Friday, August 16, 2019

Friday Food: The Beat Goes On


Short version: Meatballs with marinara and cheese, fried garlic bread, raw green beans with ranch dip

Long version: The continuing theme of this late summer weather is trying to do as much cooking as possible in the morning while it's cool. My kitchen gets pretty hot in the afternoons, and firing up the stove or oven for any extended period when it's already 84 degrees in that room isn't appealing.

So. I made the meatballs in the morning, forming them and browning them under the broiler. Then I made the marinara and put the meatballs in it, shoving the whole skillet into the refrigerator to await reheating at dinnertime. When I reheated it, I also added some asadero cheese on top. Asadero is the cheese we use in place of mozzarella. I can't tell a difference. And given that this particular cheese is made in Wisconsin, there might not be a difference other than the packaging.

Instead of heating the oven again to make the garlic bread, I instead just fried it in butter in a skillet I already had on the stovetop from making lunch. That was a popular move.


Short version: Potatoes with bacon and cheese, raw broccoli with ranch dip

Long version: We were at the Cowboy Camp Meeting in the afternoon and didn't get home until almost 6 p.m. They were serving dinner there, but not until 7 p.m. this year, so we left after the foot races and came home for dinner.

I had already cooked some potato chunks before we left. When we got home I cooked a bunch of diced bacon, then added some diced onion, the potatoes, and grated cheddar. Cubby was thrilled. He came in the kitchen while I was cooking and said, "I really need some real food."

The multiple bags of chips, bottles of Gatorade, and sno cones the children consumed at the camp meeting definitely do not fit that definition.

The onions I used in the potatoes were from the bag I had diced and frozen before we left for Blackrock. I had like four onions that I needed to do something with--can you imagine the stench if I had just left them in the cabinet for a whole month? ewwww--and I read online that you can dice them and freeze them. So I did. They come right apart right out of the bag, so it's easy to grab just a little bit at a time, and they are convenient to have, but I can smell them even through the heavy freezer bag I put them in. I had to wrap another plastic bag around them so I can store them in the freezer without contaminating the frozen fruit or butter or whatever else that's in there.


Short version: A puppy-excursion picnic

Long version: At 3:30 p.m., A. said he was going to look at some puppies and he wanted everyone to come. The puppies were at least an hour's drive away, I did an instant dinnertime calculation and decided I'd better throw some stuff into a cooler for a dinner picnic. So in five minutes I put together all the food we had suitable for travel. That is, cheese, two random hardboiled eggs, beef jerky, bread and butter, cherries, and apples.

This was a good call, because it was after 5 p.m. when we left the puppy house. Luckily, there was a designated picnic spot just about five miles from there, which is almost miraculous, given the scarcity of such places in rural areas like the one we were in.

Picnicking children. And Adventure Van, waiting patiently to bring us home.


Short version: Pork chops with marinara sauce and asadero cheese, pasta with pesto, cucumbers, apricot cobbler with vanilla ice cream

Long version: This was the meal I was planning to make Sunday before I was sidetracked by puppies. Monday was a celebratory day anyway, as it was the first day of school for Cubby and Charlie. Pasta with pesto is one of their favorites; any meat cooked with cheese is A.'s favorite, and everyone likes ice cream.

With only the two smaller children home, I was able to let them help me make the pesto without too much chaos.

Pulling leaves off stems is the perfect task for tiny hands.

I had a vague memory of a similar photo I took of Cubby and Charlie doing the same thing for me at about the same ages, and here it is:

Find what works and stick with it, I say.

I made the cobbler because we got a box of about thirty pounds of apricots from Miss Amelia's daughter. Most of it I made into jam.


But I thought I should use some of them for a special dessert. I made the topping with coconut flour, so everyone could eat it. It was okay. I don't really like coconut flour that much, but A. and Cubby loved it. And the apricots with the ice cream was delicious.


Short version: Tuna patties, fresh bread and butter, roasted sweet potatoes/bell peppers/onion, sauteed green beans

Long version: The green beans are finally producing enough that I can pick beans every morning. Not without trepidation, however. That damp, luxuriant foliage is a magnet for all kinds of insects and the things that feed on them. There are numerous spiders that spin their webs right across the foliage, along with a small snake that hangs out right at the south end of the row (thankfully a harmless garter snake), and a lot of bees that love the squash flowers beneath the bean plants. 

I spend a lot of time poking cautiously in the foliage before reaching my hand in to pick beans. This is why I don't have the children doing the harvesting for me.


Short version: Beef and potatoes, cucumbers with vinegar and salt

Long version: There was a big rump roast in the freezer that kept getting in my way when I was trying to dig other things out, so I finally just took it out and cooked it. I put it in the oven early in the morning, took it out around noon, chunked it up, and saved the fat.

I also boiled some potato chunks. We had to be at church at 5 p.m., so when we got home at 5:50 p.m., all I had to do was re-heat the meat and potatoes in the tallow, along with garlic powder, paprika, and thyme.


Short version: Ribeye and T-bone steaks, rice, sauteed green beans

Long version: Nah.

Okay, your turn! What'd you eat this week?

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Coming Soon To a Family Near Nobody

Many of you guessed, but here's the photographic answer.

In two weeks, we will have two puppies. Boom.

Why two? Why not? I have four kids, which is more than the average. Might as well have more dogs than the average, too.

These are a mix of border collie, blue lacy cur, and Australian shepherd, all working dogs. Their parents are cattle dogs, and they were born on a ranch about an hour from us. 

We were only going to get one, but when we went to look at the puppies, the people had one with a non-functioning eye that they couldn't really sell as a working dog, but wanted to give to a family as a pet. The puppy was so quiet and sweet that I told A. we might as well have two, so we don't have a lone dog getting bored and lonely when we're gone for one of our day-long shopping trips or whatever.

They're still only six weeks old, and puppies aren't typically weaned until eight weeks, so in a couple of weeks they'll get de-wormed and get all their shots, and then they'll be ready to come home with us.

We're all excited. Except maybe the chickens, but they don't know what's coming.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019


Something exciting is going to happen very soon here. Two somethings, actually.

Here's a hint: We're hoping they'll be a boy's (and girl's) best friends, too.

Any guesses?

(I'll post a photo tomorrow that will make it all very clear.)