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!!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Growing and Preserving Herbs

Herbs are just one of those things.  They are really easy to grow, organically even, but really expensive to buy if they are any quality at all.  I don't know why anyone wouldn't grow their own herbs.  If you've ever spent $3.99 or better for one of those "short" bottles of any herb, you have a measure of understanding.

So anyway...we love herbs here at the Haney Place.  They make really healthy, wholesome foods into a memorable feast.  And they're good for you!!!!

An example of the ease of herbs, two years ago, we planted one tiny peppermint plant, and now we can't keep the peppermint at bay any more.  We're talking mint tea, mint anything....and enough to preserve for the winter. 

Let's start with oregano.  A staple here, and when you buy it organically, it's $5.99 or better for a short bottle (less than 1 oz.).  Well, it's only May, and we've already harvested enough for the coming year and we didn't spend one dime.  Two years ago, Big Steve half-buried a cracked pickling crock and filled it with dirt and we planted some oregano.  It has been planting itself ever since.

Yesterday, Big Steve cut it, and we worked together to tie it up to hang and dry.  Now, get ready to say awwwwwwwwwwwwwww......  You know when you are with the love of your life, working together on a shared goal, and your hands touch and your eyes meet, and it is a totally romantic moment...awwwwwwwwwwww.....

So, after a few years of growing our herbs for putting by for our use for the whole year, I have a few tips, based on what has and has not worked for us.  Herbs are easy to grow, not so easy to un-grow.  I recommend a pot.  You will be amazed at how one pack of seeds (or less) will grow you a year's worth of any one herb.  If you put it in the garden, it might grow out of control, and you will have all you can do to reclaim your piece of earth, much like my peppermint:

Now on to preserving.....  Herbs are easy to grow, but they are fragile.  We have an Excalibur dehydrator, which I love.  I coveted one for years before I was able to afford one!!!  But even with an Excalibur, be careful.  You might simply tie up bunches and hang them upside down as we did with the oregano.  No electricity -- just a bit of twine.  And something to store them in - a mason jar, even a zip-lock bag.

If you must use the dehydrator, I recommend no higher than 95 degrees, and for no longer than 2  hours.  And the fragrance, whichever way you choose to dry, be mindful of the fragility and wonder of these herbs. 

Lastly, you can freeze them.  Wash and cut up some really fresh leaves.  You can put a portion in each section of an ice cube tray and then fill 2/3 full with good filtered water.  When they have frozen solid, they can be stored in a freezer bag.  You can just toss them into a recipe (soup, stew) when the time comes. 

There are benefits and drawbacks to each method.  Personally, I like air-drying.  Saves resources, and you don't have to worry about what to do if the power goes out during the winter storms.

Experiment, and enjoy!  You really can't do this wrong!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Graduation - Graceful Haney Style - And a Give-Away!!!

If you live in the capital district especially, take note.  I'm giving away dahlia bulbs..they are gorgeous crimson flowers that look remarkably like roses.  I planted as many as I could, and I have a TON left over!  I'm not even asking for postage.  This is what they looked like recently: 


So, especially if you are in the Capital District, and even if you are not, ten lucky persons will be receiving dahlia bulbs from me.  Just email me at  AND -- this is a big and -- you MUST post what you like about dahlias -- your chances of winning won't depend on the creativity of your post.  But you MUST post!  Good luck!!!

Now on to the day.  I promised pictures of the breakfast casserole that we did yesterday.  So here you go -- and it was scrumptious!!!:

But seriously, food aside, sincere congratulations to our dear daughter-in-law Destiny, who has worked through obstacles and reached this, her graduation day.  She is one hard working woman, and, as far as we are concerned, a QUALITY addition to the family here at the Haney Place!!  Destiny, our hats are off to you!!!

They did a real nice job of the graduation ceremonies here at the Joe....Destiny is just slippling from one educational goal to another, and I understand her urgency.  All the same, I am thankful for Destiny and other young people with a purpose and a plan, no sense of entitlement, just a good strong work ethic.  Again, Destiny, my hat is off to you today!!!

Well, bless her heart, that's all the digital goodness I have for today.   But I just couldn't lose the opportunity to brag on my family!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Recipe - Tutorial - Kyle's Favorite Breakfast

There will be a celebration here tomorrow at the Haney Place.  Our daughter (in-law) will celebrate her graduation from HVCC.  We are so proud of her!  Tony did a good job, Destiny is such a wonderful addition to our family, but I digress....

The graduation ceremony is something like 8 a.m. tomorrow!!!!  No, I kid you not.  8 in the AM.  Seriously.  Who does that?

So anyway, we were thinking about a ceremonial bar-bee-que, but now we've re-grouped to a lovely brunch.  And the centerpiece -- Kyle's favorite breakfast!   I know we go to that frequently here at the Haney Place, but here's a how-to.  And this recipe is such a basic (feed the help) kind of recipe, everyone should be able to appreciate.

At any rate, figure on how many folks you'll be feeding.  And multiply that times 2 or so.  Depending on whether you're feeing hungry men or little children or church ladies.  It all depends.  And then break those eggs into a big bowl and add some good milk.  We only use good raw milk here from happy, healthy cows, and we count that as one of our blessings here. that lovely mess in the bowl, add some good salt (sea salt or kosher salt) and freshly ground pepper.  I had the extreme blessing of Big Steve going out to our back yard and harvesting some wildly growing chives, planted forever ago by whomever, in the back yard of this home, formerly a farmstead, and now smack dab in the city.  But hey, it's real and good food, and organically grown, at this point.  So I chopped them up and added them to the mess in the bowl (thank you Lord!)

So swish those good Haney grown chives in, or onions or store bought chives, or whatever the heck your heart tells you.  (My heart will be telling me broccoli in about 6 weeks when ours comes in)....

Meantime now...we got a 9 x 13 pan well greased and containing potatoes:

Add the mixture of the eggs/milk/whatever:

Add your meat -- doesn't matter if it's ham or sausage or bacon:

Add some cheese (we used an American/cheddar blend tonight)

And bake that whole mess for one hour at 350.  I'll post pictures of the final mess tomorrow.  For tonight, it's sitting in the fridge until lift-off, so it's TOTALLY do-ahead.  And tomorrow we'll post Anna's fruit dip recipe!!!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cheap and Easy Eats Haney Style - Cream Cheese & Chive Omelettes

Tonight it was just me and Big Steve.  So...what says a night off more than breakfast in the evening?  Anyway, I pay homage tonight to the two wonderful ladies who taught me to make an omelette at Scotia Glenville Central School's Home Economics Class -- Ms. Sonia Klinkow and Ms. Keenan - I'm so sorry if I mis-remembered your names, but you made a definite impact on my life, Haney Style!!!!

So anyway, I had some uncooked bacon, and first of all, when I arrived home, big Steve had that bacon frying in the pan.  What in the world smells better than bacon frying in the pan when you walk through the front door?

At any rate, we had a wonderful training in cooking and sewing at Scotia Glenville schools back in the day.  It's pretty funny.  I remember a particular gym teacher being tall, dark and handsome, and all the girls had a crush on him.  One of the girls who works for me (where I work), same age as my daugters, had the same gym teacher and she remembers him as old and creepy.....  I don't really think he was creepy, but it just goes to show you how a few years' difference can mean a lot...

At any rate...take some really awesome free-range eggs from healthy, running, bug eating chickens, and stir em up really well in a bowl with some raw milk and some sea salt and freshely ground pepper.  Heat up your skillet/pan really well with some raw/real butter (or whatever butter you got) and then pour in the egg mixture.  Yummmmmmm......

Anyway, heat up your skillet with a good amount of fat, (butter, bacon, whatever) and then stir up however many eggs (at least 2 per person).  Flop them into the pan.  As they start to set, use your spatula to let the liquid middles cook on the outside that you flopped up with your spatula....

When it's all half set, add your filling.  We used cubed cream cheese and some chives.  After they have set in a bit, use your spatula to flop the whole thing in half. 

At any rate, let me know if you have any questions.  If you can get your hands on some really good quality eggs, ths is a really wonderful vegetarian version of the sit down dinner.  Takes two minutes, and it's cheap eats.  Thank you so much, Mrs. Keenan and Mrs. Klinkow!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chicken Fried Steak

OMG, it's just Heavenly.  It's steak, and it's fried up like chicken, and it's gravy and mashed potatoes and a vegetable (at this point, who bloody cares what kind???)

So anyway, this is a good "last minute" meal for those who are sick to death of the rush hour "stopping at the store".  Gag 5:00, especially on a Friday night, who wants to stop at the store?

So you take your cube steaks, and cut them in half.  Dredge them in the flour thing... good flour, good seasoning, you know the routine (if not, send me a message) and then dip it all into a liquid mix (buttermilk, tobasco, salt, pepper) and then dredge it back in the flour.  Fry it up real good on both sides, then put it into a pan and keep it warm.  Here, we're blessed to have a proofing tray.  And let me tell you, that proofing tray stove came after decades of having the minimal cooking apparatus.  And it's in a kitchen that is 1960's (un)chic.  So I'm not gloating!!!  Otherwise, just shove it into the oven.  That's the Haney truth.

Meanwhile, boil up some peeled potatoes, and mash them good.

Now, in that skillet with all the browned goodness, mix up your goodness of milk and flour (gluten-free, if you are so disposed) and stir it into that skillet of browned goodness.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...does it get any better than this?

Maybe it does, but this is as good as it gets, Haney Style.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Gluten Free Lasagne - Haney Style

Now, if you have been following this blog long enough, you know that we give you a method more than an exact recipe.  Cooking isn't an exact science, after all.  So's been a tough couple of weeks.  But today I saw a male cardinal in my feeder, and that means a lot.  Also, the grass needed to be mowed again -- the second time this season.  Thank you Lord!  I think I captured the lilacs in bloom at dusk, along with the good-night song of the birds here.  It might not seem like a big deal to you if you live in the country, but this is really a big deal to me....the good night call of a number of birds -- you can also hear the waterfall in the back if you listen closely:

So, it was dark and dreary and cool enough to run the oven tonight, so dinner was gluten free lasagne, with italian sausage on the side.  And oregano....did  I mention fresh oregano????

Those night-birds were singing to me while I was cutting it.  It was SOOOOOO fragrant!!!

So anyway, cook up some lasagne noodles, or not.  This is pretty simple, actually.  We used gluten free, you could use regular.  Cook them, or not.  You really don't have to pay more for those "no boil" lasagne noodles.  Just use a little more liquid (sauce).

So, oil your pan.  We used a 9 x 13, you could use a broiler pan or whatever you have.  Layer the bottom with sauce, home cooked, or store bought.  Then a layer of noodles, then mix up some ricotta and some eggs - we used 16oz. of ricotta with 2 eggs tonight, then mozzerella. could mix in some spinach, garlic, whatever you think might be tasty.  Lots of times we use spinach if we have it...whatever you have.  At any rate, you need to layer this way.....

  • Sauce
  • noodle
  • ricotta (mixed with egg)
  • mozzerella
  • stuff (spinach, sausage, meatball, whatever you have)
  • Sauce
  • noodle
  • ricotta.....
blah, blah, blah...till your pan is full.  Stop when you have reached Noodle, sauce....and top the whole mess with parmesan.  Bake at 350 till bubbly.  The important thing is to then let it rest until it stops bubbling and you can cut it.  Add some kind of bread to dip into the saucy mess, and voila!!!!

Gastronimical nirvana!!!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hard Labor at the Haney Place

Well, it has been an eventful week here.  It started off with Big Steve being involved in a pretty bad car wreck on Wednesday morning.  It left him out of commission, and thanks to all of you who have already been sending your prayers and well wishes.

I should have know that when I looked in my back yard on Wednesday morning, and saw a gold finch (my first ever) that some sort of change was in the air.  It should have been completely evident when a few hours later, I spotted an indigo bunding in that same feeder, again my first ever, and quite unusual around these parts.  I felt truly blessed!

So when Big Steve finally called me to tell me he was in the hospital, it just sort of seemed like another unusual thing in my life that day.

This was a big weekend here.  It was the first weekend (kind of late) to till our garden and "put it in".  Last year our garden had been in for three weeks already, but the extended winter this year meant a late "putting in".  I'm not sure what other folks call it.

Already bone tired, and with a great deal of discouragement, I set out this morning to take care of OUR business.  I overheard someone say this weekend that farming is NOT glamorous.  Well, that is absolutely correct.  Not only is it not glamorous, it's filthy, back breaking work.  Especially when you've already got a condition that causes you to be exhausted and in pain most of the time.

So...I'm thanking God tonight to post what was accomplished here this weekend, in no certain order:
  • Entire lawn was mowed (the trimming can wait!)
  • Entire garden was tilled (Thank God for Steve's conscientiousness last fall in putting the garden to bed properly!)
  • Planted 13 various tomato plants
  • Planted 6 brussels sprouts
  • Planted 6 cabbages
  • Planted 6 broccoli
  • Planted 6 heads of romaine.

(Big Steve took the picture for me, bless his heart).  Now it's supposed to rain for several days, and the stuff from seeds will get done during the week, in the rain.

Lots of folks told me to forget it, not to kill myself, to wait for help, you name it.  My favorite one is "you don't do this for a living".  Well, in a large way we do.  I'm keeping a careful tally this year of what I've invested and what I get out of it.  I'm sure we'll all be surprised at the output from our little piece of land.  We really do earn a living by it.  For the thousands of dollars we don't have to spend for food, cornstalks, etc., we don't have to work at day jobs to pay for.  I say, get thee behind me Satan.  I never did take kindly to negatives words of discouragement, and I grow more stubborn by the day.  Big Steve is sitting behind me declaring Amen Sister!

The most important thing to keep in mind is that I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.  And I already know that He has forgiven the strings of profanities that (oops) slipped through my lips this weekend.  I know because I asked him to forgive me, and he is perfectly faithful. 

Now, I am going to the kitchen to bake a cake for a dear sister, all the while nursing blisters, scratches, and oh, my aching back!, and from here on, it's on with LIFE!