Hello dear friends! Hope this post finds you all warm and safe! We got our first measurable snowfall of the season. Hurray! I hope I never grow too old not to find wonderment in the first snow.
cocoa, we listen to this song, we also have a fire , go for a hike, and make soup. If we get enough snow, we make snowbears. Homemade traditions are the best!
WASTE NOT WANT NOT
Did you know that thirty-one percent or 133 billion pounds of the food available in the United States goes uneaten every year? That's shocking! Not at our house! From that one little six dollar turkey we got twelve meals and several snacks. First we had the Thanksgiving meal, then since no one was very hungry later in the day, we just nibbled on some of the turkey for dinner. The next day we had leftovers. I always make a potpie from all the leftovers; layering the stuffing and potatoes, then the vegetables and meat, then top it off with some cranberry sauce and gravy. This goes into the freezer for sometime in January. Makes the best meal. After two days of leftovers, we are ready for something different and by then the potatoes, stuffing and green bean casserole are usually gone, so I make turkey burritos or King Ranch casserole. This is enough for two meals. We always make broth from the carcass by throwing the bones, some celery, carrots and onions and a splash of vinegar (it leaches out the calcium in the bones) in a big pot water and boiling the living daylights out of it. (That's directions for making broth that you won't find in a Martha Stewart cookbook!) I throw in any leftover gravy too. This makes several quarts of broth and there usually quite a bit of meat to be culled from the bones. Enough for a batch of turkey noodle soup and one pot of white chili. Again each is enough for a couple meals. Plus we put some of the turkey in the freezer for topping on our barbecue chicken pizzas.
Nothing gets wasted at our house, not even the cranberry sauce. We made cranberry English muffins with some. Ended up with sixteen hefty muffins. We froze half. Cranberry English muffins and orange marmalade is the best breakfast ever! It tastes like the holidays!
I also baked a cranberry gingerbread from the leftover sauce. The pie never lasts long in our house so everyone was looking for something sweet after a few days.
1 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. butter
1/2 C. sugar
1/3 C. whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 C. molasses
1/2 C. hot water
Grease and flour an 8-inch pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the dry ingredients; set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the cranberry sauce and egg. Blend in molasses.
Gradually stir in dry ingredients, alternating with the hot water. Stir until smooth.
Pour into baking pan and bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
I made a thin icing of powdered sugar and some of the leftover eggnog from making the pie, but this cake can be eaten plain or with whipped cream. BTW, I used up the remaining eggnog making French toast.
DON'T BUY IT, MAKE IT
I'm sure some of you are curious about making English muffins. Homemade ones are very economical plus you can customize them however you want. I'm thinking date and walnut would be tasty!
2 tbsp. water (105-110 degrees)
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 C. water
1/2 C. milk, scalded
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 C. flour
3 tbsp. oil
Dissolve the yeast in the 2 tbsp. water. Put aside until it becomes bubbly.
Combine the water, milk, sugar, salt, oil and yeast together. Gradually beat in 2 C. flour.
Cover and let rise until doubled in size.
Knead in remaining flour.
Pat dough to a 1/2" thickness and no thicker! Or they muffins will be too thick to cook all the way through.
Cut into circles.
Let stand on greased cookie sheets until dough has doubled in size.
Transfer muffins to a low to medium heat well-buttered griddle.Cook until light brown, turning them once.
I found that it is hard to get them cooked all the way through without burning the outsides so I finish them off by baking in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes until done.
BTW, did you know one of the secrets to baking good bread is having one of those probe thermometers for baking? You can insert them into the center of the bread to tell that it has reached 190 degrees, insuring that your bread (or English muffins) is cooked on the inside. One of the perks of living with a chemist! He brings science to the kitchen.
I finally finished Ran's vest.
We feel like the shoemaker's brownies around here. While I was busy sewing, Ran made this knife for our honey man (doesn't everyone have a honey man?), Shane. He had given a broken knife to Ran, knowing that he loves to remake them. So Ran polished and reshaped the blade and made a new handle for it.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual."
~Henry David Thoreau~
The other day we picked up two pounds of Swiss cheese at the grocery store for $2.50 a pound. It was on the reduced-for-quick-sale rack because it had reached it's expiration date. So of course the grocer had to discount it. The thing is, people have become so foolish about these expiration dates on things, they've completely lost common sense. Anyone can see that the cheese was still good. There was no mold on it, and cheese is supposed to age, the longer the better. This is going to sound terrible to you younger people, but growing up, people never threw out cheese because of a little mold, we just cut it off. Never heard of anyone dying from cheese mold back then. On the whole we were a lot healthier, I think. Long before expiration dates on food, when you had to use your nose and eyes and good old-fashioned common sense to tell you if something was good or not. We have a family friend that throws out all her canned good on the day they reach their expiration point. The day before it was fine, but the day after, it's poison to her. So silly! As if those canned goods have little micro chips in them telling them to rot precisely on that date! Oh well! I suppose it's good for me that everyone doesn't think as I do or there would be a lot more competition for discounted cheese!
The other thing that people turn up their nose at, is the cheap cuts of meat like the ham hocks, oxtails, and pork necks. We just made a wonderful batch of soup from eighty-eight cents a pound pork necks. There was a lot of meat on them. What difference does it make what part of the body it came from. Why is a neck less desirable than say the rib? If you're going to be squeamish about it than why eat meat at all? After all, meat is not pretty. Of course one of the reasons is because so many of us are so far-removed from the farm, we haven't got a clue. I dare say, if you raised an animal and butchered it and only had what you raised to live on, people would be singing a different tune. It all goes back to that wasted 133 billions pounds of food. Bet people living in third world countries would be glad to have a nice meaty ham hock and expired cans of peas!
THRIFTY THING WE DID THIS WEEK
Well now, I'll come off my soapbox to finish this post!
Bought two pounds of Swiss cheese at $2.50/lb. Shredded and froze it.
Made turkey broth from the Thanksgiving turkey.
Had lots of leftovers.
Attended an estate sale where I purchased some graniteware for $1 and several beautifully bound books for $1 each.
Made soup from 88 cents/pound pork neck bones, potatoes carrots and onions from the root cellar, herbs from the herb garden and a jar of tomatoes from the pantry.
Made 16 hefty English muffins for about 1/4 the cost of a eight store bought ones.
Found a wonderful movie on YouTube called The Good Fairy with Margaret Sullavan, very Ernst Lubitsch-esque. I love old movies and there's a treasure trove on YouTube for free!
Finished sewing Ran's vest from thrifted fabric.
Skyped with the North Carolina grandchildren.
Filled up the cars with $1.87/gallon gasoline. Can you believe how cheap gas has gotten?
Well that's it for this week! To my American friends, I wish you a lovely Thanksgiving filled with joy and love. To my friends in other corners of the world, I wish you peace and joy and safety!
Have a good one!