July 16, 2012
Sorry I haven’t posted since just before the 4th of July, but I had a lot to do to get ready for the holiday, and since the Redneck ended up getting’ a whole FIVE DAYS off (YAY!!!!!!!!), I had to make certain that everything was taken care of so I could concentrate on enjoyin’ time spent with my Beloved and my son. While he was off—I didn’t do nuthin’ that didn’t include him, and after he went back to work—I had to catch up on what didn’t get done!
I hope ya’ll had a wonderful Independence Day. We went to a picnic held at a local ranch. There was food, fun and fellowship, and it was a gorgeous afternoon—not too hot, and the event was held under a couple of huge old oak trees, so there was cool shade.
With Brian off for almost a week, we had a great time. We all got caught up on our sleep, and we actually had the time to BROWSE when we went to the big library, instead of our usual “rush in, look around, grab whatever looks good and check out so we can get back home and have lunch and rest before Brian has to go back to work” whirlwind. I am thankful for his job—it’s just that we don’t always have time to do stuff before he has to go to work.
The book illustrations are just about finished, then I have to put it all together in the word processor program, print out the master copy and go have it printed up. After that—Eleanor will help me get the first run of copies bound. Like I posted earlier—I have a book signin’ set up, and I think that one of the big book stores has a poetry readin’ night, so I will check into participatin’ in that. I hope that after I read a poem or two, I will be allowed to hand out cards and perhaps set up a sale or two. Who knows? This is all in God’s hands, and He has a way of doin’ the most AMAZIN’ things, as long as I am smart enough to get outta His way.
I also hope to learn how to offer the book as an online purchase—an E book, I think it’s called. That is yet ANOTHER skill I have to master.
Just real quick—I wanna share the latest blessin’ that God has zapped us with. I have a nice little refrigerator that I bought about 4 years ago, and it works great. However, it is just a bit smaller than we need with the lifestyle we lead. (wow—that rhymed…scary….)
So I had hoped to perhaps find another fridge to use along with the one we had, to store extra produce and other things in. I figured I’d come across an older model that could sit under the carport. Just somethin’ to ‘get us by’.
God doesn’t DO ‘just get by’.
A man who recently moved into a new house gave us—GAVE us—an AMANA side by side refrigerator/freezer, in perfect condition, cleaner than a frog’s armpit, not a scratch on it, NOTHIN’ wrong with it. Not very old, either, and when I get the hoses—it has a water/ice dispenser in the door!
This thing is so big—if I could solve the pesky runnin’ outta oxygen problem—I’d SLEEP in it and turn off my A/C.
I decided to put my fridge under the carport to hold sodas, extra carrots and other produce, and to store bags of ice I make in my table top ice machine, so we have plenty for events.
Ain’t God good?
YES HE IS!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, I want to get back to my Wall Of Wonders today. The next item I wanna talk about is my 8 quart AROMA ROASTER. It is like the roasters most folks use to cook turkeys and such, just on a smaller scale. If you have a smaller family, or don’t need to cook up a huge batch of something—these 8 quart roasters are just right.
You can roast, stew, and even bake in them, and since you don’t need to heat up an oven for just one cake—your electric bill stays lower. I found mine on sale for half price one day—but even if I had to pay full retail—they are still under $100.00, and they pay for themselves very quickly, not just in electrical usage, but also in the time they save.
I love to cook up Puerco Pibil—a slow roasted pork dish from the Yucatan Peninsula. It is simple and easy to make, so we make it a lot—especially in the winter time. Unfortunately—it has to cook a long time at a low temperature, and that uses a lot of electricity from our oven. So, I tried makin’ it in my roaster one day—and it turned out perfect, in less time, and the kitchen didn’t get hot.
As all us Thriftologists know—dried beans are a great value, as well as a wonderful source of protein, fiber and other nutrients. I have developed a way of cookin’ them in my roaster that turns out a tasty, soft textured bean in a reasonable amount of time.
There are two common ways to prep a pinto bean for cookin—you can either soak them overnight and then cook them, or you can do a ‘quick cook’, where you bring the beans up to a boil, hold them there for a minute and then turn them off. Leavin’ the lid on the pot, you let them set for a hour and then bring them back to the boil. Then lowerin’ the heat, you let them cook until tender. I do a combination of the methods, unless I have to cook them the same day, then I just use the quick cook method.
I soak the beans at least until they are swollen, and I don’t drain them. I don’t think it prevents gas if you drain them, but it does lessen their flavor. So once they are swelled up, I put them into the roaster, add chopped up onions and any ham, brisket, Andouille sausage or other meat that I want to use, and make certain that there is enough water to cover everything. I bring it to the boil, let it go for a minute or so, then turn off the heat and let it set for the recommended hour. I then proceed cookin’ the whole mess as I stated earlier. I check it from time to time, and if the water level gets a bit low, I add HOT water. NEVER add cold water to beans, as this can stop the cookin’ process, and you end up with crunchy beans. You CAN salvage them, however, if you simply put them into containers in the freezer for a few days. When they thaw—they are generally softer, since the water freezin’ in the beans breaks the fibers down like cookin’ normally would. Needless to say—have another dish ready to go for supper if you have to do this!
I cooked beans this way a few days ago, and I not only ended up with enough beans for a hearty supper for my guys and me, I was able to put about 6 quarts of beans into the freezer for another time. When I am ready to serve them, I will simply take the containers out of the freezer and plop them into my trusty crock pot, to reheat durin’ the day while I am doin’ other things. Then, along with a salad, homemade cornbread, and sliced onions—we will have a delicious meal on fairly quick notice.
Dadgum—I’m getting’ HUNGRY!
If you love homemade bread, but don’t have a big enough family to bake an oven full of loaves, or if you don’t have a bread machine—you can experiment with usin’ the roaster as a bread oven. You can turn out some very pretty and TASTY loaves of yeast or even quick breads with a bit of effort.
Well, I got chores. Later ya’ll.
© 2012 by Evelyn Edgett