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remembering-mom-9

It seems surreal that my Mother is not here.  She passed recently having lived 92 years.  In the last few years we could see her memory fading and our Mom quietly disappearing.  I try to remember the times we shared, whether we were together in the kitchen preparing a meal or tending to the garden that she raised every summer.  She was a frugal woman who did not believe in wasting anything.  She raised vegetables and canned any extra that we would enjoy throughout the rest of the year.  And one of my fondest memories was taking our vegetables, fresh corn, watermelon and cantaloupe to the farmers market where she displayed some of her finest produce to sell.  She was an excellent dressmaker, she sewed most of my clothes growing up.  And she tried to teach me the art of sewing although it really wasn’t my calling.  She made quilts throughout the years, making each grandchild a quilt of their own.  The girls were given vintage sunbonnet girl quilts while the boys received vintage fisher overall boy quilts.  She loved watching her hummingbirds that would come in numbers in the Spring and flock to the hummingbird feeders that were put out on the porch with sugar water each year.

When I was young my Dad raised cotton on the farm.  He worked so hard and Mom always had a big meal on the table when they came in at noontime.  In those days almost everything was fried and it tasted so good.  She made the best fried chicken and chicken fried steak.  Always served with mashed potatoes, cream gravy and coleslaw.  But in the summer we had fresh vegetables. We would snap green beans or shell peas in the evenings, gather tomatoes, okra, radishes, onions, beets, cucumbers, asparagus, zucchini and yellow squash, cabbage, turnips, mustard and turnip greens, and sometimes green chiles.  Sometimes I wonder how she did it all! My parents worked hard, showed us how to live on a budget and within our means but most of all showed us love.  I hope they are together now in peace.

Love Lives On
Those
we love remain with us
for love itself lives on,
and cherished memories never fade
because a loved one’s gone.
Those we love can never be
more than a thought apart,
far as long as there is memory,
they’ll live on in the heart.

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Hatch-2013-4

It’s been 5 years since I first posted our tradition of putting up green chile for the freezer.  Time to update and revisit my favorite time of year.  It’s the time when the big trucks drive up, the roasters come out and they start to unload those fresh Green Chiles from The Land of Enchantment.  It’s Green Chile season and I’m in heaven.  I’ve lived away from NM over 20 years and other than my family, chile season is the time I miss most with the aroma of roasted chile in the air.  There’s nothing like it and the chile is so delicious right after it’s been roasted.  Several years ago they started bringing in truckloads of Hatch Chile to one of the grocery stores here in the Kansas City area and roasting it outside on the weekends.  Always before I had to ask my family back home to please put up some chile in the freezer for me.  They always came through but it’s really special to be able to put up my own and experience the aroma and taste firsthand.  This year they were especially meaty and hot.
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Little-Man-Z-57

Z is a special little man in my life and has the most amazing story to tell.  I call him my Wonder Kitty because of all the obstacles he faced and overcome in the first few month’s of his life.  But let’s start at the beginning.  In the Spring of 2015 I decided that I was ready to to start looking for a kitten.  My Cheli cat was so lonely after her mate Sami passed on a couple years prior.  I was hoping that a kitten would help Cheli and I was ready too.  I’ve had several Siamese over the years and was hoping I would find one at a shelter.  For several weeks I checked the listings with the local shelters to see what kittens were available, it seemed like there were no Siamese kittens to be found.  But then on May 15th I came across a posting for a male 8 week old Seal Point Siamese that had just been brought in for adoption.  I said to Joe “I have to be there when they open”.   I had a feeling that he was the one.  We arrived just as they opened and was escorted back to the kennels where they housed the cats and kittens.  As soon as I saw this little guy my heart just melted.  He was so tiny and sweet and innocent.  I picked him up and he hissed at me in his tiny little voice.  He was a bit scared but once I put him up to my shoulder and cuddled him he started to purr.  We asked about adopting him and was told we would have to wait 3 days because he was brought in as a stray kitty.  He would need to be checked out and given time for someone to claim him.  It will always be a mystery of how he ended up alone and separated from his mother.  And I will always wonder how long he was stranded before he was found and brought to the shelter.  I try not to think about it because I fell in love with this little guy and promised to give him a good life.  On May 19, 2015 I brought my Little Man Z home.
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AnInspiredCook-1

It was almost 3 years ago that I began sharing my love of food and recipes.  My vision of the perfect blog was to take beautiful photos of food and paint a picture, so to speak, as to how a recipe comes together with step by step instructions.  I have always been drawn to cookbooks with beautiful photos and wanted to create something that would let you imagine the aroma and taste of the dish.  I quickly found that I didn’t have very many plates and dishes in which to lay out my recipes.  I look back at the early posts and see the same plates used over and over for the first few month’s.  My sister Kat solved my problem and enlightened me to a whole new world.  I call her the “Queen of Thrifting”.  She has a vintage eye and knows what to look for at yard sales, flea markets and thrift stores.  It’s like a treasure hunt when we go thrifting. Over the past 3 years I have acquired quite a collection of items that I found at Goodwill and other thrift stores.  I don’t spend very much, if it’s too expensive at one place, there’s another shop right around the corner that might have something better or cheaper.  It’s like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.  Some days you hit the jack pot and other days not so much.  The fun comes when you find something rare or something new or something that you like to collect.  I’m also sharing a couple of my favorite things, things that were handed down to me or tugged at my heartstrings like my very own cookbook.  Josh designed it and gave it to me for Christmas.  It brought me to tears when I unwrapped it and saw how much work and love went into making it.  It’s something I will treasure forever!

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Latin-Salsa-Chicken-19

In the mood for some meat and potatoes . . . I found a recipe for Latin Pork and Potatoes in the local paper that looked intriguing.  It was an easy one pot meal but the list of ingredients seemed to be a bit on the bland side.  So I changed it up subbing in chicken thighs for the pork chops and adding salsa flavors to the pot.  It was an amazing blend of flavors with chicken so tender and juicy surrounded by potatoes, onions, green chiles and garlic in a brothy tomato base.  It made a hearty meal with a hunk of french bread on the side to sop of any leftover juices.
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Thai-Noodles-13

I have been looking for a curry dish to try out and found a great soup recipe that sounded like it would fit all our taste buds.  In full disclosure, my soup turned into a noodle bowl as I made it up ahead of time and let the noodles sit in the broth for about an hour before serving.  The noodles absorbed most of the liquids to make a thick saucy noodle bowl.  So if you want a soup dish, serve immediately.  In the end I learned that even though my dish didn’t turn out as expected, the flavors remained intact and it made a most delicious bowl.
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Veggie-Panini-20 - Copy

It’s been gorgeous weather this week and I decided to pick up some veggies and make panini’s for dinner.  I sliced and assembled my veggies and went outside to set up the grill.  It was sunny and in the upper 70’s, just perfect outside but I noticed that the wind was picking up.  I drizzled my sliced veggies with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper and began grilling.  Everything was going well but the wind was just wicked.  About the time I finished, I realized that big clouds were rolling in.  I had just enough time to let the grill cool and get everything inside before it turned dark and started pouring rain.  The veggies turned out perfect and I piled them together between sourdough bread with some fresh mozzarella cheese, spinach pesto and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.   It was just the perfect combination!
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