The Stuffing Recipe

The first appearance of the Green Chile Cornbread Stuffing, 2007.

The first appearance of the Green Chile Cornbread Stuffing, 2007.

Like most sentient Americans I know, Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday of the year. Imagine, only food, nothing to buy or re-gift for, and no religion too. Imagine all the people, sharing all the food. I wonder if you can?

I KNOW YOU CAN!! How delicious is Thanksgiving?! A whole holiday devoted to celebrating gratitude for what we have and for being with the people we love? I already want seconds.

For the last six years, I have been making the stuffing for Thanksgiving, which to me, is the dish that distinguishes Thanksgiving dinner from all other turkey based meals. I picked stuffing because of my dad. My dad’s stuffing is a classic cubed bread with celery, green apples, walnuts and sausage, and it’s mouth-watering. I used to get caught every year sneaking into the kitchen while the turkey was out of the oven and resting, because I would pick the crusted stuffing right off the top, chomping it down before I got yelled at to stop. In 2007 I decided I was ready and I needed to come up with my own recipe, one that could become desired enough to risk burned fingers and yelling, and one to impress my friends who are all fantastic cooks. I am happy to report that I succeeded.

I am a big believer in recipe sharing, not doing that underhanded thing where you leave out ingredients to try and stump your family or friends and they wind up with the dish being ever so off. However, this stuffing recipe is cobbled together and requires the main ingredient to be shipped or schlepped on a plane. I am going to link to the source recipes and resources and tell you my method, then the rest is up to you. Either that, or you will have to be at my table next year to get the goods.

Cornbread is from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. Follow method EXACTLY. Double the recipe. Make a day ahead. DO NOT EAT. Or triple the recipe, eat one third and use the rest for the stuffing. (Oh! And I use lard not shortening.)

Green chile is from New Mexico. I guess you could use Anaheims but, ew, why? Order yours here. Only New Mexicans or those who have eaten my stuffing will understand the importance of the chile variety.

The stuffing recipe itself is based on this one from Epicurious. The changes I make are as follows: all the chiles I use are NM green, roasted, hot; I omit the jalapeños and the cilantro; I add bacon and garlic. Even vegetarians will eat this. Bacon is a gateway meat.

Happy Thanksgiving friends!! I am grateful for you all! xo

Hot Links: Valentines, Puppy Dogs and Palindromes!

Happy Valentine’s Day you guys! Or as we say in New Mexico, “Eeee, Happy Valentimes Day!” This week could not be crazier with more work and life stuff and deadlines and no sleep or exercise, so the links are short and sweet, just like your favorite drug store Valentine poems.

In honor of the just finished Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, here are pics of Parker Posey visiting backstage, I cannot believe this was the first time she did this, but omg, so cool!! (Incidentally, my new favorite dog fact is this one from the National Wildlife Federation: dogs have a larger heart to body mass ratio than all other mammals. Dogs rule.)

This is my Facebook cover photo today. Even despots want Valentines!

despotic valentines

While you are chomping down your conversation hearts, perhaps you are hungry for a bit more word play. I love a good palindrome and thanks to the good people of the internets, there is a site dedicated to the alphabetical indexing of all palindromes. (Wow. <— one word palindrome.) Although kids LOVE palindromes (moms, great for the car!) my pick for today is naughty-Valentine themed.

A slut nixes sex in Tulsa.

That’s right girl, respect yourself!

And while we’re talking sluts and whores, this is an all time fave. Happy Love, lovers!!  xoxo

peggy valentines

Exercising New Muscles

Fast-walked the two mile loop again tonight.  Wow, that’s three times this week.  With a sore throat and everything.  (Oh, made the appointment with the acu for Saturday, can.not.wait.)  Took the iPhone again, on mute, and stopped for a few more homework snaps.  These two are my favorite.

You can see that I still insist on wearing my florescent yellow running (stolen from the cycling department) vest.  Safety is sexy.  But what you should really be looking at is my excellent composition <ahem>.  How cool does this look with the tilt-shift blur???  I love it.

And this one is just neato.   Even though it is so California Spanish Mission, it really makes me miss New Mexico.  And the civics geek in me loves that it is the town, I mean, city hall.

Boredom IS Evil

A few years ago I dipped my toe into blogging and made huge mistakes, mainly in the tone of my writing.  I treated the posts as if they were journal entries, which if anyone ever read my journals, would be convinced that I was an emotionally intense maniac that better not miss a dose of her meds.  (This reminds me to add “burn journals” to my will… ) I remember that my good friend posted a comment noting that I seemed really raw, and that struck a chord with me.  An out of tune, face-wincing squelch which meant that that much unfiltered emotion, in this case sheer rage, was not appropriate.  A few months later (this was the summer of 2007) I was invited to join Facebook via a project I was working on coordinating college students and I quickly learned that too much raw emotion in a very public forum was never a good thing.  I closed down the blog and began to pay very close attention to my intention and my tone.

The past few weeks I have been BORED TO THE POINT OF ANGER, mostly due to my aforementioned situation at work.  I have tried to channel it into running and hiking, which does actually help.  I have been out and about on dinners and drinks and happy hours and baseball games and hosting out-of-towners.  I got some new clothes.  My bra size is now 32DD (wtf?) and there have been no surgeries nor weight gains.  I have embarked on a much needed organization project, purging files both paper and electronic, which is satisfying, but holy hell is it tedious.  (Photos are next, will that be more fun?)  So it is not like I have been not enjoying life, my peeps, and all that important stuff since the work slowdown.

But… the boredom has creeped the past few days.  And the weather sucks.  (Rained ALL DAY, here instead of my home state which is heartbreakingly parched.)  The boredom has infected my extra-curricular life with lethargy.  When I get home I have no energy.  I feel despondent.  I shut down.  I turn off.  I don’t run.  And then, I don’t write for fear of spewing.

With the hope that it does help to be vulnerable to avoid getting unintentionally wounded later on, I decided to force myself to write this terse admission by staying very disciplined emotionally.  Being vulnerable and open has backfired on me in the past, very recently in fact, and I have to fight off the torrent of self-directed criticism when I have felt rejected.  But, my brain knows that this will actually work to heal my heart on the other side of the current frustrations.  I will have to get through today and likely tomorrow too though, feeling inept.

AFC Half Day 57: A La Vey Altitude

Eeeeeeeeeee holay.  It is hotter than hell this afternoon, but I am proud to report that I hiked six miles in under two hours starting at 7,000′ feet, ascending an additional 1,700 along the way, and did not have an asthma attack.  (Pace is definitely slower, see below, but that is because of the altitude, hello, that shiz is intense!)  I then put away a very large plate of huevos rancheros, beans, and bacon followed with a nap back at the house.  Whew!

I am in New Mexico visiting my mom and many dear old friends on a totally last minute and way toooooooo short of a trip, but good for my soul just the same.  Work has been egregiously boring and I am not one who believes that boredom is a state that any human is allowed to claim as valid.  I associate it with whining, entitlement, lack of imagination, and immaturity.  Or spoiled children.  This is the first time I have understood it to be an actual predicament that is valid, and that it is perhaps, evil.

This all started because my company is in the middle of a merger.  We are expected to continue on with business as usual, not to mention, we need to be employed by our company at the time the deal is approved to receive our stock buyouts and severance packages.  The deal will be approved… um, well, sometime before the end of the year we think?  In my particular position the work flow has slowed to a trickle.  And I have run out of things to invent to do, and I have to seem like I have something to do, and so what was a simple twinge of boredom that I could readily put out of its misery compounded into a funk tinged malaise.  Making the decision to go out of town for 3.33 days on a plane to a tourist town in late June two days prior to departing seemed insane until it simply wasn’t   All the pieces came together as if I was the honored guest at the party of the year.

The boredom factor is real though, and it is not only knocking me off track at my present job, it has hindered my ability to focus on the future and what I want to do next/for real/finally achieve passion-work balance.  (I must also report that the first call I made two months ago when the deal was announced was to my recruiter, who congratulated me on being part of a company that will actually pay out its stock AND reassured me the market is good and could get me a job tomorrow.  Another whew!)  I tried to focus on that on my hike today and some clarity towards an action plan did come.  Naturally, it turns out I have to start with some gold medal networking, so thank goodness people do tend to like me a lot because I am going to be up on them next week.

Fan-tastic new dress for tonight!  And wearing mom’s turquoise!

And stats are below.

Top 40, Sweet Cheeks

It is the night before my 40th birthday and I was unceremoniously puttering: sweeping the kitchen floor, ordering photo books online, making a lunch date, catching up with my best friend on the phone, all while wearing a very old but very warm man-size Patagonia fleece jacket because it is cold in the casita.  Instead of running, (yep, hooky again, there goes my PR on Sunday for the trail-run half… hmphf, or maybe not!) I ate an entire order of pad thai because I can and it was delicious and I was really hungry and then the puttering.  Puttering usually spurs on some writing, but instead of being on mile four with no computer I can stop and compose and so I am.

So again, it is my 40th birthday eve.  And I am equally unaffected as I am amazed that I am the age when I have a vivid memory of both my parents on their 40th birthdays and at that time (ages 8 and 12 respectively), they seemed both old and ageless all at once.  Perhaps that is the magic of 40; it is the fulcrum for looking back and forward with a sense of balance.

As I was sweeping, I thought about my 30th birthday and the party I had to celebrate it.  My best friend and I have our birthdays nine days apart, so for our 30th, we went retro and rented out a roller rink, brought in a keg and booze and put our friends and family in skates.  It was a blast and a half.  (I expect to come across all those photos in the coming weeks as I am doing a much-needed photo and memorabilia project for December.  No tree for me this year!)  We all got drunk, did all the groovy skate-dances, fell down hard and laughed even harder.  Other than the ridiculous fight my then boyfriend-soon-to-be-husband-finally-to-be-ex-husband picked with me right before it started, it was a damn fine time.

And then, a month later, I got fired.  Welcome to adulthood!

I had never been fired before and have never been fired since and it was a big ol’ political nightmare mess, and even though I HATED the job, I was pretty shocked and devastated for the first several days which also included having my boyfriend’s 11 year old Golden Retriever die in my arms on the beach.  I remember feeling angry that I didn’t get to quit (although I had never done that before either) and that even though I had been pondering a whole massive change in my career path during those six months especially leading up to the sacking, it never entered into my carefully laid plans that I would have to face it with such urgency and a really bruised ego.  Many friends and colleagues who had been humiliated with a firing before me were stupendously supportive and wise and funny and checking my availability for their next jobs.

There I was, fired at age 30, but with a great resume, a big, fat Filofax of contacts, wonderful friends and that boyfriend.  My 40 year old self would have had a very serious talk with my 30 year old self once I saw how she so expertly stuffed important information about feelings and anxieties and ideas and dreams and concerns way down where he or anyone else could not find them.  My 40 year old self would have very tenderly told my 30 year old self to take a few months off, go see family in New York, New Mexico and also go to Italy for chrissakes instead of toddling along to be on location with her boyfriend, at his beck and call.  My 40 year old self could have talked my 30 year old self into it.  She is the only one who knew how bad it was when no one else was around.

But, I had to get to 40 to learn how to be kind and gentle to my 30 year old self simply by passing through all the years of strife and joy from then to now.  I now know just how spooked and anxious and impatient I was for so many of those early years in my 30’s and how that led to several really bad decisions.  Becoming 40 is a relief and a gift.  My 40’s are forgiving my 30’s.  And if I hurt or confused anyone dear to me along the way, please forgive my 30’s as well.

Now to get this financial mess sorted once and for all.  It has to be done in the next three weeks.  Nothing like a good solid deadline to keep me focused.

(And Italy, I am coming to see you as soon as I can.)