Saturday, September 24, 2016

Football and Salsa

Has it really been this long since I last posted to my blog?  It must be true what they say about old age slowing you down!

I am all set to watch the Alabama Crimson Tide make mincemeat out of the Kent State team. . . I didn't even know Kent State had a team!

I've mixed up a really good salsa recipe, Blueberry and Pineapple Salsa, to munch on during the game.  When you live alone, you don't always eat three meals like other people.  But this salsa has fruits and vegetables, so that counts!  And the chips I use with it are whole grain!

I've accumulated quite a few really good salsa recipes.  Homemade is much better than the kind you buy at the grocery store.  Try this one:

2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped
1 cup blueberries
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalepeno
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons red onion, chopped
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

I leave out the jalepeno - never been excited about them!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Making Ham and Bean Soup. . . so good!

Above are the beans I just put in the bowl to soak this morning and into the afternoon.  These are beans from Bob's Red Mill.  I am a huge fan of their products.  There are mung beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, cranberry beans, and lots more.  

This is a smoked ham hock that I get from my farmer.  This is no ordinary soup bone!  No!  It is covered with lots of meat that will go into the soup.  I usually get about 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups of chopped meat to put back into the soup.

I begin by making the stock.  This includes a LOT of water (probably 3 or 4 quarts),  chunks of onion, celery, and carrots, along with the ham hock.  Let this simmer for 2 or 3 hours.  Remove the ham hock and vegetables.  Discard the vegetables, but let the ham hock cool enough to touch.  Cut off the meat.

Place the soaked beans, the chopped meat, and whatever spices you choose (cloves, ginger, and of course salt!) into the stock pot.  Add a can of chopped tomatoes with the juice.

Simmer another couple of hours.  Enjoy the divine aroma coming from your kitchen!

I have to admit, the only thing I dislike about making this is packaging it into serving sizes for freezing.  That's a pain and the pot seems to have a never ending bottom.  But taking it out of the freezer to eat makes up for that. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Neighbors coming together

For about the last two weeks, a beagle was missing.  I first heard about it when my neighbor posted on Facebook mentioning seeing a stray dog roaming around.  You rarely see a dog walking unleashed where I live.

Our neighborhood has a Facebook page which has been very effective in alerting people to things relevant to us.  Posts began showing up of people seeing the dog but no one was able to catch it.  It was all around my house, but I never saw it.

I posted my phone number and asked anyone who saw the dog to call me as I seem to have a talent for getting dogs to come to me.  If I could get close enough to reach for his collar and tag, then most likely we could contact the owner.

Finally, yesterday word went out the dog had been caught and the owner notified.  She was very grateful to all of us who helped bring a happy ending to this ordeal.

I live on a quiet street.  Most of the people in this neighborhood work at the University of Rochester.  When the call goes out for help, as in this case, people join together to do what they can.

Occasionally, there are comical incidents that occur. . . as in the time I backed out of my garage and onto the street and saw a small group of people all staring at my house.  "Is there a problem?" I asked.

"Yes, that rabid fox is in your yard!"  I had heard there was one running around.

I went to run my errand and then came home.  A few minutes later, I noticed two police cars on the street directly in front of my home.  A police officer was walking up my driveway with a shotgun in his hands!

"Is this about the rabid fox?"  I asked.  I could think of no other reason an officer would be walking up my driveway with a gun!

I didn't realize it at the moment, but the rabid fox was about 20 feet away from me and the officer asked me to go back in my house.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Love my Vitamix!

I've had my Vitamix now for a couple of years or more and wonder how I ever got along without it.  While it is a versatile appliance, I use it for making smoothies.

Yes, you can use an ordinary blender to make smoothies, but the blender doesn't do a good job with hard fruits and vegetables, like carrots or beets.  The Vitamix is much more powerful.

Smoothies are a great way to get more fruits and vegetables in your diet.  When I first got my Vitamix, I searched the internet for smoothie recipes.  Then I found that no matter what I placed in it, it came out good tasting.  So now, I go through the refrigerator and the basket of fruit on my kitchen table and take whatever is there.

I don't care for the taste of kale.  But put it in the Vitamix with other foods and you've got a delicious drink packed with nutrition.  Including things like apples or oranges makes for a sweeter drink.

Here are some typical combinations I like.  What you choose is limited by your own imagination.

2 fresh beets, peeled and sliced
1 orange, peeled
2 kiwi, peeled and chopped
1 banana

about 2 cups of kale (or spinach)
1/2 to 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 apple, cored and sliced
1 mango, peeled and chopped
1 banana

And the best part is the clean up!  Simply rinse out the lid and jar with cold water.  Then put hot water and a splash of dishwashing liquid in it and put it back on the motor unit.  It cleans itself!

Maybe some day I will get around to trying the other options for a Vitamix such as soups, salads, appetizers, and sauces!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Knitting a poncho

Many years ago, I knitted and crocheted a lot.  Over the years, I made sweaters, both cardigans and pullovers, mittens, and afghans of all kinds.  Somehow life got cluttered and I got away from it.

About a year ago, I decided I wanted to get back into it because I always loved creating  things with yarn.  Except that about a year ago is when Bailey entered my life and with a new puppy in the house, there is no time for much else!

Now I'm back into something that brings me a lot of pleasure and softens the blows of the every day world.

I just started the poncho above.  I wanted something that I like and that wouldn't be too difficult for someone that hasn't picked up knitting needles in awhile.  I probably won't put fringe on it.  I'm not a "fringe" person!  But that decision can come when I finish working on it.

It was a surprise that I hadn't lost my skills!  I bought two books, one for crochet and one for knitting, that I use as a refresher.

I'll post pictures as I progress on this project.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Delicious pork tenderloin crock pot recipe

This one is so good!  I doubled the sauce recipe to cover the tenderloin in my crockpot.

one pork tenderloin (or two if they will fit in your crock pot)
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine the sauce ingredients and pour over the tenderloin in the crock pot.  Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

A delicious meal for very little effort!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Pleasant evening with old friends

Had a very enjoyable evening with friends, Nancy and Robert Lauterbach - we go back a long way!  Robert smoked a chicken and Nancy had wonderful vegetables and potatoes.  Thanks, guys.  I truly had a wonderful time.

Friday, July 29, 2016

A new crock pot recipe

I have a cookbook, Easy Vegetarian Slow Cooker, that has a lot of very good recipes.  I'm trying a new one today.  It is a root vegetable stew and from the list of ingredients and spices, I just had to try it.  The house is filled with a wonderful aroma and I'm anxious to taste it.  The vegetables include onions, parsnips, carrots, beets, turnips, potatoes, and carrots.  

Right now I'm off to pick up my meat order from my farmer.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Aren't we cute?

Sometimes things settle down around here and my two 
super active darlings need a time out.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The war on dog hair

Having two dogs in the house, it is a constant battle to keep dog hair at a minimum.  My worst complaint is on my clothes.  I have a polar fleece robe that attracts and holds dog hair like a magnet.  And with dogs that love to cuddle and one especially that thinks its fun to walk all over me when I'm sitting on the couch, that robe always has dog hair all over it.

Even when I run it through the washer and dryer, it still comes out with a lot of clinging dog hair.

Not anymore!

I found an article on attacking dog hair.  At first, I didn't give it much interest.  You know how the internet is full of how-to advice, much of which is worthless. . . like the time I found a homemade version of dishwasher detergent. . . I was thrilled at the thought of the money I'd save by making my own detergent.  Until the day I took a glass out of my cabinet and found dried on milk in the bottom of it!  Then I took another glass out and it too was "cloudy."

I decided to try this new idea for combatting clinging dog hair on my robe.  IT WORKED!!!

First, place the robe in the dryer for 10 minutes on air only.  Take it out of the dryer, shake it, and then place it in your washer and wash as usual.

At the end of the wash cycle, place in the dryer.  MAGIC!  The dog hair was gone!

The other hints given included using a swiffer cloth to clean hardwood floors, rather than vacuuming.  I already do that and it does work great.  I also keep an old sheet or an old tablecloth on my couch.  Not only does it help with hair, but when I see how dirty they get when I wash them, I'm glad the dirt got on the sheet rather than my couch!  When company comes, you can put away the couch cover.