It is always nice when the temps start to dip here is south Texas. I awoke to a light rain on the roof and it has turned out to be a cool and dreary day today. With a week of off and on rain, the back yard has turned into a lush green field of weeds. I have been wanting to put out some of the Centipede I started in flats as sprigs, but now I will have to kill off some of the unwanted vegetation first. I need to be out digging some fence post holes for the dog pen, but with the cold temps and off and on rain it is not a good day to be working in the yard.
So today we are doing chores in the house and I am getting some cooking done. I do have some windows open to get a breeze through the house and to offset some of the heat I am producing from cooking today. We have a lot going on in the kitchen producing heat, so the cool breeze is a nice way to stay comfortable instead of running the air conditioner. I am running the crock pot trying to make some lunch meals, the dehydrator and will soon have the oven going. Top it off is the dryer in the laundry room just off the kitchen also producing some heat. We get so few days we can open a window I like to take advantage of every one I can. I love the fresh small opening windows brings to the house and not burning electricity to keep comfortable around the house is also a big plus.
I found some of my potatoes were going bad so the rest got peeled, sliced and put in the dehydrator. We already have dehydrated potatoes in slices, cubes and shreds. I have pretty much only made fried potatoes or hash browns with those. With this batch I am going to try to make potato powder out of them and see if they will make a good mashed potato. With it getting dark earlier and my long commute home on top of that, I have no desire to do much of anything in the kitchen at night during the work week. Having something that I can warm up in a few minutes and make a decent meal will be nice.
We have not run the dehydrator in a while so I am thawing out some meat to marinate and make some jerky. I love jerky. Making it myself allows me to control what goes into it and I can enjoy it a lot more often because it is cost effective. I will be picking up some more things on the next grocery trip to put in the dehydrator. The strawberries are now past their season so we are going to try drying some apples. Hard part with apples is I just love to eat them. I also want to get more onion, celery and carrots to dry. We are going to try some new crock pot recipes, and having those things dehydrated and ready to add to the crock pot will save me some time. I now have enough stuff dry and stored I want to learn more about using them in healthy and delicious recipes. I have a lot of beans I have bought and harvested as they are easy to grow, so we are looking for recipes to use them in as well.
A while ago I bought a large pork roast that I had cut in half. Half went into the freezer and the other half went into the crock pot and I cooked it like any beef roast with potatoes and vegetables. It was OK and was a good lunch for a week.. but I did not think that way of cooking it really meshed well with the flavor of the roast. So today I have that other half out of the freezer and in the crock pot covered with Bar-B-Que sauce. I am expecting it to get very tender and the sauce should be a better compliment to the flavor of the meat. We will see later today.
Also on the to do list for cooking today is baking some chicken. I can get 10 pounds of leg quarters for $4.20. It is even better when they get marked down on sale to $2.40 for the entire 10 pounds. We are thawing out that bag today and we will end up baking them. I had previously fried them, but now we are watching calories as well as pennies. So.. the plan is to bake them so I still have a great tasting and cheap lunch meal, but it will now a bit healthier for me. I am also going to pull off the skin and cook them up for my feral cats. I have felt sorry for them hunting bugs at night to survive so they are getting scraps as well as a daily meal of cat food.
I made some egg noodles a month or so ago and have not had an opportunity to use them at this point. I know with 14 hens I will have an abundance of eggs.. so I am now trying out ways to use them. Currently I have an egg every day for breakfast. Even eating a daily egg, when the hens get producing I will soon have plenty of extras. I do have some co-workers lined up for fresh eggs. But I still want a way to use them myself. Noodles are pretty easy to make and a good use of extra eggs. In time I want to make my own pasta and every once in a while I check out pasta machines. In time I will get one and make my own spaghetti as well as noodles. I am not a huge pasta fan, but it is something that can be made from flour, eggs and oil that are staples that can be stocked or produced here easily. I should be able to make spaghetti sauce with the tomatoes and herbs I am now growing as well. These things may not be fancy or offer a huge variety, but with the ever increase in the cost of groceries I should always be able to eat. And that is the goal.
So today we are spending time with Google and my cook books looking for recipes. The dog is outside with his new feral cat buddy and the indoor cats are curled up in their boxes. With all being quiet I am looking for a crock pot chicken noodle soup to try. I also want to look at some bread machine recipes. I made some bread with a recipe that came in the bread machine makers instruction book and was not thrilled. I now eat bread every day so making my own is something I am working towards. Since I am still not completely unpacked here at the house I dug through the boxes in my closet to get out some of my cook books. I have one called Mexican Kitchen by Rick Bayless. I am hoping to find some good recipes for beans in there. I found my Pampered Chef cookbook and will look in there to see what I can make up on a weekend to have for lunches.
Though the sky is gloomy and overcast, I am enjoying a very relaxed day in the house. It is really nice to slow down and take a time out from all the busyness that is life these days. Though it feels lazy, I am actually getting organized and recharged so I can go back out in the hustle and bustle refreshed prepared to meet the challenges.