<A hip boot sporting Lethal looks up from his desk which seems to have been raised off the floor on a series of pallets. The top of his desk is covered in file boxes which seem to be full of personal items>
Hmm? What are you people doing here? Another issue is due? Didn’t I just publish an issue? My home office at Casa Celtic Curmudgeon is flooding from all the rain we’ve taken since Monday so I’ve had to move out of it until the carpet dries. How am I supposed to get out a third issue in 7 days with everything moved to drier ground and located only the Lord knows where?
Where’s that gold bricking dragon? He was late with the sand bags because he was defending his young daughter’s honor at the community pool according to him. You think he could cover for me in times of near biblical flood like disasters (Yeah that’s right, Biblical Flood disasters, see when Noah got them 40 days & 40 night o’ rain? Well here in Southern Texas we got near ta a 1” of it.
Knowing Impish he’s probably off finding every leftover from our most memorable Memorial Day Picnic in years and throwing himself on them in glutinous glee. I suppose in the case of those artisan sausage maker’s bratwursts and my new baked stuffed potato potato salad recipe that’s understandable, but who goes gaga over fruit cocktail in Orange Jell-O molds anymore?
OK! OK! Calm down already! Bloody bunch of blog addicts!
Someone go tell the kitchen to send up coffee and pastries. I’ll meet you in the conference room soon as I slap something together. Being that this is my 3rd issue in 7 days and the fact I had other obligations for Memorial Day plus need you use a rowboat to get around my office don’t expect things to be up to my usual standards.
Plus we got Dark Chocolate!
Ohhh! So THAT’S what Impish is talking about when he’s complaining about seeing scary things in mirrors! I thought it was like the time he mistook his portrait for a mirror and though his reflection was paralyzed!
IT seems as though it is inevitable, every special issue we put out a day or so post issue publication something one or both of us wish we could have included in the issue shows up in our Inbox. Usually by the time our next issue comes round its too late to include it so we’re left with 2 choices allow it to pass by or attempt to save it for next years issue and hope we bloody well remember we have it electronically squirreled away in some dark file someplace and the electrons we forced into storing it haven’t revolted and depolarized or some equally Microsoft obscure reason we cannot have our data back.
This year I have the option because of the closeness of the holiday to my regular issue with regard to when I received the email that I can just call it an Addendum or Post Scripted thought
Chicken Taco Casserole
All of your favorite taco fixings can be found in this crowd-pleasing casserole. Plus, it uses convenience products like canned soup and veggies, cooked chicken and taco seasoning mix that make it a snap to prepare. It’s loaded with fantastic flavor and on the table in less than an hour!
Prep 15 min.
Total 55 min.
What You’ll Need
4 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 cans (10 3/4 ounces each) Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (Regular or Fat Free)
1 cup light sour cream
1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes & green chilies, undrained
1 can (about 15 ounces) black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 envelope (about 1 ounce) reduced-sodium taco seasoning mix ( I use Mrs. Dash’s which has no sodium as there are plenty other sources of it here)
5 cups coarsely crushed tortilla chips
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)
Chopped tomato, sliced green onion and chopped fresh cilantro leaves
How to Make It
- 1 Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Stir the chicken, soup, sour cream, tomatoes & green chilies, beans and seasoning mix in a large bowl.
- 2 Layer half the chicken mixture, 3 cups tortilla chips and half the cheese in the baking dish. Layer with the remaining chicken mixture and tortilla chips. Cover the baking dish.
- 3 Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
- 4 Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until hot and bubbling and the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with the chopped tomato, green onion and cilantro before serving, if desired.
Great to take to summer gatherings as it transports and sits well plus taste good warm or room temp.
I like using 1 can of the Cream of Chicken and one of Cream of Mushroom soup
Here is a tip for you- Trying to limit your sodium intake? (who isn’t?) Tortilla chips have a lot of sodium. To further lower your sodium level in this dish instead of using Tortilla chips locate tostada shells. These are essentially just crisp fried corn tortillas that come in a bag stacked more or less flat. Think of them as giant tortilla chips without the salt. Since you’re going to be breaking them up anyway you’ll never taste the difference but your blood pressure and water retention will know the difference!
Wilted Kale with Bacon and Tomatoes
Everyone is carrying on about how great and how healthy greens are for you. The particular favorite green of the moment is Kale. Well that great but if I have not had them someplace or been able to get a clear idea on how to prepare them so that Molly will approve of the culinary horizons widening attempt they’re not likely to fly here.
Here’s a simple but good tasting recipe I found using prewashed, chopped and bagged Kale. Personally I like it best with pork and a plain baked sweet potato.
A side dish recipe for fresh kale combined with tomatoes, onion and a little bacon
Prep Time (MINUTES) 15
Total Time (MINUTES) 25
- 2 tablespoons Spread-tub
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
- 8 ounces fresh prechopped kale, large stems removed (about 6 cups)
- 1 can (14.5 oz each) Petite Diced Tomatoes, undrained
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 slices fully cooked bacon
- Melt Spread-tub in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Add kale; stir to combine. Add undrained tomatoes, water, garlic salt and pepper; stir gently. Cover; cook 10 to 15 minutes or until kale is tender, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, heat bacon in microwave according to package directions. Cut into bite-size pieces. Stir bacon into kale mixture before serving.
Notes: Two comments-
1.) I didn’t use the Spread-tub pretend butter, I’m old school, I used the pan drippings from the bacon as I was trying to make this taste as good as it possibly could and lets face it bacon drippings beat the hell out of artificial spread hands down.
2.) I used actual garlic and real salt for two reasons. First I never have Garlic or Onion Salt in my kitchen I buy Salt Garlic Powder and onion powder. ANY seasoning with salt added to it is a sure way to over sodium a dish and I’ve never used 50/50 mixture of salt and either of those spices. Secondly I used fresh garlic because I can control the garlic taste and experience much better using it depending on when I add it and how. In this case I used roasted garlic during the cooking and a single finely chopped fresh clove at the end stirred in when the bacon was which effectively sat cooking the the hot greens until I served them even though the greens were turned off for about 5 minutes. This gave me the best of both garlic tastes.
Holiday Banana Bread Pudding
Yup it does say ‘holiday’ in the recipe name but as far as we’re concerned here in Keebler tower anytime my favorite baked good, Banana Bread can meet Molly’s favorite baked good, Bread pudding, it is a holiday!
Prep 15 min.
Total 55 min.
This mouthwatering dessert featuring cinnamon swirl bread, bananas and melted chocolate is perfect for any time…and it’s ready in less than an hour!
What You’ll Need
12 slices Cinnamon Swirl Bread, cut into cubes
2 large bananas, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
How to Make It
- 1 Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 2-quart shallow baking dish.
- 2 Place the bread cubes, bananas and chocolate pieces into the baking dish. Beat the milk, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a medium bowl with a fork or whisk. Pour the milk mixture over the bread mixture. Stir and press the bread mixture into the milk mixture to coat.
- 3 Bake for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Vanilla Bean Rum or Brandy Butter (Hard Sauce)
A rich sweet buttery sauce perfect for topping warm holiday desserts such as Christmas pudding, soft gingerbread or spice cake, or apple or mince pies and tarts.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 10 mins
- Servings: 8-10
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted ( 1 full box)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature ( 2 sticks)
- 1/2 vanilla beans, split and scraped or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons cream
- 5 -6 tablespoons brandy or 5 -6 tablespoons dark rum
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg ( optional, for garnish)
- Beat butter until light and fluffy (I use a hand held mixer).
- Gradually blend in the powdered sugar; add vanilla and cream, beating well to combine.
- Beat in the rum, to taste.
- Transfer to a pretty glass serving bowl, dust with nutmeg.
- Cover with cling film and refrigerate several hours or overnight, or may be packed into jars for holiday gift giving.
- Keeps for several weeks in the refrigerator.
It seems as though it is inevitable, every special issue we put out a day or so post issue publication something one or both of us wish we could have included in the issue shows up in our Inbox. Usually by the time our next issue comes round its too late to include it so we’re left with 2 choices allow it to pass by or attempt to save it for next years issue and hope we bloody well remember we have it electronically squirreled away in some dark file someplace and the electrons we forced into storing it haven’t revolted and depolarized or some equally Microsoft obscure reason we cannot have our data back.
This year I have the option because of the closeness of the holiday to my regular issue with regard to when I received the email that I can just call it an Addendum,a Post Scripted thought or my Parting Shot on the subject of Memorial Day for the year.
I’m including this because it brought to light an aspect about honoring our Military Men & Women which I had not previous considered, probably because I had taken it as a ‘gimme’ situation. That aspect is who it is that should be always leading the call to honor our troops, not just in words, which are cheap, but in actions and deeds.
That person is their Commander in Chief. Now you can say what you will about former President George W. Bush, the man and his Presidency was admittedly not without its flaws and problems. Further his homegrown manner of speech did give rise to a whole host of comedic bits and even the term ‘Bushism’ for his interestingly coin words not found the the dictionary (although some perhaps should be). However the man knew how to honor those under his command and never once appeared to think that his office set him above those he commanded. Perhaps it was because he served too, perhaps he was just that sort of person I cannot say with any authority.
What I can say is that for the last 6 years there have been no photos like these or to this extent of personal not Presidential report with troops that I am aware of and I spent a good bit of time looking after I receiving these.
Have you seen any photos like these in the last 6 years?
If a hug is needed, don’t be shy!
No one appreciates a firm handshake more than a soldier.
If they prefer not to shake hands…
…then a chest bump will do.
Admire their medals. They were hard-earned.
Always treat their families with great respect.
They have been through more than you could imagine.
Laugh with them!
Laughter is a medicine that works 102% of the time.
It’s important that you treat a soldier the way you would treat your own family.
Each soldier has an amazing story.
But if you only have a minute, look them square in the eye…
And say, “Thank you.”
We promise you they will appreciate it.