Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Fudge

This is another heirloom recipe.  Something my family has been making for as long as I can remember...meaning more than 50 years.  I remember as a young lass sleeping in an upstairs sparest of bedrooms, just off the dearest of non-scary attics, realizing that my mother stored her beloved fudge in a wonderful gold and white fruitcake tin in said attic.  I don't know how many years I stole and enjoyed this fudge covertly.  Just suffice it to say it happened multiple times.  And my mother was a wonder of housekeeping and bookkeeping.  Which means I was an equal wonder of cover theft (or else my mum just forgave me and moved on, but that's neither here nor there).

Christmas Fudge

In a large pot (or bowl) break up and mix:

12 oz german (sweet) chocolate
12 oz semi sweet chocolate (just use chips)
1 pt. marshmallow fluff
2 cups chopped nut meats

You'll need a strong arm, or a willing fella.  Which makes this a very romantic Christmas recipe.

So while you're strong-arming that in a bowl, the more delicate of the pair shall do the following:

In a heavy saucepan, mix and then boil:

2 Tlb. butter
1 13 oz. can evaporated milk
4 1/2 c. sugar
1 pinch salt

Just stir it up, bring it to a bubble, and stir it for 6 full minutes (at the full bubble).  When it's all done, pour it into the chocolate/marshmallow mixture and strongarm it once again:

So strong arm it all together, and push it into a nice big pan.  This makes a wonderful amount of fudge...more than enough for a family, but never enough to share. We sent all of our first batch with soldier packages.   We've got some post Christmas soldier packages to send out, and even so, there's plenty of good, mellow, creamy sweet fudgy goodness for everyone.

To me, if there is fresh fudge, it MUST be Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Figgy Cookies!!!

Oh bring us some figgy pudding
Oh bring us some figgy pudding
Oh bring us some figgy pudding
Oh bring them right here

Oh bother (sorry, that's Pooh, not Dickens)

I have  no idea what that line in the classic carol talks about because I've never researched or baked a "figgy pudding".  I honestly don't care.  I know I should care because a baked pudding is enchanting, and I do have some cooked figs in the fridge tonight.  But I do care about figgy cookies.  Because they are really and truly awesome.  So for tonight it's figgy cookies -- for Christmas weekend, who knows!  With Google, many things are possible...

And we DO have a recipe for figgy cookies tonight.  It's not anything-free, but if you're like us, you'll adjust and adapt so that you can enjoy this and every recipe, no matter what your dietary restrictions may  be.

This is a sacred (more than 50 years in my family) recipe.  Use it or not as you wish, but it must not be lost, so I'm sharing.

So......My Nonny's Fig Cookie Recipe

1 cup dried figs (chopped)
1/2 cup water
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup margarine (that's what the recipe says, we use butter)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup flaked coconut

Cook water & fig.  Cream margaring, sugar.  Add egg & vanilla.  Add cooked figs, flour, baking pwder & salt.  Roll in balls and in coconut.  Press down center with half pecans. 

Now a few notes of reality.  I cooked my figs this year in the crockpot, covered with water while I was serving at my obligatory day job.  When I got home, I shut it off and cooled the figs, then drained them and added them to the recipe.

Another thing, even if I could find margarine, I wouldn't use it.  It's unhealthy.  OKOKOK, I already know.  White flour, brown sugar, none of it is healthy.  But I only ever use butter.  That's just me.  I STRONGLY suspect my mother wrote margarine because she was a child of the depression.  At some point, margarine cost 10% of what butter cost.  Yeah, well, do whatever you need to do.  If you use "spread" you're throwing your money away and you'll waste your time and ingredients and your recipients will think you're a really lousy cook.  These cookies are awesome with butter.  I can also remember them being awesome with margarine, but I don't really think you can find "mazola, corn goodness" margarine any more, so don't even bother.

Another note, that was a "depression era" amount of coconut.  You'll need a lot more.  Trust me, it's worth it.

Hugs to you all tonight, I really hope that you appreciate this insight into the culinary history of us humble folk here at The Haney Place.  Thank you all for your continued support, despite our recently sporadic publication.  We truly do appreciate it.  We are so encouraged by the fact that folks do find our posts helpful and informative. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

An End - And A New Beginning

We've been quiet for a while.  It's not that there hasn't been plenty going on.  For a time, I decided to forego the blog to make time for another writing project I've been working on. it just so happens, I don't think it's the blog that's taking up my time.  Also, there are so many times I've thought "I need to blog this or that".  This blog has a life of its own.  Even for me -- at the very least it's an archive of me and my family.  Recipes, moments, good times, food, food, food....  well.....

At any rate, a chapter closed this past week with the passing of Big Steve's dad.  He had been quite ill for some many months.  Even so, it's so hard to say goodbye.  Once again today (as has been his habit for the past several months), Steve ran the course of the NYS Thruway on his way home from his parents' house, and this time, he brought a remembrance.  So I took a picture:

Some cards and well wishes, along with some really fragrant flowers from a memorial service.  My own plants add a bit of symmetry.  This is a remembrance of someone whose art was much too far-reaching for me to even try to represent in this blog.  This is our dining room right now.

So on to the kitchen, and what greeted me this afternoon as I passed through.  I'm torn between being sorry that it bloomed so early, and will be gone by Christmas, and then the beauty of it flows through me, and God's beauty knows no human season.  I was so overcome by its glory, I hope this digital photograph shows something of the newness of life that I felt.

If I was a real photographer, I would have staged it with proper lighting, etc.  But then it wouldn't have projected exactly the simple, yet exquisite beauty that I enjoyed while entering my kitchen this afternoon.

At any rate, I guess I'm back to blogging.  Thank you so much to everyone who has inquired where we've been and fear not, Christmas baking and merry-making is in our immediate blogging future.

Thanks so much each and every one of you who has stuck by us this far.  It humbles us to realize what an effect this silly, simple little blog has on people.  Thanks again.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Clean House(Pets) and also, the Withering Look....

Well, it would appear we had a flea problem earlier in the week.  Oy!  It seems much longer than a week since that fateful day we took Elsa and Pearl to be groomed.  Oh, ok.  I know, I KNOW.  We can and should be doing this ourselves.  BUT...bottom line, we took them to a groomer.

So.............they came home clean, BUT WITH FLEAS!!!!  I kid you not, and actually, it's not surprising  Lots of puppies are there only for flea relief, and fleas being the pesky sons-a-guns they are, well, it was just a matter of time. proper yuppies (well, we don't really want to be yuppies and if you call us that we'll deal with you in short order, but when we're miffed, we try to do it, but we don't do it well at all!!!), we went back to said groomer and they said they would be happy to re-bathe said puppies at no additional cost (mentally does the math -- what on earth???  More fleas????).  So no, that didn't work.  I don't need even more fleas. 

We purchased the vet supplied chemicals to eradicate fleas, which it did, but then the poor pups suffered with toxic diarrhea/other symptoms.  It's been so long since I have dealt with fleas, that I was ill prepared to the task at hand, so again, Haney Place dogs deserve the best we can give them.  Henceforth, these puppies will only be dealt with homeopathically and naturally, but too little too late, we still had itchy, toxic puppies here.  Something HAD to be done!

Steve rigged up really AWESOME dog washing apparatus in the upstairs (master) bathroom.  Oy....  It was effiencit, for real, but dogs being what they are, and the fact that they have never been bathed at home yet, the tension was mighty high.  I rolled up my sleeves and prepred to get down to business!!! 

Yes, well, I'm pretty sure he told me the status of the various valves, switches and stuff, but long story short, the warm water wasn't forthcoming.  I saw a valve I thought was at fault.  I had to step up on something, tippy toed, face fully extended to the shower head, and WHAM!!!  Before we even began, a face full of something...

Oy....but anyway, we proceeded.  I don't know if you've ever experienced a shy dog evacuating their anal gland, should only happen in the shower, just sayin'....

Wash one dog in emollient oatmeal shampoo (huff, puff, puff) and turn to second dog (WTF????)  No way, and yet, by golly, I've raised kids meaner than you, so in you go, and the second one gets a good bath.  So sweet, so happy, so relieved, we're all really proud of the job we've done.  So we RUN for the back door, and that AWESOME rare October sunshine.  This weekend really is a gift to Upstate NY after all we've been through recently.

So.....................Big Steve is sitting in the sun out back, sipping something bubbly and cold, and when I express my (then) stress over all the water upstairs, he counters with something like "Didn't you put towels down on the floor"?????

NOW....THE WITHERING LOOK!!!!!   LOLOL!!!  Men, don't try this at home.  That look could wither the oldest walnut tree!!!

So we proceed to the cat.  Egads.  It has been decades since I bathed a cat.  Not a pretty sight.  Lots of blood (mine).  But hey, I figured I had trendy goods, which any cat would be proud to be bathed in!

I don't know about you, but I absolutely adore and look forward to those cherished moments with my stylist.  Oh, wow.  The warm water, the massage, the fixing of everything that's wrong with how I appear (in her power, albeit...but I digress).  At any rate, Calvin wasn't exactly into it, but he was really ok...God love him, he was really ok!

Well, what I was dreading most (bathing the cat) turned out to be the easiest task of all.  Glad I saved it for last.  Mr. Calvin Cat totally accepted and even seemed to enjoy his bath with his trendy shampoo.  I won't say he loved every part of it, but I can honestly say that I have the cleanest, and calmest cat on the block.  And this episode of fleas is over.  For real. 

And this has all inspired me to complete the homeopath training for once and for all. 

Chemicals stink, in your nose, and metaphorically.  I'm done with them.  And so are my furbabies!  I almost feel like we've won a small battle today!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Regarding Babies...and Dust...and Such....

I shared this with a friend tonight....and it brought back such wonderful memories.  I've got lots of firsthand knowledge of babies, but of course, no two babies are the same, and no knowledge of any one baby gives one the right to assume they know about babies.  Babies are something else.  They change your entire world.  Everything you think is important is either still important and elusive, or else it's not so important any more.  At any rate, there is no denying that babies, human or otherwise, change our lives forever.  Someone shared this poem with me when I had three babies in diapers.  I took it to heart, and I believe it's as true today as the day it was written, and the day that author was born, and her mother was born, and her mother was born, and...well, you get the idea...To my  mind, it just proves the greatness of God....

Song For a Fith Child, by Ruth Hamilton. 1958

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth

empty the dustpan, poison the moth,

hang out the washing and butter the bread,

sew on a button and make up a bed.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?

She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue

(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

Dishes are waiting and bills are past due

(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew

and out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo

but I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.

Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?

(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,

for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.

So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.

I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fall - New Beginnings

I love the fall.  I love everything about the fall.  I love that there is change in the air.  I don't mind that the days are getting shorter, but even still, they're not that short.  I love that feeling of "vacation's over, back to work" even though Big Steve and I didn't enjoy much vacation goodness this summer.  When I was a little girl, I used to LOVE the smell of that new box of crayons for school.  I loved the new school year, the clean slate, the potential A+'s, the new teacher I hadn't aggravated yet.  It was all so good.

There's a precious little girl in my life with all the same optimism.  Even though I assured her the garden was spent, she wanted to explore.  I tried to explain how the weather made all the veggies come in extra early this year and there wasn't the same Labor Day bounty we have come to expect.  Nothing would dissuade her. one should expect, eternal optimism paid off.  I need to take a page out of little Lekya's book.  Expect good things, expect blessings, and that's exactly what will happen.  As evidence:

Now, I assure you.  We did not plant pumpkins this year.  It's a gift from God.  We didn't sow, but we reaped.  And what a lovely pumpkin it is!!!  It came out of the compost pile, just the way that God uses the compost of our lives to bless us and those around us.  What a wonderful Father!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Zippy Chicken

OK - I know that's a lame title, but that's just what it was.  Tasty, zippy chicken.  If I did it again (and I will) it would be just a little bit zippier (a little more red pepper flakes).  But it was so good, and the leftovers are my lunch for tomorrow.  Yummy!!!!  And cheap eats.  I'm guessing dinner for two with leftovers for lunch -- under $5.  Good stuff!

Big Steve and I started low-carbing a week or two ago.  We've both lost several pounds already.  But we had reached a crisis stage.  You see, we had a wonderful houseguest for the summer who ate neither beef nor pork.  No problem, we adore chicken and meatless meals.  So we had chicken this and chicken that during the summer.  I enjoyed it, but Big Steve is a red meat kind of guy.  So he got a bit overdosed on chicken and a bit underdosed on red meat.  So for the past two weeks it has been red meat this and red meat that.  Honestly, I was just about to puke red meat two days ago.

So..............yesterday we had awesome shrimp and the last of the green beans  from the garden.  But for tonight, I took some so-so looking drumsticks from the freezer and wondered what to do with them.  I wanted something with a soy sauce base. 

Enter zippy chicken!  (And mashed faux-potatoes...low carb yumminess!!!)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pineapple Angel Food Cake

I won't try and kid you into thinking this is in any way good for you, but it's got the be the easiest "homemade" cake for summer.  It's light and refreshing, did we mention easy?  Two ingredients - and you're done.  And it would be perfect to take to a picnic or a cook-out.  One of our guests had his with whipped cream and cherries.  But I don't really think it needs a topping.  Unless you're young and trim and can afford the extra calories!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Spicy Summer Chicken & A Revelation

Tonight we had something I'll call "Spicy Summer Chicken".  I had some chicken breasts to use up and I was trying to think of something new.  I also wanted to tap into the goodness of the fresh garden veggies. 

Now when I'm alone in the kitchen cooking, my mind is usually going a million miles an hour.  Tonight was no exception.  So I'm cutting up onions the way I always have - I cut them in half, then in quarters, and then slice them right into whatever I'm making.  It makes a slicey dice.  It's just the way I do it for lack of a better way.  So I get to thinking "someday I'm really going to have to learn to chop onions the right way".  And then it hits me...I've always done it like this, it has always worked.  I raised four children doing it this way, also fed countless others goodness knows how many thousands of meals over the years (I'm a feeder).  I'm content, it gets done, what am I thinking???  No, seriously, this was my revelation.  It may seem silly and small, but why do we always second guess ourselves?  Why do we always think someone else has a key or some knowledge or skill that we don't?  Why can't we just be ourselves and be content?

I'm wondering how much of this negativity toward myself I really do carry around.  It's good to examine and improve ourselves, but probably not a good thing to always think we're not quite up to the mark.  So I'm going to try to be more conscious about this in the future. 

I'm not sure if this makes sense to anyone else but me, there it is.

And now a recipe, or as we call it here, a method. 

I know that's not a good picture, but it's the best I could get in a dim room.

At any rate, I cut up the chicken breasts into tenders-like pieces and put them into an oiled baking dish.  Then I made the sauce.

Drizzle some oil in a skillet, then add
chopped onions (we used two medium onions tonight)
chopped garlic (as much as you like of each)
(You could also use peppers, if you wanted them)

Stir over medium heat till the onions just start to soften.

Then I added:

3-4 large fresh tomatoes, cut up (you could use canned)
salt & pepper
whatever you like to make it spicy - I added crushed red pepper, tabasco sauce, cumin
Soy Sauce (we use Bragg's)

Simmer this 5-10 mins, then pour it over the chicken in the pan.  Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Voila!  It's low fat, it's fresh and taty.  It really was tasty, and the chicken was nice and tender.

On the side, we cooked some zucchini in chopped tomatoes with garlic, oregano, etc.  Yummy!

And then there were mashed potatoes. 

It was really very satisfying, not really expensive, and you could actually do a lot of it before work, if you like, and then have an easy meal to come home to.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Help Orphan Puppies - You CAN Help!

Today I'm asking all my friends to take just a second of their time to help our friends at Help Orphan Puppies.  You may or may not know that these are the good people who brought us our dear Pearl.  Pearl is such a joy to us, and a real comfort to me and Big Steve and Elsa upon the loss of our dear friend Tuffy.  They knocked themselves out to see that Pearl and her littermates received the best of care and attention.  She came to us as a healthy, confident puppy, who had received optimatal care and plenty of expert handling and training at her tender age.  I can't say enough good things about them.

Now for the request - and it's a simple one.  Just PLEASE go vote for our friends at the Pepsi Refresh Your World Contest.  You don't have to sign up or do one thing, unless you want to power vote.  Power voting is easy and fun.  You can get a bunch of votes with one click simply by entering the code from your Pepsi product.  I did it just now, and believe me, I am NO computer genius!

So pleae go vote now, and vote every day!  And power vote if you can.  If I can do it, anyone can!  It would mean a lot to me, and I know it would mean a lot to Tuffy and Pearl.

Thanks friends!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Today our hearts are heavy with the loss of our good friend Tuffy.  Tuffy had been with us for only five years, but he accomplished so much in that short time.  We had never even heard of the breed, keeshond, before we met Tuffy.  But true to his breed, Tuffy had a perpetually cheerful outlok and disposition.  He was sweetness personified.  He was a kind and gentle companion to many, beginning with my Uncle Bump.  I'm not sure where Tuffy's journey began, but at four years of age, my uncle got him from a rescue organization.  Tuff and Uncle Bump absolutely adored each other for six years, at which time Uncle Bump passed on.  Tuffy seemed lost and heartbroken when he came to live with us shortly after that.  He cried and cried at the front and back doors night after night.

Tuffy proved to be a gentle and loving companion to our elderly dog Theo, until Theo passed away.  Then, upon the loss of Theo, Tuffy went suddenly mute.  He would lay each night just looking at Theo's empty bed.  Big Steve and I thought it would be good to bring another dog into the house to help Tuffy return to his happy self.  That new dog turned out to be Elsa, a super-shy (I am thinking puppy mill) dog we got from Peppertree Dog Rescue.  (They are wonderful people if you are looking for a dog, or if you want to support a great rescue organization).  Once again, Tuffy showed his true colors of love and compassion as he helped ease Elsa's fears and showed her how to be able to live happily with humans.  I really do swear that dogs communicate just as we do, only not with words. 

During the time Tuffy was with us, he was a perfect "starter dog" for many people who were really afraid of dogs.  From foster kids who were terrified to be in care to begin with, and then further terrified of dogs, to kids on the street, to all kinds of house guests.  Tuffy used his gentle nature and sweet disposition to disarm the most fearful human. 

He came to be known as "Tuffster" "Sir Tuffs-a-Lot", "Tuffalupagous" "Little Buddy" and other names.  I used to like to recite the poetry to him "Blessings on thee little man - barefoot boy with cheeks of tan".  He wasn't the brightest dog in the pack, but he was certainly the sweetest.  All he ever wanted was pets, pets and more pets from humans.  I really believe that tonight he has the sweetest pets from Uncle Bump as well as the angels.  Such a good dog MUST be in heaven.

Run and play now, Tuffy, like you were a puppy - this time you will DEFINITELY not end up in a rescue situation.  We've given you back to Uncle Bump.  You were only ours for a season, after all.  We surely will miss you though.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Chicken Go-To-Bed

A few years ago, I tried a recipe for my family called "Chicken Marengo".  As the story goes, it was named that because Napoleon insisted on this meal immediately following the battle at Marengo.  I don't know if that's true or not, I'll leave that to the historians.  But the name "Chicken Napoleon" stuck in my mind, and I could never find the recipe again.  But it was soooooooooooooooooooooooooo tasty, one of my daughter's personal favorites, and I was sorry to not have that recipe.

Recently I was sniffing around for new crockpot recipes and I came across a recipe for Chicken Marengo.  The light bulb went on in my head, and I was thrilled to see a crockpot version of something that formerly took half the evening to prepare (who needs that after a long day at the office!!!).

Last night, I ventured out to the freezer to take out the chicken for tonight's dinner.  I tried to remember the names "Napoleon" and "Marengo" but I was so exhausted that all I kept stammering was chicken....chicken...chicken...and finally blurted out "Chicken Go-To-Bed".  A star is born!

It wasn't quite the same, but was every bit as scrumptious as the more labor intensive recipe.  I'll still make traditional Chicken Marengo when time permits, but for now and ever more, this will be known as Chicken Go-To-Bed.  Click below for the details!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


What can one say?  Tomatoes.  We LOVE them!  And here in Upstate NY, tomatoes are a wonderful provision.  They grow well (most of the time) and abundantly.  And they're so versatile.  So this is the first Haney tomato installment.  Tonight, we're simply cutting them up, seasoning them, and simmering them down.  Then we'll put them up in a boiling water bath.  Tomatoes, being an acid food product, do not need a pressure can bath. 

Big Steve picked a whole bucket of tomatoes.  By the way, that's a food grade bucket we scored for free (with the lid) from Hannaford (baking department).  It was formerly full of icing for those delightfully decorated cakes. 

By fall, it will be full of bulk purchased Ezekial mix grain, to be soaked and then baked into life-supporting bread.  I'm not big on the benefits of commercial bread, but soaked grain bread, well, please stay tuned this fall for recipes.

At any rate, Pearl is growing and learning, and true German Shepherd style, she is QUICKLY becoming an awesome watch/guard dog.  And she is so very, very intelligent that she does not mind following the lead of the humans as to level of aggression (which in her case is very delightfully evident).  She has an awesome ally in Elsa, who is definitely an alpha, but at the same time is a really good girl in her life with the humans.  Elsa is growing out of her fears, thanks to Tuffy and Pearl, and Tuffy is just plain hanging on.  He's such a good dog, and the Lord is calling him, but he's not quite ready.  So we keep him as comfortable as possible.  Just a pack update - we can't help ourselves.

Ok, I am not sure, and I'm not trying to be flippant, but a red velvet Queen Anne chair pulled up next to Mommy while she's blogging is not the worst situation which could befall a very aged dog....

So here we go with the tomatoes.  Just cut 'em up and dump 'em into a heavy bottomed pan.  Add your seasonings.  We like garlic, basil, parsley for a base.

Cook 'em down (whatever you got tonight) and then pack that nice boiling tomato stuff into sterilized jars, and nice clean lids and rings in boiling water, and water bath them for at least 15 minutes.  They'll seal down nice and tight, and last you the whole year.  And every time you take down one of those quarts (32 oz. is 1.5 times the size of a large jar of commercial tomatoes) you'll smile to yourself.  Because for mere pennies, you provided your household with about $3 worth of organically grown canned tomato product.  Why on earth don't we do MORE for ourselves, every day of our lives?  Why don't we understand how much we can do for ourselves? 

Now, Big Steve and I live right in the city, and we have a small lot.  We're what you'd call "Urban Homesteaders", so it's not like we're out on green acres or anything.  If you need help/support doing for yourself, don't be shy to comment and/or to ask.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Pack

Thanks all for your patience.  Tonight you may or may not feel blessed with a peek into our pack.  Right now, for a variety of reasons, it is my main focus.  Tuffy has begun to feel all of his 15 years, and each day brings something new, and new thoughts.  For anyone who has lost a pet, please bear in mind that we lost Theo in January of 2010, and then PooPoo this year.  The gravity of the "decision" is life changing, no matter how long you live, and no matter  how many times you are face with the responsibility of "that" decision.  These dear puppies and kitties depend on us 100%, even more in their puppy/kitty minds.  I'm not trying to be morbid, but that's just where our minds are tonight.  No decisions tonight - just enjoying the pack. 

At any rate, on to life!  And to the youngsters enjoying all that God has created for them to enjoy.  I know I have enjoyed them!!!  And so, in no certain order, the Haney Place Pack, for your enjoyment -- and please forgive the chaos of a three-dog household...

I make no apologies for my lack of cinenamagraphic skills.  I have none.  Spelling neither.  So fix it, if you wish.  It's bloddy HOT here tonight, that's just about all I know.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Random Stuff - And a Gourd Tree

This is really a post of random stuff.  Our lives have been mostly random lately, and we try to see the goodness where we find it. Big Steve got together with another bluegrass friend for some picking.  And I spent a good part of the day enjoying lunch with my 80-something-year-old mother and her almost 90-year-old cousin.  It was highly amusing, informative, and the food was very good. Also, it was HOT here today, no matter how you slice it.  So I was trying to stay inside for as much of the day as possible.

After lunch, I did our weekly shopping, and considering the number of guests we have with us right now, a weekly shopping is no small feat.  And stopped at the nearest Ocean State Job Lots for rawhide and dog treats.  Do you have one of those near you?  If so, you can get dog goodies very reasonably there!

At any rate, it was a really blisteringly hot day, if you were out in it.  Especially, I think, if you were in in it.  I was both.  So I was a bit drained when I arrived home with a huge carload of foods and goods to be put away. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fresh Blueberry Pie Recipe

So.....we are almost harrassed lately...why don't we post more.  It's just that there is SO MUCH going on.  It's not that we don't think "this would be so awesome to share" or "what an awesome picture".  It's just that, when the day's work is done and there is still and hour's worth of peas to shell, blogging becomes lost in the shuffle.  But that's not a good thing.  This humble little blog has begun to earn us a very modest income.  Very modest...don't get excited now.  BUT.....if one of the ads on our blog interests you, please feel free to explore that advertiser's information.  But PLEASE don't just click blindly thinking you'll help us.  Google is much too smart for that!!!  Rule of thumb, if you find it interesting, it will help us if you click.  If not, please just do what's natural and ignore the ads.

That being said...someone at tonight's dinner table shared that the fresh blueberry pie we had tonight was perhaps the first really fresh homemade pie he had ever enjoyed.  SERIOUSLY??????  Egads!!!  In this day and age, in this world of pre-made, pre-formed pie leathers (oh, sorry, I meant pie crusts), I guess there are any number of folks who have never truly enjoyed a fresh home-made fruit pie. we go!!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

White Bean Salad

As promised, here's the recipe for the  white bean salad we had yesterday.  A few weeks ago we had something almost exactly like this from a Greek food wagon outside the NYS Capitol.  It was heavenly.  So we tried it ourselves, and it really couldn't be easier.

Click on the picture for a closer look -- there's wonderful dill from the garden in there, although you could use dill from the store just as easily.

It's cheap, satisfying, really tasty, and healthy to boot! 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chicken Sauce

You know what?  Chicken Butt!!!  Ok, I know that's seriously juvenile, but my own children taught me that several years ago, and it's a smart a$$ joke for me even today (ask the young woman who works with me) but I digress....

Loads of years ago (since we are so old), my brother came home from dinner with the family of a friend (who just happened to be attending chef school somewhere in NYS) and declared he had enjoyed the BEST grilled chicken ever, hands down.  We copied the recipe, and YES!!!!  Hands down, this was the best grilled chicken recipe ever.  It's so simple, I hate to even share the secret recipe.  It's vintage (meaning in my big brother's own handwriting some 50 years ago), it's simple, and it's seriously tasty!  Please copy, and enjoy. 

It's just so easy, just mix it all up....

and then use a really cheap paint brush (or really expensive food brush, but of course, you already know where we stand here at the Haney Place......grill slowly, and end up with this:

Oh yes, good eats, and on the cheap, like we love to do here!!!  That recipe for white bean/dill salad tomorrow.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Welcome Pearl!!!

It is with full and happy hearts that we invite you to join us in welcoming a dear one, Miss Pearl!!!  Understand we did not enter into this relationship impulsively.  We have studied on this situation some months now.  We have searched high and low for just the right drop to add to the chemistry of this place.  We made our decision with great caution, so as to respect everyone's needs and feelings.  After all, three dogs is a bit of a handful, and a  heartful.  But we are happy to report that our prayers have been answered, and we have been blessed with a small (albeit rapidly growing) puppy machine who appears to have all the right stuff to be termed "best dog ever" someday.  At ony 14 weeks, she is really housebroken.  Even with a bit of a belly ache from moving day, this little "pearl" of a girl saved her poopies for the outside.  I don't know too many puppies with that amount of mental wherewithal, do you?  Add to all of this the fact that this little girl already understands (and obeys) "sit", "stay", "come" and best of all, her new name of "Pearl" after only 24 hours??????  We've seriously enjoyed the whole rescue thing with the older or needier pups, but this little well-adjusted ray of sunshine has brought some serious goodness and balance to our home already.

She's a bit dark, and I'm having a little trouble taking good pictures of her in this cloud and gloom, so I'll offer up her  rescue angels  photos (if there is any way you could help these good people, even $5.00, PLEASE DO!!!)

Now on to the name....her rescue name was "Tinker".  Adorable.  But, to me, a baby name.  I wanted the name of a strong woman.  I had a few names "Phoebe Gilbert" for one, and then there was "Thelma Lou".  Big Steve didn't agree.  Then today I demanded he come up with something, because I didn't think 24 hours should pass before a name was agreed upon by all (most importantly, that little blessed being!).  So he stated simply "Pearl".  Wow.  So simple.  And yet.....  Pearly Girl.  Knit and Pearl.  Pearl of the Ocean.  Precious Pearl.  And yes......the love of life of Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs....Pearl.........

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Music - Well, it IS what we do here....

So Big Steve was off to his bluegrass jam tonight, and I was here, and already he has returned home and still I don't think he can catch his breath the way I set a lovely table, put the food down and cleared away while their heads were spinning.  Little did he know that tonight, while he was off at his jam, my body and brain were encouraging me to resume my own music.  Now, mind you, after a decade and a half of the destruction of lyme disease my hands probably won't ever pull anything over a full octave again.

Even if my fingers would do what I askd them to do, those joints on the thumbs will be forever limited.  Up until a few weeks ago, that made me really angry, but I'm learning to come back lately, and although I realize I will never be a concert pianist, I also realize that I probably never would have been anyway, and I could still be a better pianist than even my piano teachers could have imagined.  If Mr. Stevens were alive tonight, I believe he would be proud.  Seriously, music teacher Mr. Stevens, music angel, Big Steve, it's my correlation, but you might appreciate it too....

So anyway, tonight was Big Steve's bluegrass jam night, and that's always a happy place for him to be.  But tonight it was something different too.  Tonight I dug out some old drill type music, and I all of a sudden wondered why I loved what I loved all along.  Keep reading...

The spinning song.  Ok, well, it was a drill way back when I was a little girl, but upon reading this, it's no wonder I always loved this particular piece.  I always has a fascination for learning about the settlers and before them, and how they lived, and why.

Further, in this book of drills, I found Berceuse, and that is where I've been tonight. Steve assured me earlier today that anything could be made to be bluegrass.  So, give me a couple of weeks, and I'll let you know how it goes!!!

In the meantime, I am so thankful to be making a comeback from almost two decades of lyme disease.  I'm not a support group (in fact, I HATE all the lyme disease support groups I have found), but I'll be glad to share what has helped me, if you contact me privately.  Love to you all!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Birds and The Bees recipe tonight.  Just beauty.  Big Steve was away for the weekend, and I was left to fend for myself.  So I could have chosen to be grumpy this am at 4:57....I'm sorry, but no matter who you are, that's pretty early!!!  But I chose to be a good guy and investigate what was going on with the near dawn din....I was greeted with a male cardinal sitting atop our feeder. singing his lungs out as if he might was moving, despite the hour.

I did NOT have my wits about me to have the camera at that hour.  However, I did get out a bit later and catch:

Pinks - which plant themselves each year.  God love em!

Oregano - already replacing that which we caught/dried/put away for the year.  The goodness of God!

 The Cosmos we planted a week or so ago, now taking root....

Verbena - I never heard of verbena before this - only the "lemon verbena" essence on 'Little House on the Prairie" -- this verbena reminds me of "Sweet William", one of my favorite flowers...

The clematis from my friend Claire, from NYS.  Claire, I hope you can enjoy the beauty of your gift to us!!!

The beauty of the roses that are growing wild here...we might have a bit of influence on how well they are doing, but can't take full credit...but lastly...the beauty of the day here..wish it was a better photo....

I just wish I had a more telescopic lens to appreciate his gorgeous redness!  He is eating and singing like it's his job, well, seriously, that IS his job!!!  Big Steve will have all he can do to keep that feeder full.  I only pray we might have film of a cardinal fledge, as we did a few years ago!!!

So you might now be excited, but we really are.  So there you go.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Respecting Our Elders

Another dog post. So sorry it's not a recipe. But here at the Haney Place, we truly believe that our creator gave us dogs for a purpose - our dogs teach us everythig we ever need to know. A lot of us had a good laugh at Tuffy, after he got shaved for the summer. Tuff's a real old boy, and the hair plus the undercoat were weighing him down in the heat. So he got shaved. More here

So anyway, we really do need to respect those who have gone before us, done the work, fought the battles, learned the lessons, and just lived the life. And even when they need a blankie to keep them warm on a June Saturday, that's ok too. We'll fold that blankie just right for them, because it's the right thing to do. Elsa is learning this. She's a shy dog, but also an alpha. But she's learning the respect, the order, the way it is. Why can't we all be more like our dogs???


Friday, June 3, 2011

Elsa Unleashed - The "Shy Dog" on FIlm

Hooray!!! For our followers, this is a huge victory!!! Actually, she has been off the leash for quite a while. But if you love the shy dog (we love all dogs!!!!) Hooray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. If you are a homesteader, this is a heartwarming clip of a hunting breed (the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever), behaving as the Good Lord intended. If you just really love dogs and/or really wish you were homesteading, this clip will warm the cockles of your heart. By the way, what are cockles????

At any rate, this is what I observed tonight, and this is pretty much what we observe every night, bless Elsa's heart. Tomorrow I promise to present a tutorial on a useful recipe, so thanks to our recipe readers to bear with us on our dog rescue victory tonight. Thanks to all of you for bearing with us whilst we brag on our canine offspring. Okay, it might seem lame for those of you who choose the pick of the litter with great care. But for those of us who choose the neediest....this film is bloody freaking AWESOME!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Flower Bed

Usually, there's no time to dwell on the flower bed. A few years ago, we put in some lavendar, some clematis, etc. We were hoping for the strongest willed plant to take over. However, they have all been quite respectful of each other. Having a holiday weekend, I decided to take matters into my own hands and plant a few annuals as well.

So we put in a dozen cosmos -- how dainty - as well as two dozen verbena - to me they looked like Sweet William, my favorite.

Then my attention turned to the vegetable garden. It was just over a month ago that it all went in. And it's all doing splendidly. The romaine is ROBUST and will make a remarkable salad in a week or two...


The blueberries are looking so hopeful:


The dill has planted itself, and is flourishing:

The peas are trying to tie their tendrils to the twine waiting to hold their weight:


And the leaf lettuce is holding it's own in this clay we have for soil, and overwhelming the other grasses...


There is so much to be thankful for. Even the rosemary is coming up in the pot!


I guess a few more weeks and we'll see where we really stand. But for right now, we are so thankful for all of God's provision!!!

Tuffy - Bless His Heart. Hopefully He's a Bit Cooler!

Tuffy two days ago..a magnificent specimen of a purebred keeshond:


Tuffy today, bless his heart.  He seems much more comfortable, albeit a bit ashamed at his nakedness....but cool in this dreadful heat/humidity.

At any rate, we had a visitor here today who is from India, and stated that it seems hotter here because of the humidity. I quite agree...pant...pant...pant....

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Recipe - Chicken Tiki Masala

A little while ago, I enjoyed Chicken Tiki Masala at Pizzeria Uno tremendously.  This was our attempt to imitate that dining experience.  The results were dinner-time nirvana.  We served it with a mixture of brown, mahogany and white rice, and steamed broccoli with sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and grated parmesan. 


It was really an easy recipe, but not fast food.  If you have more time than money, this might be just the recipe for you!  It was a bit warm, but not really hot.  Recipe here:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Recipe - Anna's Dip

Anna is a truly dear friend of ours.  She gave up her vacation to stay home and care for our high needs dogs for a week.  She really gave of herself to us, and we'll never forget that.

One week ago, Anna hosted me and my mom to a lovely afternoon tea.  The food, and the company, were equally delightful.  Anna is a really, truly good woman, very down to earth, and every inch a gentlewoman.  And can I tell you she can (and did) paper her own walls?

One of the delightful parts of our day was Anna's dip for fresh fruit.  It seemed quite sweet, and yet, it had a little kick of something.  As it turns out, it was quite a healthful choice, no sugar, and the epitome, at least to me, of what sweet something ought to be served with tea.  We just served it on Saturday at our dear Destiny's graduation brunch.

So I give you, Anna's Dip:

1 cup good sour cream
3-4 oz. good cream cheese (or the awesome cheese we taught you to make here:)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

With all ingredients at room temperature, whirl it all about.  You could use a mixer, or a whisk, or even a fork, if need be.

Serve with the prettiest, freshest fruit you can find.  Delightful!!!