White Chocolate Peppermint Cake Mix Cookies

Just because it has become a routine, starting last year, so a fairly new routine, I am making the white chocolate peppermint cake mix cookies again. A long title, I know, but if you’re interested to know how to make them, visit the post, White Chocolate Peppermint Cake Mix Cookies

There, you will find the recipe, and the reason for the long title, on how to bake this holiday favorite. I’m quite proud of them, not only because they’re beautiful AND taste delicious, but because it’s MY very own, personally written recipe!

Merry Christmas, and don’t forget to leave some of these beauties out for Santa this year!

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Treats from Chihuahua

A little table talk today about something my friend Olga brought back from her family visit to Chihuahua. I really am the small town girl I claim to be and unfortunately that means I’ve never left the country, even though I’m only about 5 hours away from the border of Mexico. I’ve heard all types of stories about the culture and the food and, best yet, the fresh fruit they sell in open air markets.

While I didn’t get fruit, Olga did bring me back a coffee mug, which is great because I love coffee, as well as a package of Galleta Ranchera Integral, which (since my Spanish is not great), roughly translates to Wholegrain or Wholemeal Biscuits. She was told they’re made by local Indians though I don’t have any more information than that. If anyone is from that area or knows more, I’d be interested to hear about it!

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The biscuits were semi-soft, bready, with that grainy whole meal texture as you chew great with coffee or hot tea. Just a hint of sweetness and a simple, enjoyable taste like whole wheat bread with a touch of honey in it. I actually put honey on a second one and it was even better.mexicanbiscuitandhoney2

I figure imagination can take you far when it comes to combining flavors, but alone, these little cookie/biscuits were an interesting and nice little surprise.

Ingredients are wholemeal flour, sugar, vegetable oil, baking soda, salt, eggs and milk.


Post Thanksgiving Slump

It’s that time of year. You know what I’m talking about. The Post Thanksgiving Slump. Too much turkey. Too much rich food. Too much house cleaning. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. It’s like the week leading up to Thanksgiving is spent preparing for family and friends and food comas, and the week after is spent jumping right into the next holiday by shopping all these ‘special days of discount’ WHILE going through your turkey coma.

If you don’t have these issues, you’re so lucky! Because me, I am so tired, (doesn’t help that I moved furniture yesterday trying to find that niche for my tree) and I’m definitely TIRED of turkey! I ate Thanksgiving leftovers twice a day for four days in a row. I don’t ever really do that, eat it for both lunch and dinner. In fact, I usually make turkey soup or something else of that nature rather than sticking to the ole turkey and dressing and cranberry sauce routine. I think the reason I did this year is because this is possibly the last year my dad will be cooking his dressing which is delicious. He’s older, not in great health, and it just wears him down, like it does to all us young, healthy folks, to prepare Thanksgiving food. Maybe that’s why I was such a glutton. But, I will keep my fingers crossed, that next year will be a better year in regards to his health, and he’ll still insist on cooking certain things!

So, I have some posts that I need to work up, regarding Thanksgiving food before we just fly into Christmas, but I don’t want to swamp you guys either with post after post after post because then you might get bored with reading and then where will I be? I do have to say that I didn’t get everything on my list done, not because I didn’t make it but because I was in the Thanksgiving Spirit of cramming all my cooking into a short period of time that… drum roll please……I FORGOT TO TAKE PICTURES! Gah! Where was my brain?! Likely still sleeping because I can tell you, after cleaning and cooking NINE pies, I did not want to get out of bed on Thanksgiving morning. DID NOT! I really did have to lie there, still snuggled up, warm in my blankets, convincing myself that 24/7 gas station burritos and homemade pies just wouldn’t cut it for the family.

Anyway…I just wanted to keep in touch with you all, maybe even get a little feedback on how often you’d like to see posts, be it weekly, bi weekly, twice a week, three times a week, whatever your heart fancies. Stephanie has been going on this Youtube kick and is even taking classes online about promoting herself, and I ‘overheard’ (aka, was sitting in the car with her as she was streaming some guy talking about it and was forced to listen to it) that most readers don’t want to see something more than once a week because you feel spammed. You don’t want to see your email boxes full of ‘hey guys, there’s a new post’ letters. Me, I’m the type when it comes to food, the more the merrier, but it’s not all about me. It’s about my readers too, and it’s also about drawing in more people who might be interested in reading about food or small town living or whatever it is that they find tickles their fancy with this blog. So think about it. How often do you want to see something new? Drop me a comment, a letter, a hate mail….let me know!

And for all my devoted subscribers and even to those who have yet to get the courage to hit the ‘follow’ button, I will get those Thanksgiving foods out to you, for next year of course, or if you’re traditional and do turkey for Christmas, you’ll at least have some extra ideas and maybe throw in my family traditions with your own.

Now, back to our Post Thanksgiving Slumps. At least for the day.

 


Tough Love

As you are aware of now, this blog is not only about cooking and eating in a small town but also living in one.

I’ve always been a firm believer that living in a small town, while it doesn’t completely shield you from bad things, that it buffers them somewhat. Maybe that’s a bit naive, to think that we’re at least cushioned some from the hard blow of life’s realities, but I suppose I consider it to be some measure of faith and hope as well. Regardless of where we live, anything is possible, be it good or bad, and deep down I’m aware of that, but wouldn’t it be hard to face every day waiting for the bad rather than praying for the good? I think it would.

Anyway, going on this whole tangent of good and bad things brings me full circle back to what I was actually going to talk about. Why put it up here? Because sometimes we need outlets, non judgmental ones, and I know for certain my computer isn’t going to say something witty or rhetorical or what not when I sit down and start typing, so it’s easier to let things just flow from my fingertips. I wanted to talk a little about my experiences of being a parent.

I had my first child three months before I turned 19, so I was a young parent, but don’t be judgmental. Just because I was young doesn’t mean I didn’t have any sense of responsibility. I had already graduated from high school, which I did at 17, and already taken a full semester of college. Boy, you should have seen me in modern dance class, 8 months pregnant trying to reach my toes to stretch or doing our dance final which was a routine three other girls and I had to choreograph and perform.

Anyway, I went to college, I worked, and I hardly ever went anywhere without my son. This meant watching all my friends go to parties, to get togethers to watch movies, hearing about their boyfriends and love lives because I had none. Just because I had a child at a young age didn’t mean that I was irresponsible in love. I really did, at one point, love my sons father. I didn’t actually start questioning it until a couple days after I told him I was pregnant that he told me he’d called the local churches to inquire if any couples trying to have children might want a baby, all this without my knowledge. Yes, I was a little scared to be a mom at 18, scared to tell my parents and lose their love, and scared to be a failure, but I was still excited at the pregnancy and, truth be told, I had never loved anything more than I loved this little bean, this child, that I hadn’t even seen yet.

I knew his name before he was born and I went through pregnancy without my partner, my ‘love’, because I’d left him. I had wonderful parents though, who were supportive, but anyone who has ever been through something like this knows what it feels like to not have the emotional support of that special someone, to know what it’s like to not have the father or partner present. Even if I wasn’t 18 but was instead 25, an age where it’s ‘acceptable’ to be a ‘responsible parent’, I still would have felt less than, or unworthy, for attending childbirth classes without the dad to be in tow. Oddly enough, it is validation that you, as a mother, is respected and loved in the way a partner and mother should be.

Needless to say without going through every little dirty detail about it, I sacrificed and gave a lot in order to be a good parent to my son. You see your baby and you instantly have hopes and dreams. You want the best for them. You want them happy. You want them to have a good life, to find someone who loves them as much as you do, to get married, have kids, find a career, go to college.. the works. Nothing is too good for your child!

My first born is now 19 and he’s had a hard life from about 13 on, due to circumstances he’s made for himself. He hung out with the wrong people, he did the sneaky things and a lot of it has come back to bite him. You know how it is, having that ‘same conversation’ over and over with your child about being a responsible adult. About having a life. About finding direction because heaven knows you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. I know that I’ve had that conversation for what seems like a billion and a half times and every time I have that conversation,  he gets angrier. Angry at me for pressuring him and wanting the best for him, and angry at himself for, what I am certain, is not living up to my expectations even though the pressure I put on him isn’t about my expectations, it’s about my desire for him to grow up and truly transition from boy child into man and be an independent and successful man in society.

Let me tell you… having this conversation for the billionth plus times, it’s hard because you know in these moments that your child feels resentment, maybe even hate against you because ‘why can’t you just let him live his life’. He feels down on himself for being a failure and not good enough. He feels trapped, or frozen in a rut. You can see all these things when you look at his face, read his body language and meet his eyes. No matter what you say, he will never, not in this moment, realize the amount of love and admiration and care that is pouring out of you, towards him when you tell him these things.

This is where the whole love hate relationship comes in. Children may not realize it, but many days, they’re going to hate to be loved and parents will come to the realization that loving a child isn’t all unicorns and rainbows. It’s a hard, difficult process sometimes and many days, you will wake up knowing that, in that moment, your child actually hates you. Hates you for making him feel less than worthy even though, from the moment you knew he existed, you loved him unconditionally, without reason or answer as to how you could love someone so much.

I think, when we always heard the term ‘Tough Love’, we assumed that it was tough on the kid be because we were being hard on them and therefore it was Tough Love, not ‘soft, gentle, squishy love’. But Tough Love is tough on the parents to.

In the end, as I have always truly believed, love is love. And love is one of the hardest, dirtiest, most painful and yet most desired, most rewarding and most cherished things that we crave. And because this Love is so chaotic and unpredictable and beautiful all at the same time, we have to be prepared for both the good and the bad and we have to be prepared to stand firm when it comes to loving and to being loved. In the end…it’s all we can do; stand firm and look into the eye of the storm knowing that we’re going to take a beating but, after the storm, rain makes the flowers grow.

 

 


Turkey Day at the Church

Today is the Turkey Dinner and Bazaar at my church here in Portales. They sell tickets to have turkey dinner to raise money for their various activities and missions. Every year, my family volunteers to deliver dinners to people who are home bound, so soon I’ll be getting all gussied up to go out and take dinners to the locals. Thankfully it’s not as windy as it was yesterday so that’s a good thing!

I want to take this moment to remind you all that, even if you live in a small town, there’s plenty of things to do for your community from donating your time to the local clothes charity, mentoring children or delivering turkey dinners to the community. See, my love of food is incorporated into my volunteer work! I’ll be certain to post some pictures and update this little corner of my blog when I return!


Turkey Dinner and Bazaar at the church went well. Whew! They were busy today. I spent the first half of my morning driving my parents around to deliver turkey dinners. The ladies and gentlemen at the church sure do work hard organizing, cooking and prepping all these delicious things, so kudos to them!

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Ladies Serving Up Delivery Boxes

There they are! Prepping dinners for delivery, and across the hall there’s another well organized, well oiled machine of people prepping dinners for pick ups! Of course it was so busy, I couldn’t get a shot of them, but I will give them all a shout out!

The room for the folks who wanted to sit down as well as the space for the bazaar was decorated in a festive manner waiting for the first rush of hungry folks to arrive.

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Thanksgiving Decor and Bazaar

And, finally, people started pouring in! Let me tell you, we got back from our last delivery before we decided to have our lunch and the hallway from the front door to the kitchen was a hundred feet long and five people deep! We were so tired and hungry we decided, after seeing all those hungry people waiting, that we would just grab our dinner to go, bring it home and have a nice quiet lunch.

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It’s Lunch Time!

And, of course, I failed as a food blogger today. I forgot to take a picture of the food, but at least I can talk about it and tell you what we had. There was turkey, dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, an apple and celery salad, green beans and pumpkin pie. Yum! So yum, in fact, that yes.. I ate it, then sat there and stared at my empty take out box which was riddled with the crumbs and last little dots of gravy and said, “Oh… I forgot pictures!” Sorry!


It’s November!

 

Today is the first day of November and after all the hustle and bustle of Halloween and trying to recover from candy induced comas, we get to start thinking about Thanksgiving! Mind you, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, but as someone who loves to cook and eat, Thanksgiving is definitely coming in at a close second.

While I am excited about sharing with you some of my food and cooking for Thanksgiving, and my favorite recipes, today is kind of a blah day! Guh! Why, why must the wind be blowing up to 40 miles per hour?! I loathe the wind, especially in a place that is flat and usually dusty, it makes me think about the old western movies where they’re having the high noon standoff and the tumbleweeds and dirt are blowing across the street. But let me tell you, that is totally Hollywood stuff. When the wind blows the dirt around here, you get dust devils, low visibility warnings and you eat enough dirt and get enough dirt in  your eyes that you create your own mud with your face. And the tumbleweeds…they get big. I’m talking BIG. Big enough that if you drive a car, they can be as tall as your car, and if you drive a big truck, you’re swerving to avoid them! If any of you have seen a herd of cattle, it literally reminds me of that as they blow across the highways in herds with the dust kicking up around them.

Being someone who suffers from bad allergies, every time the wind blows like this, I am miserable. My eyes hurt, my nose is stuffy and I have zero energy. The wind basically blows my will to live productively out the window! So… I haven’t had much to write about today because I don’t have the energy to cook. I’m to the point that ramen noodles might be what’s for lunch! But in the end, that’s okay, right? We can’t all be amazing chefs every single day. We deserve breaks! But I will do something for you!

I’m going to go outside and get a picture of the nasty wind just for you! Wish me luck!

 


Okay so….thirty minutes later of going around and eating some dust, I didn’t find tumbleweeds because they’re not quite dead yet. Tumbleweeds are actually big weeds that grow up in this prickly poof balls and when they die, they snap off and they roll because they’re spherical. So far, they’re not dead yet…

I did, however, get a short video clip of the tree in the front yard with the sound of the wind whipping through the trees to give you an idea of what it might be like, out in the open plains, without houses to block the full bursts of it.