Thursday, April 28, 2011

Crisis Food - Cooking From the Pantry

I am a great lover of preparedness.  I want to be ready for any emergency, from an ice storm that takes out the power for a day or three, or something more scary, like what we all thought we should prepare for following 9-11.  Not only that, but I really hate having to go to the store after work, or sending Big Steve.

So within the past 36 hours, we have had a real crisis here.  Big Steve was involved in a bad car crash yesterday and the past day has been a whirlwind of worry and phone calls, seeing to prescriptions and doctor appts, and prayer.  Mostly prayer.

So tonight when we got home from the doctor and had a pound and a half of good ground beef thawed from that cow we bought a few weeks back, what could we do?   It was alredy 6 pm and we were really bone weary. So it was pantry cooking all the way...and this is where a prepared pantry comes in.

Here's what we had -- we'll call it homemade hamburger helper.

Boil up some pasta -- your choice.  Gluten free, or regular, or whole grain, or spinach.  The shape or flavor doesnot matter.

In the meantime, fry up some ground beef and some chopped onions.  Tonight we used 1.5 lb. pasture fed ground beef and one really large onion, chopped.

Once that is nice and done, stir in some crushed red pepper flakes, some celery seed, some seasoned salt (Morton's is gluten free) some worsterschire sauce (i like it a lot, so we added a good heaping few tablespoons, at least) and a can of crushed tomatoes, or in our case, a quart of Haney frozen chopped tomatoes.  Stir it up good.

Meantime, the pasta should be done by now.  Strain it, pour it in with the meat mixture and stir it up good.  Put this whole mess into a big pan, stir in a fat bunch of cheese (cheddar or whatever you like) and pop it into a 325 oven for 25 minutes.

Now granted, it's not fast food, but it's not unreasonable food either.  And it's frugal, and tasty, and very satisfying at the end of a very stupid and scary day.

Not sure where this whole crisis theme will bring us...stay tuned...we've only just begun...  I don't want to do stressful crisis cooking every I''m off to check the freezer and pantry for something do-ahead for tomorrow.  Our schedule is already daunting...

Monday, April 25, 2011

My Heroes - There Are So Many of Them!

My humble work with Soldiers Angels has introduced me to so many and women who are giving and sacrificing their all for my freedom to be a brat (like tonight, leftovers for dinner and the Waltons with my feet up).  I may have some struggles, but I am free to struggle, bitch and moan as the situation warrants, seek and receive assistance, you name it.  So I really believe I have nothing to complain about.

I was browsing through past blog posts, and I came upon this one, mostly because so many folks seem to keep coming back to it.  It's as true today as the day I posted, and I believe it speaks for itself.  If you're not a soldiers angel tonight, you need to fix that asap.  Seriously.  Read more here:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter - The Haney Menu And a Few Recipes

Even without the significance of the day today, the day itself was a gift.  A gorgeous Spring day -- I think it was in the 60's even.  And I saw the first violets opened up in the yard.  My absolute favorite flowers.  They made me feel like living again!

It was hectic here today; we hosted a brunch for one gaggle of family members and dinner for another gaggle.  We were also blessed to have a dear friend of the family share our Easter celebration.

Brunch was: 

Later, dinner was:
  • Simmered Ham
  • Green Bean Casserole ( My daughter Stephanie NEEDS this dish!)
  • Scalloped Potatoes
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Haney Made Horseradish
  • Asparagus roasted w/garlic
  • Babka
  • Raspberry Topped Cheesecake
Here is a montage of yesterday's preparations for today.  It's going to take me a little while to put that babka tutorial together -- perhaps a week or two.  But it will be worth it.  It's a treasured family recipe - I remember helping my mother to follow my little Polish grandmother around, measuring out her handfuls of this and pinches of that, for that is how she baked.  And her babka was the best - I can't completely replicate it.  But I'm told it's very, very close.  So I'm content with that.

You will note that Calvin is in the first shot.  This is because, although he is new to us, he has already made a decision to be a Polish cat for Easter and truly enjoy kielbasa.  If you know us, you know that this little guy has turned out to be a real chow hound.  I wasn't sure how he would feel about the kielbasa...but did I even need to wonder?????

Please also note the egg tree -- my dear father (long since deceased) selected that branch years and years ago just for this purpose. I have tried to take good care of it from year to year. Some of those eggs are store-bought -- some are eggs that my own mother decorated way back when I was a little girl. So that was way back in the dark ages!  Next Easter we'll make a project of crafting some new homemade eggs for this tree.  Store bought is nice, but I would love to replace the hand-made ones that have broken over the years.

We pray that all of our friends had as blessed a weekend as we have had here.  Now here it is not even 7:00 pm, company is gone, the house is all tidy, and already we're trying to get ready for work tomorrow.  Whew!!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

I Finished A Project

I am always so glad when I finish a project.  I LOVE thinking about projects, and I LOVE starting projects, but what is most satisfying is finishing a project.  Unfortunately, I do more starting and WAY more thinking than I do finishing said projects.  Perhaps that's why there is so much satisfaction when I do finish.

At any rate, a co-worker and his wife recently celebrated the joyous arrival of the dear baby girl, Miss Molly Grace.  It was a first baby for them (the sweetest of experiences) and they made a choice of not finding out the sex of their new little bundle of joy until he or she arrived.  I totally applaud that decision!!!

So I had to decide -- what type of gift, and in what manner.  Finally, it was decided that a blankie was in order, and yellow was so cheerful, that had to be the main color.

Now to the technical stuff for my crochet friends.  This blankie is nothing more than a single crochet ripple over 7 stitches, done in the back loops only.  So it's skip one, crochet one, crochet three, crochet one, skip two, repeat.  That's really all there is to it!  Back loops only, mind you.  Any problems, let me know, and I'll try to help you.

The results are here -- I decided to photograph it at my desk.  After all, it WAS for a co-worker!

Blanket for Molly Grace

The main thing about a project is to be mindful of the receiver while it is being created.  We hear a lot about prayer shawls and such these days.  This little blankie is full of prayers for little Molly Grace and her Mom & Dad as well.  We here at The Haney Place wish them a full and happy life!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring, or Lack Thereof!

I drove this morning to see my daughter give a reading at MCLA in North Adams, Massachusetts.  Of course, given the fact that she is my own flesh and blood, I was in awe of the beauty, the cuteness, the wonder of her.  The fact that she looks like me has NOTHING to do with it!  All kidding aside, she is a very gifted writer, which is a good thing, since that is her major and desired field.

At any rate, I checked this blog for a post proclaiming Spring last year.  I know this winter has seemed endless to those of us in Upstate NY...sometimes our perspective is narrow.  I didn't think that was the case this year.  We really are enjoying (NOT enjoying) an extended winter this year.  Nothing has opened here...everything is still asleep.  Dormant, I believe, is the word for the stuff trying to exist outside.  Also the stuff (ourselves included) trying to exist inside.  But it wasn't this way last year at this time.  By witness:

At any rate, let's stay like my daughter.  Let's keep the creation coming...the beauty of the human spirit does not depend on the season.  Not if it's REALLY within us...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Knitting the Queen Mother...

I enjoy knitting.  I prefer crochet, but knitting is ok too.  Like many fiber enthusiasts, I can get carried away in the acquisition of said fibers.  Big Steve could share some secrets about yarn stowed here and there through the Haney Place, but he'd rather speak of other things, most times.  Some people collect patterns as well as yarn.  Some patterns are just a bit on the kooky side. 

Which brings us to the big event, next Friday, April 29.  The royal wedding.  Many Americans don't want to hear anything about it.  Many Americans can't get enough of the news.  I'm sort of in the middle - I don't approve of lavish weddings in general, but it would be fun to see all the pretty dresses and flowers and such when money is no object.

So combine a love of needlework with a fun topic, and what do you get?  Along comes a book titled Knit Your Own Royal Wedding!!!  No kidding - here it is:

Seriously???!!!???  Just a little over the top, even for me!  But if time and money were no object, who knows???  At the very least, I think the author/designer should get an "A" for creativity!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

End of the Winter Peach Cobbler (and dinner of course)

Well, there aren't any more Haney peaches here from last year, as you can well imagine.  So for a last minute "company" dessert, what could we do?  Canned peaches to the rescue!  This was a truly simple recipe, and that warm peach cobbler seemed to be a blessing to all here tonight.

So here we go:

2 cups white sugar
1 cup butter

Whip it all up good, and then add:

2 cups milk alternately with
2 cups self rising flour

Mix it all up, throw it all into a well greased 9 x 13 pan and then then dump a 29 oz. can of canned peaches on top and bake at 350 for 1/2 hour or so...

Here you go in photos both before:

And after (note how those pretty peaches sank to the bottom and moistened everything real nice..)

Tonight's dinner was grilled marinated flank steak, store bought dinner rolls with butter, and a lovely rice/spinach/egg/cheese thing I threw together without thinking about it.  If you want to make it, let me know, and I'll figure it out.  We marinated the flank steak (from that pastured cow we got a few weeks back) and it looked something like this (I'm still rubbing my tummy...)

And the rice/spinach/egg/cheese thing looked something like this...

And when they were digging in, it looked something like this...

No leftovers tonight, so I consider it a success.  When Steve and I remove ourselves from this place, I declare I will need farmhands to feed, at the very least....

At any rate, here at the Haney Place we pray tonight that God would bless you as richly as He has blessed us.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Asian Inspired Drumsticks and Fried Rice

Wow...a seriously substantial meal.  It was a cooperative effort.  I did the meat, Big Steve did the rice on the side.

So....Good CHEAP eats Haney usual, it's more method than recipe, so here we go!  Take a mess of drumsticks.  If you're frugal, they're way cheap at the market.  If you're whole foods, you don't need drumsticks, just a mess of chicken parts (one cut up chicken will more than do).  Leave the skin on.  Just my opionion.  Then mix up some chili sauce and soy sauce, equal parts.  Add a mess of minced garlic.  Stir it up.  Put your drumsticks (or other parts) into a pan big enough to hold them in a single layer.  Then spread the soy/chili sauce/garlic on top.  Now sprinkle on some sesame seeds - however much makes you happy.  Now, put it in the fridge for 1/2 hour-ish.

Next, throw the whole mess into the oven (uncovered) for about 35-40 mins at 350.

Meantime....chop up some onion and celery and garlic and toss it about in a wok with some extra virgin coconut oil (oh, mamma -- but you could use any oil you have) and toss and toss and toss (with soy sauce and a bit of horseradish) until it's as splendid as you can make it. 

This is GOOD, friends.  I'm just about to go up for seconds.  No kidding, my plate is in my lap and my dogs are wondering why they haven't had a bite yet!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Adirondack Bluegrass League, Acoustic Blue & We Won Something!!!

What a lovely day we spent up in Hadley NY today while attending the last Adirondack Bluegrass League show of the season.  It was held at Molly's Mason Jar, just a holler from where I used to live for a while.  It was a real nice day for a drive (about an hour north of here) and we did take note of the fact that there is still plenty of snow up there.  Yuck!  But the last of the snow didn't put a damper on anyone's spirits at this get-together.  And driving around at the place where I last felt REALLY healthy was bolstering, to say the least.  Memories of hard work in the garden, raising kids, heck, even knocking on the furnace to make it go (even though I didn't know what I was doing) all came back, and made me smile.

Now as much as I enjoy bluegrass music, which is a good thing, given the fact that Big Steve loves to play bluegrass music, I'm more of a classical girl myself.  I have always joked that our marriage was something like Shastakovich meets Boxcar Willie.  But I have to tell you, I have come to enjoy these outings with Steve to various bluegrass events.  No matter where we go, I always note that you don't meet a nicer community of people anywhere.

That was evident today for sure.  We laughed and laughed at good clean fun-type jokes, and even met up with some old friends we hadn't seen in over ten years.  We enjoyed some real heart-warming music by Acoustic Blue.  We tried to get a good photo of them to post here, but with a cell phone in a dark place, no such luck.

At any rate, the highlight of the day was that Big Steve and I won the Easter Basket!!  Here's a picture, but it's only a small portion of what we won.  Sorry for the poor quality of the picture, but again, cell phone camera, dark room, you get the picture.  And already bagged up was everything for an Easter dinner:  ham, (even the pineapple and glaze for the top), yams, russet potatoes, dinner rolls & butter, green beans (for that blessed casserole), corn, assorted side dishes, bread & butter pickles even.  And a spring themed cake mix and icing. Some odds and ends like dried fruit and trail mix (you know those are going into packages for my soldiers!).  And then the candy, candy, candy!  Wow.  It was announced that since we won that jackpot, everyone was invited back to The Haney Place for dinner!  Now that sounds like a good idea, don't you think?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A New Feature - Search!

We added a new feature today that allows you to search the entire site.  So if you are looking for something you remember, like a recipe for laundry soap, or something gluten free, but don't want to log back through every post till you find what you're looking worries.  Just type a word into the search box, hit enter, and there you go!!!  Please let me know if you have any problems!!!

Avocado Salad Dressing - Yummy & Good For You!

Last night Big Steve & I threw together an impromptu salad dressing and it was so yummy!  It was creamy goodness with just a bit of a kick, and it was very satisfying in the tummy.  And it couldn't have been any easier.  You know recipes on this blog are more like methods than anything, so here goes.

We peeled a very ripe avocado and mashed it into a bowl.  To that we added about a cup of good quality yogurt, a generous dash of Goya Salsita and stirred it up.  Finally, some salt and pepper and the juice of a wedge of lemon and stir again.


You really need to toss this on the salad well to get an even distribution.   It would even be great as a substitute for mayonnaise on a sandwich.

I just can't wait till the fresh spinach and other greens are ready in our garden.  It won't be long now!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

No More Whey-ting!

I've been wanting to step into the world of lacto-fermentation as a means of increasing the nourishing food around here at the Haney Place.  Since I'm on the road to wellness (ever since a stupid bacteria totally kicked my butt a month or so ago) I have been taking this whole wellness thing very seriously.  I always knew what to do in terms of diet and lifestyle, but didn't always follow my own rules.

But I digress.  You can't even begin to talk about lacto-fermentation until you've got yourself some real live whey in the house.  I'm not referring to the stuff you buy at the body-building store.  I'm talking about real whey from real (fresh, raw) milk.  So.....a nice trip out to a dairy farm out in Ballston, NY, and two gallons of fresh raw milk later, and we're already on our whey!  (I know, I know, Big Steve has been rolling his eyes at the whey puns for days now).

There is a wealth of information on the health benefits of foods fermented with whey and the benefits of the curd cheese (cream cheese) left behind in the process.  So I won't try to pretend to be a nutritionist.  There is also a wealth of websites dedicated to teaching us how to do this at home.  And they all say the same thing..."you can't mess this up" and it's true.  You really can't mess this up!  And it honestly couldn't be easier.

So start by pouring 2 quarts of fresh raw milk into a glass container.  (Can't be metal, and I don't like plastic because of the health risks).  I especially like glass because you can see through it and it's really easy to see when it's done.  Now cover your container with a light layer of cheesecloth and walk away.  Now that's all you need to do until 2-4 days later, when the curds and whey have separated into different layers.  And now the fun begins.

Line a stainless steel strainer with cheesecloth and pour the curds/whey through so that the cheese stays in the strainer.  When most of the liquid has passed through, tie up your cheesecloth onto a wooden spoon or other implement long enough to hang across a pitcher or other container, so that the liquid whey can continue to drip out overnight.  In the morning, pour all the whey into a clean canning jar, cover, and refrigerate.  This will keep in the fridge for several months and can now be used in any recipe calling for whey.

What is left behind in the cheesecloth is a pound of gorgeous, creamy, incredibly nutritious cream cheese.  If you've never had homemade, you don't know what you're missing.  It is so much better than the store-bought variety, and so much more nutritious.  While it may be true that a lot of full-fat commercial dairy products aren't good for you, the same cannot be said for fresh and cultured products made from fresh raw milk.  I can't think of anything better you can do for your body, even if you're watching your weight.  Especially if you're watching your weight!  I invite you to do your own Google search and see what you come up with.

Now...I can't wait to use my whey to make some good lacto-fermented ketchup, some homemade gingerale (a naturally sparkling beverage that's actually GOOD FOR YOU!) and some lacto fermented carrots and other goodies.  Stay tuned!!!

And if you want a wealth of information, techniques and recipes for all things good for you, this is what I consider a must read:

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Military Humor

I don't care who you are, this right here is funny!   And the longer you watch, the funnier it gets...

Ketchup -- The Recipe

It just couldn't be easier.  I'm WHEY-ting for my whey to be ready.  Then we'll make some lacto-fermented ketchup that will knock your body's health socks off.  In the meantime, this recipe is a radical improvement to store-bought, commercial ketchup.

  • 1 6 oz. can organic tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 1/8 cup honey (I used a coffee/tea teaspoonful of raw wild manuka honey)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt ( we use celtic sea salt)
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. cloves ( I like a little more -- cloves are warm and wonderful)
  • 2 Tlb. apple cider vinegar (use the good stuff, "with the mother", otherwise, why bother)
Just stir, refrigerate, and enjoy.  I'm "whey"ting for our whey to be ready (from our blessed raw milk) and then I'll post the recipe for a wonderful lacto-fermented ketchup.  Good stuff!!!

I Made Ketchup!!!

It's ketchup.  Now mind you, it's not the best it could be.  It's not Army (Be, all that you could be...).  It's just middlin' Haney Place ketchup.  But at least it doesn't have any HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP or any other bs ingredients.  It's just a condiment I would be proud to put on my (pastured, free range) scrambled eggs.  Nutritional nirvana.  We're working on lacto-fermented ketchup, and that will follow in a week or so.  But for now, it's ketchup that parents could encourage their children to dip into.  And that's saying something!!!  Next fall, we will make this recipe using our own home grown, dried tomato powder.  See me for that.  That's multiple blog posts.

At any rate, it's not organic, it's not the best it could be.  But it's a damn sight better than that crap you buy in the supermarket bearing the same name.  And it's a good food to put in your mouth.  And anyway, for ketchup lovers, ketchup is in itself a food group!!!

Meanwhile.....Big Steve has been outside all day today (being the first real Spring-like day) raking up a winter's worth of dog poopies, pruning the mini-orchard and making the Haney Place agreeable, in generable.  I heard he had a hankering for pancakes, so I just called him in for lunch.  He had no problem in obeying my request for his presence!!!

Big Steve's Lunch

Then, I made ketchup.  I LOVE ketchup as an adornment to some lovely free range eggs, scrambled in some coconut oil, and then topped with some spicy sweet ketchup.  I do NOT, however, appreciate high fructose corn syrup, or the other additives (poisons) in commercial ketchup.  So I made my own.  Took me five minutes, tops.  And it's freaking awesome.


And now, the sheets are flapping on the line in this truly spring day.  We haven't had anything resembling Spring here in Upstate NY since last year.  But I have already put a few loads out to flap in today's blessed sunshine.  No dryer needed, thank you Lord!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday Goodness, Thank you Lord!

Today I was able to enjoy and participate in the Beef Blessing.  This means that we ordered a hind quarter of beef several weeks ago, and were blessed with the means to go pick up a lovely hind quarter of beef today.  Pastured, grass fed.  It's real nutrition.  I wondered to myself at the fact that we had a means of transporting ourselves to the beef and then transporting the beef to the household.  All in all, in the big picture, a very good day indeed!  So let's start with the basics.   We here at the Haney Place firmly believe in the health benefits of food the way God intended us to consume it.  So we START with wonderful, sweet, creamy, unprocessed milk straight from the cow, just the way God intended it.  Thank you to the cow that produced it, and to the wonderful farmer that provided it to us.  Do any of us ever realize where our nutrition comes from?  (My fridge, and count yourself among the few who are allowed to peer into the sanctuary...)

Now...we are in the process of making a lovely and natural whey from that glorious raw milk.  It will take a few days, but then it will be the basis for some wonderfully lacto-fermented goodness.  Ketchup, for starters.  And then some. 

The piece de resistance of the day was the score of a 1/4 (hind end) of beef from the gentleman farmer of the Locust Grove Farm of Argyle, NY.  This man has been in business FOREVER!!!  I have been doing business with him for at least the past two decades.  He raises the beef and butchers and packages it himself.  He's not trying to be cute or clever.  He's just a real-live person doing a real-life job the best way he knows how.  And it's working.  He was eco when eco wasn't cool....just sayin'...  I can totally provide you with contact information.  This guy isn't going anywhere.  He's been producing and providing grass fed, pastured beef forever.....

So we've got beef to last months and months, even here at the Haney Place.  And suet for the birds next fall...loads of beef liver to dry for the dogs (I am not a big fan of liver on my dinner plate) and soup bones galore, aside from the steaks, roasts, cube steaks, stew beef, you name it!!! blessed are we?  It's all vacuum packed and labeled with the contents and the weight.  Tomorrow we'll enjoy meatloaf the "Nourishing Traditions" way.....Stay tuned!!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ida Walker's Chocolate Cake

The request for this recipe was more overwhelming than even I could have ever imagined.  So here we go.

This cake is ultra dark, ultra moist, ultra rich, but somehow, it's not sickening.  My boss, who is borderline diabetic, asked for the recipe.  He says the cake would be awesome with just a dusting of confectioner's sugar as adornment.  I suspect he is right.  This cake can stand alone.  I served it this week with a dark fudgy icing.  My mother (Ida Walker) swears it must be served with a classic homemade buttercream.

However you choose to serve it, make sure you mix it properly.  No mixers, just one bowl, one spoon.  That's it.  No mixers, no alternating dry and wet ingredients, nothing fancy-schmancy.  Fancy-schmancy would wreck it.

So I present for your baking enjoyment, Ida Walker's Chocolate Cake!!!

2 c. all purpose flour
2 c. white sugar
2 t. baking soda
3/4 c. cocoa

Stir it all up in a large-ish bowl.  Make a well in the center (a divot) and then add:

2 c. piping hot, strong coffee

Stir with that spoon.  Then stir in:

1 stick (1/4 lb.) butter  (don't soften it -- I cut it into slices before adding, but don't soften it)

Then......stir in

2 eggs, one at a time, and then
1 tsp. vanilla

Pour into greased 9" x 13" pan, and bake for 30 mins or so (till it's done).

You can bake it in anything you want, but the 9 x 13 gives the best result.

That's it!!!  Seriously, you can put this sweetheart together in under 10 minutes.