In Which We offer up a Superbowl Party Recipe

In Which We offer up a Superbowl Party Recipe

Oh, our shy Armidillo friend - what tasty eggs you have.....

The Superbowl party standards are sacred and not to be messed with. Buffalo wings, buffalo chicken dip, a host of taco dips, nachos…. I could go on.

You definitely don’t want to get all fancy for football. And it’s my opinion (should I say Bill’s opinion) that tailgate food shouldn’t be all cheffed up.

That being said, I was pretty thrilled to stumble upon this recipe. Since we are from Pittsburgh, its Texas roots make it a little exotic without losing the bar food feel so crucial to Superbowl party fare.

The original recipe is from one of my favorite blogs, Homesick Texan. Homesick Texan gives me a warm feeling of sisterhood inspired by the stubborn originality of Texas food, do check it out. I tone the spiciness down a notch as I’ve done here – visit Homesick Texan’s blog for her authentic version. If there’s such a thing as a single-minded authentic Texas version of anything Food…..

Armadillo Eggs the Auburn Meadow Farm way

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup yellow cheddar cheese, shredded (4 ounces)
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 medium-sized jalapeños
  • 1 pounds breakfast sausage
  • 1 pounds ground beef
  • 1 fresh lime

Preheat the oven to 375 and lightly grease a baking sheet. Or use a broiling pan to allow the fat to run off…

Mix together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic, cilantro and cumin until well blended. Taste and add salt if needed, and adjust seasonings.

Remove the stems from the jalapeños and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and then cut the sliced jalapeños in half, horizontally. Note to self: Wear gloves for this step or you will be sorry!

Place about a teaspoon of the cream cheese filling in each jalapeño quarter. Take about 1/3 cup of the sausage and pat it into a 3-inch circle and place the stuffed jalapeño in the center of the sausage. Wrap the sausage around the stuffed jalapeño until it’s completely covered, and form into an egg shape.

Place sausage-wrapped jalapeños on the sheet, about an inch apart. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the sausage is cooked. For additional browning on top, you can place the sheet under the broiler for 2-5 minutes.

Sprinkle your eggs with fresh lime juice and serve with buttermilk dressing, queso or salsa. I like juicy lime wedges on the side too.

Yield: 24 armadillo eggs

Buttermilk dressing, extra spicy ( plus my version for just a little bit spicy) I can honestly eat this stuff with a spoon. Looky here to see Homesick Texan’s version.

  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise  (I like my dressing on the thicker side, so if you prefer it thinner use 1/4 cup of mayonnaise)
  • 1/2 cup of thickened (Greek Style) yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 serrano pepper, finely diced (I used 1/4 pepper)
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh chives (I didn’t have this so left it out)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (I didn’t use this either)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and let chill for an hour.  Makes 1 cup, keeps for a week in the refrigerator.

Have fun, be safe and Go Steelers!

In Which I Envy Oprah….

In Which I Envy Oprah….

Snow Cows

Oprah? Does she have grass?

There are so many great things about Oprah’s life, who wouldn’t want to be her, yes?

I’d love to visit Tom Cruise’s private Colorado retreat, have Art Smith as my personal chef and private study with Echart Tolle.  The fame, the A list schmoozing, the riches, the wardrobe, the stylists and assistants, the jet, the travel, the homes, the personal trainer, my own magazine, my own network, all very nice.

But that’s not it.  The reason I envy Oprah is that I love to give things away.  I wish I could  give people trips to Australia, new cars and all my favorite things.  I wish I could start a school that will provide a life changing opportunity for young people.  How great to have created something like the Angel Network awarding grants and financial support to people doing paradigm shifting projects? THAT’s the best part of being Oprah.

Oprah is a force of hope and encouragement and for that I admire her. Now, we all know I’m not Oprah nor do I have a budget like Harpo.  But it’s still fun for me to share what  small gifts I can, especially in this holiday season.

So many times it’s the smaller things that bring real enjoyment to our everyday routine.  My favorite sheets, fresh from the laundry, an awesome pair of socks, a clean car, a cup of home-made hot chocolate (with real milk, puh-leeze) topped with real whipped cream….

This CD has been one of those small everyday treats  for me, and I’m pleased to share it with you.  I have to confess that although it is a Christmas album, it is so soothing I listen to it all year round.  Plus,  you  know how much I love to support local, indie businesses and projects – this is not a mass produced hit machine holiday extravaganza.

This is something authentic and special, a from the heart CD produced by a mother, Pat Humphrey, with her daughters Lynn and Amy.  They have been singing together for over three decades, just for the joy of it. It is so fortunate for us that they decided to record these old carols from around the world, with angelic, ancient harmonies.

May this bring the wonder of the holiday season from our barn to your home! Click the arrow below to begin listening or click on the title to visit The Rosa Minstrels site to learn more. Enjoy!

[bandcamp album=2083286300  bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=venti]

Happy Holidays!

Bill & Jackie Dietrich &                                                                                                                    The Ladies of  Auburn Meadow Farm

In Which We Ponder Holiday Shopping…

In Which We Ponder Holiday Shopping…

Little Rocco in Snow

Baby Rocco in the Snow

“And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more!”

– from How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess

Years have a way of running into one another, one much like the next until, something happens, it is completely outside of your ability to control and all you can do is accept.  This happened to us one Christmas and was so meaningful that it was the catalyst of many small changes leading ultimately to a major change affecting every single aspect of our lives.

It was pretty simple actually. And an amazing relief.  We were busy as usual with hectic jobs and three young girls in a feverish frenzy of consumerism and excitement, busily circling their gift wishes in the circulars coming daily in the mail. And, most, if not all of those wishes would be granted. Plus other wishes they didn’t even know they had. Just like all the families we know.

This one special year, we did our entertaining on Christmas Eve and the girls were bundled off to their mother’s so they could wake up with her on Christmas morning. We enjoyed our party, and after sending everyone off we cleaned everything up and went to bed, pleasantly tired.  The next day would be the usual obligatory driving around so no one felt snubbed – you know how it goes.

But, while we slept, outside the kind of fairytale snow that made everything silent and sparkly and magical was piling up.  It just kept snowing… and snowing…. and snowing some more.  There would be no going anywhere.  All Christmas day there was no traffic, no company, no visiting, no telephone, nothing. Beautiful, blessed, silent nothing. The snow kept up steadily all day; we had plenty of wood for the fire, all the best leftovers from Christmas Eve’s party, snuggly blankets and old movies on TV.

Bill, Charley and I bundled up and went for a muffled walk – no harsh winds, just lovely, dry glittering snowflakes and knee deep snow.  Simply wonderful and, to this day, the most holy and special Christmas Day I have ever spent.  We were grateful, at peace and filled with joy – just what the holidays are supposed to be.  And, because it wasn’t a choice, it was a situation beyond our control, I didn’t feel even the tiniest twinge of guilt.

Each year since, remembering the contentment of that day, I have simplified my holidays a little more.  I cook one or two fewer things, I avoid the mall and I give less from a sense of obligation and more because I really like giving things away. I spend less on disposable things and favor experiences over possessions.  But, that’s what pleases me.  You know what pleases you – don’t let us bully you into feeling guilty about the things that bring you true holiday joy.  I remember the key to my wholehearted enjoyment of our special Christmas was the complete lack of guilt.  I try each year to stick to my guns and not be shamed or guilted into following the herd. I admit, sometimes I’m strong, sometimes I’m not.

I’ve discovered a few funny and helpful things I’d like to share in keeping with paring down the holidays.  I got a kick out of the idea of the Brooklyn Free Store, where everything is available for the taking and nothing is for sale. Really, check it out here.

Then, I found this catalog of things money can’t buy. The best part is it’s open for you to add your priceless ideas. I’d love to extend the challenge to you to fill this thing up with all our favorite things that can’t be bought at any price. Take 5 and do it, then share it with your friends and ask them to do it too!  Consider it a challenge.  Let’s make this catalog a runaway success.  I’ll go first…

Enjoying the holidays is not just about a single day, but the days of preparation leading up to it.  I’ll enjoy every toasty minute I spend cooking for friends and family this year.  I think of the people I care about while I make and wrap their gifts and feel warmth and gratitude to be so fortunate.

I refuse to brave the mall for anybody and I’m not traveling anywhere.  I’m not going to spend time on the phone or with my computer and I’m going to eat anything I want.  I’m going to support my local indie shops (learn why this is so important here) and enjoy the whole  Christmas season.

What about you? Comment here to share how your family makes the holiday special.

in which the performance anxiety of another holiday season is upon us once again

in which the performance anxiety of another holiday season is upon us once again

Zig & Axel eating hayDid you hear somebody say “Holiday Dinner”?

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I love cookbooks, especially the ones that are less business and more romance. The ones with recipes, pictures and intimate glimpses of the home lives of the Larger Than Life people.  More than the recipes, it’s the stories that I love; a window into a glorious life.  Someone with the life I would have had if I hadn’t been accidentally switched at birth.

In that life, everyone makes the time and has the energy to prepare all that great food from scratch, using ingredients found in some forgotten, earthy way like foraging in European woodlands.  And then they gather to enjoy the goods with plenty of smiling friends and family members in some exceptional setting like a rustic real dining room table and chairs in the middle of a picturesque orchard. With or without a real chandelier hanging from a tree.  Oh, and everyone’s really stylish in that casual, Celebrity wears-muck-boots-to-Saks-Fifth-Avenue sort of way.

We live in a time where 1/3 of our meals are eaten in the car, but we all seem to be a little nostalgic for old-fashioned food traditions. For proof, look at the huge success of the Food Network, Martha Stewart, Williams Sonoma and such.  A good friend of mine even refers to Paula Dean as her real mother.  We don’t really know how to do it anymore, but we love to watch it on TV, buy professional grade gadgets and over attempt in the quest.  Did you ever wonder why there are so many ads for processed convenience foods on the Food Network?

Obviously there’s a pining for something our fast paced lives are lacking –what could it be?  The Williams Sonoma catalog is sure to show you with photos and recipes. The only thing Williams Sonoma has added to my life is stress, pressure and an embarrassingly expensive toaster. Because, after reading the WS catalog, not only am I clearly reminded that my own life lacks this specialness and love surrounding every meal, I now feel called to live up to this challenge. And, my family had darn well better play their part which is showing boundless admiration and delight whether they mean it or not.

I mean, who can enjoy plain old round pancakes anymore?  Everybody knows when your mother really loves you your pancakes are shaped like barnyard animals or Halloween bats & hissing cats.  Come ON – it only takes a few extra major purchases and inefficient time-sucking procedures.  Not to mention the extra storage to store the special pots, appliances and cake pans when their unused carcasses take over your kitchen.

Two books spring to mind as I think towards the season; Little Heathens by Mildren Armstrong Kalish and Country Cooking by Edna Lewis. These books are a charming, nostalgic reminder that eating together is the foundation of family and community. Everyone had a hand in preparing for big meals, even the littlest children. Ingredients had to be planned for well in advance – there was no 24-hour Walmart Superstore.

Anticipation and appreciation surrounded special meals, although everyday meals were nearly as good. And it was further seasoned by the involvement of everyone at the table.  A great meal shouldn’t be a one man/woman performance where everyone else just watches; it is enjoyed best when it is a collaboration and everyone shares the glory and pleasure of giving.

This year I will keep it simple, allow myself ample time to gather my ingredients from local farms and enjoy my holiday unhurried.

How about you? What special things are you preparing to savor this early fall kick-off to the holiday season?