Friday, March 29, 2024

Friday Food: Broccoli Salad for Mom


Short version: No-meat fried rice

Long version: All day I had thought I would make breakfast burritos for dinner, and then I went into the kitchen to actually make dinner and saw the leftover rice while I was taking out the eggs.

So I used the rice, the eggs, some already-cooked onion from the freezer, and frozen peas to make fried rice, instead.

This is what it's like to cook without a meal plan. You just never know what I'm going to do.


Short version: Lamb 'n' bean burritos, broccoli salad

Long version: I used the random bits and pieces from our sheep butchering to make a burrito filling. All I did was simmer the meat pieces with a couple of onion ends (I keep these in the freezer after I cut up an onion for stock and so on) until it was tender. Then I broke it up with my immersion blender. To the blended meat, I added sauteed onions and garlic, tomato sauce, cumin, chile powder, paprika, and both pinto and black beans.

The kids ate their with flour tortillas. A. ate his with corn tortillas. I didn't eat anything, instead making the broccoli salad my dinner.

I don't think I have ever made a broccoli salad before. My original plan for dinner had been to use the meat for something like sloppy joes (there I go being unpredictable again), and I had thought I would want something like coleslaw to go with them. I didn't have any cabbage, but I did have broccoli. Hence, broccoli slaw.

But then, when I was looking at recipe for broccoli slaw, I came across several broccoli salad recipes that called for bacon. And I had bacon leftover from breakfast.

See how it all worked out?

I used the broccoli (chopped quite small, because I don't like big, chewy broccoli chunks), finely diced onion, diced bacon, and raisins in it. For the dressing, I pretty much made the same dressing I make for coleslaw, except without any celery seed in it.

It was really good. A couple of children tried it, but I pretty much ate it all myself. Which is how I thought it would end up. 


Short version: Roasted rooster with potatoes and carrots, giblet gravy, green salad with vinaigrette, chocolate ice cream

Long version: The rooster was one we got from our neighbor. A. prepared it all the way from killing to cooking. He roasted it on a bed of potatoes, carrots, onions, green garlic, and parsley, with butter and garlic under the skin.

Rooster ready to roast.

All of the children love chicken, so this was a very popular meal.

Pretty plate.


Short version: Lamb 'n' bean quesadillas, raw broccoli, yogurt with strawberry jam

Long version: I had enough of the lamb burrito filling to make quesadillas when I got home, so that is what I did. I had meant to make an enchilada casserole with it, but never did that on Sunday, so quesadillas it was. No complaints.

I've noticed an increase in yogurt consumption since I started making strawberry jam. It is awfully good as a yogurt mix-in.


Short version: Lamb chops, rolls, carrot sticks with curry dip

Long version: Some of the many lamb chops A. cut with his reciprocating saw when we butchered sheep last week. All I did was fry them in tallow with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and za'atar.

I had made the rolls when I thought I would make sloppy joes with the lamb meat. But since we had burritos instead, I still had the rolls. They were slightly stale, but I cut them in half and microwaved them with butter, and they softened right up again.

I found this meal that the one child who doesn't really like lamb much will eat it much more readily with the curry dip (mayonnaise+sweet curry powder). Nice to know, given how much lamb we have in the freezer now.


Short version: Chicken stew, oatmeal/walnut muffins

Long version: I had simmered the chicken carcass the day before to make stock, then picked off all the meat and made a stew with that, the stock, and all the leftover potatoes/carrots/onions/gravy. Plus peas.

I also made the muffins the day before. They were a new recipe I tried and they were very unsweet. I don't like supersweet muffins, but these I think needed more sugar than the recipe called for. They were fine as an accompaniment to the stew, however. And one child announced with great satisfaction while he was eating his, "You're a great baker, Mom," so I guess they had at least one real fan.


Short version: Elk steaks, boiled potatoes, green peas, rotisserie chicken on the road

Long version: This day ended up being crazy busy, with a lot of driving* for me. I left at 10 a.m. and didn't get home until after 8 p.m. 

My sister also arrived for a visit this day, of course while I was gone. When she actually got here, I was at a track meet with one child and A. was driving the school bus. To ensure there would be an proper meal for our guest (and everyone else), rather than just quesadillas, I made most of this meal in the morning before I left.

I actually mostly made it at 5 a.m., which is when I peeled, chunked, and boiled the potatoes, steamed the peas, and put the steaks in a marinade. Then, when A. got home after 5 p.m., all he had to do was fry the steaks and re-heat the sides.

Not that my sister would really care if she were presented with a quesadilla, but steaks are better. A. made a sauce for them with cream and red wine, so they were very well-received.

I had bought a rotisserie chicken on my way out of Walmart. I ate some of that for my lunch in the car as I was driving to the track meet. And then the trackster ate most of the rest of it on our way from the track meet to Holy Thursday Mass.

Refrigerator check!

Stocked up for Easter.

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

* We have to drive a lot to get anywhere, but this day I had to go several wheres, so it was a total of almost 300 miles. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Seasonal Flowering

Look what's on my table right now!


Those daffodils and apricot blossoms replaced the arrangement of dried weeds I'd had on the table since Thanksgiving.

A study in contrasts.

Although I do appreciate the subtle beauty in things like that dried arrangement, by the time spring rolls around, I am definitely ready for something more colorful and not brown. 

I purposely don't buy flowers at the store. I have the same feeling about store flowers that proponents of seasonal eating have about produce: It's better to wait for them to be local and in-season. 

This means that it is a long wait for there to be flowers around my house in the spring, but that just makes it all the sweeter when they finally appear. That vase on my table brought joy into my home in the form of flowers.

So tell me: Has spring sprung where you are yet? What are your signs of spring?

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Snapshots: My Apologies

First, I am so sorry I forgot to put my refrigerator photo at the end of Friday's post. Let me remedy that now.

There. Don't we all feel better now?

I walked into the kitchen the other day to find this on the floor.

Rag dolls do the splits. 
Girls are fun.

I spent about three hours at a track meet on Thursday, which is about two hours and fifty minutes longer than I want to be in the sun. Luckily, I am a Mom with a capital "M," so I don't care at all about the fact that I have to wear a long-sleeved button-up linen shirt and the world's dorkiest (but shady!) hat to avoid the sun.

This is my "Fun in the Sun" face.

That very strong sun has been good for the spring flowers in the mechanic's pit.

Crocuses! Daffodils!

The apricot tree behind the pit was also in full bloom.

The butchering we did on Saturday was much less aesthetically pleasing. We had two sheep to cut up. That's a lot of meat.

This is the meat from only one sheep.

Butchering always results in some . . . interesting dishes.

Mostly of the sharp variety.

And lastly, when Poppy went out to feed the chickens and collect the eggs, she came back in with this:

An old calabaza shell makes a surprisingly good egg carrier.

There you have it! My life, snapshotted.