Friday, February 27, 2009

"Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink Soup"

After a long exhausting week, it was a pleasure to just be able to "add" to the soup my husband started last night.

He took left-overs of chicken-rice soup I had made a few days ago, added turkey gravy out of the freezer, left-over corn, broccoli, cauliflower, and left-over real-home-made mac-n'-cheese. Tonight I added 1 left-over baked potato, half-pkg frozen corn, 1 pint canned carrots, 1 pint canned green beans, and left-over collard greens. Along with that we had cheese quesadillas and that made a fine satisfying Friday night supper. It was even commented on very favorably by last minute guests ( thanks, dear Daughter!) And I even have time to read a story to the little one!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Rendering Lard

Just for the sake of self-dependency,we are going to, for a moment , side-step the health issue in this post. We are choosing to be on a tight budget right now, given the present economical conditions., so making do is "in".I had run out of bread at breakfast time ( I know .... should'a baked over the week-end, butI was involved in other things) and I decided that for lunch I would make chicken-rice soup, home-made of course, and biscuits; forgetting that I had also run out of Crisco last week. Then I remembered I had a small bucket of lard that I had bought as an ingredient in seed cakes for the birds.
Okay, so using lard once in a while isn't going to kill us. I made my biscuits, and they were wonderful. No.... no pictures. They were gone too fast. But it brought back the memory of learning to render lard (as in, make your own...)
The lard I made at the time was made from the hardest white fat of a hog. You need to cut it into small chunks , or if you have a meat grinder you can grind it up. Put it in an old kettle, to which you add water enough to cover the fat, and put it on to boil, stirring once in a while. This takes a few hours, depending on the size of the pieces and the amount you are working with. It needs to boil slowly until all fat is melted. Then put a cheese-cloth over another pot and strain the liquid through it. Place it somewhere cold , as out in your back porch in winter until it hardens. The fat will come to the top and the water and sediment will be on the bottom. You can pick off the resulting solid "lard" and store in a tightly covered container in a cool place.
Many good cooks and especially the Amish, still use lard today for flakey pie crusts and tender cookies, and ever so tender biscuits.

Friday, February 6, 2009

.........Happiness is Home-Made

.... Feeding my sour-dough starter to make bread tonight. I will mix up the dough tonight and let it rise till morning. It will rise another couple hrs in the pan, and be baked in time for lunch tomorrow, Yummmm! I can smell it now......

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Power Restored

Late Sunday afternoon they arrived; Four trucks in all, three electric service trucks and one flat-bed carrying poles.

Electric service trucks had come from the great state of Tennessee to Kentucky to help restore service to thousands of homes whose power had been been out from the ice storm. Our area was one of the fortunate ones who had been without power only 6 days. Others may be without til the first of March, we are being told.We are grateful for the restoration of electric power........for our neighbors. For us it was kind of a let-down, another "great adventure" that had ended too quickly.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Shower Power ...... or not. (The Saturday night bath)

Okay .... so I may be enjoying myself a little toooo much ........... but, the offer of the neighbor's hot shower during this power outage had a very strong contender. That was to experience what Grandma would call "making do".

I cannot resist the urge to see if I still have what it takes to live "off the grid".
So I devised a plan whereby to 'shower' at home. Okay, first I heat the water (2 kettlefuls) on the wood-cookstove to bath temp, and meanwhile put a low plastic stool in the tub and gather my towels and other bath items to have within reach. I set one kettle on the stool in which to dunk my head so I can shampoo, then dunk again to rinse. I then proceed to finsh the rest of the job, and when done to satisfaction I pour the kettleful of water over myself to rinse. The second kettle of water is to rinse again if I felt the need.

A shower or bath is such a refreshing thing, and doubly so knowing you really can do without all the modern convieniences. For those of you who think this is sheer craziness, you may be right, but what fun is life if you can't be a little crazy? Especially at my age. After all ..... I had to live a long time to earn the right to be this way!