The Frantic Mom’s Guide to Dinner

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Too bad supper doesn’t roll around when we have excess energy instead of at the end of the day!  “Should we just go out?” one ponders.  But if $40 is to go towards gas and not a so-so restaurant than mama has to get in the kitchen and figure it out.  Pour a glass of wine, Mama, I will walk you through an easy dinner using just what you have in the kitchen.

Choose a protein- hamburgers, veggie burgers, veggie chicken, chicken breasts, salmon, bean patties, whatever you can find.  I found a package of Ahi tuna in the freezer.

Make a sauce for the protein- Find jelly in the fridge or pantry.  Apricot, chokecherry, jalapeno, apple, blueberry, peach….Now combine it with bbq sauce or soy sauce.  The jelly should be the highest ratio.  Add a dried spice like chipotle, red chile, garlic, dill, basil…be creative.  Add a little broth or white wine to thin to desired consistency or use a jar of jelly that didn’t set!  Done.  Top cooked protein.

Meanwhile choose a frozen or fresh vegetable- artichokes, green beans, carrots, cabbage, anything tastes great with this method.  In the boiling water add a few cloves of garlic, a sprinkling of chipotle, 2 tablespoons of lemon extract (lemons soaked in vodka for two months) or fresh lemons, and sea salt.  The water infuses the vegetables lightly.  A bit of butter and salt is all it takes to transform the vegetables.

IMG_2146Make a pilaf.  I used buckwheat which cooks in 20 minutes.  Rice works too.  Cook in rich broth with raisins and salt until ready, add walnuts and walnut oil or any nut or fruit.

In twenty minutes or so you have a gourmet, delicious, nutritious meal on the table while saving money because it uses what is already there.  Now you have time to start Christmas cards after supper!

Growing Your Own Food (comfort, joy, and mushrooms on the counter)

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One of my favorite things about homesteading is being able to provide our own food.  To watch it grow, to prepare it, to preserve it, to savor it later.  To watch the milk hit the pail, turn it into cheese, or pour the delicious cream straight into dishes.  Fresh eggs, which taste nothing like store bought, being broken into a bowl.  Such comfort comes when combining foods that have traveled a very short distance into the kitchen.

The other day I looked over at the counter and there were oyster mushrooms sticking up!  Mind you, I have failed at every mushroom log venture and the like and I sure didn’t expect this one to be any different.  I took a mushroom class and it was fascinating watching the inoculated wheat be added the warmed straw and stuffed into a bread bag with promises of culinary treats.  Our house is so cold that I doubted that it was warm enough for the mushrooms to fruit.  They needed to be kept at 70 degrees for three weeks.  I couldn’t find a place over fifty-five degrees anywhere in the house except by the ducklings.  Their heat lamp helped raise the temperature just right.  A few holes were punched in the bag and after awhile these beauties popped out.  Now, one would take this bag after it was done fruiting and plant it.  So to speak.  Create a simple raised bed and fill with used coffee grounds.  Sprinkle the inoculated straw all over it and let nature do the rest.

Buckley’s Homesteading Supply has regular classes and Manitou Mushroom is the teacher’s site.  Fun stuff.

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So fresh eggs cracked into the bowl, whisked with creamy milk.  Add homemade goat cheese and chives.  Add chopped oyster mushrooms from the counter.  A bit of salt and pepper and there you have it.  Homegrown, homemade, homesteading scrambled eggs.  What a blessing to grow a bit of our own food!