Friday, January 14, 2022

Friday Food: Chili, Chili, and . . . Chili


Short version: Not chicken fried steak, boiled potatoes, green salad

Long version: I keep forgetting that the packages labeled "Top round" are actually tenderized steaks of the round. I was actually planning on making chicken-fried steak with these, which both Cubby and A. love, but I was almost out of milk. And what is chicken-fried steak without the milky gravy? Not worth making, is what.

So instead I just cut them into strips and fried them in bacon grease with spices. Still good, but not chicken-fried steak.


Short version: Barbecue meatballs, mashed potatoes, carrot sticks with curry dip, curried cauliflower

Long version: I forgot to add extra tallow to the meatballs, so they were a bit dry. Boo. Grass-fed beef is just a lot leaner than I prefer for ground beef.


I got one small cauliflower from my Misfits Market produce box, which is what I used to make curried cauliflower (steamed cauliflower, sweet curry powder fried in coconut oil, salt, cream). Cubby is the only other person in the family who likes it besides me, so there's always plenty.

In somewhat related news, I finally replaced the ancient, and now shredded, potholders the MiL bought at her church craft fair at least a decade ago. 

I won't tell you how long I used them in this condition.


Short version: Beef pot roast, rice, pureed calabaza, golden beets, cucumber with ranch dip, ice cream with maple syrup or chocolate milkshakes

Long version: I bet you can guess that I got the golden beets from Misfits Market. I roasted them along with the pot roast, then peeled and sliced them and added some butter, vinegar, maple syrup, and salt, in an approximation of Harvard Beets. So good.

I had bought vanilla ice cream at the tiny store in the village for Sunday dessert. It was Cubby's turn to choose, so I asked him what he wanted me to do with it. He wanted a milkshake, but everyone else wanted plain ice cream. I was loathe to use my big blender to make just one milkshake, but then I remembered the smoothie cup that came with the immersion blender the MiL gave me for Christmas.

I used that to make a chocolate milkshake for Cubby (okay, and me too) with the ice cream, milk, and cocoa powder, and he was very happy. I was happy I could just put the top of the immersion blender in the dishwasher instead of washing multiple parts of a blender by hand. The others were happy with their ice cream and maple syrup. 

Happiness everywhere.


Short version: Ground beef chili, cafeteria quesadillas, failed oatmeal-raisin cookies

Long version: We went to our friends' house for lunch last week, where we had chili and cornbread. The chili was a ground beef and bean version that my children declared the best chili in the world. I usually make chili with stew meat, but I always preferred it with ground beef myself, so I used the rest of the ground beef I took out for the meatballs to make chili with pinto beans on Sunday. 

That worked well, as I was only home for about an hour in between getting home from work and going back to the school to bring Cubby for an event. I heated up the chicken and cheese quesadillas left over from the school lunch and the kids dipped those in their chili. 

They told me the chili wasn't as good as my friend's chili. She buys some kind of chili seasoning mix that I obviously didn't have, so I guess that was why.


The cookies were also given to me by the school cook. She had made a batch in which the butter was too warm, which results in the cookies spreading out and getting very crispy. They were still tasty, though, and my children had no problem eating them.

I didn't serve a vegetable, because I was very tired and rushed. I figured the tomatoes in the chili and the raisins in the cookies would have to suffice.


Short version: Chili mac, green salad

Long version: Two boxes of too-salty Annie's macaroni and cheese, but only one of the cheese packets, plus some of the chili. And there's dinner for the children. All of them except Poppy liked this. She proclaimed it "too cheesy." I suspect she doesn't really like the taste of the powdered cheese. Can't blame her there.

A. had chili and rice.

I had a salad with leftover barbecue meatballs in it.


Short version: Soft tacos, turkey-rice soup, frozen peas

Long version: Corn tortillas+cheese+chili=soft tacos. That's what the three younger children had. A. had some of the chili and more rice.

The rest of the rice I added to another container of the post-Thanksgiving turkey soup I pulled from the freezer, along with peas. Cubby and I had that.

When there are leftovers to be eaten and not enough to go around, the best strategy is to divide and conquer.


Short version: Pork, sauerkraut, leftover mashed potatoes, various leftover vegetables, very disappointing caramelized pineapple

Long version: Oh, the pineapple. Sigh.

I bought the pineapple from Misfits Market, mostly for Calvin, who loves pineapple. However, when the pineapple arrived, it was very, very green. Like, not a hint of yellow on it anywhere.

I did not think this boded well for its tastiness, but I left it on the counter for a few days to see what would happen.

What happened was that it got a bit soft around the stem and at the base, but still no yellow.

I cut it up anyway, figuring if it was soft, it would next start to rot. And it was just as dry and tasteless as I feared.

In an attempt to salvage it, I cut it into wedges and caramelized them in brown and white sugar and butter. I let them get a little bit brown, and they looked pretty good.

As we all know, however, appearances can be deceiving.

There was still no discernible pineapple flavor when I tasted a piece, so I added some maple syrup over the top.

Still disappointing. Only about half the family ate theirs. 

So much for that pineapple. In fairness, it was the only item of produce I got in that order that was substandard.

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

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

T.T.: A Tip for Tipsy Candles

Why do candles never fit properly in candle holders? The bottom of the candle is always too narrow, leaving too much room in the holder around its base, which results in this:

Not a good look.

Luckily for me--and now for you--the MiL taught me a trick years ago to fix the leaning candle problem.

First you need a very small piece of paper towel.

About like this. The exact size isn't important.

Fold it over and over to make a narrow strip.

Like so.

Then you wrap it around the very bottom of the candle base . . .

Please ignore my very un-manicured hands and the boo-boo on my nail.

And press the candle into your holder, making sure the paper towel strip is well down in the bottom so it doesn't show.

Ta da! A nicely straight and sober candle.

This might work with a very small piece of cloth, too, but the paper towel works well because it's so thin and smooshable (yes, it's a word now), so you can really jam it down into the candleholder and make it invisible. And no more leaning candles burning unevenly and dripping wax all over.

Thanks for the tip, MiL.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Snapshots: Roosters, Epiphany, and Home Remedies

I don't seem to have a lot of photos from this week, so many of these are from awhile ago.

Like this one, of our rooster, Little Man, expressing his dominance over the crowd of doomed roosters we got a bit over a week ago.

Little Man has seen a LOT of other roosters come and go. He alone remains. 

All of us were sick over Christmas break. Poppy had a cough that was troubling her for a couple of days, so I set up a steam tent for her.

It did help a bit, and it also made her hair curl nicely.

Epiphany was the last hurrah for the Christmas tree. I had set aside a present for each child from the ones that came from family, and each child got two truffles, too.

It's Christmas Lite.

And last, the traditional Morning Walk Photos.

Clouds to reflect the rising sun make for the best sunrises.

There you have it! My life, snapshotted.