The Bells



This is what my rain bells looked like yesterday morning when I peeked out the front door to see what was going on.

The good thing about the ice storm is that it kept me inside all weekend, so I had time to do a little cooking, a lot of cleaning, and a big project: I did about 90 percent of the work necessary to update Route 66 for Kids. I still have some phone calls to make to confirm hours and admission prices for places that don’t have Web sites, and I have to track down information about a few additions people have suggested, but the lion’s share of the work is done.

Next up: Finish a book proposal I’m supposed to have done before the end of the month and redesign

I made something good today. I didn’t have any tomatoes, so I couldn’t make chili, but I did the next best thing: a Mexican-inspired bean soup. Here’s the recipe, if you want to try it. Ron really liked it.

Anasazi bean soup

1 lb. dried Anasazi beans
Packet of dry yeast
1 large Anaheim chile
1/2 c. chopped onion
Several cloves of chopped garlic
Bacon, ham, pulled pork, or whatever you have handy
Chili powder

Soak the Anasazi beans overnight in water to which you have added the packet of yeast. (The yeast helps break down the sugars in the beans, making them easier to digest.) Drain beans, rinse, and boil them for an hour or so in a covered stockpot. Add onion, garlic, chile pepper, meat, and spices. Simmer, uncovered, until beans are tender, adding water as necessary to keep the soup from sticking or burning. Adjust spices to taste and serve with salt and hot sauce. Makes enough to feed an army.

Hope you had a warm and productive weekend.


Iced over

I don’t know whether hell has frozen over yet, but Red Fork certainly has. Most of the state of Oklahoma is covered in ice this weekend, and just about anything worth doing has been canceled — including church.

I normally loathe ice, but for the moment, I am just grateful for the opportunity to catch up some work that’s been sitting untouched on my plate for a long time.

I certainly had a productive day today: I made some quiche/frittata/souffle/whatever thingies for breakfast (recipe will follow), unloaded the dishwasher, scrubbed my cast-iron Dutch oven, scrubbed down the shower and tub with Comet cleanser, washed the shower curtain liner, scrubbed the kitchen sink, cleared the kitchen counters, scrubbed the stovetop, decluttered the kitchen table, decluttered the living room, spot-vacuumed the living room, dusted the living room and hallway, cleaned the inside of the microwave, decluttered part of my office, moved a desk, set up a CD rack, scrubbed down the furnace air intake grill, baked a batch of oatmeal cookies, loaded the dishwasher, and updated the Illinois section of my Route 66 guidebook.

This ice storm has turned out to be a real blessing, because I was seriously beginning to wonder how I was going to complete all the projects that I need to finish this month.

As it stands, I should be able to knock out one of them before the broadcast of the Sunday service at the Mother Church goes online at noon, and then I can finish another pressing project in the afternoon while Ron watches football.

At least two of my friends used the cold weather as an excuse to make chili. I’d follow their example, except I’m out of tomatoes (I normally can enough to feed the entire National Guard all winter, but the drought just decimated our 2006 crop), so I’ll have to settle for slow-cooking a pot of Anasazi beans over the woodstove instead. Yeah, I know … waaaaah, right? We are insanely spoiled around here.

Now, for my yummy breakfast recipe:

10 large eggs
Chopped fresh mushrooms
Diced potatoes
Chopped onions
Bacon, chopped into smallish pieces
Swiss or cheddar cheese, shredded or cut into small pieces
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350. Fry the bacon and set aside. Use the bacon grease to fry the potatoes and onions until the potatoes are browned and the onions are clear. (Vegetarians can skip the bacon and fry the potatoes and onions in canola or peanut oil.) Spray two small or one large muffin tin with cooking spray and then put a spoonful each of the mushrooms, potatoes, onions, bacon, and cheese in each cup. Crack the eggs into a large measuring cup, add about a quarter-cup of water, and beat until the yolks and whites are completely indistinguishable from each other. Fill each cup with the egg mixture. Bake at 350 until a knife inserted into the middle of each little quiche/souffle thingy comes out clean (about 30 minutes).

These reheat really well in the microwave.

Hope you’re having a good weekend, wherever you are.