Friday, September 8, 2023

Friday Food: Redemption Bread


Short version: Unfortunate pizzas, green salad with ranch dressing

Long version: I was making bread, so I used some of the dough to make pizza. Unfortunately, I had left the sourdough out on the counter the night before, figuring it would be cool enough. It was not cool enough, and the dough rose and then fell again.

When this happens, the texture is weird, like biscuit dough, and the resulting bread is very dense.

So was the pizza crust. Boo.


Short version: Experimental chicken and bread, carrot sticks with ranch dressing

Long version: I had a vague idea to make croutons with some of the dense bread, but then I happened across this recipe for chicken slow-roasted on bread slices. I mostly followed the recipe, except I had chicken pieces--drumsticks and thighs--instead of a whole chicken, and I didn't have fresh lemon or thyme.

The chicken came out well, although the skin could have been crispier. The bread underneath tasted really good, although it was not beloved by all the children. A. really liked it, though.


Short version: Leftovers at home, leftovers at camp

Long version: A. took three of the children fishing and camping at a lake about an hour away. For them, I made foil packets of potatoes--baked the day before while the chicken was in--and leftover barbecue meatballs.

For me and the one sick child who had to remain at home, there was leftover chicken, rice, and green peas. And chocolate ice cream.


Short version: Fried carp, garlic bread, raw cabbage, chocolate ice cream

Long version: A. went to a lake with children, where they apparently caught many carp. Four of those carp came home this morning. A. filleted them and fried them with a masa coating.

Carp taste pretty good (except the dark meat on big carp--that's gross), but they do have a LOT of bones. Luckily, our kids are pretty used to fish with lots of bones and know how to pick around the bones.

The one child who does not like fish much had cheese instead. I typically do not provide substitutes for an unappealing dinner, but to be honest, I don't like fish much, either. Which is why I had a hardboiled egg for my protein. And why I had some sympathy with the fish-denier.

I have a photo of the carp before filleting, but it is undeniably unappetizing. This one of the bread I baked and didn't mess up this time is definitely better.

No rising problems with this batch. Because I kept in the refrigerator overnight.


Short version: Pork'n'beans Mexican casserole, broccoli

Long version: My plan for dinner changed more than once throughout the day. I had a leg of lamb roast that I had taken out the day before, but that got superseded by the fish. I had thought I would make it this day, but it was a Tuesday. Tuesdays have gotten somewhat complicated by the fact that Poppy stays after school for cheer practice* and her brothers are gone for judo between 5:30 and 8 p.m. 

I have to pick Poppy up at 4:45 p.m. at the school (A. is still driving the bus at that time), get her home, feed everyone, and make sure the boys are ready for judo by 5:30 p.m. This means that whatever we eat has to be ready when I get home at 5 p.m. with Poppy. So I have to make it ahead.

Lamb roasts are not good make-ahead candidates.

So then I decided to fry a can of commodities ground pork with a can of black beans and some tomato juice drained off whole tomatoes, along with spices and onions from the freezer, to make taco meat. My plan was to put the meat and shredded cheese in corn tortillas and fry those to make crispy tacos, which could stay in the oven on warm while I went to get Poppy.

But THEN, I decided it would be even better to make all those things into a casserole that could just sit in the oven. So that's what I did.


Short version: Gianelli Italian sausage, fried bread, carrot sticks

Long version: Two more packages of the sausage A. brought home from New York. A very fast, and very popular, after-work dinner option. 

I fried the bread slices in the pan after the sausages were done. I figured I might as well soak up all that tasty grease.


Short version: Bunless bull burgers, rice or bread and butter, green salad with ranch dressing

Long version: More of the ground bull meat, made into burgers. Rice for the adults, bread for the children. And I finally used up the last of some quite old store lettuce. I still haven't returned to good-enough digestive health to eat a lot of salads, so it's been languishing for some time. All gone now, though!

Unfortunately, the seeds I planted after the hail storm didn't germinate. But the volunteer lettuces are seeding for all thet're worth, so maybe I'll still get some lettuce before the end of the growing season.

An old photo of the flowers on one plant that are now all little white fluffy seeds. Yay.

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

* Yes, we have a very junior cheer squad at our school. All girls older than sixth grade actually play the sports, but the girls younger than sixth grade don't. So pretty much every girl from kindergarten through fifth grade cheers. I never thought I would be a cheer mom, yet here we are.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

A Woman of My Word

I said I would paint the children's bathroom yesterday. I did it.

I am very proud of myself, yes. And I'm going to post lots of photos to revel in my accomplishment.

Although I may most kindly be described as a slapdash painter, I did actually take the time to tape the electrical outlets, towel racks, and so on before I started.

Using some very colorful masking tape that I think my mother gave us.

I also put down the most redneck drop cloth ever.

It's made from a cut-up chicken-feed bag. 

Even with the drop cloth there, I still managed to get drips of paint all over the floor while I was painting. Slapdash, like I said. This is why I always keep paper towels on hand when I'm painting.


One of the things I was happy to paint over was this little wall drawing done by an unidentified child some years ago.

No one ever confessed, but I have my suspicions.

Another thing I was very happy to paint over was the border of flowers all around by the ceiling that was put up by some previous occupant of the house.

I love my sunflowers, but this is not to my taste.

Because I just didn't care that much, I didn't bother scraping off all of this floral paper. Instead I just painted over it. This is what that same area looks like now.

Much better.

I had a gallon of bright white indoor paint, and a quart of "sunshine yellow." So I painted everything white except the cabinet doors. For those, I put some of the yellow in with the white, to tone down the sunshine a bit.

This is the wall with the nails that started the whole thing.

You can't even tell the mess that was there before.

I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. 

Next on my painting agenda is the adults' bathroom. It has a ceiling border of giant magnolias with a maroon background. I can't wait to cover that up.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Seeking Accountability

Today is supposed to be all about the food I'm growing in my garden, and in fact, I have many tomatoes on the remaining tomato plants, hooray! I do not, however, have many ripe tomatoes in my kitchen yet, and if this year has a theme of any kind, it's one of not counting my tomatoes before they're ripened.

So. No gardening today. Instead, I am here to ask for help.

I need to paint a bathroom today. It is the children's bathroom. It has needed to be painted since . . . well, since before we moved in five years ago. Although I did do a lot (A LOT) of painting before we moved in, I did not get to the bathrooms. 

I really dislike painting, so it's one of those things that I could always find an excuse not to do.

But then I got free paint from the school maintenance guy who was trying to clear space in the school shop. And then a certain child who shall remain nameless put up something on the wall of his room using four, four-inch nails. His room shares a wall with the children's bathroom. The shared wall is not four inches thick.

The nails went straight through the wall and stuck out into the bathroom, right over the toilet, about two inches.

It was not a good look.

Said child cut off the ends of the nails with an angle grinder, which did eliminate the sticking-out nails, but also resulted in large gouges in the wall.

Also not a good look.

So I'm pretty much forced into painting now, because I may not have really high standards for our very well-used home, but that was a bit much even for me. 

I managed to get all the various holes and gouges spackled, and the spackle sanded.

So many holes. Such a bad photo.

Today is the day. Today, as you are my witness, I will put the first coat of paint on those walls. I'm telling you this to hold myself accountable. Because if I tell all of you I'm doing it, and promise to post the after photo, then I will actually do it.

Otherwise, I can quite easily convince myself that I have more important things to do. Like bake cookies. Or clean under the bench in the living room*.

But today is a Painting Day. Wish me luck. I'm going in.

*Although that really does need to be done. It can wait, however.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Snapshots: A Select Few

I really didn't take many photos this week. And what I did get is . . .unimpressive. 

Oh well! That's reality! Here's what I do have.

The window guys put on the windows, but A. spent a full day repairing screens so we can actually open the windows without letting in every fly and grasshopper in the county.

It's very hard to take a photo of screens, but you see where the window just looks really dirty at the bottom there? That's the screen reflecting the light. Yay, A.!

I don't know why I took a terrible photo of the bull in the pasture across the road, but apparently, I did.

Black bulls do not photograph well. Especially when they're far away.

And last, I went with a simple profusion of sunflowers for the table bouquet this week.


There you have it! My (minimal) life, snapshotted.