Monthly Archives: March 2013
…and man am I exhausted and should be sleeping!! I felt like writing everything out before going to bed. Today (should I say yesterday) has been such a busy day, I think it would be best for me to write out what I have done and what I have left to do. I don’t want to miss something along that way. So here we go…
1. I started with a clean kitchen and ended with a clean kitchen. That is one of the rules I try to stand by. Always leave the kitchen clean. Sometimes, I just want to go crash, but I know I will dread working the next day if I don’t take care of everything right away. It seldom takes very long, so it ends up being worth it.
2. Baked a Mississippi Mud Cake (pictured below) for a customer. I was shocked at how popular that cake is.
3. Mom helped me by putting my 20 cupcake boxes together, so the cupcakes can go right into them after they’ve been iced.
4. I made a lasagna. I didn’t post that picture I don’t think. It was awesome! I haven’t made one in a long time.
5. After supper, I put together 4 cake mixes (homemade mixes–all the dry ingredients for 4 recipes). That shaved off about an hour or so including putting things away. I even separated my egg whites/yolk for one recipe and put them in the frig for tomorrow. I’m trying to make everything faster for tomorrow.
6. I created my labels. I printed a full page label because I listed all 4 recipe ingredients on one page since there is one of each cupcake in the box. I just need to print them. I decided to wait on this until I knew all of the cakes worked out. Hopefully, I won’t need any last minute life savers.
7. Papered my tins. I even went ahead and put cupcake papers in my tins.
8. Tomorrow, I will put the dry ingredients together with the wet and start baking.
9. While the cupcakes are baking, I will start on the various icings. There will be 3 different types.
10. Then I will be packing up and delivering them to the customer.
So here I am, calming my nerves. I just noticed the dishwasher just stopped, so the dishes are drying now. I am tired and definitely ready for bed. I will report back to you to see if there is something I should have done. I didn’t get out all of the other ingredients for the recipes. Most of them are refrigerated anyway. Oh yeah, and the baby is staying with mom, which will definitely help my attention be on what I’m working on. So here we go. Wish me luck!
Today, I was thinking about things I have purchased through the years that I can call one of my favorite things. Not many things make it on my list. I decided I would share with you a few of my favorite things (random things). Maybe you can share some of your favorite things with us?
1. My top favorite thing is, without question, my Cuisinart Stand Mixer. I did a lot of research to be sure I got the right mixer, and it has been faithful to me throughout its use in my Cottage Kitchen. I love to keep it bright and shiny. I think that always shows a sign of ownership pride. I wish I felt like that about everything.
2. Bright and shiny, I realized it was one of my favorite pieces. I found it at TJ Max marked down because the inside of the lid was bent a little (I just used some pliers and bent it back–it doesn’t look perfect on the inside rim of the lid, but it seals perfectly). This is another item that I love to keep shiny. I love the handles on the side and the lid. It feels really substantial without feeling too heavy. I use it a lot to make spaghetti and meatballs in. It makes the list.
3. This is one of my favorite Goodwill finds. I don’t really go into Goodwill that frequently, but years ago, I was visiting someone and needed to kill some time, so I stopped in to look through a Goodwill in Jacksonville, FL. I didn’t go in really expecting to find anything–I was just killing time. I ran across two of these beautiful saucers. They are actually a little larger than saucers, but smaller than a dinner plate. The coloring and design on the plate made it a lifetime keeper for me. I think I paid like .20 for each one. There is something about it that makes me smile when I see it. It’s “pretty.” 🙂
4. Remember, I said RANDOM things. 🙂 I ran across this picture in my phone and had to post it as one of my favorite things. I LOVE farm fresh eggs. Look at that? Isn’t it gorgeous?? This egg came from one of the hens that my dad owns. I actually hated to actually cook it, so I had to take a picture of it in order to at least be able to look at it. I know–sounds crazy. I just really appreciate things like this. When I look at it, I just think about how awesome God is. I truly am able to find beauty everywhere.
So these were a few of my favorite things. I am sure you have some favorite things. You may even have pictures of them in your phone (like I did). Share them with us! I would love to see what things you value.
I would like to welcome Tommy and Patti Alderman of Alderman Farms to the blog as authors. Tommy and Patti have become great friends of ours via the internet. We have shared information about technology, farming, recipes, and baking with each other. We seek to use all that God has given us through our family heritage and the land that He has entrusted us to provide for our family and help others be confident in their pursuit of self-sufficiency.
As you know, Family Heritage is a topic of passion for me. The Aldermans have a wonderful heritage, and they share that heritage with others. Take time to check it out.
Patti Alderman is a homeschooling mother of four whose knowledge in the areas of budgeting and thriftiness, gardening and small-scale farming (“homesteading”) has been a sought-after resource among her friends and family.
Patti learned at the feet of those whose lives span decades of living off the land the old fashioned way, using simple, time-tested techniques (see Acknowledgments), and it is her desire to pass that information along to a new generation just beginning to feel the need to become as self-sufficient as possible. Patti also strongly believes that budgeting plays an important role in self-sufficiency, in that adherence to a family budget spurs creativity, forcing one to learn how to “make do” rather than whipping out the credit card to purchase the “easy” solution, which is often the “expensive” solution.
Tommy was graduated from LSU in 1986 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English, with an emphasis in creative writing, which he says explains why his police reports were longer than those of his co-workers. “The Lt.’s hated to see me coming with a folder in my hands,” he jokes.
And though his education was focused on formal English, he’s more likely to speak and write in his native tongue, “Redneck.”
What a privilege we have as parents and grandparents! And what a responsibility! Can you think of a better way to spend two hours on a Sunday afternoon than following behind a 16-month old Farmer-in-Training? I can’t, and there are a few thoughts I’d like to share with you, after the jump.
Click to read more —> Train up a Child…
What food legacy will you leave behind? Fast food, microwave dinners, prepackaged meals, left overs? After being gifted with the talent to cook and bake basically anything I want, I have started considering the legacy that I WOULD have left behind if God hadn’t gifted me with such a talent. I have cooked most of my adult life, but it was really basic cooking. I still am no gourmet by a long shot (not that I would want to be). My legacy would have been one of super-sized menus and prepackaged meals.
Somewhat out of necessity, I started really watching what I purchased when grocery shopping. I made a rule for myself–buy only things that you have to cook yourself (and no, Hamburger Helper doesn’t count). Not only did I notice that my grocery bill dropped, but my cabinets and freezer were nearly always full. Add to that good news, a home that smells like “from scratch” cooking, and the combination is a little hard to beat. I can’t even remember the last time I purchased a “prepacked” meal. The only thing I buy that would even get close to that would be the meatballs that are already prepared for you. I like meatballs over hamburger meat fried out, and they taste good. The time investment in making them myself would cause me to avoid meals with meatballs, so I felt that one diversion was ok.
Magazine titles such as “Cook’s Illustrated,” “Cooks Country,” “America’s Test Kitchen,” and “Mother Earth News all played an integral role in my success as a home cook. While I haven’t studied them a lot, I have gleaned a lot of knowledge from their helpful pages. Now, I am not intimidated by those who cook well. The process doesn’t confuse me. I have organized my kitchen, so I know where everything is and it’s comfortable for me regardless of what dish I am conquering.
Now, the family heritage project. I have started a project encouraging people to write down the recipes of those meals they enjoy for the sole purpose to pass them along to the next generation. Yeah, it takes a little time to write it all down, but it is very much worth it. Not only are you leaving instructions to a memory they will likely want to relive again and again, you also helped to instill better eating habits (as long as your recipe isn’t how to heat a frozen pizza). 🙂 So here is the first card in my family heritage project.
As a part of my Family Heritage Project, I am writing down everything that I cook–as I cook it. I don’t measure anything when I cook for my family. I go exclusively off of taste. I seldom ever use recipes, unless I find one in Cook’s Illustrated that I just can’t go without trying. I am building my personal recipe collection to pass along to my son, so he can recreate some of the memories that we made together with his children/family one day. Yeah, I know. I think WAY ahead of the game, seeing how he’s just 8 months old. 🙂 It’s never too early to start. As a matter of fact, starting early actually increases the likelihood it will get finished one day. If you don’t start, then you could forget you even wanted to do it until it’s too late, and you’re saying, “I wish I had written my recipes down for him.”
Well, I am all about sharing the bad with the good, so I share warts and all here. If I mess something up, I share that I did. For one, someone can laugh with me about it. Two, I can pass on to you what I learned about the process. So here goes…brand new recipe. A concept. I was wanting soup, but also wanting black beans and Spanish rice. Why not put them together?? This could have worked if I had known what would happen, before it happened. This is what I learned about making black beans, chicken, and Spanish rice soup.
1. The rice will absorb almost ALL of the water you put into the pot. Even if it is 4 times what the recipe calls for.
2. Two 1 lb packages of Spanish rice will feed a small country when you use 4 times the water called for.
3. Onions will not cook through before the rice burns to the bottom of the pot.
4. Boil onions with chicken in the beginning.
5. Cook rice as directed in a separate pot and add at the very end.
6. When your husband says, “Whatever Mommy is cooking smells really good” to your 8 month old son, it’s time to pull it off the burner because within the next 5 minutes, he will say, “Something’s burning” right about the time you say “Uh oh” when you smell the char.
Burnt! Yep. The rice that had completely cooked was heavy having absorbed all that water I guess and burned to the bottom of the pot before I realized it. Smelled like coffee. I quickly pulled the pot off of the stove and poured it into a cold pot hoping it would only be the bottom portion that was bad, but if you’ve ever had something burn to the bottom of a pot of liquid, the liquid will always have that smell.
Once I changed it to the new pot and completed my process, the smell wasn’t quite as bad. What’s bad is that all of that soup (that could have fed a small country) is now in the trash because while tolerable fresh out of the pot, surely it wasn’t going to be tolerable the next day. EWW.
So, that is what I learned from my recipe creating session today. Not everything I try will work out, but everything I try, I will learn from. I think I know how to merge the two together next time, without the coffee undertones. I’ll let you know how it works out when I get the nerve up to try it again (and can forget that coffee smell).