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Yes, I have been gone a LONG time.  No, there is no excuse.  I can only say, “Sometimes life gets in the way of my other pursuits.”

So, since January 1 I have been in search of the perfect biscuit.  My family loves biscuits (as much as one can love something light, flaky, and buttery) and it has been a personal goal to deliver to them something close to what I have eaten in restaurants and thought, “Wow.  This biscuit is amazing.”  I was looking for:  the flakiness of canned biscuits, the flavor of homemade, and something easy enough for a Non Cook/Baker (that would be me). 

We love biscuits and gravy, biscuits in a recipe we call “rechargers,” biscuits with chicken, and biscuits with just butter and honey.  I used my mom’s recipe for a good 10 years (it was “not great”), then I had three kids one right after another and used Bisquick for at least 5 years (worse than “not great”), then I spent at least all of last year and this year until today modifying recipes I would find in various places (this mostly ranged from “worse than not great” to inedible).  I learned a lot about making biscuits and what I don’t like in a biscuit (buttermilk, “healthy” biscuits – it’s just wrong – biscuits which exchange height for flavor).  I might add that it’s a good thing I make really yummy sausage gravy which could basically disguise the taste of any awful biscuit.

You may recall I made a new year’s resolution to eat LESS processed food.  I found that canned biscuits and Bisquick would have to go.  (And no, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that this recipe, when doubled for my family, contains an entire stick of butter.  All I can say is:  It gives me peace of mind to know how to spell and say all the ingredients and  know where they come from.).  So, that brings me back to my pursuit of the Biscuit.  This morning, success was found.  And, yes, I will share (the recipe).

2 cups flour

4 t baking powder

3 t sugar

1/2 t salt

1/2 cup cold butter

1 egg

2/3 cup of milk

Combine the dry ingredients and cut in the butter.  Leaving a FEW larger pieces of butter and the rest about the consistency of cornmeal makes for a yummy flavor.  Beat the egg with the milk and stir that into the dry ingredients just until moist.  I have learned in my “biscuit research” not to knead the dough too much because it makes the biscuits tough.  So, I basically just moistened it, and turned it out onto a floured surface.  I gathered it and then almost immediately started patting it out.  I didn’t roll it so the biscuits were a little oddly shaped, but super flaky.  I used whole milk and real unsalted butter.  I doubled the recipe and padded the dough down to about 2 inches.  This allowed me to make 12 biscuits.  Right before popping into the 450 degree oven for 12 minutes I brushed the tops with milk.  The result:  perfection.  The tops came off in flaky layers (JUST like canned biscuits) AND the flavor was amazing.  If you love biscuits, I highly recommend this recipe.

Therapy by proxy.

“And after your death, when most of you for the first time realize what life here is all about you will begin to see that your life here is almost nothing but the sum total of every choice you have made during every moment of your life.  Your thoughts, which you are responsible for, are as real as your deeds.  You will begin to realize that every word and every deed affects your life and has also touched thousands of lives.”  Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

And when I read this it makes me think of you.

“She has been with me all day.”

“And by this you mean?”

“I mean I have conjured her up and she has been here.  I have closed by eyes and seen her on the insides of my lids.  It’s been so vivid that it has brought me to tears.”

“Hmm.  Tell me more.”

“I was in church and trying to focus on…………church…………and suddenly I had this feeling that she was there….here.  I mean, it’s been odd.  I have been away from prayer and away from my “normal self” for………….a while.  And, I decided to get back to my “old self.”  I asked her for her help with this.  Y’know?  One night I just broke down sobbing and I said out loud, “Mom, please help me.”  And, I meant, please help me with this, this…………..going back to my “old self.”

“Um-hmm.  And what did she tell you about that?  About this “going back to your old self?”

“Well, nothing really.  Nothing at first.  Then, things started to happen.  Just weird things that didn’t mean much when they happened.  I ran across some things she’d sent me when she was alive.  I happened to glance at the computer more than a few times to see her picture staring back at me.  The kids started reminding me of times when we were all together.  I watched this terribly sad movie for the second time.  I hate watching movies for the second time.  I cried…………again.  Which I hate.  I ran across some quotes that really spoke to me.  And you know when you are just flipping channels or turning the radio dial and suddenly you land on something that you really need to hear?”

“Mm.”

“It’s been like that lately.  Uncanny.  And a few other things have happened that I just really don’t want to get into right now.”

“Your dime.”

“Yeah.  Remember when I told you about the woman who told me, ‘Ask for what you need?’

“Yes.  And then I told you that I wished I would have told you that?  Or, actually I think I did tell you that?”

“Well, I have asked for things from people and they have given them.  It’s just so strange to me.  I have felt my mom’s hand in things.  In really everything.  Then today in church she was there.  She was telling me that I was back.  See, so much has happened lately that I truly long to tell her.  Things I need her help with and then things that I just know she’d get a kick out of.  I’ve been so weepy about it.  Which I hate.  But today I thought about telling her one of these things and then I had this clear thought, “She already knows.”  It was so settling.  It was like………..peace.”

“Um-hmm.”

I wait for you to say something further.  You don’t.  Somewhere deep inside of me I hear a voice and the voice says, “It is done.  You are back.”

I speak back to this voice and I say, “Thank you.”

Letter to my Father

And there is a story that a good friend told me that I think of quite frequently.  It goes like this:  There was a poor man in Mexico who attended mass daily.  Before mass several people would approach the altar to “pray.”  This man would do the same.  When he approached the altar he would simply say, “Soy yo, Dios.  Juan Manuel.”  It is I, God, Juan Manuel.  For a long time he did this and for a long time the other people would stare at him for this seemingly strange behavior.  Finally one woman asked him, “Why do you approach the altar where we are supposed to be praying and call out to God and just say your name?”  And he responded, “Because only God knows what I need.  I simply need to tell Him who I am and He will give me what I need.”

When I think of this story, I think of you…………………………………………..

 

Waiting.

“I had a dream about my father last night.”  I pause and wait for some response.  There is none.  Only silence.

“We were watching or hearing something painful.  It had to do with a child.  I don’t think it was my child.  I think it was someone else’s child.  The child had been sick or injured or sad, but was now better.  I was sitting to my father’s left on a bench.  When I glanced up at him, his eyes were moist with tears.  He made that guttural sound that he makes when he is about to cry.  That sound makes me feel awful.”

“Why does it make you feel awful?”

“I’m not sure.  I think it’s because it is too overwhelmingly painful for me to see him like that…in pain.  Anyway.  I wanted so much to tell him something.”

“What?  What did you want to tell him?”

“Well, that’s just it.  I can’t remember what I wanted to tell him – but it was urgent.  It was urgent, but I knew that he wouldn’t be able to hear me.  When I thought this – in my dream – he reached for me.  Like in a sideways embrace.  He held me.  And I do remember what he said.”

“And what was that?  What did he say?”

“He said, ‘You see?  They have gone through it.  They have gone through pain and they are on the other side.  Do you see?  Do you see how that feels?  How joyous?'”

“What did you say?”

“I can’t remember.  But, I pulled back from him so that I could see his face.  It was wet.  Or my face was wet.  He was crying.  Or I was crying.  I pulled him back to me.  Close.  Then I woke up.”

“Then what?”

“Then I just had this amazing feeling.  It was like I was still in that embrace with my dad.  I could even feel the warmth of his face next to my face.  It was weird.  It was so vivid.  And the feeling I had…it was like a feeling of – my dad is so smart.  It doesn’t matter that he can’t hear me.  He doesn’t need to hear me.  He already knows.  He already knows what he needs to know.  There is nothing that I could tell him that would make it any different.”

I finish saying this and I wait for him to say something.  I wait for him to tell me what all of this means.  He is quiet.  Then after I have listened quietly – so quiet that I can hear my own heart beating – and he has said nothing – he says simply and with a definite air of finality, “Your time is up.  I think you’ve made progress.”

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/02/08/church-approves-confession-app-iphone/?test=latestnews.  My sister sent this little gem to me today.  Thank you, sissy for always looking out for me.  I must say it was a shock and awe moment.  And yes, among my first thoughts, “Has the Pope himself been reading my blog???” 

The Catholic church approves Confession App for the iphone??? 

BUT wait (before you get too excited), it will not replace confession to a priest (well, thank GAWD).  It is still necessary for Catholics to confess their sins to a priest to receive absolution (aw, hell.  who needs absolution anyway?).  It is just meant to guide Catholics through an examination of conscience for confession (because God knows we Catholics need a guide to confess properly). 

The article claims it brought one person back to the sacrament after 20 years!  Wow!  So, that’s scary.  There’s a Catholic out there who hadn’t been to confession in 20 years, but then when that person saw and downloaded the CONFESSION APP that person suddenly said, “I want to confess now.”  Is that scary to you???  Makes me SOOOO want to hear his/her confession.

Wait until the Catholics get a hold of a prayer app.  Think of all the peeps we’ll be bringing back to the church then.  (Yes, I know prayer is not a sacrament.)  I can’t wait!  Let’s get started!  One more reason for me to get a smart phone!  AND the best part?  If you buy now it’s only $1.99.

So, Christina Aguilera screwed up the National Anthem.  But, she actually pulled it off nicely.  I missed half time because I was putting three grouchy girls to bed.  Bubby told me all about it, and I can’t say I am unhappy I missed it.  My favorite commercial – Darth Vadar’s Passat.  So cute.  I couldn’t resist liking it.

So, what about the food???  Well, the potato nachos were not a hit.  I thought they would taste like Potato skins from TGIFriday’s, but they tasted more like…potatoes.  Apparently TGIFriday’s potato skins are mostly preservatives, salt, and lots of calories because these potato nachos not only tasted like potatos (go figure?), but they tasted almost healthy.  So, again, not a hit.  Not a miss necessarily, but decidedly not a hit.

The Brown Betty on the other hand was a HUGE success.  The kids and I LOVED it.  And we loved it with large scoops of Breyer’s white bean vanilla ice cream on top.  Oh my!  Can you say, “heaven?”

The pepperoni bites were also a huge hit.  We all loved them and I just happened to have homemade marinara sauce for dipping.  Mmm.  Turns out the chicken wings we had in the freezer were from before we stopped eating meat (well, not literally, you know the story…) so, in order to avoid a salmonella outbreak in our home we opted for bought wings.  Of course, Wing Stop’s wait was until Tuesday, so we had to get them from KFC (remember it used to be Kentucky Fried Chicken until that wasn’t PC?).  So, they were not too yummy. 

But, we had so much food that we didn’t even get to the yummy chili and cornbread, so dinner tonight is cooked!  BONUS!

All in all – a hit.  I hope your Superbowl was great and we will wait until our next opportunity to eat BIG.  :o)

So, if you know me you know that I abhor professional sports of any kind.  My least favorite sport is football.  I can’t stand looking at all the HUGE butts in that spandexy fabric, the knocking of helmets and body parts that I know will result in brain damage later, the plays that I would never be able to comprehend with all the ‘X’s” and “O’s,” the FANS who act so obnoxious and drunk, the cheerleaders who provide such a great example to my girls, etc., etc.  What I DO love about the grandaddy of all football – the SUPERBOWL – is that it is a fine excuse to eat new and yummy food.

So, let’s see what everyone is eating today!  On my menu:

Potato Nachos http://blogs.babble.com/family-kitchen/2010/07/30/potatonachos/

Pepperoni Bites http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/dinner/super-bowl-food-recipes-party-appetizers/?page=16

Chicken Wings – E.’s recipe and he makes it different every time so I cannot post it.

My chili

Brown Betty – Cold Weather Food comments section of this blog – THANK YOU S.!!!

I’ll let you know how it comes out.  Happy Superbowl!  :o)

Snow.

And sometimes love can be like a light dusting of snow in South Texas.  It is beautiful, exciting, and real while it lasts.  But, when it is dissolved by the heat it is often hard to remember what it looked and felt like.

 

I did not marry you because I thought you would be a great dad.  I think I married you out of lust.  I am still unsure.  I did not think you would be a particularly great father or any father at all.  

I bolted up in my bed and my mouth felt like cotton or paste.  I looked at the clock and it said “3:45.”  He was saying, or shouting, “Momma, it snowed.  It really snowed.  It did!  Do you want to see it?  Do you?  It snowed.  I didn’t actually see it coming down, but I set my alarm and I missed it coming down, but it’s there now and I can see it.  Do you want to see it?”

I think that I said, “Sure, baby.”

I followed him through the unlit hallway into his room.  Together we looked through his drapes and we saw a light blanket of snow on the yard.  It looked so soft and clean and white.  He was so excited it was hard for me to not be excited along with him. 

I left him in his room and told him to try to go back to sleep and we would play later.  I made my way back to my room.  You were there in the bed.  Awake. 

“Did he say it snowed?”

“Yes.”

You have vehemently told the kids that it will not snow.  This is a characteristic you have.  You do not allow those near you to anticipate anything or get excited.  You do not want them to be disappointed.  You do not want to be disappointed?

I am silent.  Waiting for you to make a move or further comment about the snow.  Oddly you say, “When he was born people all said he looked like you and I thought he looked just like you, too.  Now everyone says he looks like me.  Do you see it?”

“Mm hmm,” I say.  And yet it seems inadequate.  It seems like your heart might be bursting right now with feeling.  Some vague, tentative feeling

You got up without saying anything and I called after you, “Are you getting up?”

“No.  I’m just going to see the snow.”

When you came back you were restless.  Then you said, “I think I need to wake the girls up.  What if the snow is all melted by the time they wake up?”  There is an urgency in your voice that is almost like love.  Love?  I can recognize that urgency, yet I cannot place where I have heard it before.

“Ugh.  No.  They will be awful this afternoon if you wake them now.”

Pause.

“All right.  Do it.”

A few seconds pass and I hear shrieks of disbelief and wild cheering.

You traipse downstairs with three of the four kids.  I roll over and know that this dusting of snow will melt in a few hours without leaving any trace that it was ever here.  The memory of the snow, however will last a while.  I hope that they don’t forget it.  I hope that the memory will last until the next time that they see snow.  And vaguely before I drift off to sleep I am sure that the urgency was love.