This is a surreal time in your lives. You are 12 and 9 and without much warning, you were taken out of school, taken away from your friends, from playdates, from familiar schedules… your entire world was turned upside down. And I look at you beautiful creatures every day and marvel at your compassion and understanding and maturity during all of it.
We are learning your schooling together, you are learning more of what it is that I do every day to provide a safe and happy home for you, and you are more than willing – if not absolutely eager – to help me in doing so. You have made this transition so very smooth and I needed to put it all down in indelible print for you to always remember. And I wanted to make everyone who reads this know how truly proud I am of you both.
You have had people in your lives walk away from you because of their inability to realize your splendor and importance as they chose to ignore the things you and I know as safe truths. I too have had people I know and love choose their personal comfort and routine over me and what is right. I understand that feeling very well. But still it is something that even your daddy and I will never be able to explain to you. I wish that I could, but I think I’d rather be thankful in the knowledge that I’m unable to even fathom such an act of attempting to break it down to something explainable.
All I can do is tell you that you will never go one single day of your lives without knowing
how special you are
how loved you are
how important you are
how smart you are
how necessary you are.
And I will never, ever, ever walk away from you.
You will never be without that feeling of undeniable security. That, I promise you.
I can’t tell you what tomorrow will look like out there, or next month, or even next year. I can’t make you any promises about the rest of the world. But I can promise you that we are in this together and you are safe and loved during every single breath of your life. And you are never to forget that, my dears.
So, apparently the real name of this casserole I grew up eating is King Ranch Chicken, and NOT King Ranchers Chicken. It has always been King Ranchers Chicken to me! I first had it at the Hogan’s house when I was little. And I don’t know how the title got lost in translation. But, according to the very official recipe found in my very official teenage recipe book…
…I’ve always known it to be King Rancher’s Chicken (thanks, Barbara!!). I used to make it all the time when I was a new mom, and my husband fell in love with it. Then, I stopped making it somewhere along the way… most likely due to me not cooking a lot of casseroles and things made with canned and processed ingredients anymore, as the recipe calls for ‘cream of’ soups. But during this quarantine, we’ve found ourselves cooking and baking a lot of nostalgic things, so this dish popped back in my head!
Yes. You can make a very delicious bagel at home with only 2 ingredients. And you don’t have to wait for dough to rise, and you don’t have to boil anything first. WHAT???!! Yep. Is the texture slightly different? Well, yeah. It’s not a traditional bagel recipe or technique. But they’re so good!! And SO easy. Honestly, the best way I can describe the texture is Bagel with a hint of Biscuit. But specifically those ‘homestyle’ biscuits that come in the tube. Not the flaky layers kind, but the homestyle variety. You know 😉 .
They’re really truly super yummy.
I saw recipes like this pop up last year on a lot of those point-counting diet sites and never gave them the time of day. I LOVE bagels… and I think the fact that they had been advertised as anything diet just turned me off. But I looked into it, played around with it (a lot. We’ve had a LOT of bagels these past couple of quarantined months!) And just tweaked it to my liking… So here we are!
I haven’t really spoken out about what’s going on in the world… partly because that’s what everyone is doing right now and I definitely do not consider myself the place someone would go for such information. But the more days that pass, the more I realize that this space has always been my safe space for sharing my life. It’s small, but it’s my small platform, and I own it. I take that very seriously. And my life right now just happens to have me going through something we all are going through at the same time. I can’t think of a time that has ever happened. This is not about politics or religion. This is not something that needs to divide us. This virus has no favorite or chosen one. This virus does not hold back. This virus does not respond or adapt to prayers or meditation (that can certainly and definitely help us get through it and I highly encourage finding your version of that to help you on a daily, personal level.) This virus does not care how you vote or where you live or what car you drive or the color of your skin or how much money you make or what’s between your legs. This virus is not opinion or belief. It is fact.
The double batch was for science. I was not happy with how my first batch turned out – the flavor was spot on, but the texture was off. They were crunchy on the outsides like you want… but softer and kinda sticky in the middle, and they also didn’t cook evenly. Not good enough. SO. I fixed the problems today and am now a fortune cookie monster master.
Last night I made a Chinese take-out fake-out for the family, which was the first appearance of the homemade fortune cookie. It was such a fun project to work on during the day, with a delicious payoff in the end. I made vegetable lo mein and baked spring rolls and we ate on the floor in front of a movie in various forms of stretchy cotton.