Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cottage Cheese Herb Bread

Saturday, I had a list of errands and cleaning to do. This was my favorite chore. Early in the morning, I dumped some flour into warm water, added a little yeast, mixed it , covered it and continued with other projects until much latter. When I finally got back to it, the yeast was causing the slurry to bubble. I added salt, some leftover cottage cheese, garlic powder and dried basil. I gave it a short kneading , shaped two loves, let it rise a bit and popped it into a hot oven until golden


Friday, February 26, 2010

Independence Days

I 've been coming across blogs posts logging their independence day activities. What is an independence day? You can read about it here : Independence Day Challengee

Here is my first Independence Day Challenge post.

Plant Something:
basil, and carnival mix sweet pepper seeds in a windowsill "greenhouse".

Harvest Something: It's all under the snow. :(

Preserve Something: - Katie and her friend Leandra helped me can mandarin oranges. We peeled and removed as much white pitch as we could from about 4lbs. oranges. They made a light simple syrup. We put orange sections in sterilized jars and I ladled the hot syrup into the jars leaving inch headroom. They poked chopsticks into the jars removing airholes. I wiped the rims with a cloth dipped into hot water. we then put lids and rings on, made sure they were tight and I put into a boiling water bath for 10 min. We made 4 pints, 1 12 oz., and 7 half pints. Some of the jars have a bit of spice such as a small piece of cinnamon, or ginger , cloves or star anise. I also put in the freezer 5 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast bought on sale @$ 1.77/lb.


Waste Not: Saving newspaper for the garden, egg boxes to offer to someone who is selling eggs.

Want Not: I took an inventory of my "store". Now I know what I need to use up and what I should be planning on canning and acquiring

Build Community Food Systems: Although I'm not a member, I am telling others about the foodshed buying club.

Eat the Food: Fresh Baked Bread with apple butter made from windfall apples a two years ago.

I have been working on developing a "Store" ie. a storage area. In this case, its a corner of my basement where I store not only my canning supplies and jars filled with wonderful come canned goodies but filled with things I bought on sale so that we'll have most of what we need. I still have a long way to go, there are some obvious omissions but heres what I have so far.

In the Store
King Arthur Special Flour 50 lbs.
Sugar 5 lbs
Yeast 1 large bag
Rice 20lbs
Coffee 4 2lb cans, 1 -10 oz.
Green Tea 1 box
"Real Lemon" 3
Real Lime (small) 2
Vinegar 1 gal
Olive Oil 1 gal
vegetable oil 3 bottles
Popcorn 2 boxes
Cherios 2 boxes
Crushed Tomatoes 9 cans
Marinated Artichokes 11 jars
canned fruit 12 cans
Chicken or beef broth 9 cans
Black Olives 8 cans
Drink Mix 2 cans
Dish Soap 1
Pinesol Cleaner 1
Shampoo/conditioner 4 bottles each
Fells Naptha soap 1

This is not a comprehensive list, nor does this include items in my kitchen pantries or freezers.


Home Canned

Jars - 2010
Kiwi Jam 6 small jars
Mandarin Oranges 4 pints, 1 12 oz. 6 - 1/2 pints
Jerky 1 quart
Potatoes 7 quarts
Kidney Beans 4 quarts
Pinto Beans 3 quarts
Dehydrated Onions 1 pint
Dehydrated Peppers 1 pint
Dehydrated Mushrooms 1 pint

Jars - 2009
Low Sugar Strawberry Jam 5 pints, 2 - 12 oz.
Strawberry Jam 4 - 1/2 pints
Ginger Peach jam 7 - 1/2 pints
Strawberry Lemonade 5 quarts, 2 pints
Potatoes 1 quart
Chicken 3 quarts
Beef in Wine 2 quarts
Bread and Butter Pickles 6 quarts, 3 pints
Dill Pickles 1 pint
Annie's Salsa 3 pints
Honey 1 quart
Dried Mint for tea 1 gal
Dried tarragon 1 small jar
Dried Sage 1 small jar

Jars- 2008
Peach Butter 2 - 1/2 pints
Apple Butter 1 pint, 1 - 12 oz, 2 - 1/2 pints
Apple sauce 1 - 12 oz
spiced peaches 2 pints, 1 - 12 oz
Spiced peaches w/ cherries 1 pint

In the Root Cellar
Garden Garlic - lots!
Garden butternut squash - 4
Garden Pumpkin - 2
Local potatoes - 1/4 of a 50lb bag
onions - 4 lbs

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Simple Woman's Daybook -February 25, 2010

FOR TODAY~ Outside my Window ...White! It's snowing and snow is covering everything

I am thinking ... about the late winter gardening chores I should be doing, Winter-sowing seeds, pruning grapes, checking on the bees.

I am thankful for… my husband. his strength, wisdom ... that he works so hard for us, his so many talents and how he is able to tackle a job he never did before, figure out how to do it and get it done. He's amazing. He's my hero!

From the kitchen ... leftover apple brandy chicken breast from last night's dinner, a poolish - a slurry of water, flour and a little yeast- bubbling until I add more ingredients and shape it into bread loaves and bake), sausage and scrambled eggs, the smell of fresh coffee.

I am creating ... Working on several projects... knitting dishcloths, working on big flannel scrappy quilt and I have been looking at my fabric stash and trying to decide on another sewing project.

I am going ... nowhere today, I hope. It's snowing and I have would like to finish a few house projects today.

I am wearing ... my yellow cotton nightgown, trimmed in yellow eyelet lace.

I am reading ... Current issue of National Geographic, Utica Observer Dispatch and some cook books.

I am hoping ... That CDP will call soon and offer us a contract. We need the work.

I am hearing ... David and Katie getting ready for school, the televisions news (today show) carrying a story from the olympics and no, even though there are many school cancellations due to the weather, their school is not closed today

Around the house ... the usual clutter, a new yellow gingham curtain for the kitchen window. (yea! I finished sewing it yesterday.)Photobucket
One of my favorite things ... essential oils in my favorite smells- eucalyptus, citrus, lavender, pine., used for cleaning or in added to a potpourris.

A few plans for the rest of the week.. would like to put up some citrus, maybe canned clementines.

A picture I'd like to share


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Feeling Thankful

Today is Valentines Day. Walt and the the 2 youngest seemed to be up to something this morning while I was cleaning up from breakfast. Then when my back was turned I was given some cards and a single red rose. I kissed each one, asked them to wait there with closed eyes and I put small boxes of chocolates in each hand. I had thought long and hard about buying 5 little boxes at 99 ¢ each. We're on a tight budget and I was planning making some homemade treats.

I took Katie and David bowling as I've been doing every Sunday morning since January 1st. David is on the bowling team at school but really needs extra practice. Katie likes to come along. The games are a $1 each On Sunday mornings. They play 3 games each. David has his own shoes and Katie rents for $2.50 I don't bowl ( don't even ask me, I 'm not very good and I don't like to do it) but I watch them. I also let them share a drink from the vendo. This sets me back only about $10 each week.

When we got back home there was a surprise waiting from my oldest son Brian. There was a rose (with babies breath and fern) for Katie and one for me. He fond vases for them and wrote a note about the favorite ladies: the girls who always love him.

I 'm so thankful; I am loved,I have a husband who works hard and appreciated my efforts My children thoughtful and loving. We're on a tight budget right now, but we eat like kings. Yesterday we had Thomas Bagels with cream cheese and Kiwi jam for breakfast. Lunch was homemade soup... sauteed onions and garlic from our garden, chicken broth, cream of celery soupy, carrots, local potatoes and cabbage, bag of frozen snow pea from the garden and seasoning. Dinner homemade pizza. Breakfast today omelet. Lunch leftovers. Dinner pork roast with slivers of garden garlic, thyme and crushed juniper berries en-robed with bacon slices. This was served buttered boiled potatoes and leftover broccoli, cauliflower and peas polonaise style.

I'm happy and thankful. I really don't need much. I have a good storage... for example, I want to make a valentines confection but I was out of powdered sugar... Instead of going to the store, I took a peek at my "store" There are still two bags of powdered sugar. I also picked up my jar of dried thyme. Barely 1/4 tsp left in the jar, but no worries, another trip to my "store" revealed a mason jar filled with stems of dried thyme. Just 5 minutes spent picking out stems and I filled my small spice jar and still have lots to spare. I think I have enough to last until spring.

Valentines Day Mints

1 egg white
4 C. powdered sugar
1/3 C. light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. Creme De mint extract

Using a mixer, beat the egg in a metal bowl until frothy but not stiff. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and mix well. By hand, mix in the corn syrup and peppermint extract or oil. Knead the mixture with your hands until it has the smooth consistency of dough. Add a bit more powdered sugar if necessary so that the mixture isn't sticky. Coat a hard surface and rolling pin with extra powdered sugar and roll out the dough until it is about 1/4" thick. Using a mini heart-shaped cutter, cut out as many shapes as you can. Place the hearts on a cookie rack and gather the remaining dough to roll out and cut again. Continue gathering and cutting until you use up all the dough. Let the hearts get firm in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to an hour.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Crafts and Dinner

It was a beautiful sunny morning again. I never did get into the hot tub yesterday, Walt slept past 9am and when he finally got out of bed, the weather changed, the sky was grey and it was colder. The moment was gone. Today is another day. I went to Johanna Fabric and bought some remnants - more flannel for the scrappy quilt, several half yards of various calicos for a future project, a yard each of blue and orange ribbon (school colors) for Katie's hair, some spare bobbins, a package of red buttons for crafting and a skein of cotton "sugar and cream" cotton yarn. When I got back home I cleaned up the downstairs, put a fresh tablecloth on the table set out the centerpiece of fresh mini red carnations and baby's breath, Then Katie and I made a quick valentines decoration from buttons, paddle wire and a scrap of calico for a bow.


Now time to plan a special dinner. I have a 50 lb. bag of red potatoes in the root cellar, So we had boiled potatoes with parley butter, steamed cauliflower and green peas and Basil Pork Chops. I found this recipe on Mommy What's For Dinner.

Basil Pork Chops

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
4 boneless pork loin chops (1/2 inch thick and 4 ounces each)

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, basil, salt and chili powder. Gradually stir in 1 tablespoon oil until crumbly. Rub over both sides of pork chops.
In a large skillet, cook pork in remaining oil over medium heat for 7-8 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.

Servings: 4
Time to Prepare: 25 minutes

Be careful not to scorch the sugar! This is surprisingly good. My first taste I thought the basil might be overwhelming but by the second bite, I decided that it was "spot on". Try this if you are looking for something different.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook

I found the Simple Woman's Daybook online and enjoyed reading about other woman's daily lives.


FOR TODAY - Thursday february 11, 2010

Outside my window... Morning sunlight reflecting off the buildings across the street.

I am thinking... about how to add to and replenish items in my food storage "store" even though I'm right now on a tight budget. I'd like to get some raw sugar and 50 lbs. of bread flour soon.

I am thankful for... A beautiful crisp cold February day with a blue sky. That we have a good contract with RA. That I did put away food for the slow months ( Feb, Mar. etc) my freezer is full, I have jars of veggies, meat , and fruits that I canned and I have extra cans, boxes and packages of things that we use often.

From the kitchen... 18 lemon muffins with a dab of stawberry jam sweetened with a dab of honey, for dinner "Boiled New England Dinner" - a small piece of chuck roast, peeled potatoes and carrot chunks, cabbage wedges, onion slices seasoned with sea salt, some peppercorns, two bay leaves and some fresh lemon thyme and parsley sprigs I found in the garden (under the snow). For dessert, chocolate cake!

I am wearing...My only pair of jeans, my favorite old sweater with 3/4 length sleeves, maroon slippers and my silver "special" necklace that I wear most of the time.

I am creating... Still working on making a Scrappy Flannel Quilt. I may also take some time to make a Valentines day decoration or treat. Also working on photoshopping "botanical prints" from the wild flower photos I took last year.

I am going... to the hot tub with Walt soon. We don't get into the hot tub too often and certainly not much during the day. But Walt has been working hard long hours on the Security System installation at R.A. - today is an "at the office" day for him an we have blue skys which is not very common in the Mohawk Valley. Time to enjoy one of the simple pleasure of life. Then off to spend time at the office to finish the books and to learn how to use the recorder that we bought for our client's new security system.

I am reading... too many things... other blogs, seed catalogs, Mother Earth News, the local paper and The Adirondack Almanac.

I am hoping... That the economy won't be as bad as I think it may get.

I am hearing... not much, the normal house humming and the sound of cars driving by ... all else is quiet.

Around the house... Katie is sick, David is off to school , Danny and Walt are still sleeping.I'm planning my day and menu.

One of my favorite things... watching birds at the feeders.

A few plans for the rest of the week: I hope to can 20 lbs. of dry pinto beans ( I found them for 50¢ a lb. at Hannaford. Planning on working on the company books and helping Walt with the security system.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...Photobucket Taken on a trip to Boonville NY with my daughter Katie.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Finally finishing the apron

I like aprons. I like pretty, feminine aprons to keep my clothing clean when I cook. I like to wear aprons with big pockets when I clean the house. Big pockets are catch-alls for odd little items that need to be put away. I stuff them in my pockets and put them away later. I also like to wear an apron when I run out to the garden to get one ingredient needed for dinner, say a few sprigs of parsley. I inevitably find some other things to pick, a perfect tomato or cuke or maybe a handful of beans. These can go into my pockets too.

So two years ago I started sewing an apron. I didn't have a pattern and like so many things that I do, I made it up and figured it out as I went along.

Do you want to see it ?