Sunday, October 30, 2011

2nd Post: Graham Hill--Less stuff, more happiness

"Less equals MORE." "Small is SEXY!" Gotta love this guy!

Lazy cooking: Roasted Chicken; Treehugger's Backyard House

Oven Roasted Chicken. Oy vey, I forgot to take an "after" pic...until we'd demolished the bird! Seriously, we don't generally eat half a chicken at one sitting, but this one turned out too yummy to resist.
Back before Hubby retired and I stopped working, boneless/skinless chicken breasts were the order of the day. I seldom bought anything else, because I figured boneless/skinless was the quickest way to get dinner on the table when I finally got home at night. (Those were the days before I was turned on to the concept of eating like our ancestors did and started consuming poultry WITH the skin. Y'know, eating Real Foods.)
   Besides, now that I've switched to buying only humanely raised chickens, I can't bring myself to buy anything but the whole chickens, which are cheaper than buying parts. That's when I discovered roasted chicken, and OH, MY, they are soo easy...easy enough for a lazy, don't-feel-like-cooking day!!
Roasted Chicken before. Just took out that innards sack, stuffed the cavity with a microwaved bacon end, rubbed the thing with a chili lime seasoning, Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and then sprinkled with a little bacon grease and Worcestershire sauce. For the last 10 minutes of its baking, I poured some salsa over the bird's top and dotted it with a couple of tablespoons of butter.
Made a quick taco soup to use up the last of the leftover chicken: Bush's Black Bean Fiesta, leftover navy beans, salsa,  powdered vegetable soup base and a little water. I got a boat load of Bush's beans at Target at closeout sale prices awhile back. Gonna really miss that stuff when I use 'em all up, 'cause they sure make for quickie soups.
   On another note, I want one of the Backyard Houses I saw over on Treehugger's site! Too cute!! Hope you're having a terrif weekend!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

This Moment: Um, is that a chicken in my egg?

Since switching from regular eggs to Cage Free, Organic, Humane Certified, I've been finding occasional specks in my eggs. This one was the largest yet, which made me wonder... Hmnnn, I could Google it to find out what it might be, but I figure some things I'm better off NOT knowing, eh?!
Well, yeah, I ate it anyway! (After taking out the speck, of course.) I HATE wasting food, so if it's in my house and it's still edible, I'm eating it. And if I won't eat it, Hubby often will. When Hubby's not around, I'll fix me some egg salad, which he's not that crazy about. Tried these Wickles in it instead of chopped pickles--good stuff!
Thanks to Soulemama for this Friday photo sharing concept. Hope you'll share a link to your moment!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

On My Mind: Hubby cooks in self defense

Hubby cooked for us last night: lightly fried wild turkey breast, leftover sweet potatoes, raw carrots and sliced tomatoes. He'd made a sweet potato casserole for us to take to a family get-together the night before but cooked too many sweet potatoes to fit in the pot. (Dunno why he boiled the sweet potatoes before baking the casserole.) I made a lazy crab dip--layers of cream cheese, crab meat and cocktail sauce--and some margaritas to take.
I'm sort of a feast and famine sort of cook, but I don't always starve when going through my "lazy days." (Y'know, the kinda days when you don't feel like doing a bloomin' thing!) I cook like crazy for a few weeks and then go for at least a week not knowing what to I don't.
   That's where Hubby comes in. When I don't feel like cooking, he pinch hits very well. Gotta love that!
Tonight I ate a Clif bar and an apple for dinner. So, Hubby made himself a sandwich and these potato cakes, using some leftover parsley potatoes I'd made the other day. He always comes up with something better than I do on the nights we just scrounge! BTW, this is our new non-stick skillet with a porcelain finish. Maybe I've finally found an alternative to those scary non-stick skillets that are usually made with iffy chemicals. I'll let you know if this kind holds up!
   Well, that's what's on my mind today. What's on yours? Hope you'll share your link here or on down-to-earth!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Very Nearly Almost Meatless Monday

Maxine's Cafe and Bakery, Evansville, Indiana. Boy, do I love bakery cases!!
We've been eating out like crazy. Here's evidence that I had at least one fabulous treat on cheat day!
   With folks in from out of town, we ate out yesterday and today as well. Since it was Meatless Monday, I ate the Baked Potato Soup for lunch. It arrived with a bare sprinkling of bacon chips. Oops! Ate 'em anyway...who can blame me? ;)
   Have I missed anything big (or delicious)? Not enough time to breathe these last few days, much less get my laundry done at a decent hour. Just heard my dryer go off, so gotta go! Hope to have time to catch up soon.
They had me at "chocolate cake" but the raspberry topping was the stuff of dreams!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

On My Mind: Partly greening baby

Guess cloth diapering is like riding a comes back to you. Some 28 years ago, we used only cloth on our DD, but after all those years, here's my second attempt at getting one on the grandbaby. Now, I'm back up to pro status! 
  As an at home mom those many moons years ago, with only Hubby's income to meet all our needs, cloth diapers were our ONLY option financially. When Grandbaby comes to visit, DD brings us plenty of disposable diapers to use, but I can't stand to see the dirties pile up in the trash, headed to the landfill. So, once Grandbaby gets past her usual couple of morning poopy "blowouts," I switch to using cloth.
   Using cloth diapers for the majority of the time when Grandbaby is here saves DD from buying quite as many disposables, so she's all for it! Even when they're at home, DD's not up for using cloth herself, and I can't blame her, 'cause I still get grossed out by washing out the poopy diapers. Ugh!
   When Grandbaby begins eating solids and her stools aren't as loose as they are now, you can bet I'll be watching her face for signs that it's time to hold her over the toidy. By keeping a watchful eye out when we were home, I seldom had to clean out a poopy diaper once DD was about 4-5 months old! (They even have books out on the subject now.)
Would you believe they had NO infant-sized diaper covers available locally? Finally decided to order some online but the ones I'd bought were too tight on baby's legs. Then I came across and bought this adjustable Thirsties Duo Diaper Cover online...lovin' it!! Now that I know it works, I'll order more, 'cause it doesn't take long to get one dirty if Grandbaby decides to surprise me with an additional blowout.
   Well, that's what's on my mind today. What's on yours? Hope you'll share your link here or on down-to-earth!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Savin' the bacon for minimal meat meals

Don't remember where I came across this idea, but once discovered, I've been doing it ever since: separating the bacon to freeze. If I don't freeze some bacon, Hubby will soon have it all cooked and eaten for his breakfasts before a week is out. This way, I manage to keep some bacon on hand for when I need it for seasoning a soup or a stew or a pasta or...
   Freezing the stuff saves us money, since it stretches a pound of bacon into several meals. But don't feel too sorry for Hubby--he took four slices out of the freezer this morn to cook for his breakfast!
A couple slices of bacon were just the thing to perk up this week's veggie soup!
   This peppered bacon that Kroger started carrying recently is pretty good, but why can't I find any of that good tasting applewood smoked bacon that they serve in restaurants? I am forever trying new brands, searching for the holy grail of perfect bacon. To me, some brands' bacon smells just like a pig farm while it's cooking. Am I the only one who thinks that?
   And am I the only one who thinks bacon ice cream sounds good right about now? Hmnnn...just realized that just about anything sounds good right now. Must be dinnertime!!  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Not buying it: Ice Cream Sauce

Homemade Chocolate Sauce. Hot Caramel Sauce in container on right.
Chocolate sauce cooking. Being out of cocoa (looking for organic), I used some chocolate baking squares. I was even in a hurry and didn't bother to make sure every last little chocolate fleck melded. Tasted just as good! Oh, goodie!
Caramel sauce at full rolling boil.
Caramel sauce that's boiled awhile and arrived at the desired golden color.
Hubby had the sundae above on a Chewy Chunky Blondie out of the freezer. Here's the one I ate yesterday on top of a couple of Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops. (Freshly baked from dough that'd been balled and frozen.) Oh, yeah!!
These relatively inexpensive sauces are soo very easy to make that even lazy ole me will decide to make them in a heartbeat. No more commercial sauces with their scary ingredients!
Chocolate Sauce
1/4 lb. butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup cocoa (or two chocolate baking squares)
Combine all ingredients; bring to a boil, stirring constantly until completely blended. Thickens as it cools. (Sorry, unknown origin of this recipe.)
Hot Caramel Sauce
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until color is golden, skimming off foam as you go. Makes about 2 1/2 cups. Recipe from Babi's Bed and Breakfast, Iowa, as seen in Specialties of the House Cookbook by Julia M. Pitkin. Sauce will separate upon refrigeration. Just reheat to serve.
   Hope you're having a fabulous weekend. It's soo gorgeous outside here in western Kentucky--what am I doing on the computer!?! Whassup for you after you finish surfing the computer today? Something memorable, I hope!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

On my mind: One person CAN make a difference!

While driving in town one day, I came across someone's stuff "kicked to the curb." And in the paper today, I learned that 28.5% of all the children in our county here in Kentucky are living in poverty. Our county even beat the state average. Not the kind of statistic you want to be "better than the rest."
Stumbled across a grand opening of a Kroger in Columbus, Ohio, when we stopped to find some 'local foods' to bring home with us. Free samples of $18 dollar a pound cheese are NOT to be found around here!
   An article in today's newspaper was so depressing...high unemployment, growing numbers of underemployed, rising homelessness. As they say, "I don't have all the answers. Heck, I don't have ANY answers." *sigh*
   The only thing that I can think of that might help, though it will take some years, is EDUCATION. That's why my charitable giving is focused largely on educational endeavors. (Don't get me wrong--there are lots of worthy charities out there; Hubby's soft spot is for the Red Cross.)
   Fortunately, not having all the answers doesn't stop some people. A friend of mine single-handedly started a charity to collect new shoes for the kids in one of the city schools in which 98% of the kids enrolled are considered poverty level or below. (Figures like that take my breath away.) She enlisted the help of family and friends, staged some fund-raisers and ended up with 253 pairs of shoes to donate. The school resource officer was blown away!! As a result, there were enough donated shoes to share among several needy schools in the district.
   Anyway, the new grandbaby spent the day with us today, and my friend came to visit bearing gifts in hand. Since she left, I can't stop thinking about her and the difference she has made in my life but also in the lives of 253 little school children she doesn't even know. Gotta love that!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Better than pop tarts: Whole Wheat Applesauce Cake

Whole Wheat Applesauce Cake
Gonna have to trust me on this one, since I don't know how to make a picture of a whole wheat cake that makes it look tasty: this Whole Wheat Applesauce Cake is absolutely yummy! As quick to grab in the mornings as Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts but WITHOUT the excess packaging, high fructose corn syrup and preservatives.
   My cake is a riff on an American Heart Association recipe I came across years ago. Hubby, who likes eating healthy for breakfast and only eats stuff like waffles and sweet rolls occasionally, will eat this cake for breakfast each morning 'til it's gone with no complaints. Super easy to make, Hubby even makes this himself now and then to take hunting with him on hunting trips--that's how much he likes it!
Whole Wheat Applesauce Cake
1 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1 cup raisins
1/2 to 1 cup nuts or seeds (we like almond slivers but I used sunflower seeds this time)
Whisk together dry ingredients. Add remaining ingredients, stirring 'til thoroughly combined. Spread into a jelly roll pan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. (Alternatively, halve recipe and bake in 8" cake pan, adjusting baking time.)
   Of course, I had my usual smoothie for breakfast, but blended smoothies are hard to make when we're camping, so this is my go-to breakfast for those times. And if you care to satisfy my curiosity, what was on your breakfast table this morn?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Horsing around with freezer canning, Swiss cheese and cheat day

Have I told you that I LOVE where we live? We have only an acre, and neighbors are actually fairly close on both sides.; yet, in the country you never know what might pop up. Captured these guys riding down our neighbors' drive this evening. Living here, we've had several little adventures helping folks we don't even know round up wayward cows, and once even walked a free range horse back down the road to its rightful owner. That's country fun! ;)
Thanks, My Plastic Free Life, for pointing the way to a great post over on Phd Parenting: Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes…
   I'm afraid of canning myself (HELP!), so I like freezing in jars like PhD does, but I have serious freezer envy looking at her post. Maybe Hubby will plant more tomatoes next year, 'cause I want a freezer full of sauces like hers!!
   Made some seriously dull Swiss Cheese Spread the other day. Wah! Main ingredients: Swiss cheese, cream cheese, a little horseradish and  almonds. Any ideas on what I can add to jazz it up? I don't eat crackers unless it's cheat day, so I'm thinking of using the remaining spread to make a potato casserole, but it still needs something. ???
   Meg, of Cooking.In.College, mentioned that she used to have a cheat day but that it was "crazy bad." Well, that pretty much describes MY cheat day! Still, by skipping the breads, pastas and desserts six days a week, I have many fewer opportunities to eat crazy bad!!
   I only follow the 4-Hour Body rules that work for me: i.e., I never quit eating cheese (in moderation), have fruit/protein powder/yogurt smoothies for nearly every breakfast, eat popcorn many afternoons, skip meat whenever I want, eat potatoes and even French fries occasionally, and drink a glass of Ovaltine/coconut milk whenever I'm CRAVING something sweet.
   My goal in starting this was to make myself eat more fruits and veggies -- it totally worked! Never go hungry and don't think of myself as "on a diet," but two pairs of jeans I bought 'cause they were cute and on sale--even tho' too tight to wear--now fit me fine...and have for several months now. Gotta love that! (Spicy Perspective tipped me off to the book, and she has posted some great 4-Hour Body compatible recipes too.)
   Now that I'm eating right--except for cheat day!--my next goal is to get in better shape. I get enough aerobic exercise, but I want defined muscles! That is, besides the ones in my right arm that I get from cooking from scratch!
   If anyone can point the way to something that will motivate me to replace my couch routine with a strength training routine, let me know! :-D

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ten on Ten: OH, October!

Thanks, A Bit of Sunshine, for this Ten on Ten Photo Project. This October 10, 2011, I hope to capture some element of our lives at the top of every hour. Might need to refresh the page if you visit again to see all ten photos.
Six O'Clock-ish: My breakfast smoothie misses its banana, but the immersion blender was dirty. Hubby brought me a perfectly ripe persimmon home from the farm. Yummy!
Seven O'Clock-ish: Resistance is futile! There's no real way to protect the precious pecans on this tree at the back of our yard from predatory squirrels, but Hubby hopes to slow them down by wrapping the trunk in aluminum and trapping them to release elsewhere. Sadly, nothing will stop them from jumping to the tree from atop the neighbor's fence or our compost bin. *sigh*  
Eight O'Clock-ish: Today's the day that Hubby will start our front door makeover. (Yea!) While he's at refinishing the door, I've convinced him to replace this hardware, because I find lever door handles soo much easier to open when my hands are full...say, with the Grandbaby!
Nine O'Clock-ish: Almost always change the bed linens on Mondays; helps me to remember when they were last changed. Chose Mondays as the designated day each week due to Laura Ingall's Ma! Y'know: "Wash on Monday, Iron on Tuesday, Mend on Wednesday, Churn on Thursday, Clean on Friday, Bake on Saturday, Rest on Sunday."
Ten O'Clock-ish: Oh, yes, I DID just burn my finger while pulling these Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops out of the oven a few minutes ago. As they are from a recipe in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours, I've a feeling they'll be worth it!
Eleven O'Clock-ish: I know, I know, it's not cheat day, but I just HAD to try these bad boys. Just ate a half but the other half is calling me still, because oh, my, YES, Dorie's Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops are as good as I thought they'd be! I balled the remaining cookie dough for the freezer, so I'll be enjoying some of these baked fresh on Saturday. Meanwhile, lucky Hubby!
Twelve O'Clock-ish: Made some more Black Bean Sweet Potato Soup on Saturday, added cashews again too. It's Meatless Monday, don'cha'know! Hubby's gone to town to get some plywood to cover our front entrance while he refinishes the door. (Won't that be attractive?!) Now that my belly is full, I'll be checking out some of the websites mentioned in a book I'm reading: EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want by Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet.
One O'Clock-ish: Hubby's back with the plywood, with BIL's fishing boat in tow. His brother's hauling his pop-up camper up to The Lakes to camp with his family for a few days. After SIL and our lovely niece return home, Hubby will join BIL for a couple of days of camping and fishing. The wood on the driveway and in the trailer is fencing from my folks' place. Hubby replaced their back fence with all new; he'll clean up and salvage the usable old slats to repair the fencing on each side of their yard.
Two O'Clock-ish: Not really expecting this look to catch on! ;) Door's removed for refinishing; Hubby's taping all the little gaps now to keep any spiders and bugs OUT. This temporary fix wouldn't be much protection from people intruders, but Hubby will have our door refinished in no time.
Three O'Clock-ish: Time for my favorite bicep exercise: vigorously shaking a pan of popcorn on the cooktop!
Well, that's the roundup for October! Feel free to share a link to your "ten on ten" or to anything else that strikes your fancy!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

No such thing as leftovers around here, by golly!

Eggplant Parmesan becomes Eggplant Pasta with the addition of penne, fresh tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Such slight changes are the equivalent of the "spoonful of sugar" that makes the leftovers go down for Hubby. Luckily, he will eat most anything without complaint, but he seems to feel a bit better about leftovers if they are transformed into something new.
Are you like of those people who can eat the same thing over and over and be perfectly fine with it? Or do you HATE leftovers?
Freezer love!
   Hubby doesn't actually hate them, and he's not one to complain. BUT he's not exactly enthusiastic in coming to the table when leftovers are on it. My mom claims to be able to eat the same thing over and over, but their refrigerator tells a different tale, cram-packed as it is with leftovers destined for the trash can. Oh, the waste!
   Around here, leftovers mostly morph into something else. Sometimes soups, which Hubby will eat the first day and I eat on daily until gone. What won't easily transform goes into the freezer, to be eaten anew another day.
   Okay, okay, I'm admittedly not perfect. Leftovers sometimes languish undetected behind something bigger and get tossed. *SIGH* But I'm better about staying on top of things than I used to be. Gotta love that! (Check out 10 Tips to Reduce Your Food Waste over on
    As Hubby has gone to the farm for the day, I get to eat some leftover soup. What'll it be at your place today: leftovers or original issue?
P.S. Tomorrow is Ten on Ten. Won't you join us??

Friday, October 7, 2011

This moment: Bridge walk; Curried chicken salad

Glover H. Cary Bridge opened to foot traffic for first time in 71 years last Friday. An estimated 12,000 people took advantage of the opportunity. It was such fun to walk from Kentucky to Indiana over the Ohio River! (In all, a 2 mile trek.) 
Oh, yes, we made sure Grandbaby got a piece of the action!
Curried Chicken Salad. Just two leftover chicken breasts, mayo, Marzetti Slaw Dressing, pecans, red grapes, 1 teaspoon curry powder, salt and pepper. Served here over what may be our last yellow tomato from this year's garden. 
   Can't seem to post without including food!! Wishing everyone a fantastic weekend!!
Thanks to Soulemama for this Friday photo sharing concept. Please feel free to share a link to your moment.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

On my mind: On trusting the dots will connect -- R.I.P. Steve Jobs

Raised by his adoptive parents, a mom who never went to college and a dad who never finished high school, Steve Jobs dropped out of college but never dropped out of learning. An impressive life well lived.
"You've got to find what you love. 
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. 
If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle!
Stay hungry. Stay foolish."
Steve Jobs
February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sweeet: Cinnamon Rolls, Stir Fry, Mr. McGregor's Garden

STILL using that Amish Friendship Bread Starter...for Cinnamon Rolls this time around.
Wish I'd known to cut rolls with floss way back when. Makes it so easy!
Nothin' beats a stir fry for turning minimal meat into a meal! The green onions on top reveal my dirty little secret: I'm guilty of wasting green onions on a fairly regular basis. I buy them unbagged but forget to bag them when I get home. The green tops dry out VERY quickly. Now, why can't I remember that!?!
Thought I'd had a stroke of genius when I bought a waterproof pillowcase to use as a diaper changing pad. That way when the little one outgrows diapers, the makeshift pad could go back it its original use as a case. Found out the hard way that something FAR more absorbent is needed. Maybe if I wrapped the pillowcase in a towel?
Hubby is redoing my folks' backyard fence. While he was taking down the old, I was taking in the neighboring yard. I had to adjust the photos because the sun washed everything out, but this garden is even MORE vibrant than these adjusted photos. It's a shame my folks need the fence, because if I had this garden on the other side of my fence, I'd want to see it all the time!
We have great neighbors but must say there's nothing like this garden hiding behind our backyard. *sigh*
No, my garden is not nearly so lovely. I don't water daily like these folks do. I dream of our own yard full of plant beds showcasing mostly native plants, but I wonder if it's even possible to create a garden as gorgeous as the one above using only plants native to our region? How about you water your flowers or let them struggle like I do? Builds character! ;)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Meatless Monday: Lucky in love AND eggplant; From Bermuda grass to backyard farm in just ten years!

Oh, YES, my hubby DID can this tomato relish yesterday. He washed and waxed my car today. Gotta love a man who's handy in both the kitchen AND the garage!! When MIL declared she'd not can again, Hubby couldn't bear the loss of her delicious tomato relish and began canning it himself. He doesn't follow any canning rules, but the stuff hasn't killed us yet. ;)

Someone gifted me with four medium eggplants, hence the Eggplant-o-Rama!! Aunt K's Eggplant Casserole just out of the oven here; Eggplant Parmesan ready to go in.

LOVE Julia Child's The Way to Cook," tho' she might not approve of the way I use it. I've a bad habit of taking the easy way out with her recipes as my guide. Used a jarred tomato sauce for my eggplant Parmesan. And because I didn't have another recipe in mind for any leftovers, I used WAY more sauce than Julia recommended. Guess what? Tasted great despite me! (If my brain were awake when I'd made this, I'd have frozen some extra sauce for future pizzas. *sigh*)

Eggplant Parmesan...even simpler but just as tasty as lasagna!

   Started this post yesterday when I came across this great video of a man brave enough to transform his quarter-acre backyard into an urban farm!!
   This video of Richard Heinberg, retired-professor-turned-urban-farmer, is worth a look around but also worth a listen if you're interested in sustainability and the "simple" life. Who knew simple could be so complex?! (Thanks, Unstuffed, for finding this great video!)
   After our first frost Sunday morning, here in western Kentucky we're having a return of mid to upper 70's temps for a few days. LOVIN' that!! Our tomatoes are dwindling but still hopeful about the bell peppers. Hubby just planted some kale. What's up in your neck of the woods?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...