primsong: (ship)
Golly Moses it's hot today - 102+ at the moment and supposed to hit 106, unusually toasty for here. I've been working on replacing rotten boards on my back deck but it's too hot to be outside so I ended up learning to make quick no-corn-syrup marshmallows. These things Happen when I end up in my kitchen unscheduled.

Did a recipe mash-up and made it with 3 pkts plain gelatin softened in 1/2 c. cold water. Added a generous dollop of vanilla, a dash of salt and about half a cup of honey then 3/4 c. boiling water. Dissolved, cooled and whipped with beaters for 15 minutes - ta-dah!

Ate too many marshmallows. I regret nothing. Wish I had graham crackers.

Tonight our dancers are going to the local high school to teach the football teams some Greek dance steps, we go each year and the coaches swear it helps the teamwork and footwork. O-PAH! They sent us a message promising they'd have the A/C cranked up.
primsong: (seagull)
It's been a long time since I bothered with roasting a whole chicken but the price was right so into the oven goes a bird.  I'd forgotten how fragrant a roasting chicken is too, makes me go put on my grandma's old apron, cut flowers for a vase on the table and otherwise come up with all those homey trappings that go with it.

Hubby, visiting for the weekend, comes in from working on the car and just stops to breathe it in.  "Wow, that smells SO good!"

If someone could make a perfume that really smelled like fresh roasted chicken with homemade biscuits it would be amazing - wear it on a date to bring all the guys flocking!
primsong: (pumpkin)
I don't know why it took me this many years to realize I don't have to hack apart a hard sugar-pumpkin, I can just poke some holes in it for venting and stick the whole thing in the oven. It's WAY easier to pop in half and scoop, puree, etc. after an hour or two in the oven.

My former Thanksgiving decorations are now on their way to being pumpkin pie, or soup or pancakes or something without the "argh!" factor.
primsong: (cookies)
Seriously, one of the best things about Thanksgiving is my fridge is stuffed with leftovers and not only do I not have to cook for like three days or something, but I also get to eat pumpkin pie with whipped cream for breakfast.  Oh yeahhhh.
primsong: (lunch)
My son said a discussion had come up on Reddit about what foods you missed from childhood, and he got nostalgic (or as nostalgic as an early-20s person can be)... said he decided that the garbagey food he'd enjoyed the most as a child was worth looking at again to see what it really tastes like, though I warned him it won't be nearly as good as he remembers.

He bought a small bottle of an overly sweet orange juice concoction called SunnyD, and two Kid Cuisine tv dinners, one with chicken nuggets in the shape of Hello Kitty's head and a side of mac-and-cheese, another with mixed nuggets and fries, plus "chocolate pudding with an edible cookie spoon!"  Added a cheap package of those chocolate covered mini doughnuts where the brown coating is barely detectable as "chocolate."   He offered to share, so it looks like we'll have Nostalgic Garbage for dinner tonight.
primsong: (pears)
My trees are utterly loaded down with apples this year, the bees did a good job! 

Branches are hanging low with so much fruit.  I gathered up four buckets full and am in the process of making them into applesauce, the kitchen smells fabulous and all my big pots are full of steaming sauce.  I'll freeze it once it cools down and then work on spicing and cooking it down for apple butter another day so it isn't too much of a job all at once.  Only one jar of apple butter left from last time, didn't realize it's been six years but sure enough that's the date on that last jar.  Glad it keeps.

Wish you guys were closer, I'd totally be asking my flist if they'd like to come pick apples otherwise!
primsong: (lunch)
My eldest has always had a penchant for eating weeds, coming in with handfuls of chickweed and miners lettuce, etc. and bemoaning my spraying our driveway to keep the stuff under control.  This time I opened the fridge and found a bagful of...something...?  She came up behind me and said "Oh, those are dandelions! I'm making bread."

Sure enough, she found something based on an old Roman recipe and made a Dandelion Honey Cake using almond flour and the blossoms of all those dandelions.  It has the texture of pumpkin bread and is really, really good! My grandma used to pick young leaves for her salads, trying to get to them before my grandpa went out to work on the lawn, but I'd never eaten the blooms.  Strikes me as something they'd eat in Redwall.
primsong: (lunch)
Pulled the turkey carcass we had out of the freezer and cooked it down for turkey-frame soup, lots of veggies and some parsnips to jazz it up. Singed my fingers a bit through impatience in it cooling enough to sift the bones out but it should make a nice hot dinner for everyone as they come home.

We had serious wind and rain the last couple of days, spent the morning hauling several wheelbarrows of fallen sticks and branches to clean the yard up - this was the first time in all our years here that the rain overwhelmed the drainage pipe and our driveway went underwater for a while, my inner child was sorely tempted to dig out some rubber boots and go High Level Puddle Jumping, should have done it!

Cool wind, lots of rain and mud, definitely soup weather.
primsong: (lunch)
Just an update on an event, so I can look back on it later I guess.

Still working on the two Afternoon Tea events I'm organizing for later this month, I've managed to accumulate about 30 cup and saucer sets from assorted garage sales and thrift stores over the summer, some tiered racks for serving, lots of assorted china salad plates, etc. etc. - and 15 teapots thus far. My house looks like a china shop, minus the bull.

Ticket sales have been anemic, everyone is interested in coming and gets excited but when it comes to coughing up some dough to purchase tickets they're a bit more reluctant apparently. Nevertheless, I have 30 for the first one (the one with kids) and 14 for the nicer adult's tea which is better than nothing - though 44 is long way from my max. number of 128. We're making some scones this afternoon as you can make the dough and freeze them unbaked ahead of time.
primsong: (cookies)
Came out of my local grocery store to find one of the families from our church selling Girl Scout cookies with their daughters, who ran over to give me a hug.  My thought wasn't "Yay, friends!" but rather "Oh blast, now I'm obligated to buy a box of overpriced cookies."

Got the peanut-butter ones, a paltry number in the box for my 4 bucks but oh well... the girls were happy and now we have Unexpected Cookies to go with lunch today.

We have a Japanese exchange student with us for a couple days, so I guess peanut butter is a pretty American flavor to have in the house... she liked the pancakes we made for breakfast for the same reason (let's see... what would be expected at an American house in the morning?) - so far so good. Hope everyone is having a good weekend!
primsong: (cookies)
It's definitely "that season" again - coming from a Christmas party that had rockin' gingerbread cake with spiced whipped topping and cream-cheese-and-nutmeg stuffed dates to holiday events with everything from brandy beans to peppermint cookies going by it's hard to know what comes next.

We have our church Christmas event this coming Sunday, so I'm busy making marshmallow popcorn balls and green tree-shaped spritz for that, at the rate we're going I may not even need to make any Christmas cookies this time around as we'll already be full up on enough goodies to cause us to all roll out the door like that girl that turned into a blueberry in the Willy Wonka thing... but y'know... there's still those soft sugar cookies with lemon in them... and the peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate....and that amazing fruitcake with all the wine in it....

What are you making this year? Any extra good things orbiting past you?
primsong: (lunch)
Phoo! I'm tired, must be time for bed.  Tomorrow is our big church picnic for Easter and I'm up to my ears in fixings for a huge green salad, glorified rice and two big pans of peach cobbler. Yay!  Plus I'll be doing the face-painting on the side. Makes for a busy but good event. I just have to finish one salad and I can hit the hay.

I'm attending two churches, my main one and the one that rents space in the main one, so I get to help with two Easter picnics, one this weekend and one next weekend, complete with two rounds of face-painting and two rounds of kiddie egg-hunts, probably going to walk my feet off but it's always such a cheery time with visitors that only come out of the woodwork for major holidays as well.  Thankfully, it looks like a clear day, it's been pretty rainy here, so we may be blowing in the breeze but at least we'll be dry.

Have a lovely Palm Sunday weekend, all!
primsong: (bladda dog)
I marinated some chunks of chicken last night and finally got them cooking in a pan. Going to wash the bowl that had the marinade in it, I industriously squirted it and other waiting items with dish soap and set to scrubbing while the chicken sizzled happily behind me on the stove. 

Oh crumbs - I missed a piece!  There's a piece of chicken still in the corner of the dish. *efficiently flips the last chicken piece into the pan on the stove and starts scrubbing again*

Oh crumbs - that chicken was in the dish I just squirted soap into. That means it has soap on it! *whirls back to stove*

Oh crumbs - now I can't tell one raw chicken bit from another! Arrrgh!  Which one is it??? *experimentally fishes out random portions that kind of resemble the vaguely-remembered shape of the one flipped into the pan and rinses them off hopefully*

I have no idea if I got it or not. None of them seem to be making "too many bubbles" as they cook - I guess now it's just soapy-chicken-roulette for whichever family member gets That Piece.
primsong: (lunch)
I love St. Pat's Day even though my only connection genetically is via a half-Irish grandpa - I would still enjoy it even if that weren't the case.  You see, my favorite color is green and there are stores who have "anything green is on sale!" events (woo!) plus there's this marvelous excuse to make corned beef and cabbage, which I love but it's expensive so I can't normally rationalize it.  Yes, I know they don't really even eat that in Ireland itself, but hey, I'm not pretending to be authentic I'm just having fun.   Breakfast for my kids was porridge colored with green food coloring, and as I couldn't find any Irish Breakfast tea, we had Jasmine Green.   Oh well, why not toss in some Chinese?  It has the word "green" in it, right?

And yes, I know Protestants wear orange and Catholics wear green in some places, but that's not here where I am and I like green, so I wear green in honor of Patrick, who was obviously not a Protestant - it's all good.  I'm off to make Irish Soda Bread with lots of brandy-soaked currants and sultanas in it as a treat for our preschool teachers now. 

Have a great day, everyone!
primsong: (bilbo not at home)
I seem to have fallen back into the belief that nothing in my life is interesting enough to bother posting it, which is stupid as I always enjoy reading other people talking about everything from making sandwiches to walking their dogs.  Life sure is busy for someone who is apparently doing nothing, heh.  Spent a good part of today in yardwork, trimming fruit trees and various other whacking that is needed as spring is already springing along.  My daffys are 6 inches up and the snowdrops and crocuses are fully blooming and here I am with still one more plum tree to do.

My folks finally found a home to buy down in the middle of the valley near my old alma mater, Western Oregon - it was a 'college' when I was there, since then upgraded to a 'university'.  There are renters in the place, though, so they have to wait until April to be able to actually get into it and have gone off in their camper to the coast in the meantime. so at least it's quiet here again.  I'll drive down tomorrow afternoon and check out the town, I'm sure it's different than it was in the late 80s when I was last there, it will be interesting to see what's changed.

So. Life. Made a big pot of meaty spaghetti sauce with plenty of olives and mushrooms for dinner, topped off with whole wheat oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  We didn't mean for them to be whole wheat, that was a flour-bin mixup, but they're pretty good that way.  Time to go watch another ep of 'Riders of Berk' - enjoying catching up on those.  There must be hundreds of black cats named "Toothless" out there by now.
primsong: (pears)
I'm up late (for me) waiting for my crockpot to finish cooking the lentil-sweet-potato-coconut-curry I'm making for tomorrow's potluck.  The problem with sitting up late is I often end up wanting to buy things. 

Actually, I've gotten to where I shop Etsy first anymore, I love being able to support all these nice people who make all these nice things!  Like my somewhat-local Heavenly Honey Farm, - yummers... I tried their honey lip balm and honey eye cream and now find myself abandoning my former loyalty to the mass-marketed 'Burts Bees' with scarcely a backwards glance.  Sorry, Burt!  You've been one-upped.  I went back to Heavenly today and ordered a couple of their 'pillows' of lip balms to give to our church and preschool staff for Christmas this year, yay for having that taken care of.

Now I want beeswax candles too.  Haven't splurged on one of those for a long time. Hm!



primsong: (lunch)
When I went out to a local farm seeking an "autumn fix" I soaked up the happy harvesty atmosphere and also came home with a jack-o-lantern type pumpkin (which we dutifully carved) and 2 sugar pie pumpkins.  One sugar pumpkin is for pie, but the other was for a favorite autumn-time easy dinner we do, to wit:

Dinner in a Pumpkin

1 4-5 lb. pumpkin
1 lb. ground beef
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 c. uncooked instant rice
3 T. butter or margarine
1/2 t. salt (optional)
1/2 t. pepper
1 t. thyme
1 can diced tomatoes (undrained)
2 c. beef broth
1/2 c. grated cheddar (optional)

Wash the pumpkin and cut a nice wide lid on the top (you want to be able to scoop yummy things out later).  Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits.  Brush the inside of the pumpkin with the butter and sprinkle it with a little salt if you like.
In a skillet, saute the beef and onion until browned. Drain fat. Add the rice and remaining ingredients except the cheese. Put your pumpkin in a shallow dish (I use a casserole dish) and fill it with the meat mixture. Put the lid on the pumpkin and stick the whole thing in a 350 degree oven.  Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until the pumpkin is tender.  You can add more broth if needed.  Take off lid and sprinkle with cheese while hot. 
Serve right from the pumpkin, scooping out pulp with the beef mixture. 

For lower sodium people like me, just use no-salt tomatoes and unsalted beef broth and reduce or even eliminate the table salt too. Still very tasty and homelike.  This is the only time of year I buy instant rice, just for this, and sometimes use dried minced onion instead of fresh, though fresh is always better if you have one handy.

Enjoy!
primsong: (cookies)
Spent yesterday and today packing and hauling and driving etc. to help in the end of year college-kids-come-home thing, very grateful to sit down for a few minutes... until memories of a slice of chocolate cake I saw at a cafe kept coming back to haunt me. A Ghost of Dessert that May Have Been.

Baked a chocolate cake. Rationalized it as being a 'sort of holiday' because there was moving boxes involved and after all, it was 'kind of healthy' (non-fat, with fructose to boot). With extra chocolate. Lots of it. Daaarrrk chocolate.

It is now dinner time and all I have cooked for my family is a large chocolate cake.

Um. Yeah. Heh.
primsong: (lunch)
I posted this at [community profile] homeeconomics101 and thought I'd toss it out to the rest of my flist in case anyone else finds it useful.

Just a tip if you happen to be, as I am, a person who really dislikes the taste of commercial dried onion powders or flakes yet still wants onion in their cooking.

I watch for sweet onions to go on sale and then buy 5-6 big ones at a time. Take them home and slice thin (you can slice them in your sink under a little running water and your eyes won't sting, btw) and then cook the whole heap in a big pot with a drizzle of olive oil. I cook it with occasional stirring and draining off excess liquid until they begin to carmelize.

Cool the resulting batch and then divide it up into about as many portions as you had onions. I keep them in either little tupperware cups or in ziploc sandwich baggies labeled "1 Onion, Sauteed" and pop them into the freezer. They keep great and when you need one for cooking it's a real time-saver to just pull one out and zap it in the microwave for a moment. The flavor is a big improvement and there's no more problem with onions sprouting in my pantry while I get around to them as a bonus.
primsong: (lunch)
It inevitably happens to all of us (some more often than others), but when autumn comes around, the leaves begin their sprinkles and dances through the air and the hunt for the fluffy robes and slippers commences along comes the craving for what we like to call 'Comfort Food'.  This is nicer to our ears than 'Hot Starch with Plenty of Fat Please' and aids in rationalizing it well.  My son making up a huge pan of mac-n-cheese 'Dayglo Noodles' is one of the penultimate's of that category for us, right along with tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Today the air is nippy and after being outside cleaning up half-dead daylilies, the drooping, freckled remains of peonies and the squishy, be-browned blobs-on-stems that used to be my asters I reached a point where I could barely feel my nose and went inside.  The natural next step in that parade is some Hot Starch with.... er, I mean Comfort Food.  I managed to keep it 'healthy' this time by noting that the piping hot pan of Mexican Spoon Bread I shortly pulled from the oven had eggs and milk and corn (hey, it's a vegetable, right?) in it.  Mmmmmmm.  Snarf.  Nom nom nom.  Now to roast the cornish rock hens I have bobbing about as they thaw in the sink, at least they aren't made of starch too.

What are your favorite Comfort Foods?  Do you ever eat them in the summer?

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