Monday, December 13, 2010

Until We Meet Again

Hey, everybody.

I'm gonna have to take a break from The Desert Chronicles for awhile. What with this that and the other, I'm finding myself pulled in too many directions and I'm afraid both my family and I are worse for the wear. Ware? You know what I'm trying to say.

Thanks for everyone who comes to visit the kids and me here.

Have a very stress-free, very Merry, very Jesus Christmas!

Love always,


Sunday, December 12, 2010


Remember how good that Pancetta Breakfast Pasta from yesterday looked?

Remember how savory, delectable, and succulent it was?

This is NOT any of those things.

These are fried oysters. Many people love fried oysters, raw oysters, steamed oysters.

I don't.

I think they look like giant boogers, feel like your eating huge goobers, and taste like salt-creature upchuck.

How they ever got the reputation for being aphrodisiacs is beyond me.

"Come on, baby, have a giant slimy booger and let's get busy!"

No. No, thank you.

I'll pass. (Out).

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I am NOT a Chef

I am not a chef. I am not a food blogger. I am not a good photographer and I have a cheap camera. But there are some dishes that are so good that you have to push through those deterrents to share the goodness with the world.

This is one of those times.


Pancetta Breakfast Spaghetti

I'll let you think about that for a minute before beginning.

Ruminate on it.

Are you beginning to salivate yet?

Here are the ingredients. A box of pasta, I like spaghetti noodles, 4 oz. or so of sliced and diced pancetta (Italian bacon), butter, fresh Parmesan cheese, 1-2 eggs per person, and sixteen pounds of salt.

1. Step one, put some water on to boil. Wait for the smoke to clear from the burning piece of chicken hiding in the electric burner plate.

What? Your burners don't smoke? Oh.

2. Pour in a ridiculous amount of salt. DO NOT USE IODIZED TABLE SALT!!!! It will ruin this dish. Seriously.

(Mom, I'm talking to you!!!)

You need to add enough salt to the cooking water that it tastes like the ocean.

Table salt sucks, by the way. Let's just get that out there. In our well-fed society where salt is added to almost every type of mass-produced food, there is enough iodine in your food that you could not get iodine deficiency unless you really, really tried.

Kosher salt is the best, I think. Get you a big box at the store for like $2, put some in one of those salt shakers pizza restaurants use for Parmesan cheese, and sprinkle it on food as you normally would.

Kosher and sea salts have no metallic taste like table salt, is better for you because you use less, and has an almost sweet/salty flavor.


Moving on....

3. Dice the pancetta into small bits and fry in a non-stick skillet so you don't have to add more fats.

(Pancetta is an Italian cured pork product that is incredibly salty and delicious. If you can't find it in your regular grocery store deli counter, you could substitute country ham or even bacon in this recipe.

No. Don't. Go to a different store and buy pancetta. Really.)

4. While the pancetta is browning, poach or fry 1-2 eggs per person, making sure the yolks stay over-medium. If you bust the yolks or cook them through, throw them away and start again.

Poaching the eggs is time consuming and difficult but is the best in this recipe.

I am lazy therefore I fry.

5. When the pasta is done, not too soft but with a bit of a bite to it, mix in a couple tablespoons of butter and the browned pancetta. Add as much or as little butter as you like. More=better.

You can also stir in some herbs like "Italian Seasoning" into the pasta. It's good and so pretty.

6. For each serving, put some of the pasta/pancetta mixture into a huge bowl. No, really. Use GIANT, ENORMOUS, gigantic bowls.

Add 1-2 of the cooked yet runny yolk eggs on top of the bed of pasta.

I would like to sleep in a bed of pasta. All warm and cozy and edible.

I digress...

7. Lastly, add a few tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese over top of the eggs and pasta. I guess the pre-packaged stuff would be OK, except maybe the pancetta might come alive and beat you up for making a mockery if this dish.

(Just buy a small block of real, fresh, and delicious Parmesan cheese. It lasts absolutely forever in your fridge and tastes like nothing you've had out of a shake can. Trust me.)

8. Absolutely last, cut through the egg to release the runny yoke all over the pacetta pasta. Moan and groan in olfactory pleasure, and then take a bite.

Yes. Yes. Oh, my, YES!

You're welcome.

And I forgive you for judging my ugly eggs and rotten photography.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ultimate Fighting Children

What do your kids do when it's raining outside and everyone is cooped up with too much energy?

Do they play hide-and-seek? Watch movies, do exercise videos, or get in trouble and go to their rooms for an hour?

Yes, ours do all of that, too.

But on that special and rare occasion, the kids will set up a(nother) show for us where we get to watch them wrestle, UFC style!

(Mom, UFC is Ultimate Fighting Championship. You know, the boxing/wrestling/martial arts fighting on TV where the men beat the heck out of each other, slinging blood and fluids all over the mat while trying to kill each other in a cage. Very cosmopolitan.)

Watch out Josh! Paige has thighs like me and will CRUSH YOU INTO SMITHEREENS!



Nice move! SCORE!!

(Paige and Josh made their own score cards that they marked any time they thought they earned a point. Children should never judge themselves. Ever.)

Uh, oh. Paige has recovered from her takedown, Belly is trying her hardest to melt into the carpet, and Jerry is officially bored.

But the game has just begun..........

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Canyon Lake

Just north of our apartment is Canyon Lake, a beautiful lake in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. All along the lake are houses, marinas, parks, and recreational activities.

Randolph Air Force Base has a private recreation area on the lake. We are "Authorized Military Personnel". We are allowed to use this facility but not everyone is.

We may not be able to make it home for the holidays but we have private parks to enjoy and get away from the crowds and high costs, all paid for with your Federal Tax dollars.


The lake is very beautiful and windy! There were sailboats dotting the calm waters, and as Jerry says, "All those regatta-polo-shirt-wearing-yuppies". Except he didn't say yuppie.

There are picnic spots, walking trails, and a marina for military use only, including daily boat rentals.

There is an awesome playground at the recreation area, too, and it has this cool swing, pendulum thing. Jerry and I rode it together. He really enjoyed making me fly up into the air and almost crashing on the ground.

No, that's not what he enjoyed.

Have you ever paid attention to your breasts while bouncing vigorously up and down?

Your husband has.

Sorry. Too much?

Also at the park was this stand up swing that the kids liked to sit down on. The phrase "monkey on a football" comes to mind.

The park also had some interactives.

And Uranus, in case you're looking for it.

"Hey, Paula! Look! I found Uranus!"

"Thanks, douche. I didn't know I'd lost it!"

(Do Uranus jokes ever get old?)

There was a little sand beach there too, and the kids had tons of fun wading in the chilly water, throwing rocks, and looking for freshwater clam shells.

I remembered to bring towels for the kids in case they got wet while near the lake.

But I forgot to bring extra clothes. Phoebe had to ride home in her birthday suit.

Hey, babe! How's this weather for the end of November?

Dora? What are you doing here?

Phoebe freaked OUT when she saw this life-sized Dora cutout. Then she went and kissed each character directly on the mouth.

And my camera battery went dead.

Probably better that I didn't get on film her shenanigans with Benny.

Boom-chicka-bow wow!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How to Play Frisbee Golf

Don't forget to add your comment HERE to be entered to win my Christmas Give-away!


Near our apartment complex is a disc golf course. You know, where you have to throw a Frisbee down the green to get it into this metal cage thingie that is the "hole"?

All of those hardcore players have bags full of discs of all sizes and weights. A putter, a driver, and other disc things I know nothing about.

One afternoon while Phoebe was napping and I was typing or painting, Jerry took the kids to play Frisbee golf. I thought that would make for a good post so I asked him to take the camera with him to snap some pictures of the kids playing disc golf.

This is what he came back with:

Look at the concentration on Josh's face as he strives for the goal. Paige seems impatient as she waits for her turn on the course.

(Oh, wait, that's right! This isn't golf, is dinosaur riding.)

Josh and Paige are very excited to get to the next "hole". Look at them running in excitement!

(Oh, wait. Not golf but the kids running on a bridge at the playground.)

Still running,

(still no golf.)

More running. Wow. They must really love this Frisbee golf thing!

(Still no golf. Where's are the dang golf pictures?)

What a great way to spend the afternoon with your father!

(Great pictures, Jerry. Thanks for documenting the Frisbee golf. NOT!)

I owe you one.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thanksgiving, BTW

Now that Bahamas Week, or two, is complete, I find my "untitled folder" on my desktop burgeoning with photos needing to be posted. Things like Thanksgiving, a trip to the lake, good food, really disgusting food, and mini-Ultimate fighting. So here goes:

Our Thanksgiving, 2010

One of the side effects of military life is that you aren't always able to go home for the holidays. As Jerry is in training this fall and his schedule is all over the place, we stayed in town this year and enjoyed Thanksgiving with some of our new Air Force families.

The details that went into this meal were terrific! There were three families and we met at a park on base to enjoy a potluck Thanksgiving dinner on paper plates.

All family meals and friendly gatherings should be on paper plates.

The food at least.

Thanks needs to be expressed to our hostess Lindsay and her husband Ryan, and Liz with her husband Chris. Between those two ladies our night was a huge success!

Lindsay brought tables clothes and centerpieces,

A coffee maker with all of the fixings, champagne and plastic flute toasting glasses,

Flameless votive candles, napkins wrapped in ribbon with leaf and berry decorations,

And she even brought these cute little pumpkins as napkin weights!

And did I mention she brought champagne?

Along with all of those non-food items, Lindsay and Ryan also brought the bird, stuffing, gravy, and a bunch of other stuff like pies and whipped cream.

And champagne.

There's Lindsay! Say, "Hi!" everybody! Poor thing is 38 weeks pregnant and still managed to pull off one heck of a potluck dinner!

Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the giant spread of food we enjoyed. I was too busy stuffing my face!

It goes without saying though that the food was wonderful and we all had a great time.

Jerry had a particularly good time with the green bean casserole.

Get a room!

Ms. Lindsay brought, as one part of her contribution to the festivities, a gingerbread house making station for the kids and dads to enjoy together.

It was really hard to keep the kids away from this table before eating the Thanksgiving dinner.

It was really hard to keep them from putting BACK the candy they tried to hide in their mouths before Thanksgiving dinner.

There we all are working like mad to make the houses. The temperature had just dropped by literally 30 degrees so we were all shivering and shaking while trying to get the graham crackers to stay together.

Mackenzie was really very focused on her artwork. And she did a great job.

Paige took her time and created a masterpiece as you can well imagine. If it involved creating something, or making a mess, Paige is the queen.

Like a messy Martha Stewart. But without the jail time.

Ah, yes. This was Phoebe's house. She's not Martha Stewart.

And when Josh's house collapsed he was thrilled to eat the destruction!

As my nature requires, I had to award an unofficial winner: Congratulations Ryan! Your gingerbread house, I mean Eva's house, was beautifully detailed, arranged, and decorated!

Dinner and dessert was followed by the post-Thanksgiving tradition of playing ball. We brought our bag full of field toys as our non-food contribution. We have lots of balls.

Big balls.

Small balls.

And balls used for retrieving Frisbees trapped on the roof.

Thanks again Lindsay and Liz for making this one of my all time favorite Thanksgivings!

And next year Lindsay I'll step up and bring my "A" game to the potluck dinner.

And our balls.