Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stuffed toys and full drywall boys......


It's been another great day on the mountain today.  I woke up at the crack of ten a.m. which I never do!
It must have something to do with Mark and I staying up entirely way to late watching SPARTACUS God's of the Arena
 I just don't understand it, men, naked men, men in leather skirts fighting and some even making out. Kinda gay. Or is it just me?

 Anyway,  Mark and I had several visitors at the house today, which we always enjoy.
James "Little Wood" and his buddy Garrett stopped by today to help with some drywall and insulation projects upstairs. It seems they like to work and eat  just have something to do to keep themselves out of trouble. Fine by me. We've got plenty of projects, where would you like to start?!

Once the guys  got upstairs I went to the kitchen and started some "gumbo".

Here is the recipe that I made up:

In a nice heavy pot I browned the meats with a little bit of oil.
4 links of venison smoked sausage
2 large chicken breast ( cut up)

When the meats were browned I removed them from the pot and in the juices that were left I  added:
3T butter
2T olive oil
2 large diced onions
diced celery ( with as much of the leaves as I had)
fresh garlic ( I love garlic and used 5 toes)
1 green pepper
2 T cumin
1T ground Chipotle
2 bay leaves

I let all the above saute and simmer in the bit of liquid til the onions and celery were tender. At this point I added the meats back in-------

including 1 pound of shrimp ( you can buy pre-cooked or raw, I use the raw)

----and filled the pot almost full with water and brought it to a boil. Then turned it back down to a simmer.

An hour later I added.
2 cups chopped okra
1Cup of brown rice
1 can of roasted tomato
 1 small can of tomato paste

Finally, I continued to let this mix simmer on the stove for a few hours until we were ready to eat.

Our neighbors seven year old daughter, Tolara, came with a basket of birthday goodies for me also. A few extra to add to my previous days haul.

I've always had a soft spot for a good dinosaur magnet book, minus the magnets! How did she know!!!
I've got to give her credit, she said she knows that I like to cook and that I like dogs. She did pretty darn well!
After admiring my lovely basket of goodies, we got down to the business of baking peanut butter cookies.
Even though I usually just go to for ideas, today we found a perfect recipe in one of the several cookbooks that we have, titled The Pennysaver Cookbook, by Dan and Inez Morris and set out measuring the ingredients.
I made sure to show her how to scale the flour and baking soda so as to get exact measurements. She thought it was pretty nifty running a chop-stick across the top of the measuring cup to get rid of the extra flour.
She also made it perfectly clear that 7 years old was certainly old enough to turn on the  snazzy, ultra fancy, blue kitchen-aid mixer by herself and  that she knew well enough to keep her fingers away from the mixing blade.
Once the dough was mostly made we (being she) added the four teaspoons of hot water to make it just right.
Charlotte, our very pleasant little elder-neighbor had also stopped by today to visit, and having a frozen bag of birthday COD was as good  an excuse to get out of her house for a while as any.
We really do enjoy her company. She is full of mountain wisdom and sharp wit! Although, I can't remember ever getting COD for a birthday. Let alone Uncle Ben's rice or instant oatmeal. This must be the 'year of firsts'.
Well, as the cookies were coming out of the oven, with just the right amount of sugar sparkle, Miss Charlotte's eyes were twinkling and she was telling little Tolara how pretty those cookies were. You could see the pride in Tolara's face. She really did most of the work with minimal supervision on my part. Like it or not.
I think the two ladies had a fun time at the Manor today.

After the cookies were done, we decided that it was time to dig into some hillbilly gumbo, minus the squirrel. It got rave reviews! The three young guys each had 2 large bowls as did Mark and I.Charlotte declined because shrimp gives her gas.
On a side note, Charlotte, pictured here last summer, has a rather famous baseball playing brother. Marty Patton . She was surprised to see the info I pulled  up on him in a matter of minutes.

Here it is almost 8pm and it's just Mark and I hanging with the dogs. We enjoyed the weather and the company today. The smiles and the laughs do prove that it's the little things in life that matter.

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