Friday, January 27, 2017

And 3 years later....

Gracious it's dusty in here  **ACHOO**...  I guess almost 3 years of absence will do that to a blog.  I hope maybe there are one or two of my readers still around, but if not I understand.  Life got busy and then busier and then, well, not as much.
Let me explain...

When I last left you I was Eating In, Not Out; Pantry Challenging; Spring was in the Air along with Farming/Calving/Planting.  We had enjoyed a visit from the Ohio clan and we were working off-the-farm & on when I left you in 2014.

Fast-forward: 2015 We did some remodeling as in gutting our entire living room and taking out the lath & plaster, putting up drywall, new woodwork, taking out the parlor door and doing some renovations in the kitchen with a tiled backsplash and built in dishwasher.

2016:  Our younger son was married to our lovely dear daughter-in-law Mandy in January.  We then helped them with painting and finishing the basement in their new home.  Our older son over the years has gotten divorced from our granddaughters' mother and became engaged to a wonderful lady, Dana, who brings us a grandson & another granddaughter.  The whole family came to Nebraska in August.  There have been some extended family health concerns. My Farmer had some heart afib trouble, but is doing very well now.  The newly-married ones gave us a new grandson the middle of December.  And the very last week of the year, I was down-sized out of my job at the newspaper.

Which brings us to present, January 2017.  Bry & Dana are still trying to figure out a wedding date.  I'm still waiting & looking for a job.  We now have 2 grandsons, 13 & 1 month; and 4 granddaughters, 11 (twins), 9 (on Sunday) and almost 6.

I've been doing the Whole 30 eating plan to figure out my food triggers.  I'm finding grains are not my friends anymore.  I am seeing this as a lifestyle change and I'm OK with that.

Also with having our take-home income cut by 1/3, we are being VERY frugal.  I am so thankful God prompted me to set up our deep pantry.  We have set a $35 grocery budget, and I am trying to hold to that every other week.  There is little reason to go shopping every week.  One deviation from that set-point; Farmer asked me to figure out what I needed for pantry staples for the next 6-9 months and we bought them.  We got a grain check so there was a little wiggle room in the budget.  Thankfully I didn't need tons and I also used some of the funds for non-food items to stock up.

At first being home was a shock.  I believe I went through the stages of grief, as my firing was unexpected and I was in shock for a week.  Then I was mad, depressed, shocked and mad again, then scared.   Now I'm trying to be patient as I wait on God's timing.  It's been nice to be able to just "be."  Time to heal and now I'm starting to find my house again.

We had a small ice storm a few weeks ago and Farmer cleaned out the storm room in the basement.  I sold an old sewing machine and had to clear out the extras that were still out in the main room.  It's not done but it's a sight better than what it was.  I need some shelving in that room for storage of my empty canning jars and our extra vitamins/supplements and laundry supplies.

I started to organize the kitchen pantry the day we stocked up and while there are some holes, there is enough to keep us fed for quite a while.
I plan to start declutter kitchen cupboards, drawers, the pantry and the under-the-stairs closet in February.  Of course being open to God's leading on the job-front too.

It's been quite the emotional roller-coaster I've been on the past 8 months, starting with Farmer's afib diagnosis.  Solace is always found in Father God, prayer and His Word.  Our family brings us joy always.  It's been wonderful to have a Nebraska-based grandchild.  I've been making a quilt for this sweetie and in cleaning the sewing room, I found ALL the kits I has stored in one of my quilt cupboards, (like 20+!)  And yarn for crocheting.  I'm looking forward to digging into that fun.

I'll end with some of my most favorite things.

I'll be back soon,

** “Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.” ~Pauline R. Kezer

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Hypocritically Eating In

Homemade Runzas

Another Eating In, Not Out post, which is a bit of a hypocrite posting since we ate OUT all weekend!  Friday night date night.  Saturday errands and then a special viewing of the Rich Mullins movie had us out and about so we ate where  we were.  And today, Sunday, Farmer chose to eat quickly “out” instead of waiting on a meal at home.  I am not blaming him, but he did chose to eat our 3 of those 4 meals “out.”

But tomorrow is Monday and as much as I love my Runza burger and fries, they do not love me, so I made some lunches and breakfasts.

Breakfasts again will be egg and turkey sausage and cheese croissants.  But this will be the last time I buy them.  The croissants are 2 weeks old and still “good.”  How many preservatives are in those things????  (and yet I’ll eat them because I’m too cheap to toss them out.)  And really GF… purchased Turkey Sausage when you have a freeze load in the basement?  **eye roll**

At least 2 lunches will be rice and roasted asparagus with a side salad of grape tomatoes and baby cucumbers and fresh mozzarella.  I really, really need to get my neighbor to teach me how to make that.  And somehow add on an extra 6 hours to my day so I can do all the cooking I want to do.

Possibly another lunch or two will be this homemade pasta salad.  It comes from “Charlie” from the Yahoo Group Preserving Food.  Here is what he wrote about it:

a quick pasta salad, one like those Suddenly Salad boxes from Betty
 Crocker. I only buy them when they are 10 for $10 at the
 PriceChopper, but its nothing more than about 10¢ worth of pasta, a
 little bit of powder and a handful of dried veggie flakes. What I
 wound up trying was tossing some crumbled up dried tomatoes, some
 mushroom flakes, about a Tbsp. of dried carrot bits and about the same
 of dried peas in a pot of boiling water and let them boil for about 5
 minutes. After 5 minutes, I added a heaping cup of shells to the
 water, and let the shells and the veggies cook for about 10 minutes
 until the shells were done.

 While the macaroni and the veggies were cooking, I mixed about 2
 heaping Tbsps. of ranch dressing powder with about 1/4 cup of mayo and
 a little bit of milk, to make a fairly thick dressing. I also tossed
 in some of my homemade bacon bits (crumbled up dried turkey pastrami),
 a little parsley and a little jalapeno powder. 

 I drained the pasta and the veggies, tossed them with the dressing,
 and tucked it into the fridge when it had cooled down. Took a big
 container of it with me today for lunch.

 It needs a little tweaking to spice it up a bit more, and the "bacon
 bits" really weren't properly rehydrated so I may have to grind them
 up a bit more, or maybe boil them with the veggies and the macaroni,
 but using the homemade ranch powder worked pretty well.

 I think if I try it a few more times I'll have something that I really
 like, and can duplicate pretty consistently. Will also be nice to try
 asparagus and zucchini flakes and some other more substantial items
 than the teeny bit of vegetables that come in the store-bought boxes.


I don’t have all the dried veggies in my pantry that Charlie does, so I’ll use my Salad Shooter and add the carrot shreds to the dressing and add the grape tomatoes and cucumbers when I eat it.  I’ll see if we have any turkey sandwich meat left or poach a chicken breast instead of the bacon.

Also I have Cheese Tortellini in the freezer that I can mix with homemade vinaigrette and tomatoes & cucumbers and thickly sliced string cheese.

Farmer will be having homemade Runzas, Ham Balls and Pork Chops this week.  The man gets real meals for Supper and I'm still drinking Green Smoothies.  I feel better and I’m losing weight (slowly) so I’ll keep on.  Warmer weather makes downing an ice-cold smoothie much easier.

What are you all eating “in” these days?

Friday, March 7, 2014

So God made a Farmer...

My Farmer stayed home from his off-the-farm job to take a baby calf to the vet.  The mother rejected it and we've been bottle feeding it for 2 days.  The vet medicated it and said it was pretty healthy and had the Farmer get some better milk replacer.  Farmer called me at work at 3:30 with the news Calf #32 had just died.  We are sad.  Not just because it is a loss to our income, and unnecessary expense at the Vet's and Feed store, but because it always hurts when a living being dies.

In honor of my hard-working, tender-feeling Farmer, here is Paul Harvey's speech to the 1978 FFA convention attendees.  Thank you Blue-Eyed Farmer for all you do and for still being tender-hearted.

Here's the text of Paul Harvey's 1978 'So God Made a Farmer' Speech, which inspired the Ram Trucks Super Bowl ad that has resonated with so many Americans:

And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker." So God made a farmer.
God said, "I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board." So God made a farmer.
"I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife's done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon -- and mean it." So God made a farmer.
God said, "I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, 'Maybe next year.' I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain'n from 'tractor back,' put in another seventy-two hours." So God made a farmer.
God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor's place. So God made a farmer.
God said, "I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who'd plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week's work with a five-mile drive to church.
"Somebody who'd bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life 'doing what dad does.'" So God made a farmer.

"Each thing that takes place, whether it be fortunate, unfortunate or
unimportant from our particular point of view, is a caress of God's."
~Simone Weil~

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Eating In, Not Out   Part 2

So how have I been implementing the EINO?   I will admit we bought groceries.  But not alot.  Mostly dairy since I don’t have a dairy herd and it’s too cold to run over to our neighbors, who do.  But that may come with the warmer weather.  Angie has promised to teach me how to make cheese and I already know how to make butter.
Anyway... back to the grocery shopping (do you see why I had to get back to blogging?!  So many words bouncing around in my head!):

We purchased grape tomatoes and avocados and cucumbers for salads; milk and cheese.  Please ignore the industrial size container of Animal Crackers we got.  I have a one-year-old “boy friend” next door to my office and his Momma said Animal Crackers were an acceptable “gift” for when he comes to visit me.  And Farmer likes them.  We’ll be vacuum-sealing them in jars for long-term storage.

While shopping I asked Farmer what he wanted for lunches this week.  It’s been a struggle to pack his lunch when there are no leftovers.  He couldn’t find anything he really wanted at the store. (Victory for home-cooking!)  Since I knew I would be making my lunches, I incorporated making some for him too.  Except he does not like most of what I want for lunch.  Thank goodness for a stocked freezer!

His lunches this week will be:  Bean & Cheese Burritos; Homemade Runzas; Homemade Chili and Homemade Hamballs.

He eats Cheerios for breakfast every morning so that’s covered.

For his suppers, I had some Hamball Mixture leftover from Christmas in the freezer, so I’m making that up today.  There is leftover Pizza from our Friday company meal.  He also likes Chef Salads and we have the needed turkey and cheese for toppings.  (I’ll boil up an egg or two for him also.)  One night is always Breakfast for Supper night so that will be pancakes and sausage.  We will be out-of-town or coming home late afternoon one day so it’s probable we’ll eat out that day or we’ll just do a fast hamburger or quesadilla at home.

Other things I’m making instead of buying:  His morning iced tea (he’s not a coffee person.  Weird, I know!)
I made a loaf of bread on Saturday, so that is covered.  More on my new-to-me Zo in a future post.
Homemade cookies on the counter.

And I’m considering buying local grapes and juicing them and freezing the juice for our morning drink instead of buying the frozen concentrate.  Anyone else do that?

Looking through my pantry and freezers I have plenty of ideas for the next several weeks.  Stay warm and well-fed my Friends.


 "My idea of pure heaven is to spend a day in the kitchen, peeling,
 chopping, and stirring while the words of a good book fill the air
 around me." --Ruth Reichl

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Hello Dear Readers,

I'm back, at least for a while.  Lots of thoughts running through my head and no where to let them out.  And I've missing writing.  

So what's new?

On Facebook (hereafter known as FB) yesterday I posted my “Eating IN, not OUT” Challenge.  My annual eating from the pantry challenge.  At least once a year I take a look at ALL THE. FOOD. in my pantry and freezers and wonder how 2 people are going to use all this!  And then I realize how much we eat out... Bad Farm People!  

Not really.  It is allowed that we can eat out, and it’s usually only once or twice a week unless we are really busy and in town Alot.  

I think part of my problem recently is I have been drinking Green Smoothies for supper on weeknights for several weeks, trying to keep from gaining the Winter 15  and in order to get in my veggies.  Doing that has cramped my Creative Cooking Style.  Farmer has been finding his own supper most nights to help me, so I’m not as tempted.  So far it’s working fine.

But... this lady likes to cook!  And with a usual Date Night on Fridays, where we eat out, that only leaves maybe 3 meals for me to get my Julia Child on.

So, I’ve been going through my Pinterest boards for lunches and breakfasts and will be cooking those until Spring finally gets here (-5° this morning with wind chills down to -30°... HAPPY MARCH 2!  )  and I’m back out working in the gardens in the evenings and helping a Farmer with planting and other farm work.   Then I’ll be cooking suppers for 2 again and enjoying every chewable morsel!

The menu for the week of March 2:

Homemade Egg, Turkey Sausage, Gouda Cheese Croissants;
Oatmeal with homemade raisins and pecans;
Homemade Frozen Waffles and Sausage.  
(I do NOT like cold cereal for breakfast!)

Panzanelle (Bread) Salad with Grape Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Avocado, Fresh Mozzarella, Olives and Homemade Italian dressing;
Cheese Tortellini and Tomato Salad with warm Turkey meatballs (also cucumbers, olives and maybe garbanzo beans., mixed with Italian Dressing)
Pasta Ranch Dressing with Veggies (homemade Ranch dressing and whatever Veggies are still around)
Homemade Runzas.

(Only 4 lunches as we have an out-of-town funeral to attend on one day, so I won’t need a workday lunch.)

I’ll be posting more recipes and tips later if time allows.  I’m trying to spare my FB friends and leave these kinds of novels off my Wall there.  Maybe I’ll post the link to my blog... or not.  It’s mostly a release for me.   But I’m glad those of you who are reading, are here.  :)


Ina Garten’s Homemade Croutons (with my variations)

1/2 loaf homemade bread, cut into 1/2” cubes
1-2 garlic cloves
Salt & Pepper

Saute the peeled garlic in the EVOO until just begins to brown.  Remove from pan.  Add bread cubes and saute until toasty and browned, sprinkling with S&P as wanted.

(Kay’s variation:  This needs a whole lot more oil/butter to really get those cubes toasty. I added another 2Tb EVOO and probably a total of 4 Tb. butter.   And next time I’ll add more spice.  Maybe some herbs or Steak Seasoning since these will be in a Salad soaking up tomato juices and dressing.  They are kind of bland.  My loaf must have been alot larger than Ms Garten’s and I had to saute in 2 batches.  And then I finished them in a low oven to really toast and firm them up.  Your experience may differ.)

Looking forward to my Bread Salad this week!


" (The) word focus comes from the Latin for fireplace. In Italian, it's focolare—the center of the home where one cooks and easts and talks, all of which gives focus, a clarity to life.  Without food, we fall apart.
"Food is the sun: family, work, friends, the day-to-day, the extraordinary—all in orbit like the planets. There's order in the universe when someone says, 'Let's eat.' " 

** from In Tuscany, by Frances Mayes

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Autumn Pantry Organizing

Hi Puffins,

I’ve been doing some kitchen puttering.  The change of seasons always has me organizing my pantry and planning meals that taste good for the weather.

Today (Saturday) the Farmer and I did some major stock-up shopping in the Big City.  Sam’s Club was a smallish shop with us just getting Toliet Paper, gallon-size Ziplock freezer bags, Saran-wrap and HalfnHalf cups for my office coffee.  These all should last through the holidays (well, maybe not the TP.)

The low-price grocery store has 25%-off sale on their bulk foods.  I love this sale. I try to buy enough for holiday baking and such.  Today, knowing I have Plenty of grains and most nuts; I only got a little over 4 cups of Deluxe Mixed Nuts and 3 cups of Pecan halves.  We’ll snack on the mixed nuts and I use them in Chex Party Mix.  The pecans I like in baking better than walnuts. Although I do have walnuts on hand and almonds from the last big sale.  I also have oatmeal and rice aplenty.  We don’t need the candy and I’ve been making my own raisins in the dehydrator.  We don’t eat much other dried fruits these days.  We also got frozen hash browns ($1.98) since we eat a lot of those and I’ll use them in a casserole for holiday meals.  Chili & kidney beans (.49) for soup.  And Parmesan Cheese!! (3/$5)  There are good sales on block and shredded cheeses quite often, but rarely on Parmesan.  I got 6 8-oz packages today but I may go get more.

The higher-end grocery had lots of good sales today too.  The better sugar (brown and granulated !.79 & 2.29ea), baking chips (butterscotch, I have plenty of semi-sweet chocolate 2/$4), the better smoked turkey ($4.99#) from the deli and Provolone cheese, sweet potatoes (.59#) and black grapes($1.49).  And then there was the yogurt (10/$5) Farmer likes and String Cheese ($5.99).  We got a few Braeburn apples, (.98#) since the Jonathan apples in the bulk bag I got last week are not nice.  Mostly mushy and quite bruised.  And 2 big avocados, (.88ea). for sandwiches this week. Shelf-stable broths for when my stock is not available. ($1.99) And Kellogg’s cereals!  $1.59 when you purchased 5. We got mostly Rice Krispies for holiday treats. I’ll store them in gallon jars as I empty those.

And then we stopped to get softener salt that was on a great sale with coupon at another store.  We got 6 bags which should hold us until the next sale.  ($4 per bag.)

We did very well at staying with the list and not doing much impulse buying.  I am rather amazed at that but I guess we both are trying to watch our spending these days.  The drought was hard on us and we have other plans for our limited funds.

After a quick lunch of salad with chicken for me and burger/fries for him; we headed home. Eating a larger lunch meant we had a smaller evening meal.  I had a turkey and cheese sandwich, with some pepper strips and pickles we had in the fridge and chips from the pantry.  I’m not sure what Farmer had.

All that stock-up food meant I needed to organized the pantry after we got home.  All the like-cans together, veggies on one shelf, baking on another, etc.  I noticed plenty of canned soups, canned pineapple (mostly crushed).  NO need to buy baked beans nor bbq sauce until next summer.  We have enough boxed dinners and cake mixes.  I may donate those to the food pantry since we rarely eat that anymore.  I normally cook from scratch and we’re past the busy part of the farm year now, so we’ll be eating lighter and earlier.

Since we will be able to eat from the pantry & freezer for a while now, I’ll just have dairy and produce on the weekly shopping list.   We have enough of what we normally eat in the Fall & Winter on hand.  I will need to get some tomato juice for Chili. But otherwise, we are mostly set.

In the Freezers, we are ready too. We purchased 1/2 of a small hog and had it made into sausage and I got 6 Organic chickens a few weeks ago that are in the freezer now.  We’ll butcher our beef in January.  We have been buying cheese whenever it was on sale.  I also got a case of the better bacon a few weeks ago when it went on a 2/$5 sale. It has not been on sale that low all summer and I double it’ll go that low now.  We also have 1/2 of a spiral ham from this Spring that we’ll use for Christmas.

I love the feeling of being prepared for whatever the weather may throw at us.

With all this food in the house, I’m also trying to not waste what we have.  Unfortunately I had to toss some hot dogs, baked beans and pizza sauce that all got freezer burnt. And then some homemade pizza we didn’t eat up.  And some celery that went bad.  All but the celery went to the cats for their meal, so I guess it didn’t really get wasted.

Here is my preliminary menu plan for the next week.  I tried to use the leftovers since we’re not eating them for lunch as much.  Of course it may all go by the wayside depending on how we feel each evening. (* Using leftover food.)

Sunday:  Lunch: Eating out.  Supper:  Everyone for themselves.

Monday:  Lunches:  K- sub sandwich*, F-ham & scalloped potatoes*
Supper: Sloppy joes for Farmer; Spaghetti Squash* with shrimp & veggies for me.

Tuesday:  Lunches: leftovers or sandwiches
Supper: Sausage* gravy on biscuits, fruit

Wednesday:  Lunches: leftovers or sandwiches for me, Eating out for Farmer
Supper: Tomato soup & grilled cheese sandwiches

Thursday:  Lunches:  Sandwiches
Supper:  Beef roast, potatoes & carrots & onions.

Friday:  Lunches:  Sandwiches
Supper: Broiled or grilled salmon, rice, cole slaw, biscuits*

Saturday: Lunch: any leftovers from the week.
Supper:  Veg-Beef Soup*

Sunday will be extra busy with my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary dinner and then the Fall Neighborhood Block Party at our church in the late afternoon/evening.  Monday should be interesting.

I’m trying to figure out mobile blogging so I can share more with you via my cell phone.  So far I can’t get it to post here, but when you see the strange photo of me up on on the hill on a walk, you’ll know I figured it out.

Otherwise I’ll be back here ASAP.

**By sowing frugality we reap liberty, a golden harvest.  ~Agesilaus

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sort of a Menu Post.... kind of.... maybe....

I love having company,  and I love preparing for them.  But I tend to buy too much food!  I posted my menu HERE. We didn't eat maybe half of these meals.  Partly because I worked 2 of their 4 days here and we went out one night and had company the last evening, so we got pizza.

Right now I have some of that pizza leftover.  There is lots of milk in the fridge and lots of cheese and plenty of produce.  I shouldn't have to buy much more than maybe some half-n-half & possibly some fruit.

I need to do a pantry & freezer inventory.  Both are stuffed to the gills but I don't really know what's in the back/bottom.
Also, I'd like to be using up what's it getting close to expiration and open up some room for restocking before Winter.

I'll post something of a menu here but it is all subject to change depending on what I find when I do my inventory.

Sunday (today):
Lunch- OUT, Tacos
Supper- Sandwiches, chips, cupcakes

Lunch:  Leftover pizza & salads (pasta or greens), yogurt
Supper:  Grilled steaks or kabobs, new potatoes (on grill?), grilled zucchini, leftover baked beans.

Lunch: Turkey potpie, veggies/dip, grapes,  yogurt
Supper:  Breakfast for Supper- Individual egg & potato casseroles, fruit salad, toast.

Lunch:  Packaged pasta meal (for me), fast food for Farmer
Supper: ??  We are attending an outdoor church concert.

MUCH MUCH Later....... as in Thursday evening.

Well, the week took over and here it is days later & I still haven't finished this post.  So far only Wednesday's supper has been accurate.  oh well....  There's always next week.

Still doing the Pantry Challenge, however.  I stopped by the dreaded Wallyworld after work but only got half-n-half and fruit.  Ds2 was moaning over the lack of fresh fruit for a snack when he comes out after work.   I got nectarines, honeydew melon, Bing cherries, black grapes, apples, 1 avocado (the rest seemed light for their size).  Once home I bagged and refrigerated the sweet corn Farmer shucked for me and then we went by neighbors to get cucumbers they were sharing.

Supper was "What can we find that is quick and easy??" since it was 9 p.m. (again!)  He had a big salad and leftovers.  And I had leftover veggies and pasta.

And now it's 10:30 and time for bed.

Until Next Time,

**Patience is the ability to count down before you blast off. ~Author Unknown