Archive for the ‘mexican’ Tag

09/05/2021 Our New Owner   Leave a comment

This is my former owner “Stormy” who passed away 3 years ago after suffering a heart attack.  He spent 17 years with me and is sadly missed. This post is in his memory.

He was a sly and subtle cat who was laid back and always appeared aloof and uncaring. I’ve been acquainted over many years with seven cats and each one has had its own peculiarities and personality quirks. After years of observing them all I’ve determined that one characteristic was common to them all. I call it the 20 second, Delayed Response Syndrome. With dogs you shout a command and they spring to their feet wagging their tails and just begging to do your bidding. I think cats get the same rush from our attention but they choose not to show it quite so openly. They’ll sit and wait for 20 seconds then nonchalantly stroll over to see what’s going on. Try it out yourself if you’re owned by a cat, it’s amazing.

You’ll also note that I continually say “owned by a cat” and I’m not kidding. Years ago I read a Sci-Fi short story that went a long way to convincing me that an actual alien invasion of the Earth had already taken place. Apparently thousands of years ago the first cats landed on this planet and began their slow and deliberate takeover. Many people say the Chinese are people who think long-term. Compared to cats the Chinese have the attention span of a moth around a flame. I consider myself a well trained and officially certified pet belonging to a cat.

Let me explain further. My better-half was a dog person and when we finally decided to cohabitate I was concerned about her relationship with “Stormy”. He and I had been together for almost 10 years at that time and had been living the swinging bachelor lifestyle. It appeared to be a Mexican standoff with my better-half and her son for the first month but slowly and surely Stormy began to reel them in.

We bought him only the best food, fresh water every day, and we shoveled and cleaned his disgusting litter box all too often. He also had access to an outside deck where he could lounge all day in the sun and chase a bird or two. He had the good life and he knew it. 

We mourned the loss of Stormy but life must go on.  After a year and a half we finally decided we needed a new  owner and we made a trip to the local shelter.  Now let me introduce you all to the new Queen of the World, “Lucy”.

She is a handful. She is snippy, sassy, and opinionated. She is the center of her own universe and therefore so are we. She is attitude personified and has enough for ten cats. If we feed her food she doesn’t like, she just walks away. She also expects special treats each and every time someone walks near her food dishes.

Stormy was always a quiet unassuming cat but she is anything but. She never shuts up. She walks through the house showing her annoyance with just about everything. God help us all if the litter box isn’t kept clean enough. She’ll just squeal a little and then poop on the floor next to it and then just strut away. As you can see in the photo she has that “evil eye” thing going on. She gives me that stare at least ten times a day.

Finally last night as I was just dozing off she jumped up on the bed and allowed me to move the hell over and make room for her. What a sweetheart. Because I didn’t immediately begin to pet and cuddle her she turned her back on me and left the room. I found her later sleeping on my chair in the living room.

I’d like to continue this story but the sun’s coming out and Queen Lucy has been bugging me for the last 20 minutes to open the door to the deck. She gets a tad grumpy if she doesn’t get her deck time.

WE REALLY LOVE HER

06-21-2015 Journal– Rain, Mexican Food, & Father’s Day!   Leave a comment

The rainy days continue here in Maine.  All the better for our gardens but a little annoying as well.  The better-half surprised me yesterday with an adlib Father’s Day celebration.  We’d leave the house early and look for a small out of the way place to have breakfast.  The only requirement was that the restaurant be small and some where we’d never been before.

This was the best scenery shot of the morning because it rained the entire time we were driving.

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After driving along the coast to several small restaurants we were becoming frustrated.  In one restaurant there was not only a forty-five minute wait for a table but a half-hour wait to get into the stupid parking lot. We quickly decided that wasn’t the place we were looking for.

Twenty minutes later we cruised into the city of South Portland, just across the harbor from Portland.  As we turned a corner what did we stumbled onto but a Mexican restaurant called Taco Trio.  The entire town was barely awake and moving but this tiny little place was bustling with customers. 

After some discussion we both decided on a breakfast burrito with everything. The order arrived twenty minutes later at our tiny little table with two four pound burritos with everything in them. And I do mean everything!!  We had sides of freshly made tomato salsa, a pineapple and cilantro salsa, and enough hot sauce to float a boat. It was the best Father’s Day meal I’ve ever had and I suspect my mouth will still be burning in three more hours.

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One last thing.  The war between me and all of Mother Nature’s critters has come to an end.  Rather than kill as many of them as possible I decided on a more peaceful solution.  Thanks to a nearby Lowes and three hours of hard work I was able to fence in my garden frames.  It’s been two days  now and there’ve been no further middle of the night raids.  Here’s a couple of photo’s of the new setup.

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For the first time in my life I was able to get the upper hand on Mother Nature.  I hope my late father is up there watching.  He was never able to win using electric fencing, human hair, guns, and any thing else he could think of.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY DAD – We finally won one.

11-19-2014 Journal–Chili Day!   1 comment

This stretch of cold and rainy weather has pretty much kept me in the house for the last few days.  I was starting to climb the walls a bit when I received a call from my better-half from work to discuss arrangements for dinner. I assumed from the call that she wasn’t interested in cooking and needed me to help out a little.  She suggested that maybe just maybe I could make a batch of my chili. 

After agreeing I checked my latest recipe for the necessary ingredients and I was out the door and on my way to get them.  You need to understand something important, when I make a batch of chili I make a huge batch.  My normal recipes result in upwards of ten quarts and sometime even more.  It was a quick shopping trip and I returned home and got to work.

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This was a new recipe I created after tasting the chili pictured below during one of our luncheon forays to Kennebunkport, Maine. That chili contained a lot of cheese and a healthy number of calories due to the ground beef and oils used in preparation. As you can see it looks incredible and tasted even better.

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‘Thanks Federal Jack’

I substituted a mixture of ground chicken and turkey to replace the beef, then eliminated the oil by browning the meat in Smart Balance.  It was then a simple matter of adding the remaining ingredients and spices and cooking it for a few minutes.

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Most of the state of Texas would string me up by my heels for ever calling my chili, Chili.  Fortunately I cook and flavor foods so they taste good to me.  I like my chili super hot and use a mixture of Cayenne and Habanero peppers that bring it to life in a big way.  I also use a selection of beans with different flavors and textures which apparently is a big NO NO in chili cooking circles. Just to add insult to injury I always, regardless of the ingredients, add diced potatoes.  Strikes two and three as far as Texas is concerned.

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A short time later I had my finished product, a batch of Black Bean & Corn chili, and to hell with all of you chili purists. It tastes exactly the way I wanted, hot as blazes, with no red meat or oil used.  It looks a little like the restaurant version but certainly has more flavor and an increased level of heat.  As is usually the case most restaurants serve a medium heat chili unless it happens to be a Mexican restaurant.  Here it is.

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We had a couple of bowls each for dinner that night and loved it.  We then packaged up the rest for freezing which should supply us with five or six hearty meals this winter.  Life is good.

11-01-2014 Journal Entry– A Mexican Halloween!   2 comments

Another Halloween has come and gone and it ended last night with a visit from the grandson.  He’s now officially more than two years old and obsessed with all things Mickey Mouse.  He’s a big fan of the Mickey Mouse Club much as I was while growing up but for entirely different reasons.  He loves the music, wearing the ears, and dancing around. All I had was Annette Funicello and her two perky friends.  It’ll be a another ten years before he begins enjoying that part of the Mickey Mouse Club.

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Halloween is an odd holiday anyway and it’s more for the costumes and candy than anything else.  Since I’ve pretty much given up on that part of the holiday I figured I was safe for another year.  Leave it up to my better-half to come up with something for me do.  She walks in the door two nights ago carrying bags of groceries which I later found out were for some party being held at her work place.  She’d been anointed as the head cheerleader in that store as well as the official food preparer for all functions. Apparently my cooking services are available because of her and they get them free of charge.

I was sweetly requested to help prepare enough taco filling for ninety to a hundred tacos.  That’s ten plus pounds of cow, browned perfectly and seasoned with that magical blend of Mexican spices.  I began my preparations but something seemed to be missing and I couldn’t quite figure out what it was.  It was this:

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I think that cooking Mexican food of any kind without tequila or jalapeno flavored vodka is against the law in a few states or should be.  I slammed down two quick shots of vodka, picked up a couple pounds of meat and got to work. Four shots and ten pounds of hamburger later the meat was cooked, seasoned, and packaged for shipment to the store. Not only was I relaxed, I was positively glowing.

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The party was a huge success with more than ninety people filling up on tacos and enchiladas.  It’s not your typical Maine meal by any means but everyone loved it anyway. 

This Halloween I was able to do some cooking (I love that) for a large gathering that I didn’t have to attend (Yeah!), loaded up the grandson up with as much candy as possible which I wasn’t then forced to eat (Yeah again!), and didn’t have to worry about dressing up in silly costumes (Yeah #3!).  That for me is a really successful Halloween and I hope to do it the same way next year.  By then we’ll have a little brother or sister for the grandson tagging along to make it even more interesting.

I hope your holiday was as exciting as mine.  There are times when I miss the costumes and craziness of years past but then good sense prevails, I have a glass of wine, and kick back and relax.

06-05-2014 Journal Entry–Mexican Food!   Leave a comment

I’ve been a lover of good Mexican food for years and after meeting my better-half (a good old down home Texas girl) and traveling to Texas on a number of occasions I was hooked.  During my recent trip to Dallas I was taken to this Mexican restaurant by my nephew who assured me I would be getting authentic Mexican fish tacos.  I was excited for the meal and as we arrived I could hardly wait.

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True to his word the fish taco’s were to die for.  We ate two huge plates of tacos, chili beans, and rice.  They drizzled an outrageous jalapeño cream sauce over the tacos that was so damn good it makes me hungry just thinking about it.  Four gigantic peach margaritas later and we were destroyed.  We slowly and safely made our way home and sat for hours because we just couldn’t move. 

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They also supplied us with chips and salsa which was good but the Verde sauce was the best.  It was not quite a salsa and not quite a sauce.  It also wasn’t quite hot enough for me so I decided upon my return to Maine to create a version of my own.

My better-half and I made a visit to a local South of the Border restaurant after my return to fulfill my ongoing taco obsession.  It only made me want to create that Verde sauce even more. I thought about it on the way home that night and the next morning I was off to do some early food shopping.

I found the tomatillos, jalapeños, and pickled green chilies to which I added a few spices, some onions, a little jalapeno vinegar and cooked it all until soft.  I threw it into a blender and liquefied it for five minutes and OMG.  My eyes began watering as soon as I took the lid off of the blender.

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Later that day the better-half made a pan of enchiladas over which I sprinkled a cautious amount of the hottest thing I’ve ever created.  It was mean, nasty, smoking hot, and freaking delicious.

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I was able to can almost a dozen jars of this sauce and it will definitely be used sparingly and as often as possible. I’m already planning the next batch so I can turn down the heat a little to make it palatable for all those so-called lovers of hot food who I’m pretty sure wouldn’t be able to handle this sauce.

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“The Finished Product”

05-30-2014. Journal Entry–Summer is Coming!   Leave a comment

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Well I’ve calmed down somewhat after my fiasco of traveling home from Texas.  It’s time to get back to normal and return to my quiet life without airlines, crowds of people, and over priced everything.

I climbed back on my trusty treadmill yesterday and I’ve got to say it was a real wake-up call.  I went a full week without much exercise and starting up again was a killer. I just have to keep pushing myself to reach that final weight loss goal I’ve targeted. I really thought that after the Texas trip I’d have to work double hard to regain motivation to lose whatever extra weight I’d gained on the trip. The biggest surprise I had was when I weighed in showing  a two pound loss bringing my total weight loss since last November to 38 pounds.  Hooray for me. I’m now only ten pounds from my goal.  With any luck I’ll be there by August and then I can really celebrate.  Ten months of oranges, radishes, cashews, and protein will make any celebration an improvement in my diet.

It’s back to gardening, yard work, and preparing for the better-half’s trip to Los Angeles in a few weeks.  The Spring  seems to be flying along very quickly but Summers coming.  I just wish the winter months came and went as quickly as these months seem to.  As I lay on the floor of Reagan National airport the other night trying to catch three winks I could only fantasize about getting back to gardening without the fear of traveling nightmares.  This young lady has a couple of gorgeous flowers that make her garden a sheer delight.

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I’m planning on a major overhaul of my man-cave while she’s gone and I’m beginning today to collect the materials I need.  The cave is getting a little crowded so I need to rearrange things a bit.  My winemaking area will be expanded to include a new multi-level siphoning table as well as new shelving units for my assortment of accessories. I need more storage to accommodate the ever increasing number of wine bottles.  I need that wine because it helps me relax me so I can continue my gardening fantasies.

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This is my gardening helper.  She’s in charge of all of my gardening tools and their maintenance.  She’s  a lovely young lady who is exceptionally talented.

Once my man-cave project is completed I can get down to cooking a little.  I had dinner in a Mexican restaurant while in Dallas and we feasted on the best fish taco’s I’ve ever had. Along with the tacos we thoroughly enjoyed the chips and salsa and a Verde salsa that was unbelievable.  It was citrusy and smoking hot and wonderful.  It’s time for me to create my own version of that salsa.  I’ve made a lot of salsa over the years and it should be fun to give this a try.  I honestly think that this trip and the continuing Tex-Mex influences of my Texas born better-half are turning me into a wannabe Mexican.  I know, it’s hard to believe and I’m as surprised as anyone.

The remainder of this summer should be fun and a great time to relax before Canning season starts in September.  One last gardening fantasy before I go.  Oh man do I love gardening . . . . .

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