Archive for December, 2011

December 28, 2011

Out with the old. In with the new.

New YearsWell this is the last post of 2011.  And just like a roller coaster, the year was full of ups and downs.  It started so bad for us with the death of my DBL, my neighbor and our beloved cat Luna, all in less than 3 weeks.  Then we watched my sister deal with chemo from afar.  My Dad suffered several heart attacks and his prognosis is not a good one.

But God is good and only dishes out things He knows we can handle.  So not everything in 2011 was bad.  I won my 1st online give away from the lovely Sew It All team.  The timing was so perfect as I received the box when I got back from my DBL’s funeral and I split the goodies with my grieving DML.

Then I found my great grandparents on the 1910 census records on Ancestry.com.  My Dad then confirms they were farmers and were known as the Pigeon Pea Clan. Di decided to do the Relay for Life and raised a good amount of money to fight cancer.

I survived the March 31st tornado hiding in my linen closet.  The only loss we suffered was a chunk of the loquat tree being ripped off.  After Main Coon kitty’s constant lonely cries we decided to adopt another kitty; a Chartreux mix we call Niza.  She has brought much-needed laughter to the home even thought she drives us crazy :P

Journey picked my sister as one of the fan VIP winners for their concert live on the Today show.  It was the 1st time she had the chance to actually touch the hand of one of the band members.  I cheered while I watched her on TV.

I was brave enough to move and makeover this blog.  I also added an annual flower bed to the garden to produce constant arrangements for the house and some extra to share with others.  And speaking of sharing, how about my mission trip to Honduras?  I met wonderful people in Moroceli and hope to one day see them again.

So when you go out to celebrate the New Year and say good-bye to all the bad stuff that happened, don’t forget to include the good things on your list.  I can almost bet they will out number the bad.  Celebrate all the good stuff that happened…the best is yet to come!

Linking to Transformation Thursday.

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December 21, 2011

Chicken & Pigeon Pea Stew

Gandules PodsGreat for warming up on the few chilly days we get in Florida.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of 5-6 chicken thighs
  • adobo seasoning
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup of canilla (extra long grain) rice
  • 1 lbs of fresh pigeon peas (or use 1 16oz can)
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbs fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tbs fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 tbs alcaparado
  • 1 sazon envelope ( I used the one with coriander & annatto)
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 avocado

Rinse the chicken thighs.  Season chicken to taste with adobo and set aside.  Place the rice in a bowl, cover with water and set aside.  Place pigeon peas in a saucepan, cover with 2 cups of water, cover the saucepan and heat on medium until it boils and shut it off after 5 minutes (skip this step if using canned).

In a dutch oven pour olive oil and heat over med high heat.  When the oil is hot, place the chicken in the dutch oven.  Heat the chicken until it browns, then turn and brown the other side.  Add the chopped onions, peppers and tomato.  Stir occasionally.  Once the onion is translucent, add the cilantro and oregano and stir again.  When the garlic is fragrant add the alcaparado and sazon.

Dump gandules and water from the saucepan into the dutch oven.  Add 6 cups of water and 1 cup of beer.  Turn up the heat to high until the liquid boils.  Drain the rice and add to the dutch oven.  Lower the heat to medium and cook and additional 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Serve hot with diced avocado on top.

Linking to Transformation Thursday, Everybody’s Creative Endeavor and Inspiration Friday.

December 14, 2011

Painted Glass Ornaments

OrnamentsAfter having a wonderful birthday filled with warm wishes from friends and family; it’s now time to put up Christmas decorations.  This year I’ve seen lots of pictures of friends homes and their lovely trees.  Not to mention the trees in the stores and especially our town bank.  So perfectly designed from the garland to the bows on the gifts under the tree.

My tree is not the most modern or coordinated in the world.  It’s a mix up of ornaments that DH and I feel brings back memories of our childhood.  There are also some homemade ornaments made in the past by me or Di.  So when we pull them out of their box and play music in the background, for a couple of hours we are transported to good times in the past and at the same time we create more good memories in the present time for the future.  It’s good to have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

For this project you will need:

* Clear glass ornaments with removable tops

* Paper cups

* Rubbing alcohol

* Pearl or glitter acrylic paint (I used Plaid Folk Art paints)

* Enamel acrylic paint (I used Plaid Folk Art enamel paints)

* Paint brushes

Instructions:

1. Remove cap and pour about a tablespoon of pearl or glitter paint inside of the ornament.  Slowly swirl the ornament until all of the inside surface is covered with paint.  Turn the ornament upside down into the paper cup and let the excess drip (I usually leave it for a week just to be sure).

2. Rub the outside of the glass with rubbing alcohol to remove oils and residue from handling.  Paint your chosen design with the enamel paint on the outside of the ornament. I’m sure stencils would work well also.  Let the ornament air dry for a couple of days.  It takes 21 days for it to dry to a permanent finish but if you’re sure no one will touch the ornaments while hanging on the tree, you should be able to display them 1 week after painting the outside.

So here is my question for you: With all the sights and sounds of the holiday season at home and in the community; which ones bring back memories of your childhood?

Linking to Transformation ThursdayEverybody’s Creative Endeavor and Inspiration Friday.

December 7, 2011

Rice with Pigeon Peas

Gandules
So what’s all the fuss with my pigeon pea bushes?  Well, our traditional Christmas Eve dinner depends on them.  Oh yeah, I could buy the canned ones but nothing beats fresh ingredients for taste.  If you can’t get them fresh, try frozen.  You can find them at your local Spanish bodega (market).

A large cast aluminum or cast iron pot works best.  Remember to always keep in mind the rice to water ratio.  That will make the difference between uncooked rice and mushy mess.

Arroz con Gandules

Rice with Pigeon Peas

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • ½ cup diced smoked ham
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ½ cup chopped green peppers
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 Tbs of ”Alcaparrado”
  • 1 packet of “Sazon with coriander and annatto/ Sazon con cilantro and achiote”
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbs of chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 8oz can “Spanish style tomato sauce”
  • 1 ½ cup fresh/frozen or 16oz can pigeon peas
  • 2 cups “Canilla rice”
  • 3 cups water
  • Adobo seasoning
  1.  Heat pot on med.  Coat bottom of the pot with olive oil.  Add smoked ham.  Sauté ham and stir occasionally until it starts to turn a little brown.  Add chopped peppers and onions and stir.  Cook until onions are translucent.  Add garlic, olives/capers, sazon, cilantro and oregano. Cook and stir until garlic is fragrant.  Add tomato sauce and pigeon peas, stir until bubbly.
  2. Add 2 cups of Canilla rice and stir mixture coating the rice.  Raise the temp to high and quickly add 3 cups of water (some people combine the water with broth or beer to give more flavor).  Stir the rice occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.  Taste the liquid.  Sprinkle adobo to taste.  When the liquid bubbles, stir once scrapping the bottom of the pot, quickly cover and lower the temp to low.  Do not touch the pot or uncover until 20 minutes have gone by.  If you do, you will release the steam and the rice will not cook.
  3. After the 20 minutes, uncover, turn the rice and taste.  Make sure the rice is cooked all the way thru.  If not, cover and cook for another 10-20 min on low.  Enjoy!

What kind of traditional hand me down recipes do you make for the Holidays?

Linking to Transformation Thursday