Friday, March 27, 2015

April showers bring May flowers...and muddy boys!

It was a rainy spring day in Kansas...just a few years ago. Today I was looking for some pictures that I KNOW are on my hard drive, but I found these gems instead.  To put the date in perspective, the rascally-looking redhead in the picture is now 6'7" tall and I am really not sure which of my twins this is. Once they were a little older, I could easily tell the difference. (Yeah, right--I still mix them up.)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Big Bold Beef Carnitas -- pressure cooker recipe!

So I guess you can teach an old dog, new tricks--and this old dog is really excited about a new trick I learned! I was honored to speak about my blog at a recent county Farm Bureau meeting, alongside Chef Alli of Chef Alli's Farm Fresh Kitchen. She brought along her electric pressure cooker and made a delicious, unique recipe unlike any I've ever had...and it was all ready in 25 minutes! Big Bold Beef Carnitas, or so it is named on her blog.

We had a little fun with me stirring and pouring ingredients into her pressure cooker on command--with my mom and sister in the audience, as well.  Alli first had me season the beef roast and brown it right in the pressure cooker...then we added the liquid and seasoning, including orange zest.  She handed me the zester and an orange and with a smile on her face said, "do you know how to zest?"  I was sure this was a trick and looked out to the audience and asked my mom, "Did I never learn to zest?!"  Luckily everyone laughed and Chef Alli taught me the correct way to zest! And boy did that make a difference!!!

Anyway, the morning after our speaking engagement, I hustled out to the store to look for an electric pressure cooker...and struck out. None to be had in Manhattan, KS.  So instead I bought 3 zesters and 3 oranges and delivered them to my sister and mom and kept one for myself!  Then I got online and ordered an electric pressure cooker!

But I couldn't wait to share the recipe with my husband, so I made Chef Alli's Big Bold Beef Carnitas in the crockpot. Not quite as good, but still pretty dang good!  She paired them with her spicy cole slaw and a lightly toasted tortilla. DELISH! So check out the links and then you will fall in love with her blog! And you may find yourself looking for an electric pressure cooker and a zester!

Just so you know, my pressure cooker arrived in the mail on Wednesday, and I had been working outside with the cattle all day. I was dog-tired, dirty and hungry. All I wanted was a hot shower and something to eat. Soooooo...I unpacked my new handy dandy pressure cooker, threw some frozen chicken breasts, pesto sauce and mushrooms in it, set it for 25 minutes and headed to the shower. When I got out of the shower (yes, I took a loooong hot shower) I could smell dinner! It was ready before I even had a glass of wine poured. EXCELLENT purchase! Thanks, Chef Alli!

I love cilantro so we added a bunch to her cole slaw. I am interested to hear what you think of cilantro---love it or hate it?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Dear Superman's Mom: a letter of thanks & comfort to the mother of an organ donor

Dear Superman's Mom:

I truly don't know the actual identity of who I'm writing to, but as a mother, I address my letter to the mother of my hero--my son's organ donor.  In my mind I think of your child as Superman, because they saved my son's life this fall by giving him their liver. But I also think of you and your family as Super, for in the midst of unimaginable pain watching your loved one die, you chose to help my son to live. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your unselfish desire to see something good arise through tragedy.

 My son graduated from high school last May, as the valedictorian of his small town high school. Looking back, we now realize he had the early symptoms of rising bilirubin--unexplained itching and insomnia. Since he hadn't been sick and is a young, healthy farm kid, we never suspected liver failure or an autoimmune disease! As the summer went on, the symptoms worsened. We visited the doctor many times, to be given new creams or steroids to control the itching. Nothing worked, until one day in July, I noticed his eyes were slightly yellow! That sent us to the KU Medical Center to the excellent team of Hepatologists. Even then, we thought he had slight liver damage due to an acne medicine he had been taking. Unfortunately, he continued to get worse and we found ourselves back in Kansas City with him undergoing tests we had never heard of. He was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) and although it usually takes years to ruin your bile ducts, he found himself on the transplant list within weeks.

Let's talk!

Thank you for reading! If you like this post, I would appreciate any comments and shares. You can see a bit more about me and my family here, and connect with me on facebook and twitter! Please do! Connecting is the WHOLE POINT of blogging! I'd love to hear from you.