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