Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hiking with Franny

Lucky us! We have a hiking trail in our neighborhood.

Despite this year's wet June (that remind me of the Junes from my school years), Fran and I have managed to hike the trail at least a few times each week. The trail is about 1.3 miles (one way) with an elevation gain of 374 feet. All in all, it's a nice little daily workout and the dogs love the smells.

Yesterday, the hike was more work than usual for me--either due to a few days break or the humidity. My huffing, puffing, perspiring and trying to keep up with Fran, made me flash back to a much different time. And it wasn't all that long ago. Early 2012?

"Is this the girl I pushed in a wheelchair for 4 plus years? The girl whose lungs were never supposed to regain their youthful capacity? The girl so many doctors decided didn't want to get better?" (Okay, I better stop. I feel the old white coat anger rekindling.)

She still hasn't learned what began that life pausing event and it's still not gone. We may not have found a doctor curious enough to keep on digging, but we did find one who truly wanted to dampen her pain.
And where am I? Trailing along behind her.
As it should be.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What's for dinner? Cornmeal Waffles and Franny's chicken chili

Last night Fran found her dinner inspiration in the leftover oven roasted chicken she baked for us the night before. I'm always impressed. A sandwich is what leftover chicken inspires in me. :)

She found the cornmeal waffle recipe below on King Arthur Flour website. Her chili recipe lives in her head, a product of her memory plus years of trial and error. 
I've included an additional link below that includes another waffle recipe without spices, along with a chili recipe that most resembles Fran's.

from King Arthur Flour

These cornmeal waffles are good if made without the Mexican spices and eaten with syrup, but even better made spicy and served with a simple chili con queso dip. Leave out the "optional" ingredients if serving the waffles with berries, fruit compote or syrup.
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
5 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled OR 1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives; if using dry, use 3 tablespoons (optional)
2 to 3 teaspoons ground cumin (optional)
1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, or 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
3 tablespoons dried tomato or bell pepper flakes (optional)

Chili Con Queso
1/2 cup prepared salsa
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 bunch scallions, sliced (about 1/4 cup)*
10-ounce package frozen, chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
*Use the white part and part of the green, about 4 inches total of each scallion.

Waffles: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter or oil. In a separate bowl, blend together the dry ingredients, then quickly and gently combine the wet and dry ingredients. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes, to allow the cornmeal to soften. Drop the batter by 1/3-cupfuls onto a hot waffle iron, and bake until the waffle iron stops steaming. Yield: about ten 8-inch round waffles.

Chili Con Queso: Heat together, over low heat, the salsa, cream cheese and grated cheese, cooking and stirring until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the chopped spinach and scallions. Serve in a fondue pot or chafing dish to keep the mixture fluid; it'll thicken as it cools. Refrigerate any leftover sauce; it makes a wonderful dip for tortilla chips, or spread for a wrap sandwich.