It has been a while since I posted a recipe. I still have an unpublished post that contains three of them, but it's so mind-numbingly boring that I am going to have to trash the whole post and start over. For now, you may either read through the detritus of my head, or skip to the recipe. It's a good one - Borracho Beans!
For her entire life, if Lily Ruth is tired or even just really relaxed, she flexes one set of toes and points the other. Usually, she flexes her left toes and points her right toes. Not her whole foot, just her toes.
Remember when I was worried that putting her into 'big girl shoes' would mean losing all of the silly things that she does with her feet? Like most of my trivial motherhood concerns, it was baseless. She still does all kinds of things with her feet. If she's sucking her thumb, she reaches for either her daddy or I with her feet to make sure we're still close and/or to draw us in closer. When she's asleep in our bed, she periodically checks our locations with her toes without even waking up. While rinsing her hair in the bathtub, she wraps her feet around my neck like a baby monkey. I love it.
I know that parenting is hard. It's not a secret. But right now, I feel like a truly bad parent. I have allowed my personal stuff to seriously get in the way of my patience. As a result, my darling daughter and I have been butting heads BIG TIME for close to two weeks now. Instead of backing off from my anger and suggesting acceptable compromises or even just backing down on things that mean nothing (yet are currently irritating me), I've been stubborn and ill-tempered. So has Lily Ruth... if you've ever needed proof that kids are little sponges who model their behavior on that of their parents, just come on over here. It's been awful.
I'm trying to step back and separate out my own emotional struggle and grown up crap from my day-to-day, moment-to-moment life with Lily Ruth. I'm making a conscious effort to make her laugh as many times as humanly possible each day. I'm working on my level of frustration and (once again) battling the urge to shut activities down because they're not going the way that I planned or they're too noisy or too messy.
A blog friend uses the phrase 'Don't kill the Joy'. I'm borrowing it and interpreting it to mean 'Don't act like an asshole just because you can. Let the moment play out - you might enjoy the result.'
I've decided not to attend any of the formal events surrounding my 20th (!!!) high school reunion. As soon as I made my decision, I felt lighter... so I know I made the right choice. The dang thing is still a month and a half off, and the 'ya'll need to get your money in NOW' and catty remarks about the supposedly 'anti-reunion' party that a good friend and I threw last time (and are repeating this time) just finally got to me. This has been an incredibly hard year for me. I don't need to PAY for and extra helping of drama. I'll just sit back and deal with what I've already got on my plate, thankyouverymuch.
I tried to get all crafty today, but my lack of actual knowledge about my sewing machine means that the thread tension is all out of whack, and my (never once replaced since I got the dang thing) needle is so dull that I have dropped stitches and pulls in the fabric. *sigh* Time to haul out some of that extra patience (HA!), and learn how to properly maintain my machine. Whatever. I'll pay you ten bucks cash to come take care of this for me. I'll even throw in a massage. Just make it happen.
SO! On to the recipe. This one comes from my housekeeper. She is a wonderful lady who works her butt off every day cleaning for rich white ladies (and me). Then she goes home and takes care of her large extended family. Then she uses all of her (unpaid) vacation time to take things like donated clothing and household goods back to friends and family in Mexico. Also, she is an incredible cook. For years, she has made these beans for us any time we ask. My grandmother finally followed her around one day recently and transcribed the recipe so that we could quit bugging her and make them ourselves.
I need to tell you that these beans are so good that even my bean-hating husband loves them and requested them for his birthday. They're that good.
Janie's Borracho Beans
2 Cups dried pinto beans
1 1/2 onions
10 slices raw bacon
4 large garlic cloves
1 fresh jalapeno pepper
1/2 of a green bell pepper
3 small tomatoes
1/2 of a cilantro bunch
1/2 of a beer (optional)
As with any dried bean, pick through them and discard and shriveled/discolored beans and/or rocks (I have no idea why they're in there, but they are). You're going to need hot water soon, so here's what I did. I put the beans in a pot and covered them with water. Then I poured that water off into a smaller pot - that way I knew that I had enough - and set the small pot on a back burner over medium-high heat. Then I covered the beans again, and put them on to boil. Once the beans boil, pour off that water, and add the hot water from the other pot. This step is what gives you gas-free beans, people, skip it at your own peril.
While the beans are coming back to a boil, chop the garlic cloves and the bacon and add them to the pot. Cut the ends off and remove the outer skin of the whole onion. Push it into the middle of the beans. Cook at a low simmer until the beans are done. I kept them covered. You can leave them uncovered, but you'll have to watch the water level. Too little water will cause your beans to burn/stick/go horribly wrong...
When the beans are almost done, chop then saute the 1/2 onion, peppers, and tomatoes. Add a small amount of beans and juices to the saute pan near the end. Remove the whole onion from the bean pot. Add the saute mixture into the beans.
If you would like to add beer, do so now (I used Shiner Bock), but be sure to continue cook it long enough to burn off the alcohol.
Add chopped cilantro when you take the beans off the heat.
By the By, if you make this a day ahead and allow it to mingle in the fridge overnight, it's even better. You're welcome. ;-)