Sad News

B’s mother-in-law passed away early Sunday morning per her own request to be removed from the ventilator and not resuscitated.  I spent the night with B and Flash’s kids on Friday night when it looked like she wouldn’t make it through the night.  She rallied a bit on Saturday but by nightfall things were looking grim again.  J and I received a phone call at 11 PM on Saturday night saying this was probably it.  J rushed over to be with the kids while I stayed home with ours.  By 4 AM on Sunday morning Flash’s mom was gone.

I am comforted that she is finally pain free and in a much better place but I feel so helpless.  As a result, I cooked like crazy all Sunday.  I delivered 2 meals complete with sides and pumpkin rolls for dessert.  Then I ran the causeway to burn off the rest of my anxiety.  I wish there was more I could do to console them.

I doubt B will ever forget her 40th birthday.  And not in a good way.  I brought over her presents and the decorations that I had been working on for her surprise party that never happened.  It saddens me to know that she was not able to view the giant cut-out 4 and 0 made up of old black & white photos from her past with joy.  And the “40 Sucks” lollipop bouquet kind of lost its funniness amidst such turmoil.

I hope that we will be able to celebrate one day when pain from this loss has lessened a bit.  For now, I’ll always be a phone call away.


Christmas Eve Eve Dinner Party

Last night was our annual dinner and gift exchange with our good friends.  Notably absent in the photo above is Steph.  Although invited she chose not to attend.  I’m not going to get into all of the issues surrounding her decision but I will say that it’s probably for the best that she was not there.  Things have not been good between her and the rest of us for quite some time.  I guess divorce does that- tears apart families, ruins friendships, etc.  It’s really a shame.  But I will say that in true the Christmas spirit, we managed to have a wonderful evening full of amazing food and laughs in spite of the drama that’s been going on.  Everyone came over about 6 PM and before we knew it half of the kids were passed out and it was past 11 PM!!!  That’s a good night 🙂

I chose to host the party at our house this year instead of trying to do another progressive dinner party.  It was easier just to keep everything in one place.  The kids enjoyed an assortment of Frostie sodas, homemade veggie macaroni and cheese with green bean casserole and crescent rolls.  For appetizers we had Italian dry salami slices, summer sausage, smoked Gouda cheese, Colby Jack cheese, an assortment of crackers, cream cheese topped with chipotle peach jam, Belgian dark chocolate tea cups filled with raspberry Chocovine, and Big Red’s colossal shrimp cocktail.  My friend, B, brought a turkey breast, smashed potatoes and stuffing that perfectly complimented all of the sides I prepared.  For dessert there was chocolate cake, three kinds of fudge, cookies and coconut custard tarts.

Dude!  I think I gained 10 lbs.

I bought the children party crackers to open after dinner.  We’d never tried them before and thought they added a little something fun to the evening.  Most of the toys inside were cheap and got lost easily but were fun nonetheless. Especially the colorful paper crowns.

Everyone exchanged presents before dessert.  My living room looked like a tornado touched down.  There was paper, bows, box remnants, etc. everywhere!  The kids squeals of delight were priceless.

Like I said, the Christmas spirit filled our home last night.  Our hearts and bellies were full.  We didn’t want to break the spell of the night by ending the festivities.  It’s one of those special times that we will always remember.

Comfort Food Swap-o-Rama

This photo does not relate to this post whatsoever.  I just wanted to be reminded of how much my sweet baby has changed.

This photo does not relate to this post whatsoever. I just wanted to be reminded of how much my sweet baby has changed.

My two friends and I decided to do a little supper swap this week.  Since we normally meet on Wednesday nights to scrapbook/chit chat/watch movies/listen to music/imbibe,  it seemed like a good time to do the swap as well.  The rules are simple: triple a recipe, package it, slap some cooking instructions on it and trade.  It’s a great way to try out new recipes and the best thing is that we don’t have to actually cook or plan dinner for two whole nights!  Woo hoo! For as much as I love to cook, sometimes I’m just not in the mood or I’m too busy to plan and prepare a meal.

I prepared Chicken Spaghetti for my ladies.  This recipe is ultimate comfort food: cheesy, noodle-y, chicken-y.  It’s a casserole that totally reminds me of church get-togethers in Texas.  In fact, that’s where I first learned of the magic that is Chicken Spaghetti.  Maybe it’s the Ro-tel tomatoes but this dish screams Texas to me.  If you decide to make it prepare to fall in love.  Here’s the recipe:

Chicken Spaghetti

  • 1  (16-oz.) package thin spaghetti (angel hair, vermicelli, whatever you desire)
  • 1  (2-lb.) entire deli-roasted chicken (I used a lemon pepper one when I made this)
  • 1  tablespoon  butter
  • 1  (8-oz.) package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1  large onion, chopped
  • 1  large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2  cup  chopped celery
  • 1  (16-oz.) package of Velveeta, cubed
  • 1  (10-oz.) can Ro-tel tomatoes
  • 1  cup  frozen green peas
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground black pepper
  • 1/4  cup  Italian-style breadcrumbs
  • 1/4  cup  Parmesan cheese

1. Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. Remove chicken from bones; cut chicken into bite-size pieces, and set aside.  If you have issues handling meat then I don’t know what to tell you.  The deli-roasted chicken is fabulous in this recipe.  I suppose you could bake some chicken breasts and chop them up with a knife and fork.  But I wouldn’t recommend it…

3. Melt butter in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add mushrooms and next 3 ingredients; sauté 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

4. Add chicken, Velveeta cubes, and next 4 ingredients to vegetable mixture, and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and all ingredients are combined. Add pasta, and toss to combine. Pour mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. This single recipe makes enough to feed a small army.  It can easily be divided among three families.  Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.

5. Bake, uncovered,  at 350° for 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Enjoy it with a tossed salad or a side of steamed veggies.  It’s a 5-star casserole in my book.

Last night I came home with a sausage/noodle dish and cheesy enchiladas with black bean salsa.  Yum!  This stash of comfort food reminds me of my early postpartum days when my family and I would cook for days to fill up our fridge and freezer.  It’s awesome!  Perhaps we’ll do it next week as well.