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Archive for November, 2017

Meal Planning for the Week

November 27th, 2017 at 12:52 am

We've done a pretty good job of dealing with our Thanksgiving leftovers. Dinner Friday was simply a repeat of the day before. I made up 12 TV dinners for the freezer. I made a big batch of turkey noodle soup. Word of warning, if you use purple carrots in your soup, your soup will be purple. Tasted great, though. Then I diced up the remainder of the meat, which was about 2 cups worth, and froze it and will make stir-fried rice with it in a day or two.

I still have to deal with the bones. I froze them, but I plan to make turkey broth with them this week and then can it. Any remaining meat on the bones will fall off and then I can pick it out and freeze it, either for a casserole or more stir-fried rice. In the past I have made enchiladas with leftover turkey, too, but we had so much stuffing and so many potatoes that I thought it was wiser just to make up the TV dinners, since we are trying to get away from buying store bought emergency TV dinners completely. There was absolutely no wasted food from our Thanksgiving this year. I feel great about that.

Day One:
Slow Cooker BBQ Meatloaf
Fried Potatoes
Green Beans
Canned Pears

Day Two:
Chili Beef Noodle Skillet
Broccoli
Apples

Day Three:
Hearty Beef Casserole
Clementine Oranges

Day Four:
Sesame Chicken
Broccoli/Cauliflower
Turkey Fried Rice
Canned Pineapple

Day Five:
Brined Pork Chops
Fried Potatoes
Green Beans
Apples

Day Six:
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Garlic Bread
Broccoli/Cauliflower
Grapes

Day Seven:
Chicken and Veggie Stir-fry
Turkey Fried Rice
Canned Pineapple

Can Someone Fix the Blogs' Time and Date Please?

November 23rd, 2017 at 07:46 pm

The dates and times have been off on the blogs for several weeks now. Right now I will post this on November 23 and it will say it is November 24th. The time used to be concurrent with whatever time zone you were in as well, but it now is half a day or so off. I think the code is broken somewhere.

Goodish News and Thanksgiving Plans

November 21st, 2017 at 11:10 pm

DH got the job he interviewed for. It is only a three month job, though, hence the goodish but not full-on good part. He will start in two weeks. I figure if it gets us through February, then we'll have our tax return to live on for a while. There is a possibility they would keep him on for other jobs after that. Someone had told him before he left the slope that there would probably be a job for him in April. Probably and possibly are not something I hang my hat on, though.

He will make enough for us to do pretty well for 3 months, and I will bank as much as I can. We'll still be living with austerity measures, though I will start paying the kids an allowance again once we get a paycheck and we will have a small Christmas after all. He hasn't run the numbers yet, he's waiting on one piece of info about medical deductions so he can give me pretty precise data. Then I can make up a preliminary budget and know more firmly where we stand.

We should get his first unemployment check tomorrow and there will be at least one more. We are putting that money in the bank. If we have to, we will use it for COBRA. If not, we will use it for living expenses.

I still don't feel very secure about the future, but at least I have something of a plan for the next several months. Prayers for something longer term and more secure would still be appreciated, though. I am so glad we don't owe anything to any creditors. I can't even imagine the state I would be in if we did. Well, absolute panic, probably.

I got my first commission check from Thrive Life. Well, I haven't actually gotten it yet, but it is there once I send for it. It's $13. Not much yet. I make about 2.5 times that with youtube each month. But I won't turn it away. Right now they are having their Black Friday sale through the 27th, so a lot of stuff is marked down. I wasn't going to order much, but now that there is an income that will be coming in, I will make one big order and then drop down to $50 a month minimum for consultants, which we easily use. I just want to take advantage of their sale prices for meat now.

I have some interest from some cousins and other family members, so we'll see if that amounts to anything. We are going out to my MIL's house tomorrow for a Thanksgiving meal that I won't be cooking. My niece, who works for a catering company and is going to school to become a home economics teacher, will be making everything but the turkey. MIL knows how to do a turkey, but DH is going out to help her around noon to get it in since she can't lift it and then coming back home.

We will all go out after we put the ducks away for the night, which is at sundown. It works out nicely because SIL (I don't know if her boyfriend is coming or not) and other niece's fiance don't get off work until 5:00 and sundown is 4:30, so the kids will have a chance to get washed up and changed and we will probably still get there before anyone else besides niece and MIL. Assuming I feel good enough. I am on the upswing, but I am still weak and exhausted.

Then we will be making our own Thanksgiving dinner my way on Thursday with an organic free range turkey, organic mashed potatoes and gravy, and my homemade stuffing, plus my home canned green beans and corn. I think I will skip the pumpkin cheesecake this year and do a chocolate cream pie the easy way, graham cracker crust, chocolate pudding, and whipped cream, but only if I feel ambitious. Which I don't, at the moment, so maybe no desert at all. We'll see.

Draining Week

November 18th, 2017 at 11:43 pm

The funeral on Wednesday was beautiful. I was able to speak, which was a good thing, because neither DH nor SIL could manage, though MIL did. I got a lot of compliments on what I said, which was nice, because I did not go in with a prepared speech. I don't like speaking in public, but I didn't feel it could go by without one of us saying something.

My favorite of DH's cousins did not attend. Her grandson, who is only 5, has a brain tumor. They biopsied on Tuesday and found out it is a very aggressive cancer and the tumor was the size of a tennis ball. Wednesday he had the surgery to remove it and they were able to get it all, but they still had to see if it had spread to the bloodstream. I am at such a loss. I am so tired of cancer hitting my family. This year has been a horror.

I am still pretty sick, but Thursday was my worst day. I think I have turned the corner with this cold, but I've been wrong before and gone on a second downswing. Hopefully not this time, though. Unfortunately, both kids are down with it, and DH started sneezing like crazy today. He's dosing on vitamin C. I hope he can keep going, because I am not at the stage where I can do any of the household or farm chores. Well, I did manage to fold one load of towels and one of clothes and then had to rest before I could put them away.

DH's interview was on Friday. He was supposed to be interviewed by two people, but the second one had a death in the family and couldn't be there. So the first guy said he needed to talk to the second guy when he gets back and see if he felt he needed to interview DH, too, or just go based on the first guy's opinion. He wanted to know if DH could start immediately, so I guess that is promising, but I'm not getting my hopes up yet.

DH and I went down to pick up our turkey today. We asked for one in the 13 to 16 pound range when we ordered a few months ago, and it is 15.07 pounds. I also picked up some sausage since we didn't get any with our pork. They had chorizo, which I was excited about, because I've never been able to find a chorizo without some bad additives in it. So one day next week I will make chorizo con huevoes with rice for dinner. Or possibly for breakfast with cauliflower rice.

I also picked up some roasts for canning. The roasts from our beef all have bones in them and I like them for pot roast dinners, anyway. But I want to can some meat for stews and chuck roasts available at the farm have no bones so are easier to cut up. In the winter I like to have stew once a week and we've been out of canned beef for a couple of months now.

We're also going to juice up a bunch of the apples we got when we went to the orchard a while back. I clearly got too many. If I juice it, I can can it and it will be shelf stable. That is a relatively easy task, but it will still have to wait until I feel decent enough to do it.

I was really hoping to do a better job at blogging with daily blogs this month, but I just haven't had the energy, so catch up posts a couple times a week are just going to have to do it for now.







Bits and Pieces

November 14th, 2017 at 10:30 am

DH has a job interview Friday morning. It is for a local company, as in our city, so the commute would be short. He'd even be able to take the bus if he wanted to as it is on the bus route. Another company an hour away has expressed some interest as well, but aren't interviewing for another couple weeks. That company tends to be slow to move. Anyway, prayers that the interview goes well and DH is offered the job would be appreciated. I just hope it isn't one of those things where they have to interview so many people, but they have planned to hire in-house from the start. Those are so frustrating.

I am sick. First I had a horrible stomach bug that lasted about 10 days and now I have a sore throat, am completely stuffed up, and am running a fever. The lethargy is pretty bad. I can't seem to sleep well, so it is taking forever to get better. It may be a sinus infection. I hate to go to the doctor right now, though. The COBRA paperwork finally arrived, but who knows how long it will take for them to actually process it. So currently we have to pay out of pocket. COBRA is retroactive, so we'll be able to submit anything paid out of pocket eventually.

If DH is hired and the insurance starts after one month we may not do COBRA at all. We have 60 days to start it and we can do it on day 60, so even if something major happens along the way they will have to pay it. COBRA will be $1500 or thereabouts a month and that is with dropping vision and dental.

I really hope he is hired. Our remaining savings will not last long and we are still recovering from the last bout of unemployment and paying for our medical insurance for 9 months.

The funeral is on Wednesday. There will be a viewing followed by a short graveside service. I am afraid I am going to get even sicker standing outside in the cold, wind, and rain. After the graveside service, there will be an indoor memorial. Then after that a catered family get together. DH and I are taking separate vehicles. That way DD and I can come home when we need to since we are both so sick and DH can be there for MIL longer with DS, unless DS wants to come home, too. He is starting to get the cold.

I would love to visit with the extended family, but I am afraid I would get everyone really sick. As it is, I will barely be functional enough to attend the funeral. My head is so full of snot and it is hard to focus.

Earlier in the week when I was feeling somewhat better, I made some freezer meals. Instead of making one casserole for dinner, I made a triple batch and froze the extra two. So I now have two pans of enchiladas, two pans of baked ziti, and two pans of chicken and broccoli/cauliflower casserole in the freezer. I don't have the stamina or energy to do full on once a month freezer cooking, but it is close to the same amount of work to do 3 at a time than it is to do one.

I'm going to do some taco rice bakes, some lasagnas, some hamburger casseroles, some carnitas, and some pork fried rice when I feel a little better. Ideally, I'd like to have 15 days of frozen casseroles ready to go. I'll do some individual turkey dinners as well after Thanksgiving, but those never last long.

I have some days where cooking is just not an option, either due to rheumatoid arthritis or just being sick or just being exhausted, so being able to go to the freezer and pop something in the oven is wonderful. I get the aluminum pans at The Dollar Tree unless they go on sale elsewhere. I don't have enough casserole dishes to tie them up in the freezer for long amounts of time. It is an expense, but it beats the expense of take out easily.

If anyone has some casserole recipes that don't contain mushrooms or cream of mushroom soup and freeze well, I'd love for you to pass them on to me.

Meal Planning for the Week

November 6th, 2017 at 08:02 pm

I'll be making two new recipes this week for our dinners. The First is Curried Chicken Chowder. I have the leftovers of a whole roasted chicken I made the other night so that will be going into it. It doesn't use much in the way of curry ingredients, so it is going to be pretty mild.

The second new recipe is Greek Baked Ziti, which is honestly not all that different from my penne pasta with sausage recipe, except some of the herbs, but enough to change it up. I will do a triple batch of this and put one in the freezer for us and a couple small ones for my MIL.

Both recipes come from the Southern Living Special Collector's Edition Make-Ahead Meals magazine.

I will also do a double batch of enchiladas so we can put an extra one in the freezer. I want to start building a stock of freezer meals for those days when I am just too exhausted to put anything together.

Day One:
Pork Spare Ribs
Baked Potatoes
Broccoli
Home canned pears

Day Two:
Curried Chicken Chowder
Corn Bread
Apples

Day Three:
Greek Baked Ziti
Cole Slaw
Fruit Salad

Day Four:
Mild Beef Chili (no beans)
Corn Bread

Day Five:
Rabbit Enchiladas
Cauliflower Rice
Home canned pears

Day Six:
BBQ Pork Chops
Fried Potatoes with Onions and Bell Peppers
Cole Slaw

Day Seven:
Southern Fried Rabbit
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Green Beans
Canned Pineapple

FIL is Gone

November 5th, 2017 at 01:03 am

My father-in-law died about half an hour ago. My husband has been with him all day, except to come home, shove in a sandwich, and go back. Then at nine p.m. he came and got us and the kids and I stayed until nearly midnight. DH stayed with his Mom and sister and aunt (FIL's sister) and his eldest grandchild. It was peaceful. He never woke up while we were there.

We told him he could go, that everything was taken care of, that MIL would be looked after. I got a moment to kiss him on the forehead and tell him I loved him. DH and MIL are holding up pretty well. SIL and niece not so much. My son is doing pretty good, feels a sense of relief and a lot of sadness. My daughter is having a harder time and hiding in the shower so she can fall apart in private.

I've been crying off and on for days now, but tonight was so hard. I was lucky enough to be blessed with in-laws who love me like a daughter. And a father-in-law who made my own father's passing easier, because I still had someone to play that role in my life who felt like a dad to me.

We all feel like DH was laid off for this reason. So he could be home to spend time with his dad the last few weeks of his life and to be there for his mother. Just like the last time we felt like it was so he could be here to drive them to the cancer facility in Seattle and pick up the slack around their house, chores, grocery shopping, all of that.

He has been there when he needed to be there and it has made a world of difference to him and to his family. The worst is yet to come, though. He'll hold it in for a while and then he'll collapse with the grief for a while and then he'll move stoically forward because that is what he does. And I'll be there for him every step of the way. Because that is what I do.

Use it Up Dinner

November 4th, 2017 at 12:58 pm

Last night we had something of a build up of leftovers in the fridge. I had some leftover spaghetti sauce with sausage in it from spaghetti night. And I had half a can of tomato sauce left from meatloaf night, so I combined those together. There wasn't enough meat in it for 4 people so I grabbed a cup of my freeze-dried sausage and rehydrated it.

Meanwhile, I looked through my pasta and ended up deciding on some shells I had. The shells were left from some Annie Bunnies shells and cheese that I stole the cheese powder packet out of to make cheesy popcorn one night, since it is a clean cheese powder. I cooked the shells in the microwave and by the time they were done, the sausage was fully hydrated.

I combined all of the ingredients together and poured them into a greased baking dish. Then I used up the last bit of Parmesan cheese, the last bit of extra sharp cheddar, some mozzarella and some regular cheddar on top. So I have two less almost empty cheese containers in the fridge now. I baked it at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes covered in foil and then for 5 minutes with the foil off.

It was a really good dinner and about 10 times easier to make than lasagna, but tasted just like my lasagna. Everyone was well pleased with it and except for some gravy, there are now no leftovers in the fridge.

If anyone wants to know how to cook pasta in the microwave, the trick is to heat the water first and then add the pasta for the regular amount of cooking time. Oh, and you need a plate over the top of the bowl you cook it in and to add a bit of oil and salt to the water. It works great for shells, macaroni, rotini, penne, and farfalle (bowties). Also, the wide egg noodles. I have not tried spaghetti, but I would imagine you'd need to break it in half or thirds and stir in the middle of the cook time.

What kind of leftover meals have you all made this week?

Keeping Things Tight

November 3rd, 2017 at 06:29 am

DH has been laid off for two weeks now and so far we are keeping the budget tight. No more allowances for the kids, no eating out, no frivolous spending. And there have been a couple of nights where grabbing burgers would have made life so much easier. But we are resisting.

DH is having to do a lot of running for his parents and of course is spending as much time as he can with his dad. They are going to try to get him into hospice today. He has a hard time staying awake because of the high dose of painkillers and his words are sometimes coming out the opposite of what he means, like saying up for down.

It started snowing last night. We haven't even had a frost up to this point and it was only supposed to get down to 35 degrees and be raining. So we got out the heater for the rabbit shed so their waters don't freeze and the heat lamp and heated water fount for the duck coop. Then we went into the garden and harvested the celery, the remaining tomatoes, and the acorn squash.

Today or tomorrow I will go gather the rose hips, since they taste sweeter after the first frost, which this qualifies as. I will be making rose hip syrup or jelly, I haven't decided yet. Rose hip syrup was made extensively through the U.K. during WWII. Because of rationing and the inability to import citrus, and because rose hips were free and could be gathered from the side of the roads, syrup was made so that they would have a source of vitamin C, especially for the children. It is higher in vitamin C than anything else.

In fact some areas paid people to go out and pick the rose hips, I think it was around a pence for a pound. It was a way to earn extra money during war time. Also some people made and sold the syrup as a way of earning money. The extra money was often used to buy rationed food items on the black market.

I have only dried the hips for tea before. This will be my first year making jelly or syrup.