Breakfast food

Posted January 12, 2019 By Ruth

Several years ago, before I got married (possibly even before we started dating?), I picked up a pair of these small cast iron pans.  They’re tiny, but perfect for single servings of a variety of things.

More recently I’ve used them for baking of smaller free form loaves of bread on occasion.  But otherwise they haven’t gotten much use since my husband joined the household.

Not to long ago, wanting something hearty for breakfast but not wanting to actually put alot of effort into it, I had an idea.

Two eggs scrambled up in a bowl, with a dash of onion powder, a sprinkle of pepper, and a hearty dash of garlic powder.  Add a pinch of grated asiago cheese, a dash of grated parmesan cheese, and a healthy handful of grated cheddar.  If I have them in the house I’ll frequently fine chop a small red potato into the mix too.

Get one of the little cast iron pans hot, slather with a thick slab of butter (even in a well seasoned pan the eggs will tend to stick a bit once you add this much cheese to the mix, use more butter), turn the burner down to just above low.  Pour in the egg mixture, it’ll do a good job at filling the little pan.  Let cook till the edges are solid.  Carefully flip, the liquid center will tend to pour out into the pan, thats fine.  Continue to cook till the bottom side is done to your taste (I tend to prefer a bit of browning, but some folks prefer their eggs less done, go with what works for you).  Place on a slice of homemade bread toast (though I have to say, it also goes REALLY well on commercially purchased Texas Toast, you may want to go light on the added seasonings if you’re going this route) with more grated cheddar.

It’s a very filling meal in a fairly short period of time.  I call it my “omlet thing”, to the amusement of my husband.  I forgot, again, to get a photo, so you’re going to have to do with my description.

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Garden planning

Posted January 11, 2019 By Ruth

Last year, knowing I had surgery coming, I bought most of my seeds way in advance, and I got a fair bit of the location planning done early.  This year I’m way behind, having only just ordered seeds.

There was one breed of hot peppers I’d wanted to try last year, but none of my regular sources carried them.  I was able to find them elsewhere, but was reluctant to pay yet another shipping charge, plus I realized I was already going to have a full garden.  This year I have ordered a few different varieties of Capsicum pubescens peppers to try.  Sometimes called Manzano or Rocoto peppers, they have black seeds, tend to be thicker walled, and are more cold tolerant than pretty much every other type of pepper.  I have five varieties arriving to try this year.

I’m also going to try more varieties of melon again this year.  There are several smaller, short season, varieties that keep catching my eye in the seed catalogs, so I’m going to try some new ones again this year.

I haven’t decided if I’m going to grow cucumbers this year or not, might come down to what I have for space.

Lots of tomatoes again though.

I’d been thinking on growing celery from the root of a store purchased bunch, but while scanning seed catalogs I discovered that there are pink/red celery varieties.  So now I’m going to grow celery from seeds, cause its pink!  (Have I mentioned seed catalogs are evil?!)

I also couldn’t resist the Mongolian Giant sunflower seeds.

In other news, I spent way to much on seeds this year…..

I also have a head start on a more permanent greenhouse.  My employer received several new fixtures in a 6’x6’x6′ wooden crate.  After several other employees asked what the plans were for the crate my employer decided to raffle it off (funds from the raffle went to the employee fun fund).  And I somehow won the thing.  I sealed it with deck sealer, since it isn’t made of pressure treated or other weather resistant wood.  Now I just have to cut out windows, buy clear corrugated roofing panels to cover it with, figure out how to move it to where in the yard I want it, cut a proper door (one whole side swings open, which is cool, but not great for heat retention), get it set up……probably not happening in time for this spring, but hopefully next year!

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2018 in review

Posted December 29, 2018 By Ruth

I don’t normally do the whole year in review thing, but sometimes it’s warranted.

Of course, I go to type this post, and discover that WordPress’s latest update has screwed with the Create A Post page, massively, and I hate it. Thanks WordPress for reminding me why I hate software updates.

So, I started out 2018 with major abdominal surgery. Everything has healed beautifully, and I’m long since back to work. Oddly enough I’ve STILL not noticed any major changes. The surgeon was positive that I’d notice all sorts of changes after the cyst was removed, but honestly, nope. Which is all kinds of scary actually, but I’ll take what I can get.

Then we discovered that Shadow is an asshole when it comes to food. But for all the frustration involved we’ve managed to trim his weight by almost 4lbs, so it’s worth it. Even if he doesn’t agree.

We had our first successful Bluebird hatching in years.

Somewhere, May-ish I started having some issues with my left knee again. I injured it in high school, playing soccer, and ended up having to have a lateral release done on it in college due to the same injury, so its not the strongest joint ever, but it doesn’t usually give me huge issues at work as long as I’m reasonably careful about my lifting form and not being stupid when carrying things upstairs. I ended up wearing a soft brace for work all summer, and finally went in to see the doctor, who sent me to an ortho specialist. Ortho says there doesn’t appear to be anything new wrong with it. His theory is that I got far enough out of condition out I was out of work for surgery and I didn’t work it back up correctly. So we’re working through some physical therapy to see if that’ll help. It seems to be, so cross your fingers.

June-ish I started having bouts of insomnia. I’ve always been a restless sleeper, but I don’t normally have huge issues with insomnia. I worked my way through the normal things, no caffeine with lunch or later, melatonin, Tylenol PM, with no real success. I was sleeping worse and worse and waking up with a headache more and more often. At the same appointment with my doctor about my knee I also discussed the insomnia problem with her. Turns out I’m borderline for all the base checks to possibly need a CPAP machine, so she put in a referral to get a sleep study done. She also prescribed a small dose of Trazodone to see if that would help me sleep. Not so much unfortunately, it gave me hot flashes and nausea. Fortunately at least some of the insomnia has gone away on its own. In the mean time the initial sleep test found that I absolutely need a CPAP, oxygen saturation in the low 80’s (it should be 90 or higher), and apparently I stopped breathing some 40+ times per hour. Yay. I go back to be fitted for the CPAP in another couple weeks.

The garden was fun this year. The Gagon cucumbers ended up making stellar pickles, nice and crisp without any extra work from me. I need to sit down and figure out what seeds I want to order for this coming summer.

The podiatrist was unable to find a cause for the ingrown toenail, my follow up with him is in another week.

Arty turned 7 years old in November, and Apollo turned 8 in December. Good lord, where did the time go??

Edited to add: I had a birthday too (duh, I know) and I guess I need to go modify the bio portion of the about me page, cause I can no longer claim to be a “30 something”. Oh well.

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Catching up

Posted December 3, 2018 By Ruth

Syracuse NY broke records in November.  Coldest November in 85 years, average temp for the month was 34.5f.  First November on record to have a low temp below zero, the low on Black Friday was -1f.  Total snowfall for the month was 22.8 inches, more than double the average, putting us at 6th snowiest November on record.  Snowiest November 16th ever, with 8.2 inches recorded having fallen, more than twice the previous record.

And thats not mentioning the rain, if the rain had fallen as snow we’d have blown the snowfall totals out of the water.  On the other hand, the rain keeps washing away the snow thats fallen already, and thats not a bad thing.

My work has been busy as hell.  Between normal Christmas season craziness, and the snow fall, my department has managed sales well over our sales goals.  Everyone wants a new snowblower this year, we’re struggling to keep the popular models in stock, but even the biggest one in store (priced $1699) is selling regularly.

So whats the company doing?  They’re slashing hours of course.  Normally as a part time employee I have 20 or so hours (or more) through New Years.  By mid-January my hours have usually dropped to 1 or 2 days a week, both usually being short days, as our slow season gets going, that tends to last through mid-March-ish when spring starts to pick up.  This year they’ve slashed hours early and that schedule is apparently starting in mid-December.  So if you’re in a Home Depot in the middle of December, and you can’t find an employee to help you, please make sure you fill out the survey on your receipt and let corporate know what you think of their “cost saving measure” of slashing hours!

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Oh boy

Posted November 16, 2018 By Ruth

Some areas near me got upwards of a foot of snow overnight, though that only looks like 6-8″ to me here.

But this is the coming week’s predicted weather:

 

12 degrees??  In Nov??  *sigh* its gonna be one of THOSE winter’s isn’t it??

Florida Datil Pepper Jelly

Posted November 11, 2018 By Ruth

I gave in and did a full sugar batch so that I could use liquid pectin.  Should have taken out more of the seeds, its HOT.  But didn’t it turn out pretty?

*sigh*

Posted November 5, 2018 By Ruth

Saturday night I was loading one last piece of wood into the fireplace before bed, when my hand slipped, and I dropped the, fairly large, piece of wood, resulting in my left pointer fingertip getting caught between the edge of the lip of the fireplace and the piece of firewood.

I said a few words that I’m not supposed to say.  Getting a finger smashed ALWAYS feels like I’ve broken it, but experience has taught me that if I go and put ice on it right away it’ll feel 90% better in an hour or so.  So I put ice on it for 15 minutes, and then went to bed.

Sunday morning I got up…..and the finger still hurt.  Alot.  More than any bruised finger I’ve managed to give myself before.  Plus it was a bit swollen.  Not like a sausage or anything, but enough to notice.  I dug back out the ice pack and iced it off and on all morning.

By 2pm it was pretty obvious that the pain wasn’t going to go away, I take a prescription dose of anti-inflammatories every day, and it still hurt upwards of a 4 or 5 on the pain scale.  Not as much as the broken arm, but more than your normal bruise.  So I gave in and drove myself down to urgent care.

Urgent care says “not broken”, but these are the same folks who missed the hairline fracture in my arm last year, so I’m not holding my breath yet.  They did give me a splint and told me to wear it for 3 days, and if its not better to call my regular doctor.  It does feel better in the splint.

This morning most of the bruising style pain seems to be gone, but its still a bit swollen, and I get stabby pains if I take the splint off and get to energetic about doing things with it.

Yay.

I’m starting to think I ought to have a post category for “Ruth injured herself again”!

Update: almost a week later- a large portion of the pain has gone away, though there’s a fair bit left if I bump it wrong.  Cross your fingers!  I had to stop wearing the splint, the inactivity of the finger was making it swell badly.  But so far not using it seems ok.

Didn’t mean to disappear, ooops

Posted November 2, 2018 By Ruth

Just got busy.

And sick, cause god forbid I don’t come down with my regular fall respiratory infection.  I managed to avoid it last year by taking large quantities of Airborne (in the gummy chew form, the tablets taste nasty IMO).  I thought it might have been a fluke, but I stopped taking it after surgery, and of course I got sick a couple weeks ago.  Maybe I need to buy stock in Airborne.

Saw the podiatrist this week, he says that he doesn’t see the need to remove part of the toenail, and he couldn’t find a cause for the ingrown toenail problems.  He did trim back the corners of the nails of both big toes, and I have an appointment with him in two months to look things over.

I was hoping to do yellow hot pepper jelly this year with all the yellow hot peppers.  But all the low sugar pectins I can find are powders, and adding them changes the color of the jelly from yellow to golden brown.  Its not ugly, but its not yellow.  So now I need to decide if I want to try a full sugar batch, to be able to use a liquid pectin, or just live with it.

Husband has asked for jars of soup that he can take to work, that he doesn’t have to stick in the fridge, that he can just pop the top on and stick in the microwave.  He normally eats Campbells soups, but that requires a large bowl, and added water, and its not a simple work lunch like he wants.  Plus pre-packaged foods, extra salt, and all that.  My first experiment with a modified bean & bacon soup recipe turned out pretty decent, though it needs some modification for next time.  I’ll hopefully be jarring up a chicken soup this weekend, then he gets to experiment with adding pasta on the fly.

Now I need more pint jars…….

 

Despite the funky growing season that screwed with every single pepper plant I grew (even the jalapenos that I always grow didn’t do nearly as well as usual), my one surviving Datil produced a huge number of pods, and is by far the largest and healthiest of all of the pepper plants I grew.  Its trunk is as thick as several of my fingers put together, and while its not TALL, its huge in comparison to every other pepper in the garden this year.  The peppers are easily habanero hot, but Husband likes them.

However it is also, by far, the most temperature sensitive pepper I’ve grown.  I had to shade it from the sun!  Admittedly we had a hotter than normal summer, but “hotter than normal” for us barely hits “normal” for Florida.  And yet I lost two plants to the heat before I realized I needed to shade them.  Not one other pepper plant I’ve grown, this summer or previous, has had that problem.  And now that the fall temps are dropping, its wilting in the cold long before any other pepper plant.  We’ve not had a frost yet, though we had one night dip down to 40(F).  Every other pepper plant out there is still going strong.  And the Datil is showing what sure looks like frost damage!  I’ve got it covered in frost cloth in hopes of keeping it going long enough for the rest of the pods to ripen.

I’m debating digging it up and attempting to to over-winter it in a pot so as to give it a headstart for next year.  We’ll have to see how it goes I guess.

Peter Pepper

Posted October 6, 2018 By Ruth

Pictures below the fold, so that some poor person who’s viewing this at work doesn’t get in trouble…..

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