Friday, October 23, 2015

Daily Doin's, Third Week Of October, 2015

Those of us who grow some of our own food are always interested in different things to grow that we don't always find in our local grocery stores and how to use them once we have a harvest.  And so I'd like to share with you a link to Vegetarian Times , specifically this particular recipe for Curried Beans and Greens, that calls for Adzuki Beans and Kale, both of which I grew this year. 

The Adzuki Beans were a little adventure I went on.  In order to get the seed I ordered a sprouting mix from Sprout People.  They shared a package with Garbanzo Beans and some other kind of bean, I don't remember what.  I planted the Garbanzo, as well, because I had seen a You-Tube presentation of how people were seasoning and crisping them up in the oven and eating them for nutritious snacks.  HERE is another version.  Unfortunately, the grasshoppers were big fans of the Garbanzos right away and I didn't get much of a crop.  What I did get, I'll use as seed next year and will probably have to grow under a tent.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I probably won't go to that much trouble when I get right down to it.  Maybe it would be easier to just buy a can of them like the people did that I watched on the You-Tube video.  I don't remember ever seeing them for sale in our local stores, but Amazon sells them in dried and canned form and the price seems decent for the dried version.

While I was at it I looked on Amazon for Cannellini beans and then found them, where postage was paid, to cost an average of about $5 a pound.  Yipe!  I have long wanted to try this bean.  But if I'm going to have to pay $5 a pound, that might be an issue.  It's said to be smooth and creamy.  If I ever get any, I'll save some out to plant.

Then I got the idea to look at Whole Foods next time we go to Tulsa.  (Dr. Plaster's PA, who is also his wife, refers to them as "Whole Paycheck".  Heh.)  I've got to go back to see them when I'm three months out from surgery, and we pass right by a Whole Foods store on the way.  I hear they have all kinds of beans in bins, and you can buy by the scoop. 

There are so many varieties of beans, it's probably possible to eat beans every day for a long time, and be having a different variety every day.  In fact, Hubs and I met a man a year or so ago who said he ate beans every day.  He was an older fellow and lived alone.  I know you're thinking, "That's probably best....", but seriously, if you eat beans often your "gut" gets over all that acrobatic stuff and settles down like a well-oiled machine.  No pun intended.  Heh.  I also once worked with a woman whose mother was Mexican and her dad was German.  They had a big family and she told me her dad would start a big pot of beans cooking every morning before he went off to work.  Her mother was probably busy getting kids off to school and so on.  With a big family, there's always so much going on all the time.  Many a healthy family was raised on beans during hard times in America.

But enough about beans.

Kale was a kind of an adventure of it's own.  I planted several different kinds in the spring and some of them were a little harder to keep alive than others.  I still have Russian Kale, Curly Blue Kale, and some Lacinto in the garden, but they've all been hit hard by the insects.  They riddled the summer leaves completely down to just the veins, but now that it's turning cooler, the "trunks" still stand, with little leaf nubbins where I broke off the old leaf skeletons.  We all know that kale is "sweetened up" by a light frost and so I'll leave them as they are and see if I get a crop.  I managed to pick some of the early leaves last spring, chopped and froze them.  I've added some to spaghetti and more recently, to the Breakfast Casserole that you saw on the previous post, and they were not objectionable in either dish.  Kale is worth adding to anything it'll work in, considering it's packed with nutrients.  Lots of people juice it and add fruit juices and they report that they like it very much.  But the thing about juicing is that all the solids then have to be dealt with, and most people throw them away.  I'd just rather use it in a way that doesn't waste anything.  Though I guess if those solids go onto a compost pile, they're not completely wasted.  I'll leave the plants in the garden through next spring, and if they live, they will go to seed.  This will give me plenty to plant for the fall of 2016, which is a better time to grow kale.  I have a little trouble getting things started for fall as our weather's so hot and dry when the time is right for setting things out.  Grasshoppers just looooooove tender seedlings, so maybe I'll have to figure out a way to tent them. 

This is Sunday.  This morning Hubs and I had a nice piece of Breakfast Casserole and the remaining pieces had frozen solid enough that I was able to bag them.  They stick together if you don't cut them apart and separate them a bit.  I just freeze them in the pan they baked in, and then pop them into a bag after they're frozen.

We decided to have some of the left-over potroast for supper today, then whatever is left, I'll pack away in the freezer for soup later on.  At the grocery store last week, we bought some chicken breast quarters on sale for $1.99.  All the packages went right into the freezer but one, and I put those in the skillet with a little water and cooked with the lid on.  They were very thick pieces and I ended up having to cut the breast part in half, as the part near the bone was just barely done.  So this morning I separated out the bones and the meat and cut the meat into cubes of approximately 1.5" square. 

I put these on a cookie sheet and set in the freezer.  I'll dump 'em in a bag once they've frozen.  They will thaw quickly when I'm ready to use them.  In the bowl are the bones and skin, which I put in "the chicken bone bag" and that will become good chicken stock in the pressure cooker when I have enough collected.  I was going to use this to make chicken and noodles, but Hubs informed me he is tired of chicken right now.   And really, I'd rather use thigh meat for chicken and noodles, since I'm not crazy about dark-meat poultry, except for the fact that it's cheaper.  Mostly I use it in things where it can be cut up and mingled with other ingredients.  I found a recipe on "Damned Delicious" HERE that I'm going to try when I'm ready to use these frozen breast-meat cubes.  It calls for Panko, and I have some of that, somewhere in the freezer.  Panko is really cheap to make.  It's just white store-bought bread, reduced to crumbs.  That's all it is.  It probably came to be at the hands of some enterprising housewife, using up her scraps of dried-out bread.   

I'm still "on a roll" with my "freezer diving" catch-up.  Today while I was looking for "the chicken bone bag", I found a couple of small containers of tomato sauce.  I haven't moved the containers of left-over chili from last night from the refrigerator to the freezer yet, and so I decided to just add these to that, but after I thawed them enough so I could taste and make sure that's exactly what they were, I discovered one was spaghetti sauce, and I'd rather use it as it is to smear on Pizza Rounds, which I make every now and then and stow away into the freezer.  But the other was just a little dab of tomato puree so I divided it between the three containers of chili and now that's packed away in the freezer.  I also found two uncooked slices of pork tenderloin that I'll probably make for supper tomorrow night.   

I found a half-pint of canned mushroom broth, and today I'll break out one of those cans of condensed milk from the pantry, saute some chopped onion, celery and a little shredded carrot, add the broth and a can of mushroom ends and pieces and thicken with a little cornstarch.  This will make a decent Cream Of Mushroom Soup that will go back into the freezer for use when I need it for a casserole or as a sauce for meatloaf or sliced chicken.

Remember, I'm trying to use up those cans of condensed milk that are in my pantry because they're past their expiration dates.  They'll still be good for a little while but I don't like to go too far out.  I always make sure the can still is in good shape, doesn't bulge, and the contents look and smell like they're supposed to.   Thanksgiving is coming up and they usually put canned milk on sale since just about every pumpkin pie recipe you see calls for it.  That'll be a good time to lay in a small supply of new stuff.

I decided to make Hubs a chocolate pie out of the pie crust "balls" that I found in the freezer yesterday.  I'll use another can of condensed milk for part, but not all, of the milk in the pie filling.  Hubs loves his "sweets", and he never gets enough pie.  With me watching what I'm eating, I'm not even willing to go out and get a frozen yogurt at Braum's anymore.  I don't care if he goes and gets one for himself, but he's not willing to do that.  He ends up going on the "healthy eating" bandwagon when I go, whether he really wants to or not.  So every now and then I try to make something as a treat for him since he's not fifty pounds overweight like I am.  This is also one of the reasons why I didn't quit making jam.  He satisfies his sweet tooth lots of times with a piece of homemade 60% whole-wheat toast, real butter, and one flavor or another of jam.  Sometimes I'll do that, too, but I can't do it as often as he does, and I smear my jam on thinner than he does.  Usually I'll have a spoonful of homemade jam in my unflavored yogurt, though. 

As long as I'll have the oven warmed up, I might as well make some banana muffins and get some of those over-ripe bananas used up.  And I'm hungry for English Muffin Bread, so I might go up to the attic and hunt down some cans for baking that in.  It's a cool day this morning, the high only expected to get to 74º.  It'll be a good day to bake. 

This is now about noon, I've made Banana Oatmeal muffins and they are just *meh*.  Didn't rise as well as they should have and they're too moist.  I used 100% whole wheat flour and maybe I should have done only about 50%.  Everything else was pretty much same as I have always put this recipe together before.  I weighed a cup of mashed banana and it was 8 oz.  But the bananas were really ripe and I noticed the batter was not as thick as I thought it should've been.  Fortunately, I didn't bake too many.  Next time I might consider that 6 oz. is closer to what "one banana", as called for in recipes, actually weighs.  Some of these recipes are so vague.

Here's the recipe I used, edited to reflect what I might change next time.  Pumpkin or winter squash puree could be substituted for the banana.

Banana-Oatmeal Muffins
Makes 12-14 muffins

½ C. uncooked oats
½ C. milk
1 C. flour (use half whole wheat, if desired)
½ C. sugar or brown sugar
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 egg
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ C. margarine, butter, or coconut oil, melted
1 C. mashed banana (if bananas are very ripe and soft, use only ¾ C.)
½ C. chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
½ C. dried cranberries or dried blueberries or dark chocolate chips (optional)

In medium bowl, combine oats and milk. Set aside. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Add margarine, egg and bananas, and optional ingredients to oat mixture. Add dry ingredients and stir just till moistened. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake about 15 minutes at 350º.

Or you might rather try THIS recipe on Allrecipes.

The English Muffin Bread turned out well though, using half whole wheat and half all-purpose white flours.  I've had a piece, toasted, and it's good.

That yellow stuff is cornmeal, I oiled the cans and then sprinkled with cornmeal, as the instructions said, and apparently had too much oil, which then required too much cornmeal.

It seemed like the recipe I had from Williams-Sonoma was a batter bread, but I hadn't used the recipe in awhile till a year or two ago, and then I wondered if I got the recipe messed up somehow when I ended up having to knead the last of the flour into the dough.  But I checked it against the one I saw on Allrecipes and they were exactly the same, except the one on Allrecipes said mix the yeast and sugar in with the dry ingredients, heating the water in with the milk up to 130º, and then pouring it into the dry ingredients, and I think that method risks damage to the yeast.  The one on Allrecipes also had a comment from someone that said the mixture is definitely not a batter even though that recipe said it was, too.  He said he compared to several other versions and the one on King Arthur Flour's site was same except had twice the amount of baking soda.  I may double the baking soda next time to see if it makes more nooks and crannies.

Here's my recipe:

English Muffin Loaf
Makes a crusty, open grained English-muffin tasting bread. Best when toasted. 

2 pkg. dry yeast
1/2 C. water
1 T. sugar
6 C. flour
2 tsp. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
2 C. milk

Stir together the yeast, warm water and sugar in a small bowl. Combine half the flour with remaining dry ingredients. Heat the milk till very warm. Add to dry mixture. Beat well. Stir in yeast mixture and then remaining flour, a cup at a time. May have to turn out and knead in the last of the flour. The original recipe said it should make a stiff batter but it's wrong, it becomes too stiff to get the flour incorporated with a spoon. Lightly oil two loaf pans or, for round loaves, tomato juice cans, and sprinkle with cornmeal. Divide the dough in half, (weigh before and after dividing so you know how many ounces each half should weigh in order to get two uniform loaves).  Place each half in a pan or can, cover and let rise for 45 minutes. Bake at 400 for 25 min or till golden. Remove immediately from pans and cool.

I've made this recipe in the bread machine and I found that to be too much kneading.  There weren't many nooks and crannies in the bread but the taste was still good. 

I've run out of energy for the time-being but maybe I'll catch a second wind and make the mushroom soup and the pie filling this evening.  If not, tomorrow's another day. 
Hubs is glued to the TV, moreso than usual today (yesterday and the day before, too) because Dish Network gave everybody a three-day preview to HBO.  I watched a couple of movies all the way through with him, had to leave the room in the middle of another because it was just too dang gorey.  (The Last King Of Scotland) but the other two were good "chick-flicks" and I enjoyed them very much.  I just don't know HOW Hubs can sit in front of the TV all day, regardless.

Cool websites to visit:
HERE's one called Zergnet I might spend a whole day on, if I had a whole day to spend sitting at the computer.  Lots of links on here, from tips to make your small bathroom gorgeous to last-minute tips and tricks for making a messy house look neater to a demonstration as to why we've all been peeling oranges wrong.  Kinda reminds me of Pinterest in a way.

I could also spend a whole day on

Interested in learning how to do Yoga?  HERE's Do Yoga With Me, a site that's just full of how-to videos.

This is now Monday and I haven't been worth anything today.  There are plenty of things to do and I don't want to do any of them.  I just feel tired and dragged out.  I'm actually pretty bored but if I'd gather myself together and actually DO something, I wouldn't be bored.  So I am in control of my boredom, I guess, just not in a good way.  I didn't get the mushroom soup or the pie filling done today, either.  Maybe tomorrow.  I figure I'll be doing good to make supper, which is a couple of slices of pork tenderloin "chops" I found in the freezer, some crisped-up sweet potato fries, left over from a previous meal and frozen, sliced okra from last year's garden, breaded with flour and cornmeal and fried, and some green beans, all out of the freezer.  Tomorrow I think I'll get those baked pizza crusts out of the freezer, smear some spaghetti sauce on 'em, then add cheese, then mushrooms, peppers and onions to mine and all that plus crumbled sausage to Hubs', and that'll be a quick and easy supper and some, oven ready, to pack back into the freezer for another meal. 

I did go out and pick in the garden this morning.  A few Brown Berry cherry tomatoes, lots of smallish cheese peppers.  Not much else.  Everything's dry again, no chances of rain till Thursday night and really I don't give a Rat's A$$ if the rest of the garden dies.  I've had enough for this year.  I'm ready for the first fall frost.  I'm ready for it to kill the cucumber beetles that have been attacking the Cucuzzi, and the grasshoppers that have been chewing holes in the beans, and the mosquitoes that can raise offspring in the shallowest of water and even in what little moisture is retained in tall grass or any tomato plants that are still alive.  I have garden burn-out, I think. 

We are under a Red Flag Warning today.  It's pretty windy and even though we got a little rain the other day, we didn't get nearly enough to saturate the ground as it had been a long time since the rain before that.  Just watch some dang fool start burning off, in this kind of weather. 

We finally caught the little fat rat that had been hanging out near the patio.  The other day he was inside a bucket of scraps and trimmings that were to go into the compost.  I'd hulled Purple Hull southern peas and so I had more than I like to keep in the kitchen, so I'd dumped it all in a kitty-litter bucket and set it out on the patio.  Then I stepped out there to add something to the bucket, and there was that little rat, in the bucket.  I set another bucket down inside it so he couldn't get out and shook it wildly while Hubs went to get the shovel.  When Hubs was ready I dumped the rat out of the bucket but I'll be danged if he didn't stagger away like mad and Hubs missed him.  So that was a failure.  Then I baited the trap with a tomato instead of peanut butter like we have been doing and he apparently wasn't able to get the tomato out without tripping the trap.  He's been just licking the peanut butter off and then leaving, without tripping the trap.  So he's been drowned and gone to Rat Heaven and so far we haven't seen any signs of any other rats.  Yet.  There's been something bigger digging to get under the shed that we used for the chicken house when we had chickens, we don't know what it is but Hubs thinks it's an armadillo.  I think it's a possum.  Hubs bought some cinder blocks and set them all around the chicken house so it would be harder to dig, and then he went up to the attic and got the bigger Have-A-Hart trap.  After a couple of days of filling in holes, he didn't see any more holes so guess that spot got to be too much trouble for whatever critter it was.  Or maybe some predator got it when it was out in the fields during the day, I don't know.....  I'm glad it didn't end up in the trap because I don't know how we'd kill it.

This is now Tuesday. 

I still haven't made those pies or the mushroom soup.  Sheesh.

Hubs saw another rat.  Sheesh.

Some of our newer fruit trees have started looking stressed so I spent part of the day watering.  There was a little water accumulated in the cistern and the bullet tank next to the garage was about 1/3 full, so I used that up first.  The cistern leaks since Hubs went down in there and banged around, so a waterproofing job is in order again.  Hubs won't do it all of his own accord and I just haven't had the spirit to be the wind beneath his wings.  So much of the time, Hubs and I remind me of Ma and Pa Kettle.  *Sigh*.

This is now Thursday. 

Yesterday I felt better, so while Hubs was gone to his workout I started pulling up grass and spent plants in the in-ground bed that's just inside the garden fence on the west end.  When Hubs got home he got the riding lawnmower out and moved all the rock that we had placed around The Deer Garden to better places.  Some of them under fruit trees, some under the Hackberry trees that are just outside the west garden fence.  I just can't keep that Deer Garden going so I decided to eliminate it and maybe move the deer into the front yard around the Red Maple tree.  Whatever comes up out there next spring, I'll move to the guild that will be under that tree.  We just have too much to water when the rains don't come, and it's hard to justify the time spent digging up grass roots.  So there, Bermuda!  You WIN this battle!

This morning there was a distinct skunk odor in the air.  That's not unusual.  But this time I worried that we'd caught one in the trap.  OMG....  As soon it was daylight I went out to look, and the trap was undisturbed.  I think I'll put it back in the attic.  We caught a little mouse in the smaller rat trap yesterday.  I had put a tomatillo that something had already taken a bite out of on the rocker, and the mouse tripped the trap rolling that tomatillo around. 

I made pancakes for supper last night.  I ran onto THIS recipe on Allrecipes and decided to try it.  It was a little too thick, I had to add about 1/4 cup more milk, but the batter cooked up well and the pancakes were fluffy, something I have a hard time accomplishing with just any recipe, it seems.  This sorta fell into my "Using Things Up / Freezer Diving" project as I discovered the milk in the refrigerator had started to go blinky. 

This morning I thought I had part of a package of leg and thigh quarters and I was going to pressure cook them, take the meat off the bones, and then pressure those plus some I had saved in the freezer with some water to make chicken broth, but I went all through the refrigerator freezer to no avail.  In the process I found potato water, a chunk of mashed potato, some containers of vegetable broth, a container of chopped beef roast, a container of squash, a container of kale with onions and a few tomatoes.  I don't know what these things say to you, but the first two, along with the fact that Aldi's had broccoli crowns for 99 cents a pound, said "Potato-Broccoli-Cheese Soup!"  And the remaining ingredients held up a sign amongst themselves that said, "Beef Vegetable Soup!!".  And yeah, I was talking to food.  Doesn't everyone??  Our weatherman is pretty positive that it's going to start raining tonight.  Might be heavy rain, storms, lightning, and so on.  Coolish temperatures.  Providing you're safe inside, that's soup weather.  Even if it's not, I like having containers of finished soup in the freezer for all those cold days that are ahead of us.  I've already promised Taco Salad for supper tonight, but soup for the next two nights. 

Taco Salad is something I have started doing INSTEAD of tacos.  We like the hard-baked corn tortillas instead of the soft flour ones.  But they are rather expensive, pound-for-pound.  They require special packaging so as not to crush them, which means a box that goes in the trash.  You can't get much filling into them, and the first bite usually breaks them in half at the fold, whereupon you'd better have a plate under, or you'll have a mess.  Then you're reduced to really messy eating with your fingers, or trying to get a little bit of everything on a fork.  Taco Salad, on the other hand, can have as much of each filling ingredient as you want.  Buy the round tortilla chips and you can actually scoop up the filling with them and STILL be neater about it than if your tortilla broke.  I had some black beans in a bag in the freezer that I had pressure cooked and drained a couple of months ago.  I don't remember what I did with the black broth.  I don't think the blue-black broth is very appealing and it turns everything you mix into it blue so I don't try to serve it to Hubs.  But usually I just season it with salt, pepper and onion and I drink a cup of it as soup every day till it's gone.  Lots of nutrition left in that bean broth, and it's more satisfying with a sandwich than a handful of chips.  The drained beans can be frozen in a zip bag and used as I did today, or mix with drained canned corn, chopped ripe tomatoes and sweet peppers and onions, and if you like, some chopped avocado or some blanched chopped okra.  Whatever you like, really.  Add Italian salad dressing, or any dressing that you like, to taste, and chill.  Serve as a side dish to almost anything.  It satisfies the requirement for protein, starch and vegetable and looks really pretty on the plate. 

We went out grocery-special shopping today.  We were out of a few things that we normally buy at Wal-Mart, so we started early and went there first.  While I was there I found a one-pound bag of Garbanzo beans for $1.37.  Red Lentils for $1.88 a pound and a two-pound bag of Great Northerns for $2.84.  They even had Adzuki beans but I didn't get the price.  No Cannellini beans, though.  Then we went to Food Pyramid.  They had "split fryer breasts" for $0.99 per pound, 18-oz peanut butter for $0.99 a jar, and if you spent $20 you could get a 4# bag of sugar for $0.99.  Hubs likes Oscar Meyer's cold cuts and they had those for $2.79 a pound package.  When we got to the checkout with 6 jars of crunchy and 6 jars of creamy peanut butter, the woman asked us, "Did y'all find the peanut butter OK?"  Oh, ha, ha.  They always make some crack like that when I stock up on something that's a good price, and sometimes it just hits me wrong and I want to tell them to mind their own damned business.  But I try to hold back The Ugly Troll That Lives Under The Bridge.  If she ever gets stronger than me, we're ALL in for it!!!  

Then we went to Aldi and got things we normally buy there:  eggs ($2.28 / doz), chips ($0.79 for corn chips and $1.49 for potato), crackers ($1.25 a box for thin wheat, $1.49 a box for "woven wheat"), pretzels ($1.29 a bag), lettuce ($1.29), broccoli crowns ($0.99 each pound package) frozen orange juice concentrate ($1.19 each 12-oz. container), plain yogurt ($1.89 for 32 oz).  I checked the price for the one-pound bag of quinoa because I wanted to compare it with what I can get online.  It was $4.  This quinoa has to be rinsed but it doesn't have the gritty mouth feel of the quinoa that Sam's Club sells.  And theirs is rinsed.  Go figure.  And yes, it is a better deal than anything I could find on Amazon, unless it's a ten pound bag, and even then, the shipping is so high that it disqualifies that possible purchase, too.  I also find cold-processed coconut oil in pint glass jars for less at Aldi's than anywhere else. 

I hate to suddenly be paying so much more for eggs than usual but it can't be helped, I guess, because of Bird Flu and all.  Of course, it's just like The Canning Lid Shortage, and The Sugar Shortage, and The Coffee Shortage, in that once the marketers of these products find out just how much we'll be willing to pay for something that's low on the supply side, they never bring the price back down when the shortage is over, unless it's been so DANG high that we've cut 'way back on our use of it, and they won't be able to sell in the quantities they need to.  But most of the time, they just cut back on their production, permanently.  For most things, you need what you need.  Back when we were afraid to eat eggs because of the cholesterol (which, it turns out, is not the "bad" cholesterol), we replaced eggs with applesauce, or a little cornstarch.  If you do a search on the Internet, you'll find lots of sites that will tell you what will work, in what kinds of recipes, as a substitute for eggs.  I can easily do without sugar, except at jam-making time, and I've found I can use less of it in a lot of recipes that call for it.  And I'm better off to drink less coffee, because I used to drink quite a bit of it.  But it's hard to get by without canning lids.  I find I hardly ever use pint (or smaller) jars these days.  I put my stuff up in quart jars and freeze half of what's in the jar I open if I need to.  Things like pickles and jam will keep in the refrigerator for a long time once the jar's been opened. 

I heard on TV today that the Lego people are saying they aren't going to be able to keep up with the demand for those little Lego toy building blocks that kids love so much, this Christmas.  Oh, yeah, right.  One year nobody had Tickle Me Elmo and people that probably wouldn't even have thought to buy one were ready to trample everybody else on the planet in order to get one.  Every retailer knows that a sure-fire way to boost sales is to say something's in short supply.  I guess it's just Lego's turn.  We Americans never seem to catch on that we're being manipulated.

This is now Friday, and I'll try to publish this Gawdawful long, boring thing today.

Today I pressured those chicken bones, because I found a couple of small packages of bones in addition to the big one, and that's about enough for a batch.  Hubs can never find "the bone bag", so he makes a new one and this is a bit of a nuisance for me but it's easier for him.  It seems like men, at least men in Hubs' age bracket, have been raised to think that a little time saved by them is worth the extra time that it might cause their woman to spend.  It is, after all, my fault somehow that he can't find "the bone bag" in the first place.  It's a man thing.  *Sigh*.  The fact that he puts his chicken bones in the freezer AT ALL sets him apart from SOME men of his age.  His brother, in fact, would actually make fun of me for making broth out of chicken bones and make it his mission in life to root them out of the freezer and throw them out.  So there ya go.  I'm counting my blessings.

I'm also in the process of putting together the Broccoli-Potato-Cheese Soup.  I'll say this about Aldi: I have always been pleased with the quality of their produce, except for one time when I got cantaloupe that weren't ripe.  Where broccoli is concerned, it's a real hit.  For ninety-nine cents you get a bag that says it weighs 16 oz. but usually weighs just a tad more.  There are two heads of broccoli with nice, dark green crowns with not very much stalk in each bag.  I've bought broccoli other places and it's been mostly stalk.  I bought two bags yesterday so I cut off the crowns, steamed them, and they are freezing solid on a cookie sheet to be bagged after they've frozen.  They'll be the vegetable for a couple of meals later on.  The stalks are for soup.  Maybe a few small florets thrown in as garnish at the end.

I went through the potatoes I grew last spring and picked out small ones that I figure won't keep as well as the bigger ones.  They, and a couple of those onions that I had in the crisper, went into the pot with the chopped broccoli stems.  After the potato was cooked I went in with my potato masher.  I also used up some potato water and a small blob of mashed potatoes I had stashed away in the freezer.  Now that the potato is cooked and the mixture is hot, I'll add milk and cheddar cheese, to taste.  Some people use Velveeta, and that's OK, too.

Saturday we will go to Homeland, because their meat prices are only as advertised for Saturday and Sunday.  I want to get their "fryer leg quarters", which are $2.90 for a ten-pound bag, and the boneless rump roast for $2.99 a pound.  Hubs loves fried chicken, and he prefers the drums and thighs over everything else so this is a cheap meal.  Their week-long ad has a "Ten for $10" special on a lot of things that are convenience food and I really have no use for.  But I will buy the 8 oz. of cream cheese, and 5# bags of all-purpose enriched white flour.  They let you buy less than 10 and get the same price.  I don't use cream cheese that often and it wouldn't be very wise for me to buy 10 packages.  Bratwurst or link sausage at the meat counter is also advertised "Ten for $10", which is "each", I guess, and may or may not be a good price.  I'll look at those.  I don't buy Bratwurst very often but when I do, I pair it with my homemade sauerkraut that costs so very little when you make it yourself.  Yum-O.

Hubs received a call from one of the people that save their bagged leaves for us every fall, saying he had some ready to pick up.  So I guess we'll go by and get those on Saturday, also.  Yep, the leaves have been falling because it's been so dry.  We haven't received our first frost yet, but at this rate all our trees will be bare before that.  We did get some rain on Thursday night but we didn't get the storms they predicted and only got about half an inch of moisture.  We are almost in Kansas in this part of Oklahoma so we miss out on a lot of the Gulf stuff.  At this point I know better than to gripe because we didn't get enough rain.  Instead I count my blessings that we didn't get more than we could handle.  Seems Mother Nature prefers to deal in extremes.  My prayers go out to all those who are flooded. 

Well, that's about it for this time.  I hope y'all weren't too bored with our mundane lives.  Till next time, Rock On....  Hugs xoxoxo


  1. You do so much better than I with the freezer. Max says I put things in but never take them out! He is right to some extent.

    We rarely shop around for bargains....just the local store and WM. Shame on us.

    That bread in the can looks very good. I just made English Muffins and what a mess and time consuming thing that was. I bet the bread tastes just as good.

    Good for you in catching and dispatching the rats and mice. The ground hog still evades us.

    1. We caught another rat today. Doing better since we changed the bait. They don't seem to care for peanut butter now. But they like slices of sweet potato, and seems like they tip the rocker better eating it than they did licking off the peanut butter.

      You just have to decide to jump in and see what you have in that freezer and build a meal around it. Anyway, that's what I do.

  2. You are a wonderful source of information about homemaking and gardening! I rarely try new recipes; the farmer and I eat plain foods and don't need large portions since we're in our "golden" years.

    I totally understand your comment, "wind under his wings"; that's me too!

    1. LOL, Charlotte, it's "a man thing". I do really have trouble cooking things in small portions. It hardly seems worth the effort to cook, you know? But if it's something I can pack away in the freezer, ready to eat, then at least that's going to be a day when I don't have to mess up the kitchen. I sure do like that some women have men that will come in and clean up after the cooking's all done (or maybe even, actually do the cooking) but I'm not one of those women, unfortunately, so making a meal and cleaning up after takes a lot of my time I might spend on some other endeavor.

  3. I always enjoy reading about your week, Ilene. You just never know what might come up here, and I really like that about your writing. I got a good laugh about you shaking a trapped rat around in a bucket. I can just picture that. Have a great week! I'll be back next week for the next edition. Blessings.


    1. Fern, you are too kind. I write like I would talk to you in person, if you were here. It's all I know. I'm glad there are people who will take the time to read and who will actually enjoy my ramblings, but I've been accused of taking a long time to get to the point, so I know there are a lot of people who look at the length of the posts and say, OMG, is this old chick for real?


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