Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Since we just found out that heating oil prices are about $3 a gallon, I'm going to be looking at other ways to keep the family warm. I so wish we would have had the boiler fixed this summer, but hopefully it can and will be done soon. Then we'll just get wood each weekend until we have enough. At around $750 for a tank of oil, we really have to think of other alternatives! So, this entry will be dealing with warm things or things that make me toasty :)
I've been making many oven meals for the duel purpose of warming us both inside and out. :) Monday, I got out some chicken breasts that weren't skinned or deboned, so I defrosted them and then did the deed myself. By buying my breasts this way, we end up with 2 meals, one of a nice oven roasted breast dinner, and the other, I take the bones and little meat I cut off and make a broth out of.
I tried a new recipe with the breasts - so simple and soooo good.
Crunchy Onion Chicken
2/3rd's can French's Original Fried Onions
4 boneless and skinless chicken breast halves
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (not really necessary, but makes easy clean-up!)Crush fried onions in a sandwich or similar sized plastic bag. Pour into a bowl or pie plate. Set aside. In another bowl or pie plate, beat egg - set aside. Take chicken breasts and dip in egg then in crushed onions - coating both sides. Place on cookie sheet. Press on any left over onions if desired. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until no longer pink. Makes 5 servings.
I found that there was enough egg to dip a total of 6 breast halves, and if you are going to do six, you might want to crush the whole can or close to it. I baked these for 30 minutes because the breasts were nice and large.
While the breasts were baking, I put the bones in a pot and covered with water. I brought them to a boil, and them simmered for a good hour or so. I cooled and strained the bones from the liquid, then put in the fridge overnight.
About an hour and a half before I wanted to serve dinner on Tuesday, I took out the broth, skimmed off any fat, and poured in a pot. I had about 6 cups of broth. I then added a few fresh carrots (sliced), a diced onion, 3 cloves garlic, and 2 small leafy stalks of celery along with about a cup of diced cooked chicken. This simmered for about a half hour after coming to a boil. Then I brought a pot of water to a boil and and cooked some wide egg noodles until almost done. While the noodles were cooking, I added some leftover lima beans to the soup, as well as some salt, pepper, one "ice cube" of frozen chopped parsley, and one chicken bullion cube. When the noodles were done, I strained and added them to the soup. I cooked more than I needed, for those of us that like a more "noodle-y" soup. They were kept to the side. YUMMY!!
I finally finished my DS's pair of hunting socks. He has size 13 feet, so the photo of these covered almost my whole coffee table! I hope his feet have finally stopped growing :) I still need to make him another pair or two of heavy wool socks, and one more for DH, but the way things are going, I'm not going to get them all done before hunting season this year. Then, after I need to do some for DD as well as myself, but that will certainly be down the road.
My quilt needs to be brought out and sewn. I am looking forward to working on that. I found a couple of pillow cases that I put away of the children's from when they were little. DD's is an Little Mermaid case and DS's is a Barney pillow case. I have decided to pull them apart and integrate them in the quilt along with a few other scraps from things they wore when they were young. It will probably look weird, but hey - I've decided to make it even more warming with thoughts of the children every time I use it. I offered to put them in each of the children's quilts that I am going to do for them, but neither wants them - so... It'll be my memory type quilt. :)
Sunday, November 4, 2007
The weather report is calling for chance of flurries tomorrow and possibility of snow on Tuesday. Chance of snow is not unusual for this time of year, but I'm somewhat concerned with all the leaves on the trees. Tonight, we are getting rain, and the temps are at 42°F. They can drop quickly. Those cold temps can cause ice to form on the leaves which can really do some damage. Those trees will snap and pull power lines down and cause life to come to a standstill. Well, at least a for most people. We are prepared. DH has the generator out and ready, plus we've got the oil lamps ready and even one burning right now. I love the glow of an oil lamp, so I had just had to keep one burning.
I honestly love it when the power goes out. The town grows so quiet and still. There are no hums of motors or outdoor lights blocking the gorgeous night sky. It's the sights and sounds I long for, but never get to experience unless we are out of power. The longest we've been without power has been a week, and we really didn't miss it. Now all we need is a wood cookstove and we'll be all set :)
With all the colder temps, I'm getting in the mood for the holiday season. I've been trying out new recipes, and have been looking for a recipe for cranberry sauce. Everyone loves it, but DH and the kids don't like the whole berry kind. They want something that is similar to the gel we get in the store. Today, my hunt has finally ended. I received "Home Cooking with Dave's Mom" by Dave's Mom, Dorothy from PaperBack Swap and in it was the recipe I have been searching for! It's so simple and tastes very, very good! I halved the recipe for trying. We are having this for dinner tonight with our macaroni and cheese.
Source: Home Cooking With Dave's Mom page 106
4 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
In medium saucepan, over medium heat, add berries and water. Cook until berries pop, then pus through a Foley food mill. Add sugar and bring to a boil. Put in a glass jar with straight sides. (I used a pint wide mouth canning jar). When chilled, it will slide out of the jar and can be sliced for serving. Keeps well in the refrigerator. Makes 4 cups.
I still have not turned the heat on, however, DH did yesterday, to make sure it was running correctly. We are staying at about 60° overnight and it creeps up in the daytime. I have been using the oven for meals, so it usually peaks at about 67-68° in the evenings. The children don't seem to mind or notice it as much as I do, but clothing layers take care of that. I still need to go out and buy some plastic for the picture window. That thing lets so much cold air in - it's like sitting next to a fridge - even with the insulated drapes drawn!
Each year we try to improve our home a little. Each year it becomes just a bit more efficient. I'd love to go solar and use a cook stove for both heat and cooking. Sadly, our kitchen is not laid out so that we can put a stove in yet. Yes, I did say yet. We are planning on some reconstruction a bit down the road to fit our needs. I'm so looking forward to that.
It's funny. I remember when I was so heartbroken when I found out we couldn't move from here. My brother got the family farm, and we ended up with my parents home in town. It's the home they left to move to my grandparents farm. At the time we got this house, it was supposed to be a stepping stone to something larger - a little farm of our own. Life happened and we didn't move and every time we thought we'd have enough money and income for something, the land prices would go up out of reach, yet again. After 16 years of hoping and dreaming, the harsh reality set in that things wouldn't be as we dreamed about. Well, not yet, anyhow. So we decided to stay here a few more years as the economy becomes more and more questionable, and we'll thank the Lord we have a place to call home. Now, we've settled in nicely, and we are welcoming each new change and appreciating it all.
Bloom where you are planted. I finally know what that means!
Friday, November 2, 2007
Yesterday was our annual girls "night" out. (Actually it was more like an afternoon & evening.) Each year, my DD, SIL and I make a trip to see the Taste of Home Cooking School. We always have a good time, come back with a few new tips, and some samples and freebies. We wanted to take a picture for our scrap books, but this year they would not allow any photos, not even before the show - so we came home photo-less. :(
We were especially treated with our show being hosted by Taste of Home's own Patricia Wade Powell who was a real delight to watch and listen to. She has such a great sense of humor and gave so many suggestions for other ingredients that would go well in the recipe she was demonstrating. I loved her many comments that "cooking from scratch is wonderful" and "make this recipe your own". Too many times I've come across people who cook strictly by the book. I will the first time to get a feel for the flavors - but after that - it's fair game to get creative with it.
So now, I need to sit down with my nice package of goodies from the show, and go through everything to see what all we really did receive. There were cookbooks, catalogs, coupons, samples, little gifts and recipes that I saw in the tote last night. We were just too tired to go through them all after we came home. I'm really looking to take some quite time today to sort through it all.