Saturday, December 3, 2022

A Saturday in December

I know! A rare post on a Saturday. This is not one of my typical posting days, but who says Tuesday is now the only day I can be random?

It is cold, and windy, and generally inhospitable. This means that we have all been inside all day. And A. was gone much of the day retrieving our beef from the processor in Oklahoma (yay!).

As a means of distraction--and also because one child asked about the Christmas stockings--we pulled out our (very minimal) Christmas decorations today and put them up. Of course, this required putting on some Christmas carols. 

I'm partial to crooners singing classic Christmas carols, although one child requested Jeff Foxworthy's "12 Redneck Days of Christmas."

Later, Ritchie, our beloved UPS delivery man, brought us some boxes that included the bulk oats I ordered, some stocking stuffers, and a DVD of "Mickey's Christmas Carol." We have a tradition of watching one Christmas movie for every weekend of Advent, so I immediately put this one on.

I guess all of this inspired a very Christmas-y feeling in the children, because when I announced that I was retiring to the bedroom for one hour and that any further questions were to be directed to A., they all went into the living room to listen to YouTube Christmas music. 

I don't know what else they're doing in there, but I can hear "Last Christmas" through the door. 

I'm feeling very much in the Christmas spirit, and I guess my children are, too.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Friday Food: In Which We Demolish a Turkey


Short version: Leftovers, of course

Long version: Isn't the day after Thanksgiving the National Day of Leftovers? No? Well, that's what we had, anyway, federal holiday or no.


Short version: Brisket, rice, pureed calabaza, more leftovers, canned peaches

Long version: There had been a lot of Thanksgiving leftovers, for both lunch and dinner, so I thought everyone would appreciate a turkey break. I made the brisket, rice, and calabaza, and then half the children chose turkey and various other leftovers anyway. Okay.

I ate the brisket, because I don't even like turkey freshly cooked, much less as a leftover.

The canned peaches were commercial canned peaches, not mine. We've been getting a lot of peaches from the excess commodities lately, so I put three cans in the refrigerator to chill and everyone finally got a pretty big serving of peaches. 


Short version: Turkey enchilada casserole, peach and blueberry crisp with maple yogurt

Long version: I broke down the last of the turkey this day--six people can take care of a 22-pound turkey in five days, apparently--and used some of it to make a really big enchilada casserole. 

I didn't serve a separate vegetable, but there were lettuce and tomato. It was still my lettuce, that's been sitting in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks now, and my tomatoes, that have been slowly ripening in a box on the floor of the kitchen for over a month.

The crisp was made with a gallon bag of Nick's peaches that I had cut in half and pitted, but weren't peeled. When they thaw, the skins come right off. Of course, frozen peaches don't hold their shape when they're thawed, but who cares when they taste that good? The blueberries were a five-pound bag of Sysco blueberries that I've had for at least a year. I really need to finish them up.

We finally got a delivery of wood this day, late in the afternoon. 

The exciting moment when it all comes crashing out of the dump truck is the best part.

The boys got about half of it stacked in the hour or so before it got dark and I called them in to eat. 


Short version: Leftovers

Long version: I brought home some chicken tacos from the school lunch. A. had some of the turkey and rice soup I had made the day before, along with a couple of tacos. Calvin had the other two tacos, plus some of the leftover enchilada casserole.

Jack and Poppy had the casserole. And Cubby had the last scoop of the casserole mixed with some of the soup, to make a kind of taco turkey soup.

I had the lettuce and tomatoes left over from the night before's casserole topping with some leftover brisket.


Short version: Chuck eye steaks, boiled potato chunks, green salad with ranch dressing

Long version: The very last of the garden lettuce that's been hanging out in the refrigerator for at least two weeks. Ditto the dill, which has been in a jar of water that long. I also used a couple of the long-ripening tomatoes from the box on the floor.

Garden produce really is the best. I will miss mine until spring.


Short version: Leftovers, frozen peas, sleep

Long version: I had a headache building all afternoon at work, and by the time dinner came around at 6 p.m., the headache was a migraine, I was sick to my stomach, and all I could do was crawl into bed.

Luckily, I had already put everything in the oven for dinner. "Everything" was leftover "fish planks" (like sticks, but wider) from the school lunch, leftover brisket, leftover boiled potatoes, and the peas. By the time A. got home with Cubby, all he had to do was take it all out of the oven and let the children serve themselves.

There was also leftover chocolate cake from the school cafeteria, which of course was finished off with no problem.

I, meanwhile, slept off and on from 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., got up briefly to put on my pajamas and brush my teeth, and went back to bed until 5:30 the following morning. I woke up all better, and very happy to see that A. had cleaned up the kitchen along with feeding the children, helping with homework, and getting them all to bed.

The old-fashioned but excellent word "helpmate" comes to mind.


Short version: Beef tri tip, spaghetti with roasted tomato sauce, leftover peas, pureed squash

Long version: The beef was a pretty small, narrow piece that I just seared, sliced thin, and then returned to the pan to cook a bit more. Then I put some of the roasted tomato sauce and butter on it.

The tomato sauce for both the spaghetti and the meat was a bag of my own sauce from the freezer. I always feel like I shouldn't start using it too early, but then, I suppose there's also no point in hoarding it.

Peas for the children, squash for the adults. That's usually the way it goes in our house.

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

A Short Rant About Lights

One of my favorite things to put up in the winter are the small white lights that I wind around the decorative iron thing that separates our kitchen from the dining room. 

Light in the darkness.

The lights I use were actually left here by the previous owner of the house, so I have no idea how old they are. 

But I know they must be pretty old, because they don't hurt my eyes.

I'm sure I'm not the only one to have noticed that non-colored twinkle lights now really are white. They're a glaring, stark, absolutely terrible white. The older ones are more yellow. They glow, they don't glare.

One of the strands I had stopped working last year, so I tried buying a new string online. I specifically searched for "warm" white lights. When I plugged them in, however, they were very far from "warm." They were awful.

So now I guess I'll just have to use my last remaining strand until it dies and then I won't have lights anymore. Or maybe by then there will have been a revolution and the people will once again demand lights that aren't an assault to the eyes.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Snapshots: Courtesy of A.

When A. goes places and brings the cell phone, he often takes photos, usually of things I would probably not have thought to photograph.

From a quail-hunting excursion.

A very impressive WPA-built wall of hand-cut stone surrounding the old school in a town we go to sometimes for groceries.

Adventure Van hauls cattle. Well, a single cow, anyway, to the butcher.

He repaired our neighbor's crumbling chimney.

Good view from the roof.

There you have it! A.'s life, snapshotted.