Thursday, November 30, 2017

Beef Tamale Pie

Preparing the filling.
When we go to town, I cook things for our suppers that can also be frozen for future meals.  During colder months I like to make a large tamale pie to fit the bill. I started with a recipe by at The Spruce

Tamale Pie

Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped 
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1-8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1-14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes, cut up
  • 1-15 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1-15 oz can kidney beans, drained
  • 1- 2.25 oz can sliced olives, drained
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Preparing the cornmeal.

Cornmeal Base and Topping:
  • 3/4cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese for topping (optional)


Saute onions, garlic, green pepper, and celery in olive oil until translucent. Add chili powder and cumin and cook briefly to bring out the flavours.  Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, corn, kidney beans, olives, sugar, and salt. Heat to a low boil, then simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes until the flavours marry and it thickens.

Assembling the ingredients.
In a saucepan, combine cornmeal, salt and chili powder. Add water and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly until thickened. Mix in butter. If it's too thick, add extra water. Use cooking spray on a 9.5 x 9.5 inch (or similar) deep baking dish. Spread half of the cornmeal mixture on the bottom. Next layer all of the filling. Spread the remaining cornmeal over the top. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over the crust about 10 minutes before the casserole is done.

Ready to serve with a golden brown cheese topping.
It was so good, Wayne and I ate almost a third. But I still had two large servings to freeze for future meals. And the best part, I didn't have to go to the store. Everything in the recipe was available in my pantry, refrigerator and freezer.

Do you have any favourite recipes that freeze well? We'd love to hear about them. -- Margy

Friday, November 24, 2017

Little Squalicum Park in Bellingham, WA

Bellingham Bay can easily be reached at Little Squalicum Park. It is an official Dog Off Leash Area but there's plenty of trails for people to walk, especially at low tide.

 I went to watch the sunset and found a family playing fetch with their dogs at the water's edge.

As you can see, Squalicum Beach is a popular place for dogs to run and play. This one sure was enjoying himself along with his humans. -- Margy

Monday, November 20, 2017

University of Southern California

For us, a trip to Los Angeles always means a visit to the University of Southern California. Wayne received his Master's Degree from USC. My dad almost got his doctorate there. We are what you might call a USC family, unless you talked to my Mom who graduated from UCLA. That must have been a marriage almost as difficult as my great grandmother who was Norwegian and married a Swede.

This week Wayne and I are on a "winter" getaway. The purpose is two-fold. We want sun and warmth while it's cold and rainy at our float cabin home. We also want to go to USC sporting events, especially the annual USC vs UCLA football game at the historic Memorial Coliseum.

What sport is more Southern California than beach volleyball? We sat in on a Sunday morning practice to soak up some rays while enjoying a game.

We also saw women's basketball at the Galen Center. This time the Women of Troy played California State University at Long Beach, my alma matre. That makes it another rivalry.

Each day we walked to our favourite bench in the main quad on campus. Here we can soak up those much needed rays and relax while reading and people watching.

We also took time to walk the campus. Buildings old and new are made with beautiful brickwork. Staying across the street in the Radisson Hotel makes walking everywhere easy.

USC has a long tradition. It welcomed its first 53 students in 1880. My dad worked on his doctorate in the 1950s and Wayne received his degree in 1976. Once a Trojan, always a Trojan. Fight on! -- Margy

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Cable Airport in Upland, California

Do you like to watch airplanes land? Do you want to make Southern California a destination, but want to avoid busy airspace? Want a great hamburger with a view?

Come to Cable Airport. Cable, in Upland, California, is the largest privately owned public-access airport in the United States.

Airplane aficionados Dewey and Maude Cable began its construction in 1945. At the time, the area was rocky, rural, scrub land. It is still rocky, but no longer rural.

Runway 6/24 is lighted and 3864 feet in length. It parallels the nearby the San Gabriel Mountains, with headwind landings about 90% of the time. Arrival from the north through Cajon Pass and along the San Gabriels keeps you out of Ontario International Airport’s Class C airspace. It’s still a good idea to talk to ATC because it gets really busy along this route.

Cable Airport is uncontrolled and averages 252 takeoffs and landings daily, 80% from the over 450 aircraft home based here. There are two IFR approaches: VOR RWY 06 and GPS RWY 06. Coastal fog can reach this far inland and smoggy afternoons often make navigation challenging.

The Cables were well known for their hospitality. The Foothill Flying Club continues the tradition. Rent a plane, take lessons (ground or flight), get information about the area or relax while watching amazing private airplanes come and go. 

If you plan to stay, try the Doubletree Hotel in Claremont on Historic Route 66 (Foothill Blvd). A Yellow Cab costs about $20 plus tip. The Old Schoolhouse is next door with restaurants and shops. Got a hankerin’ for lots (and I mean lots) of good Italian food? Buca di Beppo Restaurant is out front.

Maniac-Mikes restaurant is on-field. It’s open 6-3 daily with indoor and outdoor seating. Forget the $200 hamburger. Get Mike’s Big Burger and fries for only $7.25.

Come to Cable Airport for some fun in the California sun. -- Margy