Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bringing Back an Old Post from 2009!

I am re-posting this as a couple of folks have asked for it!

Here is a wonderful way to save money, have gourmet items in your pantry and enjoy great tastes!

You will need a food dehydrator or an oven and a way to grind the dried material into a powder. Spice grinders, coffee grinders, food processors are all good. Work with what you have or are comfortable with. Once ground into powder, store the powders in baby food jars, spice jars or whatever tightly lidded jars you have handy. Sterilize and COMPLETELY DRY jars before putting powder in. Also, put an O2 absorber in each jar.

Those tomato peels that are usually flung in the trash when you can tomatoes? Dry them out, nice and VERY dry, grind them into powder. Tomato powder sells for big bucks in gourmet shops, but essentially, it is made from peels that would otherwise be discarded.

Use the powder to boost the flavor in soups, stews and sauces, add some to your tortilla recipe to make those gourmet *tomato wraps* most people pay a premium price for. Make your own pasta? Add tomato powder! Add to softened butter for tomato butter (great on steaks and fish!) Combined with dry milk and a few spices, you can have a quick and easy instant tomato soup! Toss tomato powder into your favorite breading recipe to add a little sparkle to the flavor of fried chicken or fried fish. Add a teaspoon to your salad dressing and shake!

Grate orange peels or toss in a blender or chopper to have your own orange zest without paying those high supermarket prices. Orange zest can also be used in home made soap recipes. I have even dried out orange peels, ground them up and added a teaspoon or two to a regular bottle of shampoo for a citrus-wake-me-up scent. Orange powder can also be used in sachets and pomanders to repel insects and freshen closets.
Orange peels (powdered) can have a *bitter* taste to them if you get too much of the inner white peel in the powder, so be careful of that! You can also add orange powder to salad dressings, breading, butter, ginger ale (orange ginger ale is pretty good). Use your imagination!

Dry those apple peels out nice and very dry and grind into powder as with tomato peels.
Apple peel powder is great to add to oatmeal and other cooked cereals. A teaspoon in a glass of ginger ale is lovely on a hot day, or add a teaspoon to a hot mug of tea on a cold winter night. Toss some apple powder into your body wash for a wonderful scent, or add to unscented talcum powder and dust some on! Apple powder can also be used as a sachet scent or in a pomander.

Slice up your leftover raw broccoli very thin and dry it completely. Grind into powder. Mix with cream cheese and sour cream and a smidge of tomato powder for a great dip. Broccoli powder + dried milk + water = cream of broccoli soup. (I always scatter some grated cheese on top) Again, use your imagination!

Dry out completely. Grind into powder. Spinach powder + sour cream + cream cheese + spices = terrific dip or spread for crackers! Cream of spinach soup when mixed with dry milk and water.
Add to pasta dough when making pasta. Add to flour tortilla recipe. Good to add to salad dressings or mayonnaise.

You have to be careful with this. If you grow your own or buy locally, you should be okay. You cannot dry out most store bought cuke skins as they are wax coated! That being said--dry out totally and grind into powder. Add to cream cheese or sour cream (or both-mixed) for a nice dip or flavorful spread. Cucumber is a pretty popular additive to bath salts, soaps, shampoos, etc. Add to alcohol and water (half and half) in the summer and put in a spritz bottle. Spray yourself to stay *cool as a...* you know the rest! A teaspoon added to a bottle of salad dressing is great for cool summer salads. Add to mayonnaise.

Slice thin and dry completely before grinding into powder. Use in place of celery seed in soups and stews. Add to salad dressings, dips, spreads or mayonnaise. I like to sprinkle it on deviled eggs (VERY lightly!).

This one always gets me weird looks, lol! Okay, there is ALWAYS some leftover *meat* in that rind. Dig it out, slice it into thin slices and dry it out. (NOW you can toss those rinds in the compost heap!) Once dry, grind into powder.
A teaspoon in a glass of ginger ale is absolute heaven on a hot day in July! Adding watermelon powder to hot tea sounds weird, but is actually pretty good! Add some to unscented bath salts.
I have used watermelon powder in a white cake batter to make a watermelon cake. (It was terrific! Just add 3 to 5 teaspoons (depends on your tastes) to batter and mix in well. Add to softened cream cheese, sour cream and add a bit of honey and mix well to make a dip for fruits.

So, there you go...eat your garbage!

Monday, July 16, 2012

What a Way to Start the Week!

Well, Roy the animal guy brought by some more critters late last night.
FIVE baby goats! Four boys, one girl.
All bottle fed!
Yikes! So, I milked my goats this morning, brought the milk in and proceeded to bring in the babies, one by one, and bottle feed them their breakfast. Nothing as stinking cute as a baby goat, snuggled in your lap, wagging it's little tail as it drinks it's bottle.
Roy has already sold 3 of them so they will be gone within a few days. (Whew!)
I REALLY like the look of the little female. She is brown with white markings....I have already started calling her Jeannie...even though her fur is dark brown and not light brown.
Roy OWES me, I think! Maybe I can get her at a steeply discounted price?

I got fussed at by EVERYONE this past weekend. It seems that I assume/presume that EVERYONE is as competent as I am at basic stuff. I am not that gifted or talented in any one thing. I just know the bare bones basics about a lot of things....and I guess my assumption that EVERYONE can do all or most of the stuff I do is wrong. I also prefer to live in the present and for the future, not in the past, for the most part.
Apparently, not everyone has this ability, either.
The Girl was grousing about things that happened to her in years past, like when she was 6 or 8 years old and all the way up to her current *aged* state of 18 years old. Also, the Darlin' Man was telling me about a co-workers wife that constantly harps on things the guy did many years ago. 
SHEESH! I told the Darlin' Man AND The Girl that some people need to "get the heck over it". People cannot change the past. I said that if I wallowed in my past, I would end up in the fetal position rocking in the corner and whimpering. The Darlin' Man looked at me and said "That;s YOU. Not all people have the ability to roll with the punches and get up and keep fighting! Some people hold on to their past forever." I told him that it was silly and non-productive to live that way. He said he understood that, but to "cut others some slack" on that issue.The Girl, admittedly, had a rough time before she came to live with her dad, but I am trying to show her that she has so much JOY in her future and so many exciting new experiences awaiting her in the future that she NEEDS to kiss her past goodbye and get on with her life! She just got accepted at the college she wanted to attend (New England Culinary Institute in Vermont!) and will start next July. (YAY!!!)
Sometimes she holds onto the past so much and walks around in such a state of complete anger and fury that she cannot enjoy what is right in front of her. That saddens me. Her whole adult life is spread out before her, so much possibility! I just wish she could see it and enjoy it.

My son took me to task for my assuming that everyone should be able to figure out how to build a rabbit hutch, bake bread, cook from scratch, etc... He finally got his point across by asking me to type a couple of paragraphs on any topic in 2 minutes. I can't type. I hunt and peck. My son can type fast as lightening! Two paragraphs? HAH! He can type whole pages in two minutes! So, I guess my presumptions/assumptions need to shift somewhat. My bad.
So...gotta remember that not everyone can do everything that I can do. Also, that some people would rather wallow in the past than enjoy the present.
And gotta remember to negotiate the price of the wee doeling down with Roy!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Weird Weather Persists!

More rain.
We are apparently in some sort of monsoon season here.
For the past couple of weeks it has rained almost every day. More rain in one week than we had ALL last year!
The geese are very happy about this. The goats and the chickens...not so much.
We are mucking out livestock pens today. What a mess! Soggy hay, soggy manure, soggy everything!
The compost pile is growing by leaps and bounds, though.
More rain predicted this evening, so we are trying to get this done as fast as we can.

Roy the animal guy is slowing sneaking more critters out of his apartment to over here. He has built a few more pens and is filling them up. This morning he brought over rabbits, a couple of peahens and a few more chickens. We got all his chicks off the front porch and into a pen. He has a rooster out there too, Ugly Betty beat the crap out of the poor bird, so he is recovering from his injuries.
Roy also brought us a new baby goat to keep for a few days until he sold it. We called it Buster and kept him in with the lambs, as the goats were too rough with the wee thing. We also brought the buckling in the house a few times and got him used to people and tamed down. Roy found someone that wanted him...the same family that bought Cornelius and turned him into a *house goat*. They want another one to keep Cornelius company.

Looks like my trip to Vermont has been postponed until September. Financial constraints and some needed car repairs is going to break the budget in August.
Just gives me more time to plan and locate properties to look at! (Yup, silver lining, I look for it!)

Well, back to mucking out the pens...hope those that need rain get it...and those that don't need it don't get it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Current Concerns

Right now, plans for the trip to Vermont are solidifying I have contacted two real estate agents in the area we want to move to and let them know when we are going to be up there and the type of houses we want to see. The Girl is going with me so she can can visit family that lives up there during the trip.
Still debating the train vs. bus issue.

The Darlin' Man and I had a l-o-n-g discussion about our *dream house* and things we want and don't want. Turns out, we have some VERY different ideas about home decor. This includes flooring, paint colors, furniture, etc. and so on.
He likes the walls painted white. Plain, boring, bland white. His logic is that EVERYTHING goes with white.
I like color. Lots of color.
I think this is because I grew up in a lot of military housing and the walls were ALWAYS white. UGH!
When my dad retired and my parents built their own house, my mom let us pick the colors for our own rooms. I shared a room with one of my sisters and we picked ....purple! My oldest sister picked an electric semi-neon-but-not-quite blue. My mom picked a color called "Ripe Peach". I'll leave that one to your imaginations, lol! The kitchen was teal green, the bathroom pink and brown and the living room was a cheerful mint green. What a mix!
I don't want to go THAT far. But still, I don't want all white walls, either.
I despise wall to wall carpet. Hardwood floors all the way! The Darling Man says he wants stone/slate/tile on the ground floor.
I tried explaining to him about how this will be in Vermont and it gets COLD there and stone on the floor would be VERY cold and would make it harder to heat. Also, stone weighs more than wood and it may compromise the load bearing floor joists, etc. He grumbled about my obvious logic, so I think I won that round!
Here's my thing...I don't want an uber-modern house/decor. I want a house that looks like what it is supposed to be. If a house was built in 1875, I want it to look like a house was supposed to look like in 1875.ESPECIALLY the kitchen! I want sturdy solid wood cabinets, wood counter-tops and a wood stove.
Darlin' Man wants the cabinets to be "rustic raw wood"...I want to white wash the cabinets so the grain is still visible, but so they have a neater, more finished look.He wants the kitchen to be painted white (of course) and I want it yellow. Not BRIGHT yellow, but a pale, buttery yellow.
Here's the thing...The Girl, my son, the Darlin' Mans son and I will move up there first. So, if all things go well, a few months later the Darlin' Man will move up when his retirement is completed. Hopefully, I will have the kitchen complete by the time he gets up there!
We'll see how it goes.

In the meantime, I have a customer showing up tomorrow to get some milk and butter. I made the butter last night and I'll have plenty of milk. OH! And he wants eggs, too. Fortunately, through this unbearable heat, the hens are still laying! So, I'll have plenty of eggs, too. A lot of my neighbors have chickens and most are complaining that their hens are not laying in this heat. They keep asking why my hens keep laying and laying...
Easy...I refill their water at least 3 times a day. I spray down the chicken coop to cool it down twice a day. I make sure the hens have shade to relax in.

Roy, the animal guy, has collected most of his animals. The ducks, the baby goat, the puppies and most of the roosters are gone. (WHEW!) I have about 20 of his chicks still, but they aren't much trouble.
I moved his chicks on the porch, moved Betty and her chicks to the annex coop. They are doing fine there.
He only has 3 roosters here still and they are little banty types and Pender has already let them know who is the coop boss, so I just let them wander with my chickens.

Time for me to go take a cool shower and lay down in front of a fan...the heat is getting to me.
I am SO looking forward to the trip to cooler climes!