Friday, April 28, 2023

Friday Food: Sight-word Sundaes


Short version: Sneaky stew, chocolate pudding

Long version: I had a package of ground beef I had taken out with no particular plan in mind, and a sick child in the house. I hadn't made green chile soup in awhile, so I started with that. 

At its most basic, that soup is just onion, garlic, carrots, potatoes, ground beef, green chile, and stock. I, however, rarely make anything without adding, subtracting, or otherwise amending.

This time, I didn't have the celery I usually add, so that was out. I did have pureed calabaza in the freezer, and calabaza is always good with green chile, so I added some of that. And then I put some sauerkraut in there and some green peas. This made it into more of a stew than a soup.

My children aren't huge fans of calabaza or sauerkraut, but they don't notice it in a stew like this. And it was a really good stew. 

I made the pudding because, again, sickness. I used a new recipe this time, because I wanted to use up some of my very numerous eggs. Almost all recipes use just yolks, but as I've mentioned, I dislike separating eggs. I found one recipe--and pretty much only one--that uses whole eggs. 

I don't know if it was just the recipe, or the fact that I used half and half instead of just milk, but it was very good pudding. I liked it better than the recipe I've been using typically, actually, so I guess I'll try it again some other time with just milk and see how it comes out.

I also made granola in the morning, and the melted butter, honey, and maple syrup stratified very aesthetically.

So of course I took a picture.


Short version: Leftovers at home, pulled pork out

Long version: I went to the junior/senior banquet at school, where I had pulled pork, baked potatoes, rolls, salad, and cake. At home, they had leftover green chile stew, enchilada casserole, and rhubarb pudding.


Short version: Shrimp, bunless hamburgers, rice, asparagus, sauerkraut, sweet potatoes, sight-word sundaes

Long version: This meal kind of got away from me. I first took out the bag of shrimp A. had bought for Lent that I had never cooked. I just sauteed it with lots of butter, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and lemon juice. 

But I don't care for shrimp, so I also made hamburgers. 

And then I had a bunch of asparagus that needed to be cooked, so I sauteed that in butter. 

And THEN, there was half a jar of sauerkraut in the refrigerator that I rinsed and threw in the pan with the hamburgers. Lastly, leftover roasted sweet potatoes for the children who don't like asparagus or sauerkraut.

And then there was dessert.

One son's teacher had encouraged his class in learning their multiplication facts by letting them earn parts of an ice cream sundae with each times table they learned. So zeros and ones were a bowl and spoon, twos were a scoop of ice cream, threes were whipped cream, fours were another scoop of ice cream, fives were chocolate sauce, etc. The other son was very jealous of this and wished his teacher did something similar.

She didn't, but I promised him that if he learned all 1,000 sight words (words that have to be learned by sight, because they don't follow standard rules of spelling--like the word "sight") that his teacher wanted them to learn this year, then I would make him his own ice cream sundae bar.

He did, so I did.

A. bought both chocolate and vanilla ice cream. I made salted caramel sauce, chocolate shell (melted chocolate chips+a bit of coconut oil), and whipped cream. I also set out peanuts, chocolate chip cookie chunks, and sprinkles. 

Welcome to the ice cream shoppe.

And then, if I may use a crass but accurate expression, everyone pigged out. I even let them have seconds.

The sight-word boy's bowl.

It was very tasty, very fun, and very satisfying.


Short version: Freezer fried rice

Long version: This was a last-minute meal after work that came together with a lot of help from the freezers. I had leftover rice in the refrigerator, which is of course what gave me the idea for fried rice. I was going to use the one can of commodities canned pork I still had, but when I went out to one of the big freezers to take out peas, I found a bag of ham I had put in there after Easter. So I used that instead.

Also from the freezer were some of the cooked onions I put in there last week. Those things, plus some broccoli that needed to be used, asparagus from the garden, eggs, soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic powder made for a tasty meal. 

And on a work day, no less! Applause, yes.


Short version: Meatballs, shrimp, spaghetti, green salad with ranch dressing, rhubarb pudding with cream

Long version: I still had some of the shrimp I hadn't cooked on Sunday, so I sauteed that. It wasn't enough for everyone, and everyone doesn't like shrimp anyway, so I also took out some meatballs I had frozen the last time I made meatballs.

I was going to use barbecue sauce on the meatballs, but then the commodities lady stopped by and gave me a lot of Roma tomatoes. They looked nice, but of course they were more or less tasteless. So while the oven was on to cook the meatballs, I roasted some of those tomatoes to make a sauce, with the addition of a pesto cube, a cube of green garlic puree, garlic powder, fresh parsley from the garden, and a bit of balsamic vinegar.

And then, since I had the sauce, I made spaghetti.

The sauce was definitely not as tasty as it would have been with good tomatoes, but it was serviceable.


Short version: Leftover spaghetti and meatballs, green salad with ranch dressing, peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream

Long version: Both the lettuce for the salad and the peach cobbler came from the school cafeteria. I guess that's all I have to say about this meal.


Short version: Spaghetti casserole, bull and vegetable skillet

Long version: As I was putting together this totally improvised casserole, I realized I was using many of my own Tuesday Tips. The casserole included DIY shredded asadero cheese, roasted tomato sauce, already-cooked onion, and bull meat from the freezer, plus pureed calabaza from the freezer, leftover spaghetti cut into little pieces, and a little more freshly cooked spaghetti to have enough.

The spaghetti was cooked in a pot I had used for oatmeal and hardboiled eggs already this day, and then used again to cook the asparagus and peas A. and I had. Because I am all about reducing dishes. Lastly, I buttered the casserole dish with one of my saved butter wrappers.

Maybe I should just call it Tuesday Tip Casserole. It was good, anyway.

A. and I had bull meat fried in tallow, with (already-cooked) onion, asparagus, and peas.

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

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Growing Food: Rhubarb Pudding Recipe

Well, we are gardening for food here on Tuesdays, so it makes sense to have recipes that use that food, right? Right. And the very first is for one of the very first things to come out of the garden in the spring: rhubarb.

Rhubarb bouquet.

Rhubarb seems to be a polarizing food. People who like it, really like it. And people who don't, really don't.

If you're in the second camp, I am sorry. Come back later. But if you're one of those who really likes rhubarb, this one's for you.

Some back story on this recipe first. It is one that the MiL used to make from an old set of cookbooks she has*. The recipes noted the place of origin, and this recipe was supposedly Pennsylvania Dutch. 

It is not a pudding in the American sense. It's kind of like a crisp, except the topping doesn't have oats or nuts in it. I could not find anything similar to it online, and actually called the MiL to get the recipe. The recipe as written is extremely sweet. The MiL makes it with more rhubarb and less sugar, and so do I. 

Rhubarb Pudding

Ingredients for fruit base

4 cups rhubarb, cut in about inch-long chunks

1 egg

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for topping

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup loose brown sugar (NOT tightly packed)

pinch of salt

1/4 cup cold butter, cut into cubes


1) Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and butter a 2-quart casserole dish.

2) Beat the egg with the sugar and salt in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined, then stir the rhubarb into it until it's all mixed together. Put in the buttered dish. (I actually use my 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup to measure the rhubarb, then dump that into the casserole, use the Pyrex to mix the sugar, egg, and salt, and then pour it over the rhubarb so I can mix it together right in the casserole.)

3) In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, and salt, and then cut in the butter with a pastry cutter. Spread this to cover the top of the rhubarb in the casserole.

4) Bake 35-40 minutes. Let cool and serve with cream.

What this makes is an extremely simple but incredibly tasty dessert. The topping reminds me of shortbread, which makes sense, given the ingredients.

Topping and base, ready to be combined.


1) If you're new to cooking with rhubarb, remember the leaves are toxic and can't be used. Only the stalks are edible.

2) If you want it sweeter, you can up the sugar in both the rhubarb base and topping. The original measurements were for a full cup of sugar for only three cups of rhubarb, and a packed half cup of brown sugar in the topping, so my version about halves the total sugar.

3) You can make whipped cream to top it, but we just pour straight heavy cream right on top. It doesn't need the extra sugar that is typically in whipped cream, and anyway, who wants an extra step before you can start eating?

Puddles of cream are a beautiful sight indeed.

My gift to you, fellow rhubarb lovers. Happy spring.

* I think it was the Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, although the MiL will have to tell us for sure.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Snapshots: As Seen Around the House

What have we this week? Starting with some tableaux by our lone female child.

She sets these things up and then asks to take a picture. This one is supposed to be for my mother, who gave her all these toys.

And this one, I was told, is for the MiL. 

I also have some more distant photos of lambs:

There has since been another born, so now there are three.

Random mushroom art:

These mushrooms I was cutting up were huge, and I thought the pieces looked like a flower. Sort of. If you squint.

And a morning walk photo:

Casting a very long shadow. 

You can tell from the dead brown in that photo that we have had no rain--zero--and so spring has not really sprung yet. However! We have a pretty good chance of rain early this coming week, so I have some hope that there might actually be some green in future walk photos.

There you have it! My life, snapshotted.