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Put It Away

ORGANIZATION AT WORK OR HOME

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Big time cooking! Tamales!

Posted on December 21, 2010 at 12:31 PM Comments comments (121)
Thursday night, I was to pick up Tony at 11:40, but then he called around 10 pm and his plane hadn't even left. He got to OKC finally, around 1:30 am.
 
I then got up on Friday morning and drove to Dallas (3 hours away) to pick up 4 of our nieces and nephews. I got caught in some traffic and it started raining on the way home-- that slowed us down. Then when we reached the Arbuckle Mountains (yea... I know they are not REAL mountains...hey, I grew up in Colorado...but here in Oklahoma they are mountains to us...actually, they are very pretty) Anyway, when we reached the higher elevation, the rain turned to snow and it was really coming down hard.
 
The cedars and ground were covered with snow and it was beautiful! Only that I had to slow down as visibility was low as in Oklahoma any weather brings wind and blowing snow makes it hard to drive.
 
As we left the mountains, the snow turned into sleet and finally, about 30 minutes from home, into rain.
 
The children were thrilled as always to have cousins here and stayed up late visiting, playing games, and generally being goofy.
 
Saturday, Fito and I went grocery shopping. We have Maria's reception coming up and I needed many items. We went to 3 different stores. We went to a Spanish grocery store where I buy International items I cannot find anywhere else.
 
We also went to the Spanish meat market where I buy my meat. Then we went to Crest to get some other items.
 
We went home and he and the boys loaded up the equipment as there was a party at the church for the Spanish congregation. Tony and Fito are singing at church tomorrow and have been practicing, so I had to take the music to the pianist so she could go through it before Sunday.
 
We also were out of milk so I went to Sam's. I ended up buying cheese, 10 gallons of milk, chips, and other stuff. When I got to the check out, my debit card did not work (I had used it all day and was over my daily limit). I didn't have any checks...I had used my last one on Wednesday and thought then that I needed to put some in my purse...but obviously forgot!
 
So I had to just leave the items...how embarrassing!
 
The worst part is the trip to Sam's made me late to the Spanish party. By the time I and the girls arrived, most of the food was gone. Fito already had the speakers and stuff set up and the music going.
 
The party was sooo much fun! They played one game where the men had two balloons tied to one ankle and they had to go around and pop the balloons. The last person with unpopped balloons was the winner. 
 
Fito used to box and so he danced his way to the winner's circle. Then they had 5 of us women sit in chairs, put a lifesaver (that was wrapped) on our foreheads and we had to wiggle our cheeks and noses to get it to come down. The object was to be the first person to get it into your mouth (without the use of your hands).
 
Mine kept falling on the floor, just before I would get it into my mouth. Fito was yelling at me to use my tongue, but I did not want to be seen in public with my tongue like that!
 
Finally, my desire to win took over and I used my tongue. I and another lady tied. You do have to use your tongue once it is by your lip. One of the youth took video and showed me afterwards. Thank goodness he doesn't know how to upload it to you tube!
 
Santa Claus came and of course, danced his way in and out and then we all danced cumbias, rancheros, etc. for the next several hours. What a fun night!
 
Sunday, December 19, we went to church, but what a frustrating morning! First of all, only one of our hot water tanks is working so we do not have enough hot water. (We have 4 and 1/2 bathrooms with 12 people). Later in the week, when everyone is here, we will have 26 people here. I need to get the part and see if we can get the other heater fixed.
 
Then, Tony and Fito had gone early to church to practice their song. We all could not fit into one car. Felipe was going to drive my mom's car, but he could not find his permit. We tried squishing into her car, but that was impossible. I finally told him to drive, but to be very careful. We arrived late and I forgot the flower arrangement!
 
Then, there had been some miscommunication and Tony and Fito did not sing after all. Tony, then left to go to the singles ward which he really wanted to attend originally. What a mess. If I had known they weren't singing, I would not have had to take the music to the pianist, they would not have gone to church early, and I would have had another driver. We wouldn't have looked for that arrangement of music or spent the time practicing!
 
Things like that are so frustrating, but the older I get, the more I realize how differently people think and communicate and misunderstandings will always occur and are just to be forgiven.
 
Sunday afternoon, I took some meat that one of the Spanish ladies gave me and diced potatoes and mixed the two together. Adding the potatoes stretched it out so there was enough for everyone. We heated up tortillas and put the meat and potatoes on the tortilla, added lettuce and tomatoes and ate it as tacos.
 
We had some leftover rice that we heated up and I started a batch of red beans. I had saved the fat and bones from the ham and put them in the beans.
 
I also made oatmeal cookies. I divided the batch in half and put raisins in one and chocolate chips in the other. I did not have flour so I ground some wheat...they are so much crunchier and chewy with whole wheat. Also healthier, but actually, I think I like half white and half whole wheat better.
 
I also put a frozen turkey on to cook before I went to bed.
 
Monday, I went for a walk and then did work for several hours. I then deboned the turkey. Plus I still had the remains of the turkey I had taken to the funeral. In my hurry, I just look big chunks and did not clean the bones. It had been in the fridge. I took it out, reheated it, and deboned it as well.
 
I had the children peel 10 pounds of potatoes before they left to go and pick up pecans. There is a family we do yard wok for and they have several pecan trees. He told us if we picked them up we would split them 50/50. That means extra Christmas money for us!
 
I also rinsed and took the skin off garbanzo beans, then when the potatoes were cooked (bite size pieces), I mixed the potatoes, turkey, and garbazos tohgether. I then added the juice from the turkey. This is the mixture for tamales.
 
Then I took the masa and added the rest of the turkey juice to it. Plus hot water and oil until it was creamy.
 
Then I made the children take turns stirring it as this is the hardest part. I also made everyone else come in and help me clean up the kitchen.
 
The red beans were done by then. Everyone had turkey, rice, and beans for lunch. I took the beans and juice and ran them through the blender. When they are creamy like that they are sooo good.
 
Once the masa was cooked, (it thickens like super thick gravy that is cold or really soft clay dough) I tore sheet of foil about 11 inches wide.
 
I then put one spoonful of masa on the foil and one spoonful of the mixture. I then fold the foil over almost like an envelope. Fold it again, pushing the masa tightly then fold in the left and right edges in and up over the tamale.
 
I made 116 tamales and these are big ones. The tamales from El Salvador are 3 times as big as th Mexican ones are and are filled with meat, garbanzos, and potatoes.
 
I then used my pressure canner to cook them on 10 pounds of pressure for 40 minutes. This is lots faster than steaming them for hours.
 
I bet the crew ate more than 20 last night. I finished the last batch at 2 am. Fito stayed up with me and we watched movies while cooking.
 
 
 

Busy as usual.

Posted on November 2, 2010 at 3:44 PM Comments comments (8)
Monday, I was up at 5:30, but I forgot I was to go and pick up donuts for a fund raiser. I just quickly dressed then headed out the door. When I came back, I took Felipe to his class and then home then everyone to school.
 
I made some chicken tamales, then got ready for work. This was the first time ever I made such a small batch of tamales. There were about 23. I was a lot easier and went quickly. I cooked them in the pressure canner while I was in the shower.
 
I turned off the burner and headed out the door. When I came back from teaching, I tasted them. They came out great. Hopefully, I will have a recipe soon to give to you.
 
I then made hamburger gravy and mashed potatoes. David and Elizabeth cut the potatoes. We don't even peel them anymore. I also worked on the computer for awhile.
 
When Fito came home, we went to early voting. We saw Matthew on the way home. He dropped me off at home and went to the school board meeting.
 
I did some cleaning in my mom's section and then read. I was going to take everyone to the library, but Maria and Travis had taken them to McDonald's.
 
We did our routine of scriptures, talking in the living room, reading books, and prayer. We do really well in the evening of those things, but the morning is another topic.

Tamales Fiasco

Posted on October 13, 2010 at 10:01 AM Comments comments (119)
Well, I set out to make tamales yesterday and what a mess! First of all, I wasn't really planning at all to make tamales, but when the "stew" that I had pulled from the freezer turned out to be tamale meat mixture...I decided to go ahead as all I had to do was the masa.
 
I worked in the morning on the computer and then went to teach my computer class. Afterwards, I did two errands and then headed home. I got caught in some construction traffic on southbound 44. I couldn't go around it, because the 44 is the only way to cross the river unless I divert by many miles.
 
Hence, I didn't get home until 2:30 pm and company was coming. I mixed the masa and it had a really good flavor. Then I cooked it and as it thickened it became more concentrated and really was too salty. I thought about giving it to the chickens and just starting over, but knew I wouldn't have enough time.
 
I then tasted the meat mixture and it was horrible! I don't know if it got freezer burn or what, but it was nasty. I had David take it out to the chickens and I grabbed a sack of potatoes. I washed them and cut them up really fast and put them on to cook. I then grabbed two jars of canned turkey: one that was plain and one that had been prepared as my Spanish Turkey recipe.
 
I opened the jars, put them in a big mixing bowel, added the cooked potatoes, mixed it all together. I DID NOT add any spices, nor salt or pepper. My hope was that the meat and potatoes would absorb the excess salt from the masa and the tamales would be alright.
 
I then pulled out foil (I wrap the tamales in foil when I don't have plantain leaves) and stated putting the tamales together. I put them in my large pressure canner, added some water, put the lid on. Brought the pressure up and then put the weight on and let them cook at 10 pounds of pressure for about 40 minutes.
 
During that time, I panicked as I was afraid the tamales would not be eatable. I grabbed some leftover corn, black beans, and hamburger gravy from the fridge. I also grabbed a small bag of hamburger from the freezer. I cooked the hamburger in some water and dehydrated onion, salt, and pepper. Then when it was cooked, I added the leftovers to it. I then added some leftover spaghetti sauce and a packet of Goya seasoning. I had a taco mixture!
 
In another pan, I heated up some milk and added some leftover cheese sauce that we had. I put two salsas out that we had and chips. So if worse came to worse, we could have nachos/pile-ons...whatever you want to call them. I also had some leftover rice that I heated up in the microwave.
 
We had two different families come and everyone highly praised the tamales and the food in general. The tamales did come out a little salty, but when eaten with the taco meat, cheese sauce, and rice-- you could not tell at all.
 
You definitely could not tell the meat had been canned. I don't even believe I told anyone that. I waited until everyone had gone home and then asked Fito if the meat had tasted strange. He said no. I then told him that it was the meat I had canned, and he was amazed too.