Friday, February 23, 2024

Friday Food: Not all Gravy

It's been a bit of a rough week, what with surgery recovery, digestive illnesses, and a cold for me. So I wouldn't say life was all gravy this week, but I did make gravy twice. Because you can make your own gravy in this life.

Deep thoughts on a Friday Food.

Okay. Moving on to the actual food . . .


Short version: Leftovers at home, Sonic on the road

Long version: This was the day of Foot Surgery #2 for the eldest child. It was delayed due to an accident victim needing surgery, so we left the hospital about two hours later than we thought we would, at around 4 p.m.

The post-surgical child wanted a double bacon cheeseburger from Sonic, so that's what he got. I was really, really hungry, but most of the Sonic menu revolves around meat, and it was a Friday in Lent. So I just got some tater tots, and then I ate some cottage cheese when we got home.

The home crew finished off the last of the elk stew and jambalaya, because A. forgot about the Friday in Lent thing. And I couldn't blame him. It was not the best day for any of us.

Apparently, they also all had potato chips--given to us by our neighbor, Ms. Amelia--with their jambalaya, and all enthusiastically recommended this combination. So now you know.


Short version: Jambalya-ish soup, chocolate ice cream

Long version: I forgot to tell you how I messed up when I was making the jambalaya and added twice the amount of uncooked rice that I needed. I realized this about halfway through the cooking time, so I scooped out a bunch of partially cooked rice. 

And did I throw it away? Goodness, no!*

I used it, the rest of the ham stock I had made for the jambalaya, a partial package of plain smoked sausage that had been hanging around, some of the pureed tomatoes in the refrigerator, caramelized onion from the freezer, and frozen peas to make soup. Very good it was, too.


Short version: Elk with onion gravy, mashed potatoes, green salad with ranch dressing, chocolate ice cream or milkshakes

Long version: I found an elk roast that I had labeled "rouladen," obviously intending to make that with it. But rouladen requires marinating for like five days, and a long time cooking, so I didn't do that. Instead I just put salt, pepper, and crushed garlic in the middle, rolled it up and tied it, and pan-cooked it. 

Vaguely heart-shaped.

Then I made a gravy with caramelized onions from the freezer, flour, and the last of a cup of milk someone didn't finish.

It was really good.

I made milkshakes for those who wanted them instead of plain ice cream, and I added peanut butter. Because what's better than chocolate and peanut butter together, right?

Well, according to my children, that is not true for milkshakes. They did not like the peanut butter in their milkshakes. Crazy kids.


Short version: Tough ribs, mashed potatoes, green peas, failed jello with cream

Long version: The post-surgical child requested pork ribs for dinner. I had taken the day off to take care of him, so I could do that.

I had two racks of ribs. One wouldn't have been quite enough. Two was too many. I made them all, anyway, figuring then I'd have leftovers.

I did.

Before cooking . . .

And after. That's a lot of ribs.

Unfortunately, I didn't cook them quite long enough, and they were a bit tough. Still eaten, though.

Another boy was home with a delicate stomach, so I told him I would make him jello. This, for me, means cooking and straining strawberries, then adding gelatin powder. Last time I made jello using an online recipe, it was way too firm. So I used less gelatin this time. And it never set.

Boooo. This in combination with the tough ribs was unfortunate.

However, the liquid jello was really just a sweetened strawberry puree, so I served it anyway, with cream poured in it. I figure it's sort of like a strawberry fool, except I didn't bother to whip the cream to fold in.

The puree with the cream was actually delicious, so it wasn't a total loss or anything. Still, I was a little annoyed at this meal.


Short version: Leftover and improved ribs, baked spaghetti, green salad with ranch dressing

Long version: My plan for dinner was lamb chops, which I took out to thaw. However, since I was home this day, I decided to cook the ribs longer to make them more tender. A few more hours in the oven made them much better.

I had a little more than half a quart of roasted tomato puree still in the refrigerator from when I opened the jar for the jambalaya. I used that with spaghetti, caramelized onions, the ricotta I had made the week before and frozen, Parmesan cheese, and asadero cheese to make the baked spaghetti. 


Short version: Lamb chops, leftover spaghetti

Long version: The lamb chops were convenient for this day, when I was at work and then First Communion class. A. fried the lamb chops, with what looked like a ton of garlic. They were well-received.


Short version: Chicken in gravy with peas, beefy rice, strawberry yogurt

Long version: When A. bought chicken for the jambalaya, he got a package of three giant chicken breasts. I only used one, so I had two left in the freezer. That's what I used for the chicken in gravy. All I did was dice the chicken, brown it, then add in minced garlic, flour, and milk to make the gravy. I threw the peas in there, too, just so I wouldn't have to use a separate dish for a vegetable.

The rice I cooked with beef stock, for the child who had a delicate stomach. And for everyone else, who ate their chicken and gravy over the rice.

When I strained the cooked strawberries for the jello earlier in the week, I was left with a cup or so of puree in the strainer. That's what I mixed into the yogurt. We don't typically have fruit for yogurt, so it was a nice change.

Refrigerator check!

A re-stock is in order. It will have to wait a few days, though.

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

* Any Pete the Cat fans out there? No? Anyway, the phrase is from Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Some Photos

I don't have a lot to say today. I have a cold; eldest son is laid up after his second foot surgery Friday; and the other two boys are taking it in turns to be sick and home from school.

So I just went outside, took a lap around the house, and took some pictures. And here they are.

The backyard clothesline is my spring/summer clothesline. Less sun, but also doesn't get whipped around in the terrible wind we get in the spring. I can't use it in the winter because the woodstove smoke gets in here, but it's going to be 70 degrees today, so no fire.

Random toys left outside. These cattle don't look too healthy to me.

Hardy parsley already showing green.

Lamb gang.

The bulb garden/mechanic's pit continues to grow.

An astonishing quantity of baling twine from hay bales that I paid the youngest two children to clean up yesterday. Totally worth five bucks to not have to pick it all up myself.

These sticks were obviously part of some game. I thought they looked quite arty arranged as they were in the morning light on the front steps.

That's all. Have a nice Tuesday.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Snapshots: Treats and Trips

We are for sure a family of readers. Now that the youngest can read, we have six people leaving books all over the house.

Literacy can be messy.

I always make crispy rice treats for the children to include with their Valentine's cards for classmates. I make enough to give to every staff member at the school, too. This year I even made enough that I gave them to the high schoolers during lunch.

Crispy treats for a crowd.

Valentine's Day was particularly challenging this year, being both a work day for me and Ash Wednesday. About the only festive thing I could manage for the children were these bread hearts to go along with their eggs at breakfast.

Only one of the children was notably enthused about this. I bet you can guess which one. Hint: It was not a boy.

One of the teachers had the good idea this year to give each child a big popcorn bucket to decorate to hold their valentines at school. They were all set up in the cafeteria so they were easy to find and fill, and they were very decorative all arranged there.

Valentine's Day Central.

Not at all related to Valentine's Day, but I discovered this week that my cowboy boots fit again.

These boots are not particularly made for walking, although they're surprisingly comfortable.

I have had these boots since I worked on a dude ranch in college, so . . . well, decades. They're narrow, with pointy toes, and they haven't fit for a few years. Apparently, however, some of the weight I have lost was in my feet, so they fit now. Nice to have another pair of shoes.

I wore them to the basketball game this week, which was, of course, a long way away. One hundred and sixty miles roundtrip, to be precise.

On the road again. And again. And again.

But at least I didn't have to do the 220-mile trip to the basketball game yesterday. A. got to go to that one. Lucky him.

There you have it! My life, snapshotted.