Wednesday, February 3, 2010


One of the things I do to pass time and hopefully make money one day is crochet. I made some animals for friends who were having babies and figured out how to make my own animal patterns along the way.

This past summer while spending time with Maria and her children at the ranch, the kiddos were fighting over a stuffed triceratops. Maria asked me if I could make a pink triceratops for her daughter so she would leave her son's toy alone. I took some photos and told her I would see what I could do. It took me about six months to get it all worked out seeing as I'm quite anal about things being perfect. I kept getting the proportions wrong and I think I worked each piece of the triceratops a dozen times before I was finally happy with them.

I'll eventually get the pattern written out and listed for sale on various websites.


One of my favorite quick and easy dishes to make when I'm home alone and Tony is off working is Chilaquiles. It's a traditional Mexican dish, usually served for breakfast or a snack. The first time I had it was for breakfast at my friend Maria's family ranch when they were staying there over the summer (it's right down the road from us). She used a red salsa and served it with chicken, scrambled eggs and sour cream. It was one of the most delicious meals I've ever had. I came home and scoured the internet for recipes, and here's my version:

Red or Green Salsa (smooth not chunky)
Corn Tortilla Chips (heavy, not thin)

Optional garnishes:
Sour Cream (thin with a little milk to drizzle on top)
Shredded Cheese
Refried Beans
Scrambled Eggs

Pour a thin layer of salsa in a skillet and heat through. Add a layer of crushed chips and toss to coat. That's it! Put into a bowl or on a plate and top with garnishes. It takes about two minutes to make and is sooo... good. It takes nachos to a whole new level.

Recycling and Reducing Waste

My husband and I live way out in the middle of nowhere. There is no local recycling programs and trash service runs about $100/mo for weekly pick up if you are lucky. When trash service got up to around $75/mo we cancelled our service and started hauling it to any dumpster we could find. We shared one with a neighbor until they moved, and since then we have taken it to my mother's apartment complex in Fort Worth when we make a trip down there or my husband has taken it to work and used their dumpster.

Part of me does feel bad for using other dumpsters, and since we have started making a trip to Denton at least once a month on average, I decided to start sorting our trash to make the impact of what we actually put in dumpsters minimal.

For a couple of years now I have had a compost pile for kitchen waste that isn't fed to the dogs. I have bags and boxes of paper that we burn every few months. I started keeping out glass bottles and taking them with me to the recycling center at The Cupboard food store, and now I have extended it to aluminum and plastic.

I've noticed that the amount of trash I take out has gone from a bag daily to one to two bags a week. I never realized how doing what seems so simple now would make such an impact in volume.

Chicken Tortas

There is a restaurant in Keller, Texas called Caballeros that Tony and I used to eat at with his mom and step-dad from time to time, and one day I stopped in for lunch with my mom. I ordered the Chicken Torta and it instantly became one of my favorite sandwiches. The only "torta" I was familiar with before this sandwich was essentially an enchilada casserole which the author of the recipe thought they would get fancy and give it a different name. So when I found out that a torta in Mexico is a sandwich I was a little surprised. Here is my version of the Chicken Torta I had at Caballeros.

Chicken breast (butterfly cut, this turns 3 or 4 breasts into 6 or 8)
Bolillo buns (or French rolls)
Refried Beans
Provolone cheese
Olive Oil

Seasoning for chicken:
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder

First I prepare the guacamole in advance if I haven't purchased premade guac.

Then I season each butterflied breast, heat a grilling pan or skillet with olive oil and cook the chicken breast over medium heat until cooked through.

While the chicken is cooking I heat the refried beans (or in my case canned pinto beans that I mash with a potato masher b/c it's cheaper per can by as much as 50%, just put beans and juice into pan to cook. And a tip for cooking refried beans is to oil the pan first so they don't stick).

I also cut the bolillo buns in half, lightly spread with butter and toast under the broiler. This only takes a couple of minutes. Keep an eye on them or they will burn.

When the chicken is done, I spread refried beans on the bottom half of the bun and guacamole on the top bun, then layer with the provolone and chicken and serve!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tough Laundry Odors

On occasion Tony's work shirts get horrible armpit stains from a combo of sweat and deodorant. I was on the verge of tossing a couple of shirts when I decided to try soaking them in a mixture of my homemade detergent, water and a cup of enzyme pet odor eliminator and it worked like a charm!!!

Another laundry tip is if your water doesn't get hot enough when you are washing bedding, add a pot of boiling water to the wash basin.