Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christian Helps Decorate the Tree

Our grandson Christian helping make wonderful Christmas memories.

I'm helping Grampa.
Grampa what's this for?

I swear, I didn't touch it!

This is in the wrong place. Pull it off!

                                                All done and now they say I can't touch it!

Turkey Leftovers

I decided to do a turkey leftover post after seeing my neighbor let her leftover turkey sit on her counter all night and then throw it away the next day. She basically had just legs left but it still was a considerable amount of turkey wasted. I had less people eating at my house so had a lot more turkey left. The day after Thanksgiving I didn't make any food it was just a leftover day (however, unlike my neighbor, I had gotten the pan in the refrigerator Thanksgiving evening). For lunch the next day we ate turkey sandwhiches. Yesterday I took all the meat off the bones and put the bones in a pan with carrots and onion (Phil hates celery or I would have used some celery as well). I really don't know how long I cooked it, for a long while until the broth was milky looking. I then used some of the broth to make turkey soup. I put the broth in the crockpot, got out my soup veggie bag from the freezer (any vegetable leftovers go in the bag to be frozen and used for soup later), put it in the crockpot and added some cut up turkey, salt and pepper. Later I added some ziti pasta (any pasta will do and I happened to have ziti) and when the pasta was done the soup was done. Must have been good. The crockpot was emptied. I also ended up with 3 quarts of stock and canned it today. There is still a considerable amount of turkey in ziplock bags in the frig. I used some put in my Ramen noodles that I ate for lunch. For supper we refuse to eat turkey again, so it will be deer steaks tonight but tomorrow I will make some sort of casserole with some of it. None of it will go to waste. If we get sick of turkey I will just freeze what is left and use it in future soups and casseroles.

Friday, November 26, 2010


We have to at least have one post on Thanksgiving. We had Thanksgiving at home like we always do. It was Phil, myself, my daughter-in-law, the grandbaby and my daughter. Here is the perfect 20 lb turkey.
We also had: stuffing, giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, mashed turnips, baked sweet potatoes, mashed butternut squash, rolls, cranberry sauce...

banana bread and zucchini bread...

homemade apple pie(I did not get real fancy, it was after work and I was tired) made from my own canned apple pie filling. . .

pumpkin pie made from my own canned pumpkin (those were the hardest pie pumpkins I have ever seen--NEVER again!)
It was all really good but the best thing of all is that I don't have to cook ANYTHING today.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Venison Mushroom Dinner

Being self sufficient has a lot to do with just using what you have.  Tonight I made dinner just using what happened to be in the cupboard. I often buy things that I know will come in useful when they happen to be on sale. Of course, I have all this venison filling up the freezer so venison it was. I took out a package of the stew meat, thawed it and soaked it in buttermilk for a couple hours. Then I cut it up into fairly small pieces. I put it in the frying pan with some of my bacon grease, added one small chopped onion and a 4 oz can of mushrooms. I cooked it until the meat and onions were done. In another large pan I cooked a 16 oz package of medium egg noodles (pasta was on sale this week). When the meat was done, I moved the pan over and started cooking up 3 packets of mushroom gravy, following the directions (on sale last week for 3/$1). The noodles, in the meantime, were drained and put back in the pot and the meat mixture mixed in. When the gravy was done it was just poured over the top and mixed in. A little salt and pepper and it was done.

Chicken and Tomato Soup

Phil has had me making this soup for 13 years now-since I have known him. It is really easy and we love it. You need chicken, any kind will do, bone in, skin on is what we use. Put it in a large pot of water, enough water to cover the chicken by 2-3 inches. Add one onion cut up in any size pieces you want. Cook the chicken (and onion) until it is done. Add one box 16 oz of macaroni. Cook until macaroni is done. Add one large can (sorry, I have forgotten what the ounces were on the can but about a quart) of whole tomatoes. Turn off heat, add salt and pepper and serve.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Deer Jerky

Today I ground up the bowl full of meat pieces that I had from the deer. I do not have a nice electric meat grinder. I have the plain old, just like my grandmother used, cast iron manual meat grinder. I put the meat through twice and it made a decent deer burger.
With some of that ground deer meat, I made jerky. Unfortunately, I don't have measurements for you because it is just a kind of slap it in the bowl thing.
Several shakes of soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce, a bit less of liquid smoke, then sprinkle the meat with garlic powder, onion powder, pepper and salt. Mix it all together with your hands. I then make flat pieces on my plastic flexible cutting boards and turn them over and gently push off the pieces onto the dehydrator tray.
These aren't quite done but between these and cooking up some bones for the dog, the whole house smells wonderful!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cutting up a Deer

Phil brought home a deer from work that he got from one of the guys. The hard work had been done. It had been skinned and gutted. My job today was to cut it up.

I hadn't actually done a deer before so spent last night watching videos on Youtube on how to do it.
The body of my deer started like this:
I cut the other foreleg off and then set it upright to do the backstrap.

I cut straight down one side of the spine and then over the ribs. Then did the other side. Cut the excess off the backstrap and this is what I had; lots of dog bone, backstraps and a few other pieces.

I then moved on to one of the back legs. I cut the top round off, then proceeded to debone.

I cut a few butterfly steaks out of the larger portions, cut up some stew meat and a small roast. The second back leg I cut a large roast from and a few more steaks.

I did not take pictures of the cutting up of the front legs because they basically made stew meat and meat to grind for burger. 
In all I got two roasts, 4 packages of stew meat, two packages of the backstrap, the small tenderloin pieces, and a large bowl of meat that still has to be ground for hamburger and some of it made into jerky.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Almond Waffles

You may see a lot of waffle posts on here. I make them every couple of weeks and then freeze whatever is left and each timeI try to do something different. This week we ended up with almond waffles because the bottle of almond extract in the cupboard was the only thing I could find to add. This makes a big batch (there are about twice as many as in the picture because I took the picture while I was still cooking).

4 eggs
4 cups flour
3 1/2 cups milk
1 cup oil
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 tsp. salt
8 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract

Mix it all together. If it is too thick add a little water. Cook on your waffle iron.

These were pretty good. There is just a hint of almond and it is really a nice flavor to put with syrup.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Spinach Mushroom Casserole

I am getting fairly good at making casseroles since I work in the evenings and it is much easier on Michelle if I leave her things like a casserole that she can just pop in the oven.
Today I don't have to work but I wanted to try out a  new casserole of my own making.

1 lbs sliced fresh mushrooms
1 package 2.5 oz bacon bits (in our store they are in the salad dressing section)
1 lb. package of chopped spinach
2 8 oz packages of Mexican shredded cheese (or any other mix of shredded cheese that you like)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
about 1/2 cup milk
2 stalks green onions, cut up
bacon grease for cooking (or I suppose you could use shortening or butter but it won't be as good)

Put onion and mushroom in frying pan that has a couple tablespoons of melted bacon grease in it. Cook until the mushrooms are slightly browned and juicy, add bacon bits, cook a little more. Put spinach in large bowl, add cans of cream of mushroom and milk, mix. Add cooked mushroom mixture, mix. Add 1 package of the cheese mix well. Pour into 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Spread other package of cheese over evenly over the top. Bake approximately 30 minutes at 350 degrees, until cheese is melted and sides are bubbly.

This turned out a little bit sloppy although my family ate it plenty fast. Next time I would add some rice, I think.

Part 2 A few changes

I made this casserole today but had to make a few changes. I put in a pound of real bacon broken up instead of the bacon bits, then I found that I didn't have any cream of mushroom soup so substituted cream of chicken and I did add just one bag of boiling bag rice (boiled already then added to the mix before it went into the oven).
I myself really liked this second casserole better than the first and this is how I will make it from now on.

Hot Pickled Eggs

Besides the hot cocoa bread and making yogurt (one of the problems with making things from scratch is that eventually you are constantly making things!) today I had another shot at making hot pickled eggs. We really like pickled eggs but I have been trying for some time to make a hot version. I have tried all sorts of things from Texas Pete, hot sauce, chilli powder etc. None of them really turn out like I want. Whether this one will or not, I won't know until I have waited the 5 days but here is what I used this time.
The eggs:
These were a bunch of bantam eggs that I had and no one likes to use the bantam eggs because they are smaller.
Some hot peppers. Here are just three hot peppers. I had these frozen whole to use for hot pepper butter. I used a couple red and a yellow and just sliced them up and put them in the jar.

I also used some of this:
This is always real hot on wings so I put about a tablespoon of this in the jar.

Then came the normal stuff, the eggs-I believe there are 14 bantam eggs in the jar. Then I made up the regular pickling liquid:

3 Tablespoons sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pickling spices
2 cups vinegar (white)
2/3 cup water

Boil this all together for about 8 minutes, then pour hot into the jar over the eggs. Let sit in the frig. for 5 days before eating. It looks yummy anyway!

Hot Cocoa Bread

I saw the recipe for hot cocoa bread on Chickens in the Road blog here: and have wanted to try it ever since. Today was the day. It smelled wonderful all the while it was cooking, just like a chocolate cake and I wondered if it would be more cake-like than it would be like bread.
Here is how it looked when it first came out. Some of the marshmallows melted on the edge.

When I cut into it I found it was definitely the texture of bread and not cake like at all.
I used the miniature marshmallows and they did not show up white like in the picture on the link, they just kind of melted in but I still think they are very important to the taste.
This will make a good bread to make at Christmas!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weekends are for ....Resting?

Yeah right!

This is what happens when you bake and can things.
All I can say it that the apple jelly better gel this time because more apple syrup is not going to impress me.
And I was actually thinking that I could probably get the waffles made after supper.

What is wrong with me?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Saturday is Shopping/Stocking Day

So is Sunday now that we have Samantha and the baby living with us. My little car is just not large enough to fit both our groceries plus my chicken feed.
But on Saturdays just Phil and I go. We started this week by stopping at the Salvation Army. I had some Christmas lights to donate and Michelle, my daughter (17 years), needed shirts. I found her two sweaters and two shirts $15, which to me was a bit high for the Salvation Army but everyone is out to make a buck these days. Seems to me that the Salvation Army could help more of us poor people by providing cheaper clothes, but that is just my opinion. Do you all remember when you could go get clothes for $1 a bag? That was how we got clothes when I was a kid.
Anyway, we then went to the feed store. I normally go to Tractor Supply for my feed but their prices have just gotten ridiculous. I went to the feed store and saved about $5 on the two bags I usually buy.
We were then off to the grocery store. One of those in our area had a buy 1 get 1 sale. I got lots of cans of vegetables. Phil complained when trying to put them in the cupboard..

Canned cream soup was also on sale and some of those cans are soup. I love the holidays for their food sales anyway. Sugar was on  sale and I got two bags to put in my storage bucket, another thing of salt for the salt storage container, more yeast packets (but not nearly enough to call it "storage" yet), too much meat--I only bought a few and what was on sale-- but I caught hell trying to put it in the freezers. And yes, I got more apples. I don't know what I will do if that tree outside ever starts producing and, of course, it needs a mate to pollinate with. Of course then we will have to learn how to make apple cider vinegar as well.
I think I have done fairly well at stocking since we started our Colony post.
I am sure that when we restart at day 60, my Colonists will survive a whole lot better and I have learned so much since we started as well.
Phil is out trying to fix John's(my son who is at Ft. Jackson) car which refuses to start because John may get a pass home for next weekend and we need to be able to go get him and his car is in a lot better shape than my old car. He is calling my brother--definitely not a good sign!
Anyway, that's how our Saturdays go. Shopping, feed chickens, check garden, rest. Shopping just plain makes you tired, lol.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Another Bread Day and Update

Things are going well here today. I was up early making bread again. I wanted to make enough to freeze this time so I did a batch of six loaves. I started at 6:00 this morning because I have to leave by 1:30 for work but they rose so fast that I just went ahead and baked two of the loaves. The other 4 are now in the freezer to save for whenever they are needed. I did change the recipe just a little bit from the traditional Betty Crocker white bread. I didn't have enough shortening so used bacon grease that I save in the frig instead. I believe I will always make it with bacon grease from now on, while it doesn't change the flavor much, the crust was crunchier and the bread softer. Even the girls noticed the difference without me telling them that I had done it.

There is yogurt in the frig as well. I made it a couple days ago using the little bit that was left from my last yogurt making. This was the first time I had used my own yogurt as a starter. Someone had told me that it would not work as well to keep using your own and that it eventually loses strength but this first batch turned out great; a nice thick yogurt like we like.

The garlic bulbils are doing well. A few more came up but not a lot. I would say if you buy 100 bulbils to expect to get about 10 plants from them.  The kale and peas are still growing in the raised bed even after all the rain we have had but the lettuce was killed by it. The cabbage and broccoli in the lower garden are thriving on all that rain though and I am hoping they make it before frost. If not I have some plastic that I can cover them with.

The chickens have picked back up laying and we have more eggs than we can eat in the frig. There are about 4 dozen now and I gave away a dozen the other day. The ducks are still not laying however.

I saw in the paper that apples were going to be on sale again this week. Maybe I will get some more applesauce or apple pie filling.....