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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tragedy

At the monthly lunch today, I was hit in the pit of the stomach by news of people in town. They lived near us. Our daughters played together.

It seems the young woman, same age as my younger daughter, was leaving her sister's house with children already in the car. As she stood outside, her ex-boyfriend drove up and she went out to talk with him. They had dated for four months and she broke up with him a week before.  They talked, were not loud or argumentative. As she turned to walk back to her sister, he shot her in the back of the head from close range. Then, he drove one block, parked, and shot himself. Now, this information does not jive with the newspaper account. However, a close relative told me this account.

My younger daughter, third child, played with this girl when they were little. They were in the same grade.

The father of the girl killed sat next to me. It was awkward, to say the least. This is the kind of thing a mother's heart worries about when daughters are older. From what everyone knew of this guy, he was okay and seemingly incapable of this horrific act. So, two children are motherless. Four children, hers and her sister's two children are traumatized.

HERE is the local paper's report. It was also reported in Nashville and Atlanta news, among others.

At the lunch the men of the church grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for the Fourth. I ate two hot dogs, slaw, lettuce leaf and huge slice of tomato. I picked up the lettuce leaf with the tomato on it and just bit from it. This was not a bit messy, something I anticipated. Toward the end of the tomato and lettuce, it was sort of folded. Delicious food. I ate too much watermelon and had a slice of chocolate, un-iced bundt cake with chocolate chips in it.

I am going to the funeral. My friend who is a relative of the girl said we would have a meal afterwards at the church, furnished by the church. We do that in the South, but it's usually potluck.

While I was looking for the obituary, I discovered a long-time friend's husband died. Well, I knew his sisters and son well, too. I have seen his wife three or four times and just said "hello" as we passed in WM.  He was four years older than I. Both of these people died too young.













New Cake--Result of Using Up Ingredients

It all started with four large over-ripe bananas, almost black. Now, this banana is the best kind for me to eat--scrumptious. Plus, I had a Betty Crocker Delights Spice Cake with pudding in the mix. I was going to use a cup of mashed bananas. After I mashed three bananas, the measuring cup was not full. Hmmm, so I mashed the fourth banana and the cup was still not full. What gives?

Well, I was using the 2-cup measuring cup. That's what gives! I immediately dipped a cup of the mashed banana into a one-cup Ball jelly jar and popped it into the freezer. So, now I had about 2.5 cups. I plopped the largest spoon of banana EVER  into my mouth.

Next, I broke three jumbo eggs into the mixing bowl and dumped in the 2+ cups of mashed bananas and beat it well. Then, I dumped in the cake mix and beat until wet. After this, I put in about 5 ounces of shredded carrots, organic. I figured this would not beat well, but it did.

Instead of a cake pan, I used a pie pan lined with the Parchment paper and foil lining. Actually, cupcakes were the idea, but the cupcake pans were not visible in the front of the cabinet. So, I made do because I did not want to make my back hurt with the search. I even had the cupcake papers out and opened.

The cake mix was supposed to have 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of oil. I deliberately left out the oil because I was putting in bananas and did not remember water. After all, who puts water in a cake mix? I intended to put Greek yogurt in it and forgot.

Since I forgot to time it, I had to just watch it and estimate. It turned out well--done in the middle and not burned. I did not ice it.

It tastes great hot with a dab of butter!  The carrots are not really soft, not crunchy. If someone who will eat this who doesn't like bananas, don't worry, it really does not taste like bananas. It's just delicious. After it reached room temperature, the carrots were bits of sweetness, not tasting like carrots.

Exbf hates bananas, so I will see if he can eat this cake. I will let him eat one bite before I tell him. His is not an allergy problem, just a texture problem.

I saved four bananas, have frozen bananas to use later, used up half the carrots, used cake with Sept use-by date. The eggs were getting old, so it was time to use up that dozen store-bought eggs.

The cake mix might have spoiled in several ways: 1)bugs could have hatched in the flour; 2)oils in the mix could have gone rancid; 3)the leavening agents could have gotten too old and the cake might not have risen properly  My kitchen is very hot in the summer, not a place where things will last forever on the shelf. I did not want to put the cake mix into a freezer bag and store in freezer to solve these problems.

This felt like a win in many ways. And, I get cake. I have plans for the rest of the carrots.

Your turn
Do you use add-ins when not called for? Do you ever just start thinking and putting things together?


Monday, June 26, 2017

Cooking With Schmaltz

Schmaltz is chicken fat. You know it as the fat you skim from chicken broth. Maybe you have used lots of chicken fat and skin to render it. I used the skimmed fat from broth.

After I skimmed the fat, I decided to use it to cook. But, what would I cook? Biscuits seemed like the easiest thing--drop biscuits.

I used the correct ratio of flour to fat, but this was the softest biscuit dough I have ever seen. Maybe I should have refrigerated it. Maybe I did. I have forgotten.

The resulting biscuits were okay, just not what I was aiming for. It was probably not the final product anyone wishes for when baking biscuits. I ate them, not unhappy at all with the resulting taste or texture.

While I baked these biscuits months ago, today, I finally read a bit about chicken fat. It appears that this is a popular fat for those who are religious Jews and do not eat pork products. Of course, the cultural Jews use it too, most likely from tradition.

Even though I have only cooked with chicken fat once, I have never wasted it. I put it over Dominique's oats or just over her food.

"Chicken Fat" is a song composed for JFK's youth fitness program in schools. Just a bit of trivia.

Your turn
What do you do with chicken fat? Do you cook with it?

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Not Like Me at All & Eat the Weeds

Thursday night, I turned down a free dinner...not like me at all. I really did not care if I ever ate again or not.

There is something wrong with a rear tire or two, and I did not take it to garage...not like me at all. That was my first impulse, but was not acted upon.

And, I still don't feel like eating...not like me at all. I have lost six pounds that I had gained back lately. 

Lately, I have been looking at the weeds in my yard, thinking--eat the weeds. That is not original. It's the name of a book--Eat the Weeds. It's not that I want to eat weeds, but why not? Today, I visited and revisited what I thought was plantain. After numerous internet checks, I know it is plantain. However, it is along the front yard at the curb where dogs relieve themselves. I'll pass. There are more plantain plants further up in the yard.

The sweet potatoes in the window did set slips which I pulled off and put in water so they will grow roots. There are still slips to be put in water once removed from the sweet potatoes. As I was watering, arranging, puttering with them and thinking, I realized something. Sweet potato tops are edible.

I popped one of the leaves in my mouth and ate it. The leaf was unremarkable, neither sweet nor tangy. I chewed and swallowed and was pleased with myself.  Tomorrow, I will eat dandelions. Plus, I will identify one more weed and eat it Monday. If anything does not agree with me, I want to know which one, so only one new weed each day.

The back yard is off limits for eating weeds since I sprayed it a few weeks ago.

Your turn
Do you eat weeds? Which ones? Did you ever just feel off?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Storing small items in the kitchen

In the late 70s my mother gave me dozens of boxes of cupcake papers. I baked cupcakes, I used the papers for other things, shared them, and still have one box left. Finally, I mailed some to my daughter in the 90s. I may have given some to my son and his wife. The boxes were always getting in the way, falling over and opening by themselves. Finally, I was down to one box. I buy the tiny cupcake papers and those are annoying on the shelf, too. One day, several years ago I used a plastic, Miracle Whip, wide-mouth jar to store the larger papers. Then, I have added the smaller ones since there was plenty of room.

This was when Miracle Whip came in quarts not the 30 oz. containers!!!

The large box of cupcake papers fits in there along with little cellophane packages of the smaller ones. I rip off the cardboard top on the tiny ones used to fit on a peg in the store. Implementing  the plastic jar increases my useable storage space. Plus, I don't have to worry something is getting squashed and the shape ruined.

Toothpicks were another troublesome item. I always have to tape the little boxes together to keep them from distributing toothpicks all over the cabinet and counters. One day several years ago, I decided to corral them. I did! I put the various boxes and little plastic cylinders into an icing container. I rarely use icing, but when I do, I wash them out for storing something.

Since I don't use toothpicks to pick my teeth, I rarely used them and bought more for whatever. One day, little cylinders of toothpicks were on sale. This supply will last me the rest of my life since I only use toothpicks to test a cake or clean in a little crack.

Yes, I feel obligated to explain the excess of things I have.

Both these storage items have worked for the last 20 years. They did not have to be purchased. Both are sturdy enough to protect the contents from being crushed or escaping and romping where they should not. By writing "toothpicks" on the outside of the icing container, no one has to ask me what is inside or look in there if I have asked someone to get an item from that cabinet. In the clear plastic Miracle Whip jar, the contents are obvious.

OMG--I just realized my mother bought things in bulk. So, that is where I got this trait. She bought these for pennies on the dollar, a clearance, I think. She did not buy case lots of items, just bought things reduced to an unimaginably low price.

Your turn
Genius? lol Do you use items you would have thrown away for storage? What have you found to be perfect for storage without a purchase? Do you ever have epiphanies like I did about buying bargains in bulk and sharing? What is your favorite storage hack for small items?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

From a Rainy Day to Tornadoes

Thursday was annoying with continual rain. Finally, I decided to watch Dr. Oz. No, I am not because the weather stations all are looking for tornadoes. Yes, there were tornadoes around Birmingham. If you hear names like Fairfield on the news, that is one of the many cities that are butting Birmingham. This all happened 50 miles south of me.

This was just a tropical depression or something, never a hurricane, but it spawned tornadoes with 120 mph winds. I don't think Cindy came ashore that strong. Flooding happened in the same neighborhoods where it always floods. The annoying rain was not annoying anymore! Tomorrow, the weather will be the same but worse.

It was expected that Gulf Shores would get whipped around. Us, too. But, these tornadoes, while not unusual, were not what I expected here.

As soon as it quits raining, the yellow kitty will be trapped and turned in the be fixed at the animal shelter.

Update: Exbf said the tornadoes hit within three miles of him. He, also, is in metro Birmingham. He was only aware of sirens going off, but saw no bad weather.

It's time for The Gong Show. Remember that? This one cannot be as good as the one from the 1970s.

Has anyone gotten bad weather from Hurricane Cindy? Do you remember The Gong Show?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Grocery List

Last week, I did not open the sale paper. I bought milk and bananas, I think.

I have had a few problems that slowed me down last week and the first of this week. But, the grocery sale papers came today, and I have already made my list. Prego spaghetti was $1.29. I got two. Kraft salad dressing was $1.25--got one. There are fruits and vegetables on sale, but I need to eat what I have.

Except for PictSweet vegetables. The bags that were $1.89 are now $1. Those frozen vegetables are the focus of this week's shopping dollars. Except for the fact I will get tomatoes from the Farmer's Market.

Something is shoved back in the refrigerator, so I must get it before it is moldy. I am determined to keep my clean refrigerator clean.  No lost food means no wasted food. Too much untended food leads to waste!

Just now, I told exbf not to come on Thursday. It will be rainy and maybe stormy down his way. Plus, rain would cause the drive to be hazardous. It will rain here all day tomorrow. He would get soaked getting into the house since he is so slow. Now, I am glad I did not buy red grapes for him at $0.89/lb. They are not my favorite. However, I do freeze them for him if he is not coming in time to eat them in their prime.

We were going to see Wonder Woman. Hopefully, it will still be here next week. I like the old, Lynda Carter, red outfit better than this new one.

I finally quit itching. I think that I had hives, but the did not appear to be hives as I normally have them. My whole fingers were swollen.

Your  turn,
Who is feeling the effects of Cindy? Rain? Worse? Have you ever tried PictSweet frozen vegetables?