July 15, 2009

My Favorites: Shrimp & Peppers Fettucine

Although I'm disabled I still fill up my days with important things. I even get so busy that I forget to take something out of the freezer for dinner pretty often, too. 

Which reminds me - BRB...OK, got some pork chops out.  

On really busy days I'll turn to my personal collection of "Quick & Excellent" recipes. This one results in a gourmet-style meal of shrimp and pasta. All you really need to serve with it are some rolls with herbed butter.

I recommend you not substitute dried pasta for the fresh fettuccine unless you're really in a pinch. Fresh pasta always tastes so much better than dried! And we choose not to use green bells in this recipe; we feel they overpower the subtle flavors of the poblano and garlic. And finally, this one's great because if I forget to get the frozen shrimp out in the morning, all I have to do is cut open the package, shake out as much ice as possible and fill the bag with cold water - the shrimp thaws in a jiffy.

Here it is. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Shrimp & Peppers Fettucine
4 servings


1 9-oz. pkg. refrigerated spinach fettuccine
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 small red, green, yellow, or orange sweet peppers, (or 2 lg.) seeded and cut in strips
1 small or medium poblano pepper, seeded & cut in strips
2 medium onions, cut in thin wedges
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 lb. peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. dried basil, crushed

1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and return to pan. Toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, in skillet heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in peppers, onions, and garlic; stir-fry 4 to 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add shrimp, cayenne pepper and basil. Cook 2 to 3 minutes more or until shrimp are opaque, stirring occasionally. Serve over pasta.

July 13, 2009

A Rant on Immigration

Q: Why does America have a satellite studying the moon right now?
A: To find out if we'll have someplace to go when we're out of room because of our immigration policies.

My husband and I are pretty far out there on the immigration issues. We believe America should completely close her borders. All of them. Illegal immigrants should be sent to prison and preferably put to hard labor to discourage the repeated attempts to move in. Legal immigrants should meet very strict requirements, similar to those imposed by New Zealand or Ireland - something along the lines of, if you don't have a job waiting for you or $250,000.00 cash, you can't move in. Temporary visas must be enforced - when they expire, out you go.

We need to beef up border security by whatever means possible. Build huge fences with concertina wire on top. Mine the borders. Hell, build moats and fill 'em with alligators! Put up cameras and post those US troops we're pulling back from overseas there so we'll have eyes on every foot of the borders. (Bless you, Minutemen!) We absolutely must get control of the situation. This has to stop.

Yes, I know what it says on the Statue of Liberty. I happen to believe that those words are seriously outdated. The world has changed and the tired, poor and yearning to be free mostly seem to want welfare and free health care. Money for which, by the way, comes out of your pockets and mine.

But we know we're out there on this issue, so we're perfectly willing to accept minor changes. For heaven's sake, don't grant amnesty to the current illegal immigrants unless the citizenship requirements are going to be enforced (not just required). The government wants to offer American citizenship as if it were a prize for coming clean. "Oh, yes, I'm an illegal alien!"

I think they're going to be surprised at how few takers they get. And why should the illegals speak up? They're already here, they've got tax-free jobs and/or welfare plus free health care - what benefit do they get from having to learn English and become citizens? Social Security in their old age? The experts say it won't be there. Oh, goody - they get to pay income tax on their earnings. And incur all those other obligations and expenses involved with being U.S. citizens.

I just don't see it happening, people. Close our borders now - if not for our sakes, then for our children's and their children's...

Whew! I feel better now. I'd love to hear from you on this issue.

July 12, 2009

Please Don't Insult Me

I come from a very different culture than the one in which I'm living now. I was born and raised on a farm in West Tennessee and I now live in the Seattle metro area. Although I live in a one-horse rural town, the people here are nothing like those in the South.

Other than the usual differences (people here are less friendly, less open and less hospitable), the main thing that bugs me is when someone offers to pay me for doing something nice. It's apparently inconceivable that I could offer to help, or give a pint of homemade jam, or pick up something at the co-op - with no expectation of payment.

Take my neighbors, for example. One couple is so horribly suspicious of my motives that I've now quit offering them things. This spring I started squash plants from seed and had a lot more plants than I could use, so I offered them some. First I was asked how much I wanted for them; when I refused payment I could tell they were wondering what I would expect from them in return. Suspicion was clearly written on their faces. They apparently thought it over and/or talked it out, though, because they came over later and got the squash plants. And their attitude stunk - they came and got the plants and didn't even say thank you.

Then there are my other neighbors, to whom I'm a lot closer. I've almost broken them of trying to pay me for things - but not quite. And they're starting to accept our offers of help and of "stuff", like reclaimed lumber we don't particularly have any plans for. Growing up on a farm taught me to take things when you find them, so we have lumber and plywood and stuff that is just sitting around waiting for our next project to be conceived. In the meantime, though, if our neighbors need something they're welcome to it. That's just how I was raised.

I did have to have a talk with her, though - I reassured her that I was only being nice. That I didn't want anything in return, and I wasn't storing up favors so I could ask for something later. (I can talk more freely with her than with the suspicious ones.) Now that we've become friends she and her husband are more willing to accept help, "stuff" and/or goodies. Plus, they're learning to offer things to us as well. It's win-win for everybody.

See, that's the way it's done where I come from. Plus, it makes me feel good to help out or to give something someone can use. So please, people, don't insult me by offering to pay or being suspicious of my motives. Isn't it possible that I'm just a nice person? And couldn't that be true of others as well?