Lighting a votive for, uh, peace?

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Oh, this could be a serious and solemn post.

It’s not gonna be, however.

So you see…my rock star mom-in-law is a Brooklyn girl, and at the holidays, she has traditions in keeping with where she was raised.

In her words: “Not untypically for someone from Brooklyn in my day for most of my adult life, I’ve made Italian food for the holidays. Often the menu included a seafood dish like spaghetti and clams for Christmas or New Years Eve and usually a lasagna on Christmas Day.”

Italian food? Oh I’m ALL about that.

This holiday season it was her very generous idea to celebrate the holidays with the foods from my childhood in New Mexico.

That means tamales that we handmade together, a pan of Hatch green chile enchiladas and a big pot o’ beans.

To help set the atmosphere, my mom-in-law brought over some accoutrements including Mexican hot chocolate, a tortilla warmer, and an Our Lady of Guadalupe votive candle.

We lit Our Lady up and enjoyed dinner by her warm candlelight.

So the holidays passed by, as they will. The Good Man and I began to dismantle the holiday displays in our home and put things away.

Our Lady of the Fabulous Christmas Feast had been on the coffee table for a couple weeks, but after New Years she had disappeared. The Good Man had stowed her away somewhere. Fair enough, right?

But then…I was rather startled to, uh, find her.

Here:

I call her “Our Lady of Fartima.”

The Good Man never laughs when I do.

But I crack myself up every time. I think being able to make your ownself laugh is the key to a long life.

Side note to Ephraim: I realize yesterday I promised to try and keep it classy on the blog today. I failed miserably. I’ll try again on Monday, ok?

Makin’ new (and old) traditions

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One of my favorite foods for Christmas has always been, bar none, tamales.

Oh sweet masa and meat and a bit of heat!

Delicious.

I never realized just how lucky I was over the years to have wonderful neighbors, friends and coworkers who gifted me with handmade tamales every year.

Yum!

All the way out here in California, I don’t have wonderful tamale making friends and I miss them.

So this year, my mom-in-law, a wonderful cook and a lady filled with holiday cheer, suggested we make up a batch of our own tamales.

Oh yeah, baby!

We have both pork and green chile with cheese.

Gonna be a New Mexico Christmas in my house! My kitchen smells fabulous!

And making them with my new family might just have to be a new tradition!

Feast your little eyes!

Wrapped up and ready to be steamed!

Apply the heat.

Steamy goodness!

Yeah, many of these little guys didn’t make it very long out of the steaming pot. Poor delicious tamales! Hope they make it to Christmas!

Just how "natural" are we talkin’ here?

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The other day, while out and about, The Good Man bought himself a bag of cough drops to try to quell the dry cough the endless exposure to indoor heating provides.

Plus, we gave the house a good cleaning over the weekend and kicked up a bunch of dust that has us both sneezing and coughing.

After purchase and back in the car, he opened up the package and popped one in the ol’ cake hole.

After a cough or two myself, I said, “may I have one?” to which he readily agreed.

I grabbed the package and flipped it over to review the ingredients.

Yep. I’ve become one of those people.

Anyhow, I try to avoid corn syrup. It’s just my own thang. Doesn’t have to be yours.

So I read off the ingredients list aloud and got to “natural flavors.”

Now, what in the sam hell are “natural flavors?”

This is the part where I make it hard for The Good Man to share a life with me.

I turn and say to him, “I hate when they list ‘natural flavors,’ I mean, what is that? It could be anything! Are these cough drops poop flavored? Poop is a natural flavor!”

The Good Man turned slowly and gave me a look and a slow head nod.

This is a look that in going on five years together I’ve come to understand means, essentially, “While you are technically correct, it’s going to be better for me in the long run if I don’t dignify what just came out of that sideways mind of yours with a response. So I’ll just nod.”

We nodded at each other for a long moment, and since my “poop is a natural flavor” just hung there in the air, so to speak, there really was no good segue.

I chose then to open the pack of cherry and whatever-the-hell-other-natural flavored cough drops and fired one into the ol’ cake hole.

It tasted nasty. I spit it back out after a minute.

“Natural flavors” are gross. And possibly poop.

I’m just sayin’.

(these are the offenders in question)

I took the plunge

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Yup. I waited and waited and finally the persimmon I’d picked and brought inside became ripe. “Like a soft tomato” I’d read was the desired state.

I sliced it open, and gave ‘er a shot.

It tastes something like a creamy melon. Normally, “melon” wouldn’t be a flavor I like.

But in this case, I found it to be delicious! Still a bit of tannin, but not uncomfortably so.

Nice!

And *then* I read that eating too much persimmon can cause something really fun called a bezoar! Hooray!