Thursday, November 25, 2010

A High End Thanksgiving - Holy Cow!!!

I'm pretty sure I know where holy cow came from, and it's quite irreverant.  Maybe "holy cats" would be better.  That was my father's favorite exclamation, at any rate.

Today, we were blessed on this day of thanks to have the means to travel (along with my mother, Big Steve, and daughter Stephanie) to visit Stephanie's twin sister Kim at her brand spanking new apartment in North Adams, Mass, and have dinner at a lovely bistro (a bit higher end than the Haney-ites are accustomed to in recent days).  Understand now, that Kim is a starving student, and her apartment is quite chilly (the heat is turned down, to save $$$).  So, we traverse the entire .6 miles from Kim's apartment to the Bistro and enjoy a lovely Thanksgiving repast.

So.....This appears to me to be the mecca of high art in N. Adams, MA.  We were graced with image, after image, after image.  Your thoughts, please!

OK -- I laughed at this.  Right at our dinner table.  I'm not trying to disrespect the artist, by any means.  But does anyone else think the visceral (Steve's word) nature is conducive to happy dining?????  Seriously, is it really just a flesh wound????

So then, we progess to the soup/salad course.  We all chose the soup, and it was impeccable.  A butternut squash/cider soup, gloriously presented with a swirl of ginger glace and a dollop of creme fraiche.  Yummmy!!!

So then the twins start their "I think I'll start acting like I'm 5 years old" re-enactment, and the results are here:

LOL!!!  It was only a pose for the picture.  Their blood sugar was beginnig to rise from the soup, and they were starting to feel frisky and fun.

So we turned our minds toward the "art".  Apparently, the topsy turvy trees were a hit before the topsy turvy tomatoes. 

This is art.  Yes.  This is art.

Kimber did her own art.  It is entitled:  Three forks, a knife, and a spoon.  Genius!

And finally, the large and impressive (I don't know what) art that could actually house my twins in the cold:

Again, I'm not exactly sure.  I know I was blessed by being in this art mecca.  I'm still trying to figure out how.  In the meantime, I'm going to head to the kitchen and start getting ready for our traditional Thanksgiving feast on Saturday.  Stay tuned!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ain't Nothin' Like a Meal

We arrived home from work a little while ago.  House was dark and chilly (heat was turned back).  I'm pretty sure the dogs were sleeping most of the day, since there is no evidence that they had any intruders to bite.  Poor dogs were crossing their legs big time, since we were a bit later than usual.  It was kind of bleak actually.  Well, then the humans sweep in, turn on the lights, turn up the heat, and let the dogs out to frolic a bit and empty their bladders.

Before you know it, there are onions frying up with some pork in a skillet, filling the whole house with it's warm goodness, the heat is coming up from the radiators, and the cat is demanding to be fed.

Now a short time later, there is black eyed pea jambalaya simmering on the stove, Big Steve is singing and playing the crawdad song on his guitar, Tuffy is looking content and Elsa is throwing her toys around the house like it's her job.

Nope, ain't nothing like the preparation and prospect of a nice meal that turns a house into a home.  Just my musings tonight.

You can find our black-eyed pea jambalaya here:

Tonight, we used leftover ham and pork.  Yummmmm!!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu at The Haney Place

This year, we're celebrating on Saturday.  I am so thankful that we will be surrounded by good friends and family.  Big Steve found a 25 (yes, that's 2-5) pound turkey.  So there should be plenty to go around.   Thank you, Lord, for it actually needs its own shelf in the fridge.

I hinted at a Thanksgiving menu a bit back, and I can't tell you how many have asked about that.  Especially those of you who know us best.  Our lives are BUSY, that's for sure.

So here's our menu.  I'll give the secret to how a busy person can produce such a feast in a day or two.  You'll love it, I promise!

  • Hot spiced cider
  • Triple mushroom soup w/brie
  • Perfect Roast Turkey
  • Mashed Potatoes/Giblet Gravy
  • Old Fashioned Bread Stuffing
  • Cornbread Stuffing w/Andouille & Crab
  • Sweet Potato & Apple Gratin
  • Creamy Butternut Squash
  • Cranberry Peach Chutney
  • Green Beans w/Carmelized Shallots & Roasted Mushrooms
  • Parmesan Crusted Creamed Corn
  • Pumpkin Bread Pudding w/Orange Ginger Custard Sauce
  • Hot Apple Pie Sundaes
Now, we'll probably also have the usual pumpkin and/or cranberry breads, and assorted pies.  What would Thanksgiving be without pies, I ask you? 

Notice, no appetizers.  We eat early, so we're not big on the appetizers.  The meal itself is so satisfying and there are leftovers galore for snacks later.  And for folks to take  home in containers with foil on top.  Thanksgiving is good!

Happy Holidays, friends!  We'll be busy here from here on in, and we'll keep you posted!!!  Oh, have you signed up at and adopted a soldier yet?  I see that there are almost 1400 soldiers waiting for an angel tonight!  How else can you become an angel tonight, I ask you????

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Our Pantry

We have been asked about our pantry.  We're not survivalists, per se, but we are prudent, hopefully.  Our family members know they can always come here for a good meal.  We don't do gourmet, but actually, we do, occasionally.  Stay tuned for our do-ahead gourmet Thanksgiving feast!  At any rate, should some sort of disaster occur, we have at least a few weeks of food to see us through, one way or another.

Given the fact that we grow and gather and store so much, we really do need a well organized and thought-out pantry.  For us, it is a tiny little "bedroom" in this old farmhouse.  No closet, barely any sunlight, which suits the pantry just fine and dandy.  So...a tour of a very well stocked pantry.


This is the dry goods -- canned vegetables, pasta, cereal, grains, convenience foods, dried beans (commercial), popcorn, canned meat, etc.

Then we have the baking/dried fruit center:


This also includes dried fruits, various mixes, etc.  As you can see, there is a goodly supply of vitamins/supplements on the windowsill.  Normally, I would not recommend such storage, but there is precious little light coming in through this alley window, so it's all good.

Now on to the food storage: 

Storage implements and such on top, dried and home canned foods next, followed by paper and cleaning products and then some delightful entertaining storage (aka huge foil pannage, huge turkey roasters, those blessed tins my mother gave me -- they hold the Haney Holiday Goodness, and then there is the wonderfulness of leftover Christmas disposable servingware).

Now onto the more miscellaneous:


So we're venturing into the realm of miscellaney.  Oh, and catch that crazy clamp light!  Top shelf (my daughter Kim's -- we're just about to rebless her with this "stuff" on Thanksgiving day); next shelf cards, stationery and stuff for the soldiers angels work; more food storage tools and food processing stuff that won't fit in the kitchen, and more envelopage (for the soldiers angels stuff).

Last but not least:


Looks like disarray in this picture, but in actuality it's a packing/shipping center.  Boxes, labels, customs forms, priority mail miscellaney, and oh, those two wee suitcases are MY BARBIES from my childhood.  I'm sure they're not worth anything except to me, but I swear, in another post, I'll dress and pose them and enjoy it immensely.

So, even though we're smack dab in the middle of the city and have no spare space, as you can see, there is room for a well thought out pantry.  I'm pretty sure you could do this in a corner of your bedroom, if you needed to.  More and more these days, I feel the need to provide for an immediate future.  I'm pretty sure, if left alone, our household could get by for a couple of weeks, at least.

We'll talk about the freezer in another post, really soon.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday -- November 14, 2010 - Recipe alert - Horseradish

So, ok.  We got yelled at for not blogging enough.  Apparently the day-to-day mundane stuff around here is interesting to some?  That is awesome to us, and at the same time, we just figure that everyone else is doing what we're doing...

At any rate, we had a productive, if non-interesting day here.  Big Steve is bemoaning the fact that we only took "after" type pictures today.  But we dug a ton of horseradish at my mom's yesterday.  Again, no "before" pictures, but we did end up with three really full quarts and one gift-size jar of the good stuff.  And we've still got to dig our own:

And I can assure you -- this stuff is for real.  Here's the method:  Dig your roots, and as quickly as possible (like don't let it sit in the fridge for days) peel these roots, and then cut them up and wash them well.  Then put the chunks into the blender, or you can grind it by hand, but only if you have a death wish.

So Horseradish is like a skunk.  If you threaten it, it will give out noxious and harmful, even sickening fumes.  It is a plant with a protective defense.  One of the few.  It is, however, a very healthy root to consume.  So you will need to decide where your need for heat meets your need for self-preservation.  No, seriously.  If you have never ground your own fresh horseradish roots, you have no idea what I am talking about.  But you soon will. 

Now think about liquid.  Water is a good liquid.  Then there is vinegar, plain white vinegar, which stops the enzymatic sinus killing (brain cell killing) action we mentioned before.  Here at the Haney Place, we add a mixture of 2 parts water, 1 part vinegar to the roots in the blender (in our case, the VitaMix).  We have heard that there are folks who will grind their roots and allow the roots several minutes of killer enzymatic activity before they add the vinegar.  We, however, have no such blind ambition.  (Get it?  BLIND ambition???)???

So....we add the roots to the water/vinegar mixture and grind it all together at the same time, and let me assure you, nobody will have a stuffy nose tonight. 

So everybody happy now that they know how to make their own horseradish?  It's really such a simple thing.  And very fulfilling when you have won out over a root. No seriously, it is a race for preservation with this stuff.

So once you have your freshly ground horseradish safely tucked away in the fridge, you can think about breakfasts for the freezer.  Tonight it was wraps, which seem to be a staple here.  Flour tortillas, filled with corned beef, scrambled eggs w/cheddar, and safely wrapped in waxed paper and then sturdy freezer bags.  Hmmm...I wonder how they would be with horseradish???

Breakfast security-- a very good thing aound here!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Babies - Best Picture Ever!

OK -- I'm sure it's probably just me.  But I was ecstatic today to get a flattering picture of the babies -- the pack.  OK -- there was some turkey involved...but I'm sure their hopeful, optimistic faces were only as a result of their love for their mommy/grandmamma....

OK, I know it's a little blurry, but hey, have you ever tried to take a picture of three puppies while holding a piece of turkey in one hand and a digital camera in the other???  LOL!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day -- Not a Memory - A Beginning!

We've all been gung-ho today about supporting our military -- those who serve today and those who served before.  And that is exactly as it should be.

But where will we be tomorrow?  I'm challenging you, my friends.  I know we've reached almost 2,000 independent readers of this blog.  Something I never dreamed could happen.   Wow -- are 2,000 folks seriously interested in the goings and comings of ordinary middle-aged, middle-income Americans?  Apparently, they are, and we are humbled at the thought of it.

At any rate -- It's awesome to set aside a day to love and remember our military.  But I'm proposing that we need to remember them EVERY SINGLE DAY.  After all, they are taking care of us, every single day.  Their spouses and children are sacrificing and living without them every single day for our benefit.  And I heard today that a father in China was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for speaking against the tainted milk that caused his daughter to be ill.  Think it can't happen here?  Think again!!!

All I'm saying is that who here in the USA would even worry about speaking out against something that hurt our child or loved one?  We would be yakking our heads off, and that's for sure.  Taking your freedom of speech for granted????  Stop it!!! Stop and thank a veteran, thank an enlisted person.  Seriously.  Here today, gone tomorrow.  If we don't hold them up, who should?  I ask you????

Now go to soldiers angels (.org) and sign up.  Do something real.  You feel it today, you'll carry it throughout the year.  You'll thank us!!!  And you'll end up thanking the real ones who have made a difference in your lives.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Miss Elsa Magee - Please Help Us Name That Breed!

I'm guessing mostly Brittany Spaniel.  She points now.  Frequently.  And quite well, truth be told.  But she's got that triangular smart-ass kind of face, and freckles on her paws.  Any constructive input?  She was determined "golden/sheltie" when she came into care.  LOL!!!  That was 20 pounds and a lifetime of growth ago.  It really doesn't matter what percentage of which breed she is, she's 100% ours!

As an aside, isn't little Tuffy totally COVETING that bit of pork?????

Fast Food - Haney Style

Pork roast, pierogi's and veggies on a weeknight when everyone worked?  Who does this???  Apparently, we do this at The Haney Place from time to time.  Although I couldn't eat the pierogi's myself, the rest was scrumptious.  And thank you Stiva for seasoning that pork roast to perfection!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mary Walker Made a Peck of Pickled Peppers....

If Mary Walker made a peck of pickled peppers, where's the peck of pickled peppers Mary Walker made?

Well...let's get a few things straight.  My name is Mary Beth!  :-)  And I did make a batch of pickled peppers tonight.  I'm putting some grey matter toward the little that is left in my produce drawer, so as not to waste any of the garden goodness.  So tonight I took the last of Big Steve's jalapeno's and pickled them.  Refrigerator pickled them, as there is only one big-ass jar of them, and we will use them before they could ever go bad.

So we did this:  We had fewer than 5 lbs. jalapenos.  We left them whole, packed them (loosely) into a clean 1/2 gallon jar we got from the Deli has previously held 5-bean salad.  It was awesome, but I am so glad it was gone.  Beans are healthy, but the sugar in this salad was not.  And it was so enticing!!!  But I digress...

We packed the whole peppers into the jar, after we poked each one several times with a sharp knife.

Then we poured the hot liquid over the whole mess.  In a week or two, they will be ready for use to eat alone (if you have a bloody death wish) or in recipes.

God bless you all tonight, and we're thankful that we used, and didn't lose, the last of our jalapenos!  (Thank you so much, dearest of Stiva's, for growing these peppers with such loving care).

Turkey Pot Pie at the Haney Place

We used up the refrigerator tonight, and made a mad turkey pot pie.  Only trouble was, nobody showed up.  So guess what's on the menu for tomorrow, LOL!!!

It really couldn't be easier...if you want a method (not recipe -- we're much more about method here) -- just let me know.  It's RARE that I cook and nobody shows up to eat...

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Recipe -- WOW!!! Ravioli Lasagna

There are a gazillion reasons I love this recipe.  (I NEVER exaggerate, so a gazillion is just about right, lol!).  And thanks to Woman's World magazine for the inspiration for this recipe.  Ravioli Lasagna?  Who wudda thought it?  Instead of cooking lasagna noodles and going through all that rigmarole, why  not use pre-made ravioli?  Why NOT???  So...Haney style fast food/convenience recipe -- not a recipe at all....just a way or a style...Take your big pan (our Haney broiler pan) and pour some premade (or homemade, but remember, this is fast food) sauce in the bottom.  Then take your frozen ravioli and make a layer of them in the pan:

So now, pour your mixture of ricotta, eggs, parsley, oregano, garlic, whatever, all over those lovely ravioli's...followed by another layer of sauce....  Tonight we used 2 lb. of ricotta, 4 eggs, 1/2 cup haney dried parsley, etc. 

So then you cover this goodness, and bake it in a 375 oven for about 40 minutes.  Pull that scrumptious smelling mess out of the oven, sprinkle about 1/2 lb. of shredded mozzerella on the top, shove it back in for 20 minutes.

Then you've got this wonderfulness.  We're talking 10-15 minutes of prep time, 45 minutes baking time.  So, if you're home at 5:30, you have an awesome dinner on the table at 6:30.  Yummmmmmmmmy!!! good is this?  Seriously...I'm asking you....  We had rye bread & butter from last night, along with some Green Giant steemers (broccoli & cheese) for a fast food menu ready in minutes. 

Thank you BJ's, for your offer of "buy four" get a frozen turkey for free.  Ravioli was one of the four.  Awesomeness.