Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yesterday after I dropped Maggie off at her second appt, I was greeted with bumper to bumper traffic as far as the eye can see. In fact, I could barely get out of the therapist's parking lot because of a Sheriff's deputy blocking the entrance. I felt so badly knowing there must be some kind of tragic accident to cause this much of a traffic jam.
It took us a half hour to go less than a mile. The cause of this traffic jam on the 23rd of December, one of the busiest shopping days of the year? A sobriety checkpoint. It was unbelievable. Maggie's therapist said most of her patients were a half hour late. She also tried to talk the Sheriff's deputy into moving his car from her entrance, but to no avail.

So 16 law enforcement cars, and many more officers, spent the afternoon tying up traffic in the hope of finding drunk drivers. I was glad I had my children with me to keep me laughing and enjoying the holiday spirit.

Added later: We just got our local newspaper and the sobriety checkpoint was the headline. No drunk drivers were identified. However, the sheriff says the checkpoint was a success since it "raised awareness of the issue in the community." We agree that it raised our awareness...but I doubt we agree on what the issue is!

This morning I had fun trying out a new recipe. The above recipe is in my December 2010 issue of Good Housekeeping and is called Sweetheart Cherry Cheese Danish. I used Tofutti cream cheese instead of the dairy version. Delicious! I also used half the sugar it called for.
Last week, my hubby took me to lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Mechanicsville called Fiesta Cafe. The folks there are so friendly and helpful. Mike got the enchilada mole dish. (There's supposed to be a little accent over the "e" in mole giving it a second syllable.) The mole sauce is one of their specialties...made with 30 spices...including chocolate. I tasted a little bit and loved it but Mike wasn't crazy about it.

I ordered a veggie sub. It was totally different from what I expected, but still delicious. I would definitely get this again.
The cafe is decorated very nicely. Lots of real oak tables and booths.
I was hesitant to take many pictures since there were many folks.
When we were leaving, I asked Mike to buy a small container of Charro beans to take home. I love beans, so I was curious to try them. They come with a bag of chips, some salsa, and some white creamy sauce. It was delicious. I decided to return this week and get another small container so I could try to duplicate the recipe. This week the beans were completely different! They even tasted different...more bean flavor, less chili flavor.
When I tried to find a good recipe for Charro beans, I learned it is usually a soupy dish. I wanted thick beans. I also could not find a recipe without cooked tomatoes...since my tummy is sensitive to cooked tomatoes. So I combined 4 recipes and came up with a winner recipe. The big chilis you see in the bottom of the pictures are dried chilis that I rehydrated in the mixture. My family has asked me to make this recipe often. I am going to post the recipe here for my own reference:

Charro Beans
1# pinto beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
1 can dark beer (opt ~ may substitute chicken broth)
3 cups chicken broth
3/4# bacon, sliced into 1/4" pieces
16 garlic cloves (adjust for your family)
3 large dried chili peppers
1 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp mexian oregano
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp stone ground mustard
1/4 cup molasses
salt and pepper to taste

Cook beans, beer/broth, bacon, garlic, chilis, thyme, oregano and 1-2 quarts water. Bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for an hour, adding water as necessary.

Discard chilis and bay leaves. Stir in molasses. Cook 1 hour more. Season with salt and pepper.

I wanted to post this picture that I accidently deleted yesterday. This is Nonie's table of wonderful picture frames. I really like the frames!
A few days ago, I went to the local library and saw hundreds of vultures next to the parking lot. It was fascinating to watch them. They weren't the least bit bothered by the many cars and people. I took my children back yesterday and they were still there. We were surprised to see three cats in the middle of all the crowd. I guess this is now the vultures' permanent place!
This past week I ordered three bars of soap from my friend, Hannah Girotti, whose family writes the wonderful Mountain Musings blog. This is a new home business for Hannah called Pleasant View Soaps.
My soaps came quickly and they smell delicious!! No, I'm not going to eat them, but I love the Siberian fir and Peppermint smells. I want to try the citrus flavor when she makes some more. Thanks for the wonderful soaps, Hannah.

This morning I read a great article on called Why my church rebelled against the American Dream. I think this author is right about many things. Definitely a lot of food for thought...and for great dinner conversation. Please take a few minutes to read it.

Well, the gifts are wrapped, the food is bought, and things are started to get relaxed. My hubby and children are over at Mom's home practicing for the Christmas eve service at church tonight. Mike will be playing the trumpet and the girls' trio will be singing. Mom will be accompanying them. Anna says the Christmas Eve Candelight Service is her favorite of the year.

Merry Christmas to all of you, many of whom are in my daily prayers. May you enjoy your Christmas holiday. We have so much to be thankful for.

Even though Christmas has nothing to do with Christ, the world recognizes it as a Christian holiday, so I will do my part to recognize the importance of Christ's coming to earth as a man to make a way for us to live eternally.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

John 3:17 "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved."


Anonymous said...

Hope your family has a blessed Christmas. We're actually getting snow here today - a very rare event.
For us, the long lines on the road were the cars streaming into the local shopping (mega) mall. It was backed up for miles.
Happy new year too!


Deb said...

Hi Kathie! Merry Christmas on Christmas Day night. I'm just getting a chance to see this post, and we appreciate so much you linking to Hannah's soap. Can you guess that all the ladies here (my mom and sister and myself) received some great soaps from Hannah for Christmas?! I can't wait to try them...she put all of mine in a "spa basket." Ooooh, that is right up my alley! She even made some lip balm with a chocolate orange truffle flavor. Yum! Good enough to eat for sure! I hope the recipients of your purchased bars will enjoy them. And we hope you have a wonderful New Year! Thank you so much for being such a faithful blogging friend!