Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Gonna Be Out Of Pocket For A Bit...

January 23, 2018

Hey y'all, it's me.

My laptop is named Loki, because he likes to play tricks on me, lose files, etc. So I will have to take him to a 'specialist' due to his slowing down way too much. While he is in 'laptop rehab', I will be working on getting well myself. Obie recently came down with a cold, and now I have it.

I promise I will be back as soon as possible, and I have some posts that hopefully y'all will find helpful and fun.

Well, I got Nyquil to take. Later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2018

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I Think I Sprained My Blessing Muscle...

January 16, 2018

Hey y'all, it's me!

I am thankful to report that my tooth problems are cleared up, and I can eat again. That's good, because we are heading to the Ft Worth Stock Show this weekend, and there is always some yummy food to try out!

Okay, last week was, in two words--BIZ EE. I had to just take a few days to chill out and rest a bit. But I am back in the blogging saddle again, so here goes.

That Sunday one of the ladies of the church brought several things she was getting rid of, and I ended up with several scented candles to enjoy. I gave a lot of things to other folks, and they were thrilled.

Another lady at the church who paints all kinds of objects, told me that if I find her some unusual objects to paint, she will give me a little cash when she sells them. I figured that's a good way to increase my income with very little extra effort on my part, since I am always getting things anyway. I already have some neat stuff to give her. We'll see how that turns out.

I got a call from my friend Eleanor Sunday night. She had sold her house, and wanted me and Obie to come over and help her pack and declutter. She also told me to bring my ice chests, because she was emptying her freezers and fridges. And I would get a little money for my work too.

So Monday and Wednesday found Obie and I doing chores at 1:30 in the morning, riding with the Redneck to his work, and after dropping him off, driving to Krum at 3 am in the dark, the songs from Sons Of Anarchy blasting from the truck CD player. We got to Eleanor's around 3:30, lay back down till 6, a quick breakfast, and then working till 2:30 pm, when we finished loading everything she gave us in the truck and headed to pick up the Redneck and go home. If I never see bubble wrap again, it will still be too soon!

Some of the things I ended up with were a 26 inch television (ours is a 19 inch. They are both older televisions, not flat screens, but they work fine for watching our DVDs. The 19 inch will go into the Redneck's man cave), a gorgeous half table with a glass top that I have loved for years. a new weight scale to replace my over 15 years old one, a 'so ugly it's wonderful' metal chandelier someone gave her and she had in her shed (seriously, I can't wait to redo it to hang outside), and food. Oh boy, did I get food. She filled up both of my ice chests--twice.

This is just from the first night, and I had taken out a lot of stuff before I took these photos.

All kinds of deliciousness, including 10 pounds of Ghee, which I love, two tubs of vegan butter, two large jars of marinated mushrooms, a big jar of artichoke hearts,a carton of madjool dates, a tub of tomato bisque,

raisins, a bottle of wine, two bottles of molasses, a big bottle of Italian dressing, a lot of little packages of salad dressings and toppings.

Several Jimmy Dean breakfasts for the Redneck to take to work.

Frozen veggies of all kinds.

Several bags of frozen goodies from her garden last year.

Bags of frozen fruits. Can you say SMOOTHIE BONANZA?

Now this photo is blurry, but these are some of our favorite gifts. Eleanor is always cooking up great food and freezing it for later meals. Obie and I call these 'lunch ala Eleanor'. We will thaw out a container in the fridge overnight and heat it up for our lunch. The bonus? Eleanor is switching over to all glass storage containers, so we get to keep all the Rubbermaid!

She gave us a bunch of spices, including this delicious mushroom seasoning. I tasted a little of it, and wow, cant wait to use it in a soup.

She also gave me supplements, and probiotics, protein powders to add to my smoothies, quinoa and other grains. Pasta, jellies, and hibiscus tea. I even got a jar of pickled ginger! 

I also got 6 boxes of these 'candy boxes'. I took those to the church, and gave one to a lady who makes candy. If the church can't use the rest, I will suggest they give her the rest of them to use.

Tuesday I spent cleaning house and doing laundry to keep up with my work here. Thursday we attended the funeral of the Redneck's great aunt. It was a sad day, but it was good to say goodbye to a very sweet lady who was always kind to me. We barely made it back home to eat supper in time for Obie and I to make it to the library to return movies and books. Friday I simply did laundry and watched movies. I was knackered. The rest of the weekend we all just rested and went to church. By the way, at church another lady gave me a bag full of cute tops in a style I like. Plus I have to go to her house this weekend to get some real wooden furniture she wants to get rid of. See what the title of my post means? I got my blessing muscles sprained!

Right now I am spending my time cleaning, doing laundry and making sure my animals stay warm in this cold weather we are getting.

Well, I got chores. Later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2018

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

I Got My Miracle!

January 9, 2018

Hey y'all, it's me!

First, thank you all for praying for me at a time when I was not feeling well due to problems with my teeth. They were greatly appreciated. Also--God heard y'all, and...

I got the miracle I needed!

Yep, I found out that it wasn't a broken tooth or a cavity--it was a gum infection, caused by getting something stuck under the gum line. My friend Eleanor, who is a holistic physician, had me brushing my teeth with clove oil, and taking probiotics, and I may start doing oil pulling. The clove oil made a difference within 24 hours. I can now chew with no problem, and drinking liquid causes only a slight twinge. Even that is lessening every day.

Talk about relief, I feel so much better. The infection also explains my being so tired lately.

So again, thank you all so much for your prayers. I promise I have some new posts coming up later this week, and you are gonna be surprised at what I have to share.

Love. Later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2018

Saturday, January 6, 2018

I Need Some Prayer Folks

January 6, 2018

Hey y'all, it's me.

I have developed a problem with a back tooth. I can't chew with it, and if anything cold touches it, I just about lose my mind. So I am reduced to warm tea and scrambled eggs until I get it fixed...and we don't have the money in the budget at this time. So prayer for a small miracle is greatly appreciated.

However, there is one good thing out of this...

I will probably lose a little weight!

Well, I got chores. later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2018

Friday, January 5, 2018

Baking Goals, Buckwheat Bread, And I Find A New Favorite YouTuber

January 5, 2018

Hey y'all, it's me!

A while back, my friend Eleanor called me and said "Come help me clean out my freezers and pantry." I love when this happens, because I am always the recipient of different goodies that I may be interested in but can't justify the cost for a trial run. It helps me to stretch the food budget too.

Well, that time I came home with all kinds of different grain products. Millet, flax seeds, rye graham flour, blue corn meal, besan flour and buckwheat flour found their way into my laundry room fridge, along with others. I kept them in there for several months, thinking I would use them up soon.

Nope, didn't happen last year. I was so busy with everything else, I just ignored all that wonderful stuff. I didn't see it until I was either putting meat in the fridge to store until I could process it for the freezer, or I was getting eggs from the large carton.

Two days ago I decided it was time to do something about it, so I pulled out all the jars I collect for storing food stuffs, and I emptied all those bags into them, putting the name of every type of grain and flour on them, and then putting them into the cupboard over my mixer, where I keep my mixing bowls and such.

I have a simple goal--to bake something with each and every product in those jars. I will pull one down, look up how it's used and the recipes for it, then I will bake or cook something from that information. If I like the results, I will put it on my pantry list to restock it. If not, I will give it to someone who will use it. 

I grabbed the first jar at the front. It was buckwheat flour. Okay, I have heard of this being used in pancakes, but I wanted something that Obie and I could eat more often than just breakfast, and I am working on lowering our sugar intake some more. So first I tried the bread machine recipe that was on the bag the flour came in. It was for Buckwheat Molasses Bread. I tossed ingredients into the machine, hit the button and waited. 

The result was pretty good. It had a decent flavor and a good texture. It sliced well, and it made toast okay. I even made grilled cheese with it one day for lunch, and it went well with leftover soup.

Not bad, but how would it do for a conventional loaf of bread? I knew this would take more research, and I hit Bing to find a fairly simple recipe.

After watching a few videos of people making stuff that looked like rectangular hedgehogs, I was about to give up. Then I saw a link to a channel that looked interesting. I am so happy that I clicked that button, because then I found...

This is the channel of a lovely British lady named Titli Nihaan. She has a wonderful sense of humor, and she says herself she's no grand cook, she just loves to cook. I thought, "Oh yeah, we are gonna get along great!"

I watched her video on making Buckwheat Bread, and it was so easy to understand and follow her instructions. Here is the actual video;

I armed myself with all the ingredients and went to work.

500 g (16 oz) buckwheat flour (4 cups)350 ml (10½ fl oz) lukewarm water (about a cup and a forth, you may need to add a bit more)2 tbsp vegetable oil2 tsp dried yeast2 tsp sugar1 tsp salt1 tsp vinegar2 eggs
I put the sugar and yeast into the water, mixed it well and set it aside for 10 minutes to proof, then I mixed the oil and eggs together and whipped them until smooth and a little frothy.

I put the flour into a large bowl and made a well in it. (yes, I am following Miz Titli's recipe almost word for word--I'm too chicken to play around at this stage of my learning). When the yeast was ready I sprinkled to salt over then added in the eggs, vinegar and yeast mixture, and stirred it all up.

The dough was kind of stiff, so I added more warm water, and it smoothed right out.

I poured it into a bread pan that I had oiled, smoothed out the top, and put it into a plastic bag on the stove to rise for an hour. I always get a bit nervous at this point, but after watching the video I knew exactly what to look for. I am obviously a visual learner. You can tell me how to do something, or I can read how to do it, and I MIGHT be able to do it. You SHOW me, and I will be able to do it with no problem. 

After an hour I checked the dough. I was thrilled, because it looked just like the loaf in Miz Titli's video. I may just pull this off!

I preheated the oven to 430 degrees, and placed the top rack down one. I let the loaf bake for 30 minutes, and when I pulled it out, it looked pretty good. I turned it over and let it come out of the pan, then flipped it over to cool on a rack. Nice so far, right?

After it had cooled a bit, I sliced it and again was excited to see it was done, had a deep rich color, and just look at the crumb texture.

Time for a taste. I didn't understand what Miz Titli meant by a 'dry mouth texture' until I took a bite and chewed. It's hard to describe. It's not a bad thing, but this is not something you would use like a lighter bread. Instead it will be perfect for soups and stews, and I bet it will make a great grilled cheese. It does well in the toaster too.

There you have it. two types of buckwheat bread from what Eleanor gave me. There was about a fourth of a cup left, and that can be added to another bread dough or muffin batter to use it up. Will I restock this flour? Not really certain yet, want to use up the second loaf before I make a decision. I will tell you that the leftovers from the bread  machine loaf made nice hearty bread crumbs in the processor. They should really make a good meatloaf texture.

If you liked Titli Nihaan's video for this recipe, you will love her channel, The Bread Kitchen, Titli's Busy Kitchen, and Titli's Busy Garden channels. Here are the links.

Be sure to check out her channel and like the videos. 

Well, I got chores. Later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2018

Thursday, January 4, 2018

This Ain't Gonna Make You Rich, But...

January 4, 2018

Hey y'all, it's me!

The temps have been up for two days! At right around 40 degrees, I have been able to fill the horse troughs a LOT easier. Using a hose instead of hauling buckets of water from my kitchen sink is sooooo much better. Not saying I got tired Tuesday, but at one point I honestly contemplated if I could bring them into the kitchen one at a time to let them drink from the faucet! Then I realized what a mess their 'hoof prints' would make, so reality won out, and I went back to hauling water in buckets.

Okay, on to a little tip I learned from the Tightwad Gazette back in the day. Someone wrote Amy and told how he kept from wasting deodorant. I tried it, and while it won't save you tons of money, it does help prevent waste, and if you are patient, you will save a little bit of money in the long run. The reason I am sharing is so that hopefully you can see this and it will at least get you thinking about all the little things that you can do to prevent waste.

My son and the Redneck both use Old Spice deodorant, the gel type. It's inexpensive, smells good and it works. When the product gets to where it's hard to get anything out, I put the container into a box and save it with the others that are too far gone to use.

After I have a few saved up (I usually do this with a lot more containers than this--but I was bored and wanted something to do), I get them out and start taking the little plastic piece that makes the gel rise in the container. They usually pop right out with no problem. 

I take a small knife and peel the remaining gel off, and I poke through the little holes in the plastic piece. 

I put all the little gel pieces into a glass measuring cup or small microwave safe bowl, and then zap them for about 10 seconds until they liquefy.

I then pour the liquid carefully into one intact leftover container and allow it to cool and solidify. I then pop the lid on it and put it in the bathroom cupboard to wait until I have more to add to it. Yes, it takes time to save up a lot of containers, but it takes less than 5 minutes to do this whole process. I do this a couple of times a year, and I end up with a full container. 

Silly? Maybe, but I do it as one small part of my Thriftology practice. It's a simple task that always reminds me to not allow waste in ANY area of my life, whether it's deodorant, food, time or money. I base a lot of what I do on the scripture John 6:12, where Jesus had just fed the five thousand with a couple of bread and some fish. 

"When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted."

In my own opinion, while Jesus could have easily made more food, he knew that waste, even in the face of plenty, was a sign of laziness of character and spirit. Anytime we are wasteful, it affects others. (I like to think that all that food that was gathered up was delivered to the poor of the area.) 

So, while you don't have to do this particular activity at your house, try taking a look around to see where you can 'gather up the fragments'. Maybe you can use leftover bread for making dressing, have a container in the fridge for bits of leftover veggies and meat to eventually turn into a soup, or add a little apple cider vinegar to almost empty jars of ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, etc, and pour it into what's called a 'drippins jar' in the fridge. I use the resulting concoction to marinate meat in before cooking. Even using empty coffee cans for canisters or making a crazy quilt from odd shaped cloth scraps is a form of 'fragment gathering.

Well, I got chores. Later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2018

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A Recipe To Remember My Mother

January 3, 2018

Hey y'all, it's me!

Still cold here in Bowie, but at least the sun is out, so it's a bit more energy in the air today. I normally have no problem with winter, but this year I am so over it already. I want Spring!

Well, in the meantime, I'll share another experiment in the kitchen during my break.

Once when I was a child, my mother made German Potato Dumplings. Just once. I have no idea why she never made them again, and that's not important. What's important is that I never forgot them. I remember watching her cook the potatoes, then peel and grate them while they were still warm, adding other ingredients, shaping the dumplings, and dropping them into hot chicken broth to cook. I don't remember the taste at all, but I remember that I loved them. I always wanted mom to make them again.

But I never had them again growing up, and I never thought to learn how to make them myself as an adult.

Until last week.

I had gotten a bunch of Taste Of Home Cookbooks while helping folks declutter a few weeks ago. I like these books, they always have a lot of good recipes that use basic ingredients, and they are simple and easy to make. Well, I was browsing through one of the Mom's Best Meals editions, and I came across the recipe for German Potato Dumplings. I stared at the page for a bit, then decided it was time for me to move on from that memory that was always a little sad, and to see if I could make a new memory for myself and my family.

Hold my poodle, I'm goin' in!

I checked my pantry, and I had everything I needed. I weighed out 4 pounds of russet potatoes, scrubbed and put in a pot with water to cover. I brought them to a boil, then covered the pot and lowered the heat to cook for 30 minutes.

While they cooked, I pulled a chunk of homemade bread from the freezer and quickly thawed it in the microwave. Anytime I have leftover bread that I may not be able to use up quickly, I freeze it for bread crumbs, dressing, or even croutons at a later date.

I tore it into smaller pieces and whizzed it about in the food processor. I measured out what was needed for the dumplings, then stored the rest in a bag to return to the freezer.

When the potatoes were done, I drained them and put them in the fridge for about an hour so they would be cool enough to handle. Then I peeled and grated them into a bowl. I have seen a few recipes where you just mash them, but I recall mom grating them, so I went with my memory.

I added in the flour, seasonings, bread crumbs and eggs. Then I used my hands to mix it all together, adding a little flour when it got too sticky. And let me tell y'all something, I usually mix with my left hand so I can take a picture with my right, but I forgot this time. I got the photo, but wow, using my left hand to click the shutter on the right side of the camera was a trick worthy of an acrobat!

Once the dough was ready, I put a pot of salted water on to boil. Using my trusty ice cream scoop (I love that thing for measuring our portions for cooking--I use it more for that than ice cream!), I scooped up dough into my hand, then shaped it into round dumpling balls. I rolled the balls in flour, shaking off the excess, and placed them on a plate by the pot of boiling water.

I lowered each dumpling into the boiling water using a slotted spoon. I cooked six at a time, to make certain they weren't crowded. They sank, but would rise again as they cooked. Once they were at the surface, I let them go about another minute, then pulled out and placed them into a 9 x 13 casserole dish. It pretty much filled it up.

I didn't feel like making a gravy to go over them, but I did want a decadent addition. So I melted a stick of butter and poured it s-l-o-w-l-y over the dumplings, making certain every one of those little spheres of potatoey (Is that a word? It should be!) goodness got a coating of butter. I then sprinkled a bit of paprika over the top to give them some color.

Since presentation is just as important as taste, I placed three dumplings into one of my red bowls for our lunch. Don't they look delicious?

And let me tell you--they tasted wonderful. Obie enjoyed them just as much as I did. Later in the evening, I made a meatloaf for supper, letting the leftover dumplings heat along with it in the oven, and served it all with a thick gravy. Even the Redneck was impressed! Oh yeah, they have joined the ranks of recipes that will be a standard dish at our table.

I confess, I didn't do everything I remembered mom doing--I didn't shape the dough around bread dressing like she did. I didn't use broth to cook them in. I may try all that another time, but this first  time out I am pleased with the results. I achieved my goal, which was to try something I had been putting off for almost 5 decades. I recreated a fond memory of my mom, who has been gone for around 40 years, and I began a new memory for my family. Seriously, my life ROCKS!

Okay, for those of y'all who want to try this recipe, here's the link to the Taste Of Home recipe site;

Well, I got chores. Later y'all.
© Evelyn Edgett 2018

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

You Bake With 'Aquafaba'? Isn't That An Aftershave Lotion?

January 2, 2018

Hey y'all, it's me!

15 degrees here in Bowie right now, and I am wearing long underwear. Yes, my home is heated, however, I still have to go outside for certain chores, and I ain't having anything important fall off cause it got too cold!

During the break I took from blogging, I got to do a lot of experimenting in the kitchen, and as far as I am concerned, what I am about to tell y'all about was the BEST EVER.

I was doing my usual cruising of the Internet, just doing random searches for whatever struck my fancy, when I came across the term aquafaba, which is the brine from a can of chickpeas. The article stated that the brine could be used in place of eggs in baking, substituted as a whipping cream, and...

(Be still my heart)

...making meringues, either as a topping for a pie, or in making meringue cookies, which I am especially fond of.

I thought this deserved more research, so I went to YouTube and checked out videos on this. I found several that explained how to make meringues, and this one was my favorite;

It was simple, and the girl doing the video was funny and easy to understand. It all looked good, and yet, I didn't have any chickpeas, and I wasn't about to go tearing off to the store to purchase a couple of cans for just this. I decided to wait until the next time we went grocery shopping.

Turns out I didn't have to wait until then.

Obie went to his father's for Christmas, so after church Christmas Eve, our friends Kenny and Barbara invited us back to their house for the afternoon. Kenny asked her to make hummus, and guess what the main ingredient is?

As she was setting up to make the dip, I told her about what I had learned. She said she didn't have the time to experiment that week, however she poured the drained liquid from 3 cans into a jar, popped the lid in it, and told me to go for it.

A few days after Christmas, I went into mad scientist mode. I pulled up the video again, wrote down the ingredients and instructions, then set up everything I would need.

1 cup of aquafaba 
1 cup sugar (some vegans use honey or agave)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Some recipes call for vanilla extract also. I am thinking that for Christmas next year I might try a peppermint extract with some red food coloring.

(I learned you can use the brine from just about any canned bean. Most folks use chickpeas, navy or cannelloni beans, since the liquid is lighter in color. I plan to try the liquid from kidney and black beans, since I have a cocoa flavored meringue recipe that should take care of the darker color problem)

I lined a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Next time I will use a bigger sheet, cause this recipe makes a lot.

I poured the liquid into my big stand mixer, using the whisk attachment. You can use a hand mixer, and I know of a few hardy individuals who used a hand whisk! Just like when making egg white meringues, make certain that your bowl and beaters are clean and grease free, or the meringue won't happen right.

When I first started whipping, there was a 'beany' smell. I wasn't bothered, because I know that many times recipes made from plants just never taste like the real thing, yet they still taste good.

After about 5 minutes, you can see the liquid begin to froth, just like egg whites. There was still a faint bean scent.

You can see it beginning to hold onto the spatula here.

A bit longer, and there were soft peaks forming. I slowly added the sugar and cream of tartar, and now I noticed that the bean smell is fading away.

Look at the texture after whipping with the sugar! Another bonus of using aquafaba--the meringue never gets a grainy texture if you whip it a long time, unlike egg whites.

I was definitely impressed by this point--I mean, just LOOK at the peaks!

Obie felt the best thing was his being able to lick the spoon, and mom wasn't freaking out about salmonella! By the way--no bean smell at all at this point.

Most of the instructions say to put the meringue into a pastry bag or zip lock bag to pipe out the cookies. I just used a spoon to put dollops on the parchment. I could have put them much closer together--they don't spread out, and like I said, this makes a LOT of cookies.

I put them into a 200 degree oven for 2 hours, then went about my other work. 

After I took them out of the oven, they began to crisp up immediately. I popped them off the paper, and they were so light. You will notice they aren't browned. Some folks use a little kitchen blow torch to brown them, but I was okay with the white glossiness. Then I took a bite.





They tasted wonderful. No bean flavor at all. Sweet and light with a crispy texture. 

The instructions say to store them in an airtight container in the fridge to keep them crisp. Yeah, they made into the container, but they never made it into the fridge! Obie and I kept walking past the container and having 'just one more'. We ate the entire batch in a day. I wasn't too worried, cause we don't do the binge thing often, and with the chores we had that day the extra calories were appreciated in the cold weather!

Obviously, if you don't like canned beans, this recipe is not for you. However, since I use them for other recipes, I will definitely be putting the brine to use. After all, you are paying for that liquid, just like you do with canned corn or green beans and other liquids in canned foods. I save the canned veg liquids in a container in the freezer for soups, mix powdered milk in them for gravies and sauces, etc. Now I can use up the bean liquid, and nothing goes to waste.

As for baking with aquafaba, I have read that 2 tablespoons of the liquid replaces one egg white, while 3 tablespoons will do for a whole egg. I think the video I have above talks about making chocolate chip cookies using the liquid. I have some frozen bananas I will be making quick bread with, and I will be trying the brine in it. If you don't have enough liquid for a recipe, you can freeze it, add to it, then thaw and use in recipes.

I hope I rocked your baking world today!

Well, I got chores. Later y'all
© Evelyn Edgett 2018