Questions and Answers and Comments, Oh My!
I didn't want to let a lot of time pass again before I acknowledge/answered comments, so I'm going to try to make this a once a month feature. I get interesting mail, and I mean that sincerely. Sometimes you ask questions that make me stop and really think or that inspire a post. Sometimes you share a tip that helps me in my home. Sometimes you're funny and sometimes you share your heart. I enjoy these comments a great deal and I thank each of you who take time to leave a comment.
I wanted to start with this hint from Angela: Sleep/ menopause- I have recently read and been trying the lavender oil on the soles of your feet at bedtime. Seems to be helping. Now, I confess I haven't tried it on my feet...but I have been using lavender oil on my pillow and it does help. In the past, I've reserved the use of lavender oil for colds and migraines. But yes, it does help most nights to soothe me to sleep, so give it a try! note: I did try the lavender oil on my feet. I can't weigh in on this. I had a horrid night that night but it might well have been the influence of a late afternoon Dr. Pepper...or the cheese and crackers snack we had close to bedtime.
It seems those of you who spend time thrifting agree that Goodwill prices are sometimes just cah-ray-zee. I know. Overall yard sales are the absolute BEST for pricing as a rule. Trouble is that most are on Saturday, especially those Saturdays we travel to synagogue and it's all over and done by the time we're out of service. I have to find sources that fit my budget. I also have to find time to actually get out and GO thrifting. I keep trying to squeeze it in to tiny spots of time and it's frustrating. This is one time you'll hear me say that it's fortunate the past two months have been slower at the market because if it had run as usual (per what I'm told) I'd have been out of luck keeping my booth stocked! Thank you to Kim and Manuela for sharing your hints on what you've found to be decent sources.
Sarah asked about the Baked Chicken with Gravy. This is an old old recipe, not sure where I came across it but I promise it's vintage. Anyway, the oven should be about 425F to 'fry' the chicken. The original recipe calls for the gravy to be made in the pan (which I did) by pouring in a can of evaporated milk and stirring it about to get up the scrapings. This is done about 20 minutes into the cooking time after you've turned the chicken. THEN you should place raw biscuits (home made/canned/frozen and thawed, whatever) in the milk and put the whole thing back in the oven to bake another 15 minutes or so until the biscuits are golden brown. It's really quite delicious and proof that while our elder family members might not have used the herbs and seasonings we do today, salt and pepper was more than enough to coax a bit of flavor out of any meal.
Susie mentioned on this menu post that she was always surprised to hear of people going shopping without a list. Me too! BUT those who shop without a list generally shop without a meal plan. They go shopping for food inspiration and sort of think of a plan as they go on. Of course, they are dashing out two or three times a week to pick up things they forgot, decided they'd rather have, etc. Blows my mind. Of course, living 30-40 miles from good produce sort of makes you want to cut down on all those extra trips to the store. It becomes an investment of TIME as well as gasoline and money.
Lena noted the carrot raisin salad in that week's menu. Now that we're nearing winter, I look for salad ideas that do not include always rely on a bowl of lettuce. I am determined we eat at least one raw vegetable or fruit and often this takes form of a salad. So we eat carrot raisin, Waldorf salad, and others that I find in my old cookbooks. These are great resources for salads because they did not have lettuce out of season in most of the small towns or it was so pricey many couldn't afford it. If I remember it I need to add into my menu mix the apple and kidney bean salad I found in a 1970 cookbook. Unusual and quite good...
Karla commented on the Home Ec tutorial about making cakes, noting that she often uses mixes...well so did I for years on end. And nine times out of ten I made them with nothing but eggs and water to keep them fairly low fat and very cheap. I bought the mixes for $1 or less and so cakes were inexpensive enough. Then a friend went to a cake decorating class and said the instructor recommended Duncan Hines mixes and to use whole milk, butter, eggs, extra vanilla...About that time the Cake Doctor published her first book and she added a great deal more to her recipes. Sooo essentially everybody was suggesting that cake mix was just pricey flour and I could buy 5 pounds of flour for $2 or less at that time. I went back to my roots and started making cakes from scratch and found them so much more satisfying and flavorful overall that I've never looked at the cake mix sales since.
Sarah asked about my adding new recipes to my blog...I am trying to go back and link to the ones from other blogs that I've attempted. The Russian Cabbage Rolls were even better than I hoped they would be. Sometimes recipes don't make it into the meal cycle even though the item is on my menu plan like that Chicken Tamale Pie. I found I didn't have half the key ingredients and they weren't ingredients I could easily substitute. So no go on that one, and therefore no recipe.
Louise asked the next week about potato fudge. I happened across a link to Potato Candy on Facebook and sent that to her. Grandmama made that now and then. I have never made Potato Candy though I do have her recipe. I recall asking her, as an adult, how she made it. She started out with "Take a potato about the size of a large egg..." I suppose if you've spent time collecting and grading eggs you'll know a bit about it but I haven't. Good thing she had a recipe tucked away in her file!
Several comments on the October 21 Morning Coffee Chat and I enjoyed each of them. In brief I will share that yes it was Katie who had tough news, we had hopeful test results following that with a follow up test to be done the end of October. Those tests are not necessary any longer. I haven't asked Katie's permission to share her situation so I can say no more. Let's just say that October was a tough, tough month for our family as a whole, with a lot of painful things to be dealt with by several family members and I'm happy to see it end. And to think this is my favorite month...As Lisa said "God is bigger than the problem." We've leaned hard and heavy on HIS understanding this month and we rejoice despite our sorrows.
I'm so pleased that you all enjoyed the poem, Years of Listening. I see men doing this still here in our rural area, leaning against the hood of a truck, or the tailgate with a foot propped on the bumper. And just a couple of days before I found this poem I'd gone down a dirt road and found two women chatting, each in an ATV. It was obvious they were the female version of this poem.
Oh dear. The Blessing of Blessing received two comments that illustrate my point. Both show how a blessing can be robbed...Please go read them both.
The last menu plan for the month resulted in Sarah asking how I make pineapple salad. Typically I place two rings of pineapple (canned) on a lettuce leaf, top with mayo and shredded cheese and maraschino cherry. Ditto for a peach or pear salad. You could also top with a small spoonful of cottage cheese if you prefer. And Pears are also good with cream cheese, toasted pecans and a dab of mayo to fill the cabinet. Pears are also good with crumbled bleu cheese or Gorgonzola and chopped walnuts sprinkled over them. It goes on and on. I don't know if these fruit/mayo/grated cheese/lettuce leaf salads are eaten all over the U.S. or just in the South but recently while in the flea market I overheard a wife talking to her husband on the phone. She ended the conversation with, "Yes, I'll make you pear salad tonight." So at least I know it's Southern...
Now that's October...Let's see what November brings.