And…

And…

Kay Rice
June 04, 2013

And in the silence, he came to me,
Kissed my lips and made me free.
Breaking a spell cast by fate,
Opened the doors, sealed by hate.
Lifting me up to walk by his side,
Facing life with eyes, open wide.

And under the blanket of the night,
He took my hand and taught me to fight.
Placing his heart in my crippled chest,
Taking my own, to heal and to rest.
Breathing into my lungs new air,
Healing scarred skin, naked and bare.

And the crippled, fragile soul he saved,
Stands here beside him, strong and brave.
No longer a shadow, that hides in fear,
No longer to cry, empty, frozen tears.
He kisses my lips, and pulls me in tight,
Every day is a battle, and together we fight.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
DO NOT USE WITHOUT WRITTEN CONSENT OF KAY RICE

Sword to Sword

Sword to Sword
Written by Kay Rice

She gave her all in battles each day.
By her love and the the sea, they say.
Years, oceans and time did blend.
Entwined in a battle that never will end.

Two fiery souls, bound by the siren’s call.
Flying one flag, swearing never to fall.
Days filled with treasures, dreams of gold.
Nights filled with stars and laughter bold.

The love of the sea became their bond.
Their hearts entwined becoming one song.
Sword to Sword, adventures they sought.
Two separate souls sharing one heart.

She gave her all in battles each day.
Until the steel struck true and took her away.
Falling in battle as he turned around.
Her blood, the ocean took, as she lay down.

Her eyes of blue, smiling, looked up at him,
“With this, our adventure does not end”.
His wails were heard above the battle high.
Into a frenzy, they say, he began to fly.

Refusing to allow the sea to take her away.
Her words gave him strength on that fatal day.
And in a moment, as the angels looked down.
His sword was dropped to the bloody ground.

Legends still tell that if you stand and listen here.
The two joined in battle, together, will appear.
Back to back, sword to sword they continue to fight,
For adventures, treasures and their love, every night.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Triple Berry Cobbler

Nothing says home like an old fashioned cobbler.  They are quick to make and are eaten even faster!  The perfect dessert for a gathering or family.  Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream while still warm and you will melt!

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Mrs. Rice’s Triple Blueberry Cobbler

Filling:

  • 4 cups of mixed berries.  I enjoy Raspberries, blueberries and black berries.  However, you can mix this up as you like.
  • 1 cup of raw honey
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of corn starch
  1. In a very large bowl, mix your berries (with your hands) with the sugar and the corn starch.
  2. Once the berries are well coated, add in your honey.  Using a large wooden spoon, fold the berries so the honey coats well.
  3. Pour into a large casserole pan.

Pie Crust Top:

This is a very basic pie crust, and my husband says he prefers a “drop crust” which to me is not a cobbler, but to each his own.  A drop crust is like sweet drop dumplings, which I am not going to cover here.

  • 1 1/4 cups of lard
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 to 2 tbsp of water
  1. In a large bowl add your flower, sugar and salt.
  2. Add in your lard and “cut” into the flour mixture (I use two butter knives to cut) until there are “marble sized” balls.
  3. Finish mixing with your hands, adding in the water if need be.  You do not want your dough too dry or too wet.
  4. Using parchment paper, sprinkle some flour on the bottom parchment paper add the ball of dough, a dusting of flour on the top and the top parchment paper.
  5. Use a rolling pen to to roll until thin and wide and long enough to cover your casserole dish corner to corner on the inside (not over the edges).
  6. Add the dough to the top of your fruit.
  7. Cut slits or designs into the top of your crust so the juices can nicely escape and not cause an overflow on the edges.
  8. Sprinkle the crust with a light dusting of sugar.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until the crust has a pretty golden glow to it.

Serve hot or cold.  Warm with vanilla ice cream is my ultimate favorite.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

Mexican Street Corn

This recipe is an alteration of my favorite fried corn side dish I grew to love back home.  Growing it up was fried sweet corn with a bit of butter salt and pepper.  Now that I’m all grown up and my loving husband has introduced me to a world of new flavors from his time of Arizona, my comfort food side dish has taken on a whole new level of awesomeness.

I recently made this for a family gathering and had many requests to share the recipe.  Here it is.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup pork lard
  • 4 cups of sweet corn
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic diced
  • 8 ounces roasted New Mexico Hatch Chilies (pealed and diced)
  • 1 tbsp Corn meal or corn flour
  • 1 tsp Jalapeno powder
  • 1 tbsp Chili powder
  • White soft quesadilla cheese
  • Fresh Cilantro (optional)
  • A pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Heat a cast iron skillet and melt your lard (Do not use Crisco or butter, it won’t taste the same).
  2. Saute the onion and garlic until limp.
  3. Add in your corn and fry on a medium heat.  You want your corn to have a chard look to it.
  4. Add in your hatch chilies and continue “frying” in the skillet.
  5. Combine your jalapeno powder and chili powder together then add to your skillet, spreading it evenly over the corn while frying.  Stir in.
  6. Sprinkle in your corn flower over top of the corn and fold it in evenly.
  7. When the corn has a “roasted” look to it (it will toughen up as well), take it off the heat and transfer it into a large pan or serving dish.
  8. Sprinkle with some chili powder, grated white Mexican cheese and the fresh cilantro.
  9. Can be served cold or hot.

Feel free to add in jalapeno slices, extra peppers, some jalapeno tomato dices or even some black beans.  Yum.

Enjoy and be the hit of any late summer picnic!

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

Who I am (A Child’s Voice)

Who I am (A child’s voice)
Kay Rice

A childish voice yells, “I’m Batman Today”!
Dressed in pajamas and a sheet for a cape,
A serious pose, holds back his grin,
In HIS world, he’s the hero to all his friends.

A childish voice whispers “Today, I’m a pony”.
I gallop around in a field full of posies,
A happy-go-lucky clap, he mimics for hooves,
and a scarf tied to his jeans for a tail to swoosh.

A childish voice proclaims out loud “Today, I’m a rock-star”!
I sing and yell and I travel so far,
As he dances to the sound of his radio blaring,
and dreams of fans, his name they are yelling.

A childish voice cries out “Today, I am afraid”.
I don’t know what to be or what I have made,
I’m me, but who am I, deep down inside?
I’d like to find out, but today I’d much rather hide.

A young man steps forward, from dreams and school days,
All grown up from childish things, ready to make his own way,
A hero, a mustang, a rock star, he stands tall and with grace,
All his dreams have given him the courage to find his place.

 

Written for my wonderful blessing of a son, Jon.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
KAY RICE

Trees

Trees
by Mrs. Kay Rice

On a tall grassy hill so far away,
Two little trees softly did sway.
In the spring a warm and gentle breeze,
Waking up, from a long winter’s freeze.

Far from each other yet close at hand,
Reaching up from the new warm moist land.
Dancing together through each spring shower,
Each day growing as they began to flower.

Spring turns to summer as each little tree,
Reaches up higher as if trying to see.
The world around them so far and new,
Looking up into bright skies of blue.

Summer to Fall as green leaves turn to gold,
Listening to stories from birds they are told.
Of coming winters when cold winds blow,
And life goes to sleep in blankets of snow.

With the first snow flake the trees bow down,
To prepare for sleep under winters new gown.
Leaning over from their long winter’s nap,
Their branches together began to over lap.

Warmth once again, came to the hill far away,
Calling and waking the trees to a new day.
And as they slowly awoke, what did they find?
That in the cold their branches became entwined.

Now swaying together in wind and in rain,
Their branches grew stronger together again.
As if holding on to each other in sun and storm,
Silent vows given to up the wind and was sworn.

Spring flowers from one were pink and so bright,
The other bloomed flowers so large and pure white.
Branches entwined so one could not tell them a part,
Impossible to know where one ended and the other did start.

Spring turned to summer and then on to Fall,
By now their branches were so strong and so tall.
Lifting branches together reaching up to the sky,
Wrapped together they watched the seasons go by.

Seasons and years passed by as they grew,
Never cracking or falling as strong winds blew.
Their branches keep reaching to the sky up above,
Entwined forever, together, in eternal love.

Mrs. Kay L. Rice
3/12/2010
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

(A poem I wrote for my loving husband)

Tomato Powder

One of the most basic garden vegetables are tomatoes, cherry or normal size.  Its how many people get hooked on growing their own food.  One reason is because they are so prolific and easy to grow.  Note, Prolific!  Cherry, grape, salad tomatoes especially will create a ton of tomatoes during a season.  While in February as you long for the taste of a fresh, real, non-store bought tomato, by September you never want to eat one again.  Yet, they still continue to cover your plants!  What to do with all of them.

Unless you pickle the cherry tomatoes, you will have to find many friends to pawn them off on, they are too much trouble to can, in my opinion.  If you have larger tomatoes and don’t can, you will be in this same boat.  I don’t like to freeze tomatoes, they take up too much room and it is a messy processes.  What I like to do is dehydrate them and turn them into powder.  Yes, you read that right.

Powdered tomatoes are perfect for a vegetable thickener in sauce and pasta dishes as well as a base vegetable bullion for soups and stews.  The best thing is that 5 pounds of tomatoes can fit into a half-pint jar!  Space!  I really like this for my cherry tomatoes because the prep goes so fast, they add up fast and nothing is left to waste.

Here are the directions.

Tomato Powder

  1. Wash your tomatoes.
  2. Cut out any blemishes and stem area.
  3. Slice thin and place on your dehydrator rack (or on a cookie sheet with parchment paper if you are going to use your oven).
  4. Make sure they are not overlapping.  Tomatoes contain a lot of water.
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  6. I place my dehydrator on medium heat and this takes about 7 hours.  If you are using your oven, use the lowest heat and crack the door open to dry your slices.
  7. Dry until they are completely crispy with NO MOISTURE.
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  9. You can leave in this state if you want to vacuum seal at this stage and use like sun dried tomatoes as well.  I have one friend that will use vinegar and oil and put the in the refrigerator to use in salads.  I prefer not to utilize refrigerator space in that way.  This state also makes a wonderful sun dried tomato salad dressing.
  10. Place your ‘chips’ in a grinder and grind until a powder.
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  12. You can also add dehydrated garlic, onion, peppers, pretty much anything you want at this stage and grind all together to make sure its well mixed.  This would make a lovely stock base.
  13. Next transfer into an airtight container that is resistant to air and to moisture.  I prefer to vac-seal my jars with the exception of one that I will use often and that one will be put in my spice cabinet.
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This powder has so many uses.  My favorite way is to add a little tomato flavor and a thickener to dishes without all the water  content.  It works great as an alternative to a small amount of tomato paste as well.

Let me know how this turned out for you!

Enjoy!

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

Okra

It has been a hot, rainy, humid summer here in Ohio.  The garden has loved it, but the one plant that has truly loved this year’s weather is our OKRA!  I grew up loving this vegetable which is widely used in the southern states, my family is very southern.  Waves at my Great Aunt Meg, who REALLY taught me to enjoy southern cooking back in Mentor, Tennessee!

I planted two varieties this year, one the shorter ruby and the other is the heirloom green, which by the way, grows taller than me.  Its a good thing my husband and I both LOVE, and that is an understatement, okra.  Because this year, I have harvested baskets of it and every day it seems that I have a new big basket to harvest every afternoon.  Yes, I am still harvesting well into September!  Okay so I may have planted 100 plants, but well, we love okra.

Now, what do you do with this odd, spiny, plant that when cooked creates what I call “Okra Boogers” or “Okra Snot” depending on who you want to shock and gross out at the time.  My husband refers to the okra peas as “rat eyes” especially in soups and stews.  Can you tell that we just love to have fun!  Oh, here is a warning.  Some people are very allergic to the fuzz that grows on okra, it causes almost a poison ivy affect to their skin.  I’ve never had this problem, but I do know some who do.

Okra is highly nutritious and it is filling as well as easy to grow in warm temperatures, which explains why you find it a lot in the southern states.  It’s very high in fiber as well as containing potassium, vitamin B, vitamin C, folic acid, and calcium. It’s low in calories and has a high dietary fiber content. Recently, a new benefit of including okra in your diet is being considered. Okra has been suggested to help manage blood sugar in cases of type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.  So in short, what’s not to like.

My husband’s absolute favorite for okra, is pickled okra.

Pickled Okra

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb of okra
  • 1/4 clove of garlic for each jar (6)
  • 1 dill flower head for each jar (6)
  • jalapeno pepper diced fine or red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups of apple cider vinager
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt
  • 1 tablespoon of mustard seed
  • 6 half pint canning glass jars with lids and rings

Directions

  1. Clean your okra removing the tips and caps only (I keep some of the cap on).  Leave whole.
  2. Add 1/4 clove garlic in each jar.
  3. Add 1 dill flower in each jar.
  4. Pack your okra tightly in each jar leaving 1/2 inches head space.
  5. In a large pot on your stove.  Combine your Vinegar, water, salt, peppers, mustard seeds.
  6. Stir and bring to a full boil.  Do not stop stirring, your salt will burn.
  7. Ladle liquid into jars, leaving 1/2 inch head-space.
  8. Water bath process for 15 minutes half pints 20 minutes for pints.

 

Another way we like them is pan fried as a side dish.

Pan Fried Okra

  1.  Melt about a tablespoon of lard in a frying pan.
  2. In a bowl I whip up 1 egg and set to the side.
  3. I prepare the okra by taking off the tips and caps and slicing into thick rounds.
  4. I put all the okra into the egg batter and stir in some red pepper flakes, or some diced jalapeno.
  5. Next I add enough cornmeal to the egg and okra and stir it in the bowl to cover it all, you don’t want it corn patty thick, but just enough to give a nice coating.
  6. Once the lard is melted, add your mixture into the pan and “separate” the pieces and move around often in the hot lard to cook.
  7. You will want to watch it because it will cook fast and is easily burned.
  8. Serve hot or cold.

All this is fine and well until you realize you are becoming over run with okra, so how do you store it to enjoy later and in the winter when it is no longer in season?  In addition to the pickling, we also store two other ways.  Freezing and dehydrating.

Dehydrating your Okra

I like to dehydrate our okra because it takes up very little space, it gets rid of the “Okra Boogers” and it works fantastic for gumbos, soups and stews.

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  1. Wash your okra and remove the caps and tips.
  2. I flash steam my okra whole.
  3. Slice into rounds or wedges.  I like the wedges because they don’t shrink to itty-bitty pieces.
  4. Place in your dehydrator on low heat/vegetable heat and run until they are crispy and no sign of moisture.  You can also do this in the oven on the lowest temperature, door cracked upon, placing the okra on a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Vac-Seal or store in an air-tight/moisture resistance container.

The final way is to freeze the okra.  I try not to do this because I don’t like to fill up the freezer with vegetables that can be stored other ways, but I will freeze some.  You can use this as fried okra, or in soups, stews and gumbos when you need it in the off season.

Freeze Store Okra

Warning you will be dealing with lots of “Okra Boogers” in this process.

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  1. Clean your okra, remove the tips and caps.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a full boil and turn off the water.
  3. Dunk your okra (whole) in the hot water for about 3 minutes.  This is a quick blanch.
  4. Dump the hot water out from around the hot okra and now fill the pot with ice cubes.  This prevents the okra from continuing to cook from the blanching process.
  5. Now take out each okra spear and cut into rounds.
  6. For large and woody spears of okra, discard the green pod and keep the okra peas (the white seeds), these are great in soups.  These are what my loving husband refers to as “Rat Eyes”.
  7. Once your spears are cut into rounds, put them in your vacuum seal bags and seal.  Make sure all air is out of the bag, then freeze.  I usually store in 2 cup quantities which is about a serving.

I hope you have enjoyed this post about all things Okra!  Feel free to share your recipes and questions.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

 

 

Paths

I’ve been mulling this blog post over in my mind for several months now.  I knew what I wanted to focus on, what the message was and the purpose.  My obstacle was primarily fear.  That big thing of what other’s might think or presume or judge me on.   In an age where everyone is easily offended, but everyone has strong opinions, I do my best to NOT rock the boat.  I keep my dreams to myself, so to speak.

So, let me jump in and give you some background.  I have always been a nerd.  I love my books, I love writing, reading and imagination.  When I was little I decided I wanted to grow up to be the Science Officer of the Starship Enterprise C class.  When I was in middle school I was already fascinated with technology and sci-fi.  I would read everything I could get my hands on.  When Star Wars came to the big screen that was it, I knew I had to work with robots, then came War Games, then Tron and before I knew it, I was going to college to be a programmer.  I grew up when Women’s Lib was starting to roar loudly and sending the mixed messages.  I went to college when I was one of the very few women in data processing.  It was scary, but it was exciting.

My Grandma, was always encouraging, but warned me about false paths.  The yellow brick roads in life.  You know the ones; they have the bright jewel encased castles and grand ballrooms, but really they are ran by deception, the fake behind the curtain.  I fell into that trap.  I fought and fought for “independence”, which ended up trapping me in a world that was cold, lonely and very, very frightening.  I remember, crying to my Grandma shortly before she became ill with Alzheimer’s, that it wasn’t fair.  Life should come with instructions.  I remember very clearly what she told me, and it haunted me for years.  Her answer was; “It does, and I handed them to you a long time ago.”  She was referring to the Bible she had given me in High School.  I have grown up in church, but to be honest, I never read that Bible.  Throughout time, it became lost, even more so than me.  It took an angel, my husband Bob, to bring me home and turn my life around.

Deep inside, I always longed to be just a wife and a mom.  My choices prevented me from having that life.  Too many times I listened to the lies of the world and people who were not firm in faith to believe that I needed to push for success outside of the home, to make more money, to obtain more paper certifications, to obtain more education.  More, more, more.  I’ve always had a “giving” personality, but that became twisted and distorted by the life I chose.  I took the burden of “doing it myself” and believing in the “I am Woman” chant.  The truth was, my heart was breaking the entire time.  I longed to be with my children, I was happiest baking cookies and pies for the neighborhood kids and my kids.  I loved cooking for friends or families that needed help, even though we were having difficulty rubbing two pennies together ourselves.

Now, here we are today.  It hasn’t been a perfect or even a complete transition, but I have finally found my way back to that path.  My loving husband is strong in his faith, he keeps me centered and balanced and keeps me focused on “reading the instructions”.  No, he’s not my original husband, he is not the father of my children, but he is the angel that lead me home.  I know I’m broken.  I’ve found though, that God uses the most broken for his greatest challenges.

A few weeks ago while visiting with friends, I heard the words come out of my mouth.  “Please, think this choice through, don’t make the mistake I made.”  It was in reference to a friend taking a job that would take more of her time.  Totally opposite to who I was even a year ago, proudly boasting of my successes as a programmer.  Careers are those emerald castles, but in all honesty, there is no place like home.

I have been on a journey to better understand who God intended me to be.  I am grateful for my talents which have benefited me and my husband with my job outside of the home for income.  But now, I don’t look at it as my job, my career, my goals.  This job helps me help my husband, its not all about me and what I want.  This job is a tool, it isn’t my life.  My greatest joy is my husband and my home and my children and my ‘children-by-choice’, family that aren’t by blood by have been drawn to us, or us to them.  I understand now that I am my husband’s helper, his partner on this journey.

When my husband and I bought our little house in the little woods, or as I call it, our homestead.  Happiness and hard work followed.  The hard work created more happiness.  We started truly living what we believed and cherished.  We laugh and cry together and we hold on to each other closely.  We encourage each other, and even when we disagree, we respect each other.  I love cooking, gardening and living simple.  I love that I am no longer a slave to the world.   I still work outside of the home, but it is with joy and not as a burden.  I feel more and more a draw to the instructions my Grandma gave me when I was younger.  When I don’t know what to do, I open those instructions and read them.  A lot of the times, it causes me to reflect on the bad choices I’ve made in the past, sometimes I feel like a brat and my inside voice is whining “but I don’t wanna!”, in the end though, I take comfort in knowing that even though I don’t always understand, I can see the correct path and work my way to it and to stay on it.

So take it for what it’s worth from this older woman, who has gotten lost, found the wrong paths, chased after imaginary treasures, wondered in labyrinths filled with monsters, and finally found her way home.

  • Before saddling yourself with a burden of student loan debt, DON’T.  Just don’t.  Pay as you go for your education and don’t go in debt for it.  Use your talents for good.  You don’t need an expensive piece of paper to be happy.
  • Don’t become a slave to a career or to debt.
  • Choose your husband wisely.  Lust, passion and money fade away; Love, respect and honor grow stronger.
  • Your children are your legacy, nothing is more important than your relationship with your husband and your children.
  • Learn to help your husband, not hinder.  You are in the same boat together, fight  together, back to back and side by side.
  • Put God first, keep your faith strong and don’t listen to the lies of the world.
  • Most of all Pray, don’t nag.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay Rice