Friday, May 5, 2023

Friday Food: Beef, Chicken, Pork, and Fish

I hit all the proteins this week.


Short version: Sloppy joes, pureed potato soup, green salad with ranch dressing, composite cookies

Long version: Kind of a last-minute use for the package of ground beef I had taken out of the freezer, and then all I heard was how much everyone looooves sloppy joes.

Okay, then. I guess I didn't realize the depth of passion we have for sloppy joes in this household.

I made the soup for a sick child who had a terrible sore throat. It had a lot of cream in it, and thus, was good.

The cookies I made this day started with a chocolate chip cookie recipe, but then I added in cinnamon, oats, and raisins, so they ended up being a hybrid chocolate chip/oatmeal raisin cookie. Heartier than plain chocolate chip, but more indulgent than plain oatmeal raisin. A good mash-up, I thought.


Short version: Double dogs on homemade buns, pickled radishes and onions, cucumbers, cookies

Long version: I was making bread, so I made some buns. Because they were sourdough, and didn't have any milk or oil in them, they were more dense than your typical hot dog bun. They were also larger, which is why I actually put two hot dogs on each buns.

The hot dogs were some the school cook gave me a few weeks ago. There were like two dozen, and I knew we wouldn't be able to eat them all quickly enough, so I froze a bunch.

The radishes also came from the school cook. Sysco radishes have very little flavor of any kind, which is why I pickled them. Because then they taste like pickles. I used white vinegar, water, salt, and sugar (I didn't measure anything), and I also threw some thinly sliced onion in the jar too. There was room, so why not? They turned out a very pretty pink thanks to the radishes, and were very much enjoyed by those who put them on their hot dogs.

Pretty in pink.


Short version: Ribeye steaks, leftover potato soup, sauteed asparagus, cucumbers with salt and vinegar, ice cream with leftover salted caramel sauce

Long version: I probably shouldn't even bother listing the asparagus, because I'm cooking half a dozen or more spears almost every night. Often I eat them before dinner even starts, but sometimes they make it onto A.'s plate. This night, they did, and he very much enjoyed his fancy steak and asparagus meal.


Short version: Leftover steak, hot dogs, bread and butter, pickled radishes

Long version: I didn't have quite enough steak for everyone, so two kids had some of the cafeteria hot dogs from the freezer.

Pause for a pretty photo of pickled radishes and onion:



Short version: Roasted chicken with gravy, mashed potatoes, green salad with vinaigrette, peanut butter/almond cookies

Long version: We haven't had chicken from the store in a loooong time, but A. bought a couple of whole ones last time he went grocery shopping. I roasted one with just parsley and onion ends inside (I save the ends of onions when I cut them off for making stock or whatever), and butter, salt, and pepper on the outside. 

It needed more seasoning, but it was fine. Especially with the gravy.

The cookies were these peanut butter cookies, but with some finely chopped almonds added, just because I have SO many almonds from commodities that any cookie that can reasonably accommodate them gets almonds in it. These cookies accommodated the almonds very well.


Short version: FFA food, buckwheat pancakes

Long version: I was at the FFA banquet, where I had smoked pork, coleslaw, and pinto beans. 

A. used the remainder of Sunday's buckwheat pancake batter to make pancakes for the three children at home. They prefer buckwheat pancakes with peanut butter rather than syrup, so it makes for a slighly more wholesome dinner than standard pancakes.


Short version: Tuna patties, leftover mashed potatoes, green salad with mustard vinaigrette, cobbler with cream

Long version: I came home from work on Wednesday with a LOT of tuna. I guess the cook had opened a giant can and only used some of it for some tuna pasta salad for the salad bar, so she sent the rest home with me before it could go bad. That's what I used for the patties.

She also sent me home with a lot of leftover peach cobbler, and slightly less apple cobbler, so everyone got to choose. And then they had cream on it.

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

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

A Very Fancy Spa Morning

Poppy's Easter book this year was actually a whole set of books: Fancy Nancy. She was given one of the early reader books featuring Fancy Nancy by her preschool teacher and immediately fell in love with the character. I have to admit that Fancy Nancy is quite charming in all her over-the-top ways, and the books are not really as vapid as they sound.

One of the books in the set I got her was Ooh La La Spa! It's Beauty Day, in which Fancy Nancy treats her mother to a very fancy home spa day. Poppy, of course, was immediately captivated by this idea and wanted to do it. 

I am not much of a spa person myself, so I was not notably enthusiastic about the idea. However, when her brothers went on a field trip to Santa Fe with the elementary that she was not allowed to go on, I consoled her by telling her we would make it our spa day.

The book that started it all.

We followed some of the things in the book, and decided on some things ourselves. Poppy made a schedule for us:

The referenced "Boy Helper" was a last-minute addition when one of her brothers was home.

 As per the schedule, we started with a foot soak. I used two packets of some absolutely ancient foot soaking powder that came originally from Blackrock. They must be at least 30 years old. I have no idea how these two packets ended up in New Mexico with us, but this seemed as good a time as any to use it.

Seriously, MiL, how old do you think this is?

Because we are country bumpkins, I used a rubber feed tub as our soaking tub. Poppy added some marbles, as Fancy Nancy did, so we could massage our feet on them.

Here we are, soaking away our foot misery.

Next on the agenda was a face mask. There was actually a recipe in the Fancy Nancy book for a face mask that was just mashed banana and honey. Because I can never leave well enough alone with recipe, I also added some oats, and then a little water to make it more spreadable.

We even had a cucumber for the necessary slices for the eyes, thanks to A.'s recent trip to the Outside World. So I found "relaxing spa music" (my exact search) on YouTube and we prepared to get beautiful.

Appropriately masked.

Poppy applied my mask for me.

She was very generous with the oats. 

After cleaning ourselves up, it was on to manicures and pedicures. Poppy did this for both of us.

Pedis in the kitchen.

The end result was a lot of blue nails.

Twenty each, to be precise.

Finally, a tea party. This was not in the book, but we love a good tea party in our house. I had made cookies earlier in the day, and I made some very fancy cucumber finger sandwiches.

I even cut the crusts off, which is something I typically disapprove of.

And that was our DIY home spa morning. It was fun. And, of course, fancy.

Growing Food: Small Walls

If I were ever to design my absolute dream property, it most definitely would include a fully walled garden. The wicked wind here is very hard on plants, and they could use the shelter.

Absent a surrounding wall for the entire garden, however, I make my own mini-walls.

A few weeks ago when I showed you the milk jugs that I use as mini-greenhouses for the newly transplanted cabbages, there were a couple of plants surrounded by rocks that I promised I would talk about later.

Today is the day. Hooray! (I love accidental rhymes.)

Four of those jugged cabbages were big enough that they were starting to press against the sides of the jugs.

So I decided the time had come to remove the jugs. 

I do this very carefully, kind of rocking the jug back and forth to loosen the soil. Because the jugs are sunk down into the mud when they're placed, if I tried to just yank the jug out quickly, the whole plant would be likely to come out with a chunk of dirt. That's why I have to be careful.


Although the plant is obviously much bigger at this stage, there is still a possibility of frost here through May, along with days of strong, drying winds. That's why I prefer to give them a little bit of protection for a little bit longer. And to do that, I build walls around them.

I have a pile of large rocks (originally collected along our roadside) that stay in the garden all year that I use for just this purpose. All I do is set the rocks in a circle around the plant. 

Cabbage Stonehenge.

I don't build up the height, so it doesn't completely enclose the plant, but it's enough to give some wind protection. In addition, the rocks absorb our very strong sun and heat up during the day. That heat radiates back from the rocks at night, thereby giving the plants inside the rock circle a few degrees of protection from below-freezing temperatures.

I'll do this with all the cabbages and kohlrabi this month as they grow and I remove the jugs. It's not necessary for the plants like tomatoes and basil that will go out when it's warmer, but the little walls are just enough protection for the cabbage and kohlrabi to carry them through until frost-free and less windy days.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Snapshots: We Got Rain!

As evidenced by dirty water at the bottom of the rain gauge.

We did get more than the gauge shows. A lot of it was blowing around so much it didn't settle in there, I think, but we got probably something slightly less than an inch. Unimpressive for most places, but very exciting--and very needed--for here.

Now on to the next most exciting thing:


Nine lambs on the ground so far, with one ewe left to deliver.

Let's see what else . . . Ah. Another sign of spring:

I just love asparagus season.

And last, a patriotic windmill for you:

Plus that crazy-blue New Mexico sky.

There you have it! My life, snapshotted.