Friday, February 27, 2009

Pantry shopping

Here we are back in the pantry. This month was so
busy and hectic I'm surprised we even had time to eat. As some of you may remember my turkey was a tad too big for my 9 Thanksgiving guest[32lbs].Not wanting to be wasteful I cut him in half to be used at a later date. February was it. Our starter was local shrimp blended with my home canned smoky salsa and cream cheese. The shrimp are from my husbands first trip EVER to the Farmers market.It's important that everyone be involved in a meal.I had a baguette that we thinly sliced and toasted.A fine wine brought by a guest was all we needed to round out our first course.

Unlike Thanksgiving we had no stuffing.Yes Jiggy was also chagrined about this fact,but,we are
trying to make use of what we have and that did
not include meat stuffing. A filling similar to the french Tourtiere pie is this families preference.I think it has something to do with our Canadian heritage. I did have lemons, garlic, and fresh thyme. I spread all of them liberally around the bird and popped him in the oven to roast. In the meantime I did the usual running around trying to make sure everything was happening on schedule. You know how awful it is when your guest arrive and you haven't come out of the shower yet. I hate it when that happens.

Choosing which veggies to have was an easy decision. I looked in the grade 2 bin at work and discovered a bunch of broccoli and a too small head of cauliflower. Did you know a vegetable can be
discarded because of it's size. Lucky for me I also had a jar of Hollandaise sauce that would be the perfect accompaniment with these two vegetables. I don't usually have something like this on my pantry shelves. Jiggy and I took a trip to Trader Joe's ,our first ever,he spotted this sauce and thought it would be the perfect excuse for eggs Benedict. Such a dreamer. The sauce was pretty good . I was pleasantly surprised. Don't tell him I said that. We also had the usual platter of mashed potatoes topped with gravy of course. Oh and I mustn't forget cranberry sauce. It's the first thing my family looks for when turkey is being served. When someone offers to put the condiments on the table what they are really saying is" OH MY GOD !I don't see the cranberry sauce,I hope she didn't forget it."
In the end a good time was had by all. Some invited guest couldn't make the first seating so
we had two. Now that she is back on track in the arts

daughter #2 was doing new choreography with her dance group and came in about the time we had dessert. Oowy gooey brownies provided by son #2 topped with ice cream and home canned peaches Now that's a great ending to a super day. Sorry we have no pictures of the peaches. I was in the work-kitchen warming up the leftovers for the second shift and they were in the dining room serving up dessert. When I came in everyone had decided we needed to can more peaches next year. Shhh![There is another jar hidden in the pantry] I'm saving it for something special. Hmmm I think tomorrow could be a very special day..............said the hobbit

Friday, February 20, 2009

A little word game

This all seems simple enough but, it took me a few days to get it together. S'mee
gave me the letter G. and asked me to post 10 things I love, that start with this letter. If you want to play just leave me a comment and I'll visit your blog and give you a letter. Doesn't that sound easy? Lets see if we can keep this ball rolling.
I have to say my first choice is#1 GOD.He is there at the start of my day and and I always seem to have something to thank Him for when it ends.

2&3 That would be GERARD my wonderful husband.He is still trying to figure me out after all these years. I'm a very lucky person to have him love me with no strings attached. Here he is holding my GRANDSON Aaron, now come on who couldn't love him.
#4 A little town we call home GONIC It's a very rural place with warm and friendly people and fortunately not much of anything else. I consider myself very lucky to be able to have a yard big enough to #5 GARDEN to my hearts content. This year we hope to have a large garden,we'll see.
#6 GATHERINGS don't you love having everyone come over to share a meal or just a pleasant conversation? I think it's the greatest. They often provide the opportunity to #7 GIVE of yourself or a little something you might have made. Of course if you give you will most surely #8 GET. Not always easy for me to do. It took me years to just say "thank you" and found that's all that was needed. I think I've got the hang of it now. Being on the #9 GO. Now that is the best ,to have the ability and the health to just do your thing I am most grateful I have that.Looking back to younger days I have to say #10GALLOPING Yep in my youth horseback riding was an important part of my life.Seeing an open field ahead and letting that horse just go for it gave me a feeling of having it all. Hardly a day went by that I couldn't be found down at the stables.Ah yes those were the good old days...............................said the hobbit

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Need a way to get rid of the mid-winter blues? Well here is the perfect opportunity to get your hands and mind working.My friend S'mee has invited me to participate in TWO activities. The first one is a surprise handmade trade. The surprise is that you have all year to pay it forward. It is open to the first 3 people who comment on my blog. If I hear from you that means I owe you 1 handmade item in the next 12 months. All you have to do is post a similar challenge on your blog.
Game #2 will be explained tomorrow. Ah the mystery of it all................said the hobbit

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Learning curve

Just a little update about our Tuesday night knitting group. Last October Michelle fell in love with this pattern and purchased it on line. She had never followed a chart and decided to make this her first project. She must have started and restarted the sweater 5 times before we realized the error was in the instructions. With the holidays speeding towards us,she decided to put the project away and not think about it for awhile.

Well, I guess that was the right thing to do because after about three weeks she had figured out the error in the pattern and was able to finish this loverly sweater right down to the slinky walk down the cafe runway. I'd must say Michelle,"job well done".

Now that's what I call perseverance....................said the hobbit

Friday, February 13, 2009

Keep it simple

OK. I,m ready to tackle the pantry again.January was quite successful with only $56.73 being spent on food,however I can tell you right now February isn't going to be a repeat. For one thing our Farmers Market introduced seafood this month.It was a one day event that will be repeated in March. I had to work so I sent Jiggy [the hubby]to do the buying. It was his first time at the Market. He doesn't go anywhere unless he can bring his golf clubs with him. This was a huge step for him. He probably wished he had a club with him as he claimed it was wall to wall people with hardly any room to breathe. Poor thing. He came home with a 6lb bag of shrimp heads still attached and 3 beautiful lobsters. The shrimp $16 the lobster$27. As you can see my total is already inching its way towards January. I'll just have to suffer and eat it anyway.Yum. My lesson learnt so far is Don't send hubby shopping if your trying to keep the budget balanced.He insist that this was a treat and should not be counted but,total amount spent on food is just that treat or not. Something else keeps coming up in this project. I love trying new recipes and I realize if you put yourself on a tight budget simple is much better. I believe I really only have to make one,two at the most, complete dinners. So I suspect that will give me a little time out of the kitchen.

Another plus is to have soup on hand. Work hours having been cut at the barn I decided to start a little business of my own. I have a small group of people that I make soup for just once a week. The word has spread and I have enough customers to make this worthwhile. I always make an extra one for the family. This week I kept a Butternut soup for us to try. Quality control,after all I have to know what they taste like,don't I?This recipe was found back in October when I needed more vegetarian soups. Many of my clients like the idea of having a meatless lunch. I eliminated the chicken broth and replaced it with veggie broth added cream cheese in the final puree and have had repeated request for it. The little container on top is a roasted pepper ganache you can swirl into the soup. If you want to give it a try here is my recipe: 2tbs butter

1 large onion chopped

3 garlic cloves minced

2 teas minced fresh ginger root

1&1/2 teas curry powder

1/2 teas each salt and pepper

5 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash

1 large potato peeled and cubed

4 cups veggie stock

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp tomato paste

1/3 cup milk

4 oz cream cheese

2 peppers [sweet] to roast

I start with cleaning the peppers ,rub a little olive oil on sprinkle a bit of salt and pop them in the oven to roast. Then I chop the onion and garlic and saute in the butter till translucent. While that's going on I grate the ginger measure the spices and cube the butternut and potato. I like things to flow so I don't actually start to saute till I have at least the butternut cubed.When the onions seem right throw in your spices and stir to coat . Add the butternut and potato and stir to get a good blend Add your stock tomato paste and lemon juice another quick stir and bring to a boil then simmer till veggies are tender. While this is going on I puree the skinned peppers and set aside. Puree your soup adding the milk and cream cheese along with it. Top with a garnish of red pepper and you'll have a fancy smancy presentation..................said the hobbit

Thursday, February 12, 2009

coming up for air

Wow, I can't believe how time consuming this project has been.All I seem to do is check the pantry check my mental recipes go back to the pantry.It's one big circle but, I'm not giving up I plan on keeping track of my food expenses for the year so there are bound to be ups and downs. Today however, I am taking a break and stepping away from the pantry.I need to talk about something else,food is swirling in my brain, so, today we are avoiding that subject.

See these little rattles? They are helping me keep my sanity when I'm not stressing about food. I found the pattern on Purl Bee
They're a great little shop in New York City.Going there doesn't happen too often but I manage to go to their website for inspiration on a regular basis. These rattles are surprisingly easy to make,I think I'll try to keep them on hand for the baby boom that is coming.
This is a shawl I'm working on with local wool.The pattern is lacy and I'll have better pictures soon. This yarn was done by hand and was uneven in texture and color. It was a new venture by my friend Liz. I recently made a similar shawl for Sarah
and thought I'd do another while I have the pattern in my head. The yarn went to stitch and bitch on Tuesday evening because you need about six hands to wind a ball. It has those little fuzzes that love to bond with other fuzzes they met so it took a little patience to get it all wound up .As you can see we won the battle.

Before I go I must show you what I see outside my window at work. Picture isn't the greatest,I was so excited to see these cardinals. There were six males in all and I couldn't get them to squeeze in for a group picture so,this is the best I could do. Aren't they one of life's little pleasures?
Hope you enjoy them as I did.....................said the hobbit

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Pizza night and coffee too

Guess what I got at pizza night.That's right ,Sarah
read my blog and came with enough coffee for me to maintain my $1.83 a day
as my January total.That means $56.73 was spent on food in the month of January. We have decided to try for one more month and see just how frugal we can be.

Fridays pizza night was one of the better ones I wish I had a picture to show you,but,it was that good.That's right, gone before I could even think of taking the camera out. As you know I've been making my pizza dough once a week. After the first rising I freeze the dough in 4 separate packages that way I can take out only what I need.
This week was a spicy one.Instead of the traditional red sauce I used this Spicy Maple Fig Sauce It's made in Maine but about 15 miles from our home so I consider it local fare. I topped this with caramelized onions and thinly sliced andouille sausage then smothered in cheddar cheese. Pop it the oven for 18-20 minutes and gone in the blink of an eye.
The after pizza treat came from the back of a dark brown sugar bag that was begging to be used in this pantry game. They weren't bad I might even try this again. Here is the recipe for those who are unable to decipher the blur of a picture
1 cup of dark brown sugar
1 cup of softened butter
1/2 cup sour cream
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teas.salt,baking soda,cinnamon
1/2 teas nutmeg
1/4 teas ground clove
1 cup dried cranberries
1cup golden raisins.
I had everything but the sour cream so I soured some whole milk with lemon juice let it sit for 30 mins and then proceeded with the recipe
Preheat oven to 400.I thought this was a little high for my old oven so I did my favorite temp of 350ish
Lightly grease cookie sheets-I sprayed one with pam, used parchment paper on one and a silkpat on another.The winner was the pam.
Then you beat the sugar with the butter add the eggs and sour cream till creamy as they say.
By now I have sifted all my dry ingredients and they are added to the creamy mix. Then you fold in the cranberries and golden raisins.
Drop by the large spoonful onto the cookie sheet and bake 8-10 min. I called these biscuits because they didn't spread out like cookies do. They were more cake like. The recipe makes 5 dozen .Yeah that's a lot of cookies for 2 people. However some went home with Sarah and more will be taken to work. I think the thing I've heard the most from people who are eating out of the pantry is how much extra food they have. For less then it would have cost for a bakery dozen of cookies I ended up with 5 dozen. Kind of makes you feel like a magician. Well there is plenty of food left in the pantry so I'm hoping for a good month of Feb. Well I think I've been sitting here playing long enough after all time wasted is existence time used is life........................said the hobbit