Monday, January 22, 2018

Humble Hooterville Kitchen

I have learned to embrace my small living space; our kitchen and front room are shared, so having functional appeal and a country feel is something I am working towards.....

We plan to sell in a few years, so we have slowing been making much needed (necessary) upgrades...... on the inside that is -  the outside, well...that is something we did strait away, yard work and gardening is my love.

I have gone through a few counter islands over the years - I finally settled on a nice, quality made in USA Boos Block

 and thought long and hard about what type of eating table I needed to fit in this small area, as I did not want to share my food prep area with were we eat..... Well, I found this nice metal/wood counter height table.... for a good price.

I am hoping that we can afford to make some of the changes I am dreaming of..... I want replace the bottom cabinets... I want to ditch them for a more open shelf type of cabinet base - made from real wood..... We took out the dishwasher years ago, and will replace, but only for resale purposes..... Going to a one basin sink, smaller faucet and we ditched the microwave, which was above the stove..... What will go here?  not sure... a shelf? - a light and shelf? - a place to put up my knife magnet?   decisions.... for the time being.. I have filled the gap with some of my useful kitchen tools.

The refrigerator was also relocated.... awaiting the 4th new one..... I am a bit crowded, but where the frig was, I plan on shelves, so this should help rid me of one book shelf cabinet that I keep some of my dried herbs on.

The rest of the room.....This is the 'living' space... but for me the kitchen is my living space

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cold Weather Comfort Food ... Tamale Pie

Trying to be more frugal, and take stock of what I have on hand to cook, left over salsa, cheese, cream etc....   Today, using ground venison to make one of my hubbies most favorite casserole dishes.... - I spice it up! 

This recipe is from All-recipes

Ingredients cooking spray 2 pounds ground beef 2 cups diced poblano* peppers  ( 1 teaspoon salt 1 (16 ounce) jar salsa 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon ground dried chipotle pepper 2 (8.5 ounce) boxes dry corn muffin mix* (such as Jiffy) 2 eggs 2/3 cup milk, divided 4 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese, divided 4 ounces shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, divided 8 ounces frozen corn, thawed...  NOTE:  I used jalapenos, and made my own cornbread.

Directions Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a 9x13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Cook and stir ground beef in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until meat starts to brown and release juices, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and stir in poblano peppers, salt, salsa, oregano, and chipotle powder; cook and stir until seasoned beef is crumbly and no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Mix one package of corn muin mix in a large bowl with 1 egg and 1/3 cup of milk. Whisk to combine. In a separate large bowl, mix the second package of corn muin mix with 1 egg, 1/3 cup of milk and half the Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses. Spread the prepared corn muin mixture without cheese into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle corn over the muin mix, followed by remaining half of the cheeses, then the beef mixture. Spoon the corn muin mix with cheese on top of the beef and carefully spread over the top with a fork, leaving about half an inch from the edges of the pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Oatmeal Cookies and Irish Butter

I am so frustrated - I have failed three times!  I can't make an oatmeal cookie! 

This is an epic failure! - what went wrong?  Oven temp?  I have this fancy oven where I can re-set the oven temperature - only thing, it is too technical... OMG... I just wanted an oven - now I need to hire a techie to help me use my oven. 

I even bought a new oven thermometer - says it is 350? - IT LIES! ... Anyway, I have been trying to make oatmeal cookies for my older sister Mary, I will send her the batch where I froze the dough first and used my heavier cookie sheet.    See.. these look like they taste good... I need a cookie taster before I ship out... Hubby has a job!

I really think the Irish Cows have it out for me... I need to just eat that butter and quit trying to bake with it.....

I'll have to send a note... "eat at your risk".. Irish Cows are responsible.....

Sad oatmeal cookie baker.....

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Artisan - Bread - No-Knead....YEAH the way to go!!!

Recently, Grit Magazine had an article on no knead artisan bread..... Well, I gave it a try... I made 100% whole wheat (not what they listed, I altered their recipe) - LOVE this recipe... of course, Whole Wheat is an acquired taste... but once you get used to it.... everything else tastes like cardboard..
I can see me making this over a fire outside in a dutch oven.... imagine this along with some beans with ham!  yummy 


I LOVE TRIED AND TRUE RECIPES!!....  BUT that can be boring - right?

This year I will make my standard peanut butter blossom cookies - topped with three different type of kisses - some with dark, milk and with some with almonds!

View from the top
A new crispy chocolate chip cookie - reminiscent of those wonderful good Chips Ahoy. - It is all in the technique...

Bottom - just right
Side view - just the right height

A new snicker doodle cookie - crispy on the outside, chewy in the center - coated with just the right amount of sugar and cinnamon - but with a new twist - maybe cardamon - nutmeg..... It's a secret.  I like the taste of cream of tarter... so I kept this in my cookie....  BOMB!  stick to tried and true!

A new chewy, fuggy triple-chocolate brownie - decadent high quality chocolate and cocoa.... The perfect moist brownie - This too is all about technique....  BOMB!  stick to tried and true!

I meticulously read recipes, different types of methods and techniques... and I test them for myself.

Want a crispy cookie? - don't whip the fat..... melt it before adding....

Want a perfect moist chocolaty brownie? - Use FAT - and lots of if and Don't OVERBAKE.... too much chocolate will weigh down a dessert... there are ways to bring out its flavor....

Love this time of year..... Cookies, friends and family and more Cookies......

Cookie Monster - signing out!

Friday, September 1, 2017


I have wanted to dehydrate and do fruit leather since we planted our trees 10 years ago and today I dehydrated .......I am one happy urban homesteader!!!!

Boy did we have lots of apples this year… we had 5 trees produce - 2 Winesap, 2 Golden Delicious and 1 Macintosh. (we live on just an acre)

We also had HORNETs this year - the European kind... I want to send them back.. GOSH they were awful, sound like a 747 in my trees...ate a good deal of our fruit... we picked the Winesap's a wee early because of this.

Our Golden Delicious trees we plan to cut down this fall, along with the cherry trees.. as they don't do well, and we plan to move and I will not reinvest the money or time.

As a newbie in this dehydration thing I read up and studied - I choose the following..

I used two methods - The first, I washed, cored, pealed and sliced the apples and put in a lemon bath and put them in the excalibur, I did not rinse... I want a crunchy texture, and as I write this they are still cooking away….they are almost there....

They are THERE:::::: not real sweet - but the texture I was looking for... 14 1/2 hours...
Lemon Juice bath

The second I washed, cored and sliced... I used a sugar bath, simple syrup with honey… the apples took a bath in this sugary goodness… I learned that commercial dehydration productions use this method.. so I am excited about this… I used my Nesco for this batch.  
Simple syrup with honey

Used some crystalized sugar!

Dipped in Sugar - The way to go!!!!! Yummy

As for dehydrators, I have no real preference - the new excalibur can hold more, the Nesco I have had for over 20 years and has not ever failed me.

We love the apple picken' apron.... thank you Dolly from Hibiscus house for making this for us!  This helps hubby in the picking process,,,, yes Hubby wears it!  At first, he said I'm not wearing an apron.. NOW, it is do you have that apron?

Our new pup Boo.... thought all the apples that fell were her chew toys....

Fall is fast approaching one of my favorite times of year! 

Good Bless you all!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Back to basics - you are NEVER TOO old to practice homesteading ways!

I am 57 today, and I really don’t want to focus on my obstacles, rather the blessings I have… My husband purchased a new upright Freezer for my birthday, this way.. I can freeze more meals, freeze my berries, tomatoes, beans etc…… I was so limited…..cause he is a mad-deer hunter and venison usually fills the small freezer we had.

I don’t have a gas or a traditional electric stove.,,,(I have a flat top)  so after I prepare any canning foods… I have to move them outside to complete the canning process.. - A pain, and most canners would agree….. Or at least I think.

This year I froze my tomatoes. Sliced and diced!! …. I did not cook down or anything…. I did make spaghetti sauce which I did have to cook… and I froze this too…. I’ll have to remember to post on how they worked out taste wise... I have green beans, peppers, onions, blueberries, bananas and strawberries - all in the new freezer…. I grew carrots and onions this year and I plan to freeze these as well.   My garlic, well… I don’t know what I did wrong..

Now for the apples, I will dehydrate them.. I wanted a crispy dried apple, I learned this texture is a ‘freeze dried’ process… So I will do some experimenting.   Looks like a freeze dryer is in my future… I don’t know?

We have a plan to move out of Virginia within 5 years... this was only a temporary residence anyhow!. Our new homestead we plan to use solar, and wind power.. So I am trying to perfect food preservation that requires limited or no refrigeration……