Friday, September 26, 2014

Enjoying a bit of a break... know.  For me.  lol

 This is a picture of bread made for the first time using my new-to-me KitchenAid mixer.  It's a honey oatmeal loaf that I added about a cup of Bob's Red Mill 12 grain cereal to, because..well...because I can't ever follow a recipe.  lol  And I don't like white bread, even oatmeal bread. I need some STUFF in it, lol  It has a wonderful crumb, it slices beautifully and I am very happy with it.

 I went out this morning and cut butternut squash and hauled them into the garage to cure for a few days before putting them into storage. There were about 3 of them that I'll be cooking tonight--2 with bad spots (as in, someone else already lunched)  and one that I accidentally pulled the stem off.  The stem coming off is a big deal, because it allows bacteria to enter through that soft open spot  and the squash will rot.  'Sokay.  I needed a vegetable for supper tonight anyway.  I am baking some chicken and cooking some rainbow quinoa and roasting the cubes of squash with just a little EVOO and sea salt.  Perfect-O.  Got a pretty decent haul of squash this year...and there are still more out there that came on later and aren't ready yet. I'll leave them as long as the weather holds.  They aren't huge, but they are a pretty nice size for meals.  One really big one that grew out of the compost pile, with no help from anyone. lol

Haven't canned anything recently, but I did dry a dehydrator full of jalapenos (mostly) and cayenne (some) peppers.  Thought I could pulverize the cayenne and roughly grind the jalapenos for use in cooking.

  I have a lot of green tomatoes out there. Thinking I will make some green tomato salsa...kind of a salsa verde, but with unripened green tomatoes instead of tomatillos.  I found several recipes for it, so I know people do it.  lol  And...I'm somebody, ain't I ??

 The weather is beautiful. Cool nights, down to the mid 40's. Pleasant days, hovering in the low to mid 70's.  Blue skies and sunshine and fluffy white clouds now and then. And the leaves are slowly starting to turn, a little red here, a little gold there...and fall from the trees in that ever graceful dance of autumn. 

  This cold is loosening it's hold on me. Luckily the doc said my lungs were clear and recommended a couple of OTC medicines that I can take with the bp meds.   I have felt much better the past 2 days. Still not a hundred percent, but better. Thank goodness. I hate being sick.  lol
 Okay, I have the chicken quarters in the oven, all seasoned and baking and smelling up the house.  I got the 3 butternuts peeled and diced and are soaking in a light  salt water brine, getting ready to be roasted.  I have the quinoa out, ready to be cooked, I have retrieved the mail (all junk, lol), and there is some leftover salad from last night's spaghetti and meatball supper. I opened one of the jars of my home canned marinara, added a bunch of diced ripe tomatoes from the garden and it was great.  So that will be supper. Tonight the Irishman goes off to meet up with some friends at a meeting in town here, but I have to have supper ready for him when he gets home, since the meeting is at 7:30.  We usually eat about the same time every night anyway...he doesn't get home until after 6 PM and that is already late enough. 

  After he leaves, I will make a run to the dollar store and buy some more canned cat food.  Remember the big handsome guy that adopted us ??
Pancho.  He is finally starting to come in the house  the past 2 days. He found out I was feeding Lazarus canned cat food, and wanted in on the action. He patrolled the house yesterday for over an hour and then I found him in the guest room, sleeping on the bed.  He came in for a bit today too, but didn't stay long. I hope he will be more acclimated by the time the cold weather gets here. He is a sweetheart.

  Okay. That's about it from Honeysuckle Hill.  Time to go check on the chicken, both in the oven and the coop. Speaking of chickens in the coop, we are debating the issue of butchering these guys and not having chickens again until next spring. They are not laying at all, and there's no point in feeding them through the winter. Not sure what has happened here...these are the worst producing chickens we have ever had.  Maybe because it's a mixed flock ? Don't know, but in the spring we are going back to good old Rhode Island Reds. My favorite chicken.

  *******  Heavens to Betsey. Got busy and didn't come back to this for 2 days.    Shameful !!  lol


Friday, September 19, 2014

Where oh where can she be ???

 The garden is still giving me presents.  This is a big basket. and the whole bottom of it is full of tomatoes. The rest of it is full of bell peppers, Jalapenos and Anaheims.  

 The carrots are doing well. I am only pulling as many as I need on a given day.  We planted some regular old Danvers and the rest of a packet of Parisiennes.  They are a small little globe carrot that has the sweetest flavor and are great for putting whole on salads or antipasto plates.  The carrots aren't real long this year, but they are thick and very tasty.

 I got my hands on about 15 POUNDS of beautiful organic kale. (That's a LOT of kale, y'all).  lol  I washed and removed the stems and then dried it all (except for a little we ate).  I wound up with 2+ gallons jars stuffed full of dried kale. All ready to use all winter in soups and stews and smoothies and anything else I want to use it in. lol 

 I got a deal on prime cut boneless pork roast at 1.79/pound and bought a boat load of it. I canned 12 quarts of it cut into big chunks and froze 3 or 4 little roasts They came out to about 4-5 dollars apiece and turned out beautifully.  All ready to use for carnitas or Caribbean stew or pulled pork.  Convenience--yay !!!

 The weather has cooled down enough to start doing a little baking now and then. I made some yummy pumpkin bread--you remember the pumpkin saga, yes ??

 Still have plenty of pumpkin. lol

  So, as you can see...I have been busy. And today I got blindsided by a nasty little cold. I don't think I've been sick in over a year and this is knocking the snot out of me (no pun intended). Hopefully it will go away as quickly as it came. 

  I have a good friend here visiting (not at my house, but here, in the area) from St Croix in the Virgin Islands, where she has been living for the past 5 years.  We got to spend 2 days together and it has been awesome.  I spent today with her again, and it will probably be the last time I see her before she leaves. I know how hard it is to  see all the people you want to see when you I am thrilled that I got as much of her as I did.  lol  I was supposed to go to a birthday celebration tonight, but I got sick out of the blue this afternoon, and spent a chunk of the evening in bed. The Irishman even made supper for me. I was supposed to go to a women's retreat tomorrow, but I have cancelled that too. I refuse to spread colds and flu and when I get these things, I stay home until it's over.  I just hope I didn't unintentionally contaminate anybody today.  I saw a lot of folks that I don't see all the time, and there was lots of hugging going on.  I guess it will be what it will be...

  I came over here and looked at the blog and saw that it has been 2 weeks since I posted last. Heavens to Betsey !!!!!  I have had a woman come over a couple of times to help me with some cleaning and so far, we ALMOST have that spare room done.  It was a disaster. The pantry/closet too.  I made a list of things I want to get done while I have her services...things that are too hard for me to do alone, like scrub down all the cabinet faces and shelves, the high ones and the low ones. It's really hard on me getting up on a ladder...or down on the floor, for that matter. I have a lovely teapot collection on the tops of the cabinets Probably in the neighborhood of 25 or 30 teapots. As you can imagine, they are greasy dust magnets and all have to come down several times a year and get washed clean.

  So, as you can see...I have been busy, but still having some fun. I have a big basket of stuff to get into the dehydrators as soon as possible.  Any minute now, it will be time for canning beets.  I need to get in the garage and see if there are any more canning jars out there. Believe it or not,  I have used almost all my jars this year. When I canned the pork roast, I broke into the last 2 new cases I had in the store room, because they were wi9de mouths.  I still have a few (less than a case I think) of regular mouth jars here and there, unless there are some in the garage I have overlooked. I thought I had gotten them all, but.... I never would have guessed that I would be buying jars again after I hit the Mother Lode when my cousin gave me all her old canning jars (about a hundred and fifty jars!!).  I'll be drying the rest of the tomatoes, but if there are lots of green ones when the frost finally comes, I'll need jars to can chow-chow.

  We're having a short lived warm up again. It was about 80 today. It's cooling off at night though, and I need to get my butternut squash cut and into the garage to cure a bit before bringing them in for storage.  It looks like a pretty good year out there.

  Okay. Letting you know I'm still alive...but taking my sniffly, sneezy butt to bed now.  I'll try to be a little better about posting.  

  Maybe.  lol


Friday, September 5, 2014

Bang the Drum

 Pretty good reminder for a Friday.  Or any day, for that matter.

  I am doing a Zero waste Challenge this week in which I have foregone the use of paper towels. In years past, I never bought paper towels. They are a waste. Of money and of trees.  Then I had puppies or kittens or both, and started buying a roll at a time for convenience sake. For cleaning up poo and pee and puke.  Before I realized what was happening, I was using them for everything and buying them by the 12 roll package. And buying several packages at once if the sale was great.  Then one day, I realized I had like 5 packages of paper towels in the storage room. It took up half the wall.  That's 60 (SIXTY) !!!!!  rolls of paper towels. So, I stopped buying them and kept using them all up. Now I'm finally down to about the last 4 rolls and am not buying anymore. 

  When this challenge came up, it was "Pick one or more things to do to lessen the waste in your life" and I knew it was an omen. lol  It's time for the paper towels to go.  Are they handy?  Yes.  Do I need them ?  No. I have lots of rags I could be using for all the things I use paper towels for.  Rinse-able, washable, reusable rags.  I know I probably could have done several other things in this challenge that might have been more of a statement, but this was doable and it was time. Besides, I told myself that I  already do a lot to eliminate wasteful stuff from my life and do a lot of green things and do enough (not really) for the planet.

 It's been easier than I thought, so I guess I am on my way to a paper towel free home again. lol


  It's been a busy week. Canned pickled sweet banana peppers and pickled okra. Dried okra (about 9 pounds total, pickled and dries).   Got some canned stuff put away and right now (for a minute) the island is clear again. We harvested about 130 pounds of red and white potatoes, they are in the garage curing a bit before getting boxed up and going into the storage room. I had a friend come over and we started working on the spare room yesterday...she doing the lions share of the work, while I piddled around doing some stuff in other parts of the house.  She's gonna come back on Tuesday and maybe we can finish it up. Good news/Bad news:  The mice have been having a heyday in there. (that's the bad news) We had to strip the bed and anything cloth (furniture slipcovers) that was laying around all had to be laundered. so I did 3 loads of that kind of wash yesterday and still have 2 more to go. Then I'll box up those things and into the closet they'll go once we get that cleaned out next week.  The good news, on the other hand, is that there is a 5 gallon bucket full of sweet potatoes I didn't know was in there. They are starting to sprout, but look really good otherwise.  Added to the 5 or 6 pounds left in the wooden box,  it will be a good canning session. I might start on that today. Gonna can most of them in just water and some of them in a brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.

  I'm going out to check the sweet potatoes in the ground in a few and see what that haul is looking like.  If it's a good harvest, I'll probably can all the ones in storage. If it's dicey...then I'll leave a few of the better looking ones in the bucket.  Just in case.

(I just pulled up the weather report. I thought it was cooling down today, but the weather says mid-90's and thunderstorms all afternoon and evening.  I will probably wait until Sunday to do the sweet potatoes.)  Yesterday was only 90, but with a heat index of 102 and it was suffocating. Even hotter today AND rain ??  Surely I can find other things that need doing that won't uber-heat the kitchen all day...


 The boy just brought in another bag of gorgeous chanterelles.  Our Friday night feast is going to be a mushroom and pasta supper, with salad and garlic bread. I have 2 other bags of chanterelles that he brought yesterday. He is going out of town to work today and doesn't have time to do anything with them. I haven't tried drying the chanterelles yet...they seem so fragile. Maybe I should read up on that...those would be a good thing to have in yummy.

 Alright. If I keep writing I will never get anything done.  It's bright and sunny and still only in the mid 70's right now. The critters are all outside, except for one cat. It's peaceful and quiet here. Time for a little prayer and meditation and then into the rest of this wondrous day !!