Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Smak and a Story

(After a brief hiatus, I’ve added two short but sweet songs to my Free Christmas Song Each Day page. They are “Joyfully Now Let Praises Ring,” and “Recipe.”)

Speaking of recipes, here’s one for that dip I mentioned in my last post.


1 can of corn
2 packages of cream cheese (8 oz.)
1 green bell pepper
1 can chopped olives
1 can chopped green chiles
1 package of ranch dressing


1. Soften cream cheese
2. Dump in the other junk
3. Stir

Of course, you can chop fresh green chiles if you want. When eating refrigerated leftovers, we found that regular Tostitos tend to break pretty easily when we put torque on them. You might want a thicker chip for that.

The recipe for Krack is forthcoming (I hope).

Now, anybody going to give one of their favorite recipes? I might just foist it on my family this weekend (and/or Shannon’s the next).

Here’s the first part of a two- or three-part Christmas tale. Actually, all I know is that it will be over by Christmas, but most likely by Friday. It’s meant to be family friendly.

The House With No Lights

Chad had gone through a very long day at work. Nothing went right, and he left 15 minutes late to meet his wife and their little boy, Dysan. They got into the minivan with Chad’s mother-in-law, Sue Bee, and left to look at Christmas lights.

There was a lot of traffic. The drive to downtown Dallas took a long time, and they saw only a few houses with grand light displays. A lot of houses didn’t have any lights at all. Dysan was only three years old, and Chad knew he liked Christmas lights a lot. He wanted him to see the best lights ever.

“Some people don’t celebrate Christmas,” said Sue Bee, Dysan’s gramma.

“A lot of people,” Chad said. “But there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Dysan pointed to two lighted reindeer on a rooftop. “How did those reindeer jump all the way up there?” he asked.

“They flew up there. Remember? Reindeer can fly,” said his mommy.

“Oh, they can?” Dysan said.

“That’s right,” said Chad.


They turned off the busy street into a neighborhood. All the houses were much bigger than Dysan’s. Some were dark on the outside, while some had lights wrapped around the trees, the windows, the shutters, and on candy canes lining their sidewalks.

“Gramma, can you put down my window so I can see better?” Dysan asked.

She pushed a button and the window went down. Cool air rushed into the minivan, but it wasn’t cold. Dysan could see everything much better. There were giant snow globes with Santa and Rudolph inside, little carousels going round and round, and lighted reindeer moving their heads back and forth, up and down.

A horse and carriage came the other direction on Dysan’s side. The horse was big and dark with white feet. Its big feet went “ka-clop, ka-clop, ka-clop” as it came closer. When the carriage passed, all the children inside shouted, “Merry Christmas!”

Dysan smiled. So did his mommy and daddy and gramma. A long, dark pool of water reflected big, lighted snowflakes hanging from the trees.

When he saw a family of lighted reindeer on a lawn, Dysan said, “That one looks like it’s pooping.”

Everybody laughed a long time. After that, Dysan said that about all the reindeer he saw. He laughed hard every time, but nobody else did. His daddy even said, “Okay, son, that’s enough.” Dysan didn’t understand why they thought it was funny the first time, but not the others.

On their next turn, the back tire hit the curb. The minivan only rolled a little bit farther before the ride got rough. A bumping sound came from the back where the tire had hit the curb.

“I really didn’t want to change a flat out here tonight,” Chad said.

“Hold on. I’ll pull over,” Sue Bee said.

She stopped in front of a house with no lights at all in the front yard, and no Christmas tree in the front rooms. All the grown-ups got out and left Dysan strapped in his carseat.

“Can I come, too?” he asked.

“No, son, not right now. You stay in here where it’s warm,” Chad said. He pulled on the door handle and let go.

“But I’m not cold, Daddy,” Dysan said.

The door slid closed, locking Dysan inside all alone. He sat listening to what his daddy had told him was “Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairies.” There were no words in the songs.

The door slid open. Chad got inside and got on his knees on the floor.

“What are you doing, Daddy?” Dysan asked.

“I’m digging out our spare tire.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s what we put on the van when one of our tires is broken.”

(continue to Part Two on my story blog.)

14 Responses to Smak and a Story

  1. On your recipe… what does a whole green bell pepper do in this dip? Centerpiece? *LOL*

    Good start to a story… hope to see more.

    As for my recipe… this is my FAMOUS (at least up here) holiday recipe, and it’s decadently delicious!

    ps, I have a recipe page… if you’re interested.

    Antipasto Squares

    2 Packages of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
    1/4 Lb each of Salami, Pepperoni, Ham, Provolone Cheese and Swiss Cheese
    1 Jar sweet red peppers (mancini type)
    2 Eggs
    2 Tbs Parmasen cheese

    In a 9X13” glass dish, layer across the bottom, one package of crescent rolls, then a layer of (in order) Ham, Provolone Cheese, Salami, Swiss Cheese, Pepperoni, another layer of Swiss Cheese. Lay drained red peppers on top.
    Mix in a bowl, 2 eggs and 2 Tbs Parmasen cheese and pour almost all of it over the meats and cheese, they place the second package of crescent rolls on top, and brush remaining mixture of eggs/chees on top for browning purposes.
    Cook 350 degrees for 30 mins covered with aluminum foil, then 5 more minutes uncovered to brown.

  2. Thanks for the recipe, Mark.
    I’ll bet the mean people in the dark house run out and attack Dysan and his family. I mean…that’s what evil, non-Christmas celebrating people do, right? Or maybe not. I’ll just wait and see.

  3. A short little tale to take us into the holidays? Nice. You’re fixated on vehicles breaking down now, aren’t you?

    Here’s a quick recipe that requires no baking at all:

    Eskimo Cookies

    Eagle Brand condensed milk
    Graham cracker crumbs
    Icing sugar
    Chocolate chips

    Mix equal parts condensed milk and crumbs — say about a cup each for a test batch. (You may need more crumbs than milk, if the consistency isn’t approximately doughy.) Add chocolate chips to taste. I’m of the mind that most batters are simply a means of delivering chocolate chips to my digestive tract, but other opinions may vary. They’re wrong. With the chippety batter, form into balls a little smaller than golf balls, but a little bigger than ‘biggie’ marbles. Roll in your hands or use two tea spoons. Roll each ball in a bowl of icing sugar until fully coated. Place balls on a tray or layer in a container separated by wax paper. Freeze those bad boys. You’re done.

    These treats ostensibly come out for dessert trays and the like, but the real appeal is scarfing them from the freezer. We have a tupperware tub of them in the upstairs freezer and I cannot describe my delight in cracking open that plastic lid and stealing two little white frozen balls of dough and chocolate to devour in very short order.


  4. Dave – Oy. I didn’t say to chop the bell pepper… or make the bits even smaller. Either way would be grate.


    Dave and Simon – Thanks for the recipes!!

    MG – Well, you’re in the right vicinity, but let’s see how things shake out.

    Simon – My imagination tends to be one-track lately when it comes to spinning a yarn loosely based on real life. Well, when the inspiration is a car ride.

  5. Really?! I thought I was being sarcastic. What kind of holiday tale are you peddlin’ here, Mark? I was ready for feel-good joy to the world stuff…but now you’ve got me worried :)

  6. Moksha, the best feel-good joy type stuff always comes after being threatened by impending DOOM!

    When I read the “ka-clop” bits, I wasn’t able to prevent myself from thinking of King Arthur banging two halves of a coconut together. Maybe it’s the Knights of Ni who come out of the house to terrorise Dysan and his family. I hope they brought herring!

  7. Is “icing sugar” a male term or a Canuck word? I’m going to assume that you mean powdered sugar- That fine, white, talc-like substance that resembles Krack- I mean crack.
    This stuff all sounds yummy.
    How wonderful of you to provide us with diversionary literature.

  8. Icing sugar is totally the same as powdered sugar, Sugar. I didn’t realise it was called something different in the US-Eh. Now that it’s pushing five o’clock where I am, I’m going home to scarf a couple of those darned fine Eskimo cookies from my freezer. YUM!

    (Remember, from December 24th thru January 1st, all food you consume is 100% completely calorie-free. No guilt.)

  9. MG – Well, I didn’t mean you were directly on the mark (pun intentionally left in), but I can say it won’t end all doomy (as Simon correctly suggested).

    Simon – Ah, yes, the Knights who say “Ni.” Hilarious bit, that.

    Linda – Yummy for the tummy. Where’s your recipe?

    Simon – Um, dude, it’s not December 24 yet! I guess you’re getting started early. I can’t wait to try those little Eskimo cookies.

    Krack recipe is in my hot little hands and on its way to y’all.

  10. All I can picture in my mind when I “heard” the ka-clop, ka-clop, ka-clop were the Amish that lived near where I grew up. I’m very interested to find out where this is going.

    My favorite Christmas treat as a child were Mom’s buckeyes. They were great because they would be in the fridge for weeks and were always there when I came home from school after winter break.

    18 oz of peanut butter (the wife uses smooth, I prefer chunky)
    2 lbs. powered sugar
    1/4 lb of butter, softened
    1 Tbs. vanilla
    12 oz. chocolate chips
    1/2 stick of clear wax (paraffin, yes it’s edible, anyone remember the wax lips?)
    wax paper and toothpicks

    Mix peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla until completely homogonous. Roll into balls a little smaller than golf balls, but a little bigger than ‘biggie’ marbles. (Yes I stole that line, thanks Simon.) Refrigerate four hours.

    Melt wax and chocolate in a double boiler or fondue pot. Use a toothpick to dip the balls into the chocolate until nearly covered so it looks like a buckeye.

    The kids love doing the dipping part.

    Place on wax paper until cool. Store in the refrigerator for months in a plastic container. Make 80 buckeyes. (My wife actually makes double batches so there are some left after the holidays.)

  11. Blitz – Those buckeyes sound delicious. The ones we found in our pasture when I was a kid definitely weren’t like that.

    This might have topped my list of the first one to try. Yum.

  12. If I remember, I’ll see if I can find my Almond Roca (nuts!~)
    recipe. No promises, tho’. In case you don’t know, I detest baking. Okay how’s this-
    Take a whole shitload of pretzels and spread them all over a baking pan. Unwrap the same number of Rollo candies and place them carefully in the center of the pretzel (the ones that look like a number 8 with another piece added on. I forget what they’re called. They look kinda like an ampersand.) Put them in an oven that you’ve preheated to about 250. Leave them in for a few minutes, until the Rollos get melty but don’t lose their shape. Take them out and plop a cashew on each one and press it carefully into the candy, just enough to squish the chocolate and caramel almost to the edges of the pretzel. They are scrumptious but none of you nuts will make them cause you don’t like nuts with your pretzels and Rollos.
    Now you can’t say I (the lone WOman here, it seems, so far) I didn’t contribute to the cooking post.
    Incidentally, my MIL makes buckeyes the size of ping-pong balls, at least.

  13. PS The “recipe” above is not for Almond Roca. I would have had to get out of my chair and go down a flight of steps and blah… blah… blah.
    I don’t think these things have a name. They’re just good. And easy. Sound like anyone you know? Me neither.

  14. Linda – This sounds great! Nuts with sweet, salty, crunchy stuff usually works great for me. It’s the mixture of textures that I’m not crazy about. In fact, your offering sounds a lot like a Hershey’s Take 5 bar, one of my absolute favorites. Plus, cashews rock!


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