Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The road to El Dorado and the next karate kid

What a week last week! I was home for two weeks after Ike, and then boom, off I went to El Dorado, Arkansas, to handle a fire and then as soon as I got home, I flew to Charlotte, North Carolina, to see my friend S get married.

This week I am home, thank goodness...Thursday P and I will have been married for nine years, Friday is Halloween (McKenna is dressing up as Buzz Lightyear) and Saturday we have McKenna's karate class.

Yes, you read that right, my daughter is starting KARA-TE! HIIIIIII YAAAAAA! This local place comes to her school and does classes. When they offered a freebie, of course I said yes, and they said that she had a lot of fun, so I figured why not? So every Thursday morning and Saturday morning she has class.

Things are good! It's cooling down here in big D and fall's a-coming. It's fantastic.

I haven't cooked much the last couple of weeks, but I am going to help a friend make her boyfriend a fancy dinner Friday night since she is babysitting for McKenna while P and I go out to dinner Thursday night. She is going to make meatloaf, skin-on mashed potatoes, green beans, garlic cheese rolls, and dark chocolate cream pie. All of which I have made before, so I am more than happy to help her out with making. But when she asked me for my best meatloaf recipe, this is the one that came to mind. It's really, really good...and not too spicy.

Milagro Meat Loaf

1 Tbsp butter
1/2 c minced onion
1/2 green or red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground

1 1/4 lb lean ground beef
3/4 lb ground pork
1 1/2 c dry bread crumbs
1/4 c tomato-based barbecue sauce
3 Tbsp sour cream
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 egg
milk as needed
additional bbq sauce for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a heavy skillet and add the onion, bell pepper and garlic. Saute until softened. Add the black pepper, cayenne, salt and cumin, and saute for an additional two minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients except milk to the bowl and mix with your hands. If it is too dry, add milk by the tablespoon until the consistency is right. Shape meat into a 9x5 loaf pan and bake uncovered for 40 minutes at 350 degrees and then turn up oven to 400 degrees and bake for 20-30 minutes. Brush meat with a little barbecue sauce during the last ten minutes of cooking.

Until next time...have a great last week of October!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I'm finally home...and remind me never to move near a body of water?

Ok, so I've now been home from my little adventure in Houston for two weeks. I've been just relaxing and recovering since then, catching up on home cooking and sleep and of course, bonding with my little one and my husband and my furry members of the family.

What I learned in H-town:

1) NEVER ever live in a house by a body of water without flood insurance.
2) After a while, piles of trees, carpet and furniture in the front yard of every house do start to appear normal. It's strange. It was the first thing I noticed as different (not the only thing) when I came home.
3) FEMA sucks.
4) If you didn't think traffic in the greater Houston metro area could get worse, take away the traffic lights and see what happens.
5) There are not enough flood adjusters to go around.
6) Contractors, hotels and owners of gas stations who price-gouge and think they are entitled to it just because there has been a hurricane should be shot.
7) Houston is better at recovering from a hurricane than New Orleans.
8) The only thing dirtier than a house that has had a fire is a house that has had a flood and THEN a fire.

Good times. But I have never felt more in my life like I was helping people than I did the month of September. This is what my job is all about.