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Baking Catastrophe

Saturday was a baking day.  I made bread and a pound cake for friends that help us out all the time.  So Sunday afternoon, I decided to make us one of our favorite pound cakes.

My favorite pound cake with lemon and pineapple flavoring. This won’t last long either.

Five beautiful duck eggs and three cups of sugar later it went in the oven.  It was a damp day and I knew I would have to watch carefully that it got done on the inside without getting too dry.  Forty-five minutes later it was almost done so I set the timer for another five minutes.  Thirty minutes later I didn’t hear the timer and was involved in something else and I ended up with this:

VERY WELL DONE POUND CAKE!!!  

It doesn’t look that bad in this picture but it’s black down in the pan and so dry that I’m not sure the chickens will eat it.  What am I thinking, those chickens will eat anything that doesn’t eat them first!!!

Thankfully I didn’t ruin my favorite pan!

I guess that’s what I get for trying to do too many things at one time!!!  I’ll start over today as soon as my butter is at room temperature.

Preserving Season Has Begun Again

We love Creasy Green which others may call Field Cress or Dryland Cress.  We haven’t had any on this farm though we’ve tried several times.  We’ve concluded that the ground is too rich and creasy greens like poor ground.

These are the earliest of spring greens and they love the cooler weather. They’re not strong or bitter.

We have a market fairly close to home that brings in fresh produce weekly and we asked the owner of SuperValu on Rt. 460 if he could get some in and call us when they come in.  He called on Sunday afternoon and we went to pick them up.

The box they came in is about the size of banker’s box and held about 15 pounds of greens. The cost was $1.49 per pound or a whole box for $25.00 and we got the entire case.

Monday and Tuesday afternoon I washed them, washed them a second time (sand seems to hold fast to them) and then blanched them in a very large pot.

This is the largest stainless steel pot I own and I filled it to the top and put about an inch of water in the bottom of the pot.

I boiled it hard to blanch the greens and they cooked down to about a quarter of the bottom of the pot.  No salt or seasoning because I wanted to freeze them in quart bags.  I got six quarts out of the first cooking and four out of the second batch.  We had a large bowl of them for dinner last night and they were so good.

I can keep them in the freezer for about six months but they won’t last that long.  I froze just enough in each bag for a meal for the two of us.

We love them with pinto beans, fried potatoes, and cornbread!!  Great meal!

Fruit Cake In February

When we moved from our small farm on Johns Creek to this farm on Meadow Creek I misplaced a few things and one was my Dad’s favorite fruitcake recipe.  He loved fruitcake and I used to make him three every Christmas.  It was a wonderful recipe which I have not been able to duplicate and it had one ingredient in it that most don’t have and that was molasses.

I was telling a very special friend of mine about it and she shared a piece of the fruit cake she made this past Christmas.  I WAS IN HEAVEN! She gave me two pieces to bring home with me and the more I ate it the more I wanted my own.  I think it’s better than the one I made all those years.  She shared the recipe with me a few weeks ago and I’ve been collecting the ingredients ever since.  Yesterday I whipped it up and it made five loaf pans and I was thrilled!!  They may through the next six months!!  Eddie is not crazy about fruit cake so I’ll have to eat them all by myself!!! Greedy, aren’t I!!

Here’s three of the loaves. The middle one came apart as I was taking it out of the pan but I”ll eat it first. These three are now in an airtight container and wrapped in a white towel that has been soaked with Wild Turkey American Honey whiskey.

These two were basted with Apple Jack Brandy and I’m storing them in ziplock bags and will freeze in those bags.

They are full of candied cherries, fruit, candied pineapple, orange marmalade, nuts and much more.  The bites I have taken from the one that broke is heavenly!  Merry Christmas to me!

Somedays You Bake. . .

. . .and some days you don’t.  Yesterday was a bummer baking day!!  I started with what I thought was my Mom’s Bread Pudding,  NOT!  The recipe will be deleted from the Recipe page.  It didn’t seem right when I was putting it together but it’s been about three years since I last made it.  I greased the casserole dish, followed the recipe, put it in the oven and in 25 minutes the kitchen was full of smoke.  The pudding was raising but so was the butter in the dish that was running over along with some of the batter, what a mess!!!

Mama’s bread pudding looked like this but what I baked definitely looks very different!!  The chickens will love it!

While the bread pudding was baking I started my loaf bread which I make just about every week.  Never fails!!  NOT!!!!  We think because we opened up windows in the kitchen and living room to let the smoke clear out must have killed the yeast.  It never rose in the big bowl.  I took it out of the bowl last night, made it into loaves thinking if I was real lucky it would raise during the night,  NOT!  I put it in the oven this morning to let it bake along with the morning breakfast biscuits and it never rose during the night or in the oven!  😦

Four loaves of bread that the chickens will enjoy for a week. I’ll put out one load a day for them. The frigid weather we’re having will make the chickens eat anything in sight to keep warm.

So this morning I started over and got a beautiful bowl full of raised dough and now have four loaves of white bread raising beside the wood stove!  While that was raising I made a beautiful pineapple-lemon pound cake and the house smells heavenly!!

Four loaves of bread to last the week and one loaf to go each of the kids.

My favorite pound cake with lemon and pineapple flavoring. This won’t last long either.

My Copy Editor

My very special friend that lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland is also my copy editor for the blog and she very graciously reminded me that I had not added my bread pudding recipe to my recipe page.  How dare I!!!  Well, its on there now and hope you all will try the recipe and let me know how you liked it.

Thank you Margaret!!

Margaret, excellent copy editor!!

Bread Pudding

I have two friends that asked for my bread pudding recipe a couple years ago and I’ve procrastinated long enough.  The recipe is on my recipes page above!  One of these ladies may come to visit on Friday and if so, I’ll have a new batch ready for her visit.  Sorry no photos to share with it but it looks something like this when it comes out of the oven.  Image result for picture of bread pudding

Imagine it with vanilla ice cream, whipped topping or even caramel sauce!!  This is one of the easiest desserts in my kitchen!!  My mom and both grandmothers made this when we were small and we thought it was the best and only dessert in the world.  I love it for breakfast now with some warm milk poured over it.

SNOW DAY COOKING

I promised a pictorial today of the what kept me busy during our snow event yesterday and here it is.

One of my snow event creations was chicken salad. My canned pickle relish gives it the kick it needs.

I love cobblers and this one is raspberry-blueberry. I love to warm in my microwave and then pour whole milk over it!!

We used a little more than half of a crate full of firewood last night.

Divine smoked pork loin created by Eddie in our smoker. He cooked it in the garage yesterday during the snow event.

Eddie’s other night-time snack is jello with fruit. This is raspberry.

Four loaves of bread made with honey from our honeybees.

Covered in wrap makes it hard to see but this is a carrot cake with caramel pecan frosting. Hubby is in heaven!!

The rest of the day was keeping the stove filled and the wood rack filled as well.

The wood rack beside the stove is full and holds enough wood for two days if the wind isn’t bad.

We used a little more than half of a crate full of firewood last night.

 

The snow event (notice I didn’t call it a storm) left us with one inch of snow and it got packed down during the night with sleet and rain making for a crusty top.  The chickens wanted nothing to do with it so we left them in the coop and the ducks could have left their coop but decided to stick close to a spot with no snow in it!  Recipes for the chicken salad, cake, bread, cobbler and pork loin marinade will be posted on my cooking page soon.

Homemade Pizza

Today was a cooking day and I made two cocoanut creme pies and a 14 inch pizza for dinner.  The pies were made this morning and I just had a slice and have to watch myself or I’ll eat the WHOLE thing!!  I love cocoanut everything!!!  To make the pies I had to ready-made pie crusts in the fridge, used a Rawleigh pie filling and some eggs and milk.  I love these pie fillings because the filling turns out so thick and creamy and the only place I’ve been able to find them is at The Cheese Store.  These are country type stores usually run by Amish or Mennonite families and when I go to their stores I am in heaven but spend so much more money than I planned.  The pie fillings will make nine 9″ pies and use two eggs and a three cups of milk for each pie.  I also bought some meringue powder there and it makes beautiful tall meringues!

Cocoanut Pies

For dinner I made a basic pizza using the pizza crust mix that I bought at the same store, one bag will make two crusts and all you add is water.  I made my crust, covered it with my homemade pizza sauce which I’m almost out of, and then used what I had in the fridge for toppings.  That consisted of thinly sliced onions, green pepper, pepperoni, smoked sausage, and mozzarella cheese.  It was divine, even if I did make it myself.

Only two slices left which we may have for breakfast!!

Yesterday I tried a new experiment with my Air Fryer and a small bear roast.  First, I always boil my roast for about thirty minutes in plain water to roll out any excess fat on the roast.  The fat is what can ruin a bear roast!!  I drained the roast with was only about one pound, rubbed it with two new seasonings that I found at The Cheese Store, and placed it in the Air Fryer following the instructions for a large beef steak but cut the time in half.  It was to die for!!!  Not kidding!!!  When I took it out I sliced the roast into quarter inch slices that will fit perfectly on a biscuit and we had it for lunch yesterday  and then for dinner I poured a brown gravy over it and served with mashed potatoes, green beans and macaroni salad!  Did I say I’m trying to lose weight???

        Hickory Smoke Salt

Barbecue Spice

       New recipe bear roast

I Am So Blessed

I am so blessed to have the husband that I’m wed to for 45, almost 46 years! He is always so attentive to my wants and needs even when it’s a pain in the derriere for him!!!  He puts up with my love of animals and the work it takes to care for them.  He puts up with my hunting needs, not paying attention to him when I’m reading or sewing and so many other things.  He tries to see to my wishes for handmade, primitive decor.   This is the reason for this post!!  He claims to not be a carpenter but wait until you see what he has made for my country kitchen for my birthday and Christmas (both in December).

I have a passion for country decor and primitive country!!  After he had the kitchen painted for me this summer I got a “wild hair” and decided to get rid of all of my plastic containers I use for food staple storage.  I HATE plastic!!!  I changed everything over to old blue 1/2 gallon mason jars with zinc lids.  THEN I asked for a special place to put them.  Here’s what I got:

The hutch is made of wormy chestnut from the farm. It has chicken wire attached to the back for looks.

Notice the chicken wire attached behind the jars.

The jars are 1/2 gallon size and have zinc lids on them.

The shelving unit he made me sit over the pie safe and holds two rows of the jars.

THEN, he made me a small cabinet to go beside my stove for storing cookie sheets, loaf pans, and the pans I use on a daily basis.  It also is made from chestnut lumber from the farm.

The top and front have three coats of polyurethane and the two shelves are now full of baking pans!

It fits snuggly to the wall and stove. Now I have a work area while cooking!

Making Sauerkraut

The last two years we’ve had an abundance of cabbage which I have canned and frozen.  We shared with our daughters and other family and some of our neighbors.  I was starting to run short on sauerkraut so I contacted my neighbor, Linda Smith, about the moon signs to work the cabbage and we got to it.

We brought in four large heads (very large) and Eddie started cutting thin strips from the washed and drained heads.  First he quarters the heads and then uses one of our LEM butcher knives to slice off thin strips into a large pan.  I mention LEM knives because we think they’re awesome (http://www.lemproducts.com/category ) because they keep a sharp edge longer than most we have and they have all sizes you could possibly need.

This shows how thin we slice the cabbage for making slaw.

Next we bring out my big crock and mallet that Eddie made for me years ago.

This is the mallet Eddie made for me to crush the cabbage when we make kraut. I usually put a layer of sliced cabbage about four inches thick in the crock and pound it down with the mallet to about two inches, sprinkle with table salt and pile on another layer. We keep doing this until the crock is about half full.  The mallet is about 36 – 40 inches long which is the perfect length to sit at the kitchen table in a chair and pound the cabbage.

As you mash the cabbage, liquid will start oozing out of the cabbage and this will make the brine needed to sour the cabbage.  You WILL NOT add any water to this mixture, only cabbage and table salt.  You MUST salt each layer as you go through the process.

This crock is about 18 inches tall and about 15 inches across, very large and very heavy!  You can see looking into the crock that I had quite a bit more to fill and mash to get it half full.

The crock is half full, the juices are covering the cabbage and now it’s time to cover the concoction. Eddie has made me a wooden cover 1 inch thick that sits on top of the cabbage.  We need to keep it down on the cabbage tight so that the juices will ferment but nothing, such as dust, bugs, or any other matter can get into the kraut. To do this we fill a heavy-duty trash bag with several gallons of water and tie it up and sit it gently on top of the wooden topper. We move the crock to a dark, cool room (usually my laundry room) and let it work for about two weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first peek at the concoction is about 5-7 days from the covering.  We check to make sure it’s bubbling/fermenting and we do our first taste test.  The cabbage will taste slightly salty and may be just a bit  tart.  If we get that taste we know everything is good but if we don’t we may be in trouble!  We check again in two days, sour is good, smelly is bad!!!!  If it’s bad, we throw it out to the chickens.  If it’s sour, we’re whistling Dixie!!  Don’t be surprised if you get a little darkened leaves on top or even a brown bubbling “stuff”, it’s part of the fermentation.  We let it ferment, checking daily now and when it get’s to the sour point of making your face crinkle you’re ready to stop the process and pack it in jars.  I used to use quart jars but the last three years we’ve used pints.  Finish it off by packing the kraut in the jars, cleans off the tops of the jars, put on new lids and rings and pressure can the jars for 15 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure, remove from the canner and wait for the jars to seal.  Man, I can taste that kraut & smoked sausage, pinto beans, fried potatoes and cornbread now!!!

Garden Season Ends With Success

I’ve not had a lot of time to write posts this summer because I’ve been doing this:

Fresh tomatoes

Apples from July through October unless the weather changes drastically!

In years past I’ve not had much luck with green peppers but this year I’ve frozen 30 packs of peppers in small dices, strips and large chunks. They are like onions in our kitchen, we use them in everything!

Yellow onions grew and grew. We got a sack full of them and have them hanging in the smoke house until the weather starts to freeze. At that point I bring them in my laundry room (cool spot) to use all winter.

One crop failed miserably this summer and we’ve never had this happen before. We got one egg basket of white potatoes. Thankfully I canned all of those from last year so we won’t have to buy many!

We had some type of bug that bores through the roots of cucumbers and squash. Our cucumbers were used mainly for fresh eating and in salads this summer. I had plenty of pickles left over last summer and with the help of two very special friends we got18 pints of pickle relish and then they were gone.

Fresh peaches and first crop from our young trees. I canned 21 quarts!

The squash faired better than our cucumbers and I froze 12 packs of sliced put in the freezer. We ate fresh squash all summer.

Fresh raspberries gave us 12 quart bags full and the blackberry crop was non-existent due to the weather again.

Dicing green and banana peppers

Canned cabbage

Squirrel season came in two weeks ago and I’ve froze over 12 bags so far. We love squirrel and rabbit meat!

I froze over 40 bags of fresh corn and everyone that we’ve shared it with says it’s the sweetest corn they’ve ever eaten.

Green pepper strips

I’ve tried just about every apple in our orchards in the last two months to find the best for apple pies and fried pies but all of them are great for fresh applesauce every meal!!

While I was canning tomatoes I was also canning cabbage and freezing it. I canned 14 quarts and froze 24 quarts. We’ll use both in vegetable soup and cabbage is a great favorite side dish at our house with pinto beans, fried potatoes and cornbread!!

Our tomatoe crop wasn’t the best because of the rains coming in when they were ripening. They split, cracked and had hard black spots on the outside. I did manage to can 18 quarts of tomato juice. This winter when it’s cold outside I’ll make pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce from what we preserved this summer.

We raised some of the sweetest cantaloupes I’ve ever tasted this year and their my favorite of all the melons.

This wooden crate is full of all types of apples we have on the farm. They’re all somewhat tart and we will buy sweet apples from a nearby orchard to make our cider in the coming weeks.
We didn’t grow a lot of watermelons this year but got good return on the seed we planted.

The crate is filled to the brim with cider apples from our orchards. We think it holds about 15 bushel of apples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course we also had green beans this year but I didn’t can very many because we had a lot left over so about four canners (28 quarts) was enough to fill up the shelves.

You will never starve as long as there’s green beans on hand!!!

Left-hand side of the cellar shelves are overflowing!

Right-hand side of the cellar is catching the overflow! I normally store all of the empty jars on that side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then to sum it all up we have these:

Canned white and yellow peaches

Frozen broccoli

Frozen corn off the cob

Yellow summer squash

New white potatoes-This was the most we got from the first plants!!

Onions drying for winter use.

Wonderful pickle relish that we use in pinto beans, on hotdogs, and in tuna or chicken salad. Hubby loves it on peanut butter sandwiches!!!

Our favorite pizza sauce of which I only made a few half pints and one pint. I’ll make more throughout the winter.

Two crates of sweet potatoes. One of the potatoes was the size of a football. We’ll have several meals from that monster!

Gorgeous canned peaches, I can’t wait to open the first jar!

 

Crocheted Dish Towels

Do you like the convenience of a dish towel hanging close by in the kitchen?  For years I’ve made my own hanging towels and they’re quick and easy and only take half a towel.

This one is hanging on the top drawer of my kitchen sink this morning.

I have lots of them and change them about every other day depending on how much they’ve been soiled.  Here’s how I make them:

I go to the Dollar Tree and pick out a full hand towel designed for the kitchen. They’re only a dollar and you get two towels out of each one.

Then I fold them in half and cut them in half.  Then I turn down the cut edge about a 1/2 inch and using a large darning needle threaded with a matching yarn, I blanket stitch the fold down.  The stitches are usually about 1/4 – 3/8 inch long, longer stitches will show more and not fill in the top of the towel quite enough.

Darning needle threaded with scrap yarn.

I use a beige or tan yarn most of the time because it matches everything and I have a lot of “almost empty” skeins of yarn.

Tie off the end of the towel with a couple whip stitches and knot.  From here I make a single crochet using a Size F crochet hook in each blanket stitch across the towel.  At this point you can use any crochet stitch you want throughout the towel until  it’s about five to six inches wide.  I mix the crochet stitches on some and single crochet throughout, just depends on my mood and how fast I want to make up the towels.  At the end of each row, DO NOT chain and turn.  This is how you will decreast the rows to go into a point.  To decrease the row, pull the yarn through two or three stitches.  My instructions aren’t great but if you crochet at all you will know how to do this.  For more details just comment on this post.  When I get towards the end with about 6-9 stitches on the row, I add that turning stitch until I have a tab look at the end.   At the end of the last row you crochet make a chain of about 10-12 chain stitches and carry it back to the start of that row and pull through your first stitch several times to make it stay.

This is the point I spoke of earlier where you make the loop which will go over the drawer handle. Then you hook the loop over the button to keep the towel in place when you need it.

It’s really simple to make and great to have so you don’t have to go searching for the hand towel.

Fold that tab over and place your button in the middle of crochet work to meet the chain.  Your done! Not sure I would make a very good crochet instructor unless it was a one on one session!!

Imagine these hanging on your kitchen sink with red or green toppers or even chocolate or bright yellow.

I made these in February and saving them for gifts.

 

Recipe Pages Updated

Fall is in the air and cooler weather keeps me in the kitchen making comfort food.

Fall is in the air and cooler weather keeps me in the kitchen making comfort food.

I’ve added a few more goodies to my Recipe Page if anyone is interested. Hope you will enjoy them as much as we do! They include Pumpkin Pie Squares, Steamed Asparagus, Grilled Chicken Salad, and Pumpkin Cookies.

Cleaning the wood cookstove

Kitchen Cook/woodstove

Kitchen Cook/woodstove

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With the heat and humidity changes the cast iron rusts during the summer.  The following picture is how the stove looked when we moved in about 10 or 12 years ago.

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With some elbow grease, sandpaper and a wire brush it doesn’t take long to make it look like new.  We rarely use the oven in the winter when we cook but we do use the top of the stove a lot and we use it for heat.

The kitchen cook/woodstove in the fall of 2014.

The kitchen cook/woodstove in the fall of 2015.

Late fall I do a thorough top cleaning of the stove to make it look nicer and I use this product for polishing both of our woodstoves.  It doesn’t smell or put off any fumes when the stoves are first heated each fall/winter season.

Williams Stove polish goes a long way.  It's odorless and smokeless when the stove is heated.  Great product!!

Williams Stove polish goes a long way. It’s odorless and smokeless when the stove is heated. Great product!!

This is a seasonal product that I find at our local hardware store and not expensive.  I will warn you to use an old pair of rubber gloves when applying and when it's covered good, buff it until it shines.

This is a seasonal product that I find at our local hardware store and not expensive. I will warn you to use an old pair of rubber gloves when applying and when it’s covered good, buff it until it shines.

There are pipes in the back of the stove that run through the wall to the bathroom and circulates the water through the hot water tank.

The blue tank beside the chimney is our water holding tank and the water circulates through the pipes of the woodstove in the kitchen.

The blue tank beside the chimney is our water holding tank and the water circulates through the pipes of the woodstove in the kitchen.

This tank also serves as our heat source for the bathroom in the winter.  It’s nice and toasty when you get out of the shower.

Back to the stove!  I don’t clean the oven as it’s just too far gone to do a good job and I don’t think I would ever bake in it.  We do keep the heat box cleaned out good. Normally when I’m cleaning the stove hubby is cleaning the chimney before our fire season begins.  VERY IMPORTANT to clean that chimney every year.  We also clean it during the heating season because there’s nothing more frightening than a flue fire.    The stove is now being used on a regular basis until summer 2016 arrives!

Wood cookstove all cleaned up and ready to warm the kitchen and bathroom and more importantly to cook on!!

Wood cookstove all cleaned up and ready to warm the kitchen and bathroom and more importantly to cook on!!

Cavatini with a twist

I love to cook and Cavatini is one of my favorite dishes to fix and I think it’s because with just two people to feed this dish will last at least three nights for dinner and all I have to do is change the salad and bread to make it look like something different each night.  It’s a quick casserole that’s a toss up between pizza and spaghetti.

Cavatini ready to pop in the oven.

Cavatini ready to pop in the oven.

Normally this recipe consists of cooked rotini noodles, ground beef cooked with onions and green peppers, spices of your choice and spaghetti sauce.  Then you cover that with pepperoni and top with mozzarella cheese.

The last time I baked it I added to the cooked ground beef a whole, sliced kielbasa, lots of onions and lots of green peppers.  It was divine!!

Browned ground beef, onions, green peppers and polska kielbasa.

Browned ground beef, onions, green peppers and polska kielbasa.

Meat mixture mixed up in casserole dish with cooked rotini and spaghetti sauce.

Meat mixture mixed up in casserole dish with cooked rotini and spaghetti sauce.

Top it all with pepperoni and then with mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 350* for 30 minutes and cheese is melted and golden.

Top it all with pepperoni and then with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes and cheese is melted and golden.

This is such a quick and easy recipe and I’ll add it to my recipe page.  Hope you enjoy!  We serve it with a salad and garlic bread.

 

Have you ever eat a turtle

We have a pretty large pond in front of our house that is stocked with large mouth bass and bluegill fish.  We both love to fish and don’t fish from the pond a lot because we’re trying to let the pond stock itself and get the fish to a good frying size.

We’re constantly fighting off predators of the fish such as fish hawks, cranes and something my husband calls a “shikepoke” (6-8 inch tall black bird with webbed feet and long beak).  We also have to deal with huge mud turtles that come of the small stream that goes around the pond and down through the property.  Turtles can eat  up the fish pretty quick so we catch them and eat them.  Small ones are caught and released in larger creeks around the county.

Caught him in the pond in front of our home.

Caught him in the pond in front of our home.

They're mean and eat our fish every year.

They’re mean and eat our fish every year.

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He was eating our bass so now we're going to eat him.

He was eating our bass so now we’re going to eat him.

The meat is beautiful and really good.  We’re told there are seven different types of meat in a turtle including chicken, beef, pork, fish, and I’m not sure what the other meats are but we like it all.

Fresh turtle meat!  We fry it like chicken.  White meat, dark meat, really good.

Fresh turtle meat! We fry it like chicken. White meat, dark meat, really good.

When I cook it I first soak it in salt water overnight and then pressure cook it for about 30 -45 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.  I then check to make sure it’s tender and if it is, I roll it in seasoned flour and fry it in butter.  It tastes just like fried chicken.

I also freeze it and when I do I place about five or six pieces in a Ziploc freezer bag, fill bag half full of water, press out the excess air and freeze.  I know it’ll keep at least 12 months frozen like this but we never have any last that long.  We also put the same amount in our food saver bags and vacuum seal and it keeps well like this too.

We try to always process and can or freeze everything we kill EXCEPT for coons and possums!!  NO THANK YOU!

Thanksgiving Desserts today

Thanksgiving is just two days away and we will have a wonderful house full this year.  Most will be here for the whole day and some will be coming for dessert.  I’ve been quite busy today making desserts for our Thanksgiving feast. Here’s a preview:

Pumpkin pies

Pumpkin pies

Custard pies

Custard pies

Pumpkin Roll and my personal favorite.

Pumpkin Roll and my personal favorite.

Hershey Bar Cake

Hershey Bar Cake

Applesauce Cake

Applesauce Cake

I’ve also made the following treats to have for the entire week:

Preacher Cookies

Preacher Cookies

Sand Tarts

Sand Tarts

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

I made six dozen peanut butter cookies and still hope to get some German Christmas Cookies made tomorrow and two other desserts called Mountain Mama Chocolate Slide and Dutch Apple Pie.  I’ll also prepare some of the appetizers and salads tomorrow.

BUT, what I’m most proud of is that I didn’t eat one bite of anything while I was cooking!!!

 

Successful Striper Fishing Trip

Friday night a week ago hubby accepted an invitation to go Striper Fishing with a friend of ours.  They left around 8:00 p.m. and headed for the lake and caught these beauties before the rain storm ran them off the lake.

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DSCN7157The biggest one weighed a little over ten pounds and the other two were just a little less.  Vince caught two and Eddie caught one but Vince had been fishing for them all summer and had enough in his freezer to them for the winter.

The next day Eddie took them to his “professional” fileter and this is what we got.

Pot full of striper filets!

Pot full of striper filets!

The first night i took 1/2 a filet, cut in 3″ squares and soaked them in salt water for about 30 minutes.  Then I poured a package of cornmeal muffin mix in a ziploc bag, poured about 1/4 cup of Old Bay seasoning in the muffin mix, sealed it and shook like crazy to mix it all really well.  Then I melted a stick of butter in a skillet and melted it to sizzling but not burning.  I poured the salted water off the filets and dropped each in the cornmeal mixture, zipped up the bag and shook to cover completed.  I let it set just for a second then shook again and popped them in the sizzling butter.  When golden brown on the bottom, I flipped the pieces and started sizzling again.  I tuned them about three times and then took out and placed on a paper towel covered platter. I served this with baked beans, coleslaw and a baked potato.  Best fish I’ve made in a long time.  The next day hubby fixed the same meal but instead of skillet he used the new deep fryer I bought him for Father’s Day and it was absolutely DIVINE!!!

My big question–when you going striper fishing again??  🙂

We froze the rest of the filets for future dinners and Heather got a few on Tuesday when she came to visit.

 

 

Recipe box and cookbooks

2nd recipe box made from barn wood

2nd recipe box made from barn wood

My handmade (by hubby) recipe box is filling up.  I’ve been doing lots of purging in my home for the last year and one of the things that’s going is cookbooks!!  I love cookbooks but they take up so much room.  I’m going through all of my cookbooks and putting my favorite recipes and recipes that I think will be good on 4×6 index cards.  I’ve already gone through about 20-25 cookbooks but have about three times that to go through.  I also inherited from my mother-in-law boxes full of Taste of Home and All-Recipe magazines which I’m currently going through.  As I go through the magazines, I tab what I want to save and after I have 5-10 magazines tabbed I write down the recipe and pass the magazine on to my daughter, who passes it on to a friend and it goes and goes and goes.  I’m doing the same thing with the cookbooks.  We all enjoy the peaceful time going through them and getting new ideas for family meals.  I’m keeping a couple of the cookbooks given to me by my mother and special friends but now my kitchen shelves will have space for the “old treasures” I’ve collected for so many years.

This cookbook was my Mom's and bought when I was very young.  I still use lots of the recipes.

This cookbook was my Mom’s and bought when I was very young. I still use lots of the recipes.

This cookbook I purchased while working with the Craig County Farm Bureau Women's Committee.  It's out of print the last I checked but love giving it as a gift.  Wonderful cooks in Virginia.

This cookbook I purchased while working with the Craig County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee. It’s out of print the last I checked but love giving it as a gift. Wonderful cooks in Virginia.

A girlfriend that used to live in Georgia presented this to me many years ago and it's my "go to book" when looking for something new and different.  It has NEVER_FAIL recipes.

A girlfriend that used to live in Georgia presented this to me many years ago and it’s my “go to book” when looking for something new and different. It has NEVER_FAIL recipes.

 

These two cookbooks I use for canning and for “old-time” recipes.

Recipes from early 1900's.

Recipes from early 1900’s.

For those canning instructions that aren't used every year.

For those canning instructions that aren’t used every year.

Now I’m trying to decide is I need a larger recipe box from hubby or another one the same size.  I love the barnwood construction and works great in my very country kitchen.

A very comfortable and easy to use room in the house.

A very comfortable and easy to use room in the house.

Handmade table by Uncle Holl.

Handmade table by Uncle Holl.

Wood cook stove used mainly in the winter months.

Wood cook stove used mainly in the winter months.

White and bright

White and bright

I have a 18″ high stack of Taste of Home and All-Recipe magazines beside my chair in the living room awaiting my transfer of recipes to cards.  I have 9 cookbooks with tabbed pages to do the same thing with.  I’ll have plenty to keep me busy at night while watching TV with hubby.

Mother’s Day Lunch

We truly had a wonderful day with my kids and our friends and it seemed to fly by but I guess that’s because we were having fun!!  The day was full of stories, laughter, getting to know each other and friendship.

For lunch, I fixed a vegie tray, fruit bowl and a small cheese tray.  I made homemade chicken salad, teriyaki chicken wings, and fried morels for the main course.  Of course, the day wouldn’t have been right with a big batch of homemade dinner rolls and loaf of homemade bread.  I made a cocoanut dream cake which was my first attempt at the recipe and it was so moist and good but I dread what it may do to my weight-loss.  I made a cherry crunch tart, also a new recipe, but I wasn’t real thrilled with it so that recipe is coming out of the box!!

Cocoanut dream cake for Mother's Day 2014.

Cocoanut dream cake for Mother’s Day 2014.

 

One of my guests brought some homemade cheese pastries that were so good and we had tea, lemonade and a new drink I’m using, called marguerita ade.  It is so sweet-tart and really quenches your thirst on a hot day!

Family, friends, and fabulous food, what more could you ask for.

Cooking mode on Sunday

I woke up Sunday morning to cook up a storm.  I usually do this when a big storm is coming in but on Sunday I was just in the mood.  First I put a deer roast in the crockpot with some seasonings, onions and celery.  Within an hour the house smelled sooooooo gooooood!!!!

Crockpot ON!

Crockpot ON!

Venison roast with onions and celery.

Venison roast with onions and celery.

 

Then I decided to make “Beer Butt Chicken” without the beer and used Dr. Pepper instead.  I oil the whole chicken, covered it a spice mix called “Kickin Chickin”, and stuffed the body cavity with pineapple tidbits.

Beer Butt Chicken with a twist.

Beer Butt Chicken with a twist.

So yummy!!  I covered it with aluminum foil for the first 90 minutes and then removed the foil to let it turn golden brown and the juices were sealed in.

So yummy!! I covered it with aluminum foil for the first 90 minutes and then removed the foil to let it turn golden brown and the juices were sealed in.

While that was cooking I whipped up a lettuce and pea salad, my favorite!

Lettuce, celery, and onions layered

Lettuce, celery, and onions layered

Top with drained peas, mayo, shredded Colby cheese and real bacon bits.  Yum!  Let set overnight.

Top with drained peas, mayo, shredded Colby cheese and real bacon bits. Yum! Let set overnight.

I made a jello/cottage cheese salad, hubby’s favorite.

Start with lime jello dissolved with one cup of water.  Let cool.  Add crushed pineapple, chopped pecans, cottage cheese and you got a great  fruit salad.

Start with lime jello dissolved with one cup of water. Let cool. Add crushed pineapple, chopped pecans, cottage cheese and you got a great fruit salad.

I made a bowl of creamed macaroni for hubby and a bowl of mac & cheese for me.

Creamed macaroni and mac & cheese!

Creamed macaroni and mac & cheese!

And last but not least I made a Triple Berry Cobbler.

Blackberries, blueberrie and raspberries glazed with some sugar and dumped into the quickest cobbler recipe you'll ever use!!  TOO DIE FOR!!

Blackberries, blueberrie and raspberries glazed with some sugar and dumped into the quickest cobbler recipe you’ll ever use!! TOO DIE FOR!!

We will add some green beans, broccoli, veggie of the week and eat on this most of the week!

 

My Recipe Box

I love to cook and have collected cookbooks from all over the place and from everyone.  Finding the storage for all of them has become a challenge.  Hubby made me an adorable recipe box from some barnwood and I’ve started taking my favorite recipes from all of my cookbooks and giving the books to my daughter, granddaughter and friends.

This is the first box he made me but all of the recipes I have won't fit in it.

This is the first box he made me but all of the recipes I have won’t fit in it.  It’s a 7 x 7 inch box.

The recipes I have won’t even begin to fit in this little treasure so he made me this one.

2nd recipe box made from barn wood

2nd recipe box made from barn wood

It just barely fits on top of the pie safe.

It just barely fits on top of the pie safe.

My newest one is 7 x 16 inches long and it's almost full.

My newest one is 7 x 16 inches long and it’s almost full.

I’ve only went through about half of my cookbooks and I’m only putting my favorite, tried and true recipes in this box.  As you can tell from the following picture it’s going to be a work in progress for some time.  The wooden box at the end of the books on this shelf are recipes that hubby’s aunt had.  I have a couple cookbooks I won’t give away because they belonged to my Mom and I would love to have a cookbook that my grandmother’s used but I seriously think all of their recipes were in their head and hearts.

My cookbooks are many and I've a long way to go transferring all the recipes from the cookbooks on top of the shelf and that's not all of them.

My cookbooks are many and I’ve a long way to go transferring all the recipes from the cookbooks on top of the shelf and that’s not all of them.

I also have a stack of written recipes I’ve collected over the years that have never been in a book.  The more I think about this, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t write my own cookbook and maybe name it “Country Girl Cooks” or something simple like that!!  That might be quite fun but very time-consuming.  My recipe cards are all hand-written and in print not cursive writing.

The recipe cards are on 4x6 index cards and handwritten.

The recipe cards are on 4×6 index cards and handwritten.

I have about three inches left in the box and it's going to be a tight squeeze.

I have about three inches left in the box and it’s going to be a tight squeeze.

I guess I could make enough room on top of the pie safe for another one.  Hubby is getting really creative on the project ideas I come up with.  My recipes come from friends, family, family cookbooks, old cookbooks and concoctions I come up with myself.  I do love to cook!