Archives for category: Homemaking

Insomnia is a real thing. Fortunately I only experience this demon under three conditions:

evening before menses,

after extreme successes,

when my Husband is out of town.

This time was a lovely combination of all three; the first and third being obvious and the second being the tremendous success I had in finally completing the Last Task about 8p. The Last Task not being the enchiladas.

I read and visited with the youngest child. I tidied the kitchen. I enjoyed two vodkas in celebration of my success. I knitted by the fire. I took melatonin. I took valerian. I flipped through a catalog. I played sudoku. I took more melatonin. I took more valerian. It was still only 1034p. So I kept playing sudoku. Not well.

At this point all three dogs and one child were in the bed. In an effort to move a limb I reloaded the fire with wood.

Reaching for more melatonin and thinking about how a little snack at 2a would be delicious, I decided on a pretzel. I turned to the kitchen pantry and *ding*ding*ding* there in all its dimmed kitchen light glory was the nespresso machine gifted to us Christmas before last. And immediately I wanted coffee.

Grateful for our opportunities and my thriftiness, I slipped an espresso cup from its copper wire support still sticky from the yellow Maxx for the minimum clearance tag ($2 for the set of four, thank you very much), and added to it a dash of amaretto, filled it with a decaf ristretto from the gifted machine, and topped it with a wee splash of coffee liqueur. Coffee, liquor. Pretty damn dreamy at 2a on a Wednesday with a full day behind me and full day ahead of me.

So I took this photo in the event this experiment panned out. And I think it did. I do not recall the clock passing 221a. But then again, maybe it was the fresh 25F air breathed in when bringing in firewood. No less, I am grateful.

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Truth is I suck at food blogging yet I am an excellent cook. I promise. Ask my Husband and kids. I suck at taking pictures but I can cook all day for them with great success.

No less, I tried something new.

When my Husband is out of town, I loosen the nutrition belt and this week that meant a "5 ingredient Enchilada" for the kids.

It was a HUGE success. Such an anticipated success that I took this photo thinking "I'll blog these and the final product if they like them."

Bahahahahaha.

They liked them but apparently I am a quitter.

So here's the recipe via my Pinterest board "Non-FMD Dinners." But I could not stop. I had uncooked ground turkey leftover so I used about a pound of that. I had a pound of ground Neese's (that's pork sausage for those not in the South) and I used about a half of that. No beef at all in these 5 ingredient enchiladas.

The non-beef turkey and pork mix looked sad as it browned in the skillet, so I added about a half palm full of Frontier's organic Taco seasoning to it. I did that knowing I was adding the rest of a jar of Green Mountain Gringo Mild Salsa which is amply tasteful but that turkey and pork just looked so sad.

(NOTE: As I blog this from my phone because I am too tired from sitting at my desktop [see last paragraph] the previous paragraph appears in a gargantuan font. I do not know why. I suck at blogging in general. Not just food blogging.)

Now here is what is ridonkulous. I made enchilada sauce from scratch. These were 5-ingredient enchiladas, remember? I've made this sauce before. But this time I actually tried NOT to make it. I tried Aldi. No red enchilada sauce. I tried Harris Teeter. No red enchilada sauce. And then I was a total quitter. It was easier to make the enchilada sauce from scratch from ingredients I keep at home than to go into the other two groceries I would pass on my way home. Therefor me this the lone photo I have...

The final result? Gone. No photo. Kids ate it. They ate it all. ALL. Maybe it had something to do with my effort to use what we had so that meant only 7 flour tortillas and only 4 of the 5 kids at home and no adults eating, but still. I have no finished product photo.

So there. I suck as a food blogger but am a decent cook.

You know what I did do, though? Something TOTALLY out of my comfort zone. I finally, after 2-1/2 years knocked out a website. It's not perfect, but it is done. And I am proud even if it is from a template. God bless the the template makers. I mean that. You are valued and appreciated.

I did cry while I worked on this. They were not tears of joy. They were tears of frustration, anger, resentment. But I pushed through. This is not a natural skill for all. I am much more comfortable birthing at home or discussing natural law with teens or scooping horse stalls or soaking chicken behinds or even turning 5 ingredient enchiladas into 20-something ingredient enchiladas.

(Note: The preceding is in some odd font with no explanation as to why. I suck at blogging. Is what it is.)

Planning is a forte of mine. I am naturally good at planning. Johnson O’Connor Institute calls this aptitude “foresight.” Well, I’ve got a lot of it.

Some folks think this means I cannot go with the flow. And it’s a little true – I cannot easily just let life roll. Unless I have a plan.

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I meal plan. This week had a Taco Tuesday. While at a swim meet with a child, my Husband and other children ate out instead of the beautifully planned, prepped, and presented Taco Tuesday. That’s OK! Guess what Wednesday’s dinner was? Taco Wednesday. And even better, that was one less meal to prepare on hump day.

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The kids’ lessons are planned. And trips out to enjoy lessons are planned. What happens when the 14yo doodles and listens to music for two hours at the super awesome Salvation Coffee rather than work on lessons? He does them later. And that’s a day’s less work for me look over.

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I plan my downtime – yoga, knitting, reading, etc. So I didn’t get to yoga after I cleaned up breakfast as planned because the 12yo wanted to talk. T(w)eens talk a lot. So I listened. And she talked some more. And before I knew it was time to skrt skrt out the door. OK. So when we made it back home, I hit the mat before leaving for the swim meet.

If I have a plan, I can alter the plan. If I don’t have a plan, I plan to panic. Why? Because there’s no map, no waze, not even google maps to help find alternate paths.

Best part of planning is that I often can knock out the expected so when the unexpected chain mail coif request for the airsoft battle less than 12 hours away comes across the wire, I can stop and make a kid happy.

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Hoping for snow, not more rain.

More Six Word Saturdays for me!

Some days are just too much. Well planned and even better executed, they can even be too much. Second Wednesdays are that for me and yesterday was such a Second Wednesday with more than its usual extra. So extra that I will now always capitalize Second Wednesday. Extra.

But today is not Second Wednesday. Today is Thursday, aka Friday, Jr. Today is slower, less planned and only moderately well executed. And with great mail from a dear friend.

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So, Cheers to you, Friday, Jr.! After dinner I intend to stitch more than bitch.

Welcome. We are glad to meet you.
We welcomed 2014 with fires indoors and out. Gathering the wood for the outside fire was especially soulful for me. While not the same, it is similar to taking food from Nature. I am grateful for the trees.

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We enjoyed our traditional meal of ham (baked this year), hoppin’ John, and greens. I don’t know that any of us really believes that these foods will bring us health, fortune, or wealth. I do think we each enjoy knowing what to really expect a few days a year, New Year’s Day being one of those.

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We began our Three Kings Day conversations. We welcomed our newly made kings to the table with some folded stars and the Christ Candle from our Advent Spiral. We are grateful for the Light that led those Kings to honor a sweet baby king. We’ve only talked (and occasionally baked) about the day in the past years. I’m hoping it is something more memorable as we move into this new year.

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Rest is where our bodies and hearts are headed now. Rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our Christmas seasons can be fraught with gift needs and wants, places to be, people to see. There are gifts wants and needs and people we would like to see, but no fraught (fret?). Not this year.

 

I grew up in a family with faults far too numerous to count and far too in the past now to dredge. But there were some really cool things, too, that I have chosen to carry into this moment in my life. Like the sincere appreciation for homemade gifts. So, many years I make some if not all of the gifts even when I know they are not appreciated. I had the recipient in mind through the process and so the gift is a piece of me on behalf of my family.

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This year there are not so many homemade things. I don’t know why. There just isn’t. And it’s OK. I’m not in the least bothered by it as I would have been in the past. I don’t know why. I’m OK with not knowing why.

 

My Husband comes about the holidays in a different way than I do. He likes to go and look a half dozen times and then pick up a few things here and there. Stealing a piece of a text with my Sister …

That’s a big part of what gets his mind in the right place for the holidays. Funny how I just want to be home and bake and make while he wants to be out and about. This year, for the first year, I am perfectly OK with whatever. I have no stress. So odd and awesome at the same time.

And I am OK with that. This year. Typically I get my granny panties all wadded up over it. Not this year. I don’t know why not this year, but not this year.

 

As I type this I am just laughing at myself. There is a brief squabble over what color the next loom band ornament should be. There is a science experiment debate over proper microscope management and there is a miniature schnauzer in desperate need of a good grooming on my lap. It’s comical. And I’m all good with that.

 

I am grateful for the odd and awesome.

There is naturally a buzz here with the anticipation of celebration and gifts. But it is a pretty chill buzz this year. Chill by all of us. There isn’t a flurry to do this, make that, buy things. Sure, we’re picking up here and there and making with our minds and hands, but it isn’t rushed.

 

It feels so good.

 

The highlights are times with friends, the advent spiral, and lots of just being.

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Even the most perfect tree we just picked up yesterday sits in its most perfect spot sans lights and ornaments. Only a stand full water.

 

And this calm, this peace, this moment is just right as solstice nears and I prepare my heart for the gift of Christmas.

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So the thing about new ferments/cultures is this … most of the time they are awesome but sometimes they suck.

 

Villi yogurt – awesome. Easy. Requires little thought. Tangy. Perfect. When it’s cold.

Milk Kefir – whoa. Not sure how to strain those grains yet, but the stuff is good. Feel free to tell me how to strain the grains without having my hands all in it. Delicious when cold. Excellent quickie smoothies. Cold.

Fermented Cranberry Sauce –  A hit on the extended family Thanksgiving table. My pickier-than-usual-adult Father-In-Law liked it. Seemingly a lot. I’d say it passed. Best room temperature.

Desem Sourdough Starter – just getting going, may be able to make bread by the end of the week. It prefers to sit on the mantle, nice and cozy.

True Pickled Eggs – SUCK. Now, in all fairness, I followed the video example of how to boil eggs in the link and I think this was the issue. I should have boiled them as I always do – one minute hard boiled, cut heat, cover pan, let sit for 15 minutes. Because these eggs SUCKED. I vomited after eating them. The yolks were barely set and saturated with salt. Nasty. So I take full responsibility for the fail. My first ferment fail. It happens to everyone. Right?

 

(Please do not forget to tell me how to separate the grains from the milk kefir without digging with my fingers.)

The past few days I have been ridiculously productive. This is no good. I am confident I am setting myself up to feel like a  failure when I do nothing. Probably today. No. Wait. Today starts Hanukkah! There is surely some crafting to do. Here are some of the ideas I have gleaned. And this is my favorite take on a menorah EVER. We’ll probably use leftover glass rather than buy anything. I don’t think God cares. I think He is joyful.

 

And there went my feeling of failing … I don’t know that experimenting with floating wick prototypes qualifies as doing nothing.

 

No. We’re not Jewish. We’re not pagan, either, but the children have celebrated Samhain before. And we’ll probably enjoy Muharram towards its end. I think it is fun and we learn. All of us. And not always things we wish to know. Knowledge, no less.

 

As for the fermented cranberry sauce? I will open it for a taste this afternoon. It *looks* like it “worked.” Monday, I started a gift for my Husband: true pickled eggs. They’re still sitting in the dark. The ones I made for him last year…eh.

 

The Villi yogurt has made a full quart. Eh. Not so crazy about the taste. But perhaps as the tang develops in the starter. In the meantime, I have a batch in the crockpot right now.