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Archive for September, 2012

Retro spices

September 30th, 2012 at 11:51 am

Our local humane society had a huge "garage" sale over the weekend. It is in an area called Progress City near our local community college. We thought it would be nice to support the humane society because the funds would go to help those folks pay for neutering if they can't afford it.

One downfall is they did not have the sale place marked clearly. There was another building that said they were having a sale. We got in there and it was basically a disappointment. Three people set up and we realized then this wasn't the humane society sale...it was individuals. But, I did score a retro spice rack that was complete.



We brought it home and I washed it and let it air dry overnight. When I was washing it, I thought it was interesting that the spices listed are not the ones I often use a lot of. We aren't into major spicy, so cayenne pepper isn't at the top of our list. Then there was cloves. In fact, there were cloves in it. Not sure how old they were and the set was pretty dirty, so I wasn't keeping them.

I wonder if cooking has changed since the 50s...that when I think this set came out. I bought it because it was alumnimum, seemed to be complete...except there were two paprika so I'm sure there is something else that should have been there...but are we using many different spices?

I know I use far more than my mom ever did. I always chuckle when I think of the things in her cabinet she had for spices...more than a year old? You betcha. So, I kind of wonder if we got a lot of flavor out of some of them...I think most things were over a decade old...it was too expensive to replace every year if you didn't use much of it.

My set set me back $2 and some elbow grease in washing it. I thought the aluminimum would go well with my stainless appliances.

Applesauce muffins

September 26th, 2012 at 05:30 pm

After using those wonderful apples that were a gift, I thought muffins are a damp, dark, fall evening would be scrumptious. I found a recipe, tweaked it, and we had them tonight. This recipes makes a dozen.

Applesauce muffins

1 1/2 cups instant oatmeal
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg white
1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup milk

brown sugar

Directions
1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease 12 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners. Whisk together 1 1/2 cups oatmeal, the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon in a mixing bowl; set aside.
2. Whisk 1/2 cup brown sugar, egg white, applesauce, and milk together in a mixing bowl until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until evenly moistened; it's ok if small, dry lumps remain. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle a little more brown sugar on the top of each muffin.

3. Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 20 minutes. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

They were moist and pretty tasty. I like using things we had on hand.

Fall Scents

September 24th, 2012 at 04:35 pm

I'm going to brag a little here...our house smells marvelous!

OK, notice, I said our house, not me! :-)

A gal I work with offered me a bag of apples. It came from her mother's tree. She said she was hesitant to ask me because they weren't perfect with spots and bruises here and there, but then she realized I like to cook. The first thing I said was, "I can make applesauce!" She smiled and said exactly.

So, today she wended her way in the building with my much appreciated bag of apples.

As a teacher if you need to make a doctor's appointment during the school day, you have to either take a half a day or a full day off of sick time. I had a doctor's appointment for 1:30 so it meant I had to take a half of a day off. I got home, ate a quick lunch and then remember reading someone's blog that they made applesauce in their Crockpot. So, I washed the apples, cored and peeled them and put them in with a little lemon juice, water, a little sugar, cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg.

Returning home the opening of the door was such a pleasant experience...it smelled like fall! Rich applesauce barely bubbling. I took out a potato masher and mashed them up and let them cook a little longer. Yowza!

I had put a turkey breast in another Crockpot this morning so with that also going, it almost smelled a little like Thanksgiving.

Ah. Fall Scents. Can't beat 'em.

Sunday and the living is busy!

September 23rd, 2012 at 01:31 pm

Today is Sunday and it has been a busy day. We went to church and then returned home. I fixed "brunch" of scrambled eggs, sausage, toast, and sliced tomatoes. I then made ground chicken enchiladas for supper tonight. I also fixed fruit for a salad and cleaned up the kitchen.

This afternoon we walked over to an open house that is listed. The young couple who bought it a couple of years ago really fixed it up. We like looking at homes in our subdivision to try and compare what has been done and what we have done and hopefully get an idea of the real estate market. There seem to be an awful lot of homes for sale in our subdivision.

After our little trek, I have been doing school work. I finished it and can now reward myself with some SA time.

What a strange economy!

September 18th, 2012 at 04:39 pm

Perusing the paper today, there were two stories next to each other on the same page. One was outlining how so many more folks are having to use the local foodbanks because they can't make their money stretch after paying bills and then how many folks ordered the new iPhone and what a record it was.

Wow...some folks are spending big bucks on technology while others are struggling to eat. Wonder what's in between?

Herb Drying

September 16th, 2012 at 12:29 pm

DH has grown quite a few herbs this year. Actually, because of the mild winter, we had a pot of rosemary, a pot of sage, and a pot of oregano that made it through the winter. DH planted basil, thyme, tarragon, and dill in the ground as well as another rosemary.

I have enjoyed using these fresh herbs, but someone asked the other day if I dried them. I tried once before just tying them up, but I didn't like working with them afterwards.

So, I went to that wonderful invention called the Internet and googled drying herbs. I found a couple of sites that explained how one can dry them in the microwave. I really didn't want to put out the money for a dehydrater. So, I've been experimenting and I have a nice little stockpile for the winter.

I decided yesterday since I still have plenty left, I might dry some extra and put in small bags and label them and give them away. I have some friends who enjoy cooking and I thought it might be a nice surprise for them. Plus, I hate to see anything go to waste.

Middle of September already?

September 15th, 2012 at 07:19 am

It seems hard to believe the middle of September is here. I feel like all I have done is work both at home and school. Maybe even after a month of being in school, I still don't feel like I've hit a routine.

I did receive some excellent news...a grant I wrote to our local district's foundation was approved and we will be having a storyteller for a three day artist in residence. I have worked with him before and he is excellent and also will manipulate his fees to meet a reasonable budget. So that was a day brightener to say the least.

Positively Potato!

September 3rd, 2012 at 12:37 pm

It goes without saying my dear husband loves a potato! He likes them baked, mashed, roasted, and sometimes fried. Even boiled.

When I tried this recipe he was thrilled.


Creamy potato casserole

7-8 russet potatoes peeled and sliced thin
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup cream
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon nutmet
1 teaspoons flour
1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded cheese
1 - 2 small green onions chopped (both white and green)
nonstick cooking spray

Mix flour, nutmeg, cream and milk together. Grease casserole dish. Add sliced potatoes and onions and mix together, then pour milk/cream mixture over. Bake at 400 degrees for one hour, covered, or until potatoes are done. Add shredded cheese and green onions and bake 15 minutes uncovered.

This is on our menu tonight; he's pretty excited!

Fried Green Tomatoes

September 2nd, 2012 at 04:22 pm

"When life gives you green tomatoes, fry them!"


OK, no sage said that to my knowledge and it is loosely based on the life and lemons quote, but this is our predicament. Our tomatoes have quit ripening. We have lots of small green ones on the vines, but little red in sight.

DH was hungry for a tomato and I suggested that I fix them as fried green tomatoes.

Here's how I fixed them:

Fried Green Tomatoes

Wash and slice the tomatoes and soak in milk

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup corn meal
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground pepper

Canola oil

I heated up the cast iron skillet and then added the oil. I dipped the milk soaked tomato slices into the flour/cornmeal mixture and cooked on both sides. DH and I do not like spicy stuff, so I'm sure you could add whatever else you wanted if you want them hot.

DH enjoyed them and felt he had his tomato quota.

County Market Reopened

September 1st, 2012 at 04:29 pm

One of our local grocery stores reopened as a County Market. As a result they had some great specials for "loyal" customers also received a postcard with 6 coupons..white bread for 49 cents, 12 double rolls of tp for $4.99, 4 bourbon marinated pork chops for $2, 4 lbs of sugar for $1.49, Cheerios for 99 cents. Wow, what a fun grocery trip. They also sent out their monthly coupon booklet and had other stuff on special like bananas for 39 cents.

Well, I feel a little like a hoarder because any of the items I could get 2 of, I did. I only used the store special coupons on stuff I normally would get, and I used regular coupons on some of the stuff too, so felt like I saved some money.

It was nice to feel "appreciated" with the extra savings.