Thursday, December 31, 2009

12 days of Christmas

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Food storage

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I'm hearing of more people who are either storing food or thinking about it. For the past year I've slowly been working on food storage. My approach is to buy some things in bulk (flour, sugar, rice. yeast) and buy extra cans /boxes of items we use when they are on sale... plus now I've started adding a little of some things I don't buy but we would eat if we needed, such as Tang or canned green beans (we eat fresh or frozen). My food storage is about having a "store" so I don't run out , then I can cook ad hock (unplanned) meals and replace what I have used with items that are on sale, thus saving money. I used to run to the store frequently because I was missing one ingredient. My goal is to have at least 3 months of foods. The challenges include how to safely store food in the basement while keeping out moisture and critters. At the same time the food has to be organized in such a way so that it gets rotated and used. The mantra is "store what you use and use what you store". Someday soon I will post pictures of my food storage.

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Regarding saving money on groceries, this week there was a managers special at Hannaford that was not advertised in the weekly flyer; Roasting Chickens at 49¢ a lb. I bought 4, three for us and the smallest for my son Brian. Since my garden had a poor tomato harvest last year because of a blight, I was not able to can any sauce. I bought 5 more cans of crushed tomatoes for less than $1.00 a can.




Monday, December 28, 2009

Home Made Spray Cleaner

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This is my favorite cleaner. It cleans mirrors and windows better than Windex and only costs pennies to make. Mix 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar, and up to 1/2 teaspoon of Dawn. You may add a few drops of a favorite essential oil such a lavender or citrus . Pour into a spray bottle.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday Dinner

I bought a frozen duck a few days ago, planning on cooking it for dinner the Sunday after Christmas.

DUCK

1. Get all of the ingredients together to season and prepare your duck for roasting..

2. Take the duck out of its packaging..Check the duck's cavities to remove giblets. Cut away any excess fat within the duck's cavity, around the neck, or anywhere else on the bird. Clean the outside of the duck thoroughly by running it under water to remove bacteria from the bird's surface. Once finished, allow it to dry somewhat before seasoning.

3. If the duck did not come secured, use string or rubber bands to hold the legs and wings in place against the body of the bird.

4. Season the bird with 1 tbsp. of parley, 1 tsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp. thyme and 1 tbsp. of pepper as well as anything else you desire. Rub over the bird on all sides.

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5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

6. Score the breast of the duck by cutting small slits into it with a sharp knife or by poking holes into it with a large fork. If you want, add additional seasoning into the scored portions of the duck or tuck in some natural herbs. Add a bit of orange zest or even some fresh cranberries.

7. Place the duck on a roasting rack that can sit on the top shelf of the oven. On the lower shelf of the oven place a large rectangular baking pan half full of hot water. Make certain that it is placed directly underneath the roasting rack on which the duck is resting. The pan must be the same size or larger than the bird's roasting rack. Place a tent of aluminum foil on top of the duck, tucking it gently around the bird..Cook the duck 10 minutes for each lb. After the appropriate cooking time has passed, check the duck for to see if it is done. If necessary, return the duck to the oven until it reaches the desired level of wellness.

18. If you want the duck breast to be crispy, place the bird underneath the broiler for about five to seven minutes to achieve the desired crispiness.

9. Make a sauce for the duck while it cooks, if you desire one. Use the giblets to make a broth and then add a bit of orange zest and orange juice, minced onion, a dash of paprika, and additional salt and pepper. To thicken it into a gravy use corn starch and water. To sweeten the sauce a bit more, add cranberry or a sweet wine or sherry to the sauce.

10 Once the duck is finished cooking, move it to a serving plate. Remove any string or rubber bands. Garnish and serve.



I've been looking through the grocery store flyers and making my shopping list. Took a break by reading some blogs from Mennonite Girls Can Cook I'd like to try this soon.

Chicken Enchiladas

  • 1 package Sundried Tomato Tortillas
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can green chilies
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 cups cooked leftover chicken, shredded or cubed
  • 1 ~ 5oo ml. light sour cream
  • 1 can mushroom soup
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar or use shredded tex mex cheese
  1. Spread the tortilla shells with a good tablespoon of refried beans.
  2. Mix together the black beans, corn, green chilies left over chicken andchopped onion.
  3. Mix together the mushroom soup and sour cream to make a sauce.
  4. Put one third of sauce on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Put one third in with the chicken mixture.
  6. Divide the chicken mixture between the tortilla shells, and roll up. Lay them in a greased 9 by 13 pan. . you may need another pan.
  7. Put the remainder sauce on top of the tortillas. . .and sprinkle with the cheese.
  8. Bake in a 350 oven for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the dish is heated through.
  9. Serve with salsa .. .guacamole and tortilla chips.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wise men

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Wise men still seek Him.

Countdown to Christmas

We are now counting down hour, not days. Last night, Katie's friend Lei-lei came over to give here a gift. I invited her to stay and decorate the gingerbread cookies that I had were still cooling in the racks. They played while I prepared bowls of powdered sugar icing in various colors and also lined up all the sprinkles. The kids are so creative. I was kept busy refilling bowls with colored icing, reminding them not to lick their sticky fingers, and trying to keep up with cleaning the kitchen.

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The Kids decorated these cookies.
Todays to do list:

Kids -
-Clean up stairs Bathroom
-Fold and PUT AWAY laundry

Walt-
-Pick up cards from B&N
-Pick up new carpet
-Purchase Holiday Beverages

Kim
-Keep Kitchen Clean
-Make Cookie trays and deliver
-Peel potatoes
-Make Perogi Dough
-Donation to S.S. (mom w/ 2 young children - in hospital, husband laid off)
- deliver Christmas Jar
-Buy ham ? and more veggies
-make perogi
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"Morrissey House" Cookie Tray ready for delivery.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Gift Package Sent Today

We put the final touches on the gift we are sending to Walt's sister in Colorado. Here is a card that was inserted explaining the gifts.

4 Seasons Flour Sack Towel Set by Kim

Long ago flour was sold in large cotton cloth bags. Our great (great) grandmothers did not waste anything and cut up the flour sacks to be made into other useful items such as curtains, cloth shirts and towels. Towels cut from these flour sacks were once used for all kinds of household tasks – from drying dishes and polishing glassware to straining foods and covering rising dough. These hand were designed and embroidered by Kim to reflect the Joy of each season.



Hand Knit Scarfs with Embellished Gloves by Kim and Katie

Kim has learned a new skill this fall. A two hour class at JoAnn Fabric has yielded a some wonderful goods. Each scarf has matching gloves that have been embellished by Katie.


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Morrissey House Wildflower Honey by Walt and Katie

2009 was a busy year for the “Little Homestead in the Village”. Besides the usual garden produce, canned foods and baked goods, we have a new offering. Walt has placed small apiary in the yard. Katie was the assistant when Walt went to get a sample of this honey.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's beging to look alot like Christmas.

I've been busy bringing the "magic of Christmas to our home". We've been baking for a few days. I've baked almost everything on my list with Katie and David helping by making a few too . Then we went out and got a tree. It's become a tradition to bundle up, find a tree farm like to to go out and cut a fresh one. It's a looked forward to family activity but for the second year in a row we ended up getting one already cut. The guys put it up in the usual corner of the Living Room. I'a a BIG balsam fir and smells wonderful. David and Katie found the boxes of ornaments in the basement and insisted that the tree get decorated.
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Monday, December 14, 2009

The Christmas concert

The Christmas season is always so busy for me. Cleaning, cooking. decorating, shopping, baking etc. It's so easy to loose site of the reason for the season.
This year Katie my youngest announced just before dinner, Mom, I forgot to tell you that we have our Christmas concert tonight. So we quickly ate, helped her select what to wear, did her hair, and got the family together for the concert. I did enjoy it. especially when the chorus-did their traditional last number Hallelujah from Handle's Messiah. and Invited those who wanted to come up and join them. And so I found the soprano section and join the choir " Hallelujah: for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Hallelujah!"
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This is Katie, the "Chick Drummer" in the precussion section of the High School Band's Christmas Concert. No your eyes aren't bad, this was the best shot I could take in zoomed in and with low light conditions.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Home Made Christmas 2009

I was just watching a television commercial for shopping on e-bay that basically put down hand made gifts. Why? Why put down someones loving effort ? I have no problem with non home made gifts. I am planning on giving my husband something nice and electronic (shh, he may be lurking) ditto some family members. I have received and enjoyed many nice gifts purchsaed on line and in malls. But there are those l gifts that come from the heart that are given with love that are so special.
Here at the "Little Homestead in the Village" we are making some homemade gifts. I finaly took a knitting class so that I can not only make clothing, but make gifts. So far this year we are making...

HAND KNIT SCARFS with MATCHING DECORATED GLOVES (Katie's idea)
HOME MADE TOFFEE
CINNAMON ROLLS
EMBROIDERED 4 SEASONS TEA TOWELS
Christmas embrodery
JAM from stawberries we picked, HONEY from our hive
COOKIE TRAY
SCHNAUZER DOG APPLIQUE FLEECE PILLOW (Katie's Idea
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Cookie Lineup

Ok, So I'm so far behind this year. I haven't started any shopping or made any christmas cookies. Regarding shopping, the little homestead in the village enjoys each season and holiday as it comes along. That means no Christmas preparations until after Thanksgiving. I would like to give friends and neighbors cookie trays. Here's what were planning to make -

MINCEMEAT
BANANA
MELTING MOMENTS
PEANUT BUTTER W/CHOCOLATE KISSES
ALMOND PASTE
ALMOND STRAWBERRY LINZER
SOUR CREAM BUTTER HORNS
CINNAMON TRIANGLES
BAKLAVA
SUGAR COOKIE CUTOUTS
JELLO FLAVORED
RUM BALLS
GINGERBREAD

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

T-Day preparation

Ok, let me first get this off my chest. I dislike hearing the holiday called Turkey Day. It's THANKSGIVING Day. To those who do call it that, I say " can't you even take one day to acknowledge that we should give thanks for what we have ?" Americans have been blessed with so much. As Bill O'Reily said, tongue in cheek " if you're religious give thanks to the Lord, and if not, to the solstice". Yes, we should give thanks to the Lord for all He has done for us. My heart sings, "All I have needed, His hand has provided" . At our table tomorrow, my husband will thank God not only for the food on the table but for many other blessings. Even if you don't thank God for these things, how about acknowledging those who make this American life possible. Perhaps, the farmers who grow and raised the food on our table or our men and women in uniform (military and first responders), or the fathers (and mothers) or this great nation, who followed a dream, who paid a price for the freedom to worship God as we see fit, for the freedom to use our intellect and the strength of our back to build a better life for us and our children, and to have a say in our government.

Today - This is my to do list .
- tweak menu
a call Hal with Details about our invitation to dinner
a clean out pantry
a make poolish for bread
a make pie dough
a make dough for pumpkin doughnuts
a make cranberry sauce
a make Jello
a Clean out Fridge
- wash kitchen floor
a clean out back room
a clean out mudroom & wash walls & floor
a wash crystal & good china, wipe down china cabinet
a buy corn starch, cheese, crackers, cider, eggnog and wine
a clean 2 bathrooms
- clean up my upstairs "anteroom"
a clean up office
a Clean up the Den
- Vacuum Downstairs
a Vacuum steps
- clean up yard
- Check propane supply for Frying Turkey
- Check to see if Turkey is thawed
- e-mail sibs and family Thanksgiving cards

Now I know this seems like a LONG list, however some (much) of these will be delegated to my Dear husband and the darling children. Although they are no longer little, I still sometimes call them the "kid-lets".

BASIC WHOLE CRANBERRY SAUCE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups (1 12-oz package) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • Optional Pecans, orange peel, raisins, currants, blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice.

PREPARATION

1 Wash and pick over cranberries. In a saucepan bring to a boil water and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst.

2 At this point you can add all number of optional ingredients. We typically mix in a half a cup of roughly chopped pecans with or without a few strips of orange peel. You can add a cup of raisins or currants. You can add up to a pint of fresh or frozen blueberries for added sweetness. Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice can be added too.

3 Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

Cranberry sauce base makes about 1 cup.


WHOLE CRANBERRY SAUCE WITH ROSEMARY

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups (1 12-oz package) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • PREPARATION

    1 Wash and pick over cranberries. In a saucepan bring to a boil water and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst.

    2 At this point you can add rosemary.

    3 Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

    Cranberry sauce base makes about 1 cup.

    Monday, November 23, 2009

    Things I've Done

    I was reading a blog from the Farmers Oldest Daughter. She copied this list from another blog . Here is the list. I put in bold blue that I have done. I think my husband may be surprised by at least one of these (lol)...

    1. Started your own blog
    2. Slept under the stars
    3. Played in a band
    4. Visited Hawaii
    5. Watched a meteor shower
    6. Given more than you can afford to charity
    7. Been to Disneyworld
    8. Climbed a mountain
    9. Held a praying mantis
    10. Sang a solo
    11. Bungee jumped
    12. Visited Paris
    13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
    14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
    15. Adopted a child
    16. Had food poisoning
    17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
    18. Grown your own vegetables
    19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
    20. Slept on an overnight train
    21. Had a pillow fight
    22. Hitch hiked
    23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
    24. Built a snow fort
    25. Held a lamb
    26. Gone skinny dipping
    27. Run a Marathon
    28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
    29. Seen a total eclipse
    30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
    31. Hit a home run
    32. Been on a cruise
    33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
    34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
    35. Seen an Amish community
    36. Taught yourself a new language
    37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied - We should be satisfised with what we have.
    38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
    39. Gone rock climbing
    40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
    41. Sung karaoke
    42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
    43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
    44. Visited Africa
    45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
    46. Been transported in an ambulance
    47. Had your portrait painted
    48. Gone deep sea fishing
    49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
    50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
    51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
    52. Kissed in the rain
    53. Played in the mud
    54. Gone to a drive-in theater
    55. Been in a movie
    56. Visited the Great Wall of China
    57. Started a business
    58. Taken a martial arts class
    59. Visited Russia
    60. Served at a soup kitchen
    61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
    62. Gone whale watching
    63. Got flowers for no reason
    64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
    65. Gone sky diving
    66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
    67. Bounced a check
    68. Flown in a helicopter
    69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
    70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
    71. Eaten Caviar
    72. Pieced a quilt
    73. Stood in Times Square
    74. Toured the Everglades
    75. Been fired from a job
    76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
    77. Broken a bone
    78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
    79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
    80. Published a book
    81. Visited the Vatican
    82. Bought a brand new car
    83. Walked in Jerusalem
    84. Had your picture in the newspaper
    85. Read the entire Bible
    86. Visited the White House
    87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating ( is fish an animal?)
    88. Had chickenpox
    89. Saved someone’s life
    90. Sat on a jury
    91. Met someone famous
    92. Joined a book club
    93. Lost a loved one
    94. Had a baby
    95. Seen the Alamo in person
    96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
    97. Been involved in a law suit
    98. Owned a cell phone
    99. Been stung by a bee
    Which of these things have you done ?
    Pumpkins!!! - I just read in the news paper that a "Weak Pumpkin Harvest May Make Pie Filling Harder To Find" No worries here. I have about 10 cups of frozen pumpkin purree in the freezer, 3 pumpkins from the garden sitting on my counter and I just bought 4 small pie pumkins (25 ¢ each) from Twin Orchards. I may go back for more as the Pumpkin Donuts I made on Sunday was a great hit.

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Eat Fresh

    Yesterday, I visited a small farm. We were there for more than an hour talking about raising sheep and goats and knowing where your food comes from.

    Yesterday, I fixed a nice S-L-O-W cooked meal.
    Pulled pork ( made from a pork shoulder roast that was on sale -48 ¢/ lb- I bought a $3.00 piece) That was boiled with cloves and peppercorns shredded then a sauce made from honey, ACV, lots of fresh minced garlic, some ketchup , some sweet baby rays sauce and a TBS hot sauce and salt. That was served on my own "hamburger buns". I made the dough in the morning and let it do a slow rise in the fridge - when I got home from the farm, I shaped 12 large pieces into generous rolls. Then a quick rise then pop in a hot (550 degree oven) They quickly rose filled the house with the aroma of fresh baked bread.

    Friday, November 6, 2009

    Keeping Busy

    I'm not the only one laying a supply of food down for a "cold winter day". I've come across so many other blogs like MrsSurvival to Keeper of the Home that have information on storing food.  Seems like so many feel the need to stock up some emergency supplies for when SHTF (stuff hits the fan). Melissa Ringstaff, of Vintage Homemaker said it best in  her March 27,2009 blog entry. You can read it here. As for me, I'm trusting God to give me wisdom. I'm putting in a supply of food and necessities so that we don't waste time or money if I run out of something. I can now replace my stockpile with items when they are on sale. And if times get hard, then I can take care of my family and friends.  I have also built a "Flu preparedness kit" - a box filled with items needed to help prevent flu and to use when someone becomes ill. I've already dipped into it when Brian showed up at the door with a temp of 102 F - he left with a bag filled ginger ale, juice, chicken soup, tissues, mucinex, vitamins and oscillococcinum.

    Today I made canned chicken breast for the first time. I followed the Ball Blue Book Recipe for cold pack chicken.

    Put chicken into hot sterilized jars. Cover with hot water or broth leaving 1 inch headroom. I put a pinch of salt into each jar but thats optional. Pressure can at 10 lb. for 1 hour 30 min.

    I bought a 10 lb. bag of boneless skinless chicken breast, cut off the fat and quickly cut into wide strips. I filled 6 wide mouth quarts and a1/2 pint jar. That's a good size for a quick emergency meal for Brian who is now in his own apartment not far from home.

    Since this was my first attempt at canning chicken, I decided use a jar for dinner. I was happy with the result. Keep in mind that canned chicken is not the same as fresh. The texture is different, but it's a good thing to have for a quick meal.

    Thursday, November 5, 2009

    Busy Autumn Days

    Tuesday November 3
    On Tuesday I drove to Smithies in Rome to buy beef - 10 lbs ground beef, several packs of T-bone steaks, a rump roast and some rib roasts. I paid no more than $3.50 / lb for the steaks. He raises meat as a "hobby" . Although not "certified organic", I'm happy to be able to buy meat from him. He only uses antibiotics when needed and uses no hormones.

    Smithie then sent me to his neighbors who gave me 5 pie pumpkins. After coming back home and cramming the steaks into a already full freezer, I worked in the garden for several hours. Walt and I went to vote. For dinner I made T-bone steaks and home made noodles with butter, garlic and herb sauce.

    Wednesday November 4
    Here is what I did today...
    * Make a poolish for bread
    * Cut 6 lbs of round roast (beef) into 1 inch cubes for canning
    * Cut 3 lbs of beef into thin pieces and put into a marinade for making jerky.
    * Designed, printed and delivered invitations for Katie's party.
    * Made 2 quart jars of yogurt.
    * Planted 3 kinds of tulip bulbs in garden.
    * Made homemade chicken pot pie for dinner.
    * Made a batch of pumpkin cookies from our garden pumpkins.

    Thursday November 5
    * Baked 2 loves of crusty bread
    * Drained marinated beef and placed on racks in low oven for 5 hours
    * Cleaned kitchen
    * Washed 2 loads laundry
    * Pressure canned 3 quarts and 1 pint of beef in wine sauce.
    * Went grocery shopping today.
    - Bought 10 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast @ $ 1.44/lb
    - 1 small boneless pork roast @ $1.79/lb
    - 1 green pepper @ $1.20/lb (too much!)
    - 5 cans of black olives @ $1.00 eack
    - 3 boxes pasta @ $ 0.77 /lb
    - 1 fresh pineapple @ $1.98 each

    My food storage plans are saving us money. There is not much that I really need and I today bought everything (except the green pepper) at a pretty good price.

    For dinner I butter-flied the small pork roast,sprinkled allspice salt and fresh minced garlic and a layer of sauteed sorrel and onions from the garden mixed with crushed Ritz crackers. This was rolled up and baked at 350ºF. Served with boiled potatoes and fresh green beans dressed with a fresh garlic and butter sauce. YUM!!