Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Time Travelling Wife?

Do any of the rest of you out there ever feel like, even though we have these nifty electronics, gadgets, gizmos, and whirlygigs, that as a housewife of the frugal persuasion you've stepped out of today and into yesterday?

I've felt for the longest time that I've always had one foot in yesterday.  There's a generation gap between me and my generation, because I was raised in large part under the influence of adults from an older generation than the parents of my peers.  That's a convoluted sentence, isn't it?  My grandparents and people old enough to by my grandparents had a large influence on my upbringing.  Also, there was the differences in way of life.  I mean, really, how many people my age remember getting water out of a hand drawn well, chasing chickens out of the coop so we could make breakfast, hauling logs in to heat the house (not just for an ornamental fire in the fireplace), or the fear of sitting on a spider when you have to make a midnight run to the outhouse?   I know of a few, but they're people I spent part of my childhood with.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Difficult Foods: Chicken Picatta

Here's another one of those foods that people often associate with moderately nice Italian restaurants. It's not something you'd generally see at a Fazzoli's, for instance.  Because of that, this sometimes gets lumped into the "fancy" category.  It certainly sounds fancy with its foreign name, but it really isn't.

Have you got some chicken, chicken broth, flour, and lemon juice?  Then you've got everything you need for the basic dish right there.  Sure, there are variations you can put on it.  You can modify anything, but the key ingredients are the chicken and the lemon juice.

But before we start, I have to ask:  how well do you like lemon?  If you don't like it it at all, then this is not for you.  It's very lemony, especially my way.

As a side note:  glazed carrots go really really good with this.  The contrast of the sweet and sour is awesome.  They kind of set each other off and make all the flavors pop.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Our Not-So-Paper-Towels and a Bag Line

What I accomplished yesterday... 

When I worked at the sheriff's department, t-shirts were an everyday requirement.  In summer, we had to wear white v-neck t's, and in winter, we had to wear black crew necks.  I have dozens of t-shirts.  Some of them are being kept for grungy work, cleaning days, and sleep shirts, but a lot of them are becoming something new.

I've been saying for a while that I was going to try to cut back on paper product use and disposable stuff.  Cotton is the component of nearly every kitchen towel and rag in existence.  It's not necessarily *the* most absorbent in t-shirt form, because there's not a lot of lift or pile, but I figured they'd make good cleaning rags, napkins, and paper towel substitutes.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Our Daily Bread

Most of the people I've talked to agree that baking bread is cheaper than buying it.  Most people also agree that it's way better for you, since you actually know what's going into the loaves.  And -- drum roll -- you can pronounce all of it.  I haven't bought a loaf of store bread in over a month.  I think I bought the last one back around the first of January.  I can't vouch for it being cheaper, necessarily.  We eat more bread now, I think.  We eat it for breakfast, lunch, dessert, sometimes at dinner, as a random snack.  It's just that *good*!

I have a recipe that Ms. Terri gave me.  It was for sandwich bread.  It was tasty and simple, but homemade bread goes stale so fast we ended up not eating it all.  I didn't toss it, but it got delegated to the freezer for future use in stews or as breadcrumbs.  So, I went in search of ways to make my homemade bread last longer.
The two loaves made with Ms. Terri's recipe
I stumbled onto this:  Our Daily Bread in a Crock.

If you don't want to follow the link, it's bake as needed artisan bread.  It is SO GOOD!

3 c warm water
1.5 tsp dry yeast
2.5 tsp salt
6.5 c all purpose flour

Yep, that's it,  Four ingredients.  Mix the water, yeast, and salt.  It doesn't need to activate, just toss the flour in on top of it, stir until it's just blended together and pulls into a ball.  You may need more or less water, depending on weather.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The magickal properties of plain white vinegar

I know I've been missing in action lately.  I have a really good excuse!  Really!  

B had knee surgery recently, so I've been trying to take care of him as much as possible lately.  I've learned something about myself during this period of convalescence.  If he is home, I don't get nearly as much done as I usually do (or ought to).  I have a tendency to want to entertain him while he's around.  I know I should get off my butt and do something constructive, but it's just so much more fun to watch TV or movies, or play cards, or aggravate him... I mean, umm... mollycoddle him.  Yeah... 

Anyways, back to the point.  

Vinegar!  It's awesome stuff.  My Gramma used to use it to clean with all the time, but I really didn't know it had quite as many uses as it does.  I use it to clean in the kitchen, especially, because I don't trust the harsher chemical cleaners on counters and tables where I make food.  I also use it on the floors, because apparently waxed hard wood does not really like chemicals all that well.  They make the finish cloudy looking.  Vinegar brightens it right up.  

I recently bought a couple gallons of vinegar from Sam's club.  It came in a cardboard box that had some interesting tips on it.  I was already aware of some of these, but others were new to me.  So, since the whole idea of this blogging gig is to share info and ideas, here they are: