Oh, I’ve been a terrible blogger and failed to blog last week. We have just been terrifically busy. A few people mentioned that they were worried I had dropped dead or something, and I’m sorry about that! I haven’t figured out what’s wrong with my stupid body yet, but they have ruled out everything scary and terrible, so I’m just full steaming ahead. I did just do a really neat interview with an artist yesterday, that I can’t wait to tell you about, and I wrote up a thought or two I had about a thing or two about the Pope, so those should be up soon. I appreciate the prayers so much. They are helping.
Here’s something you might enjoy: I won a couple of awards from the Catholic Media Association: first place for Best Family Life Column (for Parable Magazine) and second place for Best Writing – Analysis (for my feature on annulments for America). Not everybody got a picture along with their announcement, BUT I DID:
I love the desperate little smile, clearly pleading for someone to come rescue me from my own hair. OH WELL.
My patio is growing. It’s a menace. It’s a farrago. It’s a travesty. It’s Santa Maria in Travesty. And if your life has certain frustrations in it, may I recommend tearing up the sod and replacing it with bricks of different sizes that don’t quite fit together and need to be slammed repeatedly with a mallet until they do fit? I may pave the whole yard.
Meanwhile, we et! Here’s what we et:
Smoked ribs, fries
On Saturday, I went to my hometown for the alumni parade. I graduated from high school 30 years ago, can you believe it? Of course you can believe it, I’m decrepit. It was a cool parade, though, and it was fun to see old classmates floating by, as well as bagpipes, fife and drum corps, Abraham Lincoln, Shriners, and misc., and my kids got tons of candy, as well as corn and ketchup packets, which one group of alumni were throwing.
Damien bought and smoked some amazing pork ribs.
I spent the rest of the day working on my patio, and by dinner I was ravenous and became a complete hooligan in the presence of those ribs.
Corpus Christi! After Mass we had a wonderful procession down Main Street, with adoration on the commons
Then I went shopping in the afternoon, and for the life of me I cannot remember what we ate. Something easy, I imagine. Actually I think we just had leftover ribs.
Clara made a cake for Dora. Here is the cake.
As Benny said the other day in another context, “Mixed feelings all around, let’s move along.”
Chicken enchiladas, beans and rice, guacamole and chips, tres leches cake
Monday we had a belated celebration for Dora’s birthday. I also belatedly discovered that we didn’t have any chili powder in the house, which makes a Mexican meal a bit of a challenge; but don’t worry, my caucasicity won the day and I found some old envelopes with orange powder in them, and faked my way through it.
I sorta kinda followed Pioneer Woman’s enchilada recipe, except I used chicken thighs instead of breasts, and I used flour tortillas because I do what I want. I made some with red sauce and some with green, and they were okay, not my best. I was rushing like crazy, and didn’t buy enough sauce.
I threw together the beans and rice with white rice, black beans and kidney beans, canned tomatoes and diced chili peppers, and probably some onions in there, and then just whatever seasonings I could find. It was again not the greatest, but not bad.
The guacamole was tasty. A decent meal, with plenty of leftovers for people to bring home.
The tres leches cake was a challenge for me. I have had one (1) tres leches cake in my life, and that was in college, and I all I remember is that it was, like me, white. So I followed a recipe from the Versailles recipe in Miami; but I believe I underbaked it, so when I poured the milk filling over it, it was, frankly, a little sloshy.
But I went ahead and refrigerated it for the rest of the day, and then made the meringue and spread it over, and served the pieces with maraschino cherries.
Kind of a blurry picture, but it was kind of a blurry cake.
I had made a double recipe so there was enough cake that I could serve the fully-baked parts and avoid the marshier spots, and there was still QUITE A LOT OF CAKE. I liked it! But my land, that is a sweeeet dessert. Probably I should have a properly-made tres leches cake before I make any judgments, but right now I’d just as soon have tiramisu.
Chicken salad with strawberries
The plan was blueberries, but I got to the store and discovered I had misread the flyer, and what was on sale was actually blackberries. I consulted with the produce guy and we both felt that nobody wants a blackberry chicken salad. First I was worried I was being annoying by asking him, but then he started going on about how he was “a tactile guy,” so I grabbed some strawberries and got out of there.
A lot of crops were blighted by the late frost here (my peach tree never even blossomed, and they say we lost 75% of the apple crop in the state, which is horrible), but the strawberries are cheap and plentiful and huge and sweet this year. Hooray strawberries!
So, mixed greens, roast chicken breast, feta cheese, slice almonds, diced red onion, and balsamic vinegar.
Quite good, and very pretty. My photos are all dark and terrible this week for some reason.
One cheese, one pepperoni, and one garlic, red onion, artichoke heart, feta, tomato, and parmesan.
Damien chaperoned the high school kids and friends at their class trip to Six Flags, and all he got was this halfway decent pizza.
Irene graduated from 8th grade! Look how delighted she is.
Kids at home had chicken nuggets and cheezy weezies, and Damien and Irene and I went to Local Burger and had some nice local burgers, and then we dropped Damien off at home to do some more work and I scooped up the rest of the kids to get ice cream (ha, I guess that’s why I said “scooped”) (even though most of them got soft serve).
Cheeseburgers, fries, chocolate cake
Friday we had a belated celebration of Moe’s birthday, and he had requested that I surprise him with the cake theme. I made the King Arthur simple and rich chocolate cake, which always turns out well, and I forgot to make any plans for icing, so I wung it. I threw a lot of unsalted soft butter in the standing mixer and creamed it, then sifted in a bunch of cocoa powder and kept creaming. Then I beat in some half and half and a little vanilla, and then sifted in a ton of confectioner’s sugar and continued mixing until it was smooth and whippy. I already had a migraine, so I went ahead and tasted the frosting, and it was nice. It was like hot cocoa in frosting form.
I baked a large cake in a metal mixing bowl, and a bunch of little cupcakes, which I frosted and then decorated with caramel creams I had smooshed with a rolling pin. I sort of had it in my head that it would be the turtle holding up the world, but there are only so many hours in the day (and this was a day when I also wrote 1200 words and drove two hours and picked up 600 bricks), so instead I gave him a bed of kiwis so swim on and decided it was fine.
You can see by his face that he has seen some stuff. And Moses was, indeed, surprised.
Friday was finally, finally the last day of school for the last kids, thank goodness. We haven’t done anything for summer fun yet, except splashing in the pool and not going to school. Just kind of shell shocked still.
And that was last week! I spent most of my in-between hours fetching, hauling, and fitting bricks, and although I have gone through something like 1500 bricks, I am again almost out of bricks. Here is where I am right now:
I’m going to finish it by the 4th of July if it kills me. AND IT WILL.
Check in. What’s just about killing you today? You gonna make it? Do you need a turtle cake? Are you holding up the world?
sugar smoked ribs
the proportions are flexible here. You can adjust the sugar rub to make it more or less spicy or sweet. Just pile tons of everything on and give it puh-lenty of time to smoke.
- rack pork ribs
- yellow mustard
- extra brown sugar
For the sugar rub:
- 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cups white sugar
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 Tbsp salt
- 1 Tbsp white pepper
Coat the ribs in yellow mustard and cover them with sugar rub mixture
Smoke at 225 for 3 hours
Take ribs out, make a sort of envelope of tin foil and pour Coke and brown sugar over them. close up the envelope.
Return ribs to smoker and cook another 2 hours.
Remove tinfoil and smoke another 45-min.
Finish on grill to give it a char.
White Lady From NH's Guacamole
- 4 avocados
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1 medium jalapeno, minced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped roughly
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 2 limes juiced
- 1 tsp chili powder
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 red onion, diced
Peel avocados. Mash two and dice two.
Mix together with rest of ingredients and add seasonings.
Cover tightly, as it becomes discolored quickly.