How to Make Nutritionally Dubious Enchiladas the Way ~K Does

Step 1.
Give in to requests to make Enchiladas and get ingredients at store.
You will need:
1 package tortillas. I like Banderita, myself. But that’s just me.
1 big or 2 small packages of ground beef.
An onion
A bell pepper
2 cans of enchilada sauce
Sour cream
Monterey Jack cheese, 2 blocks
1 large package of shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 packet of toxic burrito or taco seasoning.

Step 2.
A day or two after buying the above ingredients, go to kitchen

Step 3.
Realize the ground beef is still frozen solid in the freezer and those little metal clampy things on the ends of the package will preclude defrosting in the microwave.

Step 4.
Announce that we will have to go out for Chinese tonight instead. Try to sound convincingly disappointed.

Step 5.
The next day, repeat Step 2.

Step 6.
Plug in MP3 player to kitchen speakers and open cabinet where K-cups are kept. Fret that there will not be enough to last until the next club shipment and tell self you’ve had enough coffee today anyway, so forget the coffee.

Step 7.
Remember this is not Soviet Russia and you can get K-cups anywhere any old time.

Step 8.
Make a cup of Italian Roast.

Step 9.
Stand around drinking it while sorting through a pile of mail on the kitchen table.

Step 10.
Eventually look for glass baking dish. It is not in the cabinet.

Step 11.
3 quarters of an hour later, finally discover the dish on the floor of your son’s bedroom where he is using it to sort this gigantic pillow case full of coins he has been amassing under his bed, into those little bank roll things. Also discover the missing marinade container and that deviled egg platter thing.

Step 12.
Marvel at the amount of money your son has collected (>$500!) and suggest he take you out to dinner with that money. Say you're just kidding. Try to sound like you mean it.(This is an optional step)

Step 13.
Repeat step 2. Glance at clock. Rinse dish.

Step 14.
Squish the ground beef out into a big sauté pan and brown it.

Step 15.
While it’s browning chop up onion and pepper. Realize you should have done this step first and after sautéing veggies, added the beef. Shrug. Keep going.

Step 16.
Cut up Monterey Jack cheese into chunks, a chunk for each tortilla. Give a piece to your adoring canine companion who is gazing up at you with a look that you know says “You are the best chef and mommy ever.” Reply “Aww, thanks, baby girl.” Give her another piece of cheese.

Step 17.
Dump contents of enchilada sauce cans into saucepan turn heat to medium

Step 18.
Stir the beef and onion and pepper mixture. Think you should drain beef but this super expensive Emeril pan G bought is just too damn heavy.(Seriously, it must weigh like, 50 lbs. Emeril doesn’t look that strong on tv) Decide to skip that step, rationalizing you’re using 97% lean beef anyway.

Step 19.
Give Blossom another piece of cheese when she wags her tail to let you know she thinks you made the right decision. As per always.

Step 20.
Add toxic flavor packet to ground beef according to directions.

Step 21.
Glop some sour cream into pan of enchilada sauce and stir it in, until the sauce turns a nice orange color.

Step 22.
Pour a little enchilada sauce on the bottom of baking dish. And then in a pie plate.

Step 23.
Realize you forgot to turn oven on. Do that now. 350 degrees sounds about right.

Step 24.
Dip each tortilla in sauce in pie plate and flip over coating each one. Spoon some beef mixture in each and one chunk of Monterey Jack. Then roll up tortilla and place in dish. Warning! This is a very messy step.

Step 25.
Repeat this step until you have run out of tortillas and filled the dish, all the while trying to guesstimate how much beef to put in each one so there will be enough for each. Wind up with one very overstuffed enchilada.

Step 26.
Pour all remaining sauce over the top and dump bag of grated Mexican cheese over everything and place in oven for 30 minutes, give or take.

Step 27.
Survey kitchen and smile with a sense of a job well done and the carb-o-luscious nutritionally dubious meal that will be ready in just under 30 minutes.

Step 28.
And the grateful husband and son who will eat said nutritionally dubious meal.

Step 29.
And the fact that someone else is going to clean up.

Step 30.
Give the dog some cheese.

Buen Provecho!


Last Day/First Day


The thermometer on the back porch says it is 10 degrees Fahrenheit when we set out on an afternoon walk with Bella on the last day of the year 2013. Fortunately for our thin blooded coastal North Carolina living selves there is not the faintest whisper of wind and the sun is shining brightly on this frigid New Hampshire day. I share Bella’s doggie-zen enthusiasm as I breathe in the sharp cold air as we walk from the wood shed out into the white landscape.

I stop to take the above picture and Erik says
“Mom! An owl!” It has flown over my head and I only see it from behind as it glides away over the snow covered garden. It looks off white in color. Erik had been looking in the other direction and had gotten to see it’s face.
“I think it was a barn owl.”
I think of barn owl faces. Their dark eyes and white face a disconcerting mask that betrays no emotion, at least not one recognizable to humans. This was probably the one I heard last night as I was brushing my teeth for bed. I had stopped mid brush and looked out the window. There was no moon or streetlights and I was unable to make out even the silhouette of the nearby hills. My little mammal heart shivered at the thought of that owl perched somewhere watching, it’s bird heart beating in steady alien-like tolerance of the deep sub zero cold. The myths surrounding owls as harbingers of death seemed completely obvious and reasonable as I curled up under the electric blanket.

Today I just smile and marvel at the complete absence of sound it made as it flew over. A winter’s day here is so quiet anyway, there are no leaves to rustle, no outside voices besides our own. If Erik and I were mice, his warning would have come too late and owl would have got me.

Later, sitting on stools and drinking tea in my uncle’s warm kitchen, we discuss the owl sighting.
“It could have been a Snowy Owl. They’ve been coming down from Canada.”
“It was a light color, but maybe not pure white. It all happened so quick. Erik saw it’s face.”
“I think it was a barn owl.”
My uncle is a woodsman, that is he manages people’s forested properties and often works alone in the woods. He once told me he would never get a license to hunt a bear. ” Oh no. I don’t want to ruin my karma. You leave me alone, Mr Bear, and I’ll leave you alone.” His eyes twinkled.
Now he smiles, the laugh lines around his eyes crinkling up
“Well, I think seeing an owl, especially a Snowy Owl, on the last day of the year, that would have to be a very lucky sign.”
I suppose it depends on which mythology you choose.
Polish= An owl is the ghost of a married woman.
Japanese= An owl is good luck, an ancestral spirit
Native American= Symbol of death, unlucky or a spirit
Old English = Unlucky omen
Roman/greek – Symbol of wisdom
Modern day- An owl is wise
Target= An owl is very trendy and looks good on clothing, cups and kitchen appliances
Me= owl is a very unique and fascinating life form. You leave me alone Mr. Owl, and I’ll leave you alone.
But maybe you don’t get to choose the mythology. maybe the mythology chooses you.
Anywho….Ha-ha….Sorry. =)

Sonya says: Nevermind the last day, it’s the first day of the year that matters, and whatever you do on that day is indicative of how you will spend the rest of the year.
On the first day of 2014 I spent the day driving away from New Hampshire, outrunning a monster snowstorm. Dad, Erik and I stopped for the night in N.J. and we all shared a room. The next morning dad said,
“You must have been having a nightmare. You screamed in your sleep.”
“Yeah, mom. You woke us up.”
“Did I?”
I am embarrassed and a little creeped out because I’ve been doing this a lot lately.
I can’t often remember the dreams, but this one I do.
I was back in the room at the farm, not facing the window, filled with a sense of dread. A barn owl sat outside on a Mapletree branch, staring in, compelling me to turn over, raise the shade, and look it in the eyes.

Cliffhanger at Gate 13 part Dois

This is in response to the Daily challenge Cliffhanger. If you are joining this story already in progress, you can find Part 1. in the previous post.

“Yes, I’m still here, but they are starting to board my flight.”
“Please just stay there. I will be there soon.”

“Now all passengers sitting in zone 1 are invited to board.”
Crap. That’s our zone. Since when have they started boarding planes front to back? It makes no sense.
The Brazilian woman’s eyes haven’t left my face. She is biting her lip.
I can wait a few more minutes.
He has now reached concourse C and is counting the gates as he passes them.
I feel like I could be in a spy thriller. I’m picturing maybe a suave dark latin man (in a fedora) as the owner of this voice. He might say:
“The plan has changed. You must now take her to the last bathroom on concourse D. Give your left shoe to the attendant. She will understand and give you further instructions.”
Or maybe he’s the bad guy. A Donald Pleasance looking guy who will have to kill me once I’ve seen his face.
“And now we welcome all passengers to board.”
Come on, come on.
“Ok, I am here. I am at gate C13. You said C13, yes?”
I’m scanning the crowd. There are several men who could be him, all with cell phones to their ears.
“Yes, we’re sitting right here. What do you look like?”
He chuckles. “Well, I am an old man in a black coat. I have glasses and a moustache”
There he is, looking totally at the wrong gate.
I stand up and wave my arms, getting some curious looks.
“Ah. There you are.” We are both still on our phones as he approaches.
The Brazilian woman looks unsure. She smiles hesitantly and they speak briefly in Portuguese. It occurs to me she has never seen this man before.
“Maybe she was a mail order bride.” G. says later when I tell him.
The moustached man turns to me and takes my hands in his.
“Thank you so much”
The lady now smiles a big smile and pulls me to her and kisses me on both cheeks.
“Obrigado, obrigado!”
I feel myself blush.
“No problem. Good luck.”
“Now we must go to our flight.” he says, and they start to walk away.
Then she turns back and embraces me again, kissing both cheeks. People stare at us.
Then they are gone in the crowd.
And they are final calling our flight.
I shake Erik. If only I could sleep like this.
“Hey, wake up, kiddo. We gotta get on the plane. You missed everything! I just got kissed by a Brazilian woman.”
He stretches and stands.
Yes, really! You mom totally just saved the day. And while wearing plain old mom underwear, no less.”
He just smiles.
And that is how I, knace, was kissed by a Brazilian woman on the penultimate day of 2013.
The End
O Fim

Cliffhanger at Gate C13

This is for the daily prompt titled Cliffhanger.

“Introducing the first high performance line of underwear” my son is reading in his best Sylvester Stallone/Vin Diesel imitation from the SkyMall magazine as we sit waiting to board a flight from Charlotte to Hartford, CT. “Only $18.00 a pair, mom. I definitely need these.” Normally I would find this funny, but I’m feeling overheated and grumpy and tired.
I’ve been flying my whole life but I still feel an unpleasant clench in my stomach when I am told my flight has been delayed due to a mechanical problem. My brain immediately plays a lightning fast montage of plane crash news stories from over the years. “It was determined a loose screw was the cause for the right wing engine to fall off the jet bound for Chicago, sending the dc whatever plummeting to the ground” a male newscaster voice says solemnly. I always scan the faces of the flight crew for signs of nervousness when I board these delayed planes. “It really is fixed, right?” I want to ask them, but don’t.
And the flight to CT has been delayed for just such a problem on this sunny winter’s day. The gate is packed with holiday travelers. The flight to Miami at the gate next to mine has been overbooked and they are calling for people to give up their seats for free tickets. I fidget in my chair and give my son a non committal response. He puts the copy of Skymall in his backpack.
I try to relax by playing mah jong on my smart phone.
Some mindless matching is just what I need to keep from picturing a mechanic standing under the plane scratching his head, on the phone with tech support saying “I guess it’s fixed….yeah. Although there should be one more screw. Huh. Oh well, good enough!” And it also distracts me from what awaits me in cold snowy New England.

I sense someone has sat down next to me and feel a light touch on my arm. I turn in my chair to find a pair of worried brown eyes staring into mine. They belong to a black woman, in her thirties if I had to guess and dressed for a warmer day. She begins speaking what sounds like Portuguese, gesturing with her hands that flutter about like birds. I tell her in English I’m sorry but I don’t understand her. She looks around the gate nervously and then, undeterred, starts again, a rapid torrent of what could almost be Spanish but with more Sh and Ow sounds. I shake my head. She pulls out a piece of paper and shows me a phone number with an area code I don’t recognize.
I try my rusty college Spanish and ask her if she wants to use my phone to call that number. Yes! She gestures to my phone. I hand it to her.
She hands it back.
I hand it back again saying “It’s Ok”. It’s the one phrase a Spanish instructor once told me everyone in the world understands. She seems reluctant but slowly dials the number. She appears unsure, as though she doesn’t often handle smart phones. We wait while it rings.
Someone answers and she begins speaking Portuguese, but after a minute or two thrusts the phone back with an almost desperate look on her face. I put the phone to my ear.
I hear a man’s voice, with just the slightest hint of foreignness
“Hello! Can you please tell me where you are?”
“Um, I’m at the Charlotte airport.”
Yes, but where exactly at the airport? Were you on the plane from Rio?”
“No, no, I’m at gate C13 just waitng for a plane to Hartford and this woman-”
“Listen, I’m going to come to where you are. You must not move and do NOT hang up. Please!”
Ok, but…
They’ve just announced that anyone who needs special help may begin boarding flight 1523 to Hartford. I turn to my son who, despite all this excitement, has incredibly fallen asleep with his head tilted back, Gilligan hat pulled over his eyes.
The woman, who I have now come to think of as Brazilian, stares expectantly into my eyes as though I alone am going to determine her fate.
“You are still there?” the man’s voice asks.

Wait, who am I again?


Today the first assignment for the Zero to Hero Challenge is to introduce myself and maybe explain a little about me and my blog. I feel like I did that on my About page. When I first started writing this, I went almost a year before I even started reading other blogs. I just wrote about something on my mind and left it for some theoretical future reader. Now I spend a lot of time worrying about whether I’m going to offend someone. It’s becoming more of a stress as opposed to stress reliever. I keep telling myself if I lose every single follower of my blog that will leave me where I started, which was a perfectly okay place. So I just need to take a breath and write about what I want to write about.
For the most part.

Today as part of this introductory post I decided I would add a picture of me so those of you who actually read this can be disoriented by the difference between photo-me and any mental image you may have had.

And I’ll just add for my future readers, that this picture of me was taken in December of 2013, in the 45th year of my life. It is a “selfie” which is what we call pictures we take of ourselves with our cell phones. I took it because I had just that day broken down and bought my first pair of readers (because my arms aren’t long enough for me to read what’s on the pill bottles anymore) and I was practicing my severe librarian look. I repeatedly told my dog Blossom to Shh! and she wasn’t even the teensiest bit impressed.
Those colored lights in the background are from my Christmas tree.
Fun Fact: If you leave your Christmas tree up all year round, it makes holiday decorating a snap!
When I tell people I left my tree up all year, it’s almost as if I’ve just admitted I live with 100 cats, or in a nudist colony. They seem genuinely shocked. I mean, is it really that weird? It’s just that last year after I took the decorations off I kept asking G&E to put it away, and they didn’t. So, like so many things in my life, I decided to just go with it and enjoy the lights all year.
After all, if it had really bothered me that much I could have taken it down myself.
So here’s to another year of pretty lights, and hopefully better, braver writing.