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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Short days

Well I defiantly need to start getting up before 10:30am, I don't know why but since the kids had the Christmas vacation from school I've been unable to stay up after they go to school. I use to wake up at 6am no matter what and jump out of bed and work. With (today included) being above 40 and at least the next couple of days also being so warm, I am planning to do some yard work tomorrow; and manage to bake some bread. Hey anyone out there now a -GOOD- place to get sourdough starter?

Even though I do like the green movement and want to make our home a "green" farm right now we have a garbage pile and a burn pile. Well considering until recently there have been fire warnings locally we have not burned anything, and the dogs have been digging... so I have garbage strewn everywhere. I am going to kick myself in the butt and go get working on cleaning it up tomorrow after the kids go and I make breakfast for us. Any suggestions for bacon strips, bacon pieces, instant pancake mix, oat bran for a good breakfast that doesn't make you think you are eating bricks?

That bean soup last night according to Silver was wonderful... he also informed me that because it's a bean dish it will taste kind of bland, which is what I thought of it. I will try it again but make sure we have the onion and the potatoes to put in it.

Silver's been sleeping a lot the last couple of days and he's been doing it very deeply, worries me a bit but until our car is in better shape or we get another .. (or his Medicare kicks in) he said he's not going to a doctor; I think it might be his blood sugar but with his tester missing we don't risk the blood sugar meds right now. He use to take 3 pills 2x's a day and since moving here 1 once a day dropped his blood sugar way low. So I guess we are buying a new one this coming month so we can find out what the heck is going on.

We seem to have one winter casualty.. possibly 2. I am not sure I mentioned this but my son's cat went missing it's been 3? months now and we have not seen her (she's the calico); he is upset over her being missing. We think either the colder days or a coyote got her. The other possible casualty is the large black but skinny dog that decided to stay with us has not turned up this morning. Her and my white spotted one have been "wandering" in the evening, I'd let them outside to go.. and well they'd go. Two days ago she was curled up in the outside dog house and when she got up you could see her ankle was swollen. She had sprained it. She spent one whole day inside, then yesterday she went out with Lucky (the spotted one) and she has not come back. Normally I'll find her laying somewhere outside and she'll come streaking inside, not today; so who knows.

We finally finished off our 5 gallon bucket of rice, we will have to buy more this coming month which is a drive to shetlers grocery store about a 30 minute to an hour drive from here. Aside from it smelling like coca cola the rice kept well in it. The store also sells the food grade buckets cheap with the lids. We want to get another for sugar and maybe for flour.

Well thats all for right now,

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dutch Country Bean Soup

Well first.. still no camera, and it's a lovely day today hit almost 50 degrees. I got to go over to the neighbor's and do some laundry, which hanging up with the mud is a chore within itself. I have set out a oak plank and some fabric down for me to walk on, and boy is it fun to need to "balance" on the board while carrying clothes and -not- stepping on cats. Silver is reconsidering the house plans, no he is considering a geodesic dome made in the straw-bale style. That wouldn't be bad the heating would be easy once it was done, we'd probably get the house too hot some days.

Dutch Country Bean Soup

1 pound soup beans 1 can tomato sauce

1 ham bone 1/2 cup diced potatoes

1/2 cup chopped onion 2t minced parsley

1 C diced celery salt and pepper

Soak beans overnight in water. Drain, add fresh water and cook slowly with the ham bone for 2 hours. Put in the onion, celery, potatoes, tomato sauce, parsley and the salt and pepper and simmer until vegetables are soft. Remove ham bone, trim off any meat, cut it up and add to soup. Many Pennsylvania Dutch cooks cut up hard boiled eggs and add them to the soup.

This is tonight's recipe.. and well when I got it started I had a few interesting moments.
1st dang out of fresh celery.. "Hey hun how much of this dried celery should I use?"
2nd what where did the potatoes go? We had fries the other night?
3rd shoot forgot about the onions... will powdered work?

So we will see how it comes out based on what we don't have. I don't like the smell so far, so I am hoping that will change. Also on another note.. but about ham. My mom cooks ham in lemon lime soda so when we had ham for New Years I noticed we didn't remember to buy some.. we did have mountain dew though. Hey guess what mountain dew is good to cook ham in!

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Recipe review

Stuffed Acorn Squash

3 acorn squash 1 pound pork sausage

1/3 molasses 1 t sage

1 t salt bread crumbs

Wash squash and cut in halves, remove seeds. Put a tablespoon of molasses in each half, sprinkle with salt and pinch of powdered sage (if sausage does not contain sage). Fill the cavity with sausage and top with bread crumbs. Place the squash halves in baking pan, add about an inch of water to the pan. Cover and bake in hot oven (400-f) for 40 minutes. Remove cover and brown.

OK this was a good recipe, tasted good. Now we could not find any molasses in the stores, boy was that odd. So we used dark brown sugar instead, the only thing I would do is add seasoning of some kind to the sausage. The kids were of mixed views on it, my girls loved the squash.. my son liked the sausage. I plan to make this again, but we'll have to work out seasoning for the sausage.

Deviled Eggs

6 hard-boiled eggs 2T soft butter

1/2 t prepared mustard salt,pepper,paprika

remove shells and cut eggs in half. Mash yolks to a smooth paste, adding the mustard, butter, salt, and pepper. When well mixed press into the cup-shaped egg whites, round the tops and sprinkle with paprika. For a special treat, add 2T finely chopped ham or a small can of deviled ham to the egg yolk mixture.

We tried this as Silver loves hard -boiled and deviled eggs, well... it was a nice difference but it just didn't taste as good as I'm use to. silver thinks if we grew up eating it, it probably would have tasted better to us then. I could see us eating it if I had tons of butter in the house (hmm how much milk will we get from 1 full sized cow a day..?)

Sugar Cakes

3 C sugar 2 t baking soda

1/4 C butter 1 C thick milk (cream added milk fyi)

2 eggs

Mix eggs and butter well, (add 2 1/2 C sugar and mix) Then add milk and soda. Mix in enough flour to make a soft dough, just so you can roll it. Cut into any shape you wish. Sprinkle with granulated sugar, and bake in a moderately heated oven.

OK very interesting recipe, it had a couple of problems. Notice the parentheses? Well... that part was -NOT- in the written recipe, Silver figured we are covering the "cakes" with 3 C of sugar. As we currently do not have a mixer I did this by hand, I took pictures too! if I can find my camera I'll post them... You do not want to melt the butter at all it does need to be very soft. also as I could not mix it by hand till the dough was rollable so we tried to make them "drop cookies". They cooked very nicely I think the first time we used a 325 degree oven, and well the "cookies" were becoming "Cakey" as they cooked; i guess thats why they are called "sugar cakes". So with that in mind I decided to put the remaining batter into a cake pan and baked that. All I can say is WOW... it cake out like a cake but with a sugar cookie flavor. I did make it a second time, this 2nd time I baked at 375 and well.. it browned before it finished cooking. We had to scrap the center out to eat it, but it still tasted good. I hope someone can try it our as the rolled cookie and tell me how it is.

OK on another note Silver found an interesting page on facebook:

take a peek at it, it has some interesting info on it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thinking of Food

Well I have a pot of chicken stock simmering away on my stove, we will be eating chicken soup on Monday. Yes, I realize that I am saying that it will be simmering until Monday, I tend to go for a long slow simmered soup that way I do not need to add any bullion to it; and the flavor is so much better.

We went grocery shopping today, which I will not normally do on a Saturday; but Silver and I both wanted some fresh vegetables and couldn't wait till Monday for the kids to go back to school. If you want to have a fun day take three children over the age of 9 grocery shopping on a Saturday, also stopping at the laundromat. I do have to say we did manage to completely avoid getting any soda what so ever today. We didn't even get the obligatory soda bottle while driving around. Maybe we will be able to avoid it after all.

On Tuesday we will be trying the stuffed acorn squash and I am so looking forward to it, my son however is not. Mr. Picky Eater will probably eat the stuffing and say he's done. Does anyone out there know what if any increase or decrease I would have to do if substituting honey for molasses. I could not find any molasses today which for me is very odd, I can always spot it in the store. So I shall have to try it with out.

I am considering trying a “sugar cakes” recipe from the booklet tomorrow; reading the recipe tells me it is probably a sugar cookie recipe in actuality. We will see how it turns out, if its not good I still have that chocolate cake recipe to get my sweet tooth with.

Sometime this month we are also going to try out “Dutch country Bean soup”, it looks fairly simple to make and I think I do have all the ingredients. It requires a ham bone, well we have one in our freezer somewhere, and we just bought another ham that was on sale today. I don't eat ham all that often and when we had it on New Years eve it reminded me how much I love the flavor of it.

As for the house, looks like yes we are going to go with a story and a half and try to build it on the old foundation. So the first thing we need to do is clear all the clutter out of it, maybe get a dozer and dig it down a little to see if a floor was poured or if it is just a footing all around. Who knows if we get the dozer maybe we could get the full cesspool dug the same day. Silver wants to make the posts we will use out of 3 smaller ones to make them stronger, and maybe save some money. I do think no matter what we do the roof and the insulation for it will be our biggest costs. We have decided to just go ahead and get the flooring we want, as it would be harder to change that after the fact than to paint a wall. So the next pay day for Silver we will be taking a day to go and hit the lumber store and start getting post timbers., lag bolts, and wood glue.

On another note considering the kids got two days off this week they are attending school on Monday even though they were not suppose to. I guess after the snows they had down here last year they want to keep the snow days open just in case.

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Well lets see the Scrapple didn't work out so well... smelled and tasted wonderful just before we put it away to set. When we took it out to cut and fry it smelled awful! It wouldn't hold together when i tried to fry it.. and it tasted worse than it smelled. The dogs loved it though. The next recipe I want to try is a stuffed acorn squash, that will have to wait till after we go grocery shopping on Monday.

It was very cold this morning, -1 degrees when I woke the kids up. Tuesday and Wednesday the kids had "snow days"... how 4 inches of snow constitutes a snow day I'll never know. They got bundled up and did their 1/2 mile walk to the bus this morning. Our home did stay in the 40's at least all night, and with blankets we were all very much comfy.

I think we almost have decided on our seeds for this year and Thanks Tink.. I will remember to keep some space open for any seeds you're willing to pass my way. I am looking for heirloom, non GMO seeds that do well in my clay soil and can tolerate drought conditions. Rianna is a head of us I'm afraid (grins) she's got her seed potatoes ordered. We are going to stop at the MFA to see if they have any of their plastic tubs that has cracks that I could buy for planting this year. Maybe they'd be cheaper too.

We have decided to completely cut out fast food from our diets, we don't need all that crud in our systems and it may save us money, which we will be needed to buy building supplies. I think Silver finally has the house plans finalized.. (crosses fingers), we keep reevaluating based on cost and nessesity. He is thinking on a story and a half house with just the kids' rooms in the upper portion. our room and kitchen/living, and bathroom downstairs. I do hope this one is it.

BE Well and Blessed Be...

Monday, January 10, 2011


When we still lived in NY I had found a small booklet called "Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking", within it there is a good sized assortment of recipes from (coughs) "simpler" times. Granted some Amish and Mennonite people probably still us them. For now I am going to start working my way through a few of the recipes, at least the ones that I think my family will have the least issues with eating. I will try to make them following the exact directions and see what I may need to add or subtract from it. Last night's recipe is:

Mock Duck

1 thick Round Steak
2 Cups bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon onion minced
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon of salt
poultry seasoning

To make dressing beat eggs, add milk and pour over bread crumbs. Add onion, seasoning and work in butter mixing thoroughly. Spread dressing over the meat and roll up carefully. Fasten with skewers or tie with string. Place in a greased pan and bake in medium hot oven (375 F) for 1-2 hours. Slice to serve.

OK, this was not a bad recipe, however we did learn what it does need added to it. I think the meat needs some kind of seasoning before the dressing is added, Silver thinks a marinade for the meat might be good. Notice on the poultry seasoning it does not give an amount... I am guessing this means "to taste" well... ours needed a tad bit more. Also this did not mention covering the meat as it cooks... you will need to, ours came out a little on the dry side; it was still very good. The only complaints was from the picky eater boy... and my daughter who doesn't like dressing. So not a bad try. Also we used a beef shoulder roast that Silver cut for rolling, it was what we had on hand and it worked. I am thinking this would be good with a nice skirt steak. A thick beef gravy served over it would be good, we had ours with just rice and some fresh bread. again it wasn't bad.. pretty good just needs some tweaking.

Tonight we are making a Scrapple recipe from this booklet, I will say I have already added to the recipe but will let you know tomorrow.

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Planning ahead

These are two pamphlets on canning from the Kerr company, the red one dates from 1962; and the red one from 1961. they include lots of basic info on canning using pressure canning and water canning. It also tells how to freeze in their jars as well. They include a few recipes in each as well. I found these in a thrift store and paid less than $.25 a piece. (The store was having a $1 bag day). It does even tell you about problems you might have after storage, and why they happen. The recipes include jellies, jams, pickles, and what to do with your canned stock for meals. Yes, it also tells you how to can meat.

In the next few days Silver and I are going to go through our seed catalogs and decide on the seeds we will order come the end of the month. We plan to order even tomato and pepper seeds even though we will not have the space to start them indoors this year, I would like to have them for next year just in case. It never hurts to be prepared, and i was a girl scout way back when. I still need to go out and buy the straw bales for the potatoes and my "onion experiment", though I do not think that will be an issue. We were planning on container gardening this year as we would need tons of amendments to make the soil here good, it is hard clay once you get down about an inch. We still need to get the containers though, however i do have one for lettuces to go into. Silver had a lock box and the lock on it broke so with the lid gone i am going to use it to grow my lettuces.

Silver and I watched "Endgame" and I have to say it made me think a tad bit more about how soon I want to be eating only what I produce. I know I have to be producing first so it will take a season or two at least. This is also another reason for buying our seeds even if we will not use them this year. Also the goings on with the "Food Safety Modernization Act", we already know the President will sign it into law. I have my doubts about the Supreme Court saying no to it. So I will try to get my family set up the best as I can.

This will also include some changes in our current diet,I have been buying soda recently as I kinda fell in love with the "throw back" sodas that came out and I found a place that still had the Pepsi and Mountain Dew flavors. Well after a week of being sick and eating non-healthy foods for the last few days. I got up this morning made a nice breakfast sandwich with those lovely eggs we got some bread and cheese and only drank water. Funny thing is I felt much better after eating that, than what we've been eating the last few days. So soda is on the outs in my house, so will snack foods and any sugary dessert I cannot make myself. I think if it is prepared totally by me from ingredients I know about maybe it won't affect me as much. It was nice to be full of energy again, granted it was probably the flu that was making me feel so yucky.

Also with silver being a diabetic and wanting to be off meds fully our diet has got to change for the better. He is on a brewer's yeast supplement right now and I think it is helping him a bit. It is hard to tell yet though as we just started him on it. I think in the next month I'll be doing a lot of recipes look ups online to find things I can make myself. My girls got use to eating pulled pork once a month so I am going to find a barbeque recipe first. Suggestions will be appreciated!

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Monday, January 3, 2011

A fun day

Yes these are eggs, and what is fun about them? Well... i'd say how we got them is the fun part. A few days before the New Year me Silver and the kids were out paying bills and doing laundry (normal pay day stuff) and we saw a sign for eggs for sale. Around here that isn't all that interesting how ever these people were selling them at $.60 a dozen. Now going price around here is about $1.00 a dozen so today when we went out for the last few bills and some minor shopping we noticed that the sign was still up. On the way home we stopped there.

Now I am not sure if these people are Mennonite or Amish, but I do know they are one of the two; so i knew that the chickens the eggs came from would be well cared for. When we stopped and asked if they still had any eggs for sale the young man said "Oh yes we have plenty of eggs for sale". So i decided to ask if he had enough for 3 dozen and he replied "is that all you need?" I would have bought more, but we only bought 3 dozen as we did not know how many eggs they would have on their farm.

We stood there for a bit with Silver chatting with the young man and we found out that they supply some of the eggs that Cackle Hatchery uses for their sales. We were also told by the young man that if we would like some adult chickens who already lay we could buy their hens off them in July for $3 per hen. It seems for the benefit of making sure the eggs laid are the best they only take them from the first year of laying.

So seeing as how it would take about that long or longer for chicks in the spring to grow to laying size this should work out well for us, and the year after we can get some chicks to add to the flock. We are also thinking of returning in a day or so to buy more eggs :D I like fresh eggs!

On another note... Silver was looking online and found something interesting sees there is a Christian group out there that thinks the "Rapture" will occur on May 21st of this year, and the man's reasoning is that the bible does not have a zero year and because God considers one day to be 1000 years and that god told Noah that the world would have 7 days till He would end the world in fire.

This made me think a minute... what about the Mayan calendar? Does it have a zero year? If not does that mean everyone is wrong about when the calendar ends? Is it this year? Has anyone asked this question before? It really is an interesting point, our calendar is based on there being a zero year; but not all civilization has the same calendar. JUst a curiosisty I thought I'd point out.

A couple of days ago two of our dogs got into I think a skunk... Silver and I had let them out before we were to go to bed just like every night and three of them would not come back in. So because we were not going to stay up forever we went to bed and waited for the youngest to bark for us to let them in. Well when I got up... half asleep mind you... and let them in I got hit with this smell as the pack of 3 dogs came running in. About 5 minutes later while I was in the bathroom my mind made the connection... skunk! So back out they went, today we have gotten the two smelly ones cleaned up; we had to get some peroxide. It does work, and it works fast. I am hoping the two dogs appreciate the "inside" time now as they spent 3-4 days outside in the cold.

Well thats it for now

Be Well and Blessed Be...