Friday, May 10, 2024

Friday Food: Fiesta Time!


Short version: More lamb steaks, last of the lamb curry and rice, bread and butter, asparagus, raw radishes

Long version: I still had a couple of lamb steaks that I hadn't cooked the day before, which was convenient, as I had to work this day. A couple of people finished off the very last of the lamb curry and rice from several days earlier. Everyone else had the bread and butter.

Random photo from our trip to the junkyard to get rid of the old Honda:

All roads from our house lead to very Western scenery.


Short version: Brisket, mashed potatoes, green salad with vinaigrette, rice pudding

Long version: Last time A. went to the store, he bought an entire brisket.

Have you ever seen a whole brisket? They are comically large. Which meant I had PLENTY of meat on hand to cook for eight people, as my parents arrived for a very short visit this day.

I just cooked the brisket slowly in the morning with pureed tomatoes, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, and green garlic.

It works better, I find, to cook the brisket ahead, cut it up, and let it sit in the cooking liquid before reheating. It's not dry that way.

Rice pudding because the oven was on for so long for the brisket.


Short version: Margaritas, guacamole and chips, ground beef tacos/burritos, pinto beans, blueberry pie, ice cream

Long version: Cinco de Mayo AND First Communion day! So much to celebrate.

I made a pan of ground beef taco meat and then let everyone choose between tortilla chips, corn tortillas, and flour tortillas, plus all the toppings, to make their own Mexican meal.

Blueberry pie because the lady who owns the place my parents stay always leaves one for them. And ice cream by request of the First Communicant. We had chocolate, vanilla, and cookies and cream to choose from.


Short version: Leftover brisket, rice, frozen peas, fruit

Long version: It's an after-work meal! We had lots of fruit on hand--also from the place my parents stay, which is kind of like a bed and breakfast--so the kids could choose between bananas, grapes, oranges, or apples. A dizzying plethora, indeed.


Short version: Creamy garlic chicken and gravy, leftover rice, asparagus, cucumbers with salt and vinegar

Long version: A. and I drove to a city to bring the old Honda to a scrapyard, and we went to Walmart before we came home. I saw there were a few packages of chicken breasts on deep discount, so I bought them for something different.

I cut one package up into chunks, fried them in butter with a lot of chopped new garlic. The new garlic is the greens and young plants from a volunteer patch in the pasture.

Small, but pungent.

Then I made a gravy with cornstarch and some whipping cream I got from my parents that had apparently been severely shaken at some point and was on its way to butter.

I also remembered the exuberant parsley in the garden and grabbed a large handful of that to chop and add to the chicken.

A very popular meal. Very pretty, too.

Green and spring-y.

My kids love chicken, probably because we don't have it much.


Short version: Chips and guacamole, ground beef burritos

Long version: I had three avocados left from the two bags I had bought for Cinco de Mayo that were definitely ready to be used. So as soon as I got home from work, I mashed those into guacamole, and we all had some of that with chips before dinner.

Very satisfying. 

The burritos were just flour (or corn, for some) tortillas with the leftover bull taco meat and all the toppings. 


Short version: Fiesta eggs, garlic bread, leftover peas

Long version: This was the big field trip day for the school. The elementary school went to a zoo, which was 280 miles roundtrip. The middle/high school went to a pool, which was 200 miles roundtrip. 

Field trips here are a significant endeavor.

The big kid got home in the late afternooon. The elementary kids didn't get home until about 5:30 p.m. That's when A. got home, too, since he was driving the bus to the zoo.

I wasn't sure who would have eaten when, or even when they would all be home, so I hadn't made anything ahead of time. When they all got home hungry, I made scrambled eggs with the last of the pinto beans in the refrigerator, salsa, and grated cheese.

Refrigerator check: 

We've been to the store twice in six days, so it's full. I suppose this is what normal people's refrigerators look like all the time?

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

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

A.P.D: The Theater

I was talking with a local friend of mine the other day about movies, and she mentioned that her youngest daughter--seven years old--had asked her if movie theaters are actually real. She had never been to one, you see, or even seen one. This made me realize that my youngest two had never been in a movie theater, either.

Partially this is a matter of distance, of course. The nearest (tiny) theater is 90 miles away. The nearest multi-plex is around 150 miles. One way.

I'd spend longer watching this than the movie.

Apart from the distance for us, though, I feel like there just aren't as many theaters as there used to be. I guess because everyone just streams movies at home now.

Going to the movies was a significant part of my teenage years. Tucson had a few options for second-run theaters where they played movies after they were out of the big theaters, so we could go see a movie for two dollars. My friend and I would sometimes see two back-to-back, and we went almost every weekend.

The last movie I saw in the theater was Maverick, with A. in Tucson. It was fun, and I still love going to the movies. Even if I feel like there are very few movies worth paying to see anymore.

So tell me: When was the last time you went to a movie theater? What did you see?

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Big day today. Not only is it Cinco de Mayo, it's First Communion day for our latest second-grader. This means we've got the suit laid out on a chair, and the ingredients for margaritas awaiting us for tonight.

In the meantime, here are some photos I took this week.

I picked up the living room thoroughly yesterday morning, planning on vacuuming when everyone was awake. Then the children that were awake decided to play "Tunnels" and . . .

That's a raincheck on the vacuuming, then.

Our wretched state education department* required us to add more instructional hours this year. Mostly that meant an extra fifteen minutes per day, but we did have to add a couple of Fridays to our usual four-day weeks. One of those Fridays was this week.

In an effort to make Friday school slightly less unpleasant, we spent about an hour in the village park across the street planting shrubs and flowers in the newly-renovated veteran's memorial area.

Trying to organize 30 children to plant about 15 shrubs with only two shovels was complete chaos, but it was fun, and we got it done.

Some of the newly-planted shrubs. I stayed behind to water them in, because I was not about to hand a hose over to that group of children.

I stayed so that the children and their teachers could go eat ice cream sandwiches in the cafeteria. This was very popular, though I'm not sure it entirely made up for being at school on a Friday.

One thing you can always count on here is a good wind to blow the flags out picturesquely.

Stars and Stripes, and the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures. Or at least, that's what the New Mexico state flag pledge says. This is the only place I've lived where we say a state pledge along with the national Pledge of Allegiance every day at school.

The sun spotlighted the alliums and apricot leaves in the middle of the table very nicely as it was setting last night.


There you have it! My life, snapshotted.

*They are trying to force all schools to go to a five-day week. This overreach is so unpopular that more than half the school districts in the state--even the ones that don't have four-day weeks--have sued them. So we'll see what happens there.