Tuesday, December 03, 2013

My big dreaded project

I'm embarrassed to even admit this, but I fiiiiiiiiiinally got around to putting away the kids' clothes from the Fall transfer today.  This has been sitting in the foyer-to-kitchen hallway longer than I would like to admit.  An absolute eye sore.  But (to me) it seemed like too big a project to mess with.  Like, it would take too long.  Don't let these cute little boxes and piles fool you.  There's barely any organization to it.  I had to look at every piece of clothing in order to sort and store.  And for any of you out there that *truly* know me, you'll know that I STRUGGLE (with a capital S) with the clothing exchange EVERY single time.  Truly a love-hate relationship.  I feel SO freaky-deaky blessed to have clothes and shoes for each of my children.  GOD HAS PROVIDED ABUNDANTLY.  I love how they have so much-- and it is cute cute stuff!  But I HATE (despise, loathe, detest, dislike, abhor, etc.) kids trying on clothes & shoes, looking for spots/stains, sorting, organizing, deciding whether to keep/give to someone we know/donate, box, label, run up and down stairs, etc. I cannot even put into proper English words how much I have a disdain for this project.  It's unavoidable.  And it happens every year... twice.  So with that said, perhaps you can understand why I call this my "big dreaded project".  And of course, since I've been dreading it, I've been pushing it off until I "have time".  Shoot.  Who really has the time?!  It's just something one has to MAKE time for, whether you want to or not.  Well today, I MADE time.  And hated it the entire time.  But BY GOLLY it's done.  And it looks gooooood.  
 

It... is... finished...

Donation pile

Basement storage

Oh yeah, baby.

Feels like I just lost 30lbs!!!

Waste not thy olive juice

I save the olive juice...
and use it in NACHOS.
Mmm-hmm-- you read me right.
Instead of using plain water in my ground beef/taco seasoning meat mix, I use olive juice.
Changes the flavor just a hint.
Makes it extra yummy.

Give it a try!

The perfect pineapple

You may look at this pineapple and say "eww, it's practically rotten".
But I look at it and think "oh my, this one's perfect!"
I think it strange that when certain fruits are practically "bad" they are oftentimes the "best".
Like strawberries, for example: super ripe strawberries make the absolute *best* and *sweetest* jam.
Mmm-mmm.
Well, pineapples are a similar thing.
It took me a while to figure it out-- but now I've got it down to a science.

I cut these bad boys up when they look like this:
Cracks are turning brown/yellow.

The base looks like this:

The top will look like this:
Wilted.

The flesh will look like this.
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I kid you not, it is super sweet.
*EARTH CANDY*
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Try waiting to cut your pineapple-
and you'll probably never cut one open that looks like this again:

Monday, December 02, 2013

Turkey carcass

I really think I should have been a butcher, LOL.
I love meat.  Really I do.
And not just to eat it (although that's a huge part).  I also like working with it with my hands.  Raw.  Cooked.  It really doesn't matter.  I just like the way it feels.
Ok, say it: that's weird.
It probably is, but I can't change the facts.  :-)
So Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and any other holiday/gathering throughout the year where there is a big chunk of meat to eat off of, I am the go-to person for picking the meat off the bones.
I really enjoy it.

Well this year, between eating a big meal and then immediately nursing a baby...
I passed out on the couch and missed the "de-meating" process.
A bit bummed, but I went along with it.
It actually worked to my benefit because no one else wanted to mess with the bird.  So they threw it all in a big bag and gave it to me to take home.  There was gobs of meat left on it.
Blessed.

So here I am at home with a big 'ol bag of turkey carcass.

After pulling off all the meat, I'm making TURKEY STOCK!

It's so so easy and so so good for you!

Here's what I did:

Put the carcass in a big soup pot and added: onion, celery, carrot, cauliflower stems.  Then added parsley, minced garlic, thyme, dry minced onion, and (2) bay leaves
**We were in charge of the veggie tray for Thanksgiving this year.  So when prepping the veggie tray, I kept/refrigerated the ends/greens/veggie leftovers for this stock.  Whatever veggies, too, that were left from the actual veggie tray went into this as well.

Bring to a rolling boil.  Then reduce to a simmer for approx 4 hours.
**I allow mine to simmer with lid on.

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Done!
Bones & ligaments will literally just fall apart.
**By the way, it smells AMAZING in my home right now!

With a large slotted spoon, skim out the bones, fat, ligaments, etc. and veggies.

Strain the stock.
I just use an old, thin, clean dish towel over a colander & bowl.
Cheesecloth would work too-- I just never have any.  :-)

 Voila!
Turkey stock.

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Since I wasn't going to use it right away, I refrigerated it.
Fat will rise to the surface.
Depends on the bird how much fat there will be on top.
This bird was pretty lean.

 Scrape off the fat.
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 Making dinner with this yummy stock:
Chicken, cauliflower, potato, carrot, broccoli stems, egg noodles.
Minced dry onion, garlic powder & salt, parsley, oregano.

Man oh man!
Let's just say kids wanted 3rds!