Saturday, October 27, 2012

Why I Love Facebook

-Reading my news feed is like reading the local paper trimmed down to those things that interest me the most. When else in life can you "customize your friends?"
-It enhances my connection with my favorite people (those I see all the time and still can't get enough of) with as many details/photos/videos as they'll post.
-It enables me to stay connected with sweet people from my past all over the country and beyond that I would not otherwise have any contact with. It makes my world bigger and richer.
-I can go to weddings, reunions, and other random events and recognize people I haven't seen in years. And, since I know the latest that's happening in their lives, I don't feel awkward approaching them.
-I know my children's friends by face, by "voice," and by interests.
-I am inspired by the creativity and thoughtfulness of others.
-It makes me laugh.
-It makes me cry.
-It is a wonderful ministry/communication tool. How else can you alert so many instantly?
-It is magic. Whenever I say I need something, one of my FB friends almost always has it--whether it be advice or material goods. I love to do the same for my friends. People are so good at sharing when they know there's a need.

People can whine about Facebook all they want, and talk about how it is replacing REAL face-to-face time. I daresay if you are having problems managing your life on Facebook you are having similar issues in real life. My advice? Don't use Facebook as a platform to air every little grievance and negative emotion you feel. Does that attract anyone, EVER? Likewise, who among us likes to watch people duke it out on FB? Not this girl. On the other hand, try not to make your Timeline one year-long, braggy Christmas letter either: No fun for the rest of us living on Messy Planet Earth. Spend less time worrying about your next status update and more time perusing what your friends are doing and encouraging them. That works off the computer, too.   Like

Friday, October 26, 2012

Chicken Salsa

Some of you may be mildly interested to know that I have decided to include some recipes/cooking tips in The View From Here. Not that I think I am the end-all in advice about diet and nutrition, but I have fed a lot of people in the past 33 years and I think that qualifies me. Also, if Prairie Woman, or whatever-her-name-is, can blog about her ranch AND her cooking, surely I can.

I will start with a loose recipe that I posted on Facebook a couple weeks ago. I say LOOSE recipe because that pretty much defines how I cook--loosely, usually with few or no recipes and with simple things that are hanging around my fridge/pantry. As a mother of five and grandmother of seven, I know that feeding people can be a daunting affair and not all of us can get snooty about gourmet food when the children are little. All day long young mommies wipe noses, trip over toys, soothe owies, and referee sibling conflict. Suddenly, it is five o'clock. They hear the husband's car in the driveway and think, "Shoot! I forgot about dinner!" And while cereal and frozen pizza certainly have a place in anyone's menu rotation, it should not constitute the norm or it loses it's specialness. Food is my Love Language and nothing says, "I LOVE YOU," like an intentional, hot meal set on the table at the end of a long day. So, here is the first of many? installments and stay tuned for future food blogs:

-3 large whole skinless/boneless chicken breasts
-1 large jar of salsa

Place chicken, frozen or thawed, into a crock pot. You can use more chicken or less depending on how much you have or how many you're feeding. Dump salsa onto chicken. You can use as much salsa, and whatever potency, as you like. (The beauty of this recipe is--it won't MATTER!) Cover and slow cook for a few hours. Okay, all day, probably.  I always start the dial on high to get things going and then reduce to low when I leave the house. And then I forget about dinner until I walk in the back door after work, inhale deeply and query, "Who has been cooking for me?!!!"*

At this juncture, I give the chicken a stir--somethings chunking or shredding it with a fork. The dish is now ready to eat--as is--over rice or in buns or tortillas. HOWEVER don't miss the charm of the myriad variations on this theme. An hour before you want to serve it, add sliced veggies (peppers, onions, zucchini) and/or drained beans/corn. The plain or fancy version can be piled onto fresh greens for a salad, tortillas for chicken tacos/burritos, or onto chips topped with shredded cheese for macho nachos. If you add chicken broth (water and dissolved boullion) you can call it Soup and serve with tortilla chips on the side. For an extra creamy kick, add cream cheese or sour cream to the chicken before you do any of the above. Finish with a garnish of cilantro, black olives, or chopped fresh tomatoes if you want to get really fancy. You might even feel motivated to light some candles and post a picture of your food to FB and I would applaud you as the Super Mom you, indeed, are.

Helpful Side Note: If you make enough of this loveliness, you will have enough for more than one meal/variation and it is seriously good enough, and versatile enough, to make once a week.

*Warning: If you are home all day with small children, this will make their saliva glands run continually and they will be all primed for supper long before the food is ready, probably. You might need to go to the park after naps to kill time and keep them away from the table.