Friday, October 17, 2014

Baked Grits with Poblano & Cheddar


I'm happy to report, after airing my current, particular brand of Crazy yesterday,* my perspective was mostly on point today* {even as I pointedly noticed the bottled water aisle at the market was glaringly bare this afternoon... seriously, East Dallas?}. But thank y'all for making me feel less like an irrational headcase!

* {Wednesday / yesterday} - Behold! The wonders of scheduled postings! 

For your efforts, you shall be rewarded with my mama's recipe for baked grits. Which is unsurpassed in its awesomeness.  

Now, 'lest you lose your damn mind for a hot minute, please remember the teachings of our fore-mothers and My Cousin Vinny: 

No. Instant. Grits. 

Just say no.

Baked Grits with Poblano & Cheddar

- 1 poblano {or Hatch!} pepper, de-stemmed, sliced into ribbons*
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- small glug of EVOO
- 1 cup stone ground grits {we like yellow}
- 1.5 cups chicken broth + a little extra
- 1.5 cups 1% milk
- 1/4th tsp. salt
- several dashes of Cholula hot sauce
- 1 T. butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/3 cup finely grated fresh Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat olive oil over Medium-High heat. Saute poblano until softened - 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic and saute for another minute or two until fragrant.  Set aside.

In a sauce pan, bring broth, milk, grits, and salt to a boil.  Adjust heat to Low and cover for about 20 minutes or until grits are done {when all liquid is absorbed and grits are tender and smooth}; you may need to add a bit more liquid.  Be sure you stir a few times to avoid lumps and boiling over.

Remove grits from heat.  Stir in all other ingredients except Parmesan.  Pour into a greased 8x8 baking dish or pie/quiche pan.  Sprinkle Parmesan on top.  Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes until top is bubbling and beginning to brown.  Allow 10 minutes for cooling, then devour immediately!

*I suspect roasting and pureeing the pepper {I'd probably do two} might take this recipe to an even higher plane.  I'll experiment and report back. 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thoughts for Thursday

I'm over Ebola in Dallas.  I'm at the point where I really am having trouble processing new cases and information like a rational adult human being.  

Brief Back-Story: I still have no idea how this came to pass, but I saw Outbreak in the theaters in 1995.  {OMG I CAN FEEL YOU ROLLING YOUR EYES AT ME THROUGH YOUR COMPUTER RIGHT NOW, TRUST ME, I KNOW} My mom swears she didn't take me, and, seeing as I was 12, I'm pretty sure no one sold me a ticket thinking I was 17ish.  Maybe I snuck in with friends?  I feel like I'd remember that, though, as I'd yet to enter my rebellious phase, so that behavior would be out of the norm {and, therefore, memorable?}.  ANYHOODLE, how I managed the illicit R-rated viewing isn't important.  What is significant is the fact that no other film has ever affected me in such a manner.  I had nightmares for months.  I saw The Shining the same year {on basic cable, at a friend's house, when we were supposed to be watching Real World London or something of the sort, thanks TNT}.  My first brush with Kubrick was harrowing, but Redrum and Nicholson have nothing on those fucking monkeys.  Any mention of Ebola since 1995 pretty much made me twitch.  Every zombie series, every page of The Passage; every episode of The Walking Dead... my brain automatically screams EBOLA.

So, yaknow, it's been super special to have one of the only psychological traumas from your privileged childhood suddenly become relevant in your own backyard.  I'm the furthest from a hypochondriac and/or conspiracy theorist there is, but our connections to the three patients {tenuous though they may be} push me closer and closer into Crazy Town on the daily.  It is surreal, to say the least, to have Ebola Connection Updates emailed to you daily from the director of your child's preschool because one of the church's parishioners happens to be Patient Zero's fiance.  Or be unable to access a good friend's apartment complex without driving past blue decontamination barrels and public health notices taped to neighboring doors. I delivered both our kiddos at Presbyterian; my OB's office is inside and our pediatrician is across the street.  It's just...kind of...everywhere.  And the folks who are supposed to be in charge don't seem to be worth a plug nickel, I'm sorry to say. 

I'm not trying to play the "I Have More of a Right to Freak Out About Ebola Than You" Card, but... eh, I'm allowing my underpants to be slightly more twisty than the average bear at the moment.  All the logic in the world tells me I should be more concerned with Enterovirus or the Texas gubernatorial race, or, I dunno, Red Dye #5.  I do a decent job of thinking critically and compassionately about the world wide implications of this disease 85% of the time.  But I also find myself short on logic every few days.  Thank Baby Cheezus for large glasses of wine and hoarded placenta pills.  Who doesn't love a good Placebo Effect coupled with a slight buzz?!  


Something lighter, perhaps?

I don't often indulge delusions of grandeur of being real-life-buddies with celebrities, but if anyone is deserving of such pipe dreams, it's Jennifer Garner.*  I think I've watched this clip from Jimmy Fallon half a dozen times, at least.

I think it's safe to say lice has never been so cool.


My father is horrified {rightly so} that we allow L to listen to so much Top 40 Hits Radio.  Her current favorite songs are Shake It Off, Boom Clap, and... wait for it... Black Widow.  I know, I know, I'm cringing, too.  Except she sings it {at top volume, tone deaf yelling} I'M GONNA LOVE YOU GONNA LOVE YOU LIKE A BLACK BEAN BABY.  

I find myself intentionally searching for that ear-abomination just to hear about those black beans.


The children play together now.   I mean, kinda.  Close enough. 


It's Western Week at school.  I have no clue what that entails as all the over-achiever moms filled the volunteer spots before I could throw my hat into the ring.  All I was able to coerce from my tight-lipped cowgirl was bean bags were involved.  I'm just going to assume there was tossing of some sort.  She may take the secrets of the Wild West to the grave, but we'll always have this photograph in commemoration of said thematic bean bag magic: 

*Also Mindy Kaling. Who I recently dreamed was my bestie... except she had Ebola and kept trying to intentionally vomit into my children's cribs.  Which... whyyyyyyy?  "Why" to my psyche -- stop being so damn insane.  Also: "why" to my best friend Mindy who is trying to wage biological warfare on my offspring.  Not cool, Mindy. Not cool at all. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"that's a bery, bery big numbah"


My grandmother turned 90 this past Friday, much to my two {AND A HALF!} year old's chagrin.  That's her up there in 1945 at 21 with my Daddy Jim... what a Betty, right?!

We commemorated the day of with a fancy at-home dinner party and a weekend in Waco {the guest of honor having previously partied it up big-time with her four lovely daughters in NYC}.  The mini-meatloaves were not invited to eat Shrimp Orleans at the big kids' table, but Mama J was kind enough to share her cake before the babysitter arrived {bless you, Brenda and your baby-whispering ways... move to Dallas?}. 

We all contributed to dinner {mental note to jot my mama's shrimp recipe down for a future's insane}; my kitchen remains covered in sawdust so it was Trader Joe's to the rescue for my assigned appetizers, but who can argue with a well-appropriated cheese platter {especially when triple cream Brie and Rosemary raisin crisp leftovers really class-up the following day's pigskin binge!}? My grandmother's table looked lovely, the food was delightful, and the company even more so.  A very fitting celebration for a lady who continues to shape all our lives in rather significant ways... May we all be half as vibrant as she remains at 90. 

Brady and I greeted Saturday on four occasions before the sun actually rose; the past two months he's made it clear he doesn't like labels - even one as favorable as "the good sleeper."  Zzzzzs are even more difficult for him to appreciate away from home - a phenomenon so many of my friends have survived with their progeny but I never experienced with L {for better or worse, my first-born is consistent}.  It is a very, very good thing he is so very, very cute and smiley. He can also house a sweet potato and best his Yogi J in planking. 

After our early rising and calisthenics, we bid a green-and-gold-clad E adieu, and swathed ourselves in burnt orange with all appendages crossed for a repeat of last year's Red River Shootout {ie: we sell our tickets for the first time in six years, knowing the Horns are sure to blow it, and are rewarded for our lack of faith with a big, fat W}.  Sadly, it was not to be, but the small fries both took decent naps and I got to read a magazine in relative peace.  

Chocolate cake and eating our feelings helped to ease our sportsman wounds as well. 

Having previously purchased tickets to an after-dinner showing of Gone Girl, the score of the Baylor game started to make my stomach rumbly {no one wants to watch Rosamund Pike be gorgeously maniacal with a sad sack companion}, so J and I took the littles out for a power walk. 

We got some much needed fresh air and exercise.  We also petted some kitties and made some new friends.  Win-win! 

Upon our return, it became clear Baylor was not going to win-win.  E - smart, self-aware, and caring husband he is - knew I was apt to go all Gone-Girl on his ass {without actually realizing what that means, having not read the book} if our evening out was foiled and cut out on the game early... only to experience the literal comeback of a lifetime in between bath time and story readings.  I still feel mildly guilty, but I also think his blood pressure owes me a thank-you note {sorry, Noodle!}.  Regardless... Sic 'Em, Bears! 

Big ol' gracias-es to J, T-Pop, and Mama J for keeping the home fire burning while we packed our roadies and escaped to the movies.  We both really enjoyed Gone Girl.  I loved, loved, loved the book, and thought the film adaptation was stellar.  It's one of those flicks I wish it were possible to experience without prior knowledge of the book so I could properly react to the plot twists!  Except I'd never want to not read the book.  Sooooo... Space / Time Continuum Wish?! 

Sunday was spent road-tripping it back to Dallas {while I am infinitely thankful to have a potty-trained child, I loathe a drive longer than 30 minutes. LOATHE.}, and doing some more pumpkin-patchin'.  Because when it's freakin'* decorative gourd season, you've gotsta go hard or go home with pumpkin patch attendance. 

I was happy to see a brief appearance by The Concerned Citizen.  Except... 3 seconds later...


As the Universe would always have it, we managed to take the Unicorn of family photos... whilst wearing workout / overzealous fan gear. 

Whatevs.  This still might appear on our Christmas card, parental attire and inappropriate background be damned. 

*I just couldn't, in good conscience, type muthafuckin' in a post commemorating my adorable grandmother's 90th birthday.  Oh, wait.