Update! The Meat!

May 29, 2013 at 12:08 pm (Day to Day, Food News, For Jeff the BF, Homemade, Updates) (, , , )

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This is the smoked meat result from the post a few days ago. I figured I would do this one first. Have the baby follow the meat. Although the meat following Memorial Day seemed wrong too. I think I solved the problem (Did I?) with a picture of a dandelion puff. This is only some of the meat. Much got eaten, apparently, while “pulling” it apart, and then more got eaten as a meal that night. When I got home at about midnight the same night, that entire dish was full. It was delicious! Perfect texture, great seasoning, flavor galore, and tender tender without being fatty or greasy. I ate enough. The BF made cole slaw too. And that was also delicious. And I am not really a fan of the coleslaw or even know how to make it. We are protein packed here for the week now. In case you were wondering poundage of meat—some do—I think the BF said it was 15 or so. Good thing it worked! Later.

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Smokin’ In The Boys Room

May 26, 2013 at 12:48 pm (Day to Day, Employed Posts!, Family, Food News, For Jeff the BF, For Mason, For Stevie, Giant Food, Holiday, Homemade, Thank You, Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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And by “boys room”,  I mean the outside. While I work this weekend, my BF has decided to do many manly things, like, work on his motorcycle, cut large tree limbs with a chainsaw, and smoke much meat. It sounds like so much fun I just wish I could have had these days off to be here for all of it. Ahem. No, really. (Not really). I like to spend my holiday weekends working and taking care of sick people and listening to their families tell me what a crap job I’m doing. It’s what I got into this profession for. That rewarding feeling of spending more hours with other people’s families instead of my own. Without sarcasm, I really do like my job. It’s just some families make it very difficult to keep calm. The patients are fine. It’s just the families sometimes. Still, I think it will be better than the manual labor that needs to be done here. Sweaty, with heavy lifting. Oh wait, that’s my job too. Ha. OK. Enough. That’s my work rant.  Back to the meat!

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Apparently this is stuff you need. Along with a starter tube thing that gets the coals going, a temp gauge, (actually two temp gauges, one for the cooker and one for the meat), water for steam, spices, herbs, liquids, “rubs”, side dishes, buns, etc…and of course: The Meat. This will all cost you approx. 90 dollars or so. If you had to buy your own smoker, that could be an extra 100-500 dollars, depending on quality and advanced smoking technology. Or something. This smoker in the picture was the gift the BF got for working so hard at his job for this many,  past 15 years. It seems like it’s nice smoker machine. I have just been informed that the meat is at 162 degrees. The number we are looking for is 190 I believe. We are doing pulled pork as the maiden smoking. I keep typing “we”, but I literally have done NOTHING except take the pictures and type this. Soon, I will get dressed and leave, so I won’t even be here for the big finish. But, of course I have a preview. Please feast your eyes below on three hunks of pure animal flesh, cooking and smoking, slowly, and at a certain temperature, for maximum tenderness and pullability. It really smells good too:

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Two on top, one below. That sounds like a good name for a band or a book title. The key to cooking this right, I am told, is slow and low. Also, coincidentally a good band name or book title. At any rate, what we want is to put it in our mouths and not even have to chew. The meat should literally pull apart and melt like butter on our palates and slide juicily and effortlessly down our throats to our waiting tummies without any pesky chewing involved. But usually it’s on a  bun with sauce, so please, family, while I am gone, chew a little, please. Bread mostly needs to be chewed, somewhat, to break it down. Then swallow.  No need to ruin a good weekend with “Heimlich’s” or “ambulances” or “hospitals” or “morgues”. Thank you.

Thus ends the meat post for today. I hear and smell lots of manly things going on in the neighborhood today, so I need to get the hell out of here! The outside temp is up to 75 degrees. Sunny and beautiful for the Midwest. The meat temp is at a cool 165. The BF is cutting sticks with the chainsaw. The boy/son is playing XBox in his room enjoying none of the outside weather. The daughter is still at my sissy’s house and will prob go from there to her cousins house to spend the night, after she stops here first to eat meat. She loves meat. Yes, I see what I typed there, but I’m leaving it. It’s too early (for me) to try and fix the innuendo. She’s 14 for cry-yi. Some girls are salads and try a vegetarian phase, not mine. She is steak all the way.

Let them eat meat! And don’t forget it’s Memorial Weekend. Hug a vet! Thank a soldier while you are grilling those hot dogs and drinking that beer! Even if you just send up a big toast and a cheer into the great unknown. It’s all good karma to the universe. Later.

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Casserole!

January 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm (Day to Day, Homemade) (, , , )

This is for Stevie’s teacher. She does not read the site I imagine, or even know about it but I had to put the pic up after Stevie told me this story when she asked me what I was making for dinner and I said a chicken rice casserole. Big laughs! Apparently it’s funny because yesterday in class one of the words that came up in the reading was “casserole”. So the teacher defined it and laughingly said, “Who even eats casserole anymore?”

Well. We do. I love when the universe turns up the relevance to your personal life and really incorporates what you learn in school to the real world. How handy was that English lesson? Exactly.

Stay in school kids because you never know what random piece of information is going to make the next big difference in your day to day living. Life is an adventure and you cannot get through it without a little education! More is better in this arena!

As for that casserole. It was your basic chicken, rice, canned soup, cheese sprinkles on the top variety that can be made in 5 minutes and left to cook. I know it is not that “healthy eating” thing I was talking about, but it wasn’t that bad. Maybe too high in sodium and a little fat. But no milk and not a ton of cheese. Plain rice. Plain chicken. It actually turned out pretty good and the chicken stayed moist. (I hate that word but the chicken didn’t get all dried out so what are my other options??) Besides, I had to use what little ingredients I had on hand. As usual, I am behind in the shopping thing. We are back down to the minimums. I like having a house and fridge full of food, it makes me feel safe and comfortable and rich, but I also get a strange feeling of satisfaction knowing that we have only what we need and that I can use those things to make a meal or two. It’s like we have “just the basics”. Also, I have no money. So I like to stretch out the shop intervals. Got three rolls of TP and a plan to go to the store tomorrow. I think we can make it.

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11/11/11 Silliness and Stevie has a new hobby

November 11, 2011 at 7:42 pm (Day to Day, Homemade, Things The Kids Like) (, , , , )

Feast your eyes on this tasty morsel! Believe it or not, this is the final, cooked, product of Stevie’s new hobby: Baking.

This really has nothing to do with 11/11/11 but I thought it was a good way to work in a post about it AND talk about my daughters new love of baking things. We can use this date as the starting point of a new, potential career choice or as the date we can tell the ER that we first started having  the symptoms of food poisoning. Either way it’s a memory immortalized on a historic date in time that I will never live to see again.

The way she starts a project is by looking up something she wants to make on the internet. Then she gathers ingredients, measures, stirs, mixes, combines and then cooks. This particular recipe is her 6th attempt at it. First off, let me clarify that this was supposed to be a cupcake recipe. That’s what she looked up but this is what she created: The brown lump you see above.

It was only at the very end, after the batter was in the liners, in the muffin tray, that she realized something was not right. The batter was way too thick and sitting in the cups like dough balls. Like, cookie dough balls. Then she looked back at the internet and saw that her recipe was NOT for cupcakes, but actually for chocolate chip cake cookies. Not chocolate chip cup cakes. See, it’s those words that can be confusing! You see cake, you automatically think cupcake! Her only other fleeting clue was that there was only enough “batter” to fill 4 cupcake liners. She even had her brother in the kitchen wondering what the heck they were looking at. I can just imagine both of them staring at those lumpy “cupcakes” and trying to figure out what went wrong. Then they scraped all the dough out of the liners and put them on a baking tray to cook. Her finished recipe made this many cookies, plus two, that we ate for quality control purposes:

They are not pretty. They are not really good either. They kind of taste like brownie bites with lots of edge. They do have chocolate chips in them though! The problem, besides following the wrong recipe all together, is that when she does find a recipe, she reads it off the internet and doesn’t follow the order of ingredients.  She tends to measure and mix things out of order and then loses track of what’s in the bowl already and what is not. Her last cookie attempt, deliberate cookies, may have had salt as an ingredient at least 3 or 4 times. Her motto is: “If you can’t remember, add it again! Then double the recipe!” What you end up with is twice as many salty, chewy cookies to feed to the big, fat squirrels we have growing outside. I swear they gather near the backdoor like they’re having a company meeting when we turn our oven on.

Since I was actually at a job fair for most of this, (2 fairly good interviews I think!! Cross your fingers please!! I really need a job. If anything, just to be able to afford more butter and flour and sugar) I walked in on the turds just coming out of the oven. And heard the story while she was already preparing her next assault on my kitchen and baking supplies. Before she got too deep, I suggested she might consider printing the recipe and then using a pen to check off each item as she used it. She did. She carefully checked to be sure it was really a cupcake recipe. It was. And then she put them together. Obviously baking is a skill that takes time and practice. I was mostly in the room when she mixed and measured, but for some reason, something goes wrong somewhere in the process and the finished product ends up just slightly “off.” These are her vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting:

They are not the worst cupcakes you have ever eaten by any means. They look pretty good. Mostly “risen”. A lot are flat, but that’s ok. The chocolate frosting is good. The problem is that they taste like corn bread muffins and not vanilla cupcakes. We can’t figure out why. It’s a basic recipe. The only difference is that it asked for egg whites instead of whole eggs. It’s weird. Either she is completely missing something or reading the teaspoon/tablespoon/½ and ¾ type measurements wrong. So they can just sit there for a few days and I’ll throw them at the squirrels on Monday. Keep them off my bird feeders for a few minutes. Totally off subject…but I have a red-headed woodpecker that I have been trying to take a picture of for the last few weeks. He was here today so I have to think he’ll be back regularly if I keep the bird seed out and full. I don’t know why it’s exciting to see new and different birds eating in my backyard but it is!! Yay winter!

Anyway, she is done for the night now and I will wrap this up and clean the kitchen. Again. Despite this posting, which she fully read and can appreciate the humor behind (because my kids are cool like that!), she will try again soon, and I will let her. How else is she going to learn?? Send her some love and encouragement so she doesn’t give up because, heads up!,  she’s planning on baking ALL the Christmas cookies this year. And unless you want to break a tooth or outright lie, and shatter the holiday dreams of an overly ambitious teenage girl, you all better hope she gets really good at this super FAST! Later!

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How am I supposed to do homework with this?

October 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm (Day to Day, Homemade, Wasting Study Time Posts, Weather) (, , , , , )

October 11 and I can sit outside in the morning and drink coffee and try to take pictures of birds?? October 11 and I can sit outside in the afternoon and drink water (?) and read a magazine and try to take pictures of birds?? October 11 and I can sit outside in the evening and drink wine and try to read a magazine in the dusky dark while STILL trying to take pictures of birds?? And not get bit by a hundred mosquitoes??

I may have taken some artistic license with that coffee/water/wine analogy. Since I still don’t have a job and school is only on Wednesday, it’s pretty much coffee to wine, on a daily basis. The direct route to alcoholism is usually the straightest and quickest way to get nothing done in a day. (I also use the term “wine” loosely here. Wine can be vodka or whiskey, and even actual wine depending on what is in the house. Lately I find myself experimenting with tequila. No. Not good with a variety of things like its versatile friend vodka. And Gin. Also no. It has a fruity, plant-like taste that I do not find appealing. So that’s probably a good thing right?)

Anyway. It’s gorgeous out. We never get to have this nice weather so late in the year. I say it’s extra good because I don’t have to turn on the furnace or the air conditioner. Open windows all the time. Ahhh. Nature. But it’s also extra bad because who wants to stay inside and do boring crap when you know this won’t last?? Also I have been sick for the last week so I am glad for nowhere to go but my head hurts and I can’t do my homework. But I can type here….hmmm…that’s because this is supposed to be short and from my brain, without needing editing or spell check or fonts and spacing. It’s Tuesday and I said I would have it done by the time the kids got home from school. Well unless I can wrap this up and squeeze out a miracle 3 page paper plus observation notes in one hour it’s not going to happen. I have successfully pressured myself into staying up late to finish something that I could have had done hours ago. Poop. At least I am dressed and prepared to leave the house if I had too. That’s something.

Besides, my fans—all two of you—want to know, “How was that delicious looking pie??” Well, it’s gone. That’s how. As I commented to my cousin in the previous post, that pie did not last 24 hours. It really was good.The apples were sweet and tender, the juice was thick and cinnamony, the streusel topping was crunchy and sweet and buttery. Even my kids who declared that the pie was way too big and tall and that the topping was way too much and looked thick and weird, agreed it was the best part. They can’t believe I somehow made this magical pie with the crumbly top. And they watched me do it. Making stuff from scratch is fun but it takes a long time. I didn’t even make the pie crust. I am not ready for that kind of homemaking. But the store kind works really well and I don’t think it took away from the pie at all. As a bonus to making the pie, when I took it out of the oven and let it cool on a wire rack I felt just like some old-timey, Wizard of Oz, O Brother Where Art Thou, country cook. Cooling pies in the window sill. Hilarious.

I really better get started on that homework. I’m feeling uncomfortable with the stress of underachieving and the anxiety of joblessness so I better do something productive to soothe my nerves. FYI, for all the kids out there, alcohol DOES NOT take away the underlying current of manic desperation from not contributing to society in a useful way. Especially when you work hard to be able to do just that. And it doesn’t help you sleep at night either!

But, I do think it helped speed this cold along…germ killing effects or something like that. Kidding. My cold has been progressing in it’s normal pattern without the added benefits or the hindering properties of any alcohol related treatments.

Serious disclaimer: (before my other sister jumps all down my throat): All alcohol related content and posts about over consumption and drunkenness are HIGHLY exaggerated for story telling purposes. I find it much funnier to talk about drinking and the effects it can bring about than the actual drinking part. I mean, please, there is no way I could do half the repetitive, boring, day-to-day, household crap I actually do do,  if I sat around all day drinking alcohol. Nice role model for the kids too huh?? Ha. I said doo-doo. Immature!

If I post more later it means I finished my school stuff and I can relax for a few hours. In the meantime, here’s another picture of my beautiful sky from the back patio sitting-chair. Enjoy!

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Sorry Sister!

October 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm (For Amanda, Fruits, Homemade) (, , , )

Apple Pie! My first apple pie in many years. We will see. Juices are supposed to be bubbling and it’s done. That would be a crumby streusel type topping. It tastes good. I already tried it. Now hopefully the apples will be soft and sweet and the inside will not be runny!

Just have to dash out for some ice cream, milk, caramel, toilet paper, wine….well you don’t want my whole list. I’ll post later to let you know how it all turned out.

And for you Amanda…check the reply to your comment on the previous post. It explains it all in a witty way. XO. Dream sweet!

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Speaking of Apples…

October 6, 2011 at 4:35 pm (Fruits, Homemade) (, , )

What would you do if your child went apple picking and brought home 11 pounds of those crazy sweet fruits?

Why, you’d make jelly, of course!

Looks easy on the internet. Seems easy too. Cut this, boil that. Drain, strain, sugar, and juice. Boil. Boil. Boil. Boil. Boil some more. When it sticks to the spoon it’s done! Now pour it in a jar and boil it again. 5 more minutes. Done! Again.

What do you do with the leftover apple garbage?

Why, you put it in a blender and make applesauce of course. Silly. Homemade applesauce. Tastes like baby food. Sweetened and cinnamoned. Mmmm. Looks like throw up in a container. Baby throw up in a container.

But after 4 hours and about 100 degrees later (because of course, today, the temp outside decided to go back to a summer high of 85) we have three of the cutest little toasty brown jars of apple jelly.

They are adorable.

Now we let them sit for two weeks. TWO weeks. And we can open one up and pray that the  jelly is gelled. At  least this will give me enough time to search out the most perfect bread to spread this jelly upon. Oh wait! I can MAKE my own bread! Hot damn! Something to do tomorrow afternoon! Dream sweet!

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