It’s Friday

Recycled toys now entertaining next generation

One of the first things I packed for moving was the boys’ toys. When DW got them down from the attic I saw then that nothing comes down from the attic looking like it did when it went up.
So, I sorted tractors, cars, trucks, farm animals, horse trailers, super heroes from the eighties, games, building blocks, army men, matchbox cars, Legos, and so on. I threw away broken toys, unidentifiable pieces, and anything totally worn out (wondering why I saved them anyway). Then I scrubbed every washable piece, rinsed them well, dried all of them and placed like things together in big plastic totes. Five to be exact. Now all these totes have found their way into the new playroom.
When I first took Grandson Mack to the upstairs playroom he exclaimed with dismay, “this isn’t a play room, there aren’t any toys up here.” DW, daughter-in-law Laura, Mack and I sat in the floor that night to eat our pizza because there weren’t any chairs up there either.
Since then most of the toy boxes have been found and taken up to the play room. Mack has been enjoying the farm toys that his daddy and Uncle Zachy played with and reluctantly shared them with his cousin Emree but it didn’t take him long to get over his possessiveness. She loves her two-year-older cousin Mack and wants to do what he does. It took just a little gentle convincing that girls could play with tractors, horse trailers, and farm animals too.
But, when I pointed out the big purple tote and told him to open it, he did, and he hollered, “oh man, BOY toys! And so he was introduced to He-Man, Battle Cat and Skeletor. And his Uncle Zachy showed him all about these well-loved characters from his childhood! Emree checked it out but was more content with farm implements. Everyone was happy in the play room, especially me.
And since there are chairs at the table now we had our first Friday night family supper. (Minus James and family). It was pouring down rain, so no burgers, instead a Tamale Pie. It hit the spot. I made it earlier in the day so I could spend time with everyone and I left out the bell pepper since not everyone likes it. Just before time to put the pie in the oven I poured the grits mixture over the beef mixture.
The recipe was called a one-dish meal, but I added a can of black beans on the side, seasoned with a little olive oil, and a platter of fixin’s: shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and sliced jalapenos, with sour cream and salsa to go on top. DW and I finished off the leftovers Sunday night. It was so good warmed up on a chilly night.
Greetings from Tennessee!

Recipe of the Week

Spicy Tamale Pie
The grits give this pie more of an actual tamale texture!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound 80% lean ground beef
½ cup diced white onion
½ cup diced green bell pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies
1 14-ounce petit diced tomatoes
2 cups whole kernel corn (drained if using canned)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup quick-cooking grits
4 cups water
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In large skillet brown beef and onion in olive oil. Crumble beef as it cooks. Drain off any fat from skillet. Add garlic and cook for another minute or two. Stir in green chilies, tomatoes, corn, chili powder, cumin and cayenne. Heat thoroughly, about 5 minutes. Season with ½ – ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper; stir to blend. Pour into a 9 x 13- inch baking dish (or leave in skillet if handles are oven proof). In a large sauce pot heat water to boiling with an additional 1 teaspoon salt. Whisk in grits and cook according to package directions, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in cheese until thoroughly melted and blended in. Pour grit mixture evenly over beef mixture. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes.

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