Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Questions, Answers and Comments Oh My!
Well Hello...I have been resting. I needed it and I'm glad I took the break. Of course, all work didn't stop. Does it ever? There are so many necessary things we must do. But you know it was awfully pleasant to take a magazine to the front porch and enjoy the breeze, to take morning Bible study on the back porch with my coffee and watch the sun rise higher in the sky. Lovely.
I thought I'd answer your questions and comments from April. I like to let you know that I've been reading but I don't always have time to reply right away. I know you all understand that.
My first Frugal Week post several of you commented on my statement that I'd forgotten broccoli I'd steamed in the microwave the day before. I'm torn between being terribly glad that I'm not alone in being forgetful...and can't help but wonder how much is busyness and how much is mid-life mind...which I truly do think is more related to busyness than any of us give credence to! Susie & Courtney, at least I know I'm in good company!
Glenda shared her frugal activities for the week. I liked reading of all that she did. And if any of the rest of you want to share or link in to those posts please do. I'd enjoy reading about all that you do in your homes as well.
Rebecca, that AC is on and off and on and off from February to end of April here in Georgia. I think now it's on for the next six to seven months. I'd love to blow some warmer air your way earlier in the spring and have you blow some cooler air my way along about 1st of October!
The second week post several commented on the wreaths. I like the one with the Forsythia only the best. The one on the front door is a little fancier than I want really but I was out of Forsythia picks and I used what I had. Thank you all for your very sweet comments on that.
This week, Sarah shared a bit about her frugal week. I like to read Sarah's letters (they are too long for just a comment) because I glean some good tips and wisdom every single time. This statement was a stand-out one for me this particular week: Seems so much of the grocery ads now are full of snack foods and the back page full of wines and alcohol drinks. Not much basic cooking items are shown. I can't say I hadn't noticed but I hadn't if you know what I mean.
Week three Passover is a very special time and if you have opportunity to attend a Passover Seder at your church, or a local church (many are presenting them of late as Christians become more and more aware of their Jewish roots) I urge you to do so if only for the experience. Courtney I never once thought of using celery as my bitter herb...That would have saved on the purchase of the parsley but I've made sure to get good use from those herbs. I love that your kids ask for the celery with salt water as a treat, lol.
By the way, I bought bunches, put stem ends in jars of water and then pulled a plastic zippered baggie down over the top. Those herbs lasted nearly a month before starting to show age.
Week four Sarah asked how I do my cookie rolls for the freezer. I usually just form rough logs and wrap in waxed paper but I've found that with a really buttery dough that is not always ideal. It tends to dry out the cookie dough even if the rolls are then stored in a zippered plastic bag. This last batch of cookie dough I packed in a plastic container, thawed and spooned out. I do have recipes for refrigerator dough in my old cookbook, but haven't used them too often of late. John is pretty much a tried and true sort of man: brownies, peanut butter, chocolate chip and a grudging nod to oatmeal now and then. It's I who must experiment and have variety!
Rebecca, I do pack a good bit of info into my posts and I do easily. I sit down at the end of every single day and type in that day's items and then save. When you are as forgetful as I, you do what you can to try and preserve the activities, lol.
Kathy, the Pub fries were delicious. I don't typically fry foods and I don't deep fry when I do fry. I will use an inch or so of oil in a deep saucepan to do my frying, but I want to try the Pub fries as an oven fry...I saw a recipe last week after I'd made mine. After the soaking and draining process the blogger tossed the fries with oil and then baked on parchment in a 425F oven. My former mother in law put up part of her potato harvest as french fries one year. She partially fried the potatoes after soaking in cold water, then removed them just as they began to look as though they had an outer skin on them. She drained well, packed in bags and then when they wanted fries she put them in oil straight from the freezer for a second frying. Many of my vintage magazines promote the double frying as a way to insure a truly crispy outer coating on a french fry. I was thinking of following her method and then finishing off in the oven instead of the second frying. That is should I find an excellent buy on potatoes. By the way, I used Russets for my fries. Russets are a good all around potato for mashing, frying and baking.
My last Q,A, C. post generated a thought provoking grouse from Sarah about the 'new' efficient washers and the altered dishwasher detergents...She questioned the sound reasoning of those who created these items which actually require more maintenance and longer cycles than the old fashioned items. I personally haven't experienced an HE front loader. My daughter in law Lori had one that was nothing but trouble for her but she seems to be quite happy with her current model. As for the dishwasher liquid, I will say I've noted the need to use more with my most recent brand (one of the few that actually dissolves in our soft soft water here). I have to fill both cups half full these days, where I'd been able previously to get by with just one cup half filled.
Joanne pointed out how handy it has been for her to have her pantry during her husband's illness and treatments which necessitate long drives. As she pointed out she barely wanted to cook, much less have to go shop as well. Another very good reason indeed to keep a supply of foods on hand. I think we all tend to think of some weather or economic event, but illness is another good reason to keep food supplies stocked. And Joanne I hope all goes well with your husband!
Pam, I cannot tell you how deeply honored I feel to be included in our top three list which included coffee and chocolate. I like the company you have me keeping, lol.
My Modern Home Eco. post about hams and souffles was of interest to several. Anonymous mentioned she and her husband found a good value in bone-in hams in the weight of meat compared to boneless ham/price per pound. It is very cost efficient when compared to deli sliced ham when you slice a cooked ham for sandwich meats. I invested in a meat slicer a few years ago and it's paid for itself several times over in savings.
Kathy asked if you could use cheddar cheese in the souffle. You can indeed. Any type of cheese would do well. Cheddar is often better priced than most other varieties and would decrease the cost of the dish still further. I've never made any other type than cheddar myself!
Lena, Souffles are no more difficult than many other tasks we tackle nor so temperamental as we might have been led to believe either. It's a good stretch for any cook to try one once or twice. I still haven't made the one I meant to make, but I will and I'll try to take photos when I do.
My first weekly menu plan Rhonda I like the sweet/salty of the Sweet N Saltines recipe. I have done this with grahams and that works nicely. I have a similar recipe that has oatmeal in it and that is put atop the graham crackers and then chocolate chips go on top of that. I'll have to dig and find that recipe. Every single time I make it, those cookies disappear fast.
Karla, so glad to see you stopping in...That new porch has only one fault: it makes the front porch look terribly cluttered and shabby. We are planning to do some reno work on it but in the meantime, I've told John we must paint it and freshen it up.
Week two menu Lena asked about Red, Black and Blue salad. That's actually my take on a steak house salad. It's blackened steak (peppered steak in some restaurants), tomatoes on lettuce with a chunky blue cheese dressing. It's filling without being terribly heavy and is a good way to use up a bit of rare roast beef as well as steak.
Pam and Sarah both got inspired by spring projects. I wish I could say I've done the same!
Week three menu Sarah spoke of doing a family cookbook for her children. I had that same thought some time ago but my children are like myself: they get in the kitchen and experiment and create their own recipes and don't want any of mine. They have the important one: my homemade brownie recipe. She also mentions handwritten recipes: I have Granny's poundcake recipe and Grandmama's Indian Warpath cake recipe in their handwriting. I consider them treasures.
Dawn, swipe away at menu ideas. John reminded me of a coleslaw we had in St. Augustine last year: it had pineapple chunks in it. It was really good, and a little unusual. I think that would compliment a pot pie nicely.
Week four menu Forget the menu! This was the post where Angela offered to come sew the valances for me. All the incentive I needed was that little threat, lol.
First Coffee Chat I was pleased to hear how many of you appreciate being alone and in complete (or as nearly as we know it these days) quiet. I too find those days very productive in many ways and beneficial. I have found that I must be increasingly selfish with these days as some determine that if John isn't home then I have no real need of that alone time! Not true. For me it is very necessary. I am an introvert by nature, I seldom, as I've stated, lack for work or tasks.
Harvest post Sarah our pay period is every other week and that is indeed our reasoning behind halving our payments. Were we to be paid once a week we'd divide them into quarter payments.
Lena our system is John's doing. We've only had one problem in paying bills this way. For many years, John actually wrote out a check each pay period for half a payment, so every one of the people we owed money to got two checks. Our former mortgage company found this method confusing in the extreme for some reason and we found we were not being credited properly for payments, nor were correct amounts being applied to principal when we paid extra, etc. It was all straightened out due to the efforts of one zealous clerk determined to set it straight and an agreement with a manager to send just one check thereafter. In the end we decided to make the half payments on paper and send out one check for all our bills. Given the cost of checks these days the mortgage company's problems proved to be a blessing disguised.
Poem Dear Kathy! I never meant to make you cry over that poem, but I so understand. My son referred to John and I as 'ex-parents' one day while visiting and while it made us chuckle it cut a bit, too. Gracious goodness if that boy knew all the prayer and worry and biting of tongues and real seeking to give the very best advice we can when asked (and only when asked!)...well 'ex-' hardly fits. But I got what he was trying to say in that we're not hands on parenting 24/7 as we did once upon a time. I miss it some myself, but I've said many times that their troubles at 2 are hardly worth comparing to their troubles after 20!
In Shabat Thoughts I shared my observations about learning the Jewish feasts and faith and incorporating it into my Christian faith. As Glenda points out when Jesus returns He will expect us to participate in the feasts with Him.
Sarah asked if we followed dietary restrictions due to our faith. The answer is No and Yes. Over the years, I found we were eating a great deal of pork because it was cheap and inexpensive. As time went on, I just grew to dislike it and I mean that sincerely. By the time we'd become Messianics we pretty much had cut out all pork except bacon and sausage. Then we read in Exodus what dietary restrictions God had placed His people under. We went into prayer over this matter and in a matter of weeks we felt we should give up pork, catfish, shellfish. That is not to say that I've never ever again eaten anything considered unclean. I have done so consciously only once when someone prepared a meal especially for me and several times I found out later that a recipe contained an item I wasn't supposed to eat. I took note and avoided those in future. And yes, it is a good step to take, easily done on your own without making a fuss or show of what you're doing.
There are interpretations of Acts 10 where Peter is given the vision of all kinds of foods being lowered from heaven on a sheet which end that passage saying "this signaled that all foods had been made clean." That is not a true interpretation of the Hebrew of that passage. In fact, that line is not included in Hebrew works at all. The true meaning of that passage is that all people, from all walks of life, were to be included in the plan of salvation.
I was recently told by someone that a Jewish friend shared with her that the only reason for the dietary restrictions was due to diseases inherent in the foods at that time. I do not believe that is factual either. It is true that as you read through the restrictions and commandments many do pertain to cleanliness and avoiding the spread of disease, but foods are included in that area only as a precaution against eating animals that died due to illness or unexplained reasons.
Overall, reading the dietary restrictions, you'll note that most often these are just good health ideals anyway. Most of the foods restricted are high in cholesterol or create other health problems.
Well that winds up our round up of comments and queries for the month of April. I look forward to reading comments on May posts.