Caldo de Res (Mexican Roast), Guatemalan New Potatoes, Christmas, New Year's, Cumbias and fun.
The night after Christmas, about 2:00 am in the morning, Fito and I decided not to go when the counter broke, because of the money to pay for the plywood, but then we decided to just go and worry about the kitchen and bills later.
Of course, now that I just paid bills, I am now questioning the wisdom of our decision. Although, if we waited for enough money to do things-we would never had had so many children. We would never had gone to visit family in Canada, Ohio, New York, Texas, Utah, and so on.
Sometimes you just have to have faith in that things will work out, that you will find the way to make things work. Trust in your ability to have initiative (of course pay your tithing first and work, work, work).
However, family is family and too many days, years, and holidays go by and we don’t spend enough time with those we love.
The morning before we left, I woke up early, canned 12 jars of beans, 3 jars of turkey broth, 3 jars of turkey meat, 1 jar of salsa, and one jar of soup. What I did was to take all the leftovers in the fridge and can them, put them in the freezer, or take them out as scraps for the animals.
I always clean the refrigerators before we go on a trip. I do not like to come home to moldy food in the fridge.
I also did laundry, packed clothes, called neighbors and children to take care of the mail, animals, and my mom. Such an ordeal to just go somewhere.
Just like last year, we had a marvelous time in Houston. I have a brother, nieces, nephews, a son, his wife, then family and 2 grand-daughters there and Fito has so many cousins, aunts, uncles and childhood friends there that we can’t even begin to count how many.
We went to two different parties on New Year’s Eve and danced late all night! Cumbias from El Salvador- the best dancing ever- I like Salsa, Ranchero de Mexico, Merengue and so on, but cumbias are my favorite.
I’m not a good dancer, never will be. I am clumsy normally and am not any more graceful on the dance floor. Thank goodness, the Spanish don’t care and are just excited the “gringa” is trying dance, loves to speak Spanish and eat Spanish food. We visited with many friends and family. Ate some wonderful food-And I have two new recipes to share.
The second party we went to had done a potluck and it was full of great food.
Years before when I was a missionary in Houston, there was a lady from Columbia who made the best new potatoes ever. For years I have tried to make them the same way, but mine have never come out the same. At this party, a lady from Guatemala made them just like I remembered.
You all know that I only use recipes that require minimal effort and supervision, yet yield spectacular results.
Guatemalan Roasted New Potatoes
These are easy to prepare. New potatoes are tossed in extra-virgin olive oil, salt, basil, and red crushed pepper, and then roasted to perfection; moist and tender insides surrounded by a crispy, well-seasoned skin.
3 pounds new potatoes 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt 2 teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper
2 teaspoons Crushed Basil
Preheat your oven to 400°F.*
Wash each new potato under running water using your hands to wipe away any grit. Pat dry with a paper or kitchen towel. Make sure the potatoes are completely dry.
Place the dry new potatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle the potatoes with extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle the potatoes with kosher or sea salt (about 1 teaspoon) and a several turns of the basil and crushed red pepper. Toss the potatoes with your hands making sure each potato is covered in extra-virgin olive oil and seasonings.
Put the potatoes in a baking dish You can line the baking dish with aluminum foil for easier cleanup. If you find there is excess olive oil pooling in the bottom of the bowl, do not add this to the baking sheet. You want each potato to be coated; however, you do not want them dripping with oil.
Evaluate the seasoning situation. If you see a lot of salt, red pepper, or basil sitting in the bowl after you coat the potatoes, re-do the potatoes.
Place the baking dish in the oven and cook until the potatoes are tender on the inside, but crispy on the outside (40 – 45 minutes). Using a spatula, flip the potatoes every 10 – 15 minutes to ensure even roasting.
You can test the doneness of the potatoes by piercing one with a fork. If the fork goes in and out without any resistance, the potatoes are done.
* You can roast the potatoes at higher and lower temperatures (not under 350°F though); however you will need to adjust your cooking time. If you roast the potatoes at a lower temperature, you will need to leave them in longer. If you roast the potatoes at a higher temperature, you will need to take them out sooner. Simply use the doneness test outlined above to make sure your potatoes are fully cooked through.
Then one of the deserts was incredible and I found out later my daughter-in-law, Ary, had brought that dish. It is:
Strawberry Cream Danish Bundles
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 and 1/2 cup confectioners' (powdered sugar) sugar
3 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 can (21 ounces) strawberry pie filling
In a bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar. Separate dough into 24 triangles; place on lightly greased baking sheets.
Spread 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture near the edge of the short side of each triangle. Top with 1 tablespoon pie filling. Fold long point of triangle over filling and tuck under
Do not fill them too full or they will ooze...these are small tablespoons.
Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 24 rolls.
I also spent time with my nephew, Tommy. He has the talent of drawing. Years ago I wrote a children’s book, however, I have never found an illustrator. I guess I had to wait for Tommy to grow up and become the professional person.
He has the capacity and talent to do it and his style is just what I was looking for. I am so excited that this book might finally be done.
It is a great book and will really be a blessing to families and children. Thus, our trip to Houston was productive and fun, full of family, friends, good music, food, and life. Worth the time and effort.
Coming home we decided to drop off the children at their cousins in Dallas. David, Rebecca, and Elizabeth have been there all week.
I miss them, but have accomplished double the work I usually get done.
We also brought home a 23 year-old girl from family we know in Houston. She has been wanting to come and live with us for some time, but it just wasn’t the right opportunity until now.
She helped me this last week to clean the whole upstairs (the 3 bedrooms of the children).
We cleaned all 3 rooms: each closet, each drawer, ALL of it.
When the children were younger, I would do a “de-cluttering” cleaning once about every 3 months. We have been in this house and this is only the second time I have done it.
I ended up with 4 large contractor trash bags full of trash and stuff to go to give away.
Most children (and people) just simply want to keep everything. They rationalize, “I will use that someday.” “I keep that, because it reminds me of my second grade teacher.” or “I keep that, because I like it.”
These reasons don’t work-If you have had it for more than a year and have not used it-it is time to let go. Keep a journal or a scrapbook for memories, not drawers full of papers, small mementos, and so on that you have to clean. They take up space. They clutter your life…
Let go-don’t think too much.
Just let go and clean.
Now when I walk upstairs-Wow! The beds are made. Floors vacuumed, clothes hanging up, drawers and counters organized and clean.
They simply had too much stuff for the space. I got rid of stuff-so now there is order.
A place for Everything AND Everything in it’s place.
One of my favorite sayings.
We also put away all of the Christmas decorations and I got rid of some of them. I guess this is my year of downsizing. I keep feeling like I have to simplify things-make my life easier, have less things to do so I can really do what I want to do-make my dreams come true.
Yesterday, I made “Caldo de Res” which is a Spanish version of our roast.
Caldo de Res or Mexican Roast
First of all, I took a 2-3 lb. roast (that I bought on sale) and put it in a large pot. I added:
3-4 Tablespoons of dehydrated onion flakes (I don’t like to chop onions, plus it’s cheaper).
1 ½ teaspoons of garlic powder
2 teaspoons of salt
3 teaspoons of pepper
I then cooked if on a low boil for 2-3 hours till the meat was salt, then I added:
2 ½ pound bag of new small red potatoes.
I didn’t peel them-I leave he peel on for the nutrients (plus it’s easier). I just scrub them.
I also added:
1 bag frozen corn on the cob
1/3 bundle of cilantro chopped up (easier to cut with kitchen scissors)
3 long pieces of celery (cut at a diagonal pieces to make it pretty)
1 pound of carrots (cut same as celery and scrubbed first)
½ small or 1/3 of a large cabbage cut up into pieces
3 packets of the Sazon Goya:
This is enough for 10-12 people.
You can eat it with chips, tortillas, or crackers. The Spanish take tortillas at times and tear them into small pieces and put them in their soup just like we crush up crackers to put in. Yummy!
Oh my goodness, the “Caldo” was good!
On a cold winter day-a hot soup or chili is just what is needed.
While the children are not here-jobs like the laundry and dishes are easy, however, jobs like bringing in wood or bringing in the groceries are 10 times harder.
(Yea-Since I had to do them by myself).
Plus my husband, Fito, is taking the outside Christmas lights down by himself little by little. I really don’t want to ask my married and older children to come and do these things for us as we get older so we need to “downsize” and do less and less each year so that Fito and I can still do it, but that it is not overwhelming.
On Friday night after Fito and I had attended a meeting, we stopped by our local Wal-mart. There were a groups of girls that were just having a good time messing around. When we first saw them they were by the fresh fruits lying on their backs...barking. I meowed at them.
Later, we saw them again by the pharmacy. Now they were doing cheers. We spoke with them for a while. Nice girls, just having a silly time together.
I also did Christmas Cards yesterday and mailed them to un-electronic friends. This year, it was only about 30 cards. Amazing...down from about 200 severals years ago. Our Christmas pics and info are on My Family Page.
I also added Christmas pics to More Family Photos.
I also put some information on my home page about resolutions.