Friday, November 4, 2022

Friday Food: Wanna See My Refrigerator?


Short version: Salmon patties, German potato salad, green salad with ranch dressing

Long version: All the dill in all the things! I still had the bouquet of dill in the refrigerator, so I used some with three cans of salmon we got from the excess commodities to make salmon patties. And then I used some in this potato salad (half the sugar, though, and regular onion). And then some in the ranch dressing.


Short version: Halloween party food

Long version: This was the night of the village's Halloween celebration. The (only) restaurant serves a buffet that this year included pulled pork, tortillas, coleslaw, and lots of desserts. So that's what we ate.

I haven't been taking many pictures lately, because I haven't had the phone at home, but I do have this photo of my refrigerator. Someone commented awhile ago that I must have a giant refrigerator. I do not. I have a barebones, old-school box that was here when we moved in. It manages to hold a surprising quantity of food. 

Fitting it all in, however, is very much like Tetris. A game I was always very fond of, as it happens.


Short version: Brisket, boiled potatoes, sick-girl soup, green salad with ranch dressing, sub-par peaches and cream

Long version: I had actually cooked this brisket a few days earlier when I already had something planned for dinner that night, figuring I would be glad to have it some night when I didn't have time or really didn't want to cook. Which was this night.

All I needed to do for the brisket was re-heat it in the oven. And it was a good thing I had it, because Poppy woke up sick and asked for soup. So I made some for her with the liquid from the brisket, some of the diced meat, some of the boiled potatoes, some already-cooked and pureed squash, and a bit of the pesto that was still in the refrigerator.

We had gotten a whole flat of peaches from excess commodities, which were unfortunately just like all commercial peaches: gross. They were getting kind of wrinkly and a bit soft, but also were all brownish and dry. A dry peach is a crime against nature. They were also crunchy. Kind of like apples.

So weird.

I still peeled and diced some with sugar so the boys could cover it with cream. With enough sugar and cream, even crunchy peaches will be consumed.


Short version: Leftovers, bean and cheese quesadillas, still-frozen peas, CANDYCANDYCANDY

Long version: This was both a work day for me and Halloween. There was also a volleyball game at school right after the school day was over. So the plan was for everyone to stay at school for the game and have dinner at the concession stand, and then go trick-or-treating while we were still in the village.

Poppy being sick complicated this, however. She didn't go to school and was with A. all day while I was at work. I needed to go home to take care of her instead of staying for the volleyball game, so in the end, only Cubby stayed for the game. The rest of us went home and I made the children quesadillas with the flour tortillas Cubby had picked out at the store, cheese, and some of my pressure-canned pinto beans.

A. and I had leftover brisket, potatoes, and peas.

And then we all went trick-or-treating (even Poppy--she wasn't going to get anyone sick walking around outside, and I couldn't bear to deprive her of all the Halloween fun stuff) and the children ate far too much candy. As is proper on Halloween.


Short version: Green chile beef stew, cheddar cheese, baked peaches and cream

Long version: I had one last package of stew beef in the freezer, so I, uh, made stew. Meat, onions, garlic, beef stock, green chile, carrots and potatoes. I made this because we were at church for All Saint's Day Mass at 5 p.m. and didn't get home until after 6 p.m. Stew is an excellent make-ahead meal.

I peeled and cut up a bunch of the weird hard peaches and cooked those with a bit of honey and lemon juice in the oven while the stew was in there. This softened them, and they were better than the raw form. Of course, they were really just a vehicle for the heavy cream and maple syrup I served them with, but they were at least eaten happily.


Short version: Breakfast sausage patties, rice, green salad with vinaigrette, applesauce

Long version: Look! It's a work night without leftovers! Not that it was a particularly challenging meal, but I still like to pat myself on the back.

I made the rice for the one child who came home from school with a delicate stomach. I made the rice with rooster stock instead of plain water, because that way it doesn't need a bunch of butter to taste good. Of course, adding butter to the rice cooked in the stock is the best of everything, but just the stock rice is better for iffy stomachs.

The applesauce was also for that child, but I couldn't very well leave the other children out, so they got some, too.


Short version: Pot roast, potatoes, frozen green peas, rice pudding

Long version: It appears the theme of my fall kitchen is big pieces of beef cooked a long time in the oven simultaneously with a giant dish of rice pudding. No one has complained yet.

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

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

T.T.: Balloons

Last week on a rainy, nasty day, I was compelled to have recess indoors while I was at work. One of my duties at school is recess monitor, and I really don't like indoor recesses. The kids seem to become completely hysterical when they're racing around a gym instead of on the playground.  

However, when I brought the youngest class into the gym for their recess first, we discovered that the balloon decorations from the volleyball game the night before had been left up. And the teacher who did the decorating said we were free to take them down to play with them. In fact, she said she would be delighted if we would, because then she wouldn't have to do it.

So then the kids got to run around hysterically with balloons at every recess that day, which was great.

Balloons are the perfect indoor plaything, which is an important thing to remember as most of the world approaches the seasons in which indoor play is more frequent. Balloons are cheap. They are light. No one can get hurt by them or break things (at least, not easily). Multiple children can play with one balloon.

The only rule I have in my house is that they can't be played with in the kitchen, because I don't want any filthy balloons near food, and also they will pop if they land on something hot.

After that day of indoor recesses, the older classes had the most fun of all: They got to pop the balloons for me with pencils. Then they picked up the pieces and threw them away. In this way, everyone was happy. The kids got to play with balloons at every recess; I didn't have to haul around equipment or break up disagreements over basketball games; and the balloons were cleaned up. Yay.

Random photo of our road:

No balloons necessary on a day like this.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Snapshots: Huntin' and Carvin'

Starting with a photo I forgot about: The homecoming bonfire at the school Cubby plays 6-man football for. Which is not the same as the school he actually goes to, because there aren't enough kids to have teams at each school. So the schools twenty miles apart have a sports co-op and combine for teams.

It was a really good bonefire.

Both of the older boys have their hunting licenses, and between their tags and A.'s, there are five hunts this fall, all in four weekends. Thankfully, most of them are close enough that camping isn't required, so there have been a lot of very early mornings getting hunters fed and out the door in the dark.

No luck yet, but lots of quiet contemplation at water holes.

A. had four orange pumpkin-looking squash this year, so each child got one to make a jack-o-lantern.

Scooping out the innards.

Lit with birthday cake candles, because I didn't have tea lights or whatever.

And then used as flashlights. 

There you have it! My life, snapshotted.