Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year !!!

I never ring in the New Year.  I go to bed on time.  I think maybe it's a good way to welcome in 2013.  I hope this year will be kind to all of you, my Gentle Readers, and your loved ones!  Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Corn cob dolls :)

In Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, she wrote, "Mary was bigger than Laura, and she had a rag doll named Nettie.  Laura had only a corncob wrapped in a handkerchief, but it was a good doll.  It was named Susan.  It wasn't Susan's fault that she was only a corncob.  Sometimes Mary let Laura hold Nettie, but she did it only when Susan couldn't see."

This passage came to mind when I was trying to decide what to do with my corn cobs left from raising the flour corn.  I looked online for how to make a corn cob doll.  "Susan" apparently didn't have any proper clothing, but I'm sure she was content with her handkerchief.

My dollies got some real garments.  Here they are.  What do you think?

How could I not be happy?

For Christmas, my sweet daughter-in-law sent me this sweet little solar powered daisy.
I am not sure why, but every time I see it, I smile "ear to ear."
Thanks, Amie.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A slightly unusual supper...

My husband spent 3 or 4 hours this afternoon clearing snow from our driveway and the neighbors' driveways.  When he finally came in, he didn't want a "proper" supper at all, and asked for a smoothie, so that is what I made for him. That left me with the question of what I should have, so, this is what I did:

I have quite a lot of dehydrated, sliced zucchini squash.  
 I put some of them in water for a couple of hours and then drained them and
cooked them in butter and added salt and pepper.

We also have quite a few apples that have gotten rather shriveled and are not much fun to eat.
So, I peeled some, cut them into small pieces and put them in a saucepan with a little water.
They were cooked, with a lid on, on "low" until they were tender.

Here is my dinner plate.  I sprinkled ground cinnamon on the applesauce.
It was all surprisingly good! :)
I really enjoy "eking out" with what we have on hand!

This is linked to Simple Lives Thursday #127.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

In recent years, our Christmas Eve Tradition is to eat my "World Famous" donuts and then watch Mr. Krueger's Christmas together with whatever family or friends care to come. 

I hope each one of you will have a Very Merry Christmas,
and that you are all with loved ones at this wondrous
and sacred time of year.

Thank you for being a part of my life!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

More about Masa...

You might recall that I previously posted about making masa harina, and then corn torillas from scratch HERE.  That worked very well, but because I had to use the big Corona Mill, it was messy and time consuming (what isn't in a kitchen??) 

Just the other day, I took down our flour corn (pictured above) and spent some enjoyable time taking the kernels off the cobs.  My DH sometimes thinks it could be done faster, if I did it his way, but I really enjoy just sitting and rubbing the kernels off into a big bowl.  To me, it seems like bounty and makes me happy!

As I was thinking about making some more masa, I wondered if maybe I could complete the whole process right in the food processor instead of starting there and then graduating to the Corona Mill.  I have to report, it worked beautifully!

Look at the other post about how to prepare the corn with pickling lime and all of that.  I fixed 2 pounds of the kernels this time, 2 cups at a time, and processed them in the food processor until the masa was nice and soft and fine textured.  The trick is to add a little water and let it process long enough!  I would suggest for 2 cups of the prepared kernels, you add about 1/2 cup of water.  You might want to start with 1/3 cup and add a tiny bit more if needed.  Stop the machine from time to time and scrape down the contents.  Eventually, it will mostly be gathered together in one mass and look like this:
And when I got it out, it looked like this! See, Mely?
We just finished eating some tostadas with refries, lettuce, salsa and cheese for lunch.  The flavor of the fresh masa is incredible.  You can't buy this at a store.  It might seem like a lot of work, but it's not, really, now that I can just use the processor!

This post is linked to Simple Lives Thursday!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Just a little tip... Probably the last tiny tip of the year!

I like to bake my corn bread in a cast iron skillet.  I used to heat the skillet up in the oven while it was preheating... but then it needs to be greased, so I would resort to using a pan spray.  Pan sprays are wonderfully convenient, but they are also made out of scary ingredients.  Now, while I am mixing up the cornbread, I put the pan on the stove top and heat it on "low".  I add some kettle-rendered lard to the pan and let it melt, then twirl it around to coat the inside of the pan and then add it to the cornbread for the fat in the recipe!  So, I have a nicely pre-heated pan, and I don't need to grease it or melt the lard separately.  Yes.  :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

I sew for a living.

A neighbor is taking Square Dance lessons.  Tomorrow is their "graduation" and she needed a skirt for the occasion, so she hired me to make it for her.  I just got it done in the nick of time.  The fabric we ordered didn't come until yesterday!  I am happy how it turned out, so I thought I'd show you.
...and here is the pattern we used.  This, as you see, is for a dress, so all I had to do was invent a waistband, insert a zipper and add a button and voila!  A skirt!
It is important for the waistband to be stiff and not fold over, so what I did was insert a piece of 1-inch wide non-roll elastic.  That worked very well.  I think she will be pleased.  :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A completely useless blog post...

What's in your wallet  fridge? Here are two photos showing what is in our fridge right now.  How embarrassing.  I'm not sure why I'm doing this.  ;)

 Across the top ~ chicken foot stock, home canned peaches, sausage/vegetable soup, 2 kinds of raw sauerkrat, milk kefir.  Also, in the back on the left you can see the gallon jug of maple syrup.

Below that, see where the red stuff is?  That is cheese wax on homemade cheeses in there.  To the right is 25 pounds of sliced ham for a Church Christmas dinner coming up.

Next shelf down you can see some almonds, the pink stuff is kefir cheese with strawberries blended in and on top a bowl with some hard-boiled eggs.  Next, 2 containers of cottage cheese, then in back some natural peanut butter and in front some "sun-dried" tomatoes in extra-virgin olive oil, and on the right, the white container is full of kettle-rendered lard.

The bottom has two drawers.  The one on the left has carrots and a very sad looking head of iceberg lettuce.  It ended up in the compost today.  Ugh.  On the right are some apples and part of a cabbage I bought from an Amish lady. (They grew the most AMAZING cabbages!)
Here is inside the door.  The top has, left to right, a little bit of home-canned salsa, some pickle relish, 1/2 of a lemon, a quart container that I keep maple syrup in, a small dish of goat butter, and the bin has homemade lacto-fermented mayonnaise, and two other kinds of butter.

Small shelf on left has Dijon mustard, some marinade and more pickle relish and a thing or two I can't recall right now.

Small shelf below that has water kefir grains, jar of active dry yeast and ??

Shelf on right has mustard, rennet, bottled lemon juice, 1 thing of Poweraide in case one of use gets heat exhaustion (which has happened in the past,) some prepared horseradish and some unhulled sesame seeds in an old Parmesan shaker.

Bottom shelf, goat milk and Kikoman soy sauce.

If you never visit my blog again, I will understand...

To All of my Gentle Readers...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Healthy Dry Cereal !

Please go over to THIS blog and check out the recipe for soaked and dried breakfast cereal.  I ran across it yesterday.  One thing I've missed, since learning that "dried cereal" is not a healthy food, is not only the ease of having it for breakfast, but the crunchy goodness too.

I just completed making a batch of this cereal and it is wonderful.  I am delighted and a bit surprised!  The recipe originates with Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist.  I have tweaked it for what I have on hand to use.  Karey mentioned that she likes to use a 7 grain mix.  I didn't have that, so instead, I used the 3 grains I do have on hand.  It tastes just right.  Here is the recipe I used, with some pictures!

2 cups fresh goat milk and 2 cups milk kefir (Karey has used cultured buttermilk instead.)
2 pounds of freshly ground flour (1/3 wheat, 1/3 oat groats and 1/3 spelt)

I weighed the flour, but if you don't have a good scale, it should be about 8 cups total.

Combine those ingredients, and stir together well in a large glass mixing bowl.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to soak at room temperature for 24 hours.

24 hours later, add:

1 C extra-virgin coconut oil
1 C pure maple syrup (grade B is best)
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

Mix all of this together thoroughly.  It will then look like this:
Grease two 9 x 13 glass baking pans with the coconut oil, and spread the batter into the pans.
Preheat your oven to 350 F and bake the dough until when you insert a toothpick in the center, it comes out clean.  In my oven, that took 1 hour.  I suggest you start checking it after 40 minutes or so.  You don't want to bake it too much.

Here is what it looked like right out of the oven:
When it is completely cool, break it into small pieces:
I have an Excalibur food dehydrator, and this amount filled 6 trays lined with the fruit-roll sheets.  I dried it at 150 F.  Karey says you can do it at 200 F in your oven with the door cracked open also.

Here is some of the dried cereal in a little bowl.  I have to tell you, for my taste, it is Just Right.  Lightly sweet and nicely crunchy without being hard to bite.

The whole point is that if you want to easily absorb and digest whole grains, they need to be either sprouted or properly soaked.  This deactivates "anti-nutrients" such as phytic acid, that prevent the grain from sprouting before being introduced to "soaking" with water.  Phytic acid actually interferes with mineral absorption.  If you would like to know more about this, please read the following book:

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon 

Next morning update, it does NOT get soggy in milk!

This post is linked to Simple Lives Thursday #124

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A quick Kefir treat!

Admittedly, some people really don't like the taste of milk kefir.  And happily, I love it!  Lately, I've been making it a little differently.  In the brewing jar, I leave the kefir grains and milk together until the milk is Very Thick.  Then I strain it out and keep the kefir in the refrigerator.  It is as thick as yogurt after it gets cold.

Here is something I like to do.  I pour a little kefir into a small glass, pour in just a small amount of organic blackstrap molasses, stir it up a little and eat it with a spoon.

Blackstrap molasses is strong flavored, but I find this combination very nice.  The sourness of the kefir nicely balances with the molasses.  In addition, blackstrap molasses is amazingly good for you!

This post is linked to Traditional Tuesday

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

48 # of ground venison!

Last week, my husband bagged a nice deer for us.  This is the first one he's ever gotten.  It was very exciting and very welcome.  The whole idea is so we can have healthy meat to eat and can save money.  We didn't want to pay for processing, so we decided to turn it all into ground meat.

It hung, in the garage, for four days, and we were blessed with nice cool weather, between about 30 and 40 degrees, so it was perfect.  Today, he took the meat off of the bones, cut it into chunks for me and then I put it through a grinder that attaches to my Kitchenaide mixer.
Then I packed it into freezer bags, 1 # in each bag and put them in the deep freeze.  I froze 45 pounds of the meat. 
Two pounds of it was made into jerkey.  It is in the dehydrator right now.  The other pound we had for lunch.  Yummy!
When he took the meat off of the bones, he dropped the pieces into an old cooler that I had sterilized.  Here is how it looked.  Not very pretty, but so much food!
And here is about 12 pounds of it all ground up.
I am very grateful to have all of this food.  It was a big job, because we don't really know what we're doing, yet, but in the end, it worked out just fine.

Meat balls
Meat loaf

Yes. :)

This post is linked to Simple Lives Thursday #123.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Replacing a zipper in a coat or jacket - repost

This is a re-post. (?)  It's that time of year again, and if you have a nice coat or jacket that needs a new zipper, help is at hand!   


Replacing a Zipper in a coat/jacket

Here you can see a perfectly good jacket. The problem is, the zipper is broken! Replacing a zipper is really not difficult, but it is tedious and takes considerable time. If your coat/jacket is nice, and/or you love it, it is more than worth the trouble to replace the zipper.

Here is the zipper I ordered over the internet here. This company is wonderful. They have everything and excellent customer service!

A closer look at the invoice:

The zipper I purchased cost $6.03 including the shipping, and so for a nice coat, you can see that this would really be worthwhile.

Now, don't be afraid. Breath. Relax. Here we go.

FIRST ~ set your sewing machine to its longest stitch length. Sew a line of stitching along the jacket opening, far enough in from the edge that you do NOT catch in the existing zipper. This is to hold everything together nicely and make the reassembly easier. Do this on both sides of the jacket.

Here I am doing the same thing on the other side:

SECOND ~ take your little seam ripper and do (carefully and don't stab yourself) whatever it takes to remove the broken zipper:

Here I've gone a little farther in the process:

Here I am removing some stitching from the surface:

And here is what it looks like with the zipper removed. Now you will see the wisdom of doing that basting line of stitches so the jacket doesn't blow up and get all weird.

THIRD ~ carefully remove all the bits of loose thread:

FOURTH ~ Thread a sturdy hand sewing needle with a doubled thread and run it through some beeswax so it will be less likely to tangle while you are sewing. Rosin will work instead of the beeswax, too, or if you have neither, find a piece of candle or even hand soap to use!

FIFTH ~ I hope you took the time to observe how the old zipper was positioned. You are going to unzip the new zipper, and one side at a time, you will put the new zipper in, and pin it in place and then hand baste it in place:

See? Here is one side basted together:

And here is the other side:

Oh, yes, and it is very helpful to have a fuzzy cat walking around under your work table at this point:

SIXTH ~ Before you sew the zipper in with your machine, zip up the jacket to make sure it is going to work!

SEVENTH ~ Now, simply, using a normal stitch length, sew along the same line where the old zipper was sewn in like this:

Make sure to replace any seams or stitching you have removed:

Be sure to remove any basting stitches. On this one, there was the nice little tab on the old zipper, so I just transferred it to the new one:

That's all you need to do! Even if it doesn't turn out perfectly, it is better than throwing away a perfectly good coat.

Please feel free to ask questions if I can help.

Linked to Clever Chicks Blog Hop!
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