Friday, October 15, 2021

Friday Food: Leftovers Upon Leftovers


Short version: Chocolate chip pancakes, salad

Long version: A. Cubby, and Calvin were gone on their elk-scouting trip, and the younger two asked for chocolate chip pancakes for dinner. This is about the only time I allow pancakes for dinner, much less chocolate chip ones. There has to be some benefit to staying home with boring old mom.

I had a salad that used up the last of the taco stew meat from last week that I suspected was multiplying in the refrigerator overnight. I finally triumphed over it, though.

It's the little things in life.

The campers had a big foil packet of hamburgers and potatoes they heated up in their campfire.

A. took this photo of bacon cooking on that same campfire the next morning, just so I would have it to post here. Can you tell he's been married to a blogger for a very long time?


Short version: Beef soup, garlic bread

Long version: I had been planning to make pizza, but when the three campers arrived home in the morning, they all said they felt a bit sick. I had already taken out several packages of oxtail and beef soup bones--in an attempt to get some bulky stuff out of the freezer before more red meat possibly arrives in the form of an elk--so I used the pressure cooker to make beef stock, then used the stock, meat picked off the bones, vegetables, and rice to make soup.

After resting and napping, the slightly sick ones were fully recovered--possibly they had some altitude sickness from strenuous hiking at high altitude--but they had soup anyway. At least there was garlic bread.

I took a picture of my very fancy presentation of food on the table.

No sense in dirtying another plate for the bread and cheese when there's already a handy napkin there. Besides, that would be six extra dishes to wash, and you know how I feel about that.


Short version: Bunless cheeseburgers, boiled potatoes, green salad with ranch dressing, apple hand pies

Long version: Almost the last of our potatoes from the garden. The last ones are always the smallest ones, so I didn't peel them. Instead I just washed them as best I could and then boiled them. I figured any remaining dirt would come off while they were boiling.

A gentleman at our church gave us a big bag of pears and another of apples. It was Cubby's turn to choose dessert, and he always likes pie of any kind, so we made apple hand pies.

Hand pies are just small circles of pie dough folded in half over filling and sealed, so they're an individual kind of dessert, which is fun. We used the MiL's proportions for the pie dough (it's not detailed enough to be called a recipe), which is 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup butter, 1/3 lard, bit of salt, and ice water added by tablespoons until it sticks together.

We didn't have any lard, so we used all butter, and this was the first time any pie crust I was involved in making actually came out right.

Not that I was the only one involved in making it, of course.

Poppy did the fork crimping.

An excellent toddler activity.

I'm not a huge fan of pie crust, so I prefer full-sized pies with their greater ratio of filling to pie crust, but the hand pies came out well.

Not the prettiest, but tasty.


Short version: Recombined leftovers, carrot sticks with ranch dip

Long version: There was about a pound and a half of ground beef left from making hamburgers, plus quite a bit of the boiled potatoes. So I browned the meat, seasoned it heavily with salt, pepper, garlic powder, minced onion, and paprika, then added the potatoes and some shredded cheese.

These sorts of meals never look like much, but they perform the function of feeding the family in a tasty and easy way, which is all I'm going for most of the time.

Again, not the prettiest, but tasty.


Short version: Meat hand pies, green salad with ranch dressing

Long version: The recipe Cubby and I used for the pie crust made enough dough for two crusts, so I used the second one and filled the crusts with some extra shepherd's pie meat I had frozen when I made shepherd's pie last week. I added some cheese on top of the meat, too, but I think it needed a lot more salt and flavorings, since the pie crust is much less seasoned than the mashed potatoes used in shepherd's pie.

I had a salad with some of the meat in it, and A. had the meat with some rice I had also made.


Short version: Leftovers

Long version: I combined the very last of the shepherd's pie meat with the leftover rice and some grated cheese to make a skillet meal for everyone but Cubby and me. We had a soup I had made for lunch the day before with the leftover meat and potato skillet, some leftover hamburgers, fried onions, and frozen green beans.


Short version: Pizza, green salad with vinaigrette

Long version: My sister arrived this day from Florida for a short visit, so I made pizza for her first dinner with us. One with just cheese, one with half bacon and half kalamata olives and mushrooms. Yum.

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

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

T.T.: Where's My Rose Garden?

Sometimes when I start to feel sorry for myself for no good reason, I think of the lyrics to the song "Rose Garden."

The lyrics I always sing to myself don't actually come in this order in the song, but they're the relevant lines for general bucking up.

I beg your pardon

I never promised you a rose garden.

Along with the sunshine

There's gonna be a little rain sometimes.

So smile for awhile and let's be jolly

Love shouldn't be so melancholy.

Come along and share the good times while we can.

Just replace "love" with "life" and you have a peppy little reminder that you're not really entitled to anything in this life, so you may as well enjoy what you do have.

And if you need a really amusing visual of this song and its most famous singer, please enjoy this 1973 performance featuring Lyn Anderson and her extraordinarily dated hair and dress.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Monday Bouquets: Halloween Flowers

The sunflowers may be gone, but I haven't stopped gathering plants for the table arrangement yet. Even though Cubby's first comment upon seeing this week's bouquet was, "They look like Halloween flowers."

He had a point.

What you're looking at there is sunflower seed heads and kochia. Kochia is a terrible weed that I battle every summer in the garden. It turns that cool purple color in the fall, though, so it's nice that I can find a use for it.* 

The small yellow flowers are a single sweet clover plant I found blooming. I guess they'll do that up until the first freeze. 

I found a better source of yellow for the week's second arrangement: the fruits of the silver nightshade that featured so prominently in the early summer arrangements.

Silver nightshade is related to tomatoes, and their fruits do indeed look like small yellow tomatoes. Highly poisonous, though.

Fun fact for you: Rafael told us that the fruits of the silver nightshade were used when he was a boy to separate milk for cheesemaking, like a rennet substitute. Not sure how that works with the whole poisonous thing--maybe the toxins drain out with the whey?--but I found a very scholarly sounding medical article that confirms it. It was traditional among the Pima tribe. And apparently among the Spanish people in our county.

Just a little trivia for you.

I hope you have a lovely Monday, with or without Halloween flowers.

*The other use for it is that the animals love it as forage. But since they also love my lettuce and peas, I can't use them for weed control in my garden.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Snapshots: Dim Walks and Bright Fishing

The official sunrise these days is just after 7 a.m. That means that when I go out the door at just after 6:30 a.m. for my walk with the dogs, this is what it looks like.


Just light enough to see.

Dramatically silhouetted sunflower plants (minus the flowers, since they're just seed heads now).

And more dramatic silhouettes in the pasture.

A bit lighter when I turn around to go home, but the sun still isn't actually up yet.

The only reason I've been able to take walks at all is because we've been doing school on Zoom for the past week and a half. This is not ideal, but I do appreciate the children being able to sleep in a bit more so I can sneak out before they get up.

In more exciting news, A. took Cubby and Calvin scouting in preparation for Cubby's elk hunt this coming weekend.

It is, quite obviously, in the mountains.

They found a campground that had a small fishing pond. 

Luckily, A. had brought the fishing poles.

The only fish they caught was one sucker, which isn't very good for eating. Too mushy. They had fun, though.

And there you have it! My life, snapshotted.