Friday, December 15, 2023

Friday Food: With a Special Breakfast


Short version: Leftover chicken soup, cheese quesadillas, chocolate milkshakes

Long version: We had Mass at 5 p.m., although only one child was well enough to go with me. That child wanted to eat before Mass, so we had an early dinner of the chicken and rice soup I had made the day before, and cheese quesadillas made with flour tortillas.

I made the milkshakes when I got home, because the newest sick child had--of course--a sore throat.

Sore throats and coughing have been a continuous theme this fall. 


Short version: Elk goulash, mashed potatoes, green salad with vinaigrette

Long version: I've started making goulash without tomatoes, and with sauerkraut, and apparently everyone prefers it this way. Except the one child who informed me he hates goulash. 

Huh. Never knew that. Have some mashed potatoes, then.

Let's pause for a photo.

Abominable Snow Jasper.


Short version: Fried pork, rice, nuked broccoli, chocolate ice cream

Long version: This was the day we went to get our tree. We went early, right after the after-church crepes, so the snow wouldn't melt too much and turn to mud. Less chance of getting stuck on the dirt track that way. I had taken a pork shoulder roast out of the freezer before church, so I stuck that in a low oven before we left and let it cook until it was tender. Then I shredded it and fried it in the rendered lard with salt, garlic powder, and paprika.

I microwaved the broccoli so I wouldn't have to dirty another pot, and it worked pretty well. I just have to do it in one-minute increments so I check it frequently and it doesn't overcook.


Short version: Leftovers, pork quesadillas

Long version: First Communion class has switched to Mondays for the next couple of weeks, so leftovers were a good choice when I got home at 5:30 p.m. from that.

About half the family finished the goulash and potatoes. The others had quesadillas made with corn tortillas, cheese, and some of the pork shoulder. 


Short version: Ham, etc., at school

Long version: This was the night of the Christmas program, featuring all of the elementary classes doing various skits, songs, and dances. This meant my younger three children featured heavily, since I have a child in each elementary class*. After the entertainment, the FFA serves a ham dinner. Besides the ham, there were cheesy potatoes, oddly sweet green beans, dinner rolls, and cupcakes and pudding dirt cups.

The pudding dirt cups were a big hit with the kids. They were a layer of chocolate pudding, then a layer of whipped cream, then crushed oreos with rock candies and a gummy worm, all meant to look like, well, dirt. There were little spoons in the shape of shovels, too, and it was all very cute. It was meant to go with our theme of construction this year, as we're just starting the building of a new school.

I was happy to let someone else feed my family for one night, as I spent most of the day making bread, crispy rice treats, and Mexican wedding cookies to contribute to the silent auction. 

I was actually at home this morning, instead of subbing at school or taking care of sick children, which is what most of my days "off" from work this school year have been so far. This morning, however, I was able to make my special breakfast and eat it without interruption.

I actually eat two eggs with salsa every morning. What makes this special is the toast and herb tea.

Well, it's special to me, anyway.


Short version: Snow's, grilled cheese sandwiches

Long version: It was cold and foggy and raining. Soup seemed appropriate. I didn't have any made, but luckily, my sole Black Friday purchase online was a case of Snow's Condensed Clam Chowder. This is a taste of A.'s childhood, and all the kids like it, too.

I made two cans of it. With the condensed kind you add another can each of milk, so it makes quite a bit. And then I made a grilled cheese sandwich for everyone.

Was there a vegetable? Nope. No one seemed to miss it, either.


Short version: Elk steaks, spaghetti, green salad with vinaigrette

Long version: Plain spaghetti with just butter, garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese. This made a certain girl very happy.

And please note that not only was there a vegetable, there was a salad. Which had three vegetables in it (lettuce, tomatoes, and radishes). Impressive, I know.

Okay, your turn! What'd you eat this week?

* We only have three elementary classes because we have two or three grades in each class. And even with that, the largest class only has 11 students. This is why we are known as a "micro school."

Thursday, December 14, 2023


Just posting on a random Thursday to show you what's outside my front gate right now.

Snow and ice.

And to remind you of an excellent Christmas song that seems particularly appropriate this morning.

Happy* almost-Christmas Thursday!

* And happy birthday to my mother. She likes Christmas music, too. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

It's Tree Time!

I did not grow this, and we did not eat it, but we did get our Christmas tree on Sunday. Let's take a look, shall we?

If you've been reading here for some years, you will know that we always have a real tree, and we always cut it somewhere ourselves. Some years that has meant some, well, less than perfect trees. But it's always fun to search the tree out.

The past few years, we've been going to a friend's ranch about fifteen miles away to cut our tree. We have to park on the dirt track in the range and hike down to the little canyon where the cedars grow.

Christmas tree hiking is the best hiking.

This area has a dirt tank the kids like to play around that sometimes has water in it. It did this year.

Perfect for chunking rocks to break the ice.

This was our first year in New Mexico with snow on the ground when we did this. Very Christmas-y. 

It did make it harder to avoid stepping on small cacti, however.

I see you, little prickly pear.

Despite the snow, it was a pleasant 45 degrees with that crazy-blue New Mexico sky.

Winter ground, summer sky.

Most of the trees in this area are the bushier junipers, which aren't great for Christmas trees. I had to search for the less common cedars in among the junipers. After quite a bit of tromping around, I finally found an acceptable tree.

It was hiding under a big juniper and next to a smaller cedar, but I found it.

The snow was very helpful here, as I didn't have the saw with me. I had to backtrack to get it from A. and then follow my tracks back to the tree. I probably wouldn't have been able to find it again if not for following my tracks, not being a great woodswoman.

I brought a helper back with the saw, too.

Cowboy cutting a Christmas tree. (Alliteration alert!)

The tree was duly dragged back to the Honda, ferried home, propped up in our metal bucket with some rocks, and decorated.

Ta da!

Our native trees here do not have as many branches as a spruce or whatever. And the trunk is too small to put it in a real stand, so it always tilts a little. And the star is hard to put on top, because the point of the tree isn't really thick enough to support it. And this year, one of my strands of lights stopped working, so I didn't have quite enough.

But despite all that, we have the tree, and it will have presents under it on Christmas morning. 

Christmas magic, New Mexico-style.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Snapshots: Holidays Past and Future

Flashback to Thanksgiving, when Poppy wanted to label another freezer bag for me.

I will miss it when she spells everything properly.

Also related to Thanksgiving, let me share with you one of the very few disposable things I buy.

Throwaway turkey roaster.

Although I am for the most part pretty militantly against anything that only gets used once, I make an exception for the turkey roasting pan. I do not want to store anything that big for one day of use a year. Also, those giant roasting pans are expensive. These disposable ones are 99 cents. I can buy one every year for twenty years and still not spend as much as I would on a pan that I would have to store the rest of the year. So I buy one every year and then just . . . throw it away.

Scandalous, I know.

Okay, now that we've covered the holiday that we've already celebrated, let's move on to the next one.

We decorated for Christmas, which includes putting out every one of the Epsom-salt-covered candle jars all the kids have made.

It's a lot.

And last, I subbed in the classroom with the phrase cube again this week. This is what was facing me when I got in there on Thursday morning.

You're not the boss of me, cube.

There you have it! My life, snapshotted.