Tuesday, November 13, 2012

When it's chilly, it's chili....

We are now close to 2 months into our home and are getting unpacked and well adjusted.  Every week new things are added to the house like drapes and blinds, new furniture, and decorations on the walls.  We are far from being unpacked.  The garage is full of boxes, still, but we have the important things unpacked and are starting to feel at home.  

Now that we're moved in, the election is over, work projects are winding down for the holidays, I can get back to the point of this blog.  Our favorite times in life are spent with family and friends.  We enjoy taking time to visit, often around the dinner table, with good company, a good meal, and a glass of wine (or two...). We enjoy traveling and meeting new people and just enjoying our short time on this earth.  And it can be short.  My mom taught me to cook, and how to have fun.  She was the type of person who did for everyone else, and rarely worried about herself...to the detriment of her health.  She was the typical worry wart mom, the doting aunt and a loving wife.  And boy, could she cook.  Sadly, she passed away at a young 64.  She passed on to me her love of family and friends, and her passion for cooking, sewing, and reading books.  When I am not working, I am usually doing one of those three things.  

My mom Donna

I am very lucky to have married a man who enjoys spending time with friends and family and he LOVES to grill/smoke.  He's on a quest to find the best way to smoke a brisket.  He'll even attempt to cook something inside and I often tease him because he literally follows a recipe to a T!  I cook so differently....I rarely measure anything, and I often deviate from a recipe.  I just have to put my own spin on it....that I get from my mother.  

  Cooking together days before my wedding

So....chili.....fall has officially arrived in southern Texas.  It does actually get a little cold here from time to time.  I think our high today was only in the 60s.  When the weather gets cold, it gets chili in the Beckelheimer house....and so tonight I made a big batch of chili.  Quin loves chili....he really loves chili.  He loves MY chili.  So...I make chili for him.  I love making chili for him.  Ok, I think you get it now.  I tend to make chili different every time I make it.  There are basic ingredients I always use...well, no not really.  Well, sort of.  And I don't measure anything.  

I have one secret ingredient.  And I'll get to that in a bit.  I start out with ground meat.  Usually ground beef or ground sirloin.  I've been known to use some pork in with the beef.  I've even been known to use ground bacon.  Don't judge.  It was a moment of curiosity with a meat grinder. It didn't disappoint.  There is almost always chopped onions.  Did you know that if you put an onion in the fridge before cutting into it, your eyes won't burn.  Yes, you have to leave it in the fridge til it's cold.  Just putting it in there and taking it right back out won't help.  Tonight I added some scallion and garlic.  

Throw it in a pot and get it hot!

Then it's time to get is a bit saucy.....

The trifecta of sauciness

I used crushed tomatoes, usually.  Sometimes I just use a few fresh tomatoes that I've seeded, blanched, and cooked down a bit.  Heirloom tomatoes can be very yummy.  Diced tomatoes are always good.  I used lime/cilantro flavored ones tonight, but usually I get Rotel brand chili fixin' flavored diced tomatoes.  Then there are the beans.  True Texas chili does not have beans.  If I was making chili for myself....I would omit the beans.  But the cowboy loves his beans.  So beans it is.  If it was up to him, he'd have me use Ranch Style Beans, and sometimes I do.  But I like these Grillin Beans from Bush's but you must use the Texas Ranchero ones.  They have great flavor for chili.  Don't use any of the sweet barbeque-y ones....that just makes your chili taste like crap. I know....I've gotten the wrong ones before.  Quin still loved it, but it was crap to me.  Throw the whole can in (not THE can), juice and all.  I sometimes don't use the can of crushed tomatoes.  If you like it to be very beefy, you can actually get away with just the beans and their sauce and the diced tomatoes.  It still has some sauce and it's thick and hearty.  Now my brother-in-law, Drew (who is a chef) would tell you that it ain't chili unless you put in a bottle of beer.  It does give it another layer of flavor....but we rarely have beer in the house.  I had some in the fridge (it's been there for weeks), guess I should have added that too...but didn't realize I had any in there.

Seasonings.  I usually throw seasonings in when I'm browning the meat....then add more to taste later.  The one definite seasoning I use...and I use a lot of...is Cumin.  My mom never used cumin until the last year of her life.  She had been out to visit us and I made chili one night.  Actually, she made chili and she had me tell her what to put in it, because she wanted to make sure she made it the way I do...for Quin.  I just pulled out a bunch of seasoning and told her to throw them in.  When she got to the cumin, she realized that cumin is "the flavor of chili".  She always thought her own chili was missing something, and at that moment, she realized it was cumin.  She thanked me profusely for teaching her how to make chili, and told me that over the next year (she would pass away almost a year later).  I am happy that I got to teach her something new in the kitchen!

I rarely use the same exact spices twice.  This was tonight's combo!

I love Penzey's spices.  I know there are other spice shops out there.  I just have always had a Penzey's close to me.  I don't any longer.  I'll either have to go to Penzey's when I'm in Austin, or mail order it.  I use a good tsp-tbs of all these spices.  I would say that I use about a tsp or less of the chipotle and the crushed jalepeno.  I actually don't make it spicy, at least it doesn't seem spicy, but your nose may be a runnin' by the end of the bowl.  But the cumin.  Oh.  There is a reason why I buy that big bottle.  It doesn't last long.  I use many tbs of cumin.  Depending on how much I'm making, it might be closer to 1/4 cup.  Then if that isn't enough, I do more.  And yes, you can put in too much cumin.  I know...I've done it.  And you can't fix it.  When I am basically finished cooking, I add some all purpose seasoning.  It's the equivalent of adding salt to taste...it just has a bit more stuff in it than salt.  My favorite is Ozark seasoning.

I grew up in the Ozark mountains of Missouri.  When I smell this seasoning it takes me back to the fried fish and chicken of home.  I think Branson and Silver Dollar City as soon as the scent hits my nose.

Here it is coming together.  All that powder on top is cumin....just the cumin...a lot of cumin...then I added more...that much more...it could have used even more.

Now for the secret ingredient.  I heard a chef mention that they do this on a cooking show...kind of as an aside.  You could almost miss it when they said it.....but I heard it.  It's Masa!  Corn Flour Masa.  The stuff tamales are made from.  Now it is the stuff my chili is made with.  

You'll find it in the hispanic food aisle.  Or in the flour aisle.  In southern Texas, you might find it in every aisle.  

Masa will do two things to your chili.  One, it will give it a wonderful, southwestern flavor you would not expect, then when you taste it, you're like...."wow, why isn't this always in chili?".  It's subtle, but you'll notice it.  Two, it will act as a thickener.  So, go ahead and use that whole big can of crushed tomatoes, it won't be too thin, because, Masa will make it all better.  I put water in a bowl and then add some masa to make a "slurry"...something a bit looser than a paste....that sounds kinda gross doesn't it?  But it's yummy.

Masa slurry

Then pour that into your pot of chili.  Now you have a perfect pot of chili.  We like chili better the 2nd night. So I make a big pot and we have it for a few meals.  Left overs make wonderful chili mac.  Some people don't like left overs.  But some left overs are better than the first night, so don't judge if you don't do left overs.  

Pouring in the slurry.....

The finished bowl!

I then do one more thing that Quin doesn't.  He thinks it's weird.  I think it's not.  I usually will add either:  sour cream (no fat, low fat, full fat, your choice), greek yogurt (I'm cooking more healthy these days), or guacamole (something else I rarely make the same way twice).  Especially if the chili is spicy, the cool creaminess of one of these items makes a nice balance.  It does the same thing cheese does, except it's not stringy.  

Tonight it was sour cream

We usually serve with cheese, crackers and/or fritos.  We didn't have any of that tonight.  

Chili is a great source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants.  Adding garlic adds a whole other set of health benefits.  Like increasing your metabolism, decreasing cholesterol, and warding off vampires.  The beans usually render Quin some alone time.

Chili...it's what was for dinner tonight!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

One Last Night (reprise)

One last night in this motel room that we've made a home.  One last night to sleep in a hard, crappy bed that makes my back twinge every morning.  One last night to kick my sandals off in a stark, lifeless room slightly afraid of the years of soil and who knows what buried inside this icky carpet.  One last night to look out at the concrete jungle of I-10, listening to the car crashes, sirens, yelling, toddler meltdowns (ugh I swear our neighbors were running a nighttime child care for "working women" who were "working" throughout the night), and door slams.  One last night of uncomfortable living for Harleigh....our traumatized bulimic cat that paces these two rooms crying and moping.  One last night of memories to be forgotten in this motel that we've made a home.

Tomorrow begins a completely new adventure that will last years.  One last day to pack up the few odds and ends we've accumulated in this motel.  Our belongings in Colorado are on the truck and heading to their new home.  One last night of 14 channels of nothing on TV and no DVR...unable to fast forward through commercials.  I hope to never hear Honey Boo-Boo or Wheel of Fortune again,  We appreciate our dear friends and family who entertained us when we just needed to get the heck out of here, or crash at their place when we needed a break from the God awful bed, or just have a meal with us and sharing good times...knowing there are many more to come.  We truly appreciate them, more than they will know.

One last night until we make our house.....Our Home!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Snot, Honey Boo Boo, And A Word About The Weather...

The last few weeks have flown by and I am quite thankful for that.  We are now down to less than 3 weeks until our closing.  Only 20 more nights at Chez Motel Beckelheimer.  We have so far survived 27+, so we're over half way there.

This past week we traveled to Austin and Dallas for a bit of a respite and a much better bed.  Sadly, I came down with a horrible case of crud.  My guess is that I picked up something from one of the petri dishes (aka kids) at the aptly named Grossology exhibit at the museum on Monday.  Lots of kids, most of them well behaved, but there were the few running around unattended, likely their parents hiding from them for a few moments of quiet solitude.  I had one kid actually come up and push me out of his way when he was on a dead run to check out an area dedicated to snot.  My guess is that he wanted to compare his own to the pictures on the display.  Later that night, the sore throat started and I hoped and prayed it was just allergies.  Within a matter of a few hours, I was rendered useless, thrown in to bed and left alone for most of the next two days.  Part of my being in Dallas was to visit my customer onsite.  That did not happen.  In fact, if it didn't involve sleeping or blowing my nose, it just didn't happen.  At least I was able to be in a comfy, cozy bed.  And now just as quickly as it came, it is starting to go.  Just in time to make the long 5 1/2 hour drive back.  I did enjoy being able to watch some TV that did not involve Judge Judy or Honey Boo Boo.  With only 14 channels in our motel in San Antonio, the viewing is limited to the major networks, TLC, and TBS.  Whoever thinks the Honey Boo Boo is entertainment needs to seriously get a grip on reality.  I cannot believe that it got more viewership than the political conventions.  It's sad to think that the nation finds an precocious, nearly illiterate, and mis-mannered 6 year old better viewing than seeing what our leaders have to say about the state of our country.  In a day and age when you can only believe half of what you see and none of what you hear, you would think that US citizens would rather be fully aware of what both sides are saying, than to hear about Honey Boo Boo's mother's forklift foot.

And now a word about the weather.....while I was laying in bed I was also able to avoid the 100+ degree temps in Dallas.  Oddly, it is hotter in Dallas than in San Antonio and more humid.  When moving to San Antonio, I had many friends tell me I was crazy to move to a place as hot and humid as San Antonio.  It has actually been very dry.  Of course, not Colorado dry, but not far from it.  It is just dry across the country.  Whether it is from global warming, or just a cyclical weather pattern (remember the Dust Bowl?), it is just so dry this year.  Where we've had some warm days in San Antonio, it is not the weather many expect it to be.  It is an area that does not typically get a lot of rain.  We are hours from any coast and many of the lakes and rivers in the area are slowly losing levels or drying up.  Our first week there, we had a wildfire south of town.  I had just left an area that just dealt with major wildfires and was not looking forward to dealing with that again.  We have had a few days in the 100s but most days it is in the mid 90s and it does not seem bad at all.  I've actually quite enjoyed it.  I will take heat over cold any day.  The cold/snow was my only real complaint with Colorado.  When we return to San Antonio tomorrow, we'll be facing 80 and 90 degree temps and hopefully a few rain showers.

The house construction is complete for all intents and purposes.  Now it is 2 1/2 weeks of inspections and finalizations.  The sprinkler system and sod had not been laid when we left last week and there were some places on walls and such that needed patching/repainting.  All the little things like knobs and handles on the cabinets were done and all the light fixtures and ceiling fans were in.  Now it just needs us...

Our House...soon to be our Home

I am anxious to get back and see progress on the house...just 20 more days...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Country Jamz, Crock Pots and the DPS

The adventure continues and we have now hit 35 1/2 days left.  Who said I'd be bored during these 7 1/2 weeks in a seedy motel while we await the completion of our house construction.  Oh, that would be me...and I was so wrong.  So, so wrong!  Lots to do, and who wants to sit around a motel anyway....

We have slowly become more comfortable in our little motel by the freeway.  The "comforts of home" often include listening to the daily playlists of our downstairs neighbor, aka "Country Jamz".  It is not unusual to awaken on a Saturday morning to the musical swooning of George Strait coming from a boombox in Country Jamz's room...while he leaves his door wide open, sits in the bed of his pick up truck having a smoke and pettin' his dog.  He also finds the middle of the weekday, while I am on a conference call, a fine time to do said activity.  It really doesn't bother me, except for the fact that Country Jamz looks suspiciously like the wanted "armed and dangerous" serial robber that has been loose in the greater San Antonio area.  Needless to say, I do not complain.

Cooking in our temporary, humble (and I do mean humble) abode is challenging but not impossible.  Besides, I love a challenge.  Our simple kitchen comes complete with a dorm size microwave, and a dual burner stovetop.

Stovetop with Orgreenic non-stick pan.  It works just like they say it does on TV.

The kitchen also comes with a limited selection of pots and pans, flatware, plates, cups, etc.  Upon review of these tools, I have ventured out to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to buy a few necessary supplies.  I will admit that I am borderline OCD and feel just a bit better about having my own things that no one else has goobered up in any ill-conceived fashion.  We do not have an oven, so Aunt Martha to the rescue has loaned us a crockpot that I have put to very good use.  Tonight it is Chicken Tortilla Soup, crockpot style.  Taking into consideration a few days out of town for work and a few nights out with friends/family, I should only need to come up with 25 more crockpot dinners.....Should be an easy challenge.

During the last 2 1/2 weeks we have managed to get a lot done in preparation for the final move.  We officially have our new address set up and active and our mail is starting to be forwarded.  We have changed  things like insurance (we have saved a crap load moving everything over to USAA - they rock!), checks, and licenses.....oh dear...the license nightmare.  The Department of Public Service, also known as DPS is like a horrible black hole that sucks you up then it will spit you out all shredded and broken.  We spent the better part of 2 days getting new car tags and our driver's license.  You would think it would be as simple as going to the office, surrendering your out of state license, paying a fee, and taking a vision test...but they are out for blood.  In Texas, they want your first and last born before they will issue you a license....if you only have one (or none like us) you're simply screwed.  You must get your tags on your car before you can get a driver's license.  If you don't own a car, you have to take with you the person who owns the car you will drive and they have to show proof of ownership, proof of residency, proof of citizenship, proof of sanity, and  give an oath to support and defend the Alamo as long as you have one foot in Texas.  You think I am kidding?  Oh, I do not jest....We first started this mini-adventure by getting our cars inspected.  We had to show proof of insurance with a minimum amount of coverage as stated by Texas law.  The Cowboy had USAA for his insurance...San Antonio is the home to USAA headquarters.  His proof of insurance was accepted by a glance.  I have American Family out of Colorado....I had to give a blood oath and copies in triplicate of my minimum coverage amount, finally deemed acceptable after a review by the board of directors at Express Lube.  That trip alone - 45 mins.  We were handed a form that we were expressly and wholeheartedly told to never NEVER fold...because the Tax Accessors did NOT like the form damaged in any fashion.  I was told not to even look at the form for fear that it might spontaneously combust.  I am absolutely NOT joking about this.  They put the fear of God in us over that form.  Off to the County Tax Accessor's office where we spent about 1- 1 1/2 hours.  This trip included another thorough review of insurance, a review of my new Betty Boop bank checks which was the only thing we had on us with the new address, to prove we were indeed converting to the Texan lifestyle and the form we were given at Express Lube to show we were inspected and approved and unrumpled in any form or fashion.  

We now move into the final and most dreadful phase of the licensing process.  We were told by everyone to fear the DPS.  I now see why.  I know that in any state, going to get your license can be a daunting task and most offices have a bit of a wait, depending on the time of day, week, month that you go.  In Texas, everything is bigger, slower, and a longer wait...and you have to take every bit of information about your self or you will have to return, over and over.  We had spent most of the morning/day messing with our car plates, but had hoped to get our licenses before the end of day.  We started at one office....the "better office" in town.  After a 1 hour wait in line, we got to the "Welcome Desk".  It is at this point that you declare what you bothered to come in there for, are handed a ream of forms to fill out, told you don't have all the proper paper work and asked to return when you have your crap together.  We didn't have our crap together, despite having followed everything we read online, told by friends/family about the process.  Off we went to get more proof that we are humans, worthy of living in the fair Republic of Texas.  We also had to pee....you don't dare step out of line to pee, in fear that you will lose your place and have to start over.  We left, we peed, we gathered data, we proceeded to another office.  We felt too much shame to go back to the first office where we were unable to prove that we were indeed alive and able to drive.  While standing in the 100 degree weather (at least it is dry here this season - so it was a dry heat) outside under a tent, we realized that the "short line" was just a short line into the building, and did not include the multi-hour wait inside.  We were told that in Boerne, TX, just 25 short minutes away, it would be a quick, slam dunk process.  That ended up being somewhat good advice, yet it was very much not we expected.  By the time we got to that office, it was 3:30pm.  Although the office doesn't close until 5pm, ticket numbers are not given out after 3pm, due to the sheer volume of people that come in.  We later learned that the last person to get in to see the personnel at DPS had arrived at 11am that morning.  We woke up bright and early on the next business day to arrive at the office at 8:15 - just 15 mins after they opened.  We were number 45 in line.  That is not a joke!!!  45!!!  We waited for 3 hours...3 friggen' hours before we were allowed in the super secret room where we would get to see the Wonderful Wizard of DPS.  Our concern was that we did not have 2 ample forms of proof of residency at our new address.  I thought I did, but we did not think that Cowboy did...he had not started changing his address on bank statements and paychecks (I did, but I am a woman...we do that kind of thing immediately).  After yet another hour of reviewing documents, emailing contracts, insurance forms and a picture of our semi-constructed home from the iPad (thank God for that iPad), swearing oaths (yes, I swear that we swore), taking an eye test that I technically failed, but the poor lady kept saying (on the very last line I had to read...) "is that an eight?"  Me:  "Or it could be a six"  Her:  "Yes, a six, continue..." and finally the infamous horrid driver's license picture, we were finally declared a legal citizen of the Republic of Texas and 4 hours - *4 FRIGGEN HOURS LATER* we left and now we have a license to drive like every other insane driver on the freeways of San Antonio....and they are all insane....and I do believe, we are too.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Just 7 1/2 More Weeks....

"Just 7 1/2 more weeks" is what I kept saying as I walked into our current home away from home, interspersed with "after all, this is an adventure, right?"  Last Monday, my BFF and I drove 14 hours from Colorado Springs to San Antonio with the fluffy little one and rolled in to our extended stay motel where my husband had checked us in the previous day.  We (the Cowboy and I) have been "displaced" (i.e. homeless) since July 27th, while we await the completion of our new home in TX.  The first week, we crashed at my BFF's house then we were off to Washington, DC where we attended my husband's birth grandmother's inurnment at Arlington National Cemetery.  He was reunited with his birth mother and her family about 5 or 6 years ago and we have been blessed to have a wonderful relationship with them.  They invited us to be a part of the weekend/week and were able to meet a lot of his distant cousins he had heard about but never met.  They have embraced us with open arms and have made us feel like family.  We cherish the time we have with them making up for the years we have missed together.  

The trip went well.  I always get nervous when everything goes off without a hitch, assuming something really bad will happen, but it was an awesome trip.  It was hot and we walked our legs off.  We were able to get some quality time in with friends we have not seen in a long time, and spent an evening with the Secret Service.  Technically, that would be our friend who works for the SS, on "O"'s detail.  We were able to walk by the White House (several times, and not on purpose, but you have to walk everywhere there to get anywhere).  We also went to Mount Vernon to see George Washington's plantation.  It was so much smaller than I expected, but way cool to me none-the-less.  Mid-week Quin flew back Colorado to pack his car and head to San Antonio while I went off to Minneapolis to the Creative Memories Showcase (convention). It was their 25th anniversary and I was hoping it would be a spectacular trip.  It was indeed fun, as my BFF and another great friend in my sales group joined me there.  It was not the all out bash I had hoped it would be for their 25th anniversary, but as with so many companies, the economy has hit them and they have scaled back in many areas to help keep it the wonderful company that it is.  At week's end I headed back to Colorado for one last night at my friend's house.  Early last morning we packed the car and headed on our way.

Get me OUT OF HERE...it is not funny anymore!  I do NOT like the car and you are NOT my real mother!

The drive was not bad.  It did not seem like a 14 hour drive.  We took some short cuts and it shaved off a good hour or more of the drive.  At last...we arrived to our final destination.  I was so looking forward to being in one place for more than a week.  A place that looked in the pictures like it would be a decent, clean place and as Tom Boddett has mentioned on numerous occasions, they'll leave the light on for us.  What could be bad about a place that sounds so friendly.  I soon found out.....It is not the Ritz.  It is not even Holiday Inn.....it is one step above a crack motel.  It is clean, in that I have found no bugs.  It is smokey smelling not because the rooms are smoking rooms, but because the clientele hang outside on the door steps to smoke and it all comes in through the vents.  No amount of candle burning or cooking inside takes that smell away.  It is livable.  It is decent and it is in a pretty decent area of town.  It could be MUCH worse.  All I could say was "It's only for 7 1/2 weeks, right?"  We are now approaching the 6 week mark.  Specifically we have 43 days 10 hours 28 minutes and 34 seconds...not that I am counting.  It is a fine trade off for what awaits us at the end of those 43+ days....I spend my days staring at a picture of that jacuzzi tub I will enjoy 43 days from now....The least traumatized, oddly, is Harleigh. 

After all...we're really not spending a lot of time here anyway....there is so much to do, so much exploring in this city.  6+ weeks and counting.....

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Walkin' The Mile...

Actually we walked about 4 miles today, but it seemed like so much more than that!  We have had a wonderful relaxing day and for a change, we are not running ourselves ragged like we do on most vacations.  We are here in Washington, D.C./Arlington, VA for the inurnment (i.e. placing an urn in a niche at a cemetery) of Cowboy's grandmother who passed away in March.  She is being inurned at Arlington National Cemetery.  Tomorrow is the service.  Today, we met with his birth mother, uncles and their spouses at the National Museum of the American Indian after navigating the DC Metro.  That is impressive in and of itself.  I am fascinated with all things history, as is Quin, so we spent a lot of time at the American Indian museum and next door at the National Air and Space Museum.  We could walk for days and not have time to see it all, so we pretty much wandered around and visited with the family as we went.  We had a great time over lunch just catching up with everyone.

Stromberg Men

Eventually each couple went their own way for an afternoon of downtime, and later meeting up for dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery.  

Quin, Ingrid, Leif

Tomorrow the cousins join us for the service at the cemetery.  We are hoping to go a couple hours early to visit the JFK/RFK memorials, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the other highlights of this amazing place.  I know it will be a somber day.  It is going to be tough for everyone to say good bye to Wanda.  We only knew her for a few years, but she was certainly a special woman that we will never forget.  Later in the day we will have dinner with the close to 40 family members attending and in the evening will get a private tour of the  Eisenhower Executive Office Building (formerly the State, War, & Navy Building).  It now houses the ceremonial office of the Vice President, among other executives.  Quin's ancestor, Richard von Ezdorf was the primary interior designer.  I believe that throughout the years a lot of his work has been painted over, changed, etc. but was reclaimed not too long ago.  Looking forward to the family history lesson tomorrow!

Now our dogs are tired and I am hoping to get in a few minutes or so of reading time and to catch up with Olympic happenings.  We'll actually get to sleep in a bit and for that I will be very grateful.  We have made it through another homeless day, and another day closer to our new home.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Here's The Thing About Adventures...

Here's the thing about adventures....nothing is really planned and when you plan something, you don't expect that it goes the way you think it will.  And true to form, most of what we had planned this week....our first week of "The Adventure"...didn't go quite as we expected.  And with a healthy attitude of letting it all roll as it comes, we had very few meltdowns.  OK...*I* had very few meltdowns...The Cowboy never has a meltdown.  

We officially moved our bodies out of the house on Monday night, staying with dear, dear friends.  (Thank You, Zs!)  We spent our evenings saying good bye to as many as we could, and packed late into the night.  We had packers/movers at the house early in the week and by Wednesday afternoon....all of our worldly possessions, minus what we could pack into our little cars, were in storage.  We had a painter/handy guy patch/paint the walls where there were nail holes left behind.  Let me tell you, it pays to label paint cans and to keep a list of the colors you use throughout your home.  It saved us in many cases, but where it didn't...well...let's just say, it can be difficult to match a color, especially if you do something like a denim look on the walls.  You just can't successfully patch holes on a wall that has had some specialty painting technique.  As cool as it once looked....I don't think I'll be doing that again..ever.  Because of this, the painter took a lot longer than he should have.  Our fault, really, not his....he did a great job matching color/technique...but it looks somewhat patched...I cringe thinking of it.  

This doesn't looks so bad in person...but it is far from perfect.
I hope the new owners decide to strategically place pictures on this wall or just paint over it.
But I think this is one of the features they liked about the house, as they are renting it to 
college age guys.

The cleaners were there a lot longer than we expected, but it worked out okay and the house was cleaner than it was the day we moved in.  The carpet cleaners were late getting there making the Cowboy late for work and I had to take off to track them down, but again, we rolled with the punches and the carpet looked great.  Friday night, we shared a bottle of wine and said goodbye to our house that we made a home that became a house again this week...and now we look forward to our next home.

The last time my car will be parked in front of this house.  This is the first home we owned together.

Another unexpected thing that came up was when some jack hammer knocked off our mailbox...luckily our next door neighbors happen to be the best darn neighbors ever.  Since this happened after all our worldly possessions were out of our house and packed away in storage....we had no tools to fix the mailbox.  But our wonderful neighbor, who has done so much for us, came to our rescue one more time.  

Thanks, you jack hammer!  We appreciate it!

Harleigh, our bulimic cat, has been coping better than we expected.  I thought she'd be traumatized....

Proof that Harleigh can sleep anywhere.  She is unfazed!

Notice the tags/collar she is wearing.  She has never had a collar...but we had her chipped and got her a collar, on the off chance that she decides to venture out without our notice during this ordeal.  Cowboy wanted her to have a collar with a bell...she got a bell.  Really?  Mr. Manly wanted the cat to have a tinkle bell around her neck.  Are you kidding me?  He wasn't...so we bought it for her.  She hated it.  It scared the crap out of her every time she moved.  She would run through the house trying to get away from herself, nearly ramming herself into walls at speeds she hasn't moved to since she was a kitten.  She hid from us under the bed, scared of what fresh hell we'd put her through next.  We had to squirt her with water before she would come out.  She eventually got over it and it has helped us find her in interesting hiding spots in our friends house now.  Who knew that man was so smart?  (okay, I did, that's why I married him!)  Now she just scratches her neck constantly.  If you didn't know better, you'd think she had fleas or something.  No fleas...just a bell...around her neck...

We are now on a week of vacation, more or less.  Quin's grandmother passed away in March, at the beginning of this whole moving ordeal.  Now as it's coming to a close (more or less), we will officially say goodbye to Wanda, as she is being inurned at Arlington National Cemetery this week.  Our trip out here to DC went well, and we ran into Quin's Uncle and his wife who were on the second flight of our trip.  We had an enjoyable evening catching up with them over dinner and will see more family tomorrow for a bit of sightseeing together.  There were some initial plans for dinner, but nothing was solidified...so once again, we rolled with the changes and continued with the adventure.  

Now we are relaxing in our hotel...which is our home for the next few days.  I think this is the first time I have been able to sit down and not be continuously thinking of something that had to be done before we were officially homeless.  I enjoyed the day of travel, because it was an excuse to put on my noise-cancelling headphones (Dear God, thank you for Sony and their wonderful noise cancelling headphones.  It makes flying enjoyable!) and read.  Hours upon hours to read and escape.  And with that...I think it is time to escape again.  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

One Last Night

One last night in this house we've made a home.  One last night to sleep in my own comfy bed for many, many weeks.  One last night to kick my sandals off and be relaxed in my home in Colorado.  One last night to breath in the mountain air from the deck built by my husband (and our friend).  One last night of comfort for Harleigh....our traumatized bulimic cat that truly runs this house.  One last night of memories to be made in this house that we've made a home.

Tomorrow begins an adventure that will last a couple of months.  One last day for the packers, then everything moves to storage.  One last week to say goodbye to our family and friends (friends are the family you get to pick).  I appreciate our dear friends who will let us crash at their place this week as our home becomes a house, that will one day be someone else's home.  I apologize in advance to our dear friends who will let us crash at their place this week for any inconvenience we may cause them.  We truly appreciate them, more than they will know.

One last night.....

Texas, here we come!

~ Teri

Monday, July 16, 2012

Goofy Golf and Sugar Comas

We took a break from packing and organizing things (no we didn't....because in our heads...we're still organizing, making mental notes, etc) to have dinner with friends on Saturday night and family on Sunday night.

I also took my car in to get an oil change and $900 later (and lots of labor, parts for a dozen different things)....it is in great shape for a road trip to San Antonio...except maybe the tires.  They could blow...at any time....another mental note to decide to chance it or drop another $400+ for new tires.  Mechanics say they're fine for the trip - but just telling me that one is about to wear out means I will not forget that and drive for 15 1/2+ hours with a clenched stomach wondering when the tire will go.  It will A) blow out 45 mins outside of town in the outer realm of hell away from any semblance of cell coverage while my BFF and Princess Harleigh shoots me looks in the 98 degree weather of the New Mexican desert that would turn us all into ice, or B) not give me one problem, but will have my stomach in such knots  the whole way there in fear of what ultimately won't happen, that I'll need the jaws of life to pull me out of the car because I'll be in a permanently rigid state that no human could get me out of.  New addition to the ever growing list of things to be done before I leave...consider new tires.

I have officially set up mail forwarding to take affect next week, leaving me cold and clammy over the thought that it may be a few weeks before I can get my weekly copy of Soap Opera Digest.  Since I will likely miss some episodes of Days Of Our Lives, I will have to depend on SOD to keep me up to date on the happenings in Salem USA.  God forbid I miss Stefano's return...because you know he never really dies....

So this weekend we had our last dinner club with two great couples that I will sorely miss.  I'm trying to figure out a way to continue it by forcing them to come to San Antonio every month...I'm sure they won't mind the month payment to American Airlines.  The theme of the night was Cuban and we had an awesome dinner then went out into a field behind our host/hostess' house in Black Forest to play Goofy Golf.

Appetizers:  Marinated Peel and Eat Shrimp/Bruschetta
Dinner:  Cuban Lime Chicken, Saffron Rice, Black Beans, Potatoes
Dessert:  S'More bars...not so Cuban but was perfect after a night of Goofy Golf

Goofy Golf:  Using putters, we aim for an agreed upon stake in the yard...
First one to hit the stake determines the next stake aimed at...
You can steal/trade with someone else's ball 2ce per round.  Kinda like a white elephant gift exchange...with golf balls.
Much cheating ensues...except for me...I NEVER cheat...ok once...ok a few times...always....

The Cowboy and I were in charge of dessert.  Which means, I planned and made the dessert.  Cowboy drove me to the store to get the ingredients...and watched me make it.  I made S'more bars...because you can never have enough S'mores and it is my birthday month (my damn birthday).  I got the recipe off of a website I found on Pinterest and true to fashion...I didn't follow it.  I used it as a guide.  Mine came out gooey-er and kinda like a molten lava mess...because we didn't let them finish cooling...because they were S'mores..who wants to wait for that chocolate-y goodness to cool?

I took pre-made sugar cookie dough and mixed with graham cracker crumbs.
Then I put half of the mixture in the bottom of a foil pan.  I imagine a wider pan is better than the small one I used - would be more bar like and less like a thick pan of goo (but it's yummy goo).  But I didn't want to make too much for just 6 of us, even though I used the same amount of ingredients.  (That's the way I do math...I never said I was good at math)

Then layer with Hershey's chocolate.  No other will do!

Then comes the marshmallow creme.  By accident I found that if you punch a hole in the paper cover on the jar, in altitude, the stuff oozes out of the jar giving you a bit of a pour effect that keeps it from being messy, at least initially.....

Then it gets messy, and sticky...but it wasn't that bad.  Run your knife under very hot water before you dig into the jar....then it glides on....
Put the other half of the cookie mixture on top.  Rolling it out like pie crust will let you put it on easy.  I don't do easy, I do fast...so I added it on top of the marshmallow cream in sections and patted it all down.
This is what it looks like when it's hot...it is a gooey mess of choco-mallow-graham loveliness with a side of homemade vanilla ice cream.  When the rest of it cooled...it sliced like a bar dessert...and was equally as yummy...

We took the left overs to my in-laws for dinner Sunday night.  I didn't bring any home...it was gone.  It was good.  Now I'm trying to recover from the sugar coma that was this weekend.  I'll recover while the movers pack our house and the drywall guy starts covering the nail holes in the wall and any other little maintenance things that need to be finished up before we leave.  And I'll work....must work to pay for those tires...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Six Degrees of Separation or How Bizarre is That?

We had some unexpected company today.  Not totally unexpected....but pretty close.  The buyers of our house stopped by unannounced.  They had scheduled with our Realtor to come by to see how to work the controls on the "as is" hot tub, then we got a call back that they had to cancel.  Apparently they were freed up after all, but couldn't get a hold of our Realtor...so they just stopped on by.  Luckily it was late enough and we both had showers and coffee...however, the house was a mess because...we are moving and packing.  Still, it felt odd, as if I needed to quickly stage the house for "potential" buyers.

They are very nice people.  A lovely couple not much older than ourselves who are buying the house then renting to their college son and his roommate.  No wonder they don't mind the "as is" hot tub.  While they were here, we went through all of the things we do to the house throughout the year, to make sure that it's snug and tight.  I think they were impressed with our regular maintenance routines and the upgrades that we've done and why.

While I was talking with the wife, she asked me where we were moving, because they new we were moving to Texas.  I mentioned that we're moving to a little town called Helotes, TX just outside of San Antonio.  I noticed the wife smiled oddly when I mentioned it, but she just mentioned that she had a son that lives in San Antonio.  I thought that it was an interesting coincidence.  Later when all four of us were talking, the husband asked me where we were moving and once again I said Helotes, TX.  He started laughing and said that was where his son lived and that he and his wife/family just moved there about 2 years ago.  Talk about six degrees (or two maybe in this case) of separation.  That is just bizarre.  Helotes is a SMALL town on the outskirts of San Antonio.  A beautiful town on the edge of Hill Country.  Of all places for there to be a connection between us and the buyers.  The husband and his wife go down a couple times a year to visit.  They said that if we wanted to leave our info with them, they'd be happy to bring down anything we might "leave behind".  How sweet.....but we won't be leaving anything.  If for some odd reason we do, my in-laws visit much more often than twice a year...we'll let them schlep anything we need.

I kinda have mixed feelings about meeting them.  They were just wonderful people and they have given us no grief over anything throughout the sale.  After the inspection, the list of things they requested of us was quite small and all simple things like labeling paint (which was already done, they just didn't look at the cans well) or closing out a permit we didn't realized had never been finalized.  They are paying their own closing costs and did not ask for any kind of financial allowances or warranties.  If I had met them in a different setting, I would think we would be good friends.  But they are our buyers.  I feel very good that we have created such a nice home, and are leaving it to people who will equally take good care and continue to upgrade and keep things well maintained.  The little fear in the back of my mind is that if we strike up a friendship and something goes wrong with the house after we are gone, they may make comments about it to us or try to cause us grief.  But since they didn't ask for a warranty, once the sale is complete....it is theirs....it is their issue, not ours.  I don't think that would happen...I don't think they are the kind of people that would do that...but one just never knows.  I saw the movie Pacific Heights (excellent drama/thriller)....I'm only so trusting.

More hurdles passed...more to come I am sure.  This weekend we are continuing to pack/organize the personal items we plan to take with us.  Monday the packers will be here again to do another large amount of the house.  They'll basically get everything except what we need left to finish out the last week of our stay in this house.  Then it will be theirs...not ours...we'll be homeless...but just for a short while.

Tonight we are having our last "dinner club" get together.  Two other couples and ourselves get together monthly and pick a theme.  The hosts makes the dinner/sides, one couple does appetizers and one does dessert.  We visit, have a glass of wine (or two....yep..more)....visit, play some games, eat, and just enjoy each others company.  These are the times I will sorely miss when we leave...but the memories will last a lifetime.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Damn Birthday

Today is my birthday and as I've been saying for weeks, it's not just my birthday, it's my damn birthday!  ;-O  By the time you're my age, it is no longer about balloons and presents and all day celebrations....it's actually just getting through the day and smiling at the end and having a reason to enjoy company with family and friends!  I had a great day and a wonderful evening and now I'm about to enjoy the last of it with the Cowboy relaxing in front of the TV.

We had packers come today and they killed it!  They packed the one room I thought would take days...my craft room, with all kinds of Girl Scout crafts and my endless shelves of scrapbooking and stamping supplies. They also finished the other 2 spare bedrooms.  All in less than 6 hours...and it was CHEAP!  It's all easy from here on out.

We also had an electrical inspector out....apparently we had an old permit that we pulled years ago when we upgraded our electrical panel and somehow someone failed to get the inspector out a last time for the final inspection.  The problem with that is the code as changed and now there are a few breakers that need to change out for a new design....so that needs to be changed before we can call that complete.

Princess Harleigh was none to happy about all of the strange people coming and going.  It takes a few days of you being in the house before she decides that it's safe to come out from hiding and visit.  So she spent the entire day hidden in the couch.  I don't know how she does it but not only does she hid behind the couch, she actually gets IN the couch.  By mid afternoon, I think she was dying to come out and started peaking her head out.....and as she often likes to do she stared at the wall for a while.

What is she staring at?????

For dinner tonight, the Cowboy and my BFF took me to Mona Lisa's Fondue.  Locals will know or at least heard of Mona Lisa's.  It is a wonderful fondue place, in an older building in Manitou Springs, Colorado in the foothills outside of Colorado Springs.  Unlike most fondue joints, you grill meat at your table rather than deep fry it in oil or bouillon.  I say it's healthier but when you combine that with cheese and chocolate fondue...well..you quit worrying about the calories.  Cowboy and I have been going there for our anniversary since we've been married.  We've maybe missed one or two years, when we've been out of town for special trips.  I wanted one last time there before we moved.  We had such a great time of conversation and we laughed til we cried at times.  I don't think any of us had our phones out at any time, with calls and text messages being ignored.  My father-in-law would be proud (he loves to tease anyone who sits at the table and plays on their phone).  

My damn birthday may almost be over, but we'll celebrate into the weekend.  Just because.....

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Homeless No More

Maybe I just had to blog about it...

Late last night, just as I was shutting down the computer, I saw an email pop in from Hotel Planner, a website I used to put in a "bid" (similar to Priceline) for a hotel room with our specific needs, dates, etc.  I had received a couple of emails with hotels that responded that were either over priced or likely from a crack house area of town.  I really had become so frustrated that I was just glancing through them and not really reviewing anything.  This time, I did and one caught my eye, mainly because I knew that area of San Antonio where the suites were and trusted it, and the price was below what we were looking for.  So as of this morning, we have secured a place that has a kitchenette, a separate bedroom from the living room, a couple of desks and kitchen table, will allow Princess Harleigh (with the cheapest pet deposit yet) and the bed is a king size bed.  I like my space when I sleep and so does the Cowboy.  He tosses and turns too much!  Another hurdle passed!

Today we had the heater and AC guy out to do a last servicing of the system (request from buyer) and the buyer's appraiser came out.  Of course the appraiser came at the worse possible moment.  I think a lot of people believe that since I work from home I sit in front of the TV with my laptop in my lap surfing the internet while watching Days of Our Lives (Do I dare admit that I DVR it and watch later?  Will Stefano once again come back to life like the phoenix rising from the ashes?  Did EJ kill Stefano, or was it Lexie on the eve of her own death?  Will Maggie and Victor be seen again or have they gone on a 6 month belated honeymoon?).  Even when I tell service people that come to the house that I'll be on conference calls or working, they seem to be oblivious and frustrated if I don't respond to them immediately.  The appraiser came when I was on a conference call, trying to make a cup of coffee, texting with my project lead, and entering my expense report.  At the same time, I was getting emails from the manager of the hotel I secured (and which is what I really wanted to concentrate on).  The appraiser came in the kitchen and while on the phone (politely) told me to exit the kitchen so that he could get a picture.  After I was off the phone I realized the mess that was the kitchen counter.  I hope the buyers won't see that...I am sure they will....the trash hadn't been taken out, dirty coffee cups (plural) on the counter, (clean) dishes in the sink and and several bags of potatoes (small bags) strewn across the counter.....I was mortified.  The buyers will think we're hoarders.  I straightened it up some before he left so he'll at least think I try to keep it clean.  And I finally got that cup of coffee about 2 hours later and I never did get to finish it.  Working at home is not all that glamorous, it does have it's good points at times...but it really is as hectic as if I was in the office.  I just don't have to deal with all the noises and annoyances of being around others while trying to concentrate, like listening to the guy in the next cube scheduling his colonoscopy IN DETAIL, or the guy in the next row dealing with his sinus issues (I won't even go into detail on that one).

Tomorrow the movers come to do an initial packing, they'll be here early.....ugh....and probably for most of the day.  An inspector is coming as well to sign off on a permit that we apparently never got completed.  Thinking I should take some pictures of the house before things come off the walls...as if I don't have enough pictures of the house from the last 11 years.

The Cowboy and our friend Shawn rebuilding our deck

Monday, July 9, 2012

Living In Limbo

Returning to blogging once again....during the middle of our chaos.  The chaos of a state to state move.  We have been oh so lucky to have so many things about this move from Colorado to Texas to be timed so well.  During the middle of the Colorado wildfires, a change in department for Quin at work, and a very hectic work/travel schedule for me, we were somehow able to sell our little house on a busy street.  Our house backs up to a fairly busy street that became our nemesis.  This street was not nearly so busy when we bought the house and we never dreamed it would be such a negative strike against us for a future sale.  My Aunt Pam would tell me "it only takes one offer".  Indeed...and that offer came this past month.  We literally had two more weeks left to receive an acceptable offer or we risked losing the house we were building.  When the Cowboy got a call from our builder that "things had been going well and we are ahead of schedule", we started to panic and decided we just needed to move as much out of the house as possible.  During the middle of moving things out, we received an offer and now here we are....packing.

An important part of this move has not been timed perfectly, but almost....unfortunately it is off enough to cause a little anxiety.  We will be homeless for about 6-8 weeks as we close on one house and await the completion of construction on another.  We were hoping to find some inexpensive temporary housing in the form of a furnished apartment in San Antonio that we could rent on a monthly lease, but apparently an affordable one is unheard of, unless you consider $4000+ affordable.  We do not.  We do have family in the area to fall back on, but are still hoping we can find a place to hang our hat and let Princess Harleigh "have her space".  We have looked into everything imaginable including RV rentals and vacation cabins (they make the $4k seem reasonable).  The extended stay hotels that we considered "reasonable" (actually there is only one that is available) looks like a working meth lab and front for a business of ill-repute.  We are hoping to get a favorable response from a bed and breakfast business that has a carriage house that could be ideal.  It merely depends on whether their current tenant happens to vacate on time.  We are approaching it all as an adventure, and think we may just roam from family member to family member and see what last minute hotel deals we can get along the way.

In the meantime, we have begun the packing process and have found what we believe will be an awesome independent mover that has so far been very attentive and helpful.  His company will do the bulk of the packing and we just need to get things prepped for them to make the whole process go smoother.  We have also deemed meals from here on out to be "Project: Cleansing of the Fridge".  I told the Cowboy not to expect any normal meals...no matter what time of day the meal of the moment will be a hodgepodge of items left in the fridge/freezer and all meals will be served on fine paper and plastic ware.  I do draw the line at coffee....the coffee cups are not yet packed and the Keurig machine is not yet out of my reach.  So tomorrow's breakfast may consist of clam chowder, asparagus, and Blue Bell ice cream.  Dinner tonight is almost normal....a one skillet meal with hamburger, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, sunburst squash, and red bell peppers, borracho beans cooked in chipotle olive oil and Mexican seasonings and a little masa flour slurried on top.  I think I'll call it an inside out picadillo tamale  That's about the last normal grouping I have.  Tomorrow is looking like crab cakes and cinnamon rolls.

Now it's back to packing....wishing I could just box myself up and ship on out!  The rest of our stuff will follow, I'm sure.  The mover just came by to look at the house...again...and we dropped a bomb on him, I think.  I believe he was expecting to just pack up the valuable/breakable stuff...the stuff that we'd make him liable for.....we said...nope....you're packing 99% of it.  I have a feeling he left the house a hoopin' and hollerin' as it seems that with the wildfires, his business fell off a bit...I guess some people were rethinking moves here or something.  I'm happy to help the local, independent business person...especially if it saves me all the work!

Princess Harleigh!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Girl Scouts and Homemade Pasta

It's Girl Scout weekend at our house.  I have been blessed to work with many wonderful girls over the years in Girl Scouts and I have enjoyed them all.  Katie, Christina, Taylor, Sarah, Tess, Keryn, Madie and Katie (oh, snap, I think I even listed them from oldest to youngest) have all been in troops that I have led and they have all been fun and a blessing to work with.  I am currently co-leading a Senior troop of three girls:  Phoenix, Maria, and McKiya.  As always, we are having a blast!  I have also been blessed with great parents and volunteers to work with (Sue and Pam, you two were dreams to work closely with; Tina and Tami were always committed as well).  I am now in cahoots with Mrs. Patty (Pinkie!). 

The girls are spending the weekend working on their new blog (http://www.troop401-weretrippin.blogspot.com/) where they will journal about their adventures and their work (fundraising mainly) toward their Senior trip in 2015.  Well....go on...open another browser tab and check out that blog....I'll wait for you to come back.....

OK, now that you're back....besides working on their blog and discussing their trip, they helped me in the kitchen.  Tonight we broke in my new pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer (oh that is my favorite kitchen toy!).  I made a bolonese sauce (from scratch) with a hearty mix of onions, celery, carrots and bell peppers....ground beef and sweet italian sausage.
Yum!  It should be slow cooked ALL day....we got a few hours in is all, but it was still very good and the girls loved it.

For our first pasta try, I used a pasta mix from Williams-Sonoma.  It makes 4 servings, but it was plenty for a total of 6 of us.  It was suggested we try a mix first to get use to the proper consistency.  Smart idea!  The girls helped to knead the dough and make the dough into walnut size balls.
OK, you can't see the dough....but that's what they're doing...and a fine job, I must say.  Then we attached the pasta hopper and started making some rigatoni.
See the pasta coming out of the end of the white hopper?  And you know the Cowboy was behind them watching too.  He loves him some pasta!  Now he can have it fresh (and healthy - lots of wheat/brown rice pasta in our future).

There it is boiling.  You'd think I'd get a picture of the finish product but sadly, no....we were all hungry and scarfed it before I had a chance to get a picture.  Next time!  But trust me, it was good.

Now the girls are working on henna tattoos.  They're going to a Girl Scout lock-in later in the month and will be hosting a henna tattoo booth to help raise funds for their Senior trip.  And where are they going?  I think it will be Montana for hiking, camping, white water rafting, swimming, shopping and all those things that Girl Scouts do!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Beans and Fluffernutters!

The Cowboy and I went out for one last hurrah before we get back to a normal eating schedule.  Most of the leftovers of the holiday are gone with a big pot of ham and beans and another of blackeyed peas to finish off. 

We both had the day off today so we just kicked around the house not accomplishing much and decided to head downtown to a locally owned placed call PB & Jellies.  Art and his family opened up PB & Jellies earlier this year.  It is a wonder New York Deli with house made PB and locally made Jellies.  They also have a wonderful selection of Boar's Head sandwiches and soups.  We just never seem to stray from the PB sandwiches, with the exception of the kniches (awesome too).  What great comfort food, especially in the winter time and right after the heavy foods of the holidays.

I had their Smasher sandwich which consisted of dark chocolate peanut butter and wavy kettle chips (plus the chips that come on the side).  The Cowboy had the dark chocolate peanut butter and banana sandwich.  Then we split a fluffernutter with regular peanut butter.  Oh....that brought back some wonderful childhood memories!

If you are local to Colorado Springs, head down town to visit Art at PB & Jellies.

Tomorrow it is back to the gym and back to a normal eating routine!  OK...well, I am sure we'll be eating some beans/ham and cornbread for a few days, but I'll throw in a salad and call it healthy.  ;-)  And actually, the beans and ham are not too bad for you.  I mix pintos and great northerns, soak them overnight then pressure cook them the next day (I have a wonderful electric pressure cooker, besides my manual one).  I put the ham bone with ample ham left over from Christmas (we get HoneyBaked Ham) in the crockpot and cover with water, as well as a chopped onion and cook all day. I season well with salt, pepper, and Ozark Seasoning from Penzey's. Once the beans are done in the pressure cooker, I add to the ham in the crockpot. You can eat them that night, but I suggest you wait til the second day. After you put them in the fridge overnight, then reheat them they tend to take on a thicker consistency and have more flavor. Add a side of cornbread and salad and you have a pretty fantastic comfort meal full of protein, fiber, iron, potassium, B6, and folic acid.
Not a bad way to start the new year.