The dinner project is going really well. I love all the pics!
I grew up on Jiffy mix biscuits. They were a pretty regular fixture at the dinner table and I still have a soft spot in my heart for those (mom used a cutter for round biscuits, and dad just dropped them from the spoon). However, we don’t buy Jiffy in our house, so when it’s time to make the perfect biscuit, a little elbow grease is involved.
- Mix 2 cups flour, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1 TB baking powder and 1 tsp salt in a bowl
- Cut in 6 TB very cold butter until it makes a mealy mix
- Add 1 cup buttermilk and mix until just combined (over mixing is bad)
- Turn out onto a floured surface and press until it’s about half an inch thick. Fold the dough over on itself and press again.
- Repeat the folding process 4 times (this is how you get all those awesome flaky layers)
- Cut with a cutter and bake in a 450* oven for 10-12 minutes
Making the gravy and meaty bits is super easy. Thanks to my friend Colour who turned us on to doing this in the same pan a year or so ago, a process that was already pretty idiot proof got even easier.
- Brown 1 pound ground pork or the sausage of your choice
- Sprinkle cooked meat (don’t drain! Keep the oil and fat because, healthy!! And delicious…!) with 2 TB flour
- Slowly add 1 1/2 cups milk and stir to thicken
- Sprinkle with salt and liberally apply pepper
- Make sure your husband walks by and adds more pepper
- Add more pepper yourself (we like our pepper)
- When thick, spoon over your biscuits and unhinge your face
I bet you didn’t think biscuits and gravy could be that easy, eh?
Do you remember the days of LiveJournal? Or am I the only one and I’m totally dating myself here…? There was a group, or an event, or something like that called “Day in the Life” and I remember DITL to be awesome and fun. So here we go. I thought I would do a quick post with shots from my day.
Betty White loves to lick the water in the tub after a shower. Not the brightest…
New O2 regulator. Wrong wrench to tighten. Story of my life.
The Dr Who scarf is coming along quite well! Only 3 more feet to go!
I went to Michael’s for a single skein of yarn….but we all know how that ended.
I’m kind of a dill pickle snob. Well, no. I should own it. I am a dill pickle snob. Always have been – ask my mother. And those sweet pickle things people eat? Ick. So, imagine my hesitation when my outdoor cucumber plants that folks said would never grow in Alaska started to produce lots of little baby pickling cukes. What do I do with these now? Make pickles? But they will be gross? The horror!
I decided to take a stab at a simple dill pickle recipe and lo and behold – it’s awesome. We broke into the first of many jars a few weeks ago and they are super delicious. And this is coming from me. Me! The pickle snob!
- Wash and scrub the little nubs from your tiny cukes and set aside. Make sure of course to remove all blossoms from the cuke – it will cause gross stuff to happen later.
- Clean and sterilize a jar the appropriate size for your pickles (lots of little jelly jars this year as this is about the amount of what was available at once in the garden.) ** Pickling cucumbers larger than your thumb will begin to get bitter – pick when smaller.
- Husk and smash 2 cloves of garlic and add lots of dill from the garden – add dried or fresh peppers as per your preferance
- Pack all into the jar of your choice.
On the stove, bring to boil: 1 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1 1/2 TB pickling salt. Remove from heat as soon as it boils, and pour into your jar (you can of course cut the recipe in half or add other complicated math depending on how much solution you need). Immediately cap the jar and set on the counter. The top should pop within a few hours and voila! Your jar is sealed and your pickles are good for the next few months. I would advise letting them sit for 2-3 weeks before you break in, just to make sure they absorb that delicious dilly and garlicky goodness. Refrigerate after opening. Stuff face. Repeat.
It has been a fabulous season, not only our own little urban garden, but for Alaskan gardeners in general. The weather has been amazeballs, which is producing amazeball veg at great prices from the farmers market. But of course, all good things must come to an end at some point…and last night that meant I was a panicked picker using the light from my iPhone and a headlamp to pull the green tomatoes from our hanging planters and bring the large pots inside…..there was a freeze warning. I had been tempting fate the previous 3 nights as people threw around terms like “frost” and “harvest” and “do it, really, or you’ll be sorry.” But when measuring the level of heartbreak and waste my little attitude could cause me, I decided it was do or die, and raided the garden at 10pm after orchestra rehearsal (that’s what you do, right?)
These little beauties just came from the 4 hanging plants and will slowly counter ripen on their own. We will use them as they are ready. The additional free potted toms have been moved into the Living Room Tomato Spa to ripen on the vine. Many are close and have a few starting to turn – the warmer temps should help that along. And it’s funny to look at the dog through all the foliage – she looks like some sleek little carrot eating jungle cat. Or something.
But of course there is always a little dish of partially ripe orphans on the counter throughout the summer. Things get bumped, or the wind kicks up…or those stupid magpies get a little crazy…I just love the colors. Without sounding sappy and sentimental, isn’t nature pretty? And of course, delicious too.
I have been knitting for over 10 years. Each time I finish a rather substantial piece (read: any of the 5 baby blankets I made last year. Dear friends of mine: please take a break…) I tell myself “This is the project where you are actually going to learn to crochet and add a border. Do it, Annie. Do it.” And of course I never do. Until yesterday. There was some sort of popping in my wee brain and I started YouTubing instructional videos on how to crochet.
Now, I must admit. There is a story behind my hesitation to become a crafty hooker. When I was in elementary school, the elderly woman down the street was hired to teach me to crochet. My mother made some sort of arrangement for me to have weekly lessons starting on a particular Tuesday. The Sunday before lessons were to begin, we came home to find our little street closed down and full of fire trucks. There had been a fire. Our neighbors house was a total loss – burned to the foundation. Tragically, Florence and her dog Cuddles, didn’t make it out….For some crazy reason over the years, my brain worked up a totally superstitious load of hooey suggesting that if I did crochet, my house would also burn down (Hey, I was a kid.) Well, 4 years ago my husband and I did have a house fire. So, I guess crocheting had nothing to do with the likelihood of that happening.
I’m not sure why I decided that this particular project was going to be the one, but I think the ease of this particular video is the culprit as to make me actually stick to it and do it. This ‘crochet for knitters’ video was great step by step instruction. I suggest you:
- Pull up a chair and dive right in.
- Make sure you have decided to do this while you are at work, and be sure lots of customers come in to shop.
- Now, turn off the sound so as not to admit you are watching videos and being unprofessional.
That makes it a lot easier, right?
Now, I know it’s not perfect. And I’m pretty sure I bastardized the actual pattern a bit, but as I see it – it’s jacked up all the same around the piece, so it works.
I’m super proud. And very sore. This whole single needle witchcraft thing is a whole new set of muscles. And I felt like I couldn’t stop!! With knitting, you can cap your needles or leave your project to sit at the end. Crochet? Nope. Needle will fall out and your project will be ruined, ending in tears and frustration. And probably the prompt flamage of the entire project (there’s a fire theme with my work – you getting that?). I was a crazed, maniacal crocheter. Must. Finish. Border. Can’t. Sleep. Yarn. Nerd.
Now that the mystery and stigma has been removed, I’m stoked to start adding borders to anything that sits still long enough. Look out family dog. I’m coming for you.
I have a confession. I’ve never really liked ice tea. There. I said it. There’s just something about it that has put me off for most of my life. Maybe because the stuff you buy at the store is full of sugar and chemicals? Even hot tea tends to be off putting for me…probably because I willingly put sugar in that and then immediately get heartburn. (My guts are jerks and hate sugar). However, with that all said, I can get behind some peppermint tea when the burn gets good, because as we all know, mint is good for those kinds of things.
So, if I hate tea, how did I end up making suntea and loving it? I’m so glad you asked.
Last year we grew mint in the garden and it gave us a bumper crop. I dried what was left when winter was upon us and figured I would do something with it at some point. Fast forward about a year, add a cool refreshing looking photo on instagram, and a lofty plan to kick my coffee habit (yeah, we’re still working on that), and I was digging jars out of the cupboard. I tossed 3 bags of humble Costco brand green tea in the jar with a handful of dried mint leaves, and let mama nature do her thing for the day. The result? Delicious. I’m getting the caffeine my body insists it needs and the mint is refreshing and makes my guts happy. Add a lemon slice or two to your glass and now you’ve got a swanky, pinkies up kinda drink that I can get behind.
I have managed to replace my late morning/afternoon/anytime really coffee with the tea and it’s been great. Now we just need to get rid of that full pot of the brown stuff early in the morning….