Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Questions and Answers and Comments, Oh My!
Starting way back in August, I have to share that after my comment on peaches in the August 2 Iced Tea chat that it's about 50/50 for eating peaches with the skin on, lol.
Sarah asked about how to make the Armenian potatoes in my first menu plan for August. Those are easy peasy: 4 cups diced potatoes, 1/4 cup oil, 3/4 cup water, 1 garlic (yes, it's a lot. I generally use two generous teaspoons of minced garlic, 1 tbsp of paprika, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp dried parsley, 1/4 cup diced tomato. Bake in a covered casserole dish, 350f for 45 minutes. These potatoes are lovely with a good roast. Katie has even used the potatoes and ingredients as her vegetable in a crock pot Pot Roast. These are the same potatoes I'll occasionally add to a pizza if we have leftovers.
She also asked where I find recipes? Everywhere. Seriously. I don't generally visit recipe sites but courtesy Pinterest I am reading more and more of them, but I also read several women's magazines (passalongs from Mama) and I watch a few programs on television (Chopped, Pioneer Woman, Little Paris Kitchen, French Food At Home). I enjoy trying to replicate foods from restaurant menu descriptions (Santa Fe Chicken is a take off of a dish at Chili's). I have a bookshelf filled with cookbooks and the truth is I treat them like books to be read. I lean hard upon three cookbooks. First is my beloved third copy of The Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook, Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook(1970 edition), The Betty Crocker Cookbook. Truth told I seldom use those except to double check the tried and true recipes in each that I rely heavily upon.
On the August 9 A Year of Savings post, Karla asked if I made my own noodles for chicken noodles. I didn't this time. I have made my own and I think the taste is beyond awesome compared to dried noodles. My trouble is that I seldom think far enough ahead when I do these dishes. I've learned to keep noodles on hand (for years they were a special purchase instead of part of my pantry) namely because I hate having illness in the house and not having chicken noodle soup to make things better. I should practice making noodles more often. I've never tried the frozen ones but I have used flour tortilla to make a replica of a southern Chicken Dumpling dinner. It works.
Melanie asked what my plans were for this tray I repainted:
I debuted the new Morning Coffee Chat in August and I'm happy to say that has proven to be one of the posts I get the most comments on. I'm so glad that you all enjoy them! It pleases me no end to post one of those morning chats and find my inbox filling with comments just moments later, lol. Thank you for letting me know this was a good idea. And then I debuted the Home Economics series. I have a few posts drafted for future posts. I am looking high and low for ideas that might be helpful, how to articles, basic recipes, etc. I found the Invalid bed Bath article in one of the October magazines. We'll have that one coming up shortly.
Commenting on the August 20 Morning Coffee Chat, several of you shared your favorite music to listen to when you're home alone. I love this insight into your lives...and I thank you all for joining in the conversation around that morning coffee!
I wanted to share Sarah's comment: "I love it that you are on a tight budget but do not avoid doing even major repairs to keep your home up or to have it redone to your liking. In the long run of course doing repairs saves you lots of money over not doing them. Some people though forget to budget in those essentials." I agree that many people fail to plan for these sorts of projects. Our house is our HOME, and it's paid for. At this stage in our lives I don't see us leaving it until we're too old to care for it, which I hope is far in the future. We realized this year that this has to be our 'dream home'. We have several projects we want to do. This back porch (a covering over the existing deck, new steps and railings) is part necessity and part creating that dream home. In summer we can't sit on the deck after 9am. It gets too hot. In rainy weather we get soaked just trying to get in the doorway. The railings are wobbly, the bottom step has been repaired once already and is broken again. Other plans for our home include painting (admittedly that's my plan and I'll attend to it if it's to be done), replacing floor coverings, permanent underpinning. We try to work these things into our budget and we tend to them one at a time.
Lena did a wink/tease about my big candy purchase at CVS on the August 26 "A Year of Savings" post. I do like my sweets and that's the truth, lol. "A little something sweet" is a familiar phrase following a meal. In my defense we are still eating those candies. We've had visitors here who pawed through the jar and took home a few extra in their pockets, and John and I have had one or two pieces after a meal. I am actually planning another stock up shortly, after Halloween. That should net us enough candy to last until after Christmas. Chocolate has gotten so expensive that I love buying it on sale.
I announced my opening a flea market booth starting September 1 in the August 29 Morning Coffee Chat. I thank all of you who commented and wished me well. It's certainly been fun so far! I've enjoyed getting out of the house a little more and interacting with people. I'm curious to see how I did in sales now the month has ended. I have the October rent set aside and managed to pay off my shelves between allowance I'd saved and little extra that John gave me to invest in my booth. I'll be going in this week to freshen it up and add new pieces and remove a few. I've got a lot more ideas than I have money or time, but that's the same situation I deal with at home all the time and I usually find my way around the obstacles here. I figure I'll do the same with my booth.
For my first menu plan in September, I had two comments. One from Angela about what my favorite cookbook is. I think I replied to her about that one. It's The Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook.
Susie from Persimmon Moon Cottage (don't you just LOVE that blog name?!) added this comment to the menu plan post: It's always amazing to me when someone says they don't make a menu plan; they just "wing it" at the grocery store. I agree. I know people who do this and they seem to manage on their budgets just fine but it's so much easier to plan first and shop after. And honestly, I don't have the same budget those folks do. Of course, it's a lot of work to plan out meals, checking to see what you have on hand, looking at the sales sheets, etc. I know this too well. When my family was all living at home and we had '$X' as a grocery budget, I often spent upwards of a good 5 hours each week planning, gathering coupons, making lists, etc. And then I'd spend another 5 hours shopping! Of course that was only done twice a month but gracious that's 20 hours of time. I just figured that if I was making a job of homemaking and only homemaking, I'd better do a very good job at it. So I work hard. So does my husband! However, these days if I don't want what is on the menu, I can 'shop at home and wing it'. Luxury of a stocked pantry and freezer.
On Sept 3 I posted the end of August A Year of Savings. That post too generated a few comments, most of them related to frying chicken. Rhonda said she'd not seen a country style cut up chicken. This is not common to all areas of the U.S. and I'm not sure it is to the South either but it is common to my part of the state of Georgia. We can buy about any chicken part you want in family packs, a whole chicken, a cut up chicken or a country style cut up chicken. The country style chicken runs about $.10/pound more than a regular cut up chicken all because of that wishbone. But I have to say that it's one of my favorite cuts of chicken because the parts are all meaty and you get ten pieces.
As for frying chicken, I had a fun conversation with my hair dresser while getting my hair cut. I related my frying chicken to her, and mentioned I'd not done it in ages. She told me that just a few weeks before her husband said he'd like fried chicken and it was a Sunday evening. She sent him to town to buy chicken, then she fried it for supper. "Well I guess I started a tradition, " she said, "because now every Sunday evening I have to fry chicken for supper!" lol.
I used to make oven fried chicken all the time and it came out nice and crisp. I just floured my chicken parts, put on a greased baking sheet and then sprayed cooking oil over the chicken and baked at 425f, turning it half way through the cooking (usually about 35 minutes). That was good, but there's something about frying that just changes everything. I don't deep fry when I fry. I just put about 1/2 inch or so of oil in the pan and turn it frequently...but I admit it's likely to be a good little while before I fry again.
I mentioned a Civil War Diary I'd read in the Sept. 15 Morning Coffee Chat. Melinda asked me to share that link. Happy to do so and sorry I took so long! You can find it here: http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/fisherjulia/fisher.html There are others available from that same site, so have a look around.
Thank you too for noticing when I changed up the blog background and header photo. I was ready for something that looked more seasonal and that suited me right well.
Sept 20 Morning Coffee Chat: Sarah asked if I meant to have a wire or something to hold the bottom of the porch curtains. I'd thought about using grommets and tying them off but I don't know if I will or not. The material is so light that I'm afraid the tension would be too much for them.
Karla commented on that post about my morning glories. They were so pretty! I spent all this morning pulling them up as they had died and were getting ready to seed everywhere.
Several commented about not sleeping well. I finally went back to a tried and true formula: I sprinkled lavender oil on my pillow. It worked beautifully! When I'm really desperate I'll take a Pamprin. It has an antihistamine in it that knocks me right out. I know many use Benadryl but I have a problem with medications reacting in an opposite way. For me it just makes me frantic with the need to stay awake and be busy! I will say that in my youth I was an insomniac and I came to loathe sleep aids which tended to make me stay awake all night and feel groggy all day long. Now that I'm older a few night's missed sleep mean a few more brain cells don't kick in to work as they ought and I don't need any less working, lol. So I will use whatever sleep aid is necessary. Blissfully, Lavender oil does work more often than not.
Food related posts got lots of comments in September especially the leftover makeover recipes and the new Tried and True posts.
Sarah I have never made pesto but I do buy a jarred brand during Aldi's Italian Foods Sale weeks. When I open the jar I put in an ice cube tray and freeze the rest. Then I can take a bit out to add to soups, mayonnaise for sandwiches, to sprinkle over fresh sliced tomatoes, etc. I just saw a recipe on the cooking show Extra Virgin. The chef made a pesto lasagna that was lasagna noodles, Bechamel sauce and pesto. Sounded terrific to me!
Lona: Hail fellow Georgian! My two youngest live in Athens and they like it very well indeed except on game days, lol I love to go up and visit them. It's high time I went up once more. It is apple season and I bought the best Wine Sap apples at a little fruit stand just outside of Athens.
Christian Girl Thank YOU for saying I encouraged you. It is my mission, and I mean that sincerely, to encourage all homemakers in their home lives. I wanted to be to others what I so desperately needed in my younger homemaking years, an instructor and champion and companion in struggles and triumphs. There are days when I think I do so little and then you commented and it changed my perspective. So thank you and thank you for encouraging me, too, to continue doing my little part.
Now I have two more comments to address: One from Pam, I think, who asked if I'd thought of shading my windows to keep the warmth out. In really hot summers, we usually do one of three things: aluminum foil over the upper panes, shiny side out which reflects a good deal of the heat back outdoors, a baffle which I put in between the interior and storm windows and done the same or using an insulation product (sort of bubble wrap with foil covering) hung as a shade beneath the shades. This year I didn't bother because the weather was truly so mild and I don't believe it would have made much difference.
The problem with the house getting stuffy with open windows has everything to do with not having any cross currents. Not one window in any room allows for a cross breeze. Hence it gets stuffy.
And the last comment is for the ANONYMOUS soul who didn't leave her name questioning my giving my dogs eating chicken bones. She wanted to know did my vet know? My vet has never said any thing one way or another. I've had dogs my whole life. Not one of them died of anything except old age. My dogs are 13 and 5 and they occasionally get chicken bones or beef bones. Occasionally. It's not their steady diet. They've also been known to eat squirrel, armadillo, wild birds. They are country dogs and they live like country dogs and the life seems to agree with them mightily. My vet is a country vet by the way and she agrees with the lifestyle the dogs have.
There were a great many comments over the past two months. Some of you shared that you'd been reading for months now and have only recently commented. Thank you for letting me know you are out there and that you enjoy what you find here. Some of you are old friends (you know who you all are) that I've never met in person, but you comment and remind me that friendship is of the heart and that's as tangible a thing as internet satellite beams or whatever makes these things work. Some of you are new found friends and you've allowed me the privilege of sharing your life through your own blog or via comments on this blog. Some of you shared funny stories that made me chuckle, or shared your own hurts and struggles with issues I've mentioned I'm struggling with. Thank you. YOU are a blessing to me. Thank you.