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.
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:

The flesh will look like this.
I kid you not, it is super sweet.
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.

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.

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.  :-)

Turkey stock.

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.
 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!