As Real as Fun Can Get
January 12, 2009
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. It's been cold out there, and it's getting colder. We spent Saturday pretty much holed up in the house, doing the kinds of things people do when it's just too dang cold to do much of anything outside. The kids got out the kits they got for Christmas: the wood burning kit and the miniature fairy kit and the perfume kit and the mosaic kit where, if you place all the little tiles properly, you end up with the image of a wolf howling at the moon. We worked on all that awhile and then it was lunchtime so we had a cooking show where I was the host and they were my guests and we made a giant pot of White Chicken Chili, which turned out quite well. Then it was time to drag out the Twister game and the Karaoke machine, and someone got a puzzle going and someone got out the dart guns with the 48 foam darts. By the time the show got going, all three kids were sprawled on the living room floor watching Great White Sharks stalking otters on the sea life portion of the Discovery Channel's Planet Earth series.
Sometimes I don't know what to make for dinner. So I made creamy tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches and I let the kids eat in the living room which I don't normally do. It's a Winter Picnic, I told them, and they sat in a circle and talked about what's really scary and what's only a little scary. Sharks and people standing outside looking at the house and voices in the night. Just then there was a big thump on the front steps and they all screamed. The door swung open, and there was Mr. Sundberg, back from two days in Madison giving a motivational speech from a new series he's written titled, "How to Be Real in An Unreal World." He was wearing a black snowmobile suit and holding, in his right hand, a pail of vanilla ice cream. "Chocolate malts, anyone?" he asked, and the kids screamed again.
This was the weekend of the Wolf Moon, the biggest moon all year. It was so big and bright and marvelous, and I can't help but think it had something to do with how the kids just could not get to sleep Saturday night. Even after they went to bed and we did the whole kiss-goodnight thing, they were up and wandering around. Finally, I had to holler up the stairs, BED! And there was a rustling and a giggle and then silence. Mr. Sundberg, on the other hand, didn't let any ol' moonlight get to him. He fell asleep in his recliner, a smile on his face, his cheeks still red from the cold of the night.
I figured I'd go out and stand in that lovely moonlight before I woke Mr. Sundberg to go up to bed, and I did. Put on my warm coat and stood there out on the driveway, and it looked more like afternoon than midnight. I heard an owl far off in the woods, and thought how smooth the kids' sledding hill looked just beyond the house near the trees. Wasn't more than a minute before I was on that hill, on a red saucer sled, spinning my way down in the blue moonlight. I made three or four runs, and laughed out loud several times along the way. Well, now, then, I said out loud, as I leaned the saucer up against the garage. That was about as real as fun can get. And it was.
White Chicken Chili
When you're cold, you're cold, and not much is going to warm you up as fast as a bowl of hot chili. Try this one for a change. Kids love it, and so do good friends, and grandmas.
2.5 cups chicken stock
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning (or lime pepper if you have it)
2 tsp ground cumin
4 chopped cooked chicken breasts (you may also add some dark meat)
2 or more cloves (to taste) chopped garlic
2 cups chopped onion
2 (8 oz.) cans white shoepeg corn, drained
2 (4 oz.) cans chopped green chilies, undrained (you could substitute 1 can of jalapeno chilies)
2 large cans hominy (often in the Mexican food section of the grocery)
2 to 4 (14 oz.) cans great northern beans, undrained (more beans make more chili)
Juice of a half lime (or more if you prefer)
In stockpot, combine seasonings, broth, chicken and simmer. Add garlic, onion, corn, hominy, and green chilies and continue to simmer. At the last minute, add beans and fresh lime and heat for 45 minutes or so. Serve with shredded Monterey jack or Colby/jack cheeses, chopped cilantro, sour cream and/or jalapeno slices. Cornbread makes a great accompaniment. This particular recipe tastes great reheated.
Serves 8. Double, quadruple, etc. as needed.