About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thanks, Geek Squad!

I'm a lucky blogger because I have a personal Geek Squad in my friend, Janice. The new look of my blog is all thanks to several hours work on her part last night. Don't you just love the new header? Very understated and tasteful, don't you think? This is Janice's original design. Not only is she a computer geek--she talks the secret languages of HTMLs, pixels, and widgets--but she's also a great scrapbooker. I get all the benefits of her geekiness. She leaves me with a steno pad full of step by step directions for using all these little embellishments for a more lively blog--adding photos, sidebars, etc. Regretfully, I can't give her a full blown bravo until she figures out how to change that Shelfari bookshelf to walnut--that mahogany color is just not right with my blog background and fine new header. . .

I thanked her last night by cooking dinner for us. This Taco Soup recipe has an interesting
origin. I first had it from a lunch buffet set up on a flatbed truck in the middle of an Arkansas rice field during September harvest. At that time I was working in leadership training for a large farm organization. A couple of colleagues and I took about 15 young farmers on a tour of some major farming operations in southeastern U.S. We saw cat fish farming in Mississippi, cotton and beef operations in Tennessee, and rice production in Arkansas. Our Kentucky farmers were hosted by a group of rice farmers out in their fields at harvest time. Taco soup was on the menu. If you like all things taco, you'll like this soup. Here's the recipe:

Taco Soup

In a large saucepan, brown 1/2 lb. ground beef and 1 medium chopped onion. Add the following,undrained: 15 oz. can chili beans(or ranch style), 16 oz. can dark red kidney beans, 11 oz. can shoepeg corn, 10 oz. can tomatoes and green chiles, 1 oz. pkg. dry ranch style dressing mix, 1.25 oz. pkg. dry taco seasoning mix, 6 cups of water, and 1 cup cooked brown or white rice. Bring to boil and then turn down to a simmer. Simmer on low for about 45 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips. And, if you want to gild the lily, add a dollop of sour cream and chopped avocado. Yum!

So, I hope the Geek Squad felt that taco soup was a good trade for a blog makeover. I'm already plotting our next consultation. . .


Kaycie said...

The new blog look is lovely. I like it a lot. That taco soup is almost identical to one I make for my family. It is tasty.

I noticed you have that Ross King book, "Judgment of Paris". I read that on the plane when my daughter and I went to Paris in March of 2007. I really loved it. What did you think?

Ari_1965 said...

Shoepeg corn?

Lane said...

I think the soup sounds great and very well deserved after the Geek Squad's makeover. What a great job. Very classy:-)

And I echo ari_1962 ...shoepeg corn?

Faye said...

kaycie--Laurie recommended King's book after I'd mentioned watching BBC's "The Impressionists" series. I've only read a couple of chapters--had hoped to get through more of it before seeing the Impressionists in London. I got distracted with Jane Austen's unfinished work, "The Watsons", but hope to wade into "Judgment" this weekend. It's supposed to rain, which makes good reading weather, right? I'll get back with you on impressions, especially now that I have two thumbs up on it.

Ari and Lane--shoepeg corn is a southern thing. It's actuallly a white sweet corn. The kernels are quite small and look like perfect little baby teeth, or pegs. A bit hard to find if you're interested in making the taco soup. Try not to use yellow corn as the sweetness of the white (even just ordinary white corn)evens out the spiciness of the soup seasonings.

laurie said...

i like the new header very much.

and the soup sounds great for the kind of weather we're having today. (rain. wind.)

KittyHawk said...

The new header is very handsome - especially with your favorite colors of black and brown. And I like your bookshelf except I can't read the book titles on some of them. Some of the covers are awfully colorful, going way beyond the approved color scheme. You'll have to do like Oprah and have them bound in leather or a monochrome paper. ;-)

I've had a similar taco soup - turkey instead of beef. Very tasty!

- LW

Faye said...

kittyhawk--black and brown all the way! Hint about bookshelf that I didn't know--click on a book on the shelf and you'll get not only the title but a review.

storyteller said...

I do like your new header … and it IS ‘kewl’ to have your own personal ‘Geek Squad’ in a friend. She did a great job on the formatting too. The Taco Soup sounds delicious!

I’m sorry I’ve not been around to catch up on your travel posts but life’s been crazy lately … I’ve left the posts marked as ‘unread’ in my reader (along with 764 more) and hopefully will get around to them eventually because they look interesting. Hope you have a lovely weekend. Thanks for your recent comments on my Fun Monday posts.
Hugs and blessings,

Swampwitch said...

Love the new look...I have a "Geek Squad" friend, too...my cousin's wife over at Nekked Lizard's Place.

Too funny that you don't think your bookshelf matches.