Category: cooking/baking

Tues. Sept. 27, 2022 – 4 years ago today…

…friend of the blog and prolific commentor OFD,   Dave Hardy, went to his reward.  Church-y language, because he believed in the power of The Church, as it was, and should be.   I hope he’s watching with a bowl of pretzels and a bottle of Moxie.   And if it turns out to be more than a spectator sport, we could all use a little help buddy… Prayers for those he left behind.    Raise a glass to Absent Friends.


 

Cooler but warming later here in Houston.

Didn’t get a lot done yesterday.  Did get some stuff sorted and put away.   Cut the grass.   Broke down and vac sealed the remaining meat from the shopping run (just the vac sealed pork tenderloin.)    Got three nice roasts out of it, and decided not to do any chops.   Cooked one roast for dinner with collard greens from the garden as a side.   Collards are on their second or possibly third year, and still produce.   Had a loaf of the shelf stable sourdough bread too, since I was already running the oven.

Felt kinda ‘off’ all day.   Too much sun on Sunday maybe.

Today I’ve got stuff to do.  Pickups, drop offs, and moving stuff around.   I need to do some more tax paperwork, and some office work too.  There is always something more to do.

Like stacking all the things, you need to do more of that.

n

 

(have I mentioned that D2 is taking up the trombone? And that beginning trombone sounds like moose in heat?  LOUDLY in heat.)

Tues. Aug. 16, 2022 – and away we go!

Hot, humid, chance of rain… and all that noise.   It was a bit cooler yesterday than it has been, so maybe summer is winding down.  On the other hand, it was still 82F at midnight.

Got the kids off to school, kinda.   Turns out the bus drives by, then picks up some other kids, and returns to pick up mine.  As it was 20 minutes late when it passed the first time,  we didn’t wait.   Kids had a good first day.

I did some auction stuff then went shopping.   Dropped a bunch of money at Lowes on plumbing stuff for the BOL, then hit up Costco.   Dropped a bunch of money there, but got a bunch of meat too.  Freezers are full again, until I move more to the lake.

Today I’ve got auction pickups, home and rent house maintenance, and some other errands to run, but first D1 needs to have her braces checked.   That takes up most of the morning, by the time I’m back home. Oh well. Poor planning to schedule the appointment during the school week, when we could have done it last week, but we are getting near the end of her treatment.  ‘Bout time to get D2 started.


One of the auction items I picked up last week was a solar inverter.   Solar for the BOL is moving up the list.  I just have to figure out how all the pieces work together, and find the time to assemble what I have.   Seems like it should be more straightforward than most people online make it out to be.   Hmm.  Lotta things like that.

 

The other thing I have to do is some auction listings.   I’ve got some high value stuff just sitting here, getting older, without being listed.   Keeping up with listings is probably the hardest part of reselling, but there isn’t any “selling” without listing.   Seems like there is always something more important to do though.

Dinner yesterday was all from stores.   Sesame chicken “simmering sauce” from HEB, costco chicken from cans, and instant rice.   Came together pretty quickly and tasted good.  Every bit got eaten, and my wife said she’d eat it again…  Starting with the packaged food cuts prep time considerably, reduces cook time dramatically, and makes it easier.  All of those are good things in a disaster, or just when you can’t be bothered to cook from complete scratch.   All of the elements of the meal store for a long time too.

Bulk ingredients are great, and are an integral part of any long term plan, but consider some meals that use less time and energy for the times when you are short of both.

Then stack it up!

nick

Sat. Jun. 11, 2022 – I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream…

Hot, and humid, because Texas!  Well, EAST Texas anyway.   Cooler here than Houston, and probably more breeze.

Made it safely to the BOL last night despite the late start.  Everything in the back of the truck was still there when I arrived.   No one ever died because they put on an extra strap…

Among my pickups yesterday were two big solar panels.  They had been dropped and damaged during shipping, so I got them for $5.   The glass is shattered, but I’m hoping to salvage some or all of the cells, and the diode or MMTP on the back.   First and very cursory glance says I may just be out $5.  It’ll be interesting to put them in the sun and see what or if they put anything out.  That project is going to have to wait though.

All the normal stuff needs doing up here, and we need to make more progress on livability.   The garden needs some attention for sure.

Maybe I’ll taste the nut grass, and if I like it, I’ll just grow a garden of nut grass….    Probably easier that way too.   It’s a bit funny that the local electric co-op magazine has an article in it this month about local foraging.   They specifically cite grocery shortages and rising costs as reasons people took up foraging, and for more people to start.

Every account of prolonged conflict I’ve read had people eating grass.  I’d like to do better than that.  I intend to do better than that.  But if you need a little extra, NOW is the time to figure out the wild groceries around you, while there is still 911 and medical care 😉

There are lots of references available, and I don’t know one from the other, but if it interests you, there is probably a local expert to help you learn.   Just remember, if it was better or more efficient for feeding people, we wouldn’t be farming, and in a long term event, even the grass is eaten to the ground before too long.  Don’t count on living off the land——–

Stack up all the things!

 

n

Fri. Apr. 29, 2022 – Lots of catching up today

Clear and pleasant again, with some clouds.   It sure was nice yesterday, with only an intermittent threat of rain from some cloudiness, and a bit of humidity later in the day.

Finished up my shade tree mechanic LARPing.  Got the Ranger running, and picked up a replacement wiper for the rear window of my Expedition.    I c’nae believe how hard it was to find the correct wiper, or why Ford went with a completely different attachment means for that one wiper.  AdvanceAutoParts, and Autozone had me running around, but O’Reilly had the parts I needed.  I’ll check with them first next time.  I bought a second wiper as a spare and it was the last one they had.  More reinforcement for the idea that if you think you might need it, you better stack it.

I also shipped my ebay sale and couple of other things I’ve been putting off for no good reason.

D1 had a play at school last night and tonight, so we went to see that.   Every kid was miked, ever mic was too loud.  I know I’ve got hearing issues, but I couldn’t get but one word in 10.   Daughter is following in the wife and my footsteps with her work backstage.  Mixed feelings about that.  It was a great learning experience, and it put us both where we are now, but times change, and I’m not sure I’d want to be working in the industry now.

I suppose that is true for most parents.

Today I’ve got a couple of pickups, and some driving to do.  Then I’ll have more sorting and stacking at my storage unit.   Wife and D1 are headed to GS camp for the weekend after the curtain comes down on the show tonight.   D2 and I are home alone.   Might just load up the truck and head to the lake after swim practice Saturday.  There’s plenty to do up there, if I get bored with all the stuff that needs doing here…

WRT site issues here, please keep reporting them, but bear with us as Rick tries to sort it out.

And for pete’s sake, stack some food.  Don’t forget fats.  Peanut oil stores well, and can be used in place of butter in most cooking.  Lard in sealed plastic buckets should last a long time too.   With the decrease in sunflower oil exports from Ukraine, people will have to buy other oils, which will put pressure on them as well.   Get some, even if you don’t use much now.  It’s relatively cheap, stores for a long time, and is an important prep.  Salt and vinegar too, in mass quantities, mainly for food preservation, and a few jars of ‘pickling spice’ wouldn’t be a bad idea.

FWIW I like multiple smaller containers, rather than one big one.   It lasts longer if you don’t have a giant container open, you can more easily share a smaller container, and if one is spoiled the rest will still be ok.  To me, multiples are better, even if the unit cost is higher.  The most expensive prep is one you have to throw out without using.    Had a rat (might have been the possum) gnaw a bottle of peanut oil this week, made a mess on the shelf.   That was just one liter damaged, not the whole supply.  I could have used what was left in the bottle for frying I suppose if desperate, or as lamp oil, but I just tossed it and replaced it.   That might not always be an option.  So….

Stack something.

nick

Thur. Apr. 28, 2022 – so we’re a quarter of the way through the year…

Clear and nice for the next two days according to the national forecast.   We’ll see what our local microclimate actually does, but it certainly was nice yesterday.

Too bad I spent most of the afternoon literally pretending to be a shade tree mechanic.   And laying on my back in the shade under a filthy truck.   The result of a few hours spent is ruling out the alternator and the starter/solenoid.  Most of that time was driving from store to store to get the parts checked.    My next possibility is the corroded cable at the battery clamp.  I found a 2 volt drop in the first inch  of the cable.   The weird thing is that the problem appeared suddenly.  Damage from corrosion is usually a slow and gradual problem.  JEP said “it’s almost always the cable” and he may have been right in this case too.

I spent the morning getting dinner ready (crock pot pot roast) and packing the bulk meat I bought.  Should have done it sooner, but it was still fine.   Did I mention that Costco has standing rib pork loin roasts for less than $2/pound?  I forgot that it was Easter time, and that they carried my favorite pork cut at Easter.  Cut up as pork chops, or cooked as a roast, you can’t  beat the flavor.  The pot roast is a family favorite, and couldn’t be easier.  Just add whatever sturdy veg you have in the fridge, I used turnips, carrots, potatoes, and onion, the meat (seared in cast iron first) and the Betty Crocker pot roast slow cooker seasoning packet.  6-8 hours later, add a fresh baked (shelf stable) loaf of sourdough bread to the table, and you have a feast.   Stew in the slow cooker is pretty much the same, except the meat is cubed first, and I use the “beef stew” packet…

Plan for today is more exploration and hopefully a resolution to my truck issue.  I need the truck  to do about 80% of the stuff on my list.  If I get it fixed, I’ve got all the other stuff that didn’t get done this week stacked up.   If I don’t, that stuff will slip even more.

I guess I better get moving.

And btw, the head of Goya foods is warning about famine too.

It’s real and it’s coming.   Stack it up.

n

Sun. Apr. 24, 2022 – sometimes, I just throw up my hands…

Possibility of rain today, with moderately warm temps.  Yesterday was fairly nice.   Sun, moderate temps, and not too humid.  Not many of those days left before summer really hits.

Slept in, didn’t get a whole lot done before I had to put my chef’s hat on.   Dinner was a success with the birthday girl, her friends were a  lot less enthusiastic about the lamb.  Which is a shame because it was pretty good.  I tried something different with the bread, and it worked out.  When I was in college, we’d sometimes eat at a steak restaurant attached to a wholesale butcher.  It was great food and cheap, and the meal came with “Roman Bread”.   I’ve been thinking of that bread for a while, and finally decided to try finding a recipe and making it.   The actual recipe from the restaurant was online, and it was straightforward.

It was as good as I remember, a hit with my wife, and the kids liked it.  The yeast I used wasn’t very vigorous (the packet was one year past best by date) but it’s a pretty flat bread anyway, and it rose enough.  The onions make it sweet, the rosemary makes it savory, and it has a great texture.  It’s not as simple as true flatbread or tortilla, and uses more energy and ingredients, but it’s about half way there between a loaf and flat…   I’ll be making it again, that’s for sure.   Variations might be great too, like grated cheese instead of onion, or chopped chives, or any number of other things.

The Roman Bread is a lot like fruit cobbler, in that little can go wrong, you can do variations, and prep time is minimal.


 

Someone mentioned it in comments, but I’ll repeat that the Texas preparedness tax holiday continues until Monday midnight.  As long as you order and pay before then, you get the tax back, or don’t pay it.   The list and limits are here.

 


The problem with my truck not starting may not have been the battery failing.   There was no juice, and the battery read 12.8v while connected, but a new battery failed to solve the problem.   Still no start, still not enough juice to run any accessories.   I will be troubleshooting that further today, I didn’t have time to look at it before, once I knew there was still an issue I just closed the hood and walked away.  Very weird though.

The rest of today will be me working the list.   And it gets bigger every day.

I encourage you, in the strongest possible way, to build up your food supplies.  Stack it high.

nick

Sun. Apr. 17, 2022 – Happy Feast of the Resurrection

Cool and damp this morning in Houston.   Dew is heavy on the ground.  I’m hoping for sunlight and warm soon.

 

To the readers who are believers and who follow this calendar, I wish you a glorious Feast of the Resurrection.   If you have to wait a bit, please remind me when the day comes so I can offer you good wishes as well.

 

If you are a believer of an older tradition… and celebrate Passover, I wish you well.

 

And if a believer of a still older tradition, Happy Feast of Hestia/Esther.

 

Whatever your faith or lack of faith, or even if you reject the idea of faith, I think we can all celebrate being alive, which is not guaranteed nor mandated, especially in these unsettled times.

 

If you are so inclined, don’t forget to prep you spirit, as well as mind and body.

 

nick

Tues. Feb. 8, 2022 – the center cannot hold…

Cold edging to ‘cool’ later in the day.   Supposed to be sunny and clear, mid 60s at some point.  That would be nice.

Spent Monday sheparding the HVAC guy and managing my renters.  Didn’t get much done on the list.  Picked up D2 and we ended up spending the rest of the afternoon breaking down bulk meat and vac sealing it.  LOTS of opportunity to talk about economics, preps, sanitation, and cooking.  She weighed, ran the vac sealer, and marked the bags.  It was a nice hour and a half together.

I did get a couple of things put away, and made one small repair on something for my swapmeet.

I looked up the Houston area Hamfest, to see if I wanted to try and sell some stuff, or wait for the Hamfest, but it’s been canceled for this year.   That’s a real bummer.  No explanation was posted.

Today I will be heading to my client’s house.  I’ll set the new TV mounts, and get ready for Wednesday, when I think I’ll have some help  to hang the danged things.  They are just too high and too heavy for me to feel safe doing it by myself.  Getting older, and hopefully wiser.

Do what you can while you can.  Things continue to get weirder.   Stack it up.

n

Sun. Jan. 30, 2022 – sleeping again, or more, or something

Cool and dry?  Or cold and damp… yesterday was nice.  Dry and just slightly too cool.

Didn’t get anything of substance done yesterday.  Slept late, watched and bid on auction lots for the lake house, and avoided my TODO list.

I’m taking today as it comes, not making any predictions about what work I won’t actually do, and maybe some will get done.  Because the world has turned into opposite land, maybe that will let me be productive.

Reading posts from March of 2019, and a bunch was going on.  Interesting to look back.  Also something to do instead of going to bed.

Do as I say, not as I do, and get some stuff done off your list.  Time is short, it ALWAYS is.  Stack stuff.

n

Mon. Dec. 20, 2021 – getting closer

Cool and clear, but of course there is a chance of rain. It stayed cool and breezy all day Sunday.

I was outside in the cool and breeze, in shorts, long sleeve t shirt, and a zippered jacket. I like the freedom of movement when climbing ladders and moving around that I get from shorts. I added a knit hat and was comfortable all afternoon. Without it, my nose was cold and I wasn’t comfortable. If you don’t normally wear hats, and it could be cold where you are, add some to your preps. One of the things I like about getting older and giving fewer *cough* flocks… is wearing hats for fashion, and ‘cuz I like them. They also keep my head warm and the sun out of my eyes, but really it’s about looking cool…

I got enough lighting up that I’m happy with the result. There are a couple of things I could add, but I’m out of time. The tree is up, lit, and decorated. It even has some presents under it! Since we’re only a couple of days away from Christmas, that is a good thing.

Plan for today is to take some stuff to storage, buy some groceries, and head out to my client’s later in the day, or possibly delay that until tomorrow. My wife is working at the office today, leaving the kids with me. I can park them in my client’s home theatre, but it would all be easier if I can wait for my wife to be at home on Tuesday.

Sometime soon, I need to sort and wrap my own presents too. Most of them were purchased so long ago I’ve kinda forgotten what I have. Some preppers make lists, I make piles.

I should also get a plan together for Christmas dinner. I’d like to have friends over, as we haven’t seen them in a while. I’ve got a nice ham, and some beef ribeye roasts in the freezer. And maybe, I could take the time to cook the elk that has been taking up space for these last few years…last time I tried to cook it in a hurry and it wasn’t the greatest. Hmm. Cookies need baking too. And maybe I should pick up some fresh veg.

Well, that’s my next few days sorted! Plans are easy, aren’t they?

Stack some stuff. Give yourself some choices.

nick

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