Month: October 2015

Salsa, baby!!!


I wish you could have a taste of this!

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I got a good “do” on this batch. Go ahead and laugh at me for saying that. Efren does. He says, “a do?? You got a good do on it?” I’m like “yeah, a do. Ain’t you ever heard that sayin’ before?” (Insert heavy southern drawl) ūüėāūüėā This batch did turn out seriously good, though. Enough of a burn to make your nose run, but not so much to overpower the flavor. Perfecto! I could make a meal of just chips and salsa, but I cooked up a little Mexican quinoa dish to go with. A recipe I found on Pinterest and we both like it. Healthy and tasty, too!

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Simple Stitching


It has been a good weekend, thus¬†far. I got baby C’s quilt loaded ¬†yesterday and started on¬†the first row of quilting. Today, I got to work on it a little more. ¬†It’s all very simple quilting. Nothing fancy at all. ¬†I took such a long break from quilting after Greg’s passing, and when I did start again, it’s been so sporadic that I almost feel as if I’m starting from scratch. Not quite that bad, really, but close. I had gotten to be quite adept at tension adjustments, and even retiming my machine wasn’t that big of a deal. I’m having to fuss with the tension a bit on¬†this one, and it does feel more challenging to me than it did at the point where I was before. I know I’ll get back there in time. In the meantime, my goal is to just enjoy the process again. Be thankful that I’m blessed enough to have this longarm machine to quilt with. I can’t wait til we are the best of friends again.

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Lots of variety for baby to look at as he snuggles with it. Part of my day was spent babysitting the boys while mommy went to a see the doctor at the local family clinic. I was pretty happy to spend that bit of time playing with them and feeding the baby his lunch. Good times.

Efren and I spent the rest of the day by slowing down and just enjoying each other’s company and a nice dinner together at home, along with a fire in the fireplace and a movie. I wish I could say the movie we chose was as good as the company and the dinner. I love acorn squash, with a big pool of melted butter and brown sugar in the middle. Yummy!

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A nice side for the pork chops I cooked. One of my favorite fall veggies. Yep, it’s been a good day, but I better go to sleep. Efren is snoozing away, Lulu is curled up in her little bed, and Bella is softly snoring away on hers. I’m looking forward to tomorrow….

More Good Food


I had high hopes of getting the quilting started on baby C’s quilt. Instead, I lazed around too long this morning drinking coffee and just being bums in general with Mr. O. That was followed by a grocery gathering outing. I wanted to plan out some meals for the week and get a head start on the cooking. My whole afternoon was spent in the kitchen, trying out a couple “new to me” recipes, both of which were links I saved from Facebook.

I made a chicken avocado lime soup recipe that I hadn’t tried before and added a couple tweaks of my own. I threw in some baby carrots and calabacita squash. This one went in the fridge for dinner tomorrow evening.

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The jalapenos boiling in the pot were for the salsa that we will spoon into our soup when we eat it, as we like it spicy.

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I made carne guisada con papas, which turned out to be very tasty, and was our choice for dinner tonight. It made a lot, so I sent some home with my son and his family. I found this recipe on Hispanic Kitchen¬†blog. There’s some really yummy looking food¬†on their site and I look forward to trying some more new dishes. My hubby loved it!

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And, you can see that pan of frijoles refritos on the back burner, made from the pot of beans I cooked yesterday. Have I made you hungry yet? ūüėč

All that cooking and cleaning up after wore me out. La cocina en Casa de Ortega está cerrado por la noche. Have a good one!

Good Food, Good Day


So, I loved Mexican food anyway, but now that I am married to a Mexican man that grew up on authentic Mexican cooking, I’m experiencing a lot of new dishes. It’s not been good for my weight, which I finally had down to my goal. But yum. I have a lot to learn in the kitchen, and have added some Mexican cooking blogs to my reader. Luckily, as my cooking time is limited, we have lots of little mom and pop type Mexican restaurants in our¬†community, serving up delicious authentic Mexican food to satisfy just about any craving. Lunch today was at one of our favorites, a little place called El General. Five years ago if you had told me I would be eating tacos de tripas, I would have said you were bat crap crazy, lol. I mean…ewwww, right? Well…I’ve gotten a bit more adventurous in this new chapter of my life. And not only do I eat them, I love them! I prefer them fried to a medium crispness. I’m not crazy about the texture just cooked, but fried they are really good. Today I had two tacos de tripas and two tacos al pastor.

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Four sounds like a lot, but they are little tacos. Also, I actually ended up giving one of the al pastor to Efren. So, I only ate three.

Efren loves his beans, and is used to having them almost every day, with most meals. This morning I started a big pot of beans in the crock pot. One thing I’ve gotten pretty good at making is homemade frijoles refritos, or refried beans. They really are soooo much better than what comes in the can. I always cook mine with a chunk of salt pork, added salt to taste, a little garlic powder, and some chile powder. Today, I threw in a couple dried hot hatch chiles. We ate beans tonight southern style. With a batch of fried cornbread with melted butter slathered on it. I hadn’t made fried cornbread in too many years! Efren had never had it and really liked it.

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The fried cornbread is so easy to make. I need to do that more often! This is the recipe I got from my mom many years ago, and the one she made for us when I was growing up.

1 1/2 cups cornmeal

1T flour

1 tsp salt

boiling water (almost 2 cups)

Heat vegetable oil,  Crisco, or oil of your choice in a skillet, preferably cast iron. Mix your dry ingredients, then stir in boiling water until your batter is moist enough to form into balls of dough that you can then mash into patty shapes. Fry until crisp. They fry up quick, so keep an eye on that skillet. Top with butter and enjoy!

I will freeze part of the leftover beans to use another day, and part of them will definitely end up as frijoles refritos over the next couple of days.

I did get the backing for baby Chase’s quilt pieced and loaded on the longarm this afternoon. I found a piece of leftover batting that is just barely, and I mean barely, big enough. I’m going to try to use it and hope I don’t regret my decision. If tomorrow goes as planned, I will finish loading it on the machine and get a bit of stitching done. I haven’t decided exactly what I want to do on it, but it should be a fun one to do!

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Thanks for stopping by!

Shingles…


That’s what’s going on here right now. And, I don’t mean the kind on¬†top of the house. Ouch. Didn’t really have time for them right now, but this too shall pass.

Sunday Rundown


This morning, Efren and I listened to a recorded sermon from one of our favorite area churches on their mobile app. We are making our way through a series on marriage misconceptions. We already completed a set titled “Marriage Makers, Marriage Breakers” and I would recommend them to any married couples. Having previously been happily married for fourteen years, up until May 22, 2011, the day I became a widow, I thought I knew pretty much all I needed to know about how to “do marriage right”. Reality check! Every marriage is different. My relationship and marriage with Efren are¬†very different than what Greg and I shared. I’ve had to learn to adapt to many changes, and learn how to adapt to this new and wonderful partner I’ve been so blessed to have found! Navigating this new path life set out for me hasn’t always been easy, or gone that smoothly,¬†¬†but without a doubt it’s definitely¬†worth the effort and I’m so excited to be making a new life, memories and adventures at Casa de Ortega with this precious man.

After¬†breakfast and our worship time, we caught up on all the yard work, laundry and a few other household chores. And then, Miss Bella got a bath. She was still a pretty small pup last time you saw her. I better show you a picture today, because once she goes back outside in the morning, it will take her all of maybe thirty minutes to be¬†filthy again. This first one is Efren’s favorite and I say it shows the destructive little monster inside her! She tears everything up!!

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Trying to show her sweet side in these last two. Right…. Lol.

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I barely got to sit down today, and in all that activity I didn’t even get to take a single stitch in any of my projects. I was really hoping to get the backing made for Chase’s quilt and maybe even get it loaded on the longarm. It wasn’t to be this weekend. That’s a wrap for tonight! Ttyl!

Ahhhh Sweet Saturday


I love Saturday mornings when I can just slow down a little. There’s no rush to drink my coffee and get a workout in before getting ready to hurry off on my way to work or somewhere. This morning, as I sip and write, I’m snuggled in soft flannel sheets, under a quilt I made with a buttery soft flannel backing.¬†That isn’t the case for my Efren, though, as he had to head out the door to work before 7 a.m. The quilt, I admit, is actually still a WIP, but it is on the bed anyway. Maybe looking at it like this will push me to get the binding made and attached and I can work on the hand stitching while sitting in bed watching tv in the evenings. That is all it lacks, plus some thread tail trimming ¬†I was going to knot and bury them all but I gave up on that chore a long time ago, and thus¬†it has set unfinished for more years than I care to think about now. I love this quilt and it looks so nice on the bed. I must finish it soon!

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I don’t need to tarry too long this morning, however, as I have household chores calling and I need to run out and grab Miss Bella a bag of dog food, and check on my parents and see if I need to get anything for them while I’m out and about. And, there are birthday presents to wrap. Today we will celebrate Caleb’s upcoming 5th birthday. Him coming into my world has been such a blessing. He brought so much joy and light after the passing of my late husband. “I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born”, says the Lord. Isaiah 66:9. That verse has¬†proved itself so true for me. So many new changes in my life. New loves¬†and joys and blessings have flowed abundantly post loss. I’m so thankful for each and every one.

On my bad days, days where the struggles with my dad’s Alzheimer’s is worse, days when some chronic physical pain I deal with is worse, days when I feel I can’t take the work stress, or just feel that there are too many demands on my time, etc., I remind myself that even my worst days are so much better than many people’s best days. So much better. Life is fast paced. Life is full. Life is life. Life is amazing.

Life is full of sweet moments that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss for the world. Like getting a makeover from a four year old boy. During which he excitedly stated¬†” you’re looking fancy, Mammy!” Fancy indeed!

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Happy, happy times and happy 5th birthday sweet boy! A few days early, but that just gives us longer to stretch out the celebration!