Saturday, July 26, 2008

Old fashioned pork and beans

Real food, thrifty food, home cooked food.

I keep telling myself that and yet in small ways I fail everyday.

I confess that here because I do not intend to use this blog as an arena. Because it is not, it is an opportunity for me to continue to be real and chat about the life I want to live. I do however use this forum as a discipline tool. If I put it out here, I better be doing it!

Some of the things I will accomplish:

eliminate "throw away" items: plastic wrap, paper towels, plastic grocery bags, etc

make more homemade: cleaners, food, gifts

reuse, recycle, rethink: all things

That does not mean I will not be spontaneous, or I will be stingy, or unfriendly. I will still be me.

Today is day 2 and last day of the yard sale. I do not know how we did financially, and it does not matter. There is more room in the garage for organizing the things we want to keep, without moving box after box to get to it. Other folks were able to get what they needed/wanted for a good price, so it is a win win for everyone.

Today is also my Friday, so after work the time is my own to do as I please, with whom I please. Tomorrow is July Sunday Cafe, and on Monday we get to have the granddaughter all day while her Mom is in a continuing education class. So the day will go quickly, and then before you know it, the whole weekend will have gone quickly, and it will be back to work.

Here is a wonderful "bring real food back" recipe. Beans. I seem to have a respect for beans, and look for ways to learn about them, cook them and enjoy them. Everyone can use a good basic recipe. One that is easy, tastes good and is open to adapting.

Old Fashioned Pork and Beans
crockpot/slow cooker

The evening before:

1 pound pea beans (small whites)

Sort beans, place in a large bowl and cover with water by 4 inches. Let rest overnight to soak and soften. Drain well, rinse and drain again.

The next morning:
drained beans
1 T salt
2 T molasses
6 T sugar (you can use less, remember adapting for your family is encouraged)
1/2 pound salt pork OR 2 ham hocks
1 onion, left whole
4 c water- boiling

Combine all ingredients in cooker. Cook on low 8 hours or until done.



Thursday, July 24, 2008

In a Hurry Chicken Curry

Last night I stayed on task and completed my list, with one more; I also made tapioca pudding in the crockpot. I priced the yard sale stuff and I made skillet "meatloaf" using 1 pound of lean ground beef and the other stuff listed in the freestyle process from yesterday. I discovered something rather important. I had thrown together the first skillet loaf a week ago in a quick attempt to feed us something for dinner homemade; instead of a burger and fries from takeout. We were tired, it was late and we were hungry. I only used bread cubes as a filler. Last night in an attempt to make a healthy version, I added 1/2 bread and 1/2 oats.

I do not like oats in my meat loaf.

The wonderful fiber in oatmeal that is healthy and helps to lower cholesterol, is gummy.

I realized last night that the texture of the first freestyle skillet loaf, was better. I don't like that gummy texture in my meatloaf.

I love oats, sometimes I will make oatmeal for dinner for myself. Oats with dried cranberries, walnut pieces and brown sugar. Yum. Oatmeal cookies, who can say no to that? Saucepan cake, it is the best. Oatmeal bread, wonderful toasted with jam. Oats used in crumble toppings, pile it on. But from now on, not in my meatloaf thank you.

I will take the yard sale stuff over to the kids house tonight. I priced it all low, don't care about the money really, just want the room back in the garage to store stuff worth keeping! Then back over early on Friday morning to help set it out, and return after work to help put it away. Repeat on Saturday. Haul any leftovers to a donation center.

Then it will be back to normal around here. I am looking forward to that. The house has been quiet, and I miss the interaction I receive from my Honey. We are creatures of habit and custom.

This weekend will be shed building and preserves making. And a hug or two!

It is time for something different. Food ruts are so easy to fall into, getting out is a bit more work. This recipe is handy, most of the ingredients are on hand and it has a great taste. This is great with rice, if using brown rice; start if before the curry and simple set it aside when finished cooking. It waits patiently.

Hurry up (chicken) Curry

3 - 4 chicken thighs
1 T oil

garlic salt and pepper
1 c chicken broth
1 T lemon juice
1 T soy sauce
1 1/2 t curry powder
1/4 c raisins
1 small onion, sliced and ringed

1 red apple, diced - do not peel

1 T flour
1 t cornstarch
1/4 c water

1/4 c coarsely chopped salted peanuts

Cut chicken into 1 inch dice. Add oil to skillet, heat to medium. Add chicken and brown. Season with garlic salt and pepper. Add broth, lemon juice, soy sauce, curry, raisins and onion. Stir gently, cover and simmer, 45 minutes. Add diced apple, simmer additional 10 minutes. Combine water with flour and cornstarch, stir into skillet cooking until thicken. Garnish with the chopped peanuts. Serve with rice.

Serves 2 - 4



Monday, July 21, 2008

Teriyaki Chicken Wings!

We are going to have a 3 (or more if one of the kids has invited a friends family to join in the fun) yard sale. Today I am going through all of the boxes and such in the garage to get it all ready. It is as much a relief to get rid of the stuff as it is to make any money! I do have a nice pair of living room chairs to sell, those I do hope to get a little bit of money from. The rest, who knows. Maybe enough "jingle" to get a new pair of jeans. A body can never have too many jeans.

I have to work each of the days of the sale, but I can go over early and help with the set up and then again in the evening to get it all put away.

My Honey just left for a week out of town, his job assignment this week is in Idaho. The week will go quickly and then it will be the weekend again. With the weekend comes July Sunday Cafe. Yesterday was spent with oil change, car wash, and clothes being readied for packing. Not exactly the jam making I had originally planned, but I can do that early morning before work.

Before we know it summer will be gone. The shed is progressing nicely. It will sit in wait until His return. Then we begin on the fence. By the end of the fence, it will be getting cold outside and we will be ready for a break.

With the rebuilding of the bookshelf, I sit here blogging and to my left is the cookbooks. Rather a vivid reminder of cooking better for us and sharing it here. I need to get busy getting busy regarding July Cafe menu.

Here is a delicious summer time recipe. It originally calls for oven baking, but you could certainly grill the meat instead.

Teriyaki Wings

350 degrees or grill

12 - 15 chicken wings, separated saving the tips for stock or another use
1/3 c soy sauce
1/3 c sherry
1/3 c water
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 t ginger (dry)
1/4 t pepper
2 green onions, sliced thinly

Combine all ingredients except chicken. Add chicken pieces, mix well. Refrigerate over night (you can let them sit longer). Drain chicken. Place on a prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely with foil. Bake 350 degrees 30 minutes. Crisp under the broiler or on a grill if desired.

Serves 6 as a starter



Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saucepan Oatmeal Cake

Always have, even when I did not know it.

Sounds funny to say, but we tend to grow into ourselves as we age and experience the world and how we might fit in. As I grew into myself, I automatically let the natural ways that are within me, to come forward.

I set an alarm (set at such a low sound no one can hear it) but I really do not need an alarm, it is my natural way to awaken between 4:45 and 5:15 each morning. Yes the cat is there for his share of tuna and an opened door so he can go outside if he chooses or just stand in the door way making up his mind. But the cat is quiet also, I like that about cats. The birds outside are much louder, I like that about birds. Coffee is set up and waiting for a switch to be flipped, the newspaper is about to be dropped on the stoop, and the quiet is there, waiting to be enjoyed.

The quiet allows my brain to relax as well as generate good thoughts and ideas. The quiet time allows all of my unseen, inside smiles to come out, ready for a new day.

Life is so busy.

There is a job worked to pay for life. Chores to be done so life is comfortable. Purchases needed to sustain life. And it repeats over and over each and everyday. Therefore it is important to relax the mind.

I can get cranky if I do not relax and let the unseen smiles come out to play.

Today is my Friday, and I will be back to a regular schedule next week. I am hoping to be a better cook and companion. My Honey has been great, pitching in and just being Him. Thanks.

I am excited to make the Rhubarb and red grapefruit marmalade. And last night as I got to tour the new shed and the progress being made, I could not help but notice the rhubarb growing. I know I have been on a rhubarb rut, it is about all I want to cook right now. I think it is because it is the only thing growing!

This is really good. It is easy, quick and keeps well. This is a great wooden spoon recipe, no mixer is needed.

Saucepan Oatmeal cake
350 degrees

1 1/2 water
1 c oats
1/2 c butter

2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla

1 1/2 c flour
1 t salt
1 1/2 t soda

1 c diced dates
1 c chopped walnuts (pecans are also good)
1 c chocolate chips
1/4 c brown sugar
1 t cinnamon

In a medium saucepan bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in oats and butter. Let cool until just warm to the touch. Add eggs 1 at a time beat well after each. Stir in sugar and vanilla. In a medium bowl mix flour with salt and soda, stir well to combine. Add dry ingredients to saucepan and beat well. Pour batter into prepared 9X13 pan.

Sprinkle the dates, nuts and chocolate chips evenly over the top of the batter. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in small bowl, crumble evenly over the top.

Bake 35 minutes or until tests done.

Serve plain or with vanilla ice cream.

Serves 16 - 24