While visiting with a friend the other day she was telling me her granddaughter brought over a dish of chicken spaghetti for her to eat for dinner. Just the mention of that delicious dish got my taste buds to watering. The very next day I went to the grocery store and bought all the ingredients. I got my recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook. As far as I'm concerned, this is the Holy Grail of cookbooks Oklahoma style. I'm a Sandra Lee kind of cook though, so I tweeked it just a little. (It's semi-homemade.)
Chicken Spaghetti Ingredients:
1 cut -up fryer chicken (I buy a traditional rotisserie chicken at the deli) 1 pound thin spaghetti, broken into 2 inch pieces 2 cups chicken broth (since I use a rotisserie chicken I need this later) One 4 oz. jar diced pimientos, drained 1 small onion (I use frozen chopped onions) 1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper (frozen peppers) 2 cans cream of mushroom soup 2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese 1 tsp. seasoned salt freshly ground pepper to taste 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bring water to boil and add spaghetti. Cook to tender.
Drain spaghetti. Set aside.
Cut up rotisserie chicken into small chunks.
Place the cooked spaghetti in a bowl and add cream of mushroom soup and the 2 cups of cheddar cheese. Then add onion, green peppers, and pimiento. Add seasoned salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper. (Take it easy on the cayenne pepper.)
Finally, add the chicken and about 1 cup of broth.Stir together well and taste to check for seasoning.
Pour the mixture into a large baking dish and top the remaining cheddar cheese on top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until bubbly.
Serve with garlic bread and a green salad. Yum!!!!
If I'm serving a big crowd I fix it the night before and place it in the fridge until the next day. That way I just have to warm it up and serve.
A very sweet friend of mine fell and broke her wrist about three weeks ago. The surgeon not only placed a rod inside her wrist but also put this contraption on the outside. It is attached to the bone. She has to wear it another three weeks before it comes out. Can you imagine trying to do day to day chores and sleep at night with this attached to your arm? Thankfully, at this point she's not in any pain. Has anyone ever seen this before?
While writing my post yesterday about the start of a new school year, it got me to reminiscing about the very first job I had teaching. I got a job teaching an elementary special education class in January of 1972, the semester before my first full year of teaching at the age of 22. The teacher who had the class to start with quit at mid-term because she couldn't take it anymore. That should have told me what I was getting myself into. Here I was fresh out of college and needing a job desperately and so I gladly accepted the position.
Every first year teacher dreams of changing the world one child at a time. I was no exception. Well, as the semester went on, my dream changed to just making it to the end of the year alive! The first two weeks in this class was a lesson on survival. It was going to be me or them. I walked into a class that had been out of control to the point that they weren't allowed to play with the other students at recess. That's right, they had their own resess! The children were ages 8 to 14 and most of them were bused from across town from the "projects". (That is what it was called in those days.) These kids were very streetwise and knew more about sex than I did. I was the queen of green and I don't mean that in a save the earth kind of way. (This event in my life would make a great movie.) Of course, being that they had gotten away with who knows what, they were ready to challenge me in everything. Now normally at this time, I was soft spoken and had been raised in a very strict and religious home. I wasn't use to hearing certain words or phrases, if you know what I mean. Let's just say my vocabulary was expanded beyond what college course work taught me that semester of teaching. Imagine a very young, naive, skinny looking girl walking into this classroom the first day. Looks can be deceiving though. It took me two weeks of detentions, missed recesses and using the paddle often (which we could do at that time in history) to get the point across that I was running the show now and not them. My principal thought I was doing a great job and supported me in every decision I made when it came to discipline. Constantly, other teachers were telling me how grateful they were that I had settled "that class" down. Little did anyone know that I was going home every afternoon and crying my eyes out. I wasn't sure I could last much longer.
my college graduation picture
I remember one day an eight year old boy in my class standing up to me and telling me his mom was going to come up and kill me because I had put him in time out. As soon as he got home he must have let her know what he had had to endure for 20 minutes that day. Not long after, here she came with him confronting me about what I had done to him. Thankfully, my principal saw her come in the front door and was following her to my classroom. I told her the reason I put him in time out and that he had threatened me. Of course, she wanted to know how an eight year old boy could threaten a teacher. I told her that he said that his mom (her) was going to kill me. That stopped her in her tracks. She turned on him and let him have it with words. I can't remember what she told him (probably to do what I told him and to behave), but it worked. After she left, my principal told me that she had killed her ex-husband and this eight year old had been a witness to it and that if she ever came up to the school again to come get him. Another day the local police came to the school and took the 14 year old fifth grader away for burning down a house the week before. I could go on and on.
I don't know if I taught them anything but we all managed to get through that semester. Because of the sucess of turning that class around, I was rewarded with a full time position the following school year teaching ten of the sweetest children. Thus, my first full year of teaching. Thankfully, the years that followed never were anything like that first semester of teaching. One thing I can say about what that semester taught me was that if I could survive that class, I could survive anything.
This is a picture of me and my class the first full year I taught as a special education teacher. The young man on the left was an intern for the semester. I believe the year was 1972-73. Special education teachers were very scarce in those days and that is why I had an intern the first year I taught. In fact, special ed was my minor and I only had 12 hours of course work in it when I started teaching a class for learning disabled students that year. So my intern and I were both learning together that first year. I returned to school during the summers and at night and received my M.S. degree and certification in special education a few years later. After five years I burned out and returned to the regular classroom teaching second grade. I taught for 32 years before retiring eight years ago. Every year at this time I am reminded of the excitement of starting a new school year and how much I miss it. Now I get to relive that excitement through my grandchildren. New clothes, new shoes, new school supplies and new teachers. What fun.
While vacationing in New Mexico a few weeks ago we came upon the Greater World Community near Taos. It looked very much like a housing addition with a different twist. The homes are known as Earthships. Maybe you've heard of these. Homes built mainly underground that are energy efficient and considered "green" friendly.
Most of these homes come with acreage.
There were probably 15 to 20 of these homes in this particular addition.
This particular Earthship was still under construction.
Earthships were the brainchild of architect Michael Reynolds and are homes that self heat and cool. They are made of adobe, rough timber with flagstone floors. Solar panels provide electricity and water collection systems on the roof. They also provide composting systems for human waste. These Earthships don't come cheap. Land is expensive around Taos and a one room home can start at $100,000. I found one online for $1,600,000.
One thing is for sure. They are very weird looking sitting out on the stark landscape of Taos. You either like them or you don't. I would have loved to have seen the inside of one of them. Very interesting indeed.
Rowdy has been at the vet hospital with a bout of intestinal problems but is doing better. Heard from our vet this morning and meds are doing the job of getting him well. Whatever caused the diarrhea is a mystery. He's had no fever and it is probably something he ate. It had to be something he ate outside because we haven't changed his diet. The vet said that 75 to 85 % of dogs having this problem is caused from something they've eaten.
On a happier note we've had some great weather the last few days. Rain and cooler temps.
It's amazing how the weather affects one's disposition. We were weary of the hot temps and watching everything burn up. With the much needed rain it seemed to perk everything and everyone up. Hot weather is forcasted to return next week but won't hit the three digits we've been having.
School has started and our grandchildren are all excited about that. I took our oldest granddaughter shopping for school clothes yesterday. This is something we do each school year and she really looks forward to it. What girl in her right mind wouldn't?
Actually, I have more fun than she does when we are shopping for school clothes for her. I have learned one thing about her on these shopping expeditions though. She likes things with lots of sparkle and glitz. Do they ever grow out of that?
My big brother, Rowdy, has had bowel and intestinal problems (if you know what I mean), ever since he came home from the doggie hotel we stayed at last week. Mom was concerned and took him to the doctor and they are keeping him for a few days to see what's wrong with him. If mom had just asked me I could have saved her a bunch of money. That place is not like home and I think he is just stressed out and it is affecting his insides. I sure hope he doesn't need counseling to get back to his old grouchy self. That money spent could be used for a better purpose...like buying me a new toy.
Postnote: I really think he's upset because he didn't get a souvenir from our mom's vacation.
It is so good to be home! The hotel I was staying at was too noisy. Yap, yap, yap. That's all I heard. And all the scents drove me crazy. It was more than this old dog could take. Thank goodness people vacations don't happen very often. And to make matters worse, I didn't even get a souvenir.
Some of you have been following my sister's blog (Ninny's Notes) and know that we went to New Mexico for a much needed break from extremely high temps here in Oklahoma last week. I have decided that we live in the wrong part of the world after spending time in the mountains. Not only were the cooler temps wonderful to experience, but the views were spectacular. I was in awe of the beauty of the whole area. Truly this area of the world is heaven on earth.
My dream is to someday own a little bit of this "heaven on earth" so that I can spend my summers there. Alas, it is only a dream, but one I would like to have over and over again.