Friday, January 26, 2024

Friday Food: Catch as Catch Can

I ended up substituting on both of my usual days off this week, so it was a bit of scramble to get everyone fed every night. I did it, though, obviously.


Short version: Lamb stew, cheese, leftover cornbread at home, and cookies; tuna salad, cheese, cookies, and chocolate milk on the road

Long version: I left at 1 p.m. to go to a far away basketball game. Before I left, I made lamb stew. It was pretty standard, except I threw in the last tablespoon or so of green tomato salsa that had been hanging out in the refrigerator. This was not popular as a salsa, but as a flavor booster, it works pretty well.

Due to a lack of easy breakfast options in the morning--out of milk, out of bread, only a couple of eggs left--I made a big pan of cornbread for breakfast. There was some left over, so the home crew had that with the stew.

The basketball game ended at 5 p.m. I knew if we ate in town, we wouldn't get home until pretty late, so I brought food to eat in the car. For the basketball player, there were tuna salad, crackers, and cookies.

I had gone to the grocery store before the game, and there I got the chocolate milk for the boy, as well as rice cakes and cheese for my dinner. I didn't have a knife with me, so I bought the pre-sliced squares of cheese. My children were fascinated by this cheese. They didn't know such things existed.

Sheltered lives they lead.


Short version: Pork, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli

Long version: The standard slow-cooked pork roast, shredded and broiled in its own fat with mustard and maple syrup.

The boy who used to get so full after half a baked potato that he couldn't finish his dinner can now eat a whole potato plus his dinner, and still be hungry.

Growth spurts are real.


Short version: Pizza, cucumbers, pumpkin pie with whipped cream

Long version: One cheese pizza, one with cheese and pepperoni. I always have to make ranch dressing for the pizza now, so I figured cucumbers would be a good addition to that.

I made the pumpkin pie with the single pie crust that was left after I made a double recipe and only used one for our New Year's pecan pie. I also already had a bag of pureed squash in the freezer, to which I added the rest of the ingredients for this pie.

The crust went all wonky during the blind baking and sort of slid down inside the pie plate in a few places, but I pressed it back up and over the pie plate before it got all the way baked. The pie was delicious, despite this.


Short version: Leftover pizza, baked beans, raw radishes, pumpkin custard with more whipped cream

Long version: I had the equivalent of one whole pizza left over, so I just put that all on one pan and put the whole thing in the refrigerator. Then all I had to do after work was heat it up in the oven again.

I had made the baked beans the day before, because I cooked a pound of pinto beans and one child had been asking for baked beans. I am aware they are not a typical accompaniment to pizza. Oh well.

The pumpkin custard was the pumpkin pie filling that didn't fit in the pie itself. I always make the whole recipe anyway, and then just bake the extra in a small casserole dish to have as a custard. Some of the family actually prefers the custard without the crust, so it all works out.

I made more whipped cream, a task that is much less annoying in small quantities when I use my immersion blender. I just have to be careful not to overwhip it, because it goes from liquid to really thick very quickly after a minute.


Short version: Pork and bean quesadillas, cucumbers

Long version: I found out the day before that I needed to substitute this day, and I didn't have enough leftovers for another meal. I did, however, have a small bag of pork in the freezer from a picnic roast I made awhile ago, and some of the plain pinto beans I had cooked on Sunday. So I combined the two with spices and salsa to make a filling. It was about equal parts pork and beans. That's what I used, along with cheese, to make the quesadillas.

The flour tortillas were store-brand ones I had bought when I went to the basketball game last weekend. I don't think I had ever bought these before, because I was surprised at their size. They barely fit in my 14-inch skillet.

Tight fit. It made it kind of hard to flip them.


Short version: Chorizo and potato skillet, raw radishes

Long version: I typically rely quite heavily on ground meat during weeks I have to work a lot and thus don't have as much time to cook. The only ground meat I have left at the moment is elk chorizo, so I took a bag of that out to thaw while I was at work this day.

When I got home, I microwaved a bunch of potatoes to cook them most of the way, then chopped them and fried them in butter with the chorizo, some already-cooked onion from the refrigerator, and grated cheese.

The one child who doesn't like chorizo had the very last of the tuna salad from Friday in a tuna quesadilla, which is like a tuna melt, except using corn tortillas instead of bread.

And I had a very interesting item that came from the excess commodities delivered the day before. It was a little self-contained ceasar salad kit, in its own little bowl with a little fork and everything. Clearly the sort of thing purchased for those eating on the go. I was not really on the go, and this is not something I would ever purchase, but it was fun to try it for free from commodities. It included a little cup of dressing, but too much of it, and diced chicken, but not enough of that. So to up the protein, I used only half the dressing and added pecans. It wasn't bad.


Short version: Leftovers, eggs, carrot sticks with ranch dip

Long version: I had to go to the basketball game twenty miles away right after work, so I didn't get home until about 5:30 with the basketball player. There were some leftovers from the chorizo and potatoes, and some baked beans, but not enough of either.

To fill everything in a bit, I scrambled half a dozen eggs, and added bread and butter. Also the last of the ranch dressing from pizza night for their carrot sticks.

And now, a refrigerator check-in.

Less empty than previous weeks. 

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

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

A Question for You

If you've been reading here a (very) long time, you might remember that I used to do Audience Participation Days sometimes, wherein I ask a question of you. I'm going to do it again today, because, well, I have a question for you.

As you know, our pipes froze last week and we were without water for a few days. It was irritating, but not the end of the world. We knew the pipes would thaw sometime. Several of my co-workers and our neighbors had water issues too, so we could all commiserate together.

Random old photo that has nothing to do with the subject at hand, but a nice (patriotic) sunrise nonetheless.

My family, however, was sort of horrified that we temporarily didn't have any water. It occurred to me that never once in my childhood or young adulthood had I ever been without water for longer than short power outages. Now it seems normal to me to sometimes go without running water for short periods of time, but that's because I've lived rurally for so many years.

So this is my question for you: Have you ever been without running water? For how long?

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Snapshots: Milk 'n' Stuff

So what happened this week besides our pipes freezing? Let's see . . .

A. went on an overnight adventure last weekend with one of the boys, and he bought some milk while they were gone. It was so wee and funny looking in comparison to the gallons that I always have to buy. 

Look how cute!

A random shot of the rime we had last weekend . . .

Rime on a rusty gate. There's a cowboy poem in there somewhere.

My temporary office at work isn't connected to the main heating system, which is not so good in these days of single digit temperatures. I was thoughtfully provided with a little space heater, though, and the name is very amusing to me.


I like to think my office is a multifun kind of place.

And last, in a real sign of our times, I took a selfie while I was on Zoom.

Waiting for a student who never showed up, that is. I didn't interrupt my meeting to take a picture of myself. That would have been really strange.

There you have it! My life, snapshotted.