Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

April 3, 2017

DULL DULL DULL

Filed under: At home,Food — Janice @ 7:57 pm

My world is so dull these days that I think about a blog post and know immediately that there is nothing to tell.

Today I was reading the posts of The Bloggess and she makes her dull life so darn interesting that I really don’t feel like writing a blog post.

But, sometimes there is that urge to communicate with the world, so I will try again to develop a habit. Slowly but surely….   Just don’t expect anything funny.

There is a sweet big yellow cat sitting here by the computer, wondering why I don’t come feed him some more food before I get busy with this sort of thing.

A few days ago I knew I needed to cook some hamburger I bought before it went bad. I had a head of cabbage and I thought I would make a cabbage and beef sort of unrolled cabbage roll recipe I like. I went to the refrigerator and found no hamburger. Where was it? I looked through every drawer in the fridge and touched every item in the refrigerator to MAKE SURE that I wasn’t overlooking it. I wondered if Mark had thrown it out, seeing that it was past the Sell By date, though I doubted that he would do that. I couldn’t find it so I finally decided I must have opted to NOT buy the beef at the grocery, knowing I had plenty of other things to eat at the house (and that I probably would let it ruin while I didn’t get around to cooking…. I tend to do that.).

This morning I bundled up a bunch of plastic bags to take with me in hopes of putting them in a recycle bin somewhere soon. Then I also grabbed up several of the reusable cloth bags so I would have some spares in the car in case I went to the grocery. One bag had some heft to it. I investigated and found my missing pound of ground beef, a week old, and still in the grocery sack. Gross gross gross. Fortunately it was securely wrapped in plastic and hadn’t leaked, but I do think we had been smelling it a little bit and didn’t know what we were smelling. Gross gross gross. I threw away the hamburger.  Obviously.

Tonight I went by the grocery store and only got things that were full of preservatives and had no refrigeration needs.

December 5, 2015

Austin Christmas Outing

Filed under: At home,Austin,Food,Music — Janice @ 11:26 pm

I just got in from a fun night feeling the holiday spirit.

Each year, KUT radio has a carol sing-a-long on the steps of the State capitol and they light the city’s downtown Christmas tree (as opposed to the Zilker Park “holiday tree” created from the moontower there). I have never been to this downtown event, although I have admired the downtown tree many times. In my early days in Austin, it was always a real tree and was brought in from somewhere. It wasn’t a giant tree like in Washington or Rockefeller Center, but big enough. A few years ago the city changed to an artificial tree. It’s a cone-shaped, quite obvious fake tree, but still pretty and festive. 2015-12-05 19.24.01

I heard the commercials this week for the singalong and asked my friend Deidre if she might want to go. She had plans for later in the evening, but we decided we could do it all. So tonight I met up with Deidre and two of her friends that have become my friends and we went downtown. The whole event was bigger than we expected. Finding parking wasn’t easy, but with the beautiful weather we didn’t mind the walk.

In front of the capitol were truly thousands of people in the dark, under the trees, singing Christmas carols along with a piano player and a songleader/disc jockey from the radio station. Programs with lyrics were passed out so everyone could sing all four verses of Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Giant projectors were casting big stars in kaleidoscopes across the building front. We sang along with great gusto on Feliz Navidad and Jingle Bells and many more. Then there was a 10 down to 1 countdown the tree was lit.

Along with the tree lighting was a whole little festival down on Congress. Booths selling food and drinks and homemade products and crafts and artwork. We strolled a bit before we got to the singing to see what they had. And then there were bands playing on each end of the street after the singing ended, so there was lots to do and see. I didn’t know there would be so much.

2015-12-05 19.24.49After, we walked down Congress and enjoyed the lights and the people-watching. Deidre knows MANY people and she was greeting someone about every block. We found a semi-fancy Italian pizza place to have some food. From the street it seemed like a bar and a utilitarian Italian restaurant. Getting inside, though, it was easier to see it was a little more upscale than I usually frequent and full of many young urban dwellers. They did have great food and we had some awesome pizza.

We ended the night where Deidre had planned on going originally: a beer garden south of the river that had a reunion of a band she had loved in the past, Black Before Red. I had never heard of them before, but they did have interesting songs with really unique melodies and chords and great lyrics, too. I may never get to hear them again, but it was a really good experience and a good night. 11058118_10153756154829346_7686185045814933066_o

Deidre’s friend Rebecca has lived in Austin a year longer than I have and comes from the Panhandle just like me. She and I were discussing how we don’t DO these Austin-y things like we once did. When we moved to Austin we were exploring different parts of town and going to the festivals and trying new restaurants. Now we do the same things over and over and stick to the familiar. She said, “You know the nickname of Austin, right?” I said, “What? The Violet Crown?” She said, “No, the new nickname is the Velvet Rut.” That described it. It’s comfortable, beautiful, and yet too familiar. I was glad to get out of the rut tonight.

I’ll steal Deidre’s selfie to show you the girls celebrating on Congress.

December 4, 2015

Lost Day

Filed under: Childhood Memories,Family,Food — Janice @ 6:11 pm

I had every intention of writing EVERY DAMN DAY, so I can’t say where yesterday went to. I think it was the combination of having been at the computer all day long, doing my late night wrap-up work I have to do, and having the pull of a good football game distract me. Then the football game was such an amazing finale that I forgot about coming back to type. Oh well. It’s only a goal, not a law.

I saw a post today about what Christmas was like in the 1970s. I related very much to some of the items on the list, like receiving the Montgomery Wards, Penney’s, and Sears Christmas catalogues in October and poring through them circling everything we wanted or making long elaborate lists, making sure to note the full name and page number and letter so it would make it easier for mother to write on the order form and order them all for us. You had to order, ON PAPER, and mail it to someone to take out of the envelope and, for all I know, walk into their warehouse and pick out the items from the shelves themselves.  It was a little bit slower than our process of clicking one-button on the computer and then wondering why UPS didn’t have it with them the next day when they delivered.

Christmas at our house involved a lot of foods throughout the season. We always had Chex mix close at hand. Fudge, too. Mom would make divinity (if she had a bright sunshiny day to make it on because it wouldn’t work otherwise was what she always said), peanut patties, peanut brittle, or other Christmas candies. We usually had a fruitcake that someone made or gave to us and I never went near it. Now that I am older and LOVE fruitcake I wonder what I missed out on. We also had some eggnog close at hand. I think I liked it earlier rather than later, but there was probably a time I wasn’t sure about it.

I can remember lots of Christmas Eve’s at my grandmother’s or there were a couple of trips to see the out-of-town grandparents at Christmas. Some holidays had cousins or grandparents visiting us. But if I listed the favorite Christmases in the 70s, I am quite certain that I’d start with the Christmases where it was just our little family of four, Mom, Daddy, my sister, and me. I think we laughed and had more fun when it was just our little group than any other time. The others were memorable in many ways, but if I could go back, I’d pick one with just us.

December 2, 2015

Am I Sick?

Filed under: At home,Food,My Job — Janice @ 10:30 pm

No, I am not sick, but something’s up. I’m cranky. That’s never a good thing. And I just looked at a web site full of recipes and they all made me think, “Gag, that sounds awful.” Maybe I am sick. That certainly does not sound like me.

I did leave work to come home early today. I didn’t leave sick. I left sick and tired. But I didn’t stop working. I came home and worked the rest of the day. The office building has been doing something with their smoke and fire detection systems for way too long now. We’ve gone through it before and it started again, today. They have to prop open the doors of the stairs, the fire escape, and blow lots and lots of outside air through it to test something. I don’t quite understand the concept. What I do understand is that the stair door is just across a “hall” from my desk. Except it is a hall without walls and I am in an open cube. My 10 coworkers of my department are all grouped together in this cubbyhole area, but most have at least one cubicle wall blocking the wind from their faces. I do not. We put a thermometer on my desk today and it dropped to 64 degrees in a flash. That temperature can feel good when you are outside in it in the sunshine, but not inside when you are facing into a gale wind and trying to work. The last time this happened half of our staff in our department got sick from the cold or from the airborne allergies it forced into our faces. Today I picked up my work and came home and didn’t fight it.

But I went to the doctor today, not because I’m sick, but just for a check-up/follow-up. All is well, tests were fine, I’m a healthy girl. So I came home and took a nice nap to celebrate. I made some healthy soup for dinner, though I would have eaten chips and cheese for dinner if I had only had some. I cannot go to the grocery store when I’m in this cranky, poor-me mode. I do that and come home with way too much chocolate and crunchy salty things. I must wait until lettuce and salmon sound good to me.

Bottom line. I hate to write when I feel cranky and have nothing to write about. I hate to complain in a permanent blog where future employers (heck, current ones) can read it and judge me. But I swore I was going to write every day this month (let me hedge that — as much as I can), so here it is. Done.

December 1, 2015

Thanksgiving

Filed under: Family,Food,Travel — Janice @ 10:32 pm

It is a sad state of affairs that it is has been so long since I’ve blogged that I had to hunt for the little icon to click to write this. I have to learn everything all over again every time I go to do something to my website. This is no way to build a skill.

But I am back at it because of Holidailies and that yearly reminder that I want to write, I should write, I like to write, and I CAN write every day during December. Or at least I can swear that I will on December 1.

I did have a lovely Thanksgiving last week and that is something to share. My amazing sister got home from a week-long trip to Italy with her entire family. I don’t mean just HER family of her husband and sons and their wives and the new grandbaby, but also all her husband’s Dutch relatives… mother, brothers, sister, brother-in-law, niece, nephew and nephew’s girlfriend. They spent a week exploring Italy and enjoying good food and a beautiful (haunted) castle and flew across the ocean on Sunday. And then my sister immediately turned around, cleaned house, bought groceries, and started cooking for a fabulous lunch on Thursday. Incredible. I only marginally helped by baking 2 pies. They were delicious, but the meal was the centerpiece.

The Thanksgiving followed my mother having been here visiting at my house for 10 days. Some might groan if they thought about their mother coming for a stay like that, but my mother is easy company and fun. She sleeps late so we don’t even see her in the morning. We come home at night and she is happy to take us out to dinner, send us out to dinner, cook for us (she made potato/tomato soup that reminded me of all my growing up years), or eat cereal or cheese and crackers along with us. That’s our usual diet. She works Sudoku puzzles or Wordfind puzzles and watches old Westerns on TV Land and we’re all happy. After I got back from Thanksgiving I kept forgetting that she wasn’t here. I would be at work thinking I needed to get on home to see her and then remember that she was gone. It’s nice to be home with just the two of us, but it was really nice to have Mother here, too.

Now it is December and who knows where this month will take us. I have no plans to travel in December and I’ll be staying home for Christmas. But I would love to see my nephews’ homes at Christmastime, so I might have to make a quick trip to DFW to make drop in and enjoy their decorations.

March 17, 2015

A Fresh New Start

Filed under: At home,Austin,Bluebonnets,Cemeteries,Family,Food — Janice @ 11:29 pm

I guess the best way to return to a habit and get the ball rolling on this blog again is just to start.

And keep going. We’ll see if I can manage that.

I truly don’t know why I don’t. I write all the time, all over the place. This blog doesn’t have to be any more polished than the emails I write (since the same people will read it). So I will try.

I just had a beautiful fresh start to a New Year for myself with the big celebration for my 56th birthday (oops, I had a typo and put 65 first, can 65 ONLY be 9 years away?). It was a GREAT birthday. I have probably complained here in past years about how my birthday falls during Spring Break and, worse, during South By Southwest. South by Southwest is the Austin music conference/festival that is a fine event, but it keeps my husband, Mark, away from me much too much. But, every 6 years my birthday falls on the Sunday BEFORE SXSW and Mark can free up some time to celebrate my day.

It’s hard to believe it has been 6 years since we had a great lunch at El Chile on the east side and drove around observing the blooming mountain laurel and fruit trees and then visited the Texas State Cemetery. That was my first visit to the cemetery, even though we had lived here almost a decade by then. It was amazing and I’ve visited it many times since then. I am happily married to the only man in the world that would understand that a trip to a cemetery for a 50th birthday would be the best present.

This year Mark offered me a road trip to a Hill Country town or anything I wanted. I thought long and hard and decided a brunch at the 1886 Café in the Driskill Hotel and a trip to the Ransom Center would be my choice. Mark had some concerns about being downtown during SXSW, but we forged ahead and talked the café into letting us have a reservation even though they don’t take reservations  during SXSW or for brunch.

The Driskill is a beautiful hotel. It is Austin’s oldest and most opulent hotel, built in 1886. The lobby is big and marble with pillars and grand staircases and dark wood paneling.  We hadn’t  been there 3 minutes when I spotted Billy Crystal coming down the staircase. That’s the kind of magic that happens there.

With the ColonelHere we pose with Colonel Driskill. I was hoping for some orbs in the picture since he haunts the place, but no such luck. I was sniffing, trying to smell his cigar, but I didn’t get that either.

We enjoyed the cheese soup (amazing!) and I had quiche while Mark had steak and eggs. I also indulged in a bloody Mary.  It was fun to people watch, wondering if we looked like out-of-towners to them.

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We took a walk around the Driskill and then walked down 6th Street a little. I honestly don’t know  if Mark and I have EVER walked down 6th Street together. It is Austin’s Bourbon Street…something the city is known for, but nasty, dangerous, and a place the locals don’t go. In the daytime it is not so dirty or scary. There were lots of people out and the streets were closed so there was lots of room. We had fun pointing to buildings and remembering…. “This WAS Joe’s Generic Bar. This was Steamboat. This was where I played for this…. This is where I used to go ….” It has changed tremendously since I worked down the street when we moved here 16 years ago.

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There was no shortage of people watching on 6th Street. With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, we even saw leprechauns. We steered clear so I don’t know what they were soliciting. I have a feeling they weren’t going to lead us to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

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On to the Harry Ransom Center. It is a museum where my cousin works, yet I have never been to it. I wanted to go just to see where it was and what it was like. I didn’t need to spend hours there. It is a very nice small museum, known for its traveling exhibits, I suppose. But it does have a Gutenberg Bible on display, which is AWE-some in the truest sense of the word. And the first photograph ever made, in 1824, I think. Mark looked at the piece of metal with dark shapes on it, hardly distinguishable as a landscape outside a window at all. Mark commented, “Well, it isn’t even a very good photograph…. kind of grainy.” We laughed. It was the kind of exhibit that makes me want to go read more about the invention of photography.

There was also a big exhibit going on about Alice in Wonderland. A lot of people were there to see it and it was a beautiful display with LOTS about the book and the whole history of Alice. Somehow, I grew up without ever knowing much about Alice in Wonderland. I knew about her, but I don’t know if I actually ever read the book. I think I saw a cartoon. I think I once had a ceramic figurine of her. But since Mark and I didn’t have a real connection with Alice in Wonderland, we took the quick view through that exhibit.

I was happy and satisfied and content to go home to open birthday cards that had come through the week (I always save them until the day) and maybe get in a good nap. Before we got all the way home, Mark took a swing through a rehab facility by our house. Each spring there are fields of bluebonnets around the center so he wanted to check to see if any were blooming. Neither one of us have seen a bluebonnet by the highways yet. Lo and behold, they were beginning to bloom. There is no piece of nature that makes me as happy as the bluebonnet does. We stopped to do the Texas thing and take pictures in the bluebonnets. We will be back when they are more abundant.

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Now Mark is deep into his long days/nights of working during South By Southwest and I am a SXSW widow, home alone overnight. But the birthday is over and I don’t have to think about it falling during SXSW when I don’t get any attention. It was a happy and fun birthday and I’m grateful to my sweet husband and to all who sent the cards and presents and called and texted and Facebooked and emailed. There was no shortage of love.

December 10, 2014

Appliances

Filed under: At home,Childhood Memories,Food — Janice @ 11:09 pm

Amazon knows me all too well. I have an email touting all the latest kitchen equipment. No, I am not much of a cook, but I am drawn to the kitchen gadgets. I recently did order a “tiny pie making kit” with little tiny pie pans made of silicone (or is it silicon?). Plastic. It is practically plastic, but it doesn’t melt. I have, so far, not made a tiny pie, but I am eagerly anticipating feeling the pie-making urge come upon me so I can test out my new tiny pie pans.

I suppose Amazon also kept track of the juicer I bought a few months ago. I thought I would give that juicing fad a try and see if I could become incredibly healthy AND slim by drinking delicious green concoctions. I really did like the juice, but the process and the clean up became a drag. I am proud of myself that I did not just put the juicer on a shelf or in the back of a cabinet to sit. I bundled it up and gave it to someone else to try.

Well, now that I think about it, I also have been keeping an eye on immersible blenders on Amazon, too. I was watching the prices and yearning for one, but ended up buying one cheap in a big box store one day. It was really neat to have for the four or five pots of soup I made before it fell to pieces in my hands.

I look back on the appliances that my mother had as I was growing up and it is a little bit different than what I use today. At work, the subject of “percolators” came up. Most of the “kids” I work with had no idea what that meant at all. I grew up with a percolator preparing my parents’ coffee every morning. I loved the sound of the steam gurgling and struggling and then heating enough to push that gush of water up through the glass piece on the top to percolate down through the coffee nestled in the metal basket around the tube up the middle. The percolating coffee was a sweet sound to wake up to and the smell meant “home.”  We were always warned about that glass top, to be careful with it. You could get a replacement if it broke, but that would mean a trip to town and no coffee until it was replaced. I think Mom mostly handled the coffee pot and that delicate piece, but I do remember shaking out the grounds from that metal basket into the trash can. My folks switched to a Mr. Coffee after I left home, I think, but that must ahave been invented in the late 70s because I never owned a percolator. They were old-fashioned by the time I lived on my own.

Mother had a Sunbeam mixer on the countertop. I have a mixer of some type on my countertop, too. Mine is used mostly for cookies, though I always THINK I am going to use the bread hooks more than I do. Mom’s didn’t have the lock down feature mine has to keep the beaters from riding up on the dough, but hers had the nifty knob to slide back and forth to change where the bowl was in relation to the beaters. On mine the beaters move around the bowl, the bowl doesn’t move around the beaters. I miss how we could scrape down the sides of Mom’s mixer as we mixed. My current one is built so that you have to turn the mixer off before you can really get in to scrape the bowl sides. I’m sure less fingers go into the cake batter this way. That was a warning we always heard from Mother, to never reach into the bowl if you dropped your spatula or something. I seem to remember a scary tale of my aunt getting caught in the beaters. But she still has 10 fingers so maybe it was just a good fable to warn us.

We had the typical pop-up toaster from time-to-time in my life, but mostly we had the slide in broiler-type toaster. I would love to have one of those again. There was nothing better than a batch of Texas toast, slathered with butter on both sides and toasted good in that broiler, on top and then turned over. Yum. And cinnamon-sugar toast, or just sugar toast, was perfect from that broiler. And cheese toast (we called it grilled cheese, but I think that is something different to most people). Or maybe these were all just better from Mom’s toaster because they were prepared by Mom. In my kitchen I have a toaster oven that is fancy enough to bake in it, it says. I have never ever baked something in it. I toast. And maybe I melt some cheese on something. But I haven’t had cinnamon-sugar toast in years. Sigh.

We never had a microwave when I was growing up. I had my first one when I was already out on my own. We managed to get by. I think I could get by without a microwave again, but my poor husband would starve.

Oh, and crock pots! Those were invented somewhere along in the 70s and I’m sure Mom’s first one must have been harvest gold, like our kitchen, or avocado, the other ubiquitous color of the 70s. For those that don’t remember, except for a few VERY modern pink and blue stoves and refrigerators in the 50s and then the classy copper color that showed up in the nicest homes in the 60s, harvest gold and avocado were the first colors for appliances. We bought a harvest gold stove when we moved from Colorado back to Texas and we thought we were really uptown.

I can’t remember anything Mom made in a crock pot back in those days, but I would miss mine a lot if I didn’t have them now (I have a “regular” one and a big BIG one).

When we moved from Colorado back to Texas and had ordered the stove, but didn’t have it yet, we had a kitchen with appliances, but no stove for a period of time. I don’t know how long it was, probably not more than a week, but I remember the ingenuity my mother used to cook our meals. I felt like it was “Little House on the Prairie” to not have a stove and oven, but Mom did quite a job. She had an electric frying pan, so really that was suitable for most of the things she would have cooked on the stove. We had the toaster oven, too, and we had a little mini-coffeepot that could easily boil water. We used it to boil the water to make tea (we always drank iced tea with dinner) and we boiled eggs in it, too.

Amazon may succeed in selling me a new immersible blender and maybe even a new coffee pot in this holiday season. Now that I’ve gotten all nostalgic, I may have to see if they sell percolators and toaster ovens.

December 9, 2013

Childhood Foods

Filed under: Family,Food,Garden — Janice @ 11:55 pm

I read an article today about how the smell of childhood comfort foods brings memories back with more vividness than a photo. Duh.

But it got me to thinking about childhood comfort foods of my own. Cinnamon toast is the first thing that comes to mind. I’ve made a thousand slices of cinnamon toast for myself since I was a kid, but they never EVER have the taste and texture of the way Mom made them. White bread, probably real butter or good margarine, sugar and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Maybe being toasted under the flame of a gas broiler helped, too. I know I ate cinnamon toast a lot as a kid (and every year since), but I have the most vivid memory of Mother waking me up one morning. My sister had already gone to school that day, I was 3 or 4, and I must have been tired because I was still asleep. Mother gently woke me up and told me that Captain Kangaroo was on. She had a plate of cinnamon toast for me and the TV tuned to the Captain… sigh… even then I knew I had it good.

From those earliest years when we lived in Amarillo, I also remember Mom’s French fries. Of course they were always good, but I remember them more vividly in that house and they seemed to be more of a treat when we had them there. Kids today don’t even seem to know that you CAN cook your own French fries. You don’t have to rely on what the fast food places call a French fry. I’ll take Mom’s.

And lemon cake. Mom probably has no idea how much I loved her lemon cake. I don’t even think it was something she continued to make that much and I don’t have a recipe for it. But back in the early 60s she had a lemon sheet cake. I remember how good and moist and lemony it was. And then the ants got in it. I remember it sitting on the counter and it had ants and Mother just threw the whole thing in the trash. I was devastated. That was GOOD cake.

Stuffed peppers, homemade tacos, hamburgers, chicken fried steak, corn fresh off the stalk minutes before it was dropped in the boiling water, onions fresh out of the garden sliced and turned into the best onion rings, all the fresh vegetables (that I ate fried mostly), and cinnamon rolls out of a can. Just some of the comfort foods that are coming to mind. Oh, and meat. We lived on a farm. We would have our own cows butchered and we filled the freezer. We’d eat steaks and roast for a while and then work our way down until short ribs were the only things left. There is definitely a difference between good meat and so-so meat. Pizza made from a little box at my grandmother’s. Cream of Wheat at her house. Fresh tomatoes. I even experienced fresh milk— as in still warm from the cow – and real cream and real butter. I would like to try that again. Mom’s chocolate cake and her polka dot cake.

Ohmygod— cherry pie. I just thought of cherry pie. If I could time travel and go back for one plate of one food in my life it would be, hands down, Mom’s cherry pie made with cherries from our cherry trees or from my Aunt Dorothy’s cherry tree, all which were off shoots of my great-grandmother’s cherry trees. Small, sour, delicious. The best cherries in the world and a pie from them was the thing. Mark got to experience one piece of the ultimate cherry pie once. I’ve only had it one time in the last 20 years and I guess I have to come to terms with the fact that I never will. I don’t even attempt cherry pie because anything I make from any kind of store bought or farmer’s market cherry is never ever going to live up to that taste.

Holidailies 2013 Badge

December 7, 2013

Pork Stew

Filed under: At home,Food,Normal Life — Janice @ 11:34 pm

I made a pot of pork stew today to keep us warm while the temperatures stay in the 20s and 30s until tomorrow. And it turned out good! I have experimented with pork stew several times and have never been really happy. The Roaring Fork restaurant serves the most tremendous pork stew in the the world. I crave it. I want to get some right now, even though I am stuffed on my pork stew and gingerbread at the moment.

Of course, part of the reason their pork stew is so fabulous is that it comes in a little iron cauldron and is covered in cheese and there are toasty warm steamed flour tortillas along side it and, usually, at least when I go for happy hour, there is a beautiful glass of wine, too.

But I bought some cubed pork at the store the other day, the kind I usually don’t find and I have to cube it myself, so I thought I would try it again. I found a recipe online that is supposedly THE recipe from the Roaring Fork. Well, of course it has ingredients in it that I don’t have. Coriander powder, jalapeno powder, and green chile powder. I didn’t even have the garlic it called for (except now I realize I had plenty in a jar and I didn’t think of it).

All this recipe really was was green chiles, onion, and pork, and some cumin (I did own cumin!). The recipe didn’t call for browning the pork in the skillet, but I did that – dredging them in flour and spices, browning them in oil, and then putting them in the crockpot. I used 4 little cans of mild chiles and one huge onion. As it was cooking, it did NOT look that good. Oh, there was about a cup of water in there, too. It just looked like soup with bits of meat floating in it. But somewhere a few hours in, it changed and looked even worse. Now it was just one solid dark mass. But what a delicious mass it was! Surprisingly, it was very close to the Roaring Fork’s taste. I served mine with a dollop of sour cream to give it that creamy texture. Mark didn’t have sour cream and he liked it, too. And I didn’t have the tortillas and I didn’t have the cauldrons and I didn’t top it with cheese. But it was delicious, warming, and worth trying again.

No picture, sadly. It would have taken a good photo stager to make a bowl of it look appetizing, I think, but it really was. Yum. 

December 6, 2013

Snow Days

Filed under: At home,Austin,Food,My Job,Normal Life — Janice @ 10:41 pm

I don’t know where you live, but I would expect that wherever you are, people are worrying about the cold arctic blast that is hitting us. The Dallas/Fort Worth area, my old home, is iced over and everyone is hunkered down. Here in Austin, we only had cold weather and even with that we didn’t go below 32 officially today.

I have been through ice storms in Dallas and they are really something to worry about. Having come from super-cold country (Amarillo), I thought I could laugh at these people that couldn’t drive in this stuff. Then I learned what ice was all about. It truly was something that was totally different in nature from the snows of the Panhandle. I think I had one glorious ice day when I lived in Dallas. After many years in radio where there is no such thing as a snow day or an ice day, I had a non-essential job and got to stay home ONE time because of ice. It was glorious.

But the best snow day ever (okay, maybe outside of as a kid because those were always wonderful) was when I lived in Amarillo with my roommates Beth and Diane and we had a snow day. Well, actually, they had the snow day because they had jobs that did such a thing. I still got up and somehow made it through the drifts and did my morning show, but turned right around after and came home so THEN my snow day began.

I suppose if three single 20-somethings all lived together and had a snow day today they would spend most of their time on their smart phones or laptops or tablets talking with friends in other places and comparing notes about the cold weather. How sad! We had just the three of us and we made fudge and probably other fattening things. We played Scrabble and probably some card games, too. Yes, we had a TV, but no movies on hand or anything particularly good to watch, so the TV stayed off and we talked and played and cooked and laughed. It was memorable. Mostly for the fudge, but for the girls, too.

Today I sort of took a snow day. I still worked, but I worked from home. Not quite the same thing because I didn’t make fudge and I had no friends with me. But I enjoyed a fire and 3 kitties and a Christmas tree and I actually got some work done, too. The weather didn’t turn out so bad that I couldn’t have made it in after all, but I appreciate a flexible boss and job that let’s me be at home like this. Next time ice is predicted, I’m gathering up the ingredients for fudge.

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