What a difference a week makes!!!

I think this is self explanatory...here's hoping spring is on it's way!!!!

I fought the rice, and the rice won.

I prepared this dish on Sunday night, that I thought would be SO tasty....I looked forward to it all week. I called up my brother and invited he and his family to dinner, they accepted the invitation.

I marinated my pork. It was perfect.

I began the task of preparing the rice that was to accompany this meal.

So....here's the deal...spicing confuses me. I know how to work with the herbs....I love garlic, I even salt things now.....I was convinced at one point that salt was going to kill me...so I never salted...until my brother the cook told me that salt enhances natural flavor and in moderation it will not kill me so I needed to get over myself.

When it comes to a habenero pepper I don't have a clue. This recipe called for one whole habenero. Again with the Midwesterner's and our lack of spice in our dishes....so I diced the pepper oblivious to what was about to happen.

I added olive oil to my sauce pan...and I began to saute the habenero.....and then....then I did something so stupid, yet so me. I stuck my nose in the pot and took a wiff....and then I died.
Ok. I didn't die, but I did burn my lungs with habenero steam. This dish also has lime juice and cilantro in it...so I thought maybe that would cool the habenero.

Once the rice and habenero were done cooking I added them to the cilantro mixture...it smelled delicious, so I gave it a taste...one or two grains of rice....ouch! too spicy!

Two Mojitos later the burn subsided and I felt great.



I began grilling my pork, and then I came in to do some dishes...I scraped the seeds from the pepper down the garbage disposal with HOT water running, and then I inhaled more habenero steam. I never learn my lesson.

My family arrived and I warned them...this rice is hot. My sister-in-law skipped the rice, so as not to later in the evening make my nursing nephew have major indigestion, Mike somehow devoured it, my brother referred to it as "stranger danger rice" and I was too afraid to eat it.

I will try this again...but I think I'll skip the devil habenero and just use chili powder.

The pork was great by the way! Sorry pork for your lack of recognition in this blog!
See Recipe Below:
Scallion Cilantro Rice with Habaneros and Lime
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 habanero pepper, diced
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups water
2 scallions, diced
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
In a small heavy pot add oil and saute pepper on medium heat. Add rice, water and salt. Boil on high until most of the water evaporates. When the water just skims the top of the rice, reduce flame to low and cover about 15 minutes. Shut off stove and keep covered an additional 5 minute.In a medium bowl, combine chopped scallions, cilantro, lime juice, rice and toss until completely mixed. Makes approx 3 cups.
Garlic Lime Marinated Pork Chops

4 (6 oz) lean boneless pork chops
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 lime, juice of
lime zest
salt and fresh pepper Trim any fat off pork. In a large bowl season pork with cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Squeeze lime juice and some zest from the lime and let it marinade at least 20 minutes.Line broiler pan with foil for easy clean up. Place pork chops on the broiler pan and broil about 4-5 minutes on each side or until nicely browned.
Enjoy at your own risk!
Kristin Blessing

Baby Brothers

Happy Birthday to my baby brother who is not a baby anymore, but 26 years old.

I remember the day this photo was taken......

Stephen, I remember the years of teasing you....dressing you up in my leotards and tutu's and putting make-up on you just like you were my own personal little doll...but I only did that because you streaked through the living room naked at my 7th Birthday party playing the snare drum.......and the teasing continued.....but only because of that time when you were chasing me down the street while I was on my bike and you almost caught me, but then I hit that parked car flew over the hood and cracked my head on the sidewalk.

Then you were a teenager and getting bigger but still I teased you because you thought you were too cool for your dorky big sister, except when you wanted to borrow my car. I interrogated your girlfriends and tried to chase them all away because I never thought they were good enough for you.

Your Junior year in high school, I was single and it was Valentines day and you invited me bowling with you, I know how colossally uncool that was but, that's when I knew what a great brother you were.

You still are by the way and besides that you're bigger than me and I've decided it is no longer in my best interests to tease you.

Happy Birthday Bubba!
xoxoxoxoxoxoxo Sissy.


"Happiness is.......

.....finding two olives in your martini when you're hungry.” - Johnny Carson

In honor of SATC 2 opening Friday night, I joined my friends Monday night at Oliver's on 13, to watch SATC 1....and snap pictures of my cocktail with the beautiful Tulsa skyline bokehed in the background.....and now.....I give you my favorite adult libation....

Oliver's Dirty Martini
3 ounces Grey Goose vodka (VERY IMPORTANT!)
1/2 ounce olive juice (or more, depending on how dirty you like it)
1 dash vermouth (roll to coat the inside of the glass)
2 large olives (or more)

Shaken not stirred please and thank you. Enjoy!
xoxoxo Kristin Blessing.

Drive-in revisited.

I love the drive-in. It's another of my favorite things about summer.

When I was little my parents mowed the grass at the "51" drive-in movie in Broken Arrow and in trade we got free admission. I remember putting on my jammies and my Dad driving over to drive-in at 71st and 129th, then going to the concession stand and getting popcorn and picking out my favorite candy. Sometimes Daddy would let us sit on the roof of the Jeep, sometimes we just sprawled out in the back of the jeep, sometimes I never saw the movie because I fell asleep before it even began. Though I don't remember what movies I saw there specifically....I do remember many Saturday nights with my family.

A tornado took out the screen in 1993 and that was the end of the 51 drive-in, however the field still remains, surrounded by track homes, a sign of how much Broken Arrow has changed. Maybe in the future I will venture out there and see if I can break-in. :) It takes a special occasion, to get me all the way out to Broken Arrow.

Located across town is the Admiral Twin Drive-in...still in operation today, a Rte 66 Roadside Attraction, and the scene of many Saturday nights of my teenage years!

Oklahoma’s largest drive-in is a twin screen venue, that originally opened as a single screen in 1951 and was known as the Modern Aire, a second screen was added a year later and renamed The Admiral Twin Drive-In. It epitomizes the nostalgic drive-in movie theatres of the past…so much so that it was featured in the Frances Ford Coppola’s classic from 1983 ‘The Outsiders’ as the 1950’s hangout.

On the cheap we thought it would be fun to have a drive-in movie night in the back yard with our friends and their kids on Saturday night, but since it's monsoon season in Oklahoma we had to move the event indoors, due to a soggy yard, and skeeters-o-plenty.

There are a few important things to have to make your family drive-in movie night a success:

A good movie, we watched The Chipmunks Squeakul...now I don't know why this movie was not nominated for an Oscar, because it was great! I mean that with my sincerest sarcasm of course.

Pillows and Blankies. (note....this is not a good idea if you have hard wood floors.....kids were wiping out everywhere. Thankfully there were no traumatic brain injuries.)

Your favorite jammies.

M&M's. Because when you really want to alienate your friends, provide sugary treats for their kids at 8pm.

Popcorn!! Duh. I love popcorn and not the crap you get at the theater, I like good old fashioned Orville Redenbacher, popped in vegetable oil....or canola oil is ok too.
Here's how you do it:
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
1/2 cup of popcorn.
Heat oil on medium heat and add your popcorn.

Eventually this happens! Yum!

Now! It's time to get your butter on. This is no time for margarine. Contrary to what some of you Okie's think it, does not taste the same as butter....in fact margarine is like one molecule or something away from being plastic. BUTTER. You should always use BUTTER. Now repeat after me: I (insert name here) do solemnly swear to always use butter, and to give up margarine from now on.

Thank you.... moving on.

Melt your Budda.....

...........and pour. Then salt. (or add any other spice you'd like....cinnamon and sugar, or cayenne pepper for kick, you can't go wrong.)

It's a beautiful thing.

Then do something cute like this, so you look like the coolest Aunt on the planet. I just used regular lunch sacks...which I always have around, because they make great sidewalk luminaries too. Fold them over and fill with popcorn. I sprinkled some M&M or yumminy yums as my baby bro used to call them. What is better with popcorn than chocolate?

Then.......most important.....GET A GOOD SEAT and enjoy the show!
Also important but not included....(I'm saving them for the next post)
*Shannon's Grown-up Arnold Palmer cocktail
*Designated Driver
*Leann's 7 Layer Dip
*Leann's Chilli for the best chilli dog eva.
xoxoxoxoxo Kristin Blessing.

Something I Love.........

............even though she's eaten a hole in every pair of pajama pants I own, destroyed several good pairs of heels, and chewed the crotch out of a pair of leggings that I actually wore for several hours at Christmas before I realized my hiney felt a breeze and I'd walked all over my in-laws house oblivious. Also she is tunneling to China via the backyard at 911.

but shes' pretty cute isn't she?

Epicurean Follies.

I love to cook. After photography, cooking a delicious meal for people I love is right up there on my list of things I love to do. You can trace my epicurean adventures, back to about 4th grade when I would microwave scrambled eggs for my brothers. (this is the extent of my egg skills, I'm not a fan of eggs and refuse to learn egg prep.) Then there was the Velveeta Fudge incident in 5th grade, and finally the ever so notorious MOTHER OF ALL MEATLOAVES, in the 6th grade. I used ALL of the ground beef in the house, which I estimate was probably around 5 pounds and made the most massive loaf of meat anyone has ever seen....I swear when I turned the oven light on to check it, the thing had a heartbeat. I would like to note at this time, that these three incidents will live in infamy. No matter how much my skills have improved, someone always brings up that weird fudge, or the giant meatloaf, and Jeff and Stephen certainly have a few stories that I conveniently don't recall, about meals prepared during winter, spring and summer break when our Mama and Daddy left me in "charge".

The first meal I recall preparing that was a success, was in 1998. I was in California, I was 19 and I was in love. I prepared Grandma Lindstrom's lemon pepper chicken legs and Spanish rice. The perfect date meal. I don't recall this recipe, because it's been years since I made it, but I do recall he loved it. The next meal I mastered was my Grandma Gerard's red sauce. Eventually I discovered I could prepare this in the crock pot and let it cook all day and then we would have enough sauce to eat for a week. (We were poor kids after all) And then came my Minnesota years, where hot dish was served as abundantly as hot chocolate after sledding in Chester Bowl. Tater Tot Hot Dish, Wild Rice Chicken Hot Dish, Snowmobiler's Stew......etc etc. I still have nightmares about hot dish.

My go to date meal in the later years in Minnesota was Salmon Kyoto and Wasabi smashed potatoes. This meal epitomizes that old wives tale that the way to a man's heart is straight through his stomach. I brought this recipe with me when I moved back to Oklahoma three years ago and I prepared it for Mike on our 4th date. He ate that meal with abandon, and it seems from that day on, that boy has been sitting at my dinner table, letting me play test kitchen night after night. There has been good, there has been bad, and there has been really ugly. I think it's mostly been good, but you would have to ask him.

Last fall and winter I mastered soups and stews. Never once did he say, "soup again?" he just ate and ate and ate again....soup can be stretch far beyond the first dinner btw, soup can be stretched until you are cursing it's existence in your Frigidaire.

This spring I've been modifying family recipes to be a bit healthier than the original. I tried one last week. An old recipe of my Grandma's Gerard's. It got mixed reviews, my mother did not like the changes at all....(mayo and yogurt are much different...and the substitution was obvious.) ....I thought it was pretty good, but not as good as the unhealthy version, everyone else said they thought it was great. I'm going to work on that one before I share it.

Last night, I made this salad...and it was SMACK YOUR GRANDMA GOOD! I served it with grilled chicken and I just squeezed some of the navel orange that I had left over from the salad dressing and added salt and pepper. Nothing extravagant, because the salad was the star of this show!

Avocado Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

1 hass avocado, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp red onion, sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
1 lemon or lime
1/2 navel orange
1 clove garlic, crushed
pinch oregano
kosher salt and fresh pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cups mixed baby greens

Citrus Vinaigrette:In a small bowl whisk olive oil, juice from lemon or lime, orange, crushed garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.

Arrange salad greens on a plate, top with cucumber, avocado, red onion, tomato ( I used baby heirlooms for color and I like the flavor), salt and pepper.

Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad and serve right away.