Saturday, October 29, 2016

Homemade Sandwich Meat

I like sandwiches.  Especially when I am busy and don't want to stop what I am doing long enough to cook a meal.  But lately I have stopped buying sandwich meat.  I am not fond of the packaged stuff at the store.  It just doesn't taste all that good and the ingredients are questionable.  I could get the sliced deli meat, but the prices have gone through the roof.

So the other day I was going through my old recipe box, looking for inspiration, when I found two recipes for sandwich meat.  I had made these years ago and they were good tasting.  Both use hamburger as a base and the other ingredients are those most have on hand or are easy to find in the grocery store.

Summer Sausage

2 lbs. hamburger
1 cup water
2 tsp. liquid smoke
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp mustard seed
3 Tbsp. Morton's Tender Quick Cure Salt

Mix all the ingredients together.  Roll into firm rolls.  Wrap in foil with the shiny side out.  Refrigerate for 24 hours.  Punch holes in the bottoms of the rolls with a fork.  Place the rolls on a rack in a baking pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 35 minutes.


2 lbs. hamburger
3 Tbsp. Morton's Tender Quick Cure Salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. mustard seed
1/8 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. peppercorns
1 cup water

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and form rolls.  Wrap the rolls in aluminum foil.  Refrigerate for 24 hours.  Place rolls in a Dutch oven, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Gently boil for 1 hour.  Drain and rewrap.

If memory serves, I made 3 rolls out of one batch of either meat. These sandwich meats are not going to taste exactly like store bought summer sausage or salami.  But they will make some seriously good sandwiches.  And both freeze well.  I'm going to order some hamburger on my grocery order in two weeks, and get some Tender Quick.  I think I have everything else on hand.  Sure beats that packaged stuff at the store.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Little Cheese With That Whine

So a couple of weeks ago it was a bit of stomach flu that kept me close to my bathroom for two days.  Then it was a head cold that made my nose drip in a most unladylike fashion.  Now that the cold has run its course, a flare-up of arthritis has made it impossible to keep an appointment this morning.  I think I might be able to get down the stairs in an emergency situation, but I wouldn't bet on being able to get back up them.

Sometimes it feels good just to be able to moan and groan and whine a little bit.  Doesn't take the pain away, but it gets rid of the stress from nodding and smiling and telling everyone that "I'm just fine."

So now that I have gotten that out of my system, I think I will spend most of my day sewing on a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt top that I am determined to finish by spring.  It is made up of hundreds of inch and three quarter sized hexagons, all sewn together by hand.

I'm adding another row of sage green hexagons around each of these blocks.  The quilt has sort of an old fashioned look to it and I like that.  If I remember right, the quilt is done in rows of seven blocks each, making it seven rows wide and seven rows long, equaling about a 75 inch square quilt.  I'll post a picture of the finished quilt, if I ever get done with it.

Sewing on my quilt - listening to some audio murder mystery books I downloaded - might turn out to be a good day after all.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

For the Record

The mini marathon of dehydrating is about finished.  Here are the results.

4 medium sized heads of chopped cabbage = 2 quarts dried
10 lbs diced carrots = 1 quart and 1 cup dried
10 lbs. diced onions = 1 1/2 quarts dried
20 lbs. diced potatoes = 5 quarts dried

I also dehydrated 12 cans of diced tomatoes, but I am not overjoyed at how they turned out.  Instead of getting small pieces of tomato, they kind of dried in a sheet like a fruit roll-up.  The idea was to be able to toss a handful of tomato pieces into soup or stew.  I broke the sheets into pieces and they fit in a 1 quart bag.  I think I will probably run them through my little electric grinder and turn them into tomato powder to use as flavoring.

Finally got my kitchen cleaned up including the nasty science experiments from my fridge.  I really don't know how I wind up with leftovers that I forget about until they growl at me.  I need to be more careful about finishing up those odds and ends.  I hate waste and I get irritated with myself when I have to toss what once was perfectly good food.

So I am off to do more fun stuff like a bit of rearranging in my living room in order to fit in one more shelving unit.  This one will hold my  quilting fabric and supplies with room to spare for the odd cases of home canned food that I can't fit on the other shelves.  After which I plan to spend a few days sewing and reading and napping.  Not necessarily in that order.  :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

When They Come Knocking on Your Door

Just a quick note here about something that happened this past Sunday.

There was a very loud knock on my door.  When I answered, I found a well dressed woman standing there with a brochure in one hand and a clip board in the other.  She wanted me to look at her brochure and fill out a form.

I just glanced at the brochure and remember it had something to do with drugs - perhaps drug usage in my town - I'm not really sure, for at that point I told her I was not the least bit interested.  She tried to get me to take the brochure and I refused.

Then she wanted me to fill out her form, which I refused to do as well.  She was persistent, telling me I only had to fill in my name and address and phone number.  I made it perfectly clear that I would not give out any personal information, especially to people I did not know who came knocking on my door on a Sunday afternoon.  She didn't want to take "No" for an answer, so I finally just shut the door and locked it.

Maybe I am just paranoid.  Maybe there was a legitimate reason for her calling on me.  But it just seemed strange that she knocked on my door on a Sunday afternoon rather than on a regular work day.  And the fact that she was so determined to get my personal information sent up a red flag.  The whole incident smelled like a scam to me.

Anyone can go get brochures printed that look like legitimate worthy causes.  And the main goal seemed to be to procure my signature.  We are close to election day.  I have read about scams that involve getting signatures to be used in voter frauds.  Whether that was the reason for this visit, I can not say.  But I still will never give out information to strangers.  Just sayin'.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Away From the Computer

I will be AWOL until probably the end of the week.

The cabbage has been dried.  The tomatoes have been dried.  The carrots are in the dehydrators.  I still have 10 lbs. of onions and 20 lbs. of potatoes to deal with.  I need to bake bread and do laundry.  And my kitchen looks like someone's vegetable garden blew up in the middle of it.

Add to that a follow-up appointment on Wednesday with the guy who takes care of my legs.  He is a really nice guy, but after this appointment I am hoping not to see his face for a long time.  :)

So taking into consideration just how slowly I move these days, it will likely take me the rest of the week to finish doing what needs to be done.   Longer if I spend time messing around with my computer like I have been known to do.

My Kingdom for a really good cleaning lady!!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Confusion Reigns

So today I woke up about 4:30 AM, with no hope of falling back asleep.  Made my coffee.  Cooked a couple of eggs and toast for breakfast.  Puttered about until it was time to get ready for an appointment with a tech at the clinic.

The tech did an ultrasound on my feet to check on blood circulation.  She also did a blood pressure check on both ankles and my arm.  Apparently even though I am slowly coming apart at the seams, my blood is doing a fantastic job of moving around inside me.

Got home about 12:30 PM.  Fixed some lunch and did a couple more Suzy Homemaker things before deciding about 2:30 that a nap was a really good idea.

Woke up about 7:00.  Made coffee and fixed breakfast.  Dinged about on the computer for a little while and then got started on my day.

Only it wasn't.

I had glanced out my window, observing that it was awfully dark for 8:30 in the morning.  Looked at the clock on my computer only to discover it was 8:30 Saturday night - not 8:30 Sunday morning.

Oh, good grief.  I wonder if other people nap for a few hours and wake up thinking it is morning of the following day.

Don't tell my kids.  They think I am a little bit off center anyway.  If they hear about this they will be looking up the early symptoms of Alzheimer's and Googling local nursing homes.  :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

About to Get Busy Again

Yesterday my grocery delivery service called to take my order.  This time in addition to the normal stuff I ordered 4 heads of cabbage, 10 lbs. of carrots, 10 lbs. of onions and 10 lbs. of potatoes.  I have another 10 lbs. of potatoes here from the previous order.  All of this is going into the dehydrators.  I have another 12 cans of diced tomatoes I found when I was moving some store bought canned goods from the closet pantry to the new shelves.  Those I will drain this evening, saving the juice to drink, and dehydrate them overnight.  The dried food takes up much less space than canned and even with the new shelves, I think I will be doing a juggling act trying to store it all.

Oldest Son Duane and his friend Lori (I don't know why I haven't used their names.  My sons names are already on several comments, so I'm not fooling anybody.) made another Sam's Club run.  This time they brought me one 25 lb. bag of sugar and the same of flour, 2 boxes of instant mashed potatoes (each weighing 3.25 lbs.) and 2 10-packs each of cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup.

I am also ordering cases of bottled water (24 packs).  And yes, I know it is silly to buy water.  But my apartment is on city water.  City water doesn't taste very good.  I do fill from the tap the 2 ltr. soda bottles and the empty large juice bottles from when the store has had apple juice on sale.  I moved my sofa out about 12 inches from the wall so I can get two rows of water bottles hidden away there.  I have water stashed all over.  I think I can fit 5 cases of bottled water on the bottom shelf of the new shelving unit.  Water is important.  Three days is considered the amount of time person can survive without water, although there have been cases where some have lived 8 - 10 days or longer.  From what I have read, much of that depends on climate, conditions, etc.  Water is the chink in my prepping armour.  I have no place to store the big blue barrels of water, so I do the best I can with what I have to work with.

I don't think I am the only one who feels like time is running out.  I have felt that way for a while now.  I have worked hard to put away some cash each month so I can take advantage of Sam's prices and sale prices to fill in my preps where I am low on some things.  I don't know what will happen.  I don't know if anything will happen.  But no matter what, my family will not go hungry.

Friday, October 7, 2016

I'm Done

So I'm scanning the headlines this evening and I find that Wikileaks has released emails concerning speeches made by Hillary to big money groups.  And then I see where an audio tape from eleven years ago in which Trump engages in locker room talk has also been released.  I'm pretty sure both of these will provide more mud to be slung about.

I am tired of both candidates wasting my time and discounting my intelligence in order to bash one another.  If they insist on participating in a mud wrestling match, fine.  But I don't want to hear any more about who did what to whom.  I want to know what they will do to help the American people get out of this mess we find ourselves in.  I want to know what they will do to make America as good a place for my grandchildren to grow up as it was for me.  I do not wish to watch a couple of clowns thumbing their noses at one another crying, "Neener, Neener, Neener."

Really, America.  This is the best we can do?  Unless an honest to God Constitution loving statesman emerges out of this train wreck of a presidential campaign, I'm done.  Just let me know when it is over.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Meandering Sort of Week

This week has been a little of this and a little of that.  Oldest Son came over for supper this evening.  His friend is out of town visiting her Dad and Son had to work so he didn't go with her.  I had a big butternut squash from the Farmer's Market to bake and I had some chicken to go with it and Son said he would be happy to share.  It was nice to cook for more than just me.

Youngest Son took me to a medical appointment this morning.  It was with the "wound care" guy who had taken care of me nearly two years ago when I was in the hospital with that bad outbreak of cellulitis.  Apparently I have been doing everything right this time for my legs are both nearly healed.  The best part was when he told me to lose those awful compression socks.  I hated them because I couldn't get them on by myself.  And the tops wouldn't stay in place, but would roll down a bit and would cut into my legs just below my knees and that was painful.  He said they were acting like a tourniquet and that is not a good thing.  I still have to wear some elasticized coverings, but they are soft and comfortable.  I can live with that.

Oldest Son and his friend are making frequent trips to our local Sam's Club.  Each time I give them a short list, throw some cash at them and they bring home what I need.  I am slowly but surely filling in the gaps in my food storage with the items I can't make myself - flour, sugar, baking powder, cases of cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup, etc.  Trouble is, I had no room to store it all.  So Son got me another shelving unit.  The two I have are both full of home canned food.  The new one is the same size as the others - 72 inches high and 48 inches wide.  He is coming over tomorrow to help me set it up.  Which is a good thing because the stuff from the last Sam's haul is still on my kitchen table for want of a place to store it!

It rained here most of the night last night but today was sunny and pleasantly warm.  The fall leaves are turning colors faster now, especially the maples that are now nearly all a brilliant orange.  We haven't had a frost as yet, but I'm sure that's not too far off.  I opened windows in my apartment today to let in some of that beautifully clean fall air.  This is the kind of day that will be remembered in February when the ground is covered with a white blanket and the wind is howling down the street and around the corner.

My days are not very exciting.  There is no drama.  There is no stress.  They just move along peacefully.  I am aware of the fact that the world is in a turmoil and we as Americans are in trouble.  I check the alternate news sources and see how much mud the presidential candidates have thrown at one another each day or how many ginned up protest marches have taken place.  I read about the latest politically correct fad to hit the college campuses and about the spreading disrespect for our flag and anthem among some of the athletes, both in the professional ranks as well as in some schools.  And I know there is precious little I can do about any of it, aside from an occasional rant.

Even with all the garbage going on, there are still good people around us.  I read their blogs.  I watch their videos.  I converse with them through the comments here or by email.  And I talk to them on the rare occasion I am out and about.  I have family who fall into that category of good people, and for that I am truly thankful.  It is those good people who give me a glimmer of hope for our future.  I just can't give up.  I am old enough to remember what life used to be like and I need to hope that by some miracle it will be that way again.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Babushkas

A couple of blocks away next to the river is a large apartment building, several stories high, that has been there for as long as I can remember.  There is a street that runs between the building and the steep river bank.  There is a sidewalk on the river side of the street with some narrow areas of grass between the sidewalk and the trees that grow at the top of the river bank.

There are several Russian families living there, most of them elderly.  Five of the ladies can be seen walking together when the weather is nice for walking.  They walk slowly so the one who uses a walker can keep up.  They all wear dark colored dresses and sensible shoes.  And each of them wears a brightly colored head scarf that is tied under the chin.  Which is why I fondly refer to them as "The Babushkas."

These sweet little ladies try really hard to converse in English.  But when they are talking to one another, it is always in Russian.  I think it probably is not easy to learn another language at their age.  They are so friendly that it is easy to take the time to listen and attempt to understand their broken English.  Their smiles will light up a dreary day.

The Babushkas are an industrious group.  I have seen them working the soil in those narrow strips of grass, turning them into little gardens.  With spades and rakes, the four who are mobile get the soil ready in the spring.  The one with the walker supervises.  They plant all sorts of flowers next to the sidewalk - daisies, marigolds, zinnias.

Behind the flowers they plant tomatoes, peppers, beets, green beans and cabbage.  I have often seen them out there tending their little gardens.  They are happy to show anyone who is interested what they are growing.  They once tried to teach me the Russian names for the plants, but I didn't do too well remembering them.  My efforts at wrapping my tongue round the Russian words made them laugh, so it was fun, just the trying to say them.

I read an article not too long ago about another group of immigrants living not very far from here.  That group had several among them convicted of terrorist activities.  The families of the convicted were loudly protesting.  They were shouting about how unfair they felt American justice was.  Threats and demands abounded.

I think we could use more Babushkas.