Wednesday, September 29, 2010

small vignettes

 on the left is a picture i took while waiting to find out if we had to continue on with the sunday road call.... we had started out, and were then called and informed that the crew were trying to get a jump down where they were. on the right is calpurrnia, taken yesterday while she was up on the top of the knocked down bed- she HAD been laying with her little head down..... looking so amazingly innocent. but i missed that shot when i got the camera.

we've had rain for the past two days, the ducks were not happy. i actually had to carry the babies down the hill as they were not going there.......
they followed me down the hill but then realized i was going to put them in the back pen... and all four turned and FLED up the hill-like all the hounds of hell were after them.
they wanted to stay in the small pen near the house but since there are 4 of them they need to be back in the big pen..... it stays clean longer and also they have more room to flap their wings around
i put lilli and phoebe in the top pen, however the babies aren't happy
so one by one i carried babies......WHILE they told me that my parents were canine, and that apparently i was a boy as well...!
even thumbprint got in the corner of the pen and told me off..... wow! thumbprint came out of his little world??
just to tell mommy off!!!
oh and the drakes are having voice changes the telling me off is even funnier in person

oh i finally got the broccoli done, but the tomatoes are still waiting
now tomorrow i have the periodontist, which is scary.
meanwhile bernie is taking off to take me or so he says... i have to leave here by 2:30
oh and i also need to make a vet appointment for thaddeaus, fawn and calpurrnia... which is an hour away,.........will my car make it there and back?

ok folks i know i still owe you pork and ham

Monday, September 27, 2010

i want a maslin pan

tis the season for THAT lust too
cause of pear preserves
i do them the french way.... a bit of sugar sprinkled over and then they set
boil up the syrup........ and then let them set again
finally simmer them together with the syrup and can
i NEED a maslin pan
it's a want, a need, a lust, and an obcession.....
and it's also about 200.00

and a side note to vicki in ut
have your dh do the furance, use a shop vac, replace the oil filter in the line and go online for the specs to set the nozzles at
bernie did ours for years

last night we were called out on a road call, we left and were on our way when we got a call that a unit local to the downed vehicle was going to try and jump them
so we parked and waited.
they were able to be jumped so we came home!!! and ate leftovers
but while we waited we were near a lake and watched duckies!!! now you all know how much we like our duckies....hahahahaha
so it was fun

today is raining out
duckies don't know that yet
SURPRISE duckies!!! i know how you all hate the rain

meanwhile i dreamt of chris isaak!
just a brief mention of his name

then a transparent girl called my name and talked rapidly with her transparent hands over my head
however i don't think she was a dream
i told her to slow down as i didn't catch what all she was saying
except when she called me by name
my real name
no one calls me by that
so that sort of woke me up
that's when i realized her hands were transparent and waving around over my the left
i wonder who it was
she was not a young girl so she was between like 20 and 38 or so....... maybe a tiny bit younger
but she wasn't an older woman either
i don't think it was thea, as normally she makes sure i know it's her
although thea was one of the few childhood friends that ever called me by my real name consistantly
so there is a puzzle for you

well my beloved chicklets.... i need to finish this coffee, get dressed and get ducks
and then start a very busy day today
i have pears, broccoli and apples to do
along with some spinach. and tomatoes
hense the maslin pan lust

Sunday, September 26, 2010

and just when you least expect it

another good weekend (well so far at least)

we filled my thryoid med rx yesterday, so now i have peice of mind until  i need to get this renewed again.
i need an endo though

well let's see, we got some chicken on sale and i put it in the freezer, which caused the eviction of my wool and yarns......sniff
so i am going to see about sealing them in bags
we also got new litter boxes and new litter for the cats, no one is using them however and there is STILL pee on the floor.
i got butter on sale...and pears to make pear preserves, some broccoli to freeze up
tomorrow i hope to get 20 or so red peppers as i would like to do my sweet roasted red pepper sauce

we still need another 3 cords of wood and a tank of oil for the winter, and 40# of blsl chicken breast that i want to batter dip and crumb for the well as 100 pounds or so of potatoes
then i think we really are done with that
bernie needs to do the snowblower and i want a new shovel
we have even started to put in newspaper for kindling.

so what are you're winter preps?

and with the advent of fall/winter i get closer to doll making, drawing and knitting...i can't wait

Thursday, September 23, 2010


jen came over to knit on the deck.
i know she was concerned as that stupid doctor knocked me for a loop monday
then the girl that took poindexter & may came over with her two kids, so we all sat on the deck and visited a spell

it was hot

today i am finally finishing up my poor long suffering pathetic little space that passes for a kitchen around here. (it's pitiful i know) i've had stuff all over the place though and today i am getting it a bit straightened out.
meanwhile the cat problem (which no one has commented on, i am beginning to feel very unloved here) still is going on, so we decided to pick up three new litter boxes and a different kind of litter and see if that helps a bit

now just about every night this week bernie had come home very late, around 9........add that to his/me not sleeping... well, i asked him please if he could, come home at a reasonable time tonight.... 7 would make me happy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

another sleepless night

thank goodness it's wen- i can't wait until the weekend... maybe i'll actually get some sleep?
yesterday, i grazed the big girls, and i wore my wool hat out instead of my straw floppy sun hat.
everyone stared at me
even lilli was confused!
bernie didn't get in until after 9, so we had oatmeal for supper, he got a shower and it was off to bed.....i didn't sleep
he did thank goodness

i am still obsessing about the doctor on monday, she was better then the one that insisted i had high blood pressure after meeting me for one second and reading the inaccurate blood pressure that her incompetent assistant took- but this one's take was 'when i was ready to take charge of my health, and lose 100# come back'
i truly am so sick of doctors who don't know how to treat what is wrong with you so they latch on to anything... and then get angry at YOU... when you don't fit the stereotypes.
and the level of hostility is amazing......
i have had doctors tell me (without blood work taken mind you) that i am diabetic **i'm not***
that i have high blood pressure ***i don't think so....117/72 isn't high***
that i have high cholesterol.... ** at 143?***
that i will die before i am 50, 60, 70, 80..... or 90....... ahem... i am over 50, and let's face it, living with the adrenal hyperplasia and the pcos isn't a picnic in the park.... i would rather have less years of higher quality then longer and no quality
so how many 90+ year olds are truly enjoying their lives? or are they stuck in nursing homes?
frail? ignored.....?
a doctor's fear of death shouldn't be pushed on a patient, i am not all that afraid of the after life.... just the pain and indignity of dying
but like everyone is telling me......i got my thyroid meds renewed.... without having to get a blood test that i can't afford right now
so she is a bad doctor and it worked for me
but i spent the day in tears as the aftermath..... ***and this little tropical depression is brought to you by adrenal hyperplasia...and stupidity in the medical profession*** i was so miserable even bernie felt sorry for me...
my old doctor that closed her practice used to make me feel so good when i walked out of her office... and i always made progress.... these doctors locally make me feel like i should just die as i have no obvious redeeming qualities as i am so (insert the adjective here - at least i think you insert the adjective here......... ) fat, combative, non compliant ( that one was from the one that told me i have high blood pressure as she wrote a rx for meds) an obvious liar.... (i couldn't possibly be not eating crap, or watching portion size or exercising enough or i would not be fat damn it... two diseases that cause obesity but it's me doing something way wrong

and i am so sorry to rant but stuff like this gets me so angry.. if i had listened to these doctors i would be dead.. they wouldn't give a shit either

ok i am about done with the scarf for spirit trail...... lately my knitting is extremely slow
i have to finish the one sock then do the other and i can send them to her
i have to block the scarf
i hope i can find my blocking wires

when i am finished i plan on sitting down and drawing...... and sculpting
i have a photo of amelia (aka bigfoot) 'instructing' the other ducklings.... i want to start with
then some drawings of the big girls in the garden hunting worms
and then..... baby drawings
i hope to draw a lot of ducklings this winter
i hope i took enough pictures
with the way the summer played out i don't think i did take enough stills, i took mostly videos

and i want to sculpt... (bernie may come home one day soon to find porcelain molds on the stove again...just like 30 years ago when i was starting out) which also means plaster dust all over.... when i do the molds around the sculptures to pour porcelain
i really want to do some doll making in porcelain again... although i may just finish some cloth stuff.
i never know what i am going to do.......until i do it

i also want to put some halloween stuff up in my drawing corner, as well as the rest of the house
tis the season

we are also having a problem with the cats, they have clean litter boxes, but they poop and pee just outside of them
clean boxes........THREE cats THREE BOXES
they are driving me nuts
anyone have any ideas?
it started when jackass' cats sprayed our front door
then we had pee wars...... the ferals on the outside
our's on the inside
they may have ruined the floors!
anyway, if anyone has any ideas on how to fix this or solve this please let me know
and no getting rid of them is not an option..... oh and they are healthy

ok i am off and dragging
i came down with bernie this morning again
so i am not really with it yet

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

it's cold here this morning

so cold that if i had brought wood in, we'd have a fire right now.
so i bring in wood later maybe.
i wish we had a back door downstairs or at least deck stairs down stairs. it would make things a bit simpler

now today i plan on cleaning night crates....harvesting some stuff in the garden
doing dishes, canning some tomatoes and then more knitting ( and renew my rx)

i also have to fax some stuff out. someone remind me

and i am a bit unsettled between the doctor yesterday and this whole mother in law thing
i think an afternoon of knitting maybe just what i need....... possibly on the deck?

october is almost here, which brings rhinebeck, halloween, and the last of the winter preps. last year we had snow if i remember on halloween.
i need to do the hoop house soon
oh and my friend tina is getting married on halloween!

i am still not settled enough to finish up the ham and pork post but i will get to it
and some time this week i'd like to make up a big batch of meatballs
but my top priority is getting the knitting done this week, blocked and posted out
and getting bernie's thing faxed out
gee it's almost 9 i had better go

Monday, September 20, 2010

the new doctor..isn't

you know you are in trouble with a doctor when they write something down before you answer them
and it's wrong
and they don't correct it cause you see....... they know your body better then you ( although they've met you five minutes before)

so the search continues

meanwhile, may and poindexter seem to be making friends at the new farm...... poindexter is friends with a staffshire terrior now
and may.....well she's friends with worms..... and NOT friends with poindexter at the moment but that will change in a few months

meanwhile i have to finish the knitting for spirit trail.....she's going to hate me i think, i've had it so long
and then once that's finished it's the drawing board and the sculpting table......
fall is just about here!!!!!

today i mucked out the top pen
i have to do the duck room and the girls night crate tomorrow

ok i forgot about this post and went out to bring in the girls and the babies (and falstaff)
bernie just called, he's on his way......... it's almost 7
leftovers tonight

Sunday, September 19, 2010

this and that on sunday morning

well first up, the two sets of budgies are talking to each other. this is a very good thing
i am hoping that they will end up together by the end of the month or mid october at the least.
then i can sterilize the small cage and look for the two boys i still need for these guys.
also it will be easier on me to feed them all the chopped veggies and sprouted seeds etc in one cage
they are funny all taking turns hanging on the sides of the cage closest and then ignoring each other 
i love birds, even though they can be difficult at times, right now i am watching captain cuttle feed mrs fezziwig......and the easter budgies are also watching.
(the little lavender/gray budgie is emma and we haven't named the yellow one yet....she's not told us her name)
DAMN and i just spilled coffee all over my keyboard....damn.... all over my patternworks catalog

the girl that has poindexter and may now sent me a video on facebook of them so i feel better. she said may isn't limping anymore which is what i suspected. (they were too crowded in the night crate)
she also said that her father brought the crate out for them the other night and they gratefully ran into it.
i think that amazed everyone that they were trained.
vicky (their new mom) said that she was surprised at how much personality they had. and how they did know their names and would wag their tails when you call them.
them's my babies...

meanwhile the rest of the flock is lost....... thumbprint/kevin nibbled my shoes and both of my legs all around ....he knows, and he knows i feel bad too. so they may be lost but they are also a lot calmer without poindexter leading them astray.
i think poindexter and may will be ok away from home, as it was tramatic enough for poindexter to realize there could be danger around. they are a bit young to be gone though but i told vicky to call me if there was a problem

my nephew and sister in law have acquired a cat... kevin wants to call him larry, and his mom wants to call the kitten fred. i think it's very funny either way. they tell me he is orange and white and about 10 months old.....ahhhh and that he slept with kevin the first night. 
i hope they send me pictures

now it looks like we aren't going to be finishing the raised beds in the garden nor the cold frame this fall....nor the big duck pens
i still need a load of wood and a tank of oil, plus insurance is in october so that will have to come first.
i am going to try for a hoop though so that i have spinach, chard, mache, for winter.

i know i still owe you ham/pork and i am getting to it...
ok tomorrow i have a doctors appointment...... i hope this will be my new personal care doctor... i still need a close and steady endo that is familiar with pcos and ncah and isn't a moron
i never realized what losing a good doctor could do to you. and i am hopeful that tomorrow night i will have a renew on my thyroid meds.......since obviously they are helping me

ok i will talk to you all tomorrow but the ham thing is probably not going to happen until tuesday

Saturday, September 18, 2010

empty pens

in this case are not a good thing
i had a rough time with may and poindexter leaving...jen dragged me out
and i did make a new friend (hi susan) who is a very interesting person... we are going to have a blast together i predict
but it was still a rough day

today it seemed so odd to see only 4 babies
and the babies were looking for may and poindexter also

i feel so guilty

i divided their little family

now today, i am cleaning the kitchen, while bernie is cleaning the woodstove
he's not happy about that but then again it's not a pleasant job so i can understand
getting the chimney back togethe is a nightmare

we had a late start on chores as we had to go to the petstore for cat food, kibble/cans and a calcium perch for the budgies.....we got a huge one last week and they ate it already!
we moved the easter budgies over next to the older ones and right now, everyone is ignoring everyone

someone tell me please......why do i love birds so very much? they are really difficult at times

my nephew told me that there are 75 in his unit, and that they are looking to get shipped out
i cried all night
between that and my babies going
well i don't know if i can stand that
and my nephew said to me... 'but i knew that, i joined the army during wartime, i knew i would be shipped out'
oh man thru my heart....yet i am so proud of how mature he is
i love this kid with my whole heart.....i would give him my kidney....
i wish you all could meet him, you would see what i mean.
he loves his mother and sister and his nan...... he's a wonderful boy/man

ok enough
or i will be crying again and i have a whole kitchen yet to clean

take good care everyone

Friday, September 17, 2010

my babies fly the coop today

may and poindexter are leaving for their new home.....and i am wishing they weren't going.
they have to go but i wish they weren't

i owe you folks an outline of batch cooking for pork/ham i know
i don't think i'm up to it today however....and i have one or two things for ham i really want to do justice to, so i am going to wait on that
has anyone done any batch cooking with my outlines?
if so let me know ok?
i been doing this for 30 years now ( gees i am so freeken old) i remember when we moved into our first nice apartment, the very first thing i saved for was a freezer, we still have it!
and i started doing BIG batch cooking/stocking.... i did a lot of make ahead stuff with the little apartment fridge freezer but nothing like when i got my big freezer
now we have two freezers. and i would like a third one! (the third one is for wool)

also has any of the informal cookware reviews helped anyone?
i would also like to know

ok folks i have to run ( 5:46am but i got a day ahead of me)
please let me know about what has worked or helped you and what hasn't ok?

ttyl vi

Thursday, September 16, 2010

up early- beans and odds /ends....

i dreamt about my deceased brother in law...... it was 'interesting' but i didn't say it was exactly pleasant.
however it did get me up
so here i am
bernie forgot the living room window open all night, which concerns me due to bear and raccoons etc.
plus it is now pretty cold in the house
anyway that is some of the morning odds and ends out of the way no?
i got a doctor appointment monday, a new one, as i need a pcp, and this one is an internist.
we'll see
i need a renewal on my thyroid meds
as i feel pretty good right now, i would like to continue that
i have a periodontist on the 30th
heaven help me

friday poindexter and may are leaving for their new home. i am so going to miss them. and we named big foot...... her name is actually AMELIA!!!! who knew?

now i want to talk about beans a bit...... dry beans
i really should save the bean talk until another day right, but i'll put some in here
dried beans are a great staple to have on hand.
try to get them in bulk and try to get them for less then 1.00 a pound
my favorites are kidney, cannelloni, navy, yellow eyes, roman, lima and i also like turtle
there are a ton of different beans

they are simple to cook, soak overnight, drain, rinse, cover with water with an inch over them... add an onion and some garlic and simmer until tender
now you can add stuff like meat or tomato sauce
or the stuff to make boston baked
or ham
or you can grind them to make 'meat' (i add oatmeal, cooked barley, garlic, onions, and oregano plus an egg or two...enough garlic and people don't know it's not really 'meat')

and a few home canned jars of beans ( keep them soupy, soak over night, 1/4 of a jar full of beans, fill with water and pressure can for 60 minutes pints, and 75 for quarts at whatever weight for your elevation)

you can even make PIE with ground up beans, it's quite good actually, tastes like pecan pie without the overload cloying sweetness......
use a commercial pie shell and google 'bean pie' (actually click that link..... it's already googled for you)

a home canned jar of ham, and a jar or two of home canned beans..... heavenly on a cold snowy day- super score if you reheat on the woodstove! or in a solar oven
how cool is that?
the convenience alone is worth the work of home canning dried beans.......and we've found that the more things we pressure can (with a full canner load) the more electricity we save overall for the year!
after a while a jar of this and a jar of that off the shelves really do add up to huge savings....even for someone who is living alone, as this way at least they eat a varied diet of homemade foods, with less crap in them.
ok it's about 5:30 am now..
i am going to finish my coffee.......... (anyone out there with me on the coffee thing?) and try to get some of the other stuff i need done today started...
i realized that i also need to clean the chickens yet again
i don't know why!
the bedding looks fine but there is a slight smell that's bothering me
have a good day everyone

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

after use cookware update

remember when i started research on cookware and started replacing all our non stick
well here is a sort of follow up after a while of use

i love Cuisinart
 love it i have the 5 quart saute, and a 2 quart pour lid sauce pan...... and the 12 quart stock pot with the pasta insert and steamer insert.
in the chef's works well (remember to heat it slowly) cleans up like a dream, the handles are good, and i like that i can slide the lid over the handle and hang it. the lids fit tightly- the stock pot takes forever to come to a boil but it IS 12 quarts.... and i also double use it as a boiling water bath canner for small batches of pints and jellies!!! too bad this cookware isn't induction ready or i would get even more of it- i adore the 'helpers' handle on the saute....... believe me it needs it.

emerileware, i have a 3 quart saute..... harder to clean.......a LOT harder to clean, i've seen the really bad reviews so i am super careful with it, the lid does slide over the handle so that is a plus. but the copper line on the bottom is a pain to keep clean, that is a minus- and i don't trust it so that is a huge minus

berndes- i have two saucepan/casseroles...... this brand needs to be wider known here. i like that it doesn't have rivets.. it's inductions ready. not as easy as cuisinart to clean though. but a nice solid sauce pan for rice, potatoes, small amounts of pasta etc.. i have a 1.5 quart and a 4 quart.......the 4 quart gets a HUGE amount of use

wolfegang puck- i have a 3 or 4 quart low sauce pan. i like it very much except for the handle design, which is difficult to clean, and the rivets...i really hate rivets. but the pan itself is good, and easy to clean. i also don't like the seam in the metal edge of the lid.... so this one is iffy for that and the handle. so if you get this at a huge savings.....then ok.

tjmaxx store brand, i have a 4 quarts that i paid 19.99 for...... save your money, it isn't bad but isn't great either... i have to clean it up with vinegar. and the vent hole in the glass lid needs to be cleaned often. it's not worth the money though to me.

le creuset.... i have a 4.5 quart soup pot at the moment..... give up lunch for a month and buy this stuff.....yes it really is that good
this or staub ( i have one small staub- love the spoon rest handle on the lid, they don't do that anymore)...... cast iron is wonderful...i am still experimenting with it but i tell you..... i'm hooked
now when i got all the cast iron i slowly heated it in the oven on like 175 and then oiled any exposed iron with mineral oil. let it cool and wiped off the excess. i also hand wash them always.....then dry in a warm oven. i boil water in them for baked on stuff.
i am planning on some ovals to do chicken and roasts in
and yes this stuff is worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY
i also just bought a pre seasoned cast iron, lodge 5 quart but haven't used it yet, i got it for no-knead bread. i imagine it will be awesome.

now what i want to try and haven't yet
Sitram professional......i plan on a chef's pan, it can go on induction and while not totally inexpensive isn't allclad-ragous either, if it's good i am thinking maybe also a 3 quart saute
i am also thinking of trying cuisinart's mult clad..... i would like a 4 quart saute in that if they make it
but i am going to look into more chef's pans as the smaller base will fit the current electric coil stove i have.

and i need a few smaller stock pots..... like a 6 quart and an 8 quart ( i never thought i would say SMALLER and STOCKPOT in the same sentence!)

i am going to start with serious knives soon...and a sharpening system
as well as some GOOD cutting boards
end grain maple i hope

ok so there you have it
a cookware update
the two that i don't use are the 1.5 quart berndes ( maybe it's just too small?) and the tjmaxx store brand cause it's a pain in the ass to clean
everything else gets regular rotation in the kitchen

i am also still without a decent small replacement skillet for frying up one egg... it's a toss up between enameled cast iron, seasoned cast iron, or cheapo non stick..... it's for bernie so he'll have to have a say in it
i am leaning to enameded cast iron or seasoned cast iron due to the birds in the house..

now all i need it the kitchen to go around this stuff!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

yesterday i baked bread

it's been a while...... and i remembered, my oven isn't calibrated properly
but it wasn't bad bread, not fantastic but not bad either
i didn't knead it long enough though
(it HAS been a while)

ok let's see, batch cooking and chicken

we usually get boneless skinless chicken breasts (chicken cutlets) at a local provisioner in allentown
B&M by the 40 pound box. when i do tend to bread half and can half

i dip the chicken in flour, then in a thick batter then in the following crumbs- then i freeze on waxed paper covered cookie sheets. i bag them in 2 gallon zip locks after and they seem to store forever in the freezer (however we do eat a LOT of them )

2 or 3 eggs, flour, dash of salt, milk.....make it thick like pancake batter

 'bread crumb'

1 part corn bread
1part shredded wheat or all bran (without the raisins)
1 part rolled oats (oatmeal)
garlic powder
onion powder
parsley flakes
kosher salt

now to cook the cutlets, bake in a 350 oven for 20 minutes one side and about 10-15 on the other
do NOT over back them
we drizzle the pan and the cutlets with olive oil and they oven fry

we use them plain like that
or with tomato sauce and mozzarella melted on them the last 5 minutes or so
or with mushroom gravy
or chicken gravy
or cheese sauce

sometimes i make chicken cordon blue, which also freezes well.

once the crumbed breasts are in the freezer, i can think about putting breasts in marinades in the freezer for fast skillet dinners
marinades such as red wine with garlic/onions
(anything with garlic and onion though i tend to want to use within 3 months)
lemon/lime/onion/ spearmint/garlic and honey
what's your favorite?

out of the marinated stuff
the one with the red wine i use as is.........or add dill and sour cream (after cooked) for a chicken stroganoff  over noodle

most of the marinades are over rice
add chopped fresh veggies to the last couple minutes......we like sweet peppers, onions and mushrooms
but you can also add stuff like zucchini or carrot shavings, chard, spinaches

*** remember after you roast a turkey to cube up and package 2 cup amounts of meat for casseroles, as that is about the right amount in a casserole for 4 people or so***
i roast a turkey occasionally just to can some and freeze some

now i also canned a lot of grilling sauces and sweet sour fruit things that we use over oven baked chicken as a sort of 'grill'
pineapple is great with peppers and onions and a bit of honey

however i have to tell you all, my very favorite is just plain roasted chicken breasts with the skin on and crispy... i love it!!!!

during the winter i do a stewing hen, at least once or so a month. it makes 5 gallons of broth that i usually can, and a bunch of chicken that i cut up for soups or sandwitches..
i highly recommend doing something along these lines
you always have a great base for suppers that way
i use the broth for gravy base or soup bases, in meat loaf and in casseroles. and i would be lost without this in the house.

so this is mostly the chicken post, i do chicken parts just like the cutlets, including the ones with the skin on... and i do a lot of the chicken on stove top.... or baked in the oven.
my standard oven baking starting point is usually 350 degrees for 30 minutes, check to see if it's done
let me know what you all think ok?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 *** i lifted it and reposted it here
stock making for catherine

ok normally i start with a stewing hen, if you buy one it may be called a hen or a stewing fowl
or a 'fowl for stewing' or fowl for fricassee
i try to get a big one 6-7 pounds at least
if you are using carcuss, it's a bit different so i'll start with fowl and end with carcuss

i use a 20 or 25 quart stock pot
fill it about 3/4 of the way up with cold water
i add a carrot or two, an onion ( a BIG ONE) two stalks of celery
and about 4 garlic cloves....try to make sure they are BIG ones as well
it they are tiny, i may use the whole head
a bit of freshly ground pepper corns
some fresh italian parsley (dried if you don't have fresh)
sometimes dill..not much though
add your chicken and a bit of kosher salt and set it to simmer
i skim off the foamy protein and feed that to the cats
i simmer for at least 3 hours.....but i prefer 5 or 6
and i add water as needed
when it's done i set it in the cold......either on the deck (during the winter-during the day)
or in the fridge
i do sometimes defat it
but my dad said always keep some of the fat and he was right as there are soluble vitamins in it
i either can or freeze it
you can puree the veggies with some of the broth for a 'cream' soup
i pick over the chicken well as the meat makes the BEST salad and sandwitches
now for some stocks i will roast the veggies ahead and then put them in and do the stock that way
as to a carcuss
you can brown them first, sometimes i do put the carcuss back in the roasting pan and brown them then deglaze them with water
sometimes i just toss it in the water as if it was a fresh whole fowl
it all depends on what i have on hand and what i have time for
some times i will simmer off the stock when it's done until it condenses and i will can that
or use that condensed stock with saute'd mushrooms as a concentrate.......canning it in 4oz jars for soups and sauces and gravies
does this help?
some folks add a teaspoon of vinegar to the stock as it's simmering to get some of the calcium out of the bones
you can do wont' taste any different
usually 3 quarts make a supper soup for us
the basic stock can be used for almost anything after..... all sorts of soups and such

Monday, September 13, 2010

the weekend was good

my nephew, neice and sister in law were here.
we had a tiny birthday party for my neice who turns 23 on the 23rd of september
it was wonderful
the day was nice
we did have a small problem with yellowjackets but we got them gone pretty quick
i think the kids had a good time too

i made a ton of food
i sent home a ton of food with them

sunday we lost goldie the chicken, it looks like she out grew her heart. she was a huge chicken.
it's not going to be the same down there

may the duckling is doing better, so it looks like her and poindexter will be leaving for their new home in cherry valley on friday.
i want a drake out of poindexter though, he's gourgous......and i am so upset that i don't have pen space to keep him

yesterday it finally fall is arriving- rain appears to be in the forecast on and off all week

we are still waiting to hear how bernie's mother is going to take the news that we found her....
this should be interesting

meanwhile i am still looking for the family albums
still trying to figure workflow (now more then ever) in the kitchen.....
still cleaning and moving crap around in the house...(tiny tiny house)

i got a new ghost story book (ghosts in the mirror) with another two on their way... bernie got me a halloween magazine
and i am hoping to do a batch cooking post this week on chicken and/or pork
also i need to update you all on the cookware that i bought because some is not worth the money, some is worth every cent

that's about it for now...
bernie and i took a drive in the rain, up to lake in the clouds, it gave us a new perspective and a change of scenery...... we saw a few houses that we liked, as well as property for sale (too far away IMO from his job to be feasible but we'll see)

that's all she wrote folks


Saturday, September 11, 2010


i don't think anyone living through at date could forget
even if they don't say much
how could you not thing of the families that lost love ones?
we almost did, my cousin rockie was in there and made it out.
we were so very lucky
there were all those people who didn't
there are all those people now, the first responders who are still sick (if not dead) from that day
so many children growing up without a parent

today my nephew is coming with my neice and sister in law
family we didn't know we had
today brings us personally new hope
i wish that for everyone
strength to go on
happiness, sunshine, laughter, love
and a feeling of security that we've all lost

i don't know what all the answers are, i know that everyone, EVERYONE not just americans or christians or whatever are all in this together......... and i also know that by just trying a little harder maybe........ we all can over come the fears that seperate us?

Friday, September 10, 2010

what mom taught me about cooking

i can remember watching my mom start the sauce, chopping onions, browning meat.
i still start the sauce that way.
i don't measure
mom never did either
you don't have to

starting the sauce is a good way to introduce folks to cooking without recipes.
even if you are more comfortable with recipes, it's always good to have ideas and methods to use without, you know....just in case

in our house a lot of cooking starts with chopping the onions, and smashing the garlic
heating the sauté pan over medium heat adding cold oil and adding onions.......stirring until they are translucent and lightly caramelized
how many onions
start with half a medium
how much garlic? start with three cloves smashed
you gently add garlic......never brown or burn it
then add the meat and brown that (add some salt or it tastes flat) how much meat?
how big is your pot? how many folks are you going to serve or around much meat do you have?
we'll say about a pound ok?
more or less
usually less  (maybe about the size of a large grapefruit)
but that's a round figure
brown it up nicely and pour off a bit of the fat
add some puree
homemade is great, a good canned is good too
add enough to cover the meat a few inches
stir it up well
now add some of the other seasonings.... here it's oregano, not too much
basil..... A LOT
parsley a bit, maybe more then the oregano
i like to make sauce in a 6 quart stock pot so it works out to about 4 quarts of puree or three of puree and one of crushed tomatoes
a couple grinds of fresh peppercorns
cover and cook on low stirring occasionally............ you want slightly bubbling.....not seething cauldron of molten red oil
i simmer for about 1/2 hour if that's all i got..... an hour is better
a dash of wine is a good thing for the sauce towards the end....

you got the sauce made
and didn't measure a thing did you!

doing a pot roast?
how many folks? add one carrot, one potato, and a quarter of an onion per person at least
add a stalk of celery chopped for the pot
and a couple cloves of garlic smashed
how much meat? how much you got? if you have more then you need........ leftovers are great
brown the meat in a bit of oil or fat
then layer the veggies add the meat on top and add some stock or water and wine to just cover the veggies and a tiny bit of the bottom of the meat... add a cover and bake it in the oven
you can smell when it's done
but check it about 20 minutes into it
normally i start baking everything at about 350.....
now roasts need low and 200 to 250...... a nice beef roast roasted slow and low is a beautiful thing.... add some water under it and some garlic power to the water .......... you'll have dripping in there later and you can make the gravy if you'd like

learn to check smell for doneness....... if you use a thermometer to  check meat's internal temp remember what the SMELL is...... after all this time i don't use a thermometer ( ok i only used one once when i was a bride) i trust the smell. it will smell good and finished and you will be hungry

the french start stuff with onions and celery and i think garlic
we start with onions and garlic...... chop the onions smash the garlic
heat the olive oil
caramelize the onions... it doesn't' really matter what kind of onions...... or how much, if they are big....use a half, if they are small use two
then you brown the meats....... then add a liquid if using (and i almost always do use a liquid even if i am 'dry' roasting)
lots of liquid makes soup
a little bit makes gravy or sauce

now if instead of making sauce you want say pork chops
you still start with the onions and garlic....... do maybe a half an onion per chop
dredg the chops in flour and then brown them
pour off most of the fat
add some water and stock add back in the onions, sprinkle with the dredging flour cover and simmer on low.... it'll make onion gravy, and will cook the chops
serve over rice or noodles.......add a salad

what do you think so far?
go ahead and try making sauce..... TASTE it as you add stuff
tell me what you think? does it need more oregano..... more basil?
make pasta and eat, use a GOOD cheese that you grate at home fresh before you eat
that's the real secret to cooking..... tasting
you must taste it as you go
have a spoon and a tiny bowl ready and taste

now how about chicken breasts??

ps: i saw this video and i am going to try and embed it ......... i loved it

Thursday, September 09, 2010

big batches!!!

i love to cook but just not every day
and if i like something i would like to have extra tucked away for a rainy day
or a day i am very tired
i used to do something like the oamc.......a billion years ago when we lived in jersey and i worked outside of the house..... we would go food shopping either friday or saturday and i would cook the next day
i was exhausted

now i see what's on sale
chicken is cheap???
here comes chicken

but the BEST is ground beef......what jersey folks call chopmeat
when you get a good sale on that you can have a LOT of fun and do a lot of things

spaghetti sauce
meatballs (use for: meatball stroganoff, in soup, in sauce for pasta or in sandwiches, as pizza topping)
stuffed peppers
stuffed cabbage
meat loaf
salsbury steak

now when i do the meat for the things like meatballs and meatloaf i do a huge batch
it's maybe 10 or 15 pounds
now that i am getting on i been using the kitchen aid or bernie to mix it
i make a 'bread crumb'
1 part corn bread
1part shredded wheat or all bran (without the raisins)
1 part rolled oats (oatmeal)
garlic powder
onion powder
parsley flakes
kosher salt

i also make this ahead so 1 part could equal 4 cups
i grind this all together in the food processor into crumbs
and i store it in either mason jars or zip locks in the fridge

i take the meat and to 1 part meat i add about 1/3 of a part of this crumb mix
plus a few eggs (like one per pound of chicken and one per two pound if i am using duck eggs)
mix it up lightly but thoroughly
then pull out what you are going to use for meatballs and stuffed peppers
to that you add oregano and a bit of basil
the stuffed pepper meat will also get some tomato sauce in it and i add locatelli grating cheese

pull out the part you are going to use for meatloaf
for my meatloaf i puree a thick slice of cabbage, half an onion, a stalk of celery, a half of a red and a half of a green sweet pepper and about three good sized cloves of garlic
(if you don't like peppers then maybe add broccoli)
i add that to the meat loaf mix plus some shredded cheddar and some homemade chicken stock

now for the meatballs i use a tiny scoop...about one inch as it makes it easy
and i brown them all over then freeze them on wax paper covered cookie trays followed by packaging them individually for things
really these are fantastic to have in the freezer, i use them so many different ways i like to have a lot on hand

i make meat loafs in a O shape, with an empty center as they cook FAST at 350 (like twenty minutes)
the stock in them keeps them juicy and you can make gravy if you take the meatloaf out (use a stovetop/oven proof pan when you make the meatloaf)
freeze the meatloaf in freezer to oven pans or partly cook and freeze that way

to the stuffed pepper meat you can add some rice if you'd like but i usually leave the additives to tomato sauce and the cheese
blanch the peppers before you stuff them
i freeze these also, one per person and i like to use red and green peppers
freeze them on cookie sheets as well and when you bag them add a bit of sauce on the top before you seal the bag

a fast tip to getting cabbage leaves pliable, freeze the cabbage head! when it defrosts the leaves will be soft enough to roll

to the meat for stuffed cabbage, i take some sauce add some of this meat and a bit of brown sugar
i simmer it a bit let it cool and then stuff the leaves.....i don't make it too liquidy though
this i freeze in casseroles and add more of the sauce over it

i freeze hamburgers as patties and i do use waxed paper in between, i use the patties as burgers and as salsbury steak
take a bit of flour and add some garlic powder, onion powder, parsley and some paprika, a bit of fresh ground pepper and some kosher salt
heat your pan and add a bit (not too much) of oil
dreg your patties in the flour (and i will cook them frozen) and gently saute in the pan
pour off a lot of the oil but keep the browned bits (fond)
take the patties and hold them aside
add the remaining flour to the dripping, stir over medium heat to make a roux
add some water and some woustershire sauce (that seems to be the key)
until you get a gravy
add the patties back and serve immediately
( this whole operation takes about 20 minutes from start to finish)
ok that's basically my chopmeat batch cooking
you can (and i do) break it down
such as this week i plan on doing the meatball part
because i have none in the freezer and that is a good thing to have on hand
if i can get a nice batch of sweet peppers at a good price (my plants didn't do well) i have bulk chopmeat frozen for that.

we found over all that we save on utility costs, as well as time when i do this
plus for the most part i have dinner on the table without a hassle
meat loaf even cooked from the frozen state since it's got a hollow center is only going to take about 30 or 40 minutes so i can have dinner fast even if i am not well and bernie has to put it in

now to the canners
i can the meatballs in sauce and in a concentrated meat stock
pints 75 at your pressure
quarts 90 at your pressure
i have experimented with un stuffed peppers (meatballs and slices of sweet peppers in sauce)
same times
ditto on the meat loaf but remember to use widemouth jars for the meatloaf
i also canned unstuffed cabbage too
i love having this stuff around

one more thing i do that is fast
i have small packages of plain raw ground beef in the freezer
when we have leftover rice,
i brown the chopmeat
pour off most of the fat
add some frozen mixed veggies and some chicken or beef stock, add leftover rice
i do this in the oven or on the stove top
season it
salt, pepper, garlic, onion, parsley

stir it occationally if on the stove top, don't stir if in the oven (20 minutes in the oven)
add shredded cheddar before serving

any questions let me know
i love batch cooking

you can also break this down into a few days if you need to
prep your crumbs, etc the day before
brown off your meat and start your basic tomato sauce and while that is simmering do the basic meat/crumb mixes then do the stuff that needs sauce
freeze all that and the sauce
then do the meat loafs etc
you can bake the meatballs 350 turn them after like 15 minutes

take care and wish me luck at the dentist today

ps: tomorrow remind me, we'll talk about how to cook without recipes

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

on today's list

the bathroom, and the fridge, with a side of living room

i was up all night thinking of the house, what i need to do next, wondering if we are going to get permission to see bernie's mom, deciding workflow in the kitchen, pondering winter veggies without the cold frame, (we didn't get it finished), picturing where to put 3 more cords of finding extra for a tank of oil...oh and the car insurance is due next month too.- going to rhinebeck with ducks.....
(need to plan safe indoor pens for them NOW, )
too much swirling through my mind

tylanol is my new best friend

as i am also very sore, which i can't figure out why?
i still have to clean the budgies too
now why isn't any of the house cleaning crap done more regularly, maybe i really AM lazy
anyway, i am finishing my coffee, waiting on the dishwasher to go off
while captain cuttle sits on the perch closest to me and tells me all sorts of stuff about his day and the other budgies.....he's a riot that one
(oh and i need 2 more boy budgies.....i would like a sky blue one and a gray one)

now when i get through the biggest part of my to do list (if i am still alive after) i think i am going to run through a few weeks on big batch cooking for canning and the freezer
stuff that you can pull out or open at the last minute and throw in the oven or just reheat
would anyone be interested in reading about how i go about mine?
i don't actually follow recipes but the methods will no doubt get you through.

i'm italian, we don't actually follow recipes, we're taught methods or techniques .... you take what you have on hand, whatever is ready in the garden, or what is on sale, and figure out the amount of folks you have to feed, (do you also want some leftovers?) and that sort of decides what and how you cook

ie: lets say we got leftover pork and leftover rice....... i did in the spring along with fresh garlic scapes, and a few dried veggies..... i made a pork fried rice stir fry, it fed us wonderfully supper plus two lunches
we have three tomatoes, and three people, two chicken breasts, cheese, pasta, and some odds and ends veggies
tomato and onion salad, chicken slivered with cheese over pasta and steamed veggies
there's dinner
see what i mean?
maybe i don't have eggplant.......... ok i got zuchinni and mushrooms.........

anyway let me know about the big batch stuff

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

you know i'm upset when i am cleaning

and i can't stop
we are waiting out getting permission to talk to bernie's mother
there is a bunch of burocratic shit you gotta go through
*this is a crock, it shouldn't be like this*
anyway in the meantime
i am cleaning the house
deep cleaning
like tear shit apart and scrub the grout cleaning
i only do this when i am unsettled
so far i am in the kitchen but i am eyeing the bathroom, dining room and living room
i am going to take a swipe at the studio as well
and of course saturday morning will do pens again, instead of friday
as my nephew, sister in law, and my adopted neice will be coming saturday so i want to make sure they are clean
i am still not sure what to cook
and what to bake or what
fruit punch?
i hope they feel welcome and have an enjoyable visit
meanwhile i am cleaning

now my cousin nick and my sister in law alice were conversing on facebook, and nick told me to rest
alice told nick that i don't know the meaning of the word
meanwhile bernie says i'm lazy
now who do i believe?
sometimes i feel lazy when i am not busy going from one thing to another
and i also feel lazy when i see my to do list and it's not getting shorter
how does a person judge how lazy or busy they are?

i'm not sure!

i will tell you this much, i have discovered that i ran out of space for cookware.......before i ran out of want for cookware......(oh and i got a lodge preseasoned cast iron 5 quart covered dutch oven to do the no knead bread, which i plan on making with my tweeks to make my regular loaf.........)
yet did that stop me from lusting and bidding on other cocottes on ebay........??
what do you think?
i won't rest until i get that oval one in matt black i think
ok so
that's all folks


Friday, September 03, 2010


i woke up this morning dreaming of my deceased brother in law... well i suppose with all that's been going on...yeah
but towards the end my dad appeared.... and my brother in law faded away
it was almost like dad was protecting me
we still haven't heard about the visitation from the 'legal guardian' for bernie's mother
she told me one or two days
then apparently went out of town
the girls called her
so we'll see
it's been my experience that the 'public' guardians are corrupt.... so i am hoping that this is not the case here

it's got me a bit depressed

now as to hurricane seems that nothing is happening here
except i got the ac on
i was going to bake some cookies for bernie for the weekend but i can't figure out where he put the flour!

(oh and a mouse chewed through the feed bags for the ducks..... stream of consciousness, cause i also have wheat down stairs..... the feed bags are on the other side of the basement)

i am trying to not think 'victim' type thoughts right now
meanwhile my little monster cat is in my garden basket pulling zip ties out

i canned tomato salad yesterday, and should see about pickles today..... the salad tomatoes are coming on
and i do realize that this post is disjointed
i am disjointed today

and a bit upset that bernie is working AGAIN tomorrow, i am so worried about him

happy labor day to you all

Thursday, September 02, 2010

today is thursday

i got some sleep.
and i actually overslept getting up at 20 after 5!
i was in such a deep sleep that i thought bernie was still home.

today is the usual, ducks, chores, canning, harvest, dishes..... cooking and possibly doing some pizza dough ( but bernie had to knead it, i can't do that anymore, so i may wait to the weekend depending)

yesterday evening when doing chores i let the babies out to graze, the garden had to be watered but they are big enough now to graze outside the fence without too much worry
lilli was not happy nor was phoebe.
i picked up little bigfoot a few times, she isn't as nasty as she was, but she has to learn to come when she's called for me to pick her up, like the big girls do
malcom had to tell me all about it
he is my talker....... just like babette the chicken is my screamer....... malcom talks.
i am going to miss his peeping when his voice changes to the hiss sound
it may be my imagination but it seems even poindexter is down a peg since i clipped wings
i have to say poindexter is beautiful........ he is going to a farm here near town, him and may
they are beautiful birds
i so wish i could keep them but i don't have the pen space nor the time to do that much extra
if i could keep a drake pen without them fighting it would be fine but that won't happen so i have to cull
i believe that thumbprint/kevin is not going to last long, nor will he ever be a fertile drake in my opinion....... he'll always be a somewhat bumbling pet
malcom is going to be an ok drake i think....... not the quality of poindexter, but not the difficulty in handling either

i think that bigfoot is pretty and we may name her after my aunt fortuna.
that left a decision between prudence and may
we are keeping prudence as she seems more willing to bath
although at times she needs prudence as she likes to rile up the other ducks
 the stories are starting up again no?

i went yesterday with jen down to the lehigh valley, i think it was good for me
we passed bernie's new fleet
he'll be 40 mintues away when he locates there permanently......
i am still having lingering after problems from that adrenal crash thing. slightly shakey, still depressed.
i am going to sit later and knit i think but i have morning chores and a bunch of other things to do
i fully intend on keeping busy
besides as i went out for most of the day yesterday, i blew off some stuff that must be done today

and i am also trying to find the pictures for my nephew and sister in laws

today is september 2, i have to get another load of wood in and a tank of oil
plus 150 pounds of potatoes......then i think we are mostly set for winter

ok everyone ( and thank you so muck vicki for your sweet comment) i hope to have happier and funnier stories again soon, plus drawings over the winter

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

life with adrenal problems

today i found my mother in law..... bernie's long lost mother
ok so she sure wasn't mother of the year....
damn she would take first place in a 'how to abuse you kid and screw them up for life without really trying'
however i found her
i searched for 10 years for her
now between friday and today, and the dentist etc......
my adrenalin has been working even more over time then normal
but then there comes.........
(drum roll)

and i'm there

the crash pretty much sucks
who needs to be a drug addict when you have an adrenal hyperplasia

i am sick, seriously........ to my stomach
and shakey
and depressed as all hell
and weepy
and my mouth tastes funny
and i am craving salt and sweating

lovely isn't it
i think i smell too but it isn't the duck shit that 'bigfoot' so nicely deposited on me
i will take yet another shower today

i will also withdraw a bit
cause in my head it's better if i keep out of folks way, cause in my head i think i am annoying them

ah life with cronic illnesses

but at least the poultry pens are clean