I WON'T BACK DOWN

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

4 MAKE-AHEAD FREEZER MEALS


Cheryl & Pam came to visit me yesterday afternoon – and Cheryl brought some of the ‘down south’ Pinto Beans, her husband Mike, had brought back with him from his New Mexico trip. I am told they are milder and smoother tasting that the pinto beans we have here … we’ll see: I am making a batch of ‘Baked Pinto Beans’ with them this morning ;-)

I stored the Pinto beans Cheryl brought me in a separate baggie, so I can tell them apart; to test the taste differences; if there are any.
The Pinto's Cheryl gave me so look lighter ...

I googled a chuck steak recipe – basically because I wanted a change of pace in that regard; and I was just too lazy to thumb through my cookbooks – and I found a recipe that sounded good. It did smell good while cooking, so I think I will be happy with this change of pace ;-)

Gravied Chuck Steak - portioned for Freezer meals. 

The ‘Curried Carrot Soup’ recipe came from my August 1985 Bob Appetit cooking magazine.

Curry Carrot Soup; frozen in 1-serving portions alongside 1-portion packages of Baked Pinto Beans - for future meals.

And the ‘Orange-Curry Grilled Chicken w-Tarragon’ recipe came from my August 1986 Food & Wine cooking magazine. The house smelled wonderful!

Orange-Curry Grilled Chicken w-Tarragon; portioned for freezer meals.

For Supper tonight, I had a mug of Curried carrot Soup & a side of Cajun Shrimp – I got the recipe for the spicy shrimp from my ‘2003 Taste of Home/Light & Tasty’ cookbook. Delish!



==BAKED PINTO BEANS ~Serves 6 (1 cup servings)

This recipe comes from my ‘Betty Crocker/New American Cooking’ cookbook my sister gave me decades ago; Bob really liked it. It is a good source of thiamine (vitamin B1) – which is essential for our bodies.

I cook this dish in my crockpot** – works better for me; but I am posting it as written in the cookbook for the cooking purists :

4 cups Water * 1 pound (about 2-1/2 cups) dried Pinto Beans * ½ cup Brown Sugar * 1 teaspoon Sea Salt * ¼ teaspoon ground Cloves * ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper * ¼ teaspoon Celery Seed * ¼ cup Water * 1 tablespoon Cider Vinegar * ½ cup strong Black Coffee * 2 Tablespoons Brandy * 1 medium Onion. Sliced * 4 slices Bacon

Heat 4 cups water and the beans to boiling in a 3-quart saucepan. Boil 2 minutes; remove from heat. Cover, and let stand 1 hour. Add enough hot water, if necessary, to cover beans. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover, and simmer until beans are tender – about 1-1/2 hours (do not boil, or beans will burst). Drain beans, reserving liquid. Heat brown sugar, salt, cloves, pepper, celery seed, ¼ cup water & the vinegar to boiling; stirring occasionally. Stir in coffee and brandy.

Place half the beans in an ungreased 2-quart casserole; arrange onion on top. Pour half of the coffee mixture over onion; top with remaining beans. Pour remaining coffee mixture and the reserved bean liquid over beans. Cover & cook in 350-degree oven for 1-1/2 hours. Stir beans; arrange bacon on top. Cook uncovered 30 minutes longer.

**I like this recipe more as a soupy dish … so I just dump everything into my crockpot (slicing the bacon into smaller bits) – and cook on LOW for about 6 hours. The house smells great! And the dish is delish ;-)**

SI didn't have any brandy, so I improvised ;-) It works fine.
And that 2nd little empty bottle joined the 1st - waiting in the cupboard until I make a batch of Garlic Syrup this Winter.
I  added eggs to the crockpot meal, to hard-cook; the cooking liquid adds a nice flavor to the cooked eggs.


Prepping the skillet to go into the oven - I wrapped the handle with foil.

 

Browing the steak, and setting it aside.
.I used regular mustard in the sauce ...
I used onion diced large - because i like them like that ;-)
And finished cooking the dish in the oven.

==CURRIED CARROT SOUP ~8 servings (or 4 generous servings)

1 Tablespoon Butter * 1 large Red Bell Pepper, chopped * 12 medium Carrots, thinly sliced * ½ cup Water * 1 Tablespoon Sugar * 3 Tablespoons Butter * 2 Tablespoons all-purpose Flour * 2 cups hot Chicken Stock * 2 cups Milk * Sea Sat & Black Pepper *1/4 teaspoon Curry powder * ½ cup Whipping Cream * Slivered Pimento

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium high heat. Add bell pepper and cook until it begins to soften, stirring occasionally – about 4 minutes. Add carrots, water, and sugar. Cover & cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally – about 20 minutes.

I just dumped everything in the pot - including 2 eggs - and cooked it that way - this is what works for me: I am not a fancy cook; I cook TO EAT - not show off.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat. Add flour and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Whisk in 2 cups stock, then the milk. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer 40 minutes to blend flavors. Add curry. Cool to room temperature.

Puree soup in blender until smooth. Strain into bowl. Mix in cream and enough additional stock to thin to desired consistency. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead & refrigerated). Serve hot or cold; garnish with pimento.

Puree the COOLED soup in batches.
I portioned the soup out into 1-cup servings: I am determined to stick to my calorie counting and shed another 20 pounds. So help me God! I portioned the servings out and froze them in baggies.

==ORANGE-CURRY GRILLED CHICKEN w-TARRAGON ~8 servings

I used half a chicken in this recipe – and I did not grill my chicken: I baked it in the oven; a personal preference. But I am posting the recipe as originally written …

Not needing a sauce, this dish will benefit from the sweet pungency of a Mango Chutney. It will also go well with a wild rice & mushrooms dish, and fresh snap peas or a green salad. A summer melon will round the meal out nicely.

8 skinless, boneless Chicken Breast halves * 4 teaspoons Dijon Mustard * 1 cup Orange Juice * 4 teaspoons Curry powder * 4 teaspoons Tarragon

Trim off any fat or cartilage from the chicken, and rinse under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. In a large bowl, thin the mustard with ¼ cup of the orange juice. Blend in the curry powder, tarragon, and remaining orange juice. Marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes at room temperature – or refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Preparing the marinade. Tarragon is VERY PUNGENT. It literally "takes my breath away" - so I use it sparingly and it lasts a good loooooong while with me.

Since the chicken cooks quickly, have the rest of the meal well underway before putting the chicken on the grill. Grill the chicken for 5 minutes on each side over a very hot grill. If not done, baste with the marinade, turn and cook 1 to 2 minutes longer on each side. The chicken should be slightly springy to the touch and juicy and moist – but not pink on the inside.

I opted to bake my chicken - it got drier, but I like it best this way; I am not fond of grilled meats ... though I do like the recipes for grilled meats

==CAJUN SHRIMP ~4 servings

2 teaspoons Paprika * 1 teaspoon dried Thyme * ½ teaspoon Salt * ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg * ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder * ¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper * 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil * 1 pound uncooked, medium Shrimp, peeled & deveined

In a large nonstick skillet, sauté the paprika, thyme, salt, nutmeg, garlic powder, and cayenne in oil for 30 seconds – stirring constantly. Add shrimp; sauté for 2-3 minutes; or until shrimp turns pink, stirring occasionally.



AMBER ALERT NEARLY RUINED MY ANNIVERSARY MOMENT


I hate the Amber Alert app … and I specifically asked it to be removed last time I was in the AT/T Office downtown: I was assured that it had been removed.

But on the way home, that damned thing went off with it’s piercing {alarm}, and nearly caused me to wreck the car before I found a safe place to pull over and figure out what the hell was going on – I didn’t know if I had hit something and the car was alerting me to that … or if something electronic was going on with the car that needed attention. It freaked me out, more than ‘alerted’ me! I don’t give a rat’s ass if some moron several counties away stole a silver Nisson! All I wanted to do was get home safely: and the Amber Alert almost killed me. Over a freaking car, some idiot half the State away left the keys in!

That thing is dangerous.


I am shaky enough trying to come to grips with my widowhood (the brain fog, the unexpected startles, ect.) – I do not need the Amber Alert app to add more stress to my driving days, or drive me over the freaking edge with its screeching alert.


The Amber Alert app nearly caused me to wreck my car – which would have seriously ruined my Anniversary moment. Today is hard enough to deal with in this, my new life - without the love of my life; without LOUD and OBNOXIOUS governmental shit crashing my solo journey party >:-P 
(https://jeastofeden.blogspot.com/2019/08/when-we-married-in-1974.html)

On a lighter note, the drive went pretty well: despite it’s shaky start & end. When I pulled out of the carport, I prayed, “Help me, Yeshua. Please get me to Kalama and back safely. I love You; thank You.”


I didn’t cry. Not even once: and THAT was a good thing – especially heading for the freeway ;-)


When I pulled back into the carport at home, I could almost feel Bob smiling - and I could almost hear him say, "I'm proud of you, Baby: I always knew you could do whatever you set your mind to doing."

Today, I made the short trip from home to Kalama; and back. Next time, I'll try to go a little further - like the opposite direction to Toledo: there's a little store I like there; and I have some friends who want me to join them at the lake there ... I've been procrastinating; because of the freeway drive; but once I get there, I can backtrack home on the back roads, like I did today.

My 1st Freeway venture since widowhood. The riverside drive along the Carrolls Channel part of the freeway, went okay - I was a little nervous, but not bad; I took the  freeway because the backroad was was a little sketchy in my memory at the moment ... the possibility of getting lost getting TO Kalama on the back roads was a real possibility. I was reasonably certain, that with landmarks, I could find my way home on them on the WAY BACK FROM Kalama. 
The Lucky Dragon Restaurant. Downtown Kalama - about as long as Cathlamet; a 5 minute walk.
Interior of Lucky Dragon restaurant. Bob & I have been coming here on our Anniversary for decades. The food is good, and the Chinese family that owns/run it are excellent people to know as friends.
Instead of backtracking home from Kalama on the freeway … I took the long way home, on the old highway. Thank You, Yeshua, for refreshing my memory :-D
A short stretch of the back road runs parallel to the freeway. I am remembering - no fears about how to get back home.
Totally dusted out the car on this stretch of the back road. Bob would be laughing, and saying, ‘You would have to pick a road crew day to take this way home'. Kalama is putting in a roundabout. I hate those things! Bob would know another way home ... I don't. Yet: my memory may eventually be jogged, in that respect ;-)

I took the old highway/back road through Carrolls, where a dead free-range chicken lay in the middle of the roadway ... apparently someone's chicken strayed too far from home turf and got hit:



... drove past the Road Valley Road, and crossed the freeway into Longview - where the screeching started. I turned off, by the Toyota Dealership, and was so shook up by then, I decided that even though Industrial Way would be insanely busy at that time of day; it may be THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE at that particular time: it would be busy with semi's, but it would not be as insanely frantic as downtown Longview.

So, that is what I did - I drove Industrial Way and crossed over to Mount Solo Road, onto Ocean Beach Highway; which dropped me off at home base.

I felt like kissing the ground when I finally parked my car!

Instead, I ate my Supper ;-)

The Supper I picked up at the Lucky Dragon: Lemon Chicken; Fried Rice; Fried Shrimp w-Sauce; & a Spring Roll. I really missed Bob, and Bob's meal add-ons ... I didn’t eat a lot of his stuff because our tastes were vastly different (he like SPICY); what I missed the most was HIM – and the sharing action.

After Supper, I figured out how to turn that damned Amber Alert app OFF.

NO MORE screeching - and no more near heart attacks on the road brought on by the screeching ...

FIND ME A PREACHER ~ WHEN WE MARRIED IN 1974


Wedding Night - 9 p.m., August 27th,1974 at Judge Tom Hall's house in Skamokawa. It was a Tuesday. It was sweltering hot. Gerald Ford had moved up from Vice President to President of the USA after Nixon was implicated in a Constitutional Crisis and forced out of Office.

There was a lot going on in the world that day.

But in our small corner of the world, my mind was focused on finishing up my work shift at the Nursing Home; doing a quick change of clothes at my parent’s house, and picking up the Marriage License at the Court House. My mother had signed the permission waiver for me to get married back in July; she had to legally sign because I was legally underage … and Bob was legally a grown man. He was 24. She signed because she knew I would simply leave and go live with Bob if push came to shove – and Bob was glad she signed because he loved me & wanted me with him; and he could legally have been jailed if push came to shove, and my parent’s started asserting their parental angst: regardless of if what we were doing was consentual or not. And I WAS CONSENTING; I loved BobI just wanted to be with Bob – and if getting married was the way to do it without upsetting everyone; or getting Bob arrested – then I would get married. These things don’t matter today … but in 1974, they mattered: what we were doing was a big deal. Everyone – Bob, the parent’s, the Law wanted us married asap. So, I was picking up the Marriage License after work.

Then I walked down to Bob’s house to get Supper underway before the work crummy (a work van) pulled into his driveway – Bob was working for Durrah & Martin Logging Co. Inc., and drove the crew to work, and back home again, every morning.

We had bought our Wedding Bands one hot, sultry night in July; Bob was really pushing for marriage, and I finally caved ;-)

The reason Bob was so persistent was not only because of our age difference (which was a big deal in the 1970’s), but also because of an incident earlier that day, that had him worried. I was just finishing up my shift at work – I worked in the kitchen; and Jerry, one of the guys on staff, was hanging around the kitchen that day: I knew he wanted to ask me out, and I didn’t know how to turn him down without hurting him (I never had so many bees buzzing around me before! It was unnerving). He really was a nice fella, and if Bob wasn’t the man meant for me specifically, I would have gone out with Jerry. But, I was actively dating Bob. I LOVED Bob. Just as I was about to clue Jerry in … Bob showed up. His timing was perfect, as always. The two sized each other up: Bob not happy to see another bee buzzing around his flower, and Jerry was not happy to see, Bob at all – he wasn’t aware that I had been dating anyone; but seeing my eyes light up and sparkle when Bob came into view, clued him in. And Bob’s self-confidence, backed up by his sheer height and bulk, backed him down – he didn’t want to go toe-to-toe with the love of my life. I left with Bob, changed clothes, and we booked for Longview, where we ate pizza at Pietro’s & washed it down with a lager. And later on, we bought our wedding rings while strolling Commerce in Longview, where Bob pulled me to a stop before the big display window of Zale’s Jeweler’s Shop (https://jeastofeden.blogspot.com/2019/08/he-said-id-like-to-make-it-with-you.html), before we headed back to Cathlamet. I STILL was not sure marriage was a good idea, but I WAS SURE I LOVED BOB and wanted to go through life with him. ONLY HIM. I prayed our marriage would be happy, secure, and long … I had never seen a happy, faithful, or lasting marriage: and THAT is what scared me about marriage. I did not want Bob & I to end up hating each other, like other married people end up doing.

Bob’s 1st marriage had JUST ended weeks earlier, for Pete’s sake!


But Bob assured me that would never happen with us – Bob told me that he knew, the night before he married Gloria, that he shouldn’t marry her … but, he felt obligated to go through with it (this was 1968 & the nuptials had been printed on the Society’s Page of the Oregonian; he felt trapped): he also told me that he had no such misgivings where I was concerned – I never held him to marriage … and I think that was what appealed to him, really: I just loved him, with or without a permanent tie; and the 2 plain gold bands – my choice – were safely tucked away in their white Zale’s Jeweler’s boxes in the top dresser drawer in Bob’s bedroom. They were just waiting to get slipped on our fingers.

My wedding band; and the 1974 Zale’s Jeweler’s box – does keeping that 45 year old box make me a ‘hoarder’? ;-)
A year ago, I asked Bob to cut the ring off my finger because I was gaining so much weight during my menopause years, that it was seriously cutting into my finger. I  told him "we know we're married - a ring is just a ring; but I NEED my finger." He agreed. Bob had lost his ring in the hills of Glenoma, WA decades ago, when he was logging - he got so sick that Winter, that it literally fell off his hand and fevered, he didn't notice it was gone for days ... by then, it had been trampled into the muck and was gone forever. We didn't need rings to know - or to show - that we were married.

When Bob got home, he and Ralph were sitting in the driveway on folding chairs, enjoying the river breeze after a hot day in the stifling woods; I feasted my eyes on Bob before handing him a cold beer, and sat down on the edge of the front porch. Bob thanked me with a wink, snapped the cap off his beer; took a long swallow, flashed me his 100-watt sexy smile, and asked, "Did you get it?"

I said, "Yep." And snapped the cap off my beer.

Bob took another sip of his beer, and asked, "Would you like to get married tonight?"

Apparently, Bob didn’t want to wait any longer than necessary to slip that little gold band on my little finger ;-)

I smiled, and said, “Sure. Tonight would be fine.” Getting married would put the period at the end of the sentence in the narrative that had become our daily life – and the parents (both sets) could start breathing easier. We had, since May, been acting like a married couple: in every way. The only difference was that I went home every midnight, at curfew; so the digital alarm was always set for 11:30 p.m., to make sure I was walking through my parent’s door promptly at midnight. I was only 17; and my parents were very strict about that. They weren’t idiots, though – they knew what was what between Bob & me. And Bob’s parents weren’t stupid either – Bob’s mom just hated me, and wished I’d go away; Bob’s dad was worried for Bob … it was that 7 years age gap thingee, that had him concerned: it was a legal snafu.

Ralph was startled ... apparently Bob had not shared this news with his brother. So, stunned, Ralph excused himself and walked up to his house at the upper end of the family property.

Bob & I finished our beers: then we went into Bob's house to call the local Judge, Tom Hall, to ask if he could marry us that night: he could – at 9 p.m.

So, we ate Supper, softly laughing when we thought of our parent’s reactions when they heard what we were about to tell them after supper.

I called my sister to ask if she'd stand up with me: she would; and would meet us in Skamokawa at 9 p.m.

And Bob called his long-time friend, Bruce, to come stand up for him. Bruce lived in Longview – so 9 p.m. worked for him, too.

Then we called our parents' and told them that if they wanted to be at our wedding, they should meet us at Tom’s house in Skamokawa at 9 p.m.

Oh Boy! The parents' were p.i.s.s.e.d.! My mother was upset because I was ruining her big wedding plans she had set in place for September (her idea for my wedding, NOT mine) – and Bob’s mom was upset because it was now very clear that I wasn’t going to ‘go away’ after all.

It was a small gathering: the Hall family, Bob’s parents & my parent’s. Ramona, Bruce; my brother, Mahlon. David Almer, a friend was there (not sure to this day who told him what was happening, but he showed ;-)). Doug wasn’t there … and we really did not expect him.

We were both laughing. I was telling Bob, "This is your chance to escape - if you want to bolt, now is your opportunity." He laughed and said, "I'll stay by your side. Always."
I hadn't planned on having a Wedding Bouquet because I am allergic to flower pollen, but my stepfather grabbed me a bunch from a friend's flowerbed, as he & my mother were driving to Judge Hall's home in Skamokawa to witness our Marriage; so I used them ... and prayed they wouldn't screw up my Wedding Night - blowing my nose & wiping my eyes was NOT what I was looking forward to that particular night. LOL
Vows spoken - the Deal sealed - with a kiss of lifelong promises.
Mr. & Mrs. - a lifetime set in motion by about 10 minutes of vocal exchanges. Our lifetime lasted 44 years ... when"til death do us part" became our new life in different life realms.
Happy! And we were both fiddling with our rings ;-)

But, even though Doug did not come to our wedding, he was still a part of itwhile we had been exchanging vows & signing on the dotted line


…. he had, with shaving cream, sprayed "Just Married" on the truck doors & rigged a metal garbage can to fall out of the back-end of Bob's '56 Ford pickup at some point – and when it did, the racket it made when it hit and bounced along the blacktop; made us both startle. LMAO

Doug had also, at some point that night, put shaving cream & snus (snoose) between our sheets, and sprayed “Married” with shaving cream in big bold letters across one bedroom wall (misspelled, so that every time we saw the stain on the wall, we would start laughing): we eventually painted the walls.

THEN ... just to further prolong the inevitable (and looked forward to), Doug waited until we had cleared the icky sheets, remade the bed, and was getting comfortable between the sheets ... he reappeared, AND PERCHED ON THE DRESSER, LAUNCHING INTO A LENGTHY DISCUSSION on nothing in particular, while we were trying to pretend we had more than nothing in particular ON - he just perched there, wasting time, and trying to annoy us. I started giggling, because I KNEW what he was doing; and Bob finally - after 3 cigarettes - got irritated and asked, "Don't you have somewhere else to be?"

I still laugh when I think of what an imp Doug was being on our Wedding Night; Bob won me, for sure ... but Doug wasn't going down without making himself felt ;-)

And later on, around 2 a.m., I woke up - glanced at Bob’s digital clock – and jumped out of bed like I’d been tased, saying, “Bob! Get up! Oh, man … I am in SO much trouble! Crap! Crap! CRAP! I missed curfew big time – the 11:30 alarm didn’t go off. We are so screwed …” I was running around the bedroom, snatching clothes and yanking them on, when Bob groggily sat up: AND STARTED LAUGHING. I said, “This is nothing to laugh about Bob! We’re in big trouble.” Bob reached out and pulled me down next to him, and said, “Relax, honey. We got married tonight, remember?”

I must have been more tired than I thought, to forget getting married. LOL But, in my defense, we didn’t have a fancy wedding … and I had never spent the night in Bob’s bed before (hours, yes; but not the night): I was always walking through the door at my parent’s home at exactly midnight, so when I woke up next to Bob at 2 a.m., I was momentarily confused.

It was a new experience ;-)

I slipped back into bed, snuggled against my husband, and we managed to get another hour of sleep before Bob had to get up and go to work at 3 a.m.

Every night following, Bob was finally able to get a full night’s sleep before starting his long work days. He was no longer sleep deprived ;-) He was a happy guy in every way: he had his Queen Bee safely in his hive - a wife who loved him, and practically worshiped him: LOL; a clean house to come home to/relax in, after work; good meals on the table when he came home (if he stopped for drinks with the guys after work, getting home late, he got a burger wherever he was); laundry done-folded-and put away every Friday without fail; and, he could finally sleep the nights through without the midnight curfew interruptions.

We were both happy - we both knew we had a GOOD THING happening in our life :-D

And we laughed about those 2 Wedding Night events for 44 years.

The song, ‘You’re Having My Baby’, by Paul Anka, was the top song of 1974 … and that was the news we were facing by the end of September 1974: our “honeymoon baby” daughter, Stacey had, between our Wedding Night and the end of the first week of September, been conceived.

She would have arrived sometime in June ... but I got impatient, and hurried her arrival a bit ahead of schedule ;-)

And all I can think now, is that I wished I had agreed to have those other 5 children Bob wanted – there would be more of him walking around today.

Life is short.

But, you don’t recognize that when you are young.

I love you, Babe.

Always.

OX