Paladini Potpie

Adventures within The Crust!

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We Are Like Pumpkins

Thanks to my sister, Patti Hill, for this great illustration she came up with while she and her son, Dillon, were carving their Halloween pumpkin.

“I was talking with Dillon about how we are like pumpkins when we let Jesus into our hearts…

He opens our heart, takes out all the nasty gross stuff…

puts a smile on our face…

…and puts His light in us to shine for all the world to see!”


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Roasted Tiger Pumpkin Seeds

Black and Orange – Oh yeah! The Giants are 3-0 ahead of the Tigers in the World Series. So tonight could be the final game. Last Tuesday I made BLACK bean soup for dinner and later this week I’ll be making ORANGE spicy pumpkin soup.

But in the meantime I roasted the pumpkin seeds for us to munch on tonight during the (hopefully) last game of the series.

This is how I did it:

 One large pumpkin cut into thirds. (In my next blog I’ll tell you how to make the pumpkin into soup)

about 3 tablespoonfuls of salt

Scoop out the seeds.

Put water into the bowl with the seeds to easily remove the clingy-stringy pieces of pumpkin.

Soak in salt water for about 2 hours and then drain off most of the water.

(I used about 3 heaping tablespoons of salt, but you be the judge for your own taste)

Pour seeds and a few tablespoons of water into a heavy bottom skillet.

Roast at 350° for about an hour, stirring from time to time, until seeds are dry.

When the water is completely evaporated and the seeds seem dry, turn off the oven and leave the seeds in the pan until they are cool.

And your Roasted Tiger Pumpkin Seeds are ready to eat!

Play ball!


Rainy October Black Bean Soup

The first rain of the season continues…  It started yesterday. And it poured last night as the baseball game came to a stunning finish. This morning I’m still carried along on a wave of delight.  There, in the pouring rain, the San Francisco Giants won the 2012 National League Pennant! We are going to have an Orange and Black October!

So what kind of soup do I make for bible study dinner tonight?  Since many of the ladies are Giants’ fans, I should make something orange or black.  I could make Spicy Orange Pumpkin Soup… or Black Bean Soup… Hmmmm…

Well, since I don’t feel like heading out into the rain in search of pumpkins I guess I’ll go with Black Bean.

This is how I make it:

October Black Bean Soup

3 cups black beans

9 cups water

3 med onions, diced

1 bell pepper, chopped (red, yellow or green)

1 TBSP cumin seed

8 garlic cloves, minced

3 TBSP olive oil

½ tsp (more or less) cayenne

Heat olive oil in your heavy bottomed soup pot

Add onions, bell pepper and garlic

Sauté until onions are transparent

Add water, beans and cumin seed

Bring to a boil.

Lower heat and simmer, covered for about 3 hours or until beans are very soft.

(You may need to add more water as it cooks. Keep beans covered with water.)

When the beans are very soft ladle some into your blender.

Whirl for about 30 seconds, then return to the soup pot.

Mix well

Simmer until ready to serve.

I like to garnish it with shredded hard boiled eggs, grated cheese and sour cream; and serve it with my crusty Italian bread.

(Maybe next week we’ll go for Spicy Pumpkin Soup… In the meantime, Go Giants!)

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BIRGing and CORFing with the Giants

BIRGing and CORFing are acronyms coined by social psychologists.

I first heard the terms a couple of years ago in our Beth Moore Bible Study in the book of Esther. She was warning of the danger of putting people on a pedestal.

BIRGing means “Basking In Reflected Glory”

CORFing means “Cutting Off Reflected Failure”

I noticed a lot of BIRGing back in 2010 when the Giants won the World Series. Giants’ fans came out of the woodwork. It cracked me up. Everybody was on the bandwagon. People who had never mentioned the word “baseball” were suddenly wearing Giants’ jerseys and hats, talking about how “OUR boys are doing good!”

The same thing happened a couple of weeks ago when OUR team clinched the National League West.  I kept hearing that WE are going to the World Series again.

To be honest – I, myself, kept saying, “WE are going to the World Series again.” I couldn’t pass a stranger wearing Giants’ gear without giving him a thumbs up!

We were carried along on the wave of gladness and bonhomie!  What fun!

But alas! Today…we see CORFing at it’s finest.

I was talking to my daughter, Monica, this morning. She lives in Maryland now, and although she’s a Giants fan by upbringing, she’s Orioles fan by marriage.

We’ve all been excited about the prospect of an Orange and Black World Series.

She said “I was so proud when I was watching the Giants on TV. AT&T Park was so pretty and every seat was filled and there was a sea of orange.  I thought, ‘We’ve got this!'”

“We’ve got this…

But we didn’t have it. Both teams lost. Orioles and Giants both lost their respective games.

Our World Series hopes begin to diminish…

As John and I were listening to the game last night I can’t tell you how may times John said “Stupid Giants!” or “Oh come on!”

Today Monica said, “They played like a bunch of Little Leaguers!”

I agreed.

Why can’t they play like champions?  It’s so embarrassing!

THEY.  Cutting off reflected failure.

But… there are three more games in the playoffs.

Come on Giants – we really would much rather BIRG then CORF!


The Orange Show

When you saw the title of this post I bet you thought I was writing to brag about our NL West Champion Giants – or even the brand new American League Eastern Division Champion Orioles.

Both teams wear orange and black and both teams figure strongly into the Paladini family heritage.

No.  This is a different Orange Show.

We visited my sister, Monica, in Texas this summer, and she and her husband took us to Houston’s Orange Show.  With her tongue firmly in her cheek, Monica told us it was someplace she had always wanted to go.

Her husband asked “Why???”

Just for fun! (The word quirky comes to mind.)

My kindred-spirit sister and I dressed in orange for the occasion. Our husbands both rolled their eyes and shook their heads.  I think I heard John murmur the word, “Deranged…”

On YouTube we had seen an old film of the builder explaining his Orange Show project,  and that was enough for John and Mick.

The Orange Show was built by Jeff McKissack, a Houston mail man. It was 1956 when he got the idea, and began to work on this monument to the orange, a fruit he adored. The man was obsessed with oranges for their beauty and nutritional value. He purchased two lots adjoining his own yard at 2401 Munger Street, and proceeded to build…

He said he got the idea from seeing buildings he saw being razed as he walked his mail route. “Roof tiles from the Old Capital Theater, a fire escape at Stowers Furniture, and a miniature of the San   Jacinto Monument at The State Hotel”

The Orange Show is hard to explain. It’s a garish display of concrete, and tons of brightly painted scrap metal welded together. There’s a lot of tile work décor – borders, signs, and slogans. (And we noticed that spelling was not his strong suit.) McKissack was a busy man. His Orange Show covers at least two lots in the quiet neighborhood where he lived. It has multiple levels with decks, balconies and catwalks which are reached by a variety of metal stairways.

I wonder what the neighbors thought.

And think…

When we arrived the place was pretty much deserted and we weren’t sure what to do. But moments later a lady, apparently the caretaker, walked out of the house across the street and took our admission – a dollar each. She invited us to go on in and explore and have fun. Then she went back into her house and we were on our own to wander and wonder.

A sign tells visitors that “Anticipation of opening day was the fuel that
propelled McKissack to complete The Orange Show. He told people that he figured 80 to 90% of the people in the country would want to see The Orange Show.  Of course not all of them would be able to come, but he expected 300,000 or so a year.”

It opened on May 9th 1079 and 150 people came. McKissack himself conducted tours, and described future plans, explaining the use of steam in parts of his display, demonstrating the mechanical parts, and explaining the history and the symbolism of the exhibit. He said, “The show is built around historical events like the wheel. I have 85 of them, all sizes up to five feet in diameter…some of the wheels are over 100 years old.”

The Orange Show didn’t live up to Jeff McKissack’s expectations, but every part of it reflects his enthusiasm and optimism. We did not get the impression that he was disappointed in his life’s work.

Since 1980, when Jeff McKissack died, The Orange Show has evolved into a non-profit organization called Orange Show Center for Visionary Art.  Art patrons in Houston keep foundation alive, and provide programming for children and adults that includes music, storytelling and hands-on workshops.  Jeff McKissack would be proud.