Homestead, Florida to Huachuca City, Arizona



Found this delightful truck ready to be converted into an RV!  The sign on the side says “Fuchs Baking Company, Est. 1912, Homestead, FL”.

It was no doubt a very long and bumpy ride across the country for this vehicle, although there is some chance it was transported by flatbed trailer.

Can anyone identify the car?  I think the nameplate on the front said “Ford”, but not certain.  The “instrument panel” was a bunch of small, old batteries, but it was not possible to know if that is really the way it was back then, or if there are a lot of the parts missing from the inside.

Holsum Bakeries was a landmark in South Miami in the 50’s and probably before and beyond.  I moved there with my family in 1949, but haven’t lived there since 1985.  Every year at Christmastime they would have a huge creche in front of their building.  Looks like it is a shopping center now, but I have not seen it.  I found a picture on the net of the entrance to the shopping center, but it is so garish that I am not going to put a pointer to it here.

I found on the net this more satisfying picture of the Christmas display.  It was really something in person to the young child I was back then.  I didn’t get to see it every year, but I remember it well.


From the State Archives of Florida

I never expected this flood of memories when I woke up this morning!

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Alpaca Excrement

This little guy was at the Farmers Market last week, surrounded by bags of Alpaca Fertilizer, touted to be good for everything that grows in the ground. 

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New Toy – Six-cup Nesco Slow Cooker



I have been using a six-cup Rival slow cooker for a very long time – decades!  It does a wonderful job on small amounts of food, but it has only one control – the plug.  Either it is plugged into the wall, and is ON, or unplugged from the wall, and it is OFF.


So when I saw this beauty with HIGH – LOW – and AUTO (which really means KEEP WARM), I swung into action.


Today was the first time I used it.  I made split pea and lentil soup with ham and chicken bone broth.  The other ingredients were onion, celery, and carrots.  To make this as easily done as possible, I put the split peas and lentils into the Nissan-Thermos vacuum bottle to “cook” for a few hours this morning, so when it came time to make the soup, I just sautéed up the veggies, brought the broth to a boil, heated the ham in the boiling broth, and then put the whole of it into the Nesco slow cooker to let the flavors mingle for a few hours.


I like to make sure everything is at the boiling point before entrusting the cooking to a low-wattage appliance, so that the food is taken to, and kept at, a safe temperature during the time it is in there.  Expecting a slow cooker to bring food to a safe temperature quickly is not going to happen, but it will maintain it at, and just below, the simmer for a very long while.  This develops a wonderfully rich flavor.


It was so flavorful in fact, that I didn’t add another thing to it while it was cooking.  DH added Tabasco sauce when we were eating it at lunch time, but I thought it needed nothing more.  Happily there is enough left for another lunch.



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New Mexico Green Chile Pork Stew



About thirteen years ago, we spent nine months living in New Mexico in our motorhome.  Most of that time was in Santa Fe, but we moved down near the Bosque del Apache Preserve at the end of January when it got REALLY cold in Santa Fe.

As you know, we don’t eat out much, but when we did, I was always intrigued by the menu item called Green Chile Pork Stew.  Since I don’t really care for hot food, and in a restaurant one never knows what they consider hot, I never ordered this delicious dish.  More’s the pity.

Having a good supply of freshly-roasted Hatch chile peppers on hand, last week I tried making it myself, but was careful to omit the Hatch chiles.  I cut one up into bits and served it separately for others to enjoy!

I must admit that the taste was every bit as delicious as the above picture would indicate.  I had not quite two pounds of boneless pork chunks which cooked up beautifully tender in the Crock-Pot.

As usual, I started with a written recipe recommended by someone’s blog, and usually I follow a recipe fairly closely (the first time!), but this time, it just seemed that without the spectre of fiery chile peppers, the whole of it would be sort of bland.  So I went ahead and added some of my own spices to compensate.

Not having had a taste of an authentic version, I can only say that what I came up with was spectacular.  We were pleased to find that there was sufficient quantity to feed us dinner on four non-contiguous nights.  It was so good, we weren’t afraid to enjoy it frequently.

There is still a fair amount of the veggies and gravy/sauce left, with a few shreds of the meat, so I will find something to add to it for protein.  I have a big supply of frozen pre-roasted boneless chicken thigh meat, so that would work.  Or we could use it as an embellishment for something.

DH loves this sort of thing over sourdough bread, so that may take care of the problem.  He has already enjoyed it that way on one night’s appearance.  We had it over Yukon Gold potatoes the first night, curly egg noodles the second time, and steamed white rice for the third iteration.

At the time I was making this, I was also sharing the procedure with a friend in another part of the country (waving to Karen), so the narrative below is not really in recipe format, but rather an amalgam of what I wrote then and what I added just now.

The original recipe is here:

And my changes:

Instead of browning the pork pieces naked in the oil, I shook them up in a mixture of:

ground mild chile powder
smoked paprika
curry powder
Mexican oregano
poultry seasoning
They browned nicely in the cast iron skillet in coconut oil in two separate batches so they weren’t crowded in the pan.  Then in the same pan, I sautéed some regular bell green peppers and a big sweet onion; deglazed the pan, and poured that into the Crock-Pot.  Added five cups of my own chicken stock.
I didn’t use the fresh tomatoes, but instead, added three big spoons of the fresh salsa from Safeway, a couple of tablespoons of organic tomato paste, and some freeze dried garlic bits.
Before adding in the cooked pork bits, I reserved two of them for taste testing purposes, and Gary’s eyes rolled back in his head as he cleaned the bits from the offered toothpick-kabob.  They were already tender at this point, and quite delicious.  I almost decided to keep them in this state, but went on to finish off the stew.  The Hatch chiles did not make an appearance at this point because they tend to be too hot for me (yes, even the “mild” ones), and I didn’t want to ruin the whole batch for myself.  Gary can add bits to his plate as he sees fit at serving time.
I’m not clear what the 1/2 teaspoon of sugar is supposed to do, but I think I will just leave it out.  If I had some jalapeño jelly, I might use that instead.  A half teaspoon shouldn’t make the whole of it too hot.
In reading over this post, it does seem like this dish was a lot of work, but it really wasn’t.  The Crock-Pot did the heavy lifting, and I got a free pass for three subsequent dinner times.  The leftover bit is in a Pyrex glass container in the refrigerator, and every time I open the door, I see it.  Maybe for lunch today!  ;->
NB:  Wordpress is refusing to let me put in a paragraph divider for the last paragraph in this post.  No matter what I do, it jams the two together.  If anyone has knowledge of how to circumvent this, I would love to hear it.  And, yes, I have tried copying and pasting the code from the paragraphs that are formatted correctly!  Grrrr!
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Red Beans and Rice, with Pork and Kale

pork, beans and


This was surprisingly good.  Somehow the kale played off nicely with the creaminess of the beans, and the pepper salsa accented the thin pork cutlet just right.

Yes, that’s my dose of turmeric in the bright little pile on the beans.  It is really vile, but I persist!  My ankles seem to hurt less, but not sure what to credit – maybe it IS the turmeric!  ;->

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One-inch Hopper

hopper full


I was coming back from filling the water pond for our possible guests, and saw this little fellow (at one inch long, he is, indeed, VERY tiny).  He was nearly invisible because he was so tiny, and nearly completely blended in with the background.  Of course my trusty iPhone was in my pocket, so I whipped it out to do his portrait. He was very cooperative, so I got down beneath him and shot up towards the ceiling of the deck – it was the perfect background.

Not sure how long he stayed there; he seemed in no hurry to go anywhere.  It was time to fix our Special Sunday Breakfast, so I just sent the photo off to myself and got busy cooking.

I looked just now and he was gone, but he probably had urgent business to attend to elsewhere.

I was fairly surprised when I pulled the photo up on my computer to see how very intricate and colorful he is.  I punched up the volume a bit, but didn’t do anything to his colors.  Aren’t they amazing?

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Quicky Burrito

Burrito_chix n


There are always tortillas in the refrigerator, but I don’t always remember to use them to best advantage.  But yesterday – I did!

I had a lot of leftovers to turn into a good lunch – white rice, kernel corn, spinach, and chopped chicken.  I added some salsa and cheese to the chicken and spinach for the filling, which was enough for three enchiladas/burritos.  I’m never sure which to call this dish.  I guess a burrito doesn’t have any sauce and is served dry, and an enchilada is baked in a pan with sauce on the top.  But that’s just my guess.

Well, this seems to be a mixture of the two.  I put a layer of the sauce in the bottom of the Cuisinart Oven Central and heated the rolled, stuffed tortillas with extra sauce on top of the peppers, olives, and bits of extra spinach.  I had used chicken broth to make the enchilada sauce, so it was rather light colored.  I thought it should be darker, so I sprinkled in some instant coffee that I keep around for making gravies a little darker as needed.

Yesterday I turned the leftover rice and corn into really tasty Spanish Rice by adding fresh salsa, a smidge of spicy tomato sauce, White Cheddar cheese, and roasted Hatch chiles, and served it on the side of the next appearance of the one remaining burrito/enchilada.

Cleary this dish could have used a good sprinkling of cilantro, but I didn’t have any.  😦   There were, however, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers on a plate nearby.

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