Green Chile Stew

Image

You guys!  My house smells like a bona fide restaurant tonight (and much of the day no less)!  I know I go back and forth with my subjects on this blog, but it all started out to share recipes.  Normally, I decide on a few main ingredients, research recipes and then merry a few into a creation of my liking.  But today was different.  I live in the Southwest.  I mean I live in the green chile capitol of the world.  Green chile is often an ingredient in New Mexican dishes, an undeniable tasty treat for most palates. 

A popular dish for natives and tourists alike is Green Chile Stew.  Normally consisting of a clear broth, garlic, onion, beef, seasoning and the glorious *green chile*…. Since it’s been a nasty windy weekend and today was going to be considerably cooler, I felt like this was my last weekend to make a scrumptious heart and tummy warming soup.  Since I generally don’t buy beef any longer, unless it’s a rare steak night or steak bits & crudités easy night, I searched the freezer for a good protein sub.  Enter pork chops.  Thick center cut boneless pork chops.

So here’s the scoop (if you want the short version – scroll to the bottom, otherwise read on)… this recipe is worth the day of intermittent cooking.  If you’re into de-gassing pinto beans, then soak your beans (1/2 pound or a pound if you want to save some for another dish) 24 hours, rinse and cook on high with a couple cups of water in your slow cooker for 6+ hours, add your favorite spices at about 4 hours in.  At about 6 hours into your beans cooking, grab some foil and light your grill (optimal temp 300-400 degrees).  Cut 4-6 tomatoes into quarters (I prefer Campari, but any other will do), quarter a yellow onion, slice a jalapeno (deseed – devein), slice up a few red or yellow baby bell peppers, wash and trim a handful or more of cilantro, throw in some carrot chunks, drizzle with olive oil, S & P, and whatever other seasonings you prefer.  Wrap veggies in foil and grill until super soft and the liquid that sweats is golden (usually about 25 minutes).  Whilst grilling the veggies, put 4-6 hatch green chiles on the top rack of the grill and turn every 5 minutes until the skin is brown and bubbly.  Once you’re chile is done, pull them off and place in a bowl and cover with saran wrap for about 30-45 minutes.  I let me veggies in foil sit on the grill while my chiles rest.  Also while the chiles rest, dredge your pork chops in a mixture of salt, pepper, flour, cumin and cayenne powder mixture (use the amounts you desire).  Heat a dutch oven with olive oil, and drop in two of your chops.  Cook 5-7 minutes and flip, then cover for about 5 more minutes and remove.  During the time that the chops are cooking, peel and deseed – devein your chiles (save seeds if you wish to grow your own)!  Roughly chop chiles and set aside.  Remove chops and cut into bit size pieces.  After removing your chops, grab a good bottle of beer and deglaze your pot, then add grilled veggie mixture and use hand blender to pulse into yummy veggie bites of fantastic!  Add pork, chile and 1/2 pounds of beans that have been simmering, season to taste, add a cup or so of water and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.  Serve any way you like.  For the men in my house, I added a few thin tortilla chips and topped with sharp cheddar and avocado.  If you want to keep it super healthy, omit the chips and cheese and top with the avocado. 

This is different from a traditional green chile stew.  But having had many versions, I’m telling you beans replace the potatoes well and the pork, well the pork (in my opinion) surpasses the chile with beef.  Hubby loved this version, the boy who does not particular care for my random recipes, ate his whole bowl.  Even our 18 month old crawled up in my lap and had a taste or two.  There are so many ways to change this recipe up, but I was trying for a unique take on a classic, and trying to keep it healthy.

Do you have a go-to recipe with Hatch green chile?  If so, I want to know!  Please share…. If you have no access to HGC (Hatch green chile), let me know!  I’ll find a way to get it to you… worth a try!

Image

Hubby’s bowl of yummy tonight!

 

 

 

  • 4 – 6 green chiles roasted or grilled & chopped
  • 4 tomatoes quartered
  • 1 yellow onion quartered
  • 1 jalapeno deveined & deseeded
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 2-4 baby bells deveined & deseeded
  • 1/2 TBSP olive oil
  • S & P to taste
  • 2 – 4 garlic cloves
  • Cilantro (as much as you like)
  • 4 medium size center cut boneless pork chops
  • S & P, flour for dredging
  • 1/2 lb pinto beans slow cooked

Cook beans in crock pot 4 – 6 hours, adding whatever seasoning you prefer (I keep it simple, garlic powder, s & P, cumin).  In a foil packet, grill all veggies with seasoning & olive oil over temperature of 300 – 400 for about 45 minutes.  Grill green chiles about 20 -25 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.  Place chile in a bowl and cover in saran wrap for about 30 minutes to loosen skin.  Dredge pork in flour and seasoning mixture.  Cook in dutch oven, 4-5 minutes per side.  Remove pork, slice into bit size pieces.  Deglaze pan with 12 oz of beer or white wine (don’t skimp on this).  Add grilled veggies and puree, add pork, beans, chile, additional seasoning and water as needed.  Simmer 20 – 30 minutes.  Top with whatever you desire, avocado, cheese, sour cream, salsa… Get crazy & enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changing It Up!

ImageThe news is sad.  It reminds me of why I cut cable out in the first place.  But news pops up online too.  Or, if in the off chance you don’t get online, you are still most likely to have personal contacts that inform you of the days events in the country and the world we live in.

What a change it is to be a child in this world today versus thirty some years ago…  While I love technology, advances and the real world – I can’t help but think that my world a couple of decades ago was so much simpler.  What I wouldn’t to do to shield my children from all that is reality today.  But it seems, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a small town or city, ugliness, violence, corruptness – it exists EVERYWHERE!  But I have a choice.  I can continue to show my children the beauty that exists despite all that we loathe about the world we live in.  I can teach my children that they are the masters of their own destiny (to a point). 

After my experience last month, with the passing of a family member that I had such a close connection to… I can no longer just exist in this “human experience.”  I want to live it to my fullest.  I don’t know what that means exactly right now, but I do know there’s too much negative out there and it WILL NOT be a part of MY LIFE.  This declaration comes with many repercussions.  This I know, I feel at this brave moment, I’m ready except what may come, but I know I’m being a wee bit naïve. 

So this blog will take a turn.  My purpose will continue to be life’s adventures, but I’m making a commitment to me & my family to embrace each day.  When I am able, I’ll tell you about my grandmothers passing.  Right now, it’s still too raw.  In time, I’ll tell you about my departure from the city that I know, the family life I know.  Again, right now, it’s too raw and I’m in the thick of it.  In time I’ll tell you what I’ve done to change my life, and why it had to change… Yep, you guessed it, RAW…  What I’d like, what I hope, is to find readers that can relate and share their stories too.  Community helps create faith, inspiration, and self love… what more could we all ask for? 

While I know not everyone is into my music…. I offer up some great lyrics.  If you don’t listen to the song, read the lyrics:

FIND MY WAY

Lord my path has gone astray
I’m just trying to find my way
Wandered here from far away
I’m just trying to find my way

You were never meant to see
All those things inside of me
Now that you have gone away
I’m just trying to find my way

I have made a great mistake
Pray the Lord my soul to take
The ghosts of who I used to be
I can feel them come for me
Looks as though they’re here to stay
I’m just trying to find my way

Please
I never meant to
I never meant for this

I have been to every place
I have been to everywhere
I’m just trying to find my way
Oh dear Lord hear my prayer

30 Days of New – #9 – …..

Violet_sunset_by_00AngelicDevil00Continuing on the path of 30 Days of New… #9 is the most painful and most enlightening thing I’ve experienced.  Ever the girl with the glass half full, I sought the positive out of that all time low.  Aside from the birth of my two beautiful children, this experience rocked my world… So I’m thinking this is pretty much #9 – #30 and we’ll just move on from there.

If you read my last post almost two weeks ago, I was praying for the chance to be with grandmother here, on this plane, on Earth.  Well blogosphere, I got my wish.  She was here, but she was also gone.  That Friday night will forever remain in my memory.  When I walked in, only a faint light from the hallway shined in the bedroom as I whispered in her ear and her bright blue eyes surprised me as they popped open.  You see, she tried to talk to me when I first arrived that today.  “It seems, awfully, awfully, awfully…”  Those were the last words grandmother ever spoke.  She spoke those words to me.  I wish like crazy she could have completed that sentence.  I’m grateful that just two days earlier I popped in to give her a hug and kiss while she could still communicate.

In a matter of twelve hours, this woman that I adored was alive and well – and then it all changed.  I spent that Friday and Saturday keeping the company of my mother, drinking in all the information the hospice nurses were giving us, and generally in shock.  At 4:08 AM on Sunday March 9th, mother texted.  The time had come and I headed back up to that house that has, “a driveway that reaches the heavens.”  This is what the hospice nurse who pronounced grandmother’s passing said to the men coming from the funeral home,  where to look for mom and dad’s home.  It was a fitting description for the occasion.

I’m grateful, where I’ve been bitter for so many years.  Grandmother stepped up in my life in a huge way.  When I couldn’t turn to parents or friends, she was there.  And she was there well into my thirties.  How lucky am I?  In her passing, I feel as if I’ve found my true calling, and it’s so far from the petty money making business I’ve been in post college.  I’m so excited to turn my back on that life and open a new chapter in my life.  When I get there, this new chapter, I know grandmother will be smiling down upon me.  I know she will be proud of me.  I know she’ll have realized that without her, I might lack the motivation and drive to take on this new challenge, that will ultimately be a gift to me and my family.

If that experience weren’t enough to fill my 30 Days of New, as I experienced so many firsts in the epiphanypassing of gran… I’m rounding out the 30 with a random, slap you in the face – be patient, kind of experience.  The hubby and I like our beer, and there is a store a hop-skip-and-a-jump from home that carries our specialty beers.  I went there tonight and was happy to see my favorite employee of the establishment there.  The first time she ever scanned my hefty beer purchase, she stopped, looked me so seriously in the eye and said, “You look just like Rebecca from Pretty Little Liars.”  It made me laugh…  I started watching that show on Netflix because of this girl.  Ever since that first meeting, we exchange witty banter, talk about the show and just generally exchange a hefty smile.  It’s not often you get to hit it off with a perfect stranger.  So tonight, when I randomly found out she’s waiting on a pancreas transplant, and it will occur in the city I’m moving to… Well, I just had to smile.  Gran showed me this.  She made sure I knew.  I am confident my new friend will be in the city I’m moving to, undergoing a major life changing surgery…. And I will be there for her.

There have been many situations that have shown me to not judge people, don’t get angry or even rude and hasty with strangers.  Who knows what their day was like today.  What are they looking forward to tomorrow?  If I take anything positive away from the past two weeks, it will be to make a concerted effort to be more compassionate and calm.  It’s so easy to get caught up in life.  It’s not an easy one, I don’t care who you are… it’s never easy all the time.  And we are all just the same, going along, wanting to love what we do and who we’re with.  We all face obstacles in our paths…

This brings me to my next personal challenge… 30 Days of Kindness.  I still have a heavy heart, but I’m wholeheartedly looking forward to tomorrow.  “And I ain’t got no worries, cuz I ain’t in no hurry at all…” kindness-random

#5, 6,7…8

Continuing upon my 30 days of new, I present number’s 5, 6, 7 & 8.  While 5, 6 & 7 started out as part of this joyous voyage, 8 is quite bitter-sweet, hope you’re along for a ride.

#5 – My husband and I took our ten year old & 17 month old to the park.  No not for the first time, but it was the first time our tiny tot slid on a slide (in the lap of both overly protective parents) and glided through the air on a swing.  The first trip down the slide, the tiny tot had a look of WTF on her face.  So we quickly shifted to the tot swing.  First, her hands were balled up in front of her in the security of the enclosed swing… after a few slight breezes through her fine hair, the hands moved to the front of the swing enclosure and there were gasps of excitement that crept out of her mouth.  Then, after a few more careless glides through space, she grabbed onto the chains and the joy leaped from her lips!  A few more minutes into her swinging experience, she let go, thrust her little arms in the air and screamed with delight.  What an amazing experience to see this child so thoroughly embrace a new experience and swallow it whole.  All-the-while, our ten year old made friends, played hide and seek and seemed to have the time of his life all on his own… hmmmm.

#6 – Ash Wednesday.  This was the first time I’ve been to church in as long as I can remember.  I knew first thing in the morning I would be there.  But it wasn’t until the afternoon, when it was time to pick my ten year old up from school, that I knew I’d share this brief time with him.  In the back of my mind as we drove to the church, I knew this experience was for me, my son and two other people.  While I sat there quietly with my child, he had quite a lot to tell me.  He whispered things here and there while we waited for the service to begin.  Then I saw this man walking to the pews from behind the choir area in the front of the church.  For a brief moment, I thought to myself, what a pretty rose he’s carrying… I could use a flower today.  The thought was fleeting.  What seemed only a minute later, the man reached over my friend and my son and handed me the rose.  WOW.  The service was nice.  I liked what the deacon had to say in his short homily.  He praised all the parents that had brought children to the service.  That made me smile, I mean that just spoke to me.  Of all the days to go to church, then to decide I needed to take my son with me.

#6.5 – Post Ash Wednesday service, I dropped my son off and headed to my parents house to see my mother and grandmother.  I wanted to pick up flowers for that visit to my mother, but a generous stranger had allowed me to cut that extra trip out by handing me a single gorgeous red rose.  Upon driving up the long steep driveway, I smiled.  My mom had no idea I was coming, bearing a sweet smelling gift and ashes.  You see, religion is high on the priority list for my mother and my grandmother.  But neither has been able to attend mass for quite some time now.  My mother because she has been caring for my grandmother.  And my grandmother simply can’t go anywhere, it’s too draining.  As my mother opened the door she looked surprised.  I handed her the rose and her eyes lit up, before we crossed her foyer, I grabbed her arm before she could move forward, I hugged her, “I brought you ashes.”  Quickly she pulled back and brushed her bangs away from her forehead, I brushed my thumb across my forehead and carefully made the sign of the cross on hers…  I was going to do the same for my grandmother, but she was so peaceful in her chair and her eyes lit up with excitement as I entered the room.  My brain immediately told my heart, this isn’t the time to tell her she missed what would normally be an important mass for her.  So I kissed her cheek, talked about the day, asked how she was, filled her in on her great grandchildren… It was a quick visit because I needed to get home to make a birthday dinner for my hubby.  I told her I would be back with “blue eyes” (her nickname for my daughter) on Friday morning.

#7 – FRIDAY MORNING.  I texted my mother to ask what time I should come over.  She said it didn’t really matter come when I could.  That’s when I knew this visit with my Gran would be different.  I dropped my oldest off at school and immediately headed for the folks house with a little lady with a soiled diaper in tow.  As I changed my  baby’s diaper, my mother recounted how things had changed so drastically since 5pm the night before.  And holy crap, how they changed throughout today.  I spoke to my grandmother this morning, she was able to speak to me.  This was hardly the talk we had just two days prior.  My daughter sat sweetly on my knee cooing to her great grandmother, then she wandered off down the hall toward my parents voices.  I spoke to my Gran.  I could tell she had a case of dry mouth and asked her if she’d like some water.  She said yes.  I quickly stepped out of the room in a daze.  My father had to help my Gran to a sitting position and I could tell right away she was in tremendous pain.  I held a cup to her mouth and she sipped… two slow sips.  Then I told her that I loved her and I’d let her rest.

#7 on March 7th was not a first I had planned.  I went from 8am at my parent’s home, speaking to my grandmother, and she spoke back to me.  She sat up, albeit with help and in pain.  Then by 6:25pm when I went home, she wasn’t able to speak, only nod and look at me behind blue eyes that oozed pain of not being able to respond.  I went into my Gran’s room before I left, I told her goodnight, I told her how much I love her.  I told her that I spoke to my brother, and he told me to tell her let her know how much he loves her.  Her eyes wide, her mouth tried to move, and I responded, “I know you love me too, I know you love my brother and I will tell him for you.  I will be back with you in the morning.”  I only hope God gives me at least one more chance to look into her blue eyes to tell her I do love her, she’s meant so much to me.  She’s been there for me when I couldn’t turn to my own mother.

#8 – I didn’t have that one planned either, but it was another first, all in the same day as the gravity of #7 is setting in.  I sat with my mom all day today.  I gave my grandmother medicine when my mother wasn’t physically able to.   I didn’t shed many tears and held it better as best I could.  I don’t have the best relationship with my mom.  But I’ve been working on that in my own way lately and thought I was doing good with it.  That was until she rocked my world and told me she didn’t want to waste anymore time with me.  I didn’t need to hear anything else, I don’t think I need to go back to my counselor.  Just acknowledging that there has been wasted time is enough for me, that’s a first.  That’s enough.

I wish I could put more thought, more animation and gravity into this post… but after today, I just don’t have it in me.  Looking forward to the next of my firsts, no matter how difficult they may be.  Today was the toughest day, but it was a great day.

When It Rains…

When It Rains

Quote

# 2, 3 & 4…

A conglomeration of a few firsts during my 30 days of firsts

#2… I’ve made coconut curry two weeks in a row.  For some of you, this may seem rather redundant, cooking the same meal two weeks in a row.  For me, nope.  I have my go-to recipes that I make 2-3 times per month.  But those are no-fail recipes, meals I’ve been making since my teens and I know they are crowd family pleasers of finger-licking tasty goodness.  Last week, I wasn’t so pleased, mainly because I failed to trim my chicken and it disgusted me when I ate it.  Granted I had the best of the best I could have purchased from Sprouts, but the fatty parts on the boneless thighs just turned me off.  So this week, I did a variation of the sauce and trimmed my meat.  While the finished product both weeks were great, I still was turned off by trimming meat before-hand.  What a conundrum.  While I feel blessed to provide my family with a vastly different meal from the “norm”, I still can’t get over the meat issue.  GROSSERS…

#3… I made my oldest child (ten next week) do a 30 minute time out in the corner.  PSSST… HE DID IT!  Originally I had said 1 hour, but I bargained… He could trade 30 minutes for chores.  Wouldn’t you know it, that little booger that was back talking me chose chores, and you guessed it… I gave him a long lack-luster list.  More to come on this…

#4… I talked back to my mother.  Not in a hateful way, no, I’m just not going to go down to a nasty level.  I talked back in a way that I think just may have spoken to her.  You see, not every parent-child relationship is all bliss.  That’s a hard thing for me to say, and a hard thing to swallow.  I see friends, acquaintances, and strangers interact with their folks, and it always makes me wonder why I don’t have that.  Not to say I’m not close to my parents, I am.  I love both my parents to the depths of this broken soul.  But I’d be lying if I said my relationship with my mother is like any others I’ve observed.  It’s just not.  The funny thing is, the older I get, the more I understand her.  Yet, when I was younger I was so forgiving.  Now, not so much.  We can choose to divulge ourselves in the past, in the wrong-doings forced upon us, or we can learn and move on.  I am moving on (not without her, just have to live my life).  I’ve tried, tried, tried to stick with my mom in this quick sand recipe of hurt, loss and what might have been.  I’m old enough now to know better, yet still young enough to know, I won’t repeat that cycle.  I won’t repeat it for my husband, my children… but most of all, for ME.  So today, she sent me a metaphor via text… “There’s a chink in my Armour, but I’ll soldier on.”  My response, “You should go see the welder or the blacksmith.”  No response… Metaphor delivered, received & digested?  I wish I knew.

One of my mom's songs.

One of my mom’s songs.

My apologies that 2, 3 & 4 aren’t more eventful, but I plan to share more about these topics as I can (ummmm, curry, probably not so much though)!  Number 5 should be a bit more interesting… Can I do 100 miles in March?  It all depends on the wind, family schedule, oh yeah – and the biggest thing… MOTIVATION.

#1…YIKES!

I took my son on a bike ride, hence the aforementioned YIKES!  Homeboy is the epitome of he’ll on wheels!!! We did a rough two miles, in minor traffic, he scared me nonetheless.  Not to mention we ran into two obnoxious tweets that riled me and I couldn’t help the profanity that spewed from my gut.  When a 13-14 year old goes out of his way to try to make rattle you with your 10 year old, yeah, he walked in front of the wrong lady. So we get past the unruly tweets, teens maybe?  Either way, they were DB’S… then about a mile in, my child is ready to give up. We stopped in a parking lot, I told him to rest, while I rode circles in the deserted lot… I was shocked when two minutes later he was ready t ok go. Destination home, that wobbly little guy had me on edge for the duration. But I tell you what, it was my first solo ride with my boy and I’m looking forward to the next. Although I know it will continue to be the cringy yikes  of wobbly crazy versus traffic kind of situation. If you’re wondering why we didn’t just do a trail… #1 are you kidding me?  #2 he needs thicker tires, yet still won’t do trails with me. And that’s ok. calm-before-storm-1

30 Days

ImageI like a lot of things.  Love many.  I like to write (however intimidating it may be), I love music, I love hanging out with my kids, I love to admire my husband when he doesn’t know I’m watching, I love to cook and create great things to eat, I like getting to spend time with my family, beer, running outdoors, learning new things, making people happy… the list really does go on and on.

But what happens when you continue to wake in a fog and each day seems to fade into the next?  The things that you can list that you love and like just don’t seem to get into your daily routine.  I’m quite certain I’m not the only person who feels this way.  How we find our way to this *funk*, they’re all different stories and circumstances; some harsh, some fickle.  But whatever the reason, the funk needs to be taken out to the curbside, and it’s imperative to get back to the like’s and love’s.  

Recently, I’ve been immobilized by the haze.  Then I think how lucky I am to just be here.  From a very young age, I got to know death.  It’s finality never ceases to amaze me.  For that one brief moment, when you’ve found out you’ve lost someone, whether it be a loss due to illness, old age, accident, suicide or murder… It never gets any easier to swallow.  But still we carry on.  Days become weeks, weeks become months and before you know it a year has passed.   The hurt takes a backseat to the day-to-day.  But when there’s silence, that hurt creeps up.  And it’s not even in physical death.  We mourn the loss of friendships and other relationships that just don’t serve us anymore.  The thing about loss, physical or emotional – it stops us in our tracks for a bit.  It makes us look inside, it makes us look outside.  Never at a more poignant time do we evaluate where we’ve been, where we want to go… then routine tends to creep back in.  At least that has been my experience.  I’m on a mission to make each day count.   

Here I am, in this foggy haze.  The only thing I know for sure right now, I’ve got to make THIS day count… The nice thing about fog, in the physical sense, it’s quite mysterious (unless you live by the ocean, otherwise, you might be used to seeing it).  I’ve always lived in the desert, so when I see fog, it’s this big billowy bright unexpected excitement that fills me.  Something new, light, fluffy and brings a smile to my face.  So why does mental fog not evoke the same feelings???  Perhaps I’m looking at it all wrong.  Maybe the mental fog is indeed meant to be bright and billowy, a chance to realize something’s got to give…

From one day to the next, I never know what I’m going to get.  But I’ve become to expect stress.  Surely that’s not the way this life was intended to be lived.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I am not so naive to expect that there won’t be challenges and obstacles as we age.  No, trust me, I actually thrive on challenges.  I work best under pressure.  But when you relive your day in the evening, every day should not be a blur of a circumstances in a pressure cooker waiting to explode.  With this thought in mind, I know I need to make some changes.  

I’m a one-day-at-a-time kind of person these days, so that’s just what I’m going to do for the next 30 days.  I’m challenging myself and anyone else who would be inclined to join me to do something new every day for 30 days and reflect upon that experience.

What I will do on day #1?  I have no idea, but I’m sure my crazy imaginative wild mind will come up with some fun stuff.  

For now I’ll leave you with this…

Looking for a good thought provoking read?  Here you go…

http://www.sarahkayhoffman.com/2014/02/17/beast/ 

What adventure are you going to make happen tomorrow?  Can you handle something new every day for the next 30 days?  I sure hope so, I’d love to hear about it….

http://youtu.be/DVgk-0dvvCo