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Friday, February 13, 2015

I Can't Believe It!

It sure has been a long time since I posted but, there was a lot going on.  The holidays happened then I had foot surgery on December 30. I had a torn PT tendon and Plantar Fasciitis. The tendon was repaired and the Plantar Fascia was snipped. It has been a long journey since then and I am now in a boot and on crutches and/or scooter. I have been going to Physical Therapy 3 times a week and the Podiatrist once a week. I am now back at work for 4 hours a day. On the good side of all this I lost 11 pounds while recuperating.

About 2 weeks ago, Greg was working from home to help me out and it was a good thing he was. The neighbors dogs came into our yard and killed about 14 chickens. I really don't understand why when you live in the country you think your dogs can just run wherever they want. These people actually have a fenced in yard and about 8 acres fenced in that their dogs could stay in but they are always outside of their property.  I just don't understand letting them roam that way. Every time I go to work I have to stop and wait for them to get out of the road.

The neighbor was understanding and said he would pay for the replacement of the chickens, but it's really hard to figure out how much a chicken is worth. It costs us $123 to replace them but that is with younger birds that aren't laying yet. We still have to feed them for 6 weeks before they are laying. And then to factor in how many eggs they ones we lost would have laid over the next year and a half is impossible.

I just don't understand it. Please be respectful and keep your dogs contained.

That's all for now.

Have a great day!
Mae

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner

With the sales that are going on right now for holiday food, I am thinking about Thanksgiving dinner. A lot of the things I need for our Thanksgiving dinner will be purchased this week. I will also be stocking up on a few things that will last us beyond the holidays.

I always purchase at least 2 turkeys, sometimes more. There just isn't a lot of meat you can purchase for $.99/pound. I have picked up a couple of turkey breast for $1.79/pound, already. Anytime I can find meat for less than $2 a pound I think I'm doing good. Hams will also be on sale this week and while they are a little over $2 a pound I really like the brand that is going to be on sale, Cumberland Gap Semi-boneless hams will be $2.19/pound.

Canned vegetables, and soups will also be on sale for as low as I have seen them in a while. So I plan to purchase a couple of cases of both.



We have discussed our Thanksgiving dinner and here is what is on the menu so far.

Turkey (of course)
Dressing
Giblet Gravy
Mashed potatoes
Green bean casserole
Broccoli Casserole
Corn Casserole
Rolls
Pumpkin pie
Pecan pie
Sugar cookies for the littles

I think we've got the carbs. covered. 

Here is the recipe I use for the corn casserole

Corn Casserole
1 pkg. corn muffin mix
1 can cream corn
1 can whole kernel corn
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter

Melt the butter in the casserole dish in the microwave. Add corn and sour cream, mix well. Add beaten eggs. Add muffin mix and mix thoroughly. Bake at 375° for 35-40 minutes.

I think I might try this in the  before Thanksgiving to see how it turns out. I have this slow cooker* West Bend Slow Cooker and I think it might make it very well. It seems to cook a little differently than a slow cooker with a crock. It browns meat much better and because of that I think the crust would set better in this than my other slow cooker.

Have a great day!
Mae

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Harvesting & Drying Herbs and My $1 Drying Rack

A few of my herbs are still producing like crazy, so this past weekend I spent some time cutting, washing & preparing them to dry.

I try to cut my herbs early in the morning. I have read that this is the best time to do it because they have rested overnight and their oils and moisture are concentrated in the leaves. During the day they are growing so the oils and moisture are spread throughout the plant.  They are then taken in the house and given a dunk in some nice cool water.

Herb Bath


Then they are laid on a towel to drain for a bit. Once they have drained I fold the towel up over them and pat them dry.

Draining
I have tried several ways to tie them up and have settled on twist ties. They are very flexible and if you add two of them together they are long enough to tie around the herbs and whatever you are going to hang them on. When they begin drying the stems shrink and fall out of strings and rubber bands. Twist ties allow you to tighten them up as the herbs shrink.

Herb Bundle with One Twist Tie

Second Twist Tie Added for Length


Then they are hung on the drying rack. Remember the drying rack I told you I bought for $1.00 at a yard sale? Well here it is not quite loaded but still doing it's job.

$1 Drying Rack



It even has room on top to put extra egg cartons. I am sure this is not what it was intended for but it works really great for this purpose.  The Okra is for decorating purposes, and the Sumac may be used for tea and decorating.  I really like that color for Fall and am thinking it might look pretty cool stuck in the Christmas tree. If I use it for the Christmas tree, I might have to figure out how to dip it in something to keep the little balls from falling off.

I am loving how it looks and smells!

Have a great day!
Mae

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Herb Chicken

My new electric pressure cooker finally arrived and it has been being put to the test. I have boiled eggs in it, roasted potatoes in it and my latest adventure was a "throw it in the pot and see what happens chicken". I used boneless skinless chicken breast, salted and peppered them, and browned them in the cooker with a little olive oil. Then I added, onion, celery, fresh basil, oregano, sage, chives, and garlic. Then some dried rosemary. Put the lid on and pressured it for 20 minutes. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product before it was devoured.

Chicken Breast with salt & pepper

Onion & Celery

Herbs & Garlic

Browning in the Cooker



 It was really good. Nice and tender and very flavorful. I didn't add any liquid to the pot but when it was done, I had a whole pint jar of broth that I am saving for another use. There really wasn't a recipe for this since I just threw it all in the pot and let it cook. But I will try to recap what I put in.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 large cloves garlic (cut in half)
1 Onion, sliced
1 rib Celery, chopped
5 chive tops
1 small bunch fresh sage
1 small bunch fresh oregano
1 small bunch fresh basil
1 Tbsp. rosemary

Salt & Pepper chicken and brown in olive oil. Add remaining ingredients and place lid on Pressure Cooker. Bring to pressure and cook for 20 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes then release pressure.

I bought these Fresh Herb Scissors the other day. And found them very useful.
 




They cut the herbs in little strips, not a fine chop, but for this recipe they were great. I didn't chop anything too fine. The onions were just sliced and thrown on top of the chicken.They are made by Ball and I am loving how they work.

What is your favorite kitchen gadget? I would love to hear about it.

Have a great day!
Mae

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Update on Peppers

Remember the picture of the peppers I hung to dry?
Peppers Drying

Well, I wanted to show you an updated photo of the peppers. They have truly been amazing me. First off, I thought they would just dry. I didn't expect them to change colors. I don't know what I really expected. I just imagined all those pictures you see of red peppers on a string and wished for that. Guess what? I think I might get my wish.

Peppers After 6 Weeks

Peppers After 6 Weeks

Aren't they beautiful? When I first hung them, I loved the green colors together. Now They are yellow, red, orange and green. I hope they all turn red and I really think they are going to.

I love using my dehydrator but I like to dry things naturally, also. I know the dehydrator doesn't use much electricity, but it does use it and if things dry naturally they aren't costing you anything to dry them. The dehydrator also takes up counter space and in my tiny kitchen there isn't a whole lot of that to spare.

I bought a rack at a garage sale for $1.00 that has three round rods on it that is perfect for hanging things to dry. I have it hung on our back porch/mud room (which is enclosed) and I am going to be using it to dry a lot more things naturally. Once I get it filled with herbs and other things I will share a picture with you.

Do you have anything like this that turned out so much better than you hoped for? I'd love to hear about it.

Have a great day!
Mae

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