Bringing Back Sunday Dinner (and an easy dinner to prepare)

Norman Rockwell’s famous dinner party.

Sunday feels symbolic of family and spending time together. In old homesteading and farming memoirs I have read, the families go visitin’ after church, or family comes to see them every Sunday. A chicken or two inevitably gets plucked and the sound of children running around while the adults chat can be heard through pages of books and memories. I love the idea of bringing Sunday dinner back. (Dinner traditionally being lunch, whereas Supper is actually the later meal.)

My cousin had come from two hours north to visit me. She hadn’t seen our new farm yet and after much chattering and catching up, she spent night. As she sat on the couch sipping coffee, catching up on news, my husband drinking his and waiting for football to start, I texted my best friend, Tina, and invited her and her husband over. I had a chicken defrosted.

I had harvested some things before we moved out of our old house and into this one a few months ago, so the meat chickens were in the freezer, my homegrown potatoes and onions were in the pantry, and I had jars of green beans. A half stale loaf of homemade onion bread became stuffing and a bottle of local Pinot Noir was opened.

I drizzled olive oil in the bottom of a cast iron Dutch oven, and placed fingerling potatoes all over the bottom. They need a sprinkling of salt and pepper. I then used my fingers to rub the chicken with olive oil and gave it a good rub with New Mexican red chile and other spices. That went breast down into the pan on top of the potatoes. Cook the chicken with the lid off for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and replace lid. Total, the chicken will cook for 15 minutes per pound.

I let the chicken rest on a platter for 10 minutes, moved the potatoes to a bowl, heated up the green beans with butter, and made a quick gravy with cream and flour in the broth that was left at the bottom of the Dutch oven. The stuffing came out, the chicken was cut up, and everyone feasted. The chicken was tender and delicious, the stuffing crisp, the potatoes soft and the green beans reminiscent of summer.

Rusty, Tina, me, and Julie. Doug is taking the photo.

Nothing has to be difficult to prepare. The table settings simple. The conversation and connection is the important thing. Sunday dinner is a very nice tradition to bring back.

Planting in Glass Jars

Planting in canning jars and other large glass vessels is such a fun idea.  I have seen these a few places now and I love the idea.  My bamboo is planted in a canning jar.  I love the idea of giving succulents in canning jars as gifts.

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I equally love the idea of using larger glass jars to showcase pine trees, like this one that we saw at a restaurant in New Mexico.  They really would have to be for a party or a few weeks of decoration because of the lack of drainage.  But they really are charming.  I can also envision miniature rose bushes in large glass jars lining a table.  The ideas are endless.

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My Easter bunnies

My Easter table this year will seat ten.  Bright colored oil cloth of reds and blues and my new Fiesta ware will be used at each place.  I am making a feast of enchiladas, chili rellenos, beans, rice, guacamole, and icy margaritas.  Perhaps a bit untraditional for Easter dinner but shaking things up is my specialty.  Succulents or miniature cacti in canning jars may very well complete the décor.

So grab those wide mouth jars and plant away!  Gifts and entertaining just got more creative and fun.

 

How to Put Out a Kitchen Fire

I have set the stove on fire more times than I would like to admit.  It’s been a long time but I know my son would laugh at this statement because I am sure he remembers me as a young mom who kept my secret weapon by the stove to put the fire out.

bake soda

Sunday we were at family dinner at Maryjane’s other grandparents’ house sitting around laughing and enjoying good conversation as we waited for the pot pies to finish baking.  Their juices bubbling up over the crust, the smell of home cooking wafting through the air.  Until smoke started rising from the burners.  Susan opened the oven door and said calmly, “The oven is on fire!”

“Do you have baking soda?” I asked.  Frazzled, she said yes but it was in the refrigerator in the garage.  Someone said there was a fire extinguisher.  I said, “Don’t use the fire extinguisher!  The food will all be ruined.”  They continued opening the oven door to see the fire and closing it and beginning to panic.  I ran to the garage, grabbed the box of baking soda from the fridge and in two sprinkles the fire was out.  The food was unharmed, the bottom of the oven can be swept out, and their house is still in tact.  I do love baking soda.  A wonderful family dinner ensued.

baking soda

Other uses for baking soda:

Use as toothpaste.  It whitens and cleans teeth.

Place 1/2 a cup in a bath to detoxify skin and get chlorine out after swimming.  It also softens skin.

Use as a scrubbing cleanser on sinks and bathtubs.  It whitens and cleans without scratching.

Clear a drain with baking soda and vinegar.  Pour baking soda down drain then top with vinegar till fizzy. Leave overnight.  Pour a kettle of boiling water down drain.

Odor control in refrigerator.

Sprinkle a little in the cat box for odor control.

Bake with it, of course.

And put out fires!  Baking soda is a homesteading necessity!