1. Everyone hits bumps in the road, and oftentimes married couples hit financial bumps.
Today, I'd like to tell you about Fred and Kelly. They are a nice, young, Catholic couple with six children. Fred is an electrician who is currently unemployed, so Kelly went back to work part-time. Fred, in addition to managing the homeschool, has also written over 70 children's poems.
Let me repeat that part. Fred is a part-time poet and has self-published an eBook of over 70 whimsical children's poems THAT HE WROTE.
I just love the idea that this dad, who is an electrician, writes children's poetry. HOW COOL IS THAT?
Witty and wacky, and silly and sweet, there's something for everyone is the huge collection of verses. The illustrations are simple and bright and as the mother of a dyslexic, I just love all of the white space on the pages. This can be YOURS on Kindle or iPad or Nook or even iPhone for the low, low price of $2.99!
So, please check out his website at cloudhopperpub.kairosenterprisesllc.com and if you like what you see, consider supporting his art and his family. The website is pretty neat. Kids can contact the poet and ask questions TO the characters in the book, for no extra charge! It's a win-win situation! Go! Click! Buy!
2. Here's a preview of a somewhat irreverent verse from One Size Fits All. Here is The Problem with Having a Worm for a Friend:
Lest you get all huffy and puffy, the humor in One Size Fits All is not all biological. But let's be honest, biological humor is pretty darn funny at times.
3. Remember Wednesday when instead of a list of book reviews, I posted all kinds of double-duty dinner ideas? Well I said I'd try this and share it with you. The italicized comments are my own. No, Shamrock Shakes are not a vital part of the creation of this meal.
Southwestern Pot Roast (adapted from Cook's Country Feb/Mar 2005 which was the charter issue. Yes, I own them all.)
Corn tortillas are used to thicken the gravy for this pot roast. Vary the heat by adjusting the amount of cayenne pepper. Serve with rice or egg noodles. In most markets, you will have to order a large 5 1/2- to 6-pound chuck roast. Alternatively, use two 3-pound roasts (which are common in most markets). Or use 2 nearly 4 lb. roasts because that's what's available at Costco and no one will say, "Ummm, it's just a little too meaty."
- 1 boneless beef chuck roast (5 1/2 - 6 pounds), tied (I needed mine to cook more quickly, so I didn't tie it. It was done after 4 hours in the slow cooker instead of 6.)
- 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 medium jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced
- 8 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (except we're out, or I couldn't find it. No loss.)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 6 corn tortillas (6-inch)
INSTRUCTIONS1. Season roast liberally with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Brown roast thoroughly on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer browned roast to slow-cooker insert. If you didn't tie it, brown each roast separately. More sides = more time on this step.
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to empty skillet, along with onions, bell pepper, chiles, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer vegetables to slow-cooker insert.
3. Increase heat to high. Add tomatoes and 2 cups broth to empty skillet, scraping up any brown bits with wooden spoon. Add chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and oregano and bring to boil. Transfer to slow-cooker insert.
4. Tear tortillas into small pieces and combine in medium microwave-safe bowl with remaining 3/4 cup broth. Heat on high power until softened, about 2 minutes. Puree in food processor until smooth. Transfer to slow-cooker insert. I did this step about and hour and a half later, because I had to pick up my kids from school, and then we had to pick up shamrock shakes, and then I had to get corn tortillas. You know, life. I left everything else in the slow cooker on high, covered while I ran around like a crazy person.
5. Set slow cooker to high, cover, and cook until tender, 6 to 7 hours. (Alternatively, cook on low for 9 to 10 hours.) Transfer roast to carving board; loosely tent with foil to keep warm. Allow liquid in pot to settle about 5 minutes, then use wide spoon to skim fat off surface. Puree liquid and solids in batches in blender or food processor. (Alternatively, use immersion blender and process until smooth.) Stir in cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. By the time I got to this point, I realized I hadn't made any sides and forgot all about cilantro, salt, and pepper. So you might want to put a pot of water on to boil about 40 minutes before the end and boil some pasta, or rice, or egg noodles.
6. Remove strings from roast and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Transfer meat to warmed serving platter. Pour about 1 cup gravy over meat. Serve, passing more gravy separately. Don't forget to save 4.5 cups of gravy and 4 cups of meat for Part Deux.4. And here is the extra recipe you make with the leftovers. It's Friday, so we won't be having this until tomorrow.
Beef Tortilla Casserole (also adapted from Cook's Country Feb/Mar 2005)
1 1/2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 c shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 1/2 c leftover gravy from Southwestern Pot Roast
2 (14 1/2 oz cans) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
4 c meat from Southwestern Pot Roast, torn into 1 1/2 inch chunks
1/4 c lime juice from 2 limes (Note to self: buy bag of limes and 12 pk Corona.)
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and Pepper
18 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1 c sour cream
1/2 c chopped scallions
1. Adjust oven racks to upper and lower positions and heat oven to 300 degrees. Spray 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Mix cheeses together and set aside.
2. Bring gravy to boil in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in pinto beans and meat and warm through. Remove pan from heat, add lime juice, and cilantro, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Place tortillas on tow baking sheet (some overlapping is fine) and spray both sides or tortillas lightly with cooking spray. Bake until tortillas are very soft and pliable, about 5 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.
4. Spread one-third of beef mixture in greased baking dish. Layer 6 tortillas on top, overlapping as needed. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Repeat to form second layer.
5. Cut remaining 6 tortillas into quarters. Spread remaining beef mixture in baking dish and cover with tortilla pieces. Cover with remaining 1 cup cheese.
6. Bake on bottom oven rack until cheese is golden brown and casserole is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes. Cut casserole into individual portions and transfer to plates. Dollop a heaping tablesppon sour cream in center of each portion and sprinkle with scallions. Serve immediately.5. If I had a vote in the Conclave, I'd vote for this guy...
Today is a good day! The tiny crepe place in town does take-out and I
Today's Quick Takes have been brought to you by Disney's Lady and the Tramp on DVD, the letter F, the number 7, and Jen at Conversion Diary.