Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tamale Pie... nom nom!


Trust me to have things backwards...
Yeah... it may be "springtime" here in Australia, but to old American me... October means cooler weather, and good ol' "stick-to-your-ribs" kind of meals.


Which is why I said that I have things backwards... All you have to do is say the word "October" to me, and I'm suddenly yearning and salivating for my favorite Autumn foods. Or maybe that's "Autumnal"? Hey, I'm sure I don't know...
All I know for sure is that I get all organized, and go searching for the rubber boots and gloves and woolen scarves, and then I want to bake gingerbread men, and Almond Thumbprint cookies. In 80 degree heat.
Which is proof that I'm messed up.

So even though I've been here in Australia for 15+ years now, I still do the whole back ass-wards thing each and every year.
Like clockwork.
And... for the last few weeks, I've had a serious, serious hankering for spicy casserole type meals - but I've had a special craving for Tamales.
Which are impossible to find ready-made here, as are corn husks for making my own.

I will say that I did make some killer Chimichangas last week, (the Old Guy is addicted to them, and would happily eat them every night for a month - which is okay with me, just as long as he goes home to his own bed every night. Just sayin'...) but for tonight, I wanted something a little easier and less labor-intensive.

So I decided to fall back on that old Fall (springtime?) favorite... Tamale Pie.

Tamale Pie

Ingredients

~ 2 T. oil
~ 1 onion
~ 1 pepper
~ 2 cloves garlic, or more if preferred (which I do)
~ 1/4 cup chopped jalapeƱo pepper (optional for some, maybe... but not for me)
~ 1 pound ground beef,
~ 2 cups tomato pieces, canned or fresh, with juice
~ 2 cups corn kernels, fresh, canned or frozen (Iuse canned)

~1/2 cup of sliced olives (with a little more for garnish)
~ 1/2 cup beef broth or water
~ 1 t. chili powder, or to taste (which in my case means about a tablespoon)
~ 1 cup corn meal
~ 1 cup grated cheese (cheddar, jack, or Mexican Blend)
~ salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 350° F.

Chop onion, garlic and peppers.
Heat oil, and cook onion, garlic and pepper until softened ~ about 5 minutes or so.
Mix meat with 3/4 teaspoon salt, crumble and add to pan.
Cook and stir until the meat is done.
Add tomatoes, corn, olives, broth and chile powder.
Simmer together while preparing the corn meal.
Bring 2 cups water to a boil; slowly add corn meal, stirring vigorously to prevent lumping. (Mixture will be a little thick and gluggy.)
Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste.
Stir corn meal mixture into other ingredients and then place in a casserole dish or baking pan.
Sprinkle cheese over the top and bake for about 30 minutes.

And this is what you end up with:






Disclaimer: Not my pic - I have to admit that I found it online somewhere. I also have to admit that it looks a whole lot less messy than mine does, but you get the gist...





















Sunday, October 16, 2011

Nothing much to say...

Other than I miss blogging, and I seriously miss catching up with y'all!!

I really don't know why it is, but even though I'm not working near as hard as I was a year ago, I seem to have less and less time to myself anymore... and even less time for blogging or reading blogs.
I guess a lot of it has to do with trying to get one household up and running from a long, long distance... and trying to shut one down, right here at home.

The renovations here are taking a lot longer than I had initially planned, but to tell you the truth, back when I started this journey of " heading home", I had a lot more $$'s coming in, and they were sure as hell coming in on a much more regular basis.
Nowadays, it's a matter of trying to decide if I want to buy paint or materials... or if I want to buy food.
Or maybe even some sanity. Which would be utterly lovely, I think.

And if it were just me, I know which option I would go for.
And which option my well padded butt would probably highly recommend.
But unfortunately for me at the present time, I have a teenager who seems to be pretty partial to eating at least 2 square meals a day.
And if you've ever had teenagers (or if you've ever been one yourself, I guess) I bet you know that they're pretty much bottom-less pits at times, and they sure as tooting aren't cheap to keep!
And those inevitable "growth spurts" when they try and cram a weeks worth of food into just a couple of short hours? Well.... all I can say is: Oi vey! That's enough growing, already!

I honestly feel like I've been to hell and back the last few months, with one thing or another... and I can't wait until everything settles down once again, and I can at least feel like I at least have some semblance of control in my life again.
Even if I don't really.

There's just been so much happening in my life lately - good, bad and indifferent - but most of it on the "middlin' to bad" side - that even though I know that I need to talk about it and get the weight of some of it off my chest, so to speak.... I also know that I just can't do it right now. I just don't have the energy.

Like these old shoes, I feel just plumb worn out at the present moment...



But I'm not ready for the scrap heap quite yet...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Anyone got Q-Tips?


I seriously need to get my hearing checked I think... or else call the Roto-Rooter man to come clean the ear wax out!

See, it was The Lad's 17th birthday yesterday, and although I'm still mad at him and I don't know if things will ever truly get back to normal between us, I'm not a nasty enough biotch to let his birthday go by without celebrating it in some fashion. And last year (his 16th birthday) he was still living in a group home - and not one of the finest in the state, either... so little or nothing was done to "celebrate" the milestone. His records show that they took him to McDonald's... and that was it.
Whoop-ti-do, eh?

And add the fact that his mother basically couldn't be stuffed with planning anything to celebrate his birthday, (she had him for 2 hours access earlier in the week - and then handed him $20 bucks) and I felt kind of "emotionally and morally obligated" to do something at least marginally memorable... ya know?

So I asked him what he would like to do for his birthday, giving him a couple of options... and he opted for a lunch time barbecue with a couple of his mates around. Easy peasy.

I asked him clearly how many people he wanted to invite, and he told me 19... so I went to Costco on Friday to buy the place out. Sausages, party pies, sausage rolls, chips, drinks, chips and even a couple of killer size bags of lollies (candy) because no matter how old he may think he is, he's still a kid - and so are his friends.
And a cake. Can't forget the cake.
A humongous cake because I knew that 19 kids would polish it off, lick the plates and then ask for more.
Because I'm smart that way.

At the end of the shopping trip, I had stuff in the fridge, The Old Guy's fridge, and I even hit up the next door neighbor, asking her if she could store some of it for me.
I was organized, let me tell you what!

So yesterday rolls around, and I was up bright and early, getting pans ready, tomatoes and onions sliced, bowls ready for the chips and candy, ice for the soft drinks, and I even used my favorite bedspread as an emergency tablecloth on the big table.
Everything was perfect.

11:30 comes... and so far we have a couple of kids here (okay, maybe 5 or 6) and they're outside stuffing their faces with junk food, listening to and semi-dancing to some kinda crap on CD's... So I asked The Lad again how many kids were due - and again he told me 19.

So I waited to put stuff in the already ready-and-waiting oven, keeping myself busy slicing even more tomatoes and onions... and in the meantime a few more kids arrive and they go right into stuffing their faces and gyrating to the semi-music. If you can call that stuff "music". (Lordy, I've turned into my parents, I think!!)
But since we were still low on numbers, I continued to wait for more kids to arrive... and I kept busy preparing replacement platters and bowls of food to feed the hungry hoard and running non-stop in and out the back door.

1 o'clock comes, and The Lad comes in and asks if we can start the barbecue now, because everyone is starting to get hungry.

"Okay, well we'll start now, and maybe by the time the meat's done everyone else will have arrived."

"Everyone else, who? Everybody is here already! Who did you invite?"

"I didn't invite anyone - it's your party and you were told that you could choose who to invite. I only meant the other kids that haven't arrived yet. Since there are only 9 of you so far, we still have another 10 coming."

"TEN more? But this is everyone that I invited - and we're hungry now!"

"Noooo.... you told me 19, and we only have 9 kids here right now."

What??? I never said 19! "

"Yes you did.... you said 19 kids were invited!"

No I didn't!

Yes you did.

No I didn't!!!

Yes you DID, you said that 19 were coming!

No I didn't say that 19 kids were coming...I said NINE TEENAGERS are coming!

Oh bloody hell... I thought you said nineteen - and why in the name of all that's holy, would you even say nine "teenagers"? Nobody in their right mind says "nine teenagers are coming to my party"!

Well, because now that I'm 17 and more mature, (yes folks, he assumes that it happens that easily and quickly) I wanted you to know that all the kids I invited are all grown up teenagers... and that there were no little kids invited to my party, so you wouldn't buy balloons or want us to do pin-the-tail-on-the donkey games and stuff!!

Now this is what I was envisioning:

But what isn't what I got.
Which serves me right for "envisioning" anything when teenagers are concerned.

The end result is that I have enough food left over to feed an army.
I have enough sausages and party pies and pasta salad and potato salad left over to choke a horse - Hell... there's enough left to choke a whole herd of wild mustangs. Maybe 2 or 3 herds.


And then what does The Lad decide to ask at the end of the day, when I've got counter tops and tables and fridges full of leftover food?

Can I spend the night at Tom's house tonight?

Omigosh....YESSSS! Help me clean up, and I'll tell you what. If you'll stay for 2 or 3 nights, as a "special one time only deal", you can even supply the food to cover their meals for the next 2 or 3 days! And since there are 6 of 'em, don't forget to take half that monstrous cake with you!!!

But I've still got enough sausages and hot dogs left, that I almost want to break down in tears... I'm thinking Sausages in wraps with leftover lettuce and tomatoes, Toad in the Hole, Italian Rice and Sausages with Pasta... and a gazillion other things that can be done using cooked leftover sausages.

And even then, I think I'll still have cooked and frozen sausages and frankfurters coming out of my ears for another week or so... at least!

Now, the cats are fussy, and I know that they won't touch most of it, but after the next few nights, I think the dogs are gonna think they died and have gone to sausage and party pie heaven!

I just wonder if they'll clean the wax out of my ears, while they're at it?

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