Wednesday, July 4, 2012

So Long Maggie, my friend.

My friend, Maggie Walker

 July 3, 2012

I just received news this morning that my good friend, Maggie Walker died.  I think she was quite ill and my hope is that she is in a much better place.

I met Maggie when I moved to Owyhee, NV to teach Family and Consumer Science in the combined school on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation.  Maggie had been my predecessor.  She was transferred to Carlin and I took her place.   As fellow FACS teachers we became close friends.  We traveled to conferences together and were room mates often.  When I was transferred to Wendover she took over my job back up in Owyhee.  We knew each others students and our two groups did lots of traveling, conferences and sight-seeing together.

  Maggie and I had a lot of good times with the other "Home Ec" teachers in Elko County.  We shared teaching resources and shared a lot of good laughs as well.  Our lives were similar in that we both had lived on ranches during our married lives and had children about the same ages.  We differed in that she grew up on an Indian Reservation and had lived most of her life there.  I loved hearing her stories about her young life.
Maggie is on top of the world
After I retired and moved back to Colorado we stayed in touch.  One summer she drove up to the cabin with two of her grand children.  We had a fun time including a scenic drive on the Trail Ridge Road which scared her to death!
Picnicing at Grand Lake Colorado with JJ's family and Maggie with her grand kids.  Maggie is second from the right.
 One of my memories of that time was when she tried to braid my grandson, Darcy's, light blond very fine hair.  It just kept falling out and we had to laugh when she said "You just don't have the right kind of Indian hair!" .  She finally got the job done but it didn't last long.
Finally they are done messing with my hair!

Darcy's braids didn't last too long!
 I lost track of Maggie when she retired and moved to Reno to be with her son but former students kept me informed of how she was doing.  I did not know that she had moved back to Elko and am sorry that I didn't get to see her one last time when we were in Elko in June.

So long Maggie!  I will miss you.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Fourth of July With A Lovely Summer Recipe

Ooooh!  Aaaaaaaah!  How I do love fireworks!
 On this day before the Fourth of July I am thinking about some of my favorite Fourths.  When I was young and living in Milwaukee I remember staying at home and making home-made ice cream.  We had the old fashioned hand crank kind of freezer and I remember taking turns sitting on it while Dad did the cranking.  Getting to lick the dasher after Mum took it out was a favorite thing for the whole family.

  After dark we would lay on blankets in the yard and watch the sky.  In those days every suburb and small town around Milwaukee had their own fireworks.  We lived on the outskirts very near the State Fair Park which had great fireworks.  Of course the biggest ones were down on the lake shore.  Anyway, we could see fireworks all over the sky from all these venues.  It was great.  After that we had sparklers for all the neighborhood kids.  Guess what, none of us ever got hurt but then our parents used common sense and stressed safety to us even back then.
Four generations picnicing on the Fourth of July in Twin Falls, ID.
Other memories include spending the Fourth in the old Laramie hospital 4 days after Danny was born, Watching home done fireworks in the mountains of Pennsylvania with my cousins at their summer cottages, watching some of our teenage summer workers on the ranch shoot off fireworks up on the Delaney Butte adjacent to the ranch, and going to Steamboat Springs with our grand kids and other relatives to watch the best fireworks around shot off the top of the ski jump mountains.  One year was memorable when a huge thunderstorm came up during the fireworks so we had the lightning show along with the fireworks over at Steamboat!

Erin, JJ and Ozzie at Steamboat Springs waiting for the fireworks on the Fourth of July
 Oh and who can forget running for your life up in the fairground grandstand in Walden when the volunteer firemen tried their hand at shooting off fireworks and wayward ones might come at you right into the stands!  There are so many different experiences now that I think of it.  I could go on and on.  One last memory was when I had students in Boston over the Fourth.  What a sight that was with all the small boats on the James River, the Boston Pops Orchestra playing in the Park with more that a million people along the river, on the river, and in the parks.  The music of the 1812 Overture and spectacular fireworks was overwhelming.  So much for the reminiscing now for a great hot weather recipe not normally associated with the Fourth of July!
This is how Bob enjoys watching the fireworks at Steamboat Springs.  None of that fresh air for him!
This is a recipe that Carla came up with here in Phoenix where it was pretty hot even in late April.  We didn't want to heat up the kitchen and were too busy running back and forth to the hospital, so it was convenient to just stop at the store on the way home.  Of course when I am at the cabin I need to do the chicken cooking at home, but then it isn't that hot up there even in the middle of summer.

Carla's Curried Chicken Salad

1 broasted chicken from the grocery store 
1/2 - 1 cup seedless grape halves
1 apple cored and cubed
1/2 cup celery, chopped ( this is my addition--Carla doesn't do celery!)
1/2 cup glazed or sugared pecans, chopped
1/2 cup Craisins
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2- 1 tsp. curry powder 
1/2 cup whipping cream

1.  Remove the chicken from the bones and cube.  I would guess you would get more than you need for this recipe so you could use it for enchiladas or fajitas.  Use about 2-3 cups of chicken.  Put it in your salad bowl.
2.  Cut grapes in half, chop your apple and celery and put these in the bowl with chicken.
3.  Chop your pecans into nice size pieces so you know what they are in the salad.  Add them and the craisins into the bowl.
4.  Stir the curry powder into the mayonnaise and then stir into the chicken mixture.
5. Whip the cream into soft peaks and then fold into the salad.
Keep chilled, serve and enjoy!

The whipped cream makes the difference in this recipe.  It is delicious.

So what are we doing tomorrow here in Phoenix for the Fourth of July?  Our plans are pretty quiet.  Watch Happy Feet 2, watch the Diamondbacks play the Padres on TV,  go to Outback for dinner and watch fireworks on TV.  Too hot outside and we can't see any fireworks from this part of town......

I hope everyone has a great Fourth of July holiday this year!      

Monday, July 2, 2012

What To Do With These Colorful Peppers

A big package of mini peppers has lots of possibilities.
Have you noticed those big packages of brightly colored red, yellow and orange mini sweet peppers in the produce department?  A couple years ago Marianne bought one of those bags at Costco up in Burlington, WA while we were visiting.  I wondered at the time how she was going to use all those pretty peppers up and also if they were really spicy hot.  I found out they are a type of sweet pepper and very tasty.  Bob loved to get a few out for snacking and before the week was out the bag was gone!  Bob would eat them whole without even getting the seeds out.  Actually they have very few seeds in them and are very crunchy and a refreshing treat.
Raw peppers stuffed with cream cheese.
Lately I have been seeing bags of these peppers in most produce departments of grocery stores wherever I have been ( like Phoenix, San Antonio, Laramie, Casper, Elko, etc.) Well, maybe not Bella's Market in Walden, but I haven't been in there for almost 6 months, so who knows!

When Carla and JJ were here in Phoenix with us in April we got a bag of these peppers and discovered a lot of ways to get them used up besides just eating them raw in salads and whole for snacks.

 Carla loved doing them on grill and I loved how they tasted.  She halved them, cleaned the seeds out, brushed them with olive oil sprinkled on some sea salt and grilled them for maybe 10 minutes.  Yummmmm!
These grilled peppers go great with steak on the grill.
We also came up with a stuffed mini pepper that cooks in about 10 minutes or less in the microwave.  Use your favorite stuffed pepper recipe and put about meatball sized amounts in each half of your mini peppers.  I'm thinking of doing a filling with Mexican spices and a little cheese on top.  Bake about 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven, toaster oven or maybe a little shorter time in the microwave.
My camera phone isn't doing well in this heat I guess.  These are the stuffed peppers.

A blurry picture of our stuffed mini peppers with cheese on top.  They were delicious.
 My students in Wendover used to do cheese stuffed long green mildly hot peppers (can't remember the name) on the grill.  So here they are done with the mini peppers.  Stuff with Queso Fresca cheese and grill for about 8-10 minutes.  Very yummy.
Cheese stuffed peppers and just plain ones on the grill.
This is the favorite cheese of many of my Wendover students.
Another snack option is the tiny pepper halves stuffed with cream cheese.  Very tasty!
Ranchero cheese stuffed peppers ready for the grill.

Yummy grilled cheese peppers have Bob's seal of approval.
By the way, if you have leftover filling from the stuffed peppers you might try making mini meatloaves in a muffin tin and stick a cube of cheese in the center of each little loaf.  bake them for about 20 minutes in the oven.

Leftover meat stuffing for peppers makes great mini meat loaves made in a muffin tin.  They freeze well for later meals.
Mushrooms, steak and peppers done on the grill.
Hmmmm!  I wonder what to try next.....  I just saw a bit on TV about grilling a whole head of Romaine lettuce and that is the hottest trend today.  I think I have to try that one!

A Tasty Breakfast Treat

Alyssa, Natalie and Samara show off their "100 days of school" necklaces they made with candy.
 Annie and I have been going through a lot of the recipes she has cut out of the newspaper and came upon a really good breakfast recipe for a variation on French toast.  I tried it a couple times and think it is a winner.  Here it is:

Scrambled French Toast
From Phoenix Living, August 21 2010


3-4 slices stale bread with crust (French bread is delicious)
2 large eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup milk or cream
1/4 tsp. salt
4 slices crisp bacon, fried and crumbled
Butter and maple syrup

In a skillet, fry bacon until crisp, reserving bacon fat.

Cut bread into small cubes and place in a bowl.  In another bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and salt until well blended.  Pour egg mixture over bread cubes and gently toss with fingers or a spoon to coat all cubes.

Reheat bacon fat in the skillet.  Add soaked bread cubes and cook on medium-high, turning occasionally until cubes are set and well browned.

Crumble bacon and sprinkle over each serving.

Serve with warm maple syrup and plenty of butter.