Friday, December 31, 2010

What else I've been doing...

I don't want you all to think that all I do is cook and make dog biscuits. Although I have made more dog biscuits. This time I used some quail livers and hearts that I had in the freezer and two pieces of leftover chicken that were in the frig. I put them in the blender with some chicken stock and chopped them all into a slurry. Then I added enough whole wheat flour to make them stiff, molded them into bone shapes (sort of) and baked them. I really don't know how long. I kept baking until they were hard. Roamy seems to like them.
However that is not all I have done lately. I needed to start some seeds and my greenhouse still needs too much repair to use it so I ended up putting a shelf in my bedroom window and putting my seedlings on that. I still need to start a few more but got 4 different varieties of tomatoes, some peppers and kale started. Outside I got a good bit of chicken manure put into a long bed that I am hoping to have on one end of the house. It gets a lot of nice morning sun and I am going to try to put a few vegetables along that end and see how they do. It still needs a lot more compost put in there but it's a start.
I am also working on an afghan and have started sewing some throw pillows for the couch AND I cleaned out the 30 gallon fish  tank today. Somehow one lone fish has lived through all my neglect for quite some time now.
I only have a few more days of vacation left and it seems like I still have so much I would like to get done. Going to rain tomorrow though so will have to get things done in the house. Who knows? Maybe I will get those carrots canned, those pillows finished and my closet cleaned out (not likely though :)

Today's Casserole

I had 3 packages of the Rice Sides Chicken and Broccoli. I cooked the rice adding a few of my dehydrated mushrooms. I added a pint of my canned turkey from Thanksgiving- drained and a quart bag of frozen broccoli (blanched and frozen by me when some broccoli happened to be marked down or on sale). Put it all in a 9 x 13 baking dish topped with an 8 oz bag of shredded cheese (I like the 4 cheese blend) and pop it in the oven until the cheese is melted and it is bubbly on the sides.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Six Loaves of Bread

Yeah, I know, these are real dark on one side. I should have just put them in the oven and let them cook on 350 degrees like I usually do but instead I actually read the directions on the recipe and started them at 425 degrees and then forgot to turn it back down later. Oh well, I guess no one in the house noticed because there is only about a third of a loaf left. They aren't really as dark as in the picture anyway; not actually burnt just real dark.
Anyway, I said six loaves. Here are the other four.
They were put in the freezer until needed. They have already risen once. When I need them I'll just put them in a greased loaf pan, let them thaw, rise again and bake. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Snow

As you can see, we didn't get a whole lot of snow but for a girl who is originally from New Hampshire it sure was a welcome sight. The bitter cold day we had the day after was not real welcome but the snow definitely was.

Dog Biscuits Part 2

Tonight I tried another recipe for dog biscuits. This one was really simple:
1 cup milk
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 cup peanut butter

Mix it all together, make it into a roll, put it in wax paper and put it in the frig for an hour to chill. Then make it into your biscuits. I did molded mine into bone shapes just because this dough was so easy to work with.  You cook them for about 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
These are a much softer biscuit than the milk bone ones and my dog is viciously defending one as we speak so I guess he likes them.

I found a book today at the thrift store called, "The Good Food Cookbook for Dogs" and while I don't believe I will be making my dog the lamb soup, it did have several recipes for dog treats that I might try.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Colony Part 2

Our Colony on the Simply Self Sufficiency forum is about to start over. We decided that at day 60 we would start over and we are now (most of us) on day 54.
What is the Colony?
It is an exercise in survival. We kept it real simple. All the food in the world is poisoned and you can't buy any more from the store. You have to eat what you already have or can produce. Yes, we know this is an unlikely scenerio but that wasn't the point. It was to see how self sufficient we we really were.
In our first Colony we found out we weren't nearly as prepared as we thought. Some of us, myself included, thought that if we were self sufficient we wouldn't need stores of food. When we started the Colony post we realized how foolish that was. We weren't nearly that self sufficient yet. So we have started stocking up on the things we realized through the Colony postings that we were lacking.
The idea of starting over is to see how much better we would do now and how we would do at different times of the year. Obviously winter will be harder than say fall so we need experience in all of them.

We'd like to invite everyone to come post with us after Christmas when we start again. The idea is to use only what you actually have in your house or could acquire without going to the store (because in our minds most people would be out looking for food and not worrying about their cashier jobs). Some of us keep count of the days though we don't post a Colony post every day and some of us just jump in on whatever day the others are on or some of us start in the middle and post from day one. It really doesn't matter how you want to post. If you cheat and pretend you have a lot more food or a lot more other resources, you are the only one who will be losing out because you won't get the full benefit of the experiment. We hope to get a lot more people to join in this second time. To join at the Simply Self Sufficiency forum all you have to do is post on one of the boards and you are automatically a member. We hope to see you there!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dog Biscuits

I used the Traditional Milk Bones recipe from this site:
I do not have a bone cookie cutter so cut them out with just a knife. The problem that I had with this recipe was for one: the dough was incredibly stiff and hard to roll out and two: after you cut out the bones the dough will not stick to itself again and I simply cannot waste it so my dog has some cut like bones and some all different shapes.

Our little dog seems to think they taste just fine. I believe next time I will try the peanut butter recipe posted on the site.

Blueberry Banana Bread

And it was bread day today too. I made this blueberry banana bread:

1/2 cup shortening
1 5/8 cups flour
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bnaanas
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup frozen blueberries

Preheat oven 350 degrees.
In medium bowl, mix blueberries with flour, oats, soda and salt.
In large bowl cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs and bananas. Add blueberry mixture. Spoon batter into bread pan that has been greased and floured. Bake 50 minutes.

It's Cookie Day!

I cooked three types of cookies today. Here are the recipes and pictures for you all.

Cocoa Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/4  cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
 1- 12 oz package butterscotch chips
2 cups quick or old fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix well. Mix in flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir in butterscotch chips and oatmeal. Bake 12-13 minutes on ungreased cookie sheet.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. slat
1 pkg. (12 oz.) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix sugars, shortening, butter, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 12-13 minutes.

Banana Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
3 ripe bananas mashed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl cream shortening and sugar. Stir in eggs, vanilla, lemon juice. Stir in bananas, flour, baking powder and salt.
Bake 12-13 minutes on greased cookie sheet.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Potato Soup

There is probably nothing better on these cold miserable days- and it has been cold and miserable here--than soup. It is 18 degrees F. this morning and I woke up thinking, "We're having soup today".  I made turkey soup just recently, I made lamb soup from the leftovers of the leg of lamb. Both were great but we needed something different today. There was a pound of bacon in the frig that we didn't get to eat this weekend and I still have plenty of potatoes so potato soup it was.
I cooked up the bacon an put most of it in the crockpot (yeah, so I saved some for my breakfast) with 4 quarts of my canned potatoes, one onion cut up, some milk, a little butter and some salt and pepper. (The above picture is of it uncooked as I have just started it.). It is going to cook all day and I doubt it will have to be thickened. By the time we are ready to eat, we'll just sprinkle a little shredded cheese on it and eat.  

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Ever WONDERFUL Seafood Boil!

I don't think there is anything we love more than a seafood boil now.  Start out with your 16 qt. stockpot half filled with water and a bag of Zatarain's Crawfish Shrimp and Crab Boil Bag. Bring it to a boil. Add corn on the cob, boil again, add potatoes (I just add two quarts of my canned potatoes), bring to a boil once more and add any seafood you would like and cook until done. Today we had crab legs, clams, shrimp, scallops and perch fillets. I would have loved to have mussels but they were out of those some crawfish would have been nice too but I haven't seen any in the stores here for a while.
Anyway, no matter what you put in it for seafood, it will be wonderful. We dip ours in butter (I like garlic powder in my butter).

Pig's Ears

When we first got our little dog Roamy, we were rather fascinated to have a little dog who liked treats and toys. We bought him all sorts of things but found that one of the things he liked best were pig's ears. We bought them singly wrapped in at our local Tractor Supply for $1 each. They are dry and hard and he enjoyed chewing them up.
I then saw fresh pig's ears in one of our local grocery store's meat section and, of course, me being me, thought "I could probably make my own."
It is now a weekly buy these things that I would have never thought to buy before. I put the pig's ears on a pan, brush them with Liquid Smoke and bake them in my little convection oven until they are hard. I then store them in my regular oven which is a gas stove with a pilot, which keeps them dry.
These still have a little more cooking to do but they are almost there. Roamy is waiting.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cabbages and Broccoli

It is unseasonably cold here, just as it is everywhere apparently. Here is a shot of the cabbage and broccoli plants under their life saving plastic.

"Not" Apple Jelly Waffles

Part of being self sufficient is all about using what you have and not being wasteful. So last time I had apples I had made another batch of apple jelly which also didn't jell. It sat on the kitchen table the three weeks and never was anything but apple water. So I tried redoing it. It is now slightly jelled but could never be called jelly. I myself, would never throw anything away that I put 7 cups of sugar in. Something that sweet and good tasting has multiple uses. I can see myself pouring it over ice cream, adding it to smoothies and , getting to this post, cooking with it.
So today was waffle day and the recipe had to change because I was going to use up some of that apple "not" jelly. So here is your recipe for:

"Not" Apple Jelly Waffles

4 cups flour
1 pint "not" apple jelly
1 cup oil
8 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Appoximately 1 1/2 cups milk

Mix it all together. Add more milk if needed to obtain the right texture but this will likely be a thick batter anyway, mine was, depending on how thick your "not" apple jelly is.  Cook waffles on your waffle iron as usual. These definitely are a fluffier waffle than I am used to but had a really nice light apple flavor. I could post a picture here but all waffles pretty much look the same. Everyone really liked them and this may be how all our "not" apple jelly gets used up.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Crockpot Strawberry Banana Butter

This is another recipe made up by me.

15 bananas assorted sizes
1 lb strawberries, sliced
3/4 cup lemon juice
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 T. butter

Put it all in a large crockpot and turn it on high. Mash it as best you can. Cook it for a couple hours with the top slightly off. Use an electric mixer to mix it more (Be careful ! It is very hot!). Cook it until it is the consistency you would like. Fill jars, adjust lids. Boiling water bath 10 minutes. Mine made a little more than 5 pints.

Sweet Pickled Cauliflower

I have never actually made this before but I had bought a large cauliflower and one of the members of the group mentioned pickled cauliflower and I looked it up.  I was kind of overwhelmed by how many different recipes there were for pickled cauliflower so I put together the ingredients from each that I liked and made up my own. I really have no idea if it will be good or not. We'll just have to wait and see.

1 large head cauliflower
1 small onion
A couple carrots sliced
1 cup red wine vinegar
4 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 T. mustard seed
1 T. celery seed
1 tsp. whole cloves
2 tsp. salt

Put cauliflower and carrots in a pan and heat to boiling. Boil 5 minutes. While doing that put the rest of the ingredients in another pan. Heat to boiling.Boil 5 minutes. Put cauliflower and carrots into prepared jars and spoon vinegar mixture over them, add lids. Boiling water bath can for 10 minutes.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dehydrating Celery

After Thanksgiving everything seems to be on sale. I had to go to a couple different stores today but I got a lot of great deals. Celery was one of them. Normally I don't buy celery because Phil doesn't like it but it was such a good deal (50 cents) that I decided to get some. I used to dehydrate it and slip it into our soups and stews so Phil wouldn't notice as much.

First it has to be dehydrated. I waited until tonight to start it because the heat from the dehydrator will be appreciated the most at night when we really need it. I started by pulling the celery apart and washing the stalks. I then cut a little bit off the large end and fed these pieces to the meal worms. The rest was chopped up into small, maybe 1/4 inch pieces. I do use the leaves as well because they have a really nice flavor and can be added to most anything. I then blanched them for a 1 minute in boiling water. Blanching is not really necessary but the celery just looks and tastes better to me when you blanch it first.
After blanching you drain it in a colander and run cold water on it to stop it from cooking more. Now it is just spread on the dehydrator trays and left to dry overnight.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Last of the Turkey

It may seem like such a little bit to can but I have a small canner and the freezer is full. Besides there are three more meals sitting there that aren't going to go to waste now.
So I always can my leftover turkey and chicken after is has been cooked. I have never done it like the book says and cooked it 3/4 of the way then canned it. I take it off the bone, then heat it up in a pan of water then put it in the jars and can it for 1 hour 15 minutes.
The stock is canned for 25 minutes.

Microwave Woes

Maybe this is an odd post for this type of blog but we do have a microwave--or did.

You know when your tv breaks, it just stops working or the sound goes out or whatever but when your microwave breaks, it's a whole different story...
The first microwave I ever had, we bought when they first came out. It was $250 and that was a whole lot but we happened to have the money so got one. It lasted 12 years! Then it started to smoke and burn one day the most toxic fumes I have ever had to breath---because I was trying to get through the smoke to get it unplugged and then when I finally got it, the damn thing wouldn't stop(and my oldest son added to my worries because he refused to leave the house with the younger kids!) so I finally slammed the door, got a good breath, ran in the smoke picked it up and threw it out the door (it finally stopped working then). I have never had one that went since then do quite that but they all let off some awful fumes when they go and none of them since then (with the exception of one I got from the flea market that lasted about 5 years) have lasted more than a year or two. So the one I have/had now I bought the year before last, we even got the more expensive one hoping it would last longer than a year, was supposed to be cooking popcorn last night when it made and odd sound and became bright as a beacon. All I can think of is that it looks like the cartoons when they put something in the microwave to blow it up. I crept up to it and very carefully, for fear of getting shocked good, pulled the door and as luck would have it this time the thing shut off. It did have that lovely odor they all have and a nice burn spot on one side but it wasn't smoking or on fire anyway.
So we just stepped back into the dark ages again, lol, Ramen noodles just don't  taste the same cooked on the stove.