Friday, September 22, 2023

Friday Food: Fast Food


Short version: Smoked sausage, rice, green salad with vinaigrette

Long version: I went all the way to the grocery store by myself this day, and while I was there, I took a look at the sausage selection. I can never resist looking for sausage, even though it's usually not very good.

This time I got some smoked pork sausage, which was almost exactly like giant hot dogs. The kids liked it, of course. It wasn't bad. It wasn't really good either, but it was okay.


Short version: Pizza, green salad with ranch dressing

Long version: Making bread, making pizza. And this time I didn't screw up my dough, so the crust was delicious. Yay, me. I also got pepperoni at the grocery store, and I got the fancier Dietz and Watson pepperoni that was near the deli, instead of the Hormel or whatever we typically get. It was a lot better than the cheaper stuff. I don't like pepperoni, but this I could actually eat.


Short version: Leftover pizza, sausage and rice skillet, chocolate ice cream

Long version: I started feeling a cold coming on this day, so I didn't really want to cook. Unfortunately, some children got into the leftover pizza while I was resting during the day, so there wasn't enough for everyone. There was, however, leftover rice and leftover sausage, and those two things, along with the sauteed diced onions I had stashed in the freezer and frozen peas, became a skillet offering to fill out the pizza.

Fast food, my way.


Short version: Mexican bull casserole, raw cabbage

Long version: I was still not feeling well, and I stayed home from work. I had a period of slight improvement in the late morning that allowed me to put together the casserole--processed bull meat, black beans. corn tortillas, cheese, and a kind of enchilada sauce I made by pureeing a can of whole tomatoes and cooking it down some with chile powder, garlic, onions, cumin, and paprika.

That was a good idea, since by dinner time about all I felt capable of doing was shoving the casserole in the oven and whacking some chunks off a head of cabbage.


Short version: Spaghetti with sheep sauce, raw broccoli with ranch dip

Long version: We had a ewe literally kill herself with greed on Sunday by eating too much alfalfa hay. Since she didn't die of anything nasty and we found her shortly after she died, we could butcher her. So we did.

The meat has to age for at least a couple of days, which much improves its taste and texture. Because it was too warm to hang it outside--flies were an issue as well--A. quartered it and put the pieces in our big cooler with blocks of ice we made by freezing water in gallon ice cream buckets. 

Meat just chillin'.

We did all the cutting up, grinding, and packaging this day.

I used some of the ground sheep meat to make spaghetti sauce. Very good sauce it was, too.


Short version: Leftovers, cucumbers with ranch dip

Long version: Spaghetti with sheep sauce for the kids, Mexican bull casserole for A., salad for me.

So much for the long version, huh?


Short version: Pork, garlic bread, sauerkraut, steamed carrots and broccoli

Long version: I cooked a big pork picnic roast in the morning, which I then pulled apart and broiled in some of its own rendered fat. I flavored it with mustard and maple syrup, which is an excellent combination for pork.

Garlic bread because I was making bread, and I had just made pizza.

Sauerkraut because I love it with pork. I only canned about four pints with the spring cabbages, but my parents were visiting and my father also loves sauerkraut, so I decided the time had come to use one of those precious pints.

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Growing Food: The Brave Little Basil

I grow basil every year, and always have. It doesn't do as well here as it did in New York, but I always get enough for tomato sauce, tomato salad, pizza, and to make and freeze pesto for the coming winter.

This year, however, was a rough one for the basil. (And everything else.)

There was a point a month or so ago that I thought the basil was done for. I had originally planted out 13 plants. There had been some attrition, but I still had some. Then the hail came. And then the drought. I lost more and more plants, and the few basil plants looked like they were goners.

I counted it out too soon, though. Three of the plants managed to hang on, and they are finally looking like they're going to give me some usable basil.

I am reminded of a Destiny's Child song . . .

I should have enough to make pesto at least once, which I haven't managed yet this year. I've mostly been hoarding the basil for roasted tomato sauce, assuming the many tomatoes on the plants make it to harvest.

As a bonus inspirational plant story, allow me to show you my dianthus.

This is growing, but it's not food.

One of my children brought that home for me for Mother's Day last year. His teacher is a big flower gardener, so she divided the plants from her own garden. This is the best way to get plants, because it means they are guaranteed to grow in my area. 

I didn't have a place in mind for the plant, so I just put it in a pot. I put the pot on top of the wall dividing my vegetable garden, figuring that way I would remember to water it.

I did, and it bloomed continuously for months. I was so pleased with it. Then it got hot. And it wasn't getting enough water. And I thought maybe I had killed it.

However! We got several days of cool weather with a bit of rain, and there are the flowers again. Yay! I really need to put it in the ground. I think in a pot like that it would have to be watered every day, and that's not something I'm going to be doing.

So there you have it. Plants with a will to survive. Let them be a lesson to all of us as we go forth into our Tuesday. 


Sunday, September 17, 2023

Snapshots: Hair Bows and Sunflowers

I truly wish I could share with you all the photos of the eleven adorable little girls that comprise our elementary cheer squad. Alas for the insane Internet and the inadvisability of posting photos of little girls on it. However! I got a sneak shot of one of them and her giant bow. 

"The bigger the bow, the better," said their cheer coach. I think she's right. But only tiny cheerleaders can pull off a bow this big.

Luckily, I can show you allll the sunflowers on the road right outside our gate.

They're the same color as the giant bows, now that I think about it.

We got a sudden and saturating rain storm that dumped half an inch of rain in about 40 minutes.

Adventure Van bore the downpour stoically, of course.

And last, I took a trip to a Walmart entirely by myself on Saturday. It's been . . . well, I'm not sure, but definitely months, if not actually a year, since I went to a grocery store by myself. It was very exciting. Although staring at this for 180 miles to get there and back sort of puts a damper on the excitement.

At least I don't have to battle traffic. Unless you count the birds that seem intent on kamikaze-ing into the front of the van.

There you have it! My life, snapshotted.