Thursday, February 26, 2015

Into da cannah!

This morning I woke up with a mission... to can the remaining broth that I made yesterday.  Note: I was full of angst because I've only pressure canned tomatoes (and then found out I could have water bath canned them!)  Pressure canning can be intimidating, but now that I've done it, I feel good.

First I had to strain out all the bones and used up veggies.  I was in a hurry to get those out with the trash (we don't have a composter yet!) but I shouldn't have let that worry me as the trash man commeth while I was still asleep apparently.  sigh!  Now it shall sitteh until next week.  phoey!

After that I cranked up the heat and got my canning supplies ready...hoping I had enough to do this with...I should really keep inventory better.  :p  I had plenty.

I think that "things boil quicker at high altitude" thing is a myth...or at least while you're waiting on it.  It took forever to get the already hot water to boil to get the jars ready.  (for you non-canner folk you have to heat up the jars slowly by boiling water in them or they'll crack when you put in your hot food... you can do this in the oven as well, but for me that's awkward!)

Finally got the jars hot and then started filling them.  Since I don't know how many jars I'll need, I go ahead and heat up all that my canner will hold.  This also helps with spacing when I'm canning as I can just leave the "empty" jars (empty of food, but full of water) in the canner so none of the jars move around.  Grab a jar, empty the water, fill with broth, close it up and put it back into the canner.  repeat until out of broth.  For me that was 4 quart jars!  I went with quarts because most of my soup recipes call for at least a quart of broth if not more.

I'll spare you the details of the actual canning procedure...if you wanna know, go to the googles.  ;)

This was my first time canning broth (not my last as this was kinda fun).  When the pressure cooker came down and I got the lid off, I got to watch my broth boiling in the sealed jars for quite a while.  Cool.

I would show you a picture of my lovely canned broth, but I make what I call "dirty" broth... I don't strain it through cheese cloth and there are bits of the meat and veggies still in it isn't all that pretty to look at.  But I know it's full of good nutrition and flavor...and that's what I'm after!

If this cold weather keeps up, I'll go ahead and can some beef and ham broth too.  Although, I'll probably use all this broth up making soups to keep us warm.  :-/

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What I get for mocking the weather

more snow!  LOL!  It isn't really that much snow again, but it is snowing.

I woke up this morning thinking... I should make some Chicken broth.  Okay to tell the truth, what I really wanted was Chicken Tortilla soup.  For that I needed broth.  So off to work...ish.

As my coffee was brewing, I grabbed two chicken carcasses out of the freezer (yes, I save such things!)  While digging around, I also grabbed a bag of vegetable peelings and a bag of shredded zucchini.  Then from the frig, I got some celery and carrots.  Then from the counter, two onions.  I tossed them all into my stock pot, added some garlic salt (since I never have any real garlic on hand) and some poultry seasoning, peppercorn, and two bay leaves.  Covered the mess with water and enjoyed my coffee, while it came up to a boil and then turned down to a simmer for the day.

When Darly got up, I gave her 3 choices for our dinner...
1) Pizza at church  (mid-week Lenten service!)
2) Chicken Tortilla soup then go to church
3) Chicken Tortilla soup and no church.

She picked the soup and would decide on church it turned out, she didn't have to make that choice... church was cancelled due to the snow.

The soup was perfect for a snowy day.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The massive snow storm

that wasn't!

Our local weather quacks were predicting our first winter blizzard.  Batten down the hatches bring in the animals kind of bad.  Folks were rushing to the stores to stock up on all the important supplies... milk, bread... and apparently bananas!
(Image by Susan Richards)

My friends and husband reported that it was a zoo out there!  Luckily I had already gone to the store and didn't need to rush out to stock up.

This was supposed to start out as freezing rain yesterday... it didn't.

We were supposed to have some accumulation today... there's maybe 3 inches in the grass, but it's melting off the roads.

Tomorrow is supposed to be the big day of this.  Honestly I don't put much faith in our local weather quacks.  It seems that their crystal balls don't really work that well and that just sticking your hand outside the door or looking out the window is a much better predictor of the weather.


Monday, October 20, 2014

What's next?

It seems that this season has been the "What's Next to break" season here.

It has gotten so that I don't even remember what went first.  sigh

I know that the coffee maker started leaking water a while ago and I was just living with it.  Make the coffee and clean up the extra water on the counter.  But I finally asked hubby to fix it for me (after I took it apart and found out the cause).  He did try to fix it, but alas his fix only lasted for one pot of coffee.  I'm pretty sure that the plastic pipe he used wasn't heat resistant and it's probably melted in there now.  sigh.  So I replaced the coffee maker.  Not a big deal as they're cheap.  I ended up buying a 5 cup maker as I'm the only one who drinks coffee here.  Darly only likes expensive coffees with loads of sugar in them.  Hubby likes his caffeine in a can with bubbles.

Next since winter is fast approaching we decided to finally get our humidifier fixed.  We knew that the sylinoid  (no idea how to actually spell that's the valve) was gone.  Hubby tried to find one but apparently you have to be an official plumber/hvac person to get your hands on one.  Luckily I know a guy.  They sent someone out and while he was working on the humidifier we wanted our furnace (that came with the house in 96) checked out to see how much longer it had to live.  OOPS!  apparently it was already "dead" or would kill us.  The o-rings were popping off and the hvac guy had to condemn our furnace.  YIKES!  He gave us 4 choices for a new furnace.  1) replace what we had for the equivalent version.  Here we would probably see some savings in our heating bills as our old unit wasn't running correctly.  2) same efficiency but it was a two blower system that would run low most of the time but bump up to higher if we needed it.  3) a higher efficiency model that would require a total overhaul of our duct work and then #4) was even more efficient/pricy and also required the duct work overhaul.
In the end we went for just switching out for what we had before.  Our bills weren't all that bad before and this seemed like a good fit for our family.  So they changed out the furnace, fixed the humidifier and when the hot water heater was turned back on... busted a pressure valve on it.

Okay, busted is a bit harsh...what actually happened is that that valve was tripped and constantly leaking water.

What really needed to happen was for us to replace the pressure reducing valve for our water line.  We have no idea why our city water comes into our house at 140psi.  Hubby researched and seriously considered replacing the valve himself as he is pretty handy plumbing wise.  But he was worried that he might mess it up (apparently online info made it sound pretty tricky).  Now he is kicking himself because he watched the guy do it and could have done it himself easily.  We paid too much for that job.

Next up, the refrigerator was leaking again.  I was under the impression that in order for us to have water through the door on our frig you needed a filter.  Every time the filter needs replacing it leaks and to install and remove you damage the filter housing.  So last time we had to replace the housing.  But this time we removed the filter and by accident learned that we didn't need a filter.  The water is still working without the new filter that is waiting on top of the frig.  hummm  meanwhile my wood kitchen floor is toast and we should replace that one day.  oye!

So while on vacation we turned off EVERYTHING!  (okay we didn't totally shut off the furnace as we didn't want to freeze the pipes) but we did shut off the water heater and the water while we were gone as we didn't trust anything while we were gone.

Came home to a regular working house...and then last Friday hubby goes to reheat his dinner and the microwave has died.  I'm pretty sure its the magnetron, AGAIN.   Sigh!  I am so sick of paying for things built for the dump! 
I want to just get someone's old microwave that they're replacing because it doesn't match their new kitchen, but hubby wants to buy a brand new one.  sigh  I really think that we'll get the same life out of either and the used one will cost us less.

Monday, July 21, 2014

the half-life of left-overs

we have a weird phenomenon going on at my house.  I like to call it the half-life of left-overs.

See, I grew up in a large family, so I cook large meals...on purpose.  The idea is that I cook a meal for two nights and then the second night, all I have to do is reheat the left-overs.  If I plan my weekly menu out correctly this works great for night when we have things to do.

But I have noticed that we have this interesting phenomenon going on that is really messing things up for me.

Night one, we have food that should last us for two nights.  We eat half of what is made, put the rest in the frig.

Night two, I heat the left-overs.  And my family eats half of the food again.  WHAT?!?!  They were supposed to eat all of the food because it is night two.  but nope, they eat just half.  (I eat a normal portion - so I look like a real pig compared to them!)  and instead of empty dishes ready for the dishwasher there is still more food.

note: there is not enough food for another meal...usually not even enough to have for lunch.  Sometimes I'll feed this to the dog (husband gives me grief for that).  Usually it goes into the frig again to only be seen again when it's as fuzzy as the dog.


The sad thing is that if I were to suddenly start making single night meals, they would only eat half.

Friday, May 30, 2014


NOTE: This application will be incomplete and rejected unless accompanied by a complete financial statement, job history, lineage, and current medical report from your doctor.

NAME_______________________________________ ALIASES ______________
DATE OF BIRTH_____________ HEIGHT___________ WEIGHT____________
IQ__________ GPA______________ SOCIAL SECURITY#________________
DRIVERS LICENSE #________________ IQ _________ BLOOD TYPE _____
BOY SCOUT RANK AND BADGES________________________________________
HOME ADDRESS_______________________ CITY/STATE___________ ZIP______
Do you have parents? ___Yes ___No
#of years they have been married ______
If less than your age, explain why ______________________________________
If not explain why ___________________________________________________

A. Do you own or have access to a van? __Yes __No
B. A truck with oversized tires? __Yes __No
C. A waterbed? __Yes __No
D. A pickup with a mattress in the back? __Yes __No
E. A tattoo? __Yes __No
F. Do you have an earring, nose ring, pierced tongue, pierced cheek or a belly button ring? __Yes __No


In 50 words or less, what does 'LATE' mean to you ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________
In 50 words or less, what does 'DON'T TOUCH MY DAUGHTER' mean to you? ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________
In 50 words or less, what does 'ABSTINENCE' mean to you? ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

Church you attend _______________________________________________
How often you attend ____________________________________________
When would be the best time to interview your:
father? __________ mother? _________ pastor? __________

Answer by filling in the blank. Please answer freely, all answers are confidential.
A. If I were shot, the last place I would want shot would be: ______________________________________________________________
B. If I were beaten, the last bone I would want broken is my: ______________________________________________________________
C. A woman's place is in the: ______________________________________
D. The one thing I hope this application does not ask me about is: ______________________________________________________________
E. What do you want to do IF you grow up?__________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________
F. When I meet a girl, the thing I always notice about her first is: ______________________________________________________________
G. What is the current going rate of a hotel room? ______________________

Initial each Rule after reading.

Rule One: If you talk with foul words and dress like swag, a punk or a wanna-be-gangster I will toss you right out on your tush.

Rule Two: If you date my daughter you date only her. She has a kind heart and I will not have you make my her cry; if she does, I will make you cry. You may only date ONE of my daughters. EVER.

Rule Three: You must know how to cook as well as I have taught my daughter(s) to cook. Frozen dinners do not count.

Rule Four: Do not be hurt when my daughter chooses a day at the spa with me over sports or gaming time with you. She was raised that family comes first and until there is a ring on her finger, I am her family, not you.

Rule Five: Do not date my daughter for her money because I am her bank. Do not expect gifts, she has been taught to be a savvy shopper.

Rule Seven: Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a pudgy, baggy-eyed, last-season, has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the queen of her universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth. If you do not I will ask her. Do not trifle with me.

Rule Eight: My daughter has been raised to respect herself, so keep your hands to yourself. Offending body parts will be removed by me with a dull spoon.

Rule Nine: Do not be hurt when my daughter chooses spending time with me over spending time with you. She was raised that family comes first and until there is a ring on her finger, I am her family, not you. Yes, I know this is also Rule Four. It is an important one.

Rule Ten: My daughter is not a toy. She does not have Hasbro, Mattel or any other toy company tattooed on her person. Hence, she is not an object for you to play with, manipulate, and discard at your leisure. I suffered through 42 hours of labor to have her, and will unleash an unimaginable amount of anger such that the movie 300 will look like an episode of the Little House on the Prairie should you cross me.


Applicant's Signature (that means sign your name)

Mother's Signature & Father's Signature

Pastor/Priest/Rabbi State Representative/Congressman

Please allow four to six years for processing.

The garden update

Here's what I had planned

In the pots by the retaining wall...
Tomatoes - 6 romas  2 cherry and maybe 2 slicing
Green Beans - 6
Peppers - 3 spicy - 3 mild  (I might be finding homes for the extras)

In the old garden that is now very shady...
Squash in the only part that gets any full sun...where the strawberries used to be (I'm currently digging them out, because 1) they don't produce very well any more 2) the birds eat what I am able to produce)
Onions - currently growing from last year
Carrots - currently growing from last year

Here's what actually happened...

Tomatoes - 4 larger roma (Health Kick) plants & 2 smaller Heath Kicks.  + 2 yellow grape + 2 Tommie something - they're a cherry that is supposed to like to hang...although I have no where to hang them from.

Green Beans - I planted 3 varieties and 6 seeds each.  fingers crossed there as the nursery didn't have anything but soybeans & black eyed peas.

Peppers - 2 sweet peppers and 4 jalapenos.  I might toss in some chili seeds too...might as well.

Squash - I got two zucchini plants and then put in some seeds.  - hopefully my seizure inducing balloon keeps the birds from eating all my seeds.

Spinach & Lettuce from seed - although I have some of both that were volunteers from last year.  YAY
Onions from last year - I dug up the old ones and spread them out and replanted.

Carrots - I dug up the old ones and composted them...then planted new seed. fingers crossed again.

brocolli - experimenting as it hasn't done well before.

I also put in some chard (I've never eaten this before), radishes and brussel sprouts- I sure hope that they like to live here.

I still need to go get some herb seeds as I thought I had some and all I had was parsley, which I dug up the old stuff to dry and didn't put any new in as we don't eat much of it.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Theater season is over for the year

Darly & cast finished up their season with a wonderful performance of Guys & Dolls.  I wish I could say that they performed to a packed house, but alas that is really hard to do when the show is scheduled for the middle of May...prom & graduation season.  Hopefully the plan for next year is for April instead.

At the end of the show I ended up packing my poor car to the gills with all the stuff we needed to return to the costume shop.  I'm getting really good at packing my car and driving with no visibility through the back.  lol

Now on for summer plans.  I have got to get my garden going as I'm running a bit behind.  Hubby seems to be more and more determined for me to give up my silly idea of growing my own food.  :p  I am not sure what his motivation is.  It isn't as if I am forcing him to eat what I grow or hiding the offending foods in his meals.  I grow because I like to (yes, I am a bit lazy about weeding) but it makes me buzz off DH.  ;)

The plan for this year...

Seeing as we're getting a great start to our season with our usual Hail storms, I am considering moving the garden temporarily to the back porch so the plants have a fighting chance.  Then I'll move them back to where I had them last summer by the retaining wall.

In the pots by the retaining wall...
Tomatoes - 6 romas  2 cherry and maybe 2 slicing
Green Beans - 6
Peppers - 3 spicy - 3 mild  (I might be finding homes for the extras)

In the old garden that is now very shady...
Squash in the only part that gets any full sun...where the strawberries used to be (I'm currently digging them out, because 1) they don't produce very well any more 2) the birds eat what I am able to produce)
Onions - currently growing from last year
Carrots - currently growing from last year

I've had to reinforce the fence around the old garden as my sneaky dog loves to help herself to my carrots.  I had one big beautiful carrot about to go to seed and she ate it.  buggar!

The hope for the spinach & lettuce is that the shade will keep them from bolting.

Oh, herbs are going in and around everything else.

I had better get dressed and go to work!