 2". Being a guest, they gave him a baggy with a small stuffed monkey and a CD of children's music. That was nice.

While I did like attending, despite the anxiety, I'm not sure I really took anything away from the experience. What I thought I'd gain from going is a real mystery to me. I think I'll go back 2 or 3 more times to either the early service or the Sunday school. All I want is to get a better understanding of xians, but I'm not sure now that this is the best route. Only the future will tell I guess.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Best recipe for hard boiled eggs

Hard boiled eggs are not hard, but there are a few tricks that will help them come out perfectly every time.

Before you start, take your eggs out of the fridge and let them get up to room temp. Usually 15 minutes does the trick. After they've warmed up add them to your pot, in a single layer, along with 2Tbsp baking soda. Cover with water so there is one inch of water above the eggs. Bring water to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Allow eggs to simmer for 10-15 minutes; 10 for any number under 6 eggs, 15 for any number over 6 eggs. If you are doing more than 2 dozen eggs do them in batches of 12-24 (depending on what your pot can handle) to ensure even cooking. When time is up, remove pot for stove and run cold water into it until the water in the pot is cold, add a tray or 2 of ice to stop cooking process. Allow the eggs to sit in ice water until they are cool to the touch. Drain water, peel eggs and rinse to be sure no shell remains on eggs.

I know some of my suggestions seem useless, but they really do serve a purpose. Allowing the eggs to warm to room temperature lessens the chance of the eggs cracking. As does the single layer of eggs. The baking soda helps the shell release from the white of the egg, making peeling easier. The ice water retards the cooking process, eliminating the greenish tint on the yolk from over cooking. It doesn't effect the taste of the eggs, it's just the iron and sulfur oxidizing, but it does degrade the protein in the egg lessening it's nutritional value.

While not the most interesting of topics, these are tricks I've learned over the years. I love deviled eggs, so I hard boil eggs a lot. This has lead me to finding the best way to peel, cook, etc the eggs so they always look their best. The fastest way to ruin deviled eggs is having half the white be thrown out with the shell for it sticking or the color being off because of the green tint. Hope y'all found this a little helpful and have a great night. Next post, if you're all very good, I'll share some secrets for the perfect cup of tea (a true passion of mine), hot or iced.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Oh my gosh, I'm so tired.

I've been sick most of this week. Nothing to write home about, but no time to recoup. I'm still sick and was hoping to use the weekend to recover enough to handle 2 jobs, a house, a 2yr old and a husband. However, for some strange reason hubby has decided we need to do Easter this year. Why? I'm not sure, but it has totally ruined my recouping schedule-ya know, sleep, sleep some more, eat, pee, sleep again. Yeah, that's not going to happen.

Instead I've spent the day grocery shopping, cleaning house and directing hubby on what food to prepare today. I'm not handling any of the food thankfully, I just don't want to risk anyone getting sick as I am. This doesn't mean I'm out of the kitchen though. Hubby isn't the world's best cook so I need to be right there in case he has any questions and to redirect when he's about to add 1Tbsp baking soda instead of the 1tsp the recipe calls for, lol. Everything we can get done today is done, except for hard boiling eggs to dye. Oddly, I'm not looking forward to it. That used to be my favorite part of Easter as a kid, even more than the candy (well, almost).  It's probably just because I don't feel well, but all I can think is "even more to clean up".

There's still some clean up that needs done and we have to drag some chairs out of storage for guests. I'm just really not looking forward to tomorrow. Unless of course I miraculously get better overnight. Why anyone wants to come over and potentially catch my plague is beyond me.

To everyone else not sick this strange holiday, Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

New job

So, yeah I got a second job. We really need the money, but man it is a bad fit. The worst part is I'm apparently good at it.

This past November I completed a nurse aid course and then stupidly passed the state test. Now I work at Burger King half the day and as a Home Health Aid (HHA/HNA) the other half. I like BK much better. It's more stressful because everyone is a decade or two younger than me, even my boss. My age seems to make everyone defer to me on matters that aren't my job, like I'm the freakin' BK house mom. Very annoying. I still like it better.

Being an HHA isn't hard or stressful, I just don't like it. My clients are mostly nice people, easy going who just happen to need their brief or colostomy bag changed, help with bathing, etc. Not the prettiest thing in the world, but not difficult. I spend more time cleaning house and preparing meals in all honesty. Every client I've seen, except one, has asked that I come regularly. I just don't like the job. I don't know if it's the hours or driving or what, but it's a bad fit. It just doesn't make sense to me. I'm more stressed out at BK, exhausted after a few hours there-physically and mentally, but happier after a shift. With the HHA, it's not hard or unpleasant, but my anxiety is through the roof hours after my shift is over.

I keep telling myself, give it time you'll adjust. My plan is to give it a year, surely things will feel more in sync after a year. I can't even tell you how depressed it makes me to think of being a HHA for a whole year. Half that sounds like a death sentence in my head. I wish I could explain why this new job is not right for me, but I just don't know. If we didn't need the money, I'd quit today. It doesn't make any sense. I should like HHA much better than working fast food. Why am dreading seeing clients today who are the nicest people like I'm headed to my own execution!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Oh, before I forget again

My quest for a church has been slightly delayed. I got a second job and am trying to squeeze time to go to bible study or Sunday service. It'll happen eventually.

Hey there veiwers

What kind of stuff would you actually like to see on my blog? Leave a comment and I'll do my best to accommodate you.

Atheism, a brief explination

It's hard to explain, especially to a theist. It simply means no belief in deities. Nothing more, nothing less. It does not imply an act of rebellion against whatever god/s the theist I'm speaking to happens to believe in. It does not imply worship of their god/s antagonist-like satan to the xians. It doesn't imply anger or other emotions towards any god/s. Really, it just means we don't believe in your, or anybody else's, deity.

It also doesn't imply that all atheists think exactly the same thing. Lack of belief in a deity of some nature is about all most atheists have in common. Within the atheist community (if you can call it that) you will find pro-life and pro-choice supporters; some who support the death penalty and some who vehemently oppose it, skin color varies wildly, some are Democrat, some Republican, some 3rd party supporters. We live in all countries on this amazing planet, speak different languages, eat different foods. I hope my point is sinking in a little. You can no more lump all atheists together than you can theists.

Atheism is not the same thing as anti-religion. While some atheists may want to see an end to religion, that's not what the word means or what all atheists want. I for one think religion has a purpose for some people. No good can come from forcing people to give up their faith, than forcing faith on those who don't believe. It's a lose/lose scenario.

I'm not going to dispute the fact that there are some militant atheists. But let's face it, there are extremists in any group. Heck, even I find them annoying.*coughRichardDawkinscough*. They aren't any more annoying than a theistic group who tells atheists they should "get out" of a given country or they'll burn in a hell the atheist doesn't believe in. In a conversation like that, both sides end up looking like losers.

Theists have a hard time understanding atheism. It goes against a fundamental way of thinking for them-and I can respect that. I can't understand a belief in something that doesn't exist, I certainly don't expect anyone to try and understand my point of view, just respect it. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them. I'm not the fastest at responding, but I will get back to ya.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The adventure begins, kinda

I've been an atheist for some years now. Well, many, many years actually. I like to consider myself open minded in some things. Definitely not all, there are some things it's good to be close minded about. Lately though, I've been wondering if I've closed myself off to the possibility of a deity or deities. Being who I am, I can't leave that alone.

So, where do I start. The best place for me to start any research is to go with the familiar and work my way out from there. Growing up I was raised in xian and spiritual households. My mother being a minister, I think I got to see all the ugly that goes into running a church. There where good times, but I also got to sit in and hear some pretty petty things I'm sure the leaders of the church would rather their fellow congregants not know about. I'd be lying if I said that didn't bias me, but I had already come to the conclusion that a god didn't make sense before any of that.

That leaves me with where to begin, still. Well, xian of course and deism-which is the only way to describe my father's beliefs though it isn't the most accurate. While religion is an interesting topic, it's not my first pick of things to study in my spare time. There's just this nagging feeling that I haven't explored religion to it's full potential, and I can't live with nagging-from myself or others. To negate that I've been reading bibles, various versions. I've been reading books about deism. However, both are bit of a snooze fest. No offense intended, they just aren't my cup of tea-especially when I've got 2 brand new Terry Pratchet books calling to me from the bookshelf, lol.

My conclusion is, I need guidance. I've set out to find a church. My goal is simply to have a better understanding of xians, deists, their beliefs and thought processes. It's just, how do you find the right church for something like this. The hubs and I tried the local UU, but never felt comfortable there. Not because they where unwelcoming, we're just not that social. Home is where are hearts are, and our minds when we aren't there. Homebodies isn't really strong enough. However, I'm willing to set my discomfort aside and expand my mind. Worst case scenario is I learn something new, maybe even make some new friends. If you have any advice for what to look for in a church or religious establishment, please share it with me.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A couple things I do to stay sane

My biggest time saver is meal planning. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. Having this planned out a week ahead of time saves time by not doing the million yard stare into the fridge wondering what the hell to fix for dinner at 5:30. Here's how I do it, at the end I'll include recipes and instructions.

On Friday night, I plan next weeks meals. I "shop" my cupboards, fridge and freezer to see what we already have and plan meals around that. Then I make my actual shopping list. Saturdays, I shop based on my meal plan. Sunday is cook/prep day. We always have a ton of meals and snacks that revolve around tortillas and tamales. On cook day I start out with the tortillas. They aren't that hard, but are time consuming-if I'm feeling really ambitious, I try to do two weeks worth. Trust me it doesn't happen often. I love eating tamales, but I hate making them, so I actually do a months worth. To save time during the week, I cook up any ground meat we made need for a dish, chop veg/fruits, cook rice, beans, etc. If we're having any casseroles, I assemble them and throw them in the freezer. I also bake pancakes, waffles, bread and other necessities for breakfasts and lunches. Snacks are tamales, quesadilla, fruit,veg, yogurt and other easy to grab or assemble items.

Another thing that happens on Sunday is outfit assembly. For myself, I hang work pants, shirt, undergarments and socks altogether. That way in the morning I can get up, grab a hanger, pull pancakes or waffles out of the freezer, shower, prepare everyone's breakfast. Seriously, this little tidbit lets me sleep an extra 20mins. After breakfast all I have to do is dress Little Man, put my hair up, brush teeth, a tiny bit of makeup and I am ready to go. I do the same for the hubs, and Little Man's clothes are arranged by outfit in his dresser. I work part time, so I don't have to worry about packing my lunch. Hubby works from home, so I pull something out of the fridge or freezer when I get home and it only takes a few minutes. The rest of my day is spent running errands, cleaning house, job hunting, a little bit of home preschool and the like.

To keep up on laundry, hubby and I did two things. We got rid of a lot of our clothes. It was ridiculous the amount we had. Second, we came up with a new wash routine. At night before bed, I throw a load in. In the morning, hubby switches it to the dryer and throws another load in the washer. Repeat. It turns out we only need to do about two loads a day to keep up with clothes and all the linens. Keep in mind that we live with my dad and have to include his laundry in this equation. When I get home, I help the hubs fold and put away anything he hasn't gotten to yet.

During nap time we pick up any toys or miscellaneous that needs put away. Dishes are rinsed and put in the dishwasher after each meal, or hand washed if they aren't dishwasher safe. After dinner, hubby starts the dishwasher and I dry/put everything away when it's done. While I'm doing that, hubby is picking up any toys, etc. We vacuum as needed, sweep daily, and mop twice a week. The kitchen is cleaned as it's used and the bathroom gets a deep clean once a week.

It sounds like we are always on our toes, but in reality each chore only takes a few minutes (as long as we keep up with it). After we've cleaned up we can hop on the computer, watch a show together or just hang out. It took some rewiring of our brains to adapt to this routine. Neither of us was particularly good at housework, but its totally been worth it. I hope some of this is helpful to y'all and if you have any questions, feel free to ask. I'll answer to the best of my ability. Now, on to some recipes.

My favorite taco seasoning. Thank the stars for

Corn Tortillas
2c masa harina 1 1/4c water

Mix for 4 minutes. Divide into 16-18 pieces, roll into balls. Press using tortilla press lined with wax paper. Transfer to 450F griddle and cook for 20secs. Flip, cook additional 20secs. To freeze, lay wax or parchment paper between each tortilla, put in freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. Good for up to 6 months.

Flour Tortillas
2c All Purpose Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
1tsp salt
2tsp oil or softened butter
3/4c lukewarm milk

Mix for 4 minutes. Divide into 16-18 pieces, roll into balls. Press using tortilla press lined with wax paper. Transfer to 450F griddle and cook for 20secs. Flip, cook additional 20secs. To freeze, lay wax or parchment paper between each tortilla, put in freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. Good for up to 6 months.

Filling Ingredients
4lb Beef roast, pork roast or chicken
broth (beef, chicken or veg) and/or water
4 garlic cloves
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp chili powder-make sure it is salt free
1tsp paprika
1tsp red pepper flakes

9 cups masa harina
3 cups lard
1 tablespoon salt

3 (8oz packages) corn husk

Place meat, garlic, and spices in slow cooker. Use broth and/or water to cover. Cook for 4hrs or until done. Remove garlic cloves, reserve 5c liquid and shred meat with fork. Soak corn husk in large pot or bowl for 3 hours, you may need to use plate or something to weigh them down.

Place lard and salt in large mixing bowel. Whip with electric mixer until fluffy. Slowly add masa harina flour and beat until well combined. Add liquid a little at a time until it resembles soft cookie dough-you may not need to use all the liquid so if some is left over don't sweat it.

Drain corn husks. Lay flat with short end facing you. Evenly spread 2tbsp masa on 2/3 of the husk. Spread 1tbsp shredded meat down middle of masa. Roll corn husk starting with one of the long sides, fold narrow end of corn husk up onto rolled tamale, tie with twine.

Place tamales in steamer basket and steam over boiling water for 1 hour, don't run out of water. Masa should be firm and hold it's shape. Eat immediately, serving in corn husks for everyone to unwrap on their own; or chill in fridge and then freeze. If frozen, place in fridge overnight to thaw, then reheat in steamer or microwave until heated through.

Mexican Casserole
12 corn tortillas, thawed
1lb ground meat-no need to thaw if you've frozen it
1 can re-fried beans or 12oz homemade refritos
1c cooked rice-you will need to thaw this if frozen
1 jar your favorite salsa
8oz shredded cheese-sharp cheddar is my personal fav.
taco seasoning packet or 2tbsp homemade taco seasoning
sour cream or Greek yogurt

In skillet, heat 1 or 2in of oil. Fry tortillas one at a time for 10-20secs. Flip and fry other side for 5-10secs, set on plate to drain. Once you have finished the tortillas, drain oil and wash skillet. Following directions on taco seasoning, pick up after it says to cook meat and drain if using precooked/frozen meat. Don't worry the meat will thaw as you cook it. Add the rice toward the end. After everything is cooked, remove from heat and add re-fried beans. Mix well. In baking dish lay 4 tortillas on bottom, don't mind the gaps or overlaps-this doesn't have to be pretty. Spread meat mixture evenly, salsa on top of that, and a layer of cheese. Repeat, you should end up with tortillas on top. Bake in oven at 350F for 20-25min or until cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream and guacamole. It's a very filling dish, so you should have plenty of left overs for a family of 4.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Post one

Probably the hardest post for any blogger to write. I guess I'm supposed to tell you about myself and why I'm even writing a blog. Hmm, because I can! It just seemed like a good place to put my thoughts down at, maybe share a few ideas and learn something from people (assuming anyone bothers to read it).

I have a 2 almost 3yr old son and 2 sons(12 and 13) who came with my husband when we got married. They are all amazing people. It's astounding how much I can learn from them. I am wife to a very good man who I love deeply, and doesn't get on my nerves to much, lol. We are not bound by any religion in our home. We like the idea of homesteading and living off grid, though it's a future goal and not one we've achieved yet.

Now, so this isn't a complete waste of your time, a recipe for a quick dessert.

Snickers bars
4-8 apples; peeled, cored and sliced-depending on size of baking dish/number of Snickers on hand

Chop Snickers up in a food processor.
Place apples in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream, enjoy.