Friday, October 14, 2011

Opportunities (Abi's b-day blog)

I picked up a VERY heavy hearted Abigail from school today.  I asked what was wrong and she just broke down sobbing. 
My local readers likely know of Josh Walton and his struggle with Leukemia...for those that don't, he is a teenager battling this terrible disease and this has not been a good 24 hrs for him. 
As she sat crying beside me, I had such a rush of emotions.  I was stricken with sadness for Josh and his family and for my baby girls heavy heart.  Anxiety for trying to find the right words to comfort her, while preparing her.  I felt proud of her compassion and sincerity for this boy. But the most powerful moment  came when God placed a little guilt on my shoulders.  More about that in a moment...
For now I will address my lack of the"birthday blog" I promised last week.  I sat here last Thursday, in this same chair, with full intentions of laying out her just wouldn't come!  I sat and randomly typed, deleted, re-typed.  I even tried to save and come back later and it wouldn't let me.  As I walked into the house this afternoon, thinking about sharing this blog, I realized, God was having me wait until I REALLY had something to say before I wrote.  Even as I sit here now I am unsure of how this will all come together...I am just trusting Him that it will.
Speaking of trusting Him...back to my twinge of guilt.  I think when non-believers have "epiphanies," they chalk it up to a good a idea...the proverbial light bulb, if you will.  I, however, do believe and I know that God talks to me...more than I listen (just being honest here).  Today, he very clearly advised me that my children cannot live and die by my faith and understanding alone.  I spend so much of my time sheltering my kids from the evil this world has lurking at every corner, and the sorrow that looms around us.  That is VERY much my job...please don't misunderstand me!  It's just moments like today, however, when we truly get to instill a lifelong reference.  In the silence of the car, with tears running down both of our faces, I realized this was an opportunity. 
On March 25, 2007 @ 10am, I got the phone call no mother wants to get..."Abi has been in an accident."  She was with my parents in Kansas at a rodeo.  At 7 years old, this child had already been riding a horse for 5 years.  There was nothing in this world she would rather be doing than barrel racing on her little blonde pony...Dodge.  And she was good!  I was helpless!  It had rained all night and the rodeo grounds were a sloppy, wet, muddy mess.  Her horse spooked...and as he scurried back he slipped, rolling over backwards onto Abi.  All I could do was PRAY and WAIT for my mothers updates.  3 Ambulances and 2 hospitals later, she was on her way home.  Not because she was ok...she was far from it.  I took her straight to the ER here.  Her condition was only worsening when they found the puncture in her bowels.  The dr. was very open with us regarding her prognosis and the eminent danger she was in.  Life-Flight was called in and as predicted her vitals crashed mid-flight.  She made it to Amarillo and went into surgery at midnight.  In the midst of the chaos and concern, I had an unfathomable sense of peace.  Why?  Well, Jesus of course, but also because my mom took the opportunity when I was little to instill lifelong references.  I didn't know what the light of day was going to bring, but I was not fearful.  I knew He had a plan.  Surgery was a success and 9 days later she was released. 
Now, this would be alot for an adult to face and overcome, she was a 1st grader.  At her 6 week follow-up she was released to resume her normal activities.  This included riding her horse, though it was unclear if that was an option in her mind. 
It took several weeks, but she finally asked if she could just "sit" on her horse.  She "walked" the next day.  Four weeks in she was full throttle.  As if nothing!  Who can do that?  What CHILD can muster the courage to fall down (hard) and climb back on?  Abigail.  John Wayne said "Courage is being scared to death, and saddling up anyway"...can't think of a more fitting quote for her. 
We are all tested...each in our own way.  Out of these tests come our testimonies.  And in that, our ability to help others going through the same. 
My child did not battle cancer.  But through my experience I was able to teach Abi today.  Because I almost lost a child I was able to speak with confidence to the situation she was experiencing. 

In the silence of the car, with tears running down both of our faces, I realized this was an opportunity...I simply said "We know God is able, but we also know that He appointed us a day to be born and a day to die and Jesus may be calling him home.  Let's just pray for God's will."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Grown-Up Grilled Cheese

Ahhh...the simplicity of a good 'ol grilled cheese sandwich.  Maybe I'm just a big kid, but I still LOVE a grilled cheese.  Quick, easy, CHEESY...what's not to love? 
This recipe is like...a grilled cheese grew up, went to college, got a job, and BOUGHT A WHOLE NEW WARDROBE!'s THAT good!

Okra (MY way)

Holy Cow!  I haven't blogged since June has been one busy summer! With work, a wedding, vacation...oh yeah...and 4 kids, it's been CA-RAZY!
This recipe just may be worth the wait though.  2 ingredients...I repeat...2 INGREDIENTS!  This time of year backyard gardens are spilling over with veggies, especially okra.  Not that I have a garden.  But, my mom has a garden this year.  Not that my okra came from her garden...not that I have gotten ANYTHING from her garden...I'm thinking I need to talk to her about that!  Regardless, the local supermarkets are also overflowing with it AND if it's not summer, you can always find it in the frozen food section. 
I know that most of you will gasp in shock and maybe insinuate that I am un-American or maybe just un-Southern...but, I DON'T LIKE FRIED OKRA!!  There I said it. While I'm at it...I DON'T LIKE STEWED OKRA!!  It feels good to have it out in the open.  I like pickled okra.  AND...I love anything cooked in bacon grease...which brings us to today's recipe!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lessons Learned

Well, today has been very educational for me. 

Lesson #1.  Even if the house is 76*...Adriaan must wear a pair of shorts to bed!  He apparently took off his diaper at bedtime last night...needless to say...lesson learned the smelly wet way!

Lesson#2.  Never let Matthew go to the bathroom unattended at Sea World!  No, I didn't go to Sea World today, but, I did take him and some friends to the movies.  As we were standing outside the bathrooms waiting on everyone to potty...Matthew takes a drink from the water fountain and describes the taste this way...Gross, this taste like the toilet water at Sea World!  I am unsure how much of this comment was from direct experience.

Lesson #3.  Not really a lesson per say...I was one of 2 people in the car that could touch my nose with my tongue!  Tatum rock!!

Lesson #4.  Taking 6 children to Amarillo, eating, doing a tiny bit of shopping, and going to a movie is alot like living in nature.  It is survival of the fittest and apparently...I need to work out more! 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Chocolate Caramel Cake


 We are to make a Chocolate  Caramel  Cake. Trust Me the Title is not the only that is good .
1st get some Chocolate CakeMisk, WhippingCream, HeathBar, and some Caramal.

Pesto Cream Sauce

Say it with me...NOTHING TO IT!!  This is THE easiest sauce ever, but soooo tasty!  I am not sure how many of you have tried pesto.  It is a combo of basil, olive oil, garlic, and usually some kind of nut (mine had cashews).  While it is fairly easy to make your own pesto...I bought mine (that's even easier!!).  This pasta dish is very versatile, it could be a side dish for almost any kind of meat...a main dish if you added shrimp or chicken, or even just by itself. 

Alright...get out your pen and paper cause this is what you need:
YEP!!  That's it! 
1 container of Pesto
1 c of heavy cream

Ok Ok...I know there is butter in the pan and I didn't list is completely UNNECESSARY!!  I just have an's my own affliction and I try desperately not to corrupt others!!  (But everything is better with butter...just sayin!!!)

Add the pesto

Add the cream...
I like to let this simmer and thicken while my pasta cooks.

Shown here with Chicken Cordon Bleu.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I LOVE shoving "stuff" inside chicken breasts!! Chicken makes the best vehicle for tasty little tid-bits. Ian actually requested "Chicken Cordon Bleu" for dinner one night. Let me just explain how this usually - "Hey babe, what do you want for dinner?" him - "I don't care, just something." Soooo, when he  asked for "something" in particular I took notice. I had never attempted Chicken Cordon Bleu before so I looked around and read several recipes, then adapted my own from the compilation of them all. It's classic, yet simply done.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Chicken "Schnitzel"

Has anyone else gotten caught up in this "extreme couponing" whirlwind?? I had heard of it in passing, and since I cook enough for 8 every night I am constantly seeking some way to save money ESPECIALLY on my grocery bill. Well, Ian and I caught our first episode of "extreme couponing" the other night. While I was fascinated by all of the things they got for free like 1000 tubes of toothpaste, and 114 bottles of excedrine pm...the one that stood out most to me was the 97 packages of croutons this lady got. Seriously? Who needs 97 packages of crountons for God's sake?! And because my mind works the way it does, I was up at several different intervals that night trying to imagine what all you could do with croutons. Then it hit me...BREADCRUMBS!! Butter and garlic croutons would make pretty darn good breadcrumbs. DUH!
Now, what can I do with breadcrumbs?? SCHNITZEL!!!! My family loves schnitzel...which is a chicken breast pounded out flat, breaded, and pan fried. I typically would use italian breadcrumbs but I used croutons!! This dish is SUPER easy and weeknight friendly!!
I will apologize in advance for the lack of step by step pics but I was 1/2 way done with dinner when I remembered "I should blog!"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

BACON pralines!!

FINALLY...something sweet on the 3a.m. site!!  But of had to have BACON!!  BACON BACON BACON BACON BACON!! 
Sorry...I just had to get that out!  I'm better now!  BACON!  Just kidding! 
Now I am not a big fan of pralines, however, if you add bacon to the mix...I'm game!  These are incredible!  Creamy, crunchy, sweet, bacon-ee!  So so so good!
This is a "candy" and it does call for a candy thermometer.  This is a VERY simple recipe so please please please do not be intimidated!  I'll tell you a secret...I couldn't find my candy thermometer so I used the bbq thermometer I had and it didn't go high enough to be "accurate"...but I love a good challenge!  

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easy Cheesy Lasagna

This, my friends, is "chicken feet and brussel sprouts!"  Well...that is what we call it at our house.  My kids are professional at asking..."WHAT'S FOR DINNER???"...I mean, who wouldn't be when you ask 40,000x a day??  So one time I just blurted out the most unappetizing thing that I could come up with on such short notice..."chicken feet and brussel sprouts!"  IT STUCK!! 
It is, in reality, delicious, easy, cheesy lasagna!! 
This is the lasagna that my mom has made my whole life...and I have NEVER met anyone that didn't give it rave reviews!

Friday, March 25, 2011


You will not find this in ANY cookbook ANYWHERE! This recipe is home-grown and a major family favorite! My mom says that my grandma (my dad's mom) taught her how to make grandma says she has no idea what my mom is talking about! Frankly, considering the mental status of both of these's a toss-up! Who really knows?? 
These are not "taquitos" like you are used to.
This is "mexican" style hamburger meat wrapped in an rice paper (like an eggroll) and fried! Strange and delicious and FRIED!!!
I am not sure that this is technically "mexican food" self respecting latino/a would make this for their grandma.
It's certainly not "chinese food"...though without the rice paper this dish would not be the same!
I think I'll deem it "mexinese" or "chinexican"...either way your gonna love it!
These are very often the requested meal at my mom's house...and when she makes them she makes at least 40!  We have a big family but more than that we have big appetites...shameful really!

Note* You must know that at MY house...I cannot cook this for dinner without making ranch dressing.  Out of the packet...not out of the bottle.  It is mandatory!

Note2* I have also adapted the original recipe (whom-ever's recipe it was) to accommodate my American need for processed cheese.  Stop crinkling your nose!  YOU don't have to add's go-od!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dinner Quiche

This recipe is very dear to my heart! My best friends mom...Patty Hammett...passed away November of last year and how she is missed. But I don't want this to be sad, I want this to be a celebration of Patty.
Patty taught me 3 things in life:
1. The true meaning of "never look a gift horse in the mouth!" If someone wants to give you something or do something for you...let them and be blessed by their gift!
2. We all have challenges in life, but how you choose to live with those hurdles is what defines you. Patty was legally blind, however, if you were not told you would not know. She did not view it as a crutch and I loved that about her!
3. Her recipe for QUICHE!
This no ordinary quiche...well...maybe it is an "ordinary" quiche and maybe that's why it is so great! Quiche is thought of as a "girly" dish, but let me tell you that my husband LOVES it. He will even ask for it..."Can we have that girly pie thing?" There is something about my big burly husband eating a perfect slice of quiche that makes me giggle inside. It's just so unexpected. Frankly, there is nothing girly about this has all the man components...MEAT, CHEESE, EGGS, CRUST...crust?? is that girly? NAH!

Friday, March 18, 2011

snips, and snails, and puppy dog tails...

Matthew Wade, born June 6, 2006, weighing in at a whopping 10 lbs. He made a "big" entrance into this world and has continued that theme in his short little life. My Mattie has a "BIG" personality and makes a "BIG" impression on those fortunate enough to come across his path.

"Ode to Bacon Grease"

GASP....SHOCK....AWE!  Yes I said BACON GREASE!  This pleasing pork product is a staple in my kitchen.  I know that I am not alone in stashing this dirty little flavor arsenal...heck, they sale containers devoted to storing the stuff!  I know...because I have one...and so does my mom. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sausage Rolls

Who loves breakfast for dinner??  I DO!!  Oh man have I found the recipe for all of my fellow BFD fans!  This dish has all of the elements of something "fancy" from a restaurant but easy enough to make at home!  Warning to all of those Pastry Panic-er' do have to make a biscuit dough BUT I promise it is not as complicated as you make think...cross my heart!  You CAN do this...and strut around with pride when you do...I give you permission!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cookie Confessions

I typically keep an open eye out for my next significant blog know? that is informative, touching, or matters in some irrelevant way. But I just thought I would make everyone a little more comfortable with their humanity.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bleu Heaven Pizza

I couldn't possibly come up with a better name for this pizza!  It IS a little slice of heaven! 
We don't go to the mountains as much as we should for as close as we live.  But, when we go, Angel Fired Pizza is a must on my list of "to do's."  It's just a quaint little pizza parlor with imported beer, the BEST house-made Sangria ever, and "Bleu Heaven" pizza.  They have all kinds of pizza, but I only go for THIS pizza!  It's steak, bleu cheese, carmelized onions, and olive oil on a thin crust! mouth is watering just thinking about it!  I know that this is not necessarily for everyone's taste palet, but for those of you brave enough to try will NOT be disappointed.  I actually have added an alfredo sauce for the base because I think it adds a little "something" and ensures that the pizza won't be too dry.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It smells "Right"

Matthew's kinder-prep class had big plans to celebrate the 100th day of school with a pajama party today.  Last night as I was tucking him into bed, we were talking about what he would need for his party...
house shoes-check

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Aprons...the modern cooks cape!

A cook without an apron is like Superman without his cape!  When I step into the kitchen and dawn my inner cook is unleashed and food magic happens! 

 I know aprons are not a necessary tool in the kitchen, like a pot or pan.  But I do believe that they are one of those fun gadgets, like a lemon zester or melon baller, that liven things up!

Aprons go back to forever ago...literally.  I read once that Adam and Eve's fig leaf attire was technically the first "apron"...and maybe so.

Today's aprons are not your mom's frumpy plaid get-up. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Shrimp Fettucini Alfredo

"What do you want for dinner tonight?" OR "What's your favorite thing that mommy makes?"  Either of those questions will generate the same response from Ani Pate...FETTUCINI ALFREDO!  Now, I don't know who this "Alfredo" guy is, or why they named a sauce after him and paired it perfectly with pasta...but I'm glad his momma had him!  My family all but licks their plate when finished with dinner (I am fairly certain that some of them have when I'm not looking)!

I am not a big fan of jarred alfredo sauce so I am super excited to let you in on this recipe.  It's mega easy and the flavor difference is well worth the LITTLE extra effort.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Here we are!

Meet my handsome hubby...Ian.  Everything a girl could ask for...including a really hot accent!  Ian farms... ALL DAY...and he loves it!  He also loves to lick his finger and stick it in any unprotected ear within 100 yrds.  Never a dull moment!

This is Abi!  Beautiful only begins to describe her...pain in the patoot usually ends the description.  She is  good for a laugh, a quick witted remark, and strives diligently to be "odd" (she is getting better and better at it).

This is lil Ani Pate!  Also beautiful and VERY artsy fartsy!  Oh the drama that embodies this's incredible...sometimes I just stare in amazement.  Ani forgets NOTHING!

Here's Matt!  I have a really nice photo of him too but this one describes him best...he literally believes that he is a cop...and he WILL "under arrest you!"  Matthew has NO filter for his mouth & says EVERYTHING that is on his mind.  At home this is public it's mortifying!

Oh my sweet Adriaan!  Our newest family member.  He is just so yummy I could eat him, however, he has more fat content than any box of chocolate or gallon of ice I'll just squeeze his cheeks!