Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Life Unscripted...

"To find the universal elements enough;
to find the air and the water exhilarating;
to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter...
to be thrilled by the stars at night;
to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring -
these are some of the rewards of the simple life."
~ John Burroughs

Ahhh....the sweet sound of children sleeping in......I am just blue skying right now....trust me, the countenance shows all!

After 4 1/2 weeks of juggling an active, potty training 2 year old while caring for a sick infant, whose head cold turned ear infection turned severe allergic reaction to penicillin turned damaged digestive tract from the penicillin turned sinus infection kept him awake night after night in utter torment, and after recovering from getting sick myself towards the end of that whole schpiel, we are BOTH restored to good health, and have finally begun to sleep again! Whew! Lord have mercy, no one could possibly begin to plan for a tempest like that!! 5 trips to the doctor in 3 weeks time.... to say that I was running on prayers and coffee would be to highly understate the situation, but thank God Almighty, this too has passed!

We were fortunate enough to steal a quick getaway *doctor approved* to a nearby lake with dear friends during a 2 day lapse when we thought Joshua was recovered from the allergic reaction with hopes that the fresh air and sunshine would do us all some good, and it truly did. The in-laws volunteered to come along to take care of the kids so we could sneak a few naps in, and take a few boat rides to let the soul breathe a bit.....

And so we drove until the city lights morphed into a star lit country sky through the winding roads of Abiquiu, NM....what an incredible place....I did not realize what splendorous grandeur lie secretly tucked away....waiting for my discovery....waiting to be acknowledged....it's no wonder why people like renowned artist Georgia O'Keefe escaped the madness of the world to make her permanent home there, and spent her remaining days being surrounded by such magnificent landscape and the views that they command. Purple, magenta, and three shades of blue set the backdrop for acres upon acres of lush valley land hidden amidst multi-colored rock that's been carved by the very finger of God.

Time spent on the water was therapeutic, the air had a sweet, fresh scent to it, and we spent each awe inspiring night relaxing around the campfire as a spectacular meteor shower took center stage.
We soaked in silence as the heavens danced before our eyes, and exchanged stories and much laughter with each intermission.
Little did we know at that time how much that lake trip would provide just the restoration we would need, and give us a bit of a 2nd wind, before the sinus infections would set in upon our return to bring 10 more days of hard knox to press through.

I'm so grateful for family who stepped in to take care of the kids and prepare a meal so I could get to a doctor myself. With each passing day and each pill swallowed I slowly came back to life, as did my precious Joshua. Just in time for him to start cutting teeth - ha!

But in all sincerity, even in the midst of such challenging weeks living life day by day, hour by hour, I felt so exceedingly blessed,
and seized every opportunity to treasure the simple pleasures.

We celebrated our life returning to some semblance of normalcy again by enjoying that lover's picnic we had been planning :)
Here's a little excerpt from some poetry that we savored that glorious afternoon:

"Take my heart,
I shall have it all the more;
Plucking the flowers,
we keep the plant in bloom.
Knowing you have in store
more heart to give than I find heart-room.
There is more to say:
Only believe that unto you my whole heart gives one cry,
and writing, writes down more than you receive;
Sending you kisses through my fingertips
Lady, O read my letter with your lips!"
~ Cyrano de Bergerac

sooooo happy to be continuing on this journey of simplifying....
of making more time for "time"

Right now, my beloved and my little lambies get my abundance, and everyone else gets the spillage!

ciao for now sweet bellas

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Green Chile Cheese Potato Latkes

Sweet Bellas, a different kind of inspiration is behind this post today - and although it may seem silly - there is a joy spilling over that has me shouting from the rooftops,
"Thank God Almighty, the green chile is HERE!"

*a chorus of hallelujahs rises in the air*

We have been on tip toe waiting for this belated beloved crop to make its appearance, and alas, we must wait no longer. The fix is in! Yes, we New Mexicans are very zealous about our chile, and this is most certainly a magical time of year - an intoxicating aroma fills the streets as we wait in lines for our green chile to be roasted to perfection. We welcome the burning sensation in our fingertips as we peel and chop and dice our little hearts out to package ever so neatly our newly acquired high grade stash. From Hatch to Chimayo, and everywhere in between, one can purchase by the pound, the bushel, or the sack.

As for me, I opt to buy not one, but two 30 lb sacks. Sound like a lot of chile? Well, not in my house. We have to dedicate an entire shelf, or two, in our separate stand up freezer in the garage to house this delicacy. Because you see, the crop only comes in once a year, and this has to last me alllll yearrrrr longgggg.

Without a doubt, I have fallen head over heels in love with New Mexican chile from the very first day it graced my lips, and have been completely obsessed with experimenting green chile fusion in just about every cuisine you can think of, thus inspiring my work in progress fusion cookbook.
Now I confess I have made the mistake of buying just one measly 30 lb. sack before, only to find the stash ran dry mid summer and I was forced to borrow from family members who, with horrified looks on their faces at the mere thought of facing such a dilemma, graciously obliged. Ohhhh I suppose I could buy something from the freezer section of my local grocery store to hold me over, and I suppose I could manage, but TRUST ME, hear my conviction, IT IS NOT THE SAME!

So, what can one do if you don't live in the Soul of the Southwest?? How can one get their hands on authentic chile from Hatch, NM?? Fret no longer sweet bellas, you can visit one of these lovely sites, and you can get it packed and shipped directly to your front doorstep - a worthy venture indeed...
http://www.nmcchile.com or http://www.hatch-chile.com/ or http://www.nmchili.com/

And now, I leave you with a poem I penned with sentiments from the very bottom of my foodie heart , titled "An Ode To Green Chile"

- AND -

one of my fusion recipes, GREEN CHILE CHEESE POTATO LATKES.

Do read on.....


oh green chile i love you so
i wait all year for you to grow
and dream of all the things i'll do
while I purchase a 30 lb. sack or two

i'll slice you
and dice you
and stuff you with cheese
and put you on top of
everything that I please
in sauces
in stews
in meat
and in brews (hey, they do that here!)

i'll toss you in pasta
and bake you in bread
i'll eat you on pizza
and with breakfast in bed
on burgers
in sammies
and pastry puffs too
in dips
and in spreads
and in my fondue

oh green chile, how i love you so
so much more than you'll ever know
for without you
my enchiladas would be naked
my stuffed sopapillas would be bland
my beans 'n' papas would be lonely
and that is more torture than a New Mexican can stand

oh green chile, i do love you so
and wait all year for you to grow
i dream of all the things i'll do
YOU COMPLETE ME green chile - yes. you. do.
You don't have to wait til Channukah to enjoy this delicious spin on an old classic. Latkes are a great substitute for traditional potato dishes for any meal any time of the year. I like to serve mine as a side dish to steak, chicken or fish - and - with a scrambled egg between two english muffins in the morning...sooooo gooooood.

Green Chile Cheese Potato Latkes


2 Cups Peeled Shredded Potatoes (Idaho Baking Potatoes are best)
3 Tbsp Shredded Onion (white or yellow)
1 Egg
2 Tbsp Flour
2/3 Cup diced green chile (preferably Hatch NM Green Chile)
2/3 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 Cup Oil (Peanut Oil is best, otherwise Canola will work


1. Place the potatoes in a cheesecloth and wring, extracting as much moisture as possible. (If you don't own a cheesecloth, use a very thin dish towel)
2. In a medium bowl stir the potatoes, onion, eggs, flour and salt together.
3. Add the green chile and cheese and gently stir to combine.
4. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until hot.
Place large spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the hot oil, pressing down on them to form 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick patties.
Brown on one side, turn and brown on the other.
Let drain on paper towels.
Serve immediately with a side of sour cream - mangia!

*To reheat, it is best NOT to microwave, rather, place the latkes in a skillet without oil over medium heat and warm up each side and serve, or, one can even warm up in the oven.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Making Time for More "Time"...

It was the second week of May when I received the email...

Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz was hosting a contest looking for the best picnic friendly recipe, and contacted me to announce that my Mango Chile Chicken Pita Pockets was the grand prize winner of their adorable picnic backpack. You know the kind I'm talking about, the ones that hold the plates, utensils, napkins, wine opener and insulated section to hold your favorite wine and picnic fare.

My beloved and I have been wanting to celebrate, but our busy lives have pushed it to the back burner
~ and ~
now that I've purposed it in my heart to begin
streamlining our schedules,
and making time for more "time,"
it's on....
And so, I'm making plans.

.....a lover's picnic.....
.....dreaming outloud.....
.....a meal.....
.....a handful of the favorites 
(Augustine, Lord Byron, CS Lewis).....
.....a glorious afternoon......

Mango Chile Chicken Pita Pockets
4 Whole Wheat Pita Pockets
2 Cups of Cooked Chicken, Shredded
8 oz of cream cheese, softened
4 heaping tbsp. chopped green chile
1 tsp. garlic powder
4 tbsp. shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
4 Roma Tomatoes, diced
1/2 Purple Onion, diced
2 Diced Mangos
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp. of fresh italian flat leaf parsley
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1) In a medium sized bowl, mix Cream Cheese, chopped green chile, and garlic powder.
2) In a separate bowl, mix tomatoes, onions, olive oil, mangos, parsley, parmigiano reggiano, and salt/pepper to taste to create garnish mix
3) Slice Pitas open and spread 2 oz. of chile cream cheese spread onto the bottom of each pita.
4) place 1/2 cup of shredded chicken evenly over cream cheese spread in each pita.
5) spoon even amounts of “garnish mix” and spread evenly over chicken in each pita
6) cut each pita in half, wrap to go, and place in picnic basket –

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Splendor of Simplicity...

"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak."
~ Hans Hofmann

spent some extra time in the "dome of silence" today
a.k.a. "the prayer vault"
a.k.a. my shower.

As the steam rose and the water ran down my body, drowning out the noise of the world around me, I reminisced over some of the tranquil moments from our camping trip that we had just returned from while celebrating my husband's birthday... and I couldn't help but feel so exceedingly fortunate to have had the opportunity to take a break from the tyranny of appointments and schedules...and to be surrounded by the glory of creation and beauty of such variety and abundance.

My "mental vault" had been overflowing, and this trip was exactly what I needed 
to d-e-c-o-m-p-r-e-s-s.

Every day that we spent in Jemez Springs felt like a Saturday....a quintessentially lazy Saturday - the kind you hope for but never plan for.......There was a richness in the air, a vibrancy in the mornings that I reveled in as I laid awake in the early hours of each day listening to the resonance of the river running outside my canvas abode. My thoughts were quiet, my mind was at rest, and as I stretched out beneath cozy layers of blankets atop a surprisingly firm air mattress, I could hear the sound of my own heart beat above the cricket symphonies that permeated through my zippered window. Refreshing.

What a glorious weekend it was. Hands wrapped around disposable cups of coffee with irish cream sipped ever so leisurely, fellowshipping with friends, whipping up tasty nibbles, starting a new book, sitting around the campfire with kindred spirits night after night, contemplating under starry skies, dreaming outloud, listening to great music, smiling alot, laughing even more.

I have once again been reminded of the splendor of simplicity...and I am longing for those placid moments once again, because it's those moments that allow the yearnings of my inner man to rise up, that allow me to inhale the quiet rousings of my soul.

And now that I've been home trying desperately to "catch up" (is there really such a thing?) on work, household responsibilities, returning emails, calls, responses to threads, posts that I'm behind on, and a variety of other commitments...I've come to realize that the noise in my life has risen to a louder decibel (and I'm not talking about my children). I've resolved that I simply don't like being bogged down with too much busyness - and - I am prompted to be very intentional from here on out about making more time to UNPLUG and to purpose it in my heart to spend much MUCH more uninterrupted, undiluted time getting out amidst creation and letting my soul breathe.

It was Laura Ingalls Wilder who said "It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."

So, Sweet Bellas, in the spirit of simplicity, I'll close by sharing my recipe for an effortless summer salad that is equally as easy to make as it is to pack up and take on a picnic or some lovely rendezvous in the great outdoors.
And I hope you do.

Edamame, Raspberry & Walnut Spinach Salad with Manchego Cheese &
Honey Lemon Mint Vinaigrette Dressing


4 Cups of Fresh Baby Spinach
1 cup of shelled edamame
1 cup of fresh raspberries
6 tbsp of chopped walnuts
slivers of shaved Manchego Cheese to desired amount

Honey Lemon Mint Vinaigrette Dressing:

3 tbsp of lemon juice
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp of honey
2 tbsp of fresh mint leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of olive oil.

In a blender, add first 5 ingredients, blend for 4 to 5 seconds, take lid off and add 1 cup of olive oil while blending appx 10 seconds more, pour over salad.


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