Monday, September 25, 2017

Recipe: Chicken & Gravy Toast

I learned this recipe from my Mom, one of my favorite childhood dishes.
   She generally made sides. I can't remember what. I don't really care for sides.

This is a meal in of its own, but might also be considered quick or knock-off chicken-n-dumplins.
Pretty much the same concept except using toast rather than dumplins.

I don't generally make chicken-n-dumplins unless the weather is chilly/cold outside, and even then it's probably somewhat a special occasion; company, or someone's birthday.

I buy boneless/skinless chicken breasts in the big packages at Sams Club. They usually come 6 or 7 breasts to a package, and they are really big. I divide them up, one or two breasts per freezer baggie.
Two breasts will make about three meals for us.

I start by boiling the frozen breasts in water (or broth if I have any or remember to use it) for a couple of hours. You can boil less time, but the longer they're boiled, the more tender they are.

If I have any broth left after boiling I let it cool and pour it into freezer baggies and freeze it. 

You can use broth or water for the gravy. Broth gives it a little more flavor, I think.
     I don't know the measurement for the amount of broth/water. My Mom measured in inches - "2&1/2 - 3 inches deep in a skillet" - I was using a sauce pan so mine was more like 3-4 inches deep, or just over a quart is the amount there was after thawing two baggies of frozen broth. 

My gravy pretty much doubled once it thickened, so I could have probably done as well with one baggie of broth.

In a bowl I whisked 1 cup of flour (self-rising, I haven't tried All-Purpose so I don't know if it would work) and 1 cup of milk.

Added it to the broth and stirred and stirred and stirred.
  Eventually, it thickens. When it starts to thicken, turn off the heat. It'll thicken more from the heat of the pan.

After boiling, I let the chicken cool so I can handle it, or if I'm in a hurry I use fork & knife, and I shred it up.

Add however much shredded chicken you want, or have, to the thickened broth/gravy. 
   Stirtup (translation: stir it up).

Salt & Pepper to taste.
   We're not big on spices, but we love a good deal of pepper in chicken gravy. (And milk gravy, too.)

Toast some loafa bread,

Top with chicken-gravy, and voila' (or as some people say, wa-la! lol). Yummy to yer tummy.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Fall Mantel Decor

*First, a quick Hurricane Irma update: Here, it was just a perfectly beautiful rainy day.
Some slight wind gusts, but we had worse last week.
It was just dark and cool and rainy all day.

I love a good rainy day, every so often. I love lamplight on a rainy day. And turning the lamp off, pulling a blankey over me and napping the afternoon away in the recliner. Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for supper.

**My family in Florida is fine. I don't think the Hurricane was as "catastrophic" as they were thinking it would be. More like, just a regular bad hurricane.

September arrived, and I was able to do my Fall mantel decorating.

Being that it's technically still Summer until September 22nd, and end of Summer is historically considered Harvest Season, I wanted to go more for a Harvest theme, than Fall/Autumn.

Apples are a main part of my harvest decor, on account of my Dad has an apple orchard.

Well, a fruit orchard, also with some Peach, Plum, Pear, and Cherry trees, Blueberry bushes, and Grapes and Muscadine vines.

But except for the grapes and muscadines, the rest is more Spring & Summer harvest. End of Summer and Fall is apple season.

I didn't raise any corn myself this year, but my cousin did, and invited us to come pick some. We picked nearly 200 ears!

Most of it I blanched and put in the freezer...some I de-cobbed and dehydrated. I need to test re-hydrating and cooking and seeing how we like that. I'd like to get more into dehydrating than freezing, but I'm not sure if I can dehydrate and re-hydrate corn on the cob. The boys love corn on the cob.

I hung a few ears up on my clothesline to dry for decor, but I guess it's too humid here and the shucks got moldy. Next time I'll use my dehydrator or oven.

I had this little circle of Bittersweet I kept trying to use a wreath, or something, but it never looked right. Eventually it occurred to me that it might look good with a pillar candle in it.

I didn't have a pillar candle, and I'm trying not to buy anything, so I wanted to use what I had. What I had was a pint jar of apple butter. No one has noticed it's not actually a brown pillar candle.

I like to display my Pyrex mixing (serving) bowls as a nod to my Grandmother/s. Both farm girls, and these bowls were modern in their kitchens, where they would cook up big, delicious suppers including bowls of things like garden fresh green beans, creamed corn, fried okra, etc.

I also didn't (try to) grow any pumpkins this year. I have tried to grow pumpkins several years in the past, and something always went wrong and they never produced well, or at all.
I had planned to try again this year, but just never got around to it. I'm not giving up, though, I plan to try next year. Eventually I'll be able to grow pumpkins. Sometimes it just takes me a few tries.

The jars of dried apples are some I dehydrated. They keep a long time in a canning jar.
I just dressed up the tops of the jars with some red gingham material I already had and some green jute twine from the Dollar Tree.

The lamp in the basket was a brass and amber glass lamp I spray painted black.

In my mind, the black and amber glass looked a lot better together. I don't like how it turned out, but I'm not sure what color to re-paint it to make it look better. 

It's also cotton-picking time in Georgia.

Thanks to the internet, and a or some really creative-minded people, I was able to make my own cotton boles using sticks from the yard, cotton balls, and pine cones.

One of my little "helpers", lol. 

The rusty canning ring pumpkin I made last year (or maybe the year before). The 9 and 7 burlap-covered-wood numbers I found on clearance for 48¢ each at Micheal's, or maybe Hobby Lobby, can't remember.

The old window I had made as a key hanger. I sewed a little valance and hung it with twine, and covered the backside in lacey material. I had intended to cut a vinyl quote to put on it, but haven't gotten around to it. There are hooks across the bottom for hanging keys on.
It used to hang on the wall by the door, but was taken down to work on the faux planking, and hadn't gotten hung back up yet.

The little apples (package of 8 found at a thrift store for 50¢) is (on a saucer) in a vintage Jadeite Fire King measuring bowl.

Stacked jars of cinnamon-candy apple jelly, and a set of apple salt and pepper shakers.

I thought it needed a Scarecrow, which I thought I had, but couldn't seem to locate in my Holiday bins, so I picked these, and the Pumpkin/Harvest sign up at Dollar Tree. 

Friday, September 08, 2017

Hurricane Irma

So, we typically don't have to worry to much about hurricanes here in north west Georgia, but every so often we do.

Oh, we get remnants of them sometimes; rain, wind, and/or severe storms/tornadoes.
But since we often get that same weather without it being a hurricane remnant, we don't really think of it as hurricane weather.

Hurricane Irma, it appears, is going to be hurricane weather.

Yesterday I was offering a safe place for family & friends along the east coasts of Florida and Georgia to come stay....Today I woke up in the direct path of the hurricane.

I want to say, "Oh, it'll be fine. We went through Opal in '95. It was fine," - which is true, we had some minor damage, and the power was out for a week or so - but Irma isn't Opal, and we really have no idea what it's going to do, so I think it would be as dumb to say that as my sister, who lives in central Florida and is staying there during this storm, saying, "Oh, we've been through hurricanes before. It was fine."

They may have been through hurricanes before, but they haven't been through a hurricane like Irma before.
According to the chart, she'll be in the 100-120 mph winds area.

Kind of funny, in a way, since she still whines about how traumatized she was/still is when hurricane Andrew went through (near?) northeast Georgia in '92.  Which were probably 50mph at most. Pfft.

My Dad also is down there, but more north, in/near the Big Bend. He should be in the area of 60-80 to 80-100mph winds.  Not to mention, flooding and/or tornadoes.

Stubborn arses!
They're staying to "protect" the house and their stuff - what are they going to do, hold the hurricane off at gunpoint? Threaten it? What?
That's just crazy.

I like stuff, as evidenced by my hoarding, but no stuff is worth the fear and anxiety and awfulness of sitting through a raging hurricane.
It's going to be bad enough here as it is, if it was any worse, I'd be somewhere else, and the hurricane and/or looters could have the place.  Everything is replaceable, and that's why I have insurance.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy Independence Day

Here are a couple of old windows from our house we replaced with new ones, I painted up to celebrate my personal Revolution. My Rebellion, against the spreading filthy disease called Socialism.  My reminder that many of our Ancestors created America to be able to live Free. Not to live as Serfs, not subject to others' tyrannies, not to have the fruits of their labors stolen for someone else's gain, again.

Betsy Ross Flag

Gadsden Flag
(Made using Cricut vinyl cut out)

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Usually when I have a long break between posts, I generally just resume posting when I get back to it without making excuses or promises. 

But things haven't been going too great around here this year. I think I thought 2016 was a rough year. If it was, I can't even remember what was so bad about it. 

As for 2017, my life has basically turned into a horror story. 
Things will be going along well....and then BAM! Something bad happens. 

And just when I think things are about as bad as it can get, it gets worse. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Snow Day, Baby Chick

It's pretty hard to predict exactly what the weather is going to do, which is why I typically prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

We were supposed to get less snow than those to the East of us, but we ended up getting more. (Not that that's saying much.) What you can't see is the layer of ice under the snow. 

The sun came out and melted the snow, but the temps didn't get above freezing, so the melted snow re-froze into ice.
There were A LOT of wrecks, because people thought it was "just snow", I guess.

 The temps stayed below freezing for - if I remember rightly - about 2 more days, then Global Warming set in.

 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's temps all within just a few days. Winter to Spring, in like three days.

Which was amazingly conveniently just in time for our new baby chick to hatch into nice, mild temps.

I knew he (I just feel like it's a He, hopefully I'm wrong) was due to be born January 12th, which generally would be chilly if not downright cold weather.
I had been worrying over it - I'll spare you the details, I worry a lot - but Thankfully, it just worked out.

Haha, little troublemaker! I went to check on them this afternoon and heard him/her peeping excitedly, but I couldn't find him/her in the cage. Then I noticed it was inside the feeder jar! LOL!

This chick is a  - well, Bantam-Cochin-Frizzle/Sizzle-something or other. At any rate, it's super tiny, about the size of a golf ball.

Long story, but he/she was hatched and is being raised by a regular size, Easter Egger hen. 

We're looking at mild temps through the rest of the week - highs of from 65° to 71°, lows in the 50's. Looks like it'll be overcast and dreary, with chances of rain here and there.
Fine by me. I like it warm, and we can use the rain.