Friday, February 11, 2022

Friday Food: It's a Birthday

Today is Cubby's 12th birthday. He does not wish his handsome visage to be featured here, and so I will instead post a picture of a plane the birthday boy made for his sister out of cardboard and Tinker Toys.

Named, amusingly The Predatory Princess. Her call sign is the Red Yam.

And now, food.


Short version: Breakfast sausage patties, baked beans, fresh bread, carrot sticks, frozen vegetables

Long version: The MiL sent me a recipe that's supposed to make baked beans like Grandma Brown's baked beans. We used to drive past the Grandma Brown's factory in Mexico, New York on our way from far northern New York to Blackrock.

Anyway. I tried the recipe. I was a bit short of brown sugar, so I used the last of my small bottle of maple syrup. I think it was a bit too sweet, because I just put what was left in the bottle rather than measuring carefully, but they were still pretty good.

Not, of course, JUST like Grandma Browns, which my children were quick to mention.

I got my Misfits Market delivery this day. Thanks to the weather, it was two days late and frozen absolutely solid.

Those are some seriously cool cucumbers.

They refunded the cost of the whole order and gave me a $10 credit, as well. So now I can tell you that they do have good customer service.

And of course, I did use all that frozen stuff. The children sampled all of it, still frozen, and discovered that they actually really like frozen cucumber slices.


Short version: Spaghetti and meatballs, baked fennel, frozen peas

Long version: I was very, very tempted to punk out with something easy like taco meat with the ground beef I had taken out to thaw, but I overcame my lazy impulses and made meatballs instead. 

I figured I might as well, since I had roasted the frozen cherry tomatoes the day before with a head of garlic while I was baking bread and made the spaghetti sauce. If there is sauce, there should be meatballs.

They were really good. Virtue is indeed its own reward.


Short version: Pork and sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, green beans, chocolate pudding

Long version: I really, really love sauerkraut with pork. A. does, too, and sauerkraut is the only form of cabbage he can eat in any quantity, so that works out.

Definitely humble food of the most delicious sort. (Photo bombing by Pretty Sparkles the Unicorn.)

I always make a double recipe of chocolate pudding, and we always eat it all. We're a double recipe kind of family, I guess.


Short version: Chicken tacos

Long version: Poppy had wistfully remarked the day before that she wished we could have chicken. I have several roosters in the freezer at the moment, along with a few bags of chicken pulled from bones after stock-making that I had labeled "chicken for soup."

Except instead of soup, I made tacos with a couple of the bags of soup chicken by simply frying the chicken with spices and salsa. Much more popular than soup would have been, no doubt. 


Short version: Barbecue bull, rice, coleslaw

Long version: Two jars of pressure-canned bull meat further broken down with the immersion blender, then fried with additional tallow (because it has no fat of its own), and then I added barbecue sauce and grated cheese. Serviceable.

I hadn't made coleslaw in awhile. It sure is good. I was actually reminded of it by Poppy's friend, who came to stay with us during the day while her mom was at work and was asking all about the cabbage seeds in the bathroom and what I do with them.

The woodstove picnic the girls had later in the day did not include coleslaw.


Short version: A plethora of leftovers, tomato salad

Long version: Let's see. A. and I had fried pork and sauerkraut, and leftover rice. Plus coleslaw and tomato salad.

Cubby had the last serving of lamb stew with some extra bull meat added.

The rest had chicken tacos.

The tomato salad was made with the cherry tomatoes I got with my Misfits Market order, which were lacking in flavor, as all winter tomatoes are. Salt, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic powder helped, but they were still winter tomatoes. Boo.


Short version: Bull and potato skillet, more chicken tacos, green beans, raw radishes

Long version: I made a skillet of sliced microwaved potatoes plus the rest of the bull meat, and spices and cheese. Then I gave the children a choice between that or more chicken tacos. Half the family had the tacos and half had the skillet food, which worked out well.

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

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

T.T.: A Makeshift Jar Brush

I spend a lot of time washing out jars. A lot of my food storage is in canning jars, and I always wash out and re-use old peanut butter jars, jam jars, etc. 

This is pretty easy with wide-mouth jars. I have small hands and can get my hand right in to wash the bottom.

But regular mouth jars? Nope. My hand is not getting in there.

There are dedicated jar brushes for this very problem, but I don't have one. They're big, and plastic, and I don't want to have to store one.

So when I have a jar that needs to be scrubbed inside and I can't get my hand in, this is what I do:

That's a nylon scrubby that I stuff into the jar with some soapy water. Then I use a long-handled utensil of some kind to scrub it around the inside of the jar. 

The jar in the photo is a smaller jar, so I just used a big fork. For bigger jars, I use the handle of my spatula to reach the bottom.

It's still not as easy as scrubbing out a jar in which I can actually fit my hand, and probably not as convenient as using an actual jar brush, but it will eventually get the jars clean. 

One less kitchen item to buy, one less to clean, one less to throw away when it gets gross. Works for me.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Snapshots: Weights and Winter

We had to go into the school weight room to conduct a science fair experiment, and A. took the opportunity to teach Cubby proper lifting form for various exercises so he'll be more prepared for football next year.

My children are still a little young right now, but I predict our family will be making a LOT of use of this room in the coming years.

That little outing was a good way to get out of the house. There hasn't been a lot of getting actually outside lately, since it looks like this and is just as cold as it looks.

Cold with wind. The worst. The dogs don't care, though.

We are definitely deep into hay-feeding season, which means I get hay bits down my shirt every morning when I bring the sheep their flakes of hay. Itchy.

They're always waiting for it by the fence, which makes it very easy to count them and make sure none are hiding somewhere with a newborn lamb. None yet.

Despite the frigid temperatures--or maybe because of them--I was inspired to start the year's garden.

Cabbage and kohlrabi coming right up (in about six months).

And last, some frozen walk photos:

Morning light in the remains of last year's garden (that's a dill plant).

A wintery windmill just before sunrise.

And the old schoolhouse framed in the muted colors of winter.

There you have it! My life, snapshotted.