Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What's for dinner? Lysol Chicken!!

So....Rachel will be arriving home from her mission in less than three months!  Hardly possible, right?
She has had amazing experiences in the mission field, and is so glad she made the decision to serve almost two years ago.   Our ward has seven missionaries right now, and the other three are serving in Russia, Portugal and Peru!  Oh, the things those missionaries have had to eat!   Poor Drake has had to swear off hamburger which smelled extremely strange while cooking it, and was full of chunks of bone when he ate it!  Paige proved herself to be a  true peruvian when she ate a chicken foot, and endeared herself to the people with her enthusiastic consumption of something which is completely foreign to our american palates.  Mitchell would eat next to nothing when he left home, and now eats just about anything in Portugal.

  Jerry asked recently,  "What do you think Rachel would like to eat when she comes home?"  I , rather sarcastingly, retorted, "hmmm...she has been eating anything she likes here in the states, I'm sure she craves nothing.!"  However, Rachel is a foodie.  She is the one who went to Europe when she was 16 and took pictures of all her dinners so she could drool over them when she got home.  No four hundred year old castle pictures for Rachel!  Nope...she took a picture of that good soup in Germany!    When she was little and at family gatherings, she'd disappear from sight and  we always found her eating somethingat a lone at the table. It has long been our joke that she would be a chubby , red haired girl when she grew up.  Well, she has beautiful auburn hair, but  she is the slimmest of us all despite her love of food.
   I think I will make Lysol Chicken and baked potatoes.  I peel the potatoes, dip them in butter and onion soup mix and bake them.  Rachel loves them.  The Lysol Chicken is pretty easy too!  You simply marinate it in one cup of soy sauce, one cup of oil, and one cup of sprite. If you want a little bite, add a tsp or two of tabasco.   Then you grill it, and it's a tasty meal.  At this point you are probably thinking... did I not  read  "lysol" in the title of the chicken?  Why yes you did,  and I actually have used lysol (yep, the cleaning agent) in the  preparation of this tasty dish.

  Let me go back a few years to when I was making up the marinade one night for Sunday dinner the next day.  My niece , her husband and kids were coming up from Orem and I had my own seven kids to feed as well.  I was going to use one whole package of premium chicken from Harmons, (because it is trimmed so beautifully and it's the only kind I like although it's pricey)  , and have dinner all ready to go except from the grilling part.  I had my nice big bowl out, my chicken was cut length-wise in half, and I was multi-tasking by talking on the phone while I assembled everything.  I have since always made the marinade first and then added the chicken, but in those days I did it backwards.   Chicken in bowl-check, add soy sauce-check- add oil (from large yellow container in cupboard-check.... As I poured from the large yellow container which should have contained vegetable oil...strange fumes arose, and in horror I noticed that I was pouring from a large container of lysol cleaning agent.  What the heck??  Why was this container in the cupboard above my oven?  Because those boys had put it to the side of my oil instead of under the sink.  I hung up the phone, and removed that chicken immediately.  I had to save it!  Chicken is expensive , especially Harmon's chicken!!  I carefully and tenderly washed each piece under hot water and massaged it vigorously.  I smelled it, and could not detect any lysol, which you know is pretty strong!  I made up a new batch of marinade, and patted myself on the back for an averted sure disaster.  Whew!!  What a close call!

Sunday afternoon came and the table was set, potatoes were baking, and the kitchen was even cleaned up in anticipation for our dinner guests.  All that had to be done was grill all that chicken.  I went out into the sun and stood there musing on the loveliness of the fall day while I stood at the grill.   The delicious smell emanating forth gave me no cause for worry......until I brought it in and cut off a small piece to taste for doneness.  Arghhhhhh!!!  LYSOL!!!  Having never ingested it before; I still knew exactly what it was even if I didn't know what had transpired the night before.  There was no mistaking it, and the fastidious washing of the chicken had not removed the toxic chemical from its tender flesh.  I , of course, went a little crazy and declared that dinner was ruined!!  Jerry said, "well, we have baked potatoes and salad!!"   "NO", I shouted, "We need meat!"  There was only one thing to do....I called Dorma, my next door neighbor and friend of forty years and asked to raid her freezer.   She is the complete opposite of me in every way, (organized, prepared, motivated) and had turkey steaks conveniently downstairs.  I thawed those babies out , and we had a delicious dinner after all.
  Dorma now often prepares Lysol Chicken, and we don't even smile at the name as we mention to each other that we are fixing it.  This is the name of our  chicken if we prepare it, with or without the lysol.
 I actually made some today because it is good to make ahead and use in salads and fajitas.  I freeze it quite often after cooking it, and you've got tasty chicken for any recipe.  I admit it, I am more of a foodie then Rachel!  I have tons of cookbooks just because I like to look at the pictures and read the recipes.  Rachel is my one child who likes to cook as much as I do, and I can't wait to see her very soon now.

  She just sent  pictures of a church with great entrance and exit signs, how fun!

Yes, it's fully cooked, the light is just being funny....

                                                             yes, it's fully cooked...the red is just the light being funny...

Monday, August 4, 2014

The bubbergirl and bumps

Remember the Forest Gump movie where Tom Hanks says, "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to find?"  So true, and sometimes the chocolate is a delicous truffle, and sometimes its the mocha one or heaven forbid, the ginger one.  Yeah, I know sometimes different ones for different people!  Still, I have had a bad attitude never quite embracing the good times because I am fearful for the road ahead.  It prevents me from completely enjoying the taste of the mint chocolate I love.  I might have to spit out something nasty! (or give it to Jerry)  It's no way to live, believe  me, and for years I have planned out the worst possible scenario so that I can be prepared when and if it happens.  Then I won't be devastated, I will be resigned because I knew it was coming.  If it doesn't, well then... I am pleasantly and happily surprised!

I like to take Ruby (aka the bubbergirl) for stroller rides when she is at the house.  The summer evenings are so pleasant, and she likes to look around as I explain every tree, house and person that we pass along the way.  She is totally immersed in her surroundings, and I get to experience the beauty of every day life as I explain it to this little sixteen month old girl.  Everything is fascinating to her, and so it becauses fascinating to me once more as I explain the intricacies of a rock on the sidewalk or a tree branch that scrapes the grass.

One night as we journeyed along the sidewalk, I saw the edge of an uneven sidewalk just ahead.  For some reason, I didn't slow down as much as usual, and took it at a nice little clip.  I cheerily sang out "bump" as we jolted over that crack and Ruby jostled a bit.  I was totally surprised  when this little girl burst into tears and with arms raised beg to be picked up! I said , "it's okay, just a bump!"  No, it was not okay, and not cajoling on my part was going to comfort her when a bump had turned  from  a pleasant scenic journey into an unexpected terror.  I was a little taken aback as I picked her up,  patted her, kissed her little chubby cheek and wondered that such a minor shake-up could disturb her so much.  She settled down nicely, and was more than willing to get back in the stroller for the duration of our stroller ride.

It occured to me that although we don't expect or look forward to those bumps that come along in life, we, too, can be comforted and consoled by our family, friends and our Heavenly Father who knows a lot more than we do as to what we can endure. We move ahead even though the road isn't straight or the path isn't clear.  We may not ever know what we are learning from that bump.  Life may seem unfair or so overwhelming at times that we dispair in our inability to understand.  What lessons do we need to learn, what adjustments can we make in order to cope?

Elder Orson F. Whitney said, "No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted.  It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility.  All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makaes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God."

I worry about the bumps, and the mountains, and all the trials yet unforseen.  I am just that way.  A little bit pessimistic and a whole lot fearful.  My missionary kids have learned a lot of lessons these past few months, and a two year or eighteen month length of time can certainly be a little bumpy.

It has not been all they thought it would be, and yet it has been much more than they could have hoped for....  Lots of personal struggles, disappointments, and feelings of inadequancy have come to each one of them.  Lots of insights, personal growth and love for the people they meet have also come to them!

Mark was robbed at knife point last month but was cheerfully optimistic, and actually basked in the notoriety of it all.  Although he lost his wallet, watch and a little faith in his fellow men, he was okay He and his companion talked to a couple of news stations and were celebrities amongst their fellow missionaries when their stories were televised on the evening news.

Bad things happen, and while so much is uplifting and beautiful in this world, we will still experience a lot of sorrow.  I know there are lessons to be learned from lifes'  struggles, and I know that I have been tutored so many times when I've experienced trials.    The past doesn't belong to us anymore and so we go forward and try to love the great things about our journey, and to go on after the not-so-good or even horrible things that happen to us. And....even as I picked up my granddaugher to console her, we in turn can always be comforted by our Heavenly Father.   Our Savior has promised to take our yoke upon Him.  He knows from firsthand experience all about our pains and afflictions.  "He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Hebrews 4:15)

Well , enough deep thinking for the night!  I just wish I could be a little more faithful and optimistic when my bumps come!!  I know I would be a lot happier not being so afraid of what's ahead!  And you can just forget about the analogy of my eating the chocolates.  I love chocolate and have eaten far too much of it this summer.  In fact, I've been known to bite around the icky ones, and render them inedible to even Jerry!  Now that could be an interesting analogy....

Elders Taylor and SantaMaria  after surviving the robbery 

Ruby Fay Morris ready to take on the bumps