Wednesday, September 28, 2016

In Support of Sloppy Entertaining

I don't know if there is much worse (okay, there IS much worse - but let's keep this relevant, 'k?) than slaving for hours on a dinner menu to have it turn out totally MEH.  Especially when you are also trying to clean the house to a level that requires heavy equipment and months of prep work in less than half a day.  It cannot be done, peoples. 

My Girlz Night group now meets, maybe, on a seasonal basis.  One woman now has two homes - one on Cape Cod, where I secretly think she'd rather be - and one woman works full time, as I do, but her work entails driving from Monday to Thursday.  Plus, she has a real social life.  Anyhoo, somewhere in the process of our getting together, we all now try to outdo each other with the scope, quality and fanciness of our dinner.  This is, in a word, ridiculous.  I take the whole day off because I am cooking up a complicated storm, trying to whip my house into order (neither women have pets, although one has knick-knacks) and then appear at the appointed hour, martini glasses frosted, not a hair out of place, in something casual but classy.

Not surprisingly, it never happens that way.  The menu was this:

Seeded Flatbread
Almond Flour Crackers
Red Lentil Hummus

Tomato Ricotta Pie in a Brown Rice Crust
Orange/Avocado Salad on Arugula with a Balsamic Glaze

Autumn Apple Cake

What was edible?  Not much.  The flatbread and crackers were good.  The hummus was watery.  The Tomato pie was supremely MEH and did not set properly.  The salad was good.  The cake was medium MEH.

And it took HOURS.  Okay, given I was also stressed out over Juno and the gopher-sized balls of fur that kept wafting across the dining room floor - all of which could have added to the looming disaster.  Instead of finding me cool, calm, wine glass in hand, they found me sweaty and apologetic.  It was wrong!

From now on - I will be the Queen of Crappy Entertaining.  The Salome of Sloppiness.  The Eve of Ease.  I will plan an easy meal, based on what's at hand (although, in my defense, everything I made was with what was at hand).  I will not apologize for dust gophers.  I will not dress up.  I will have a good time.  Barring sick sheep and dead ducks.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Do as I say - not as I do.

In amongst all the trials and tribulations I experienced over this weekend, I managed to clean the house, wash all the waterers, and bake dog treats.  None of which were on my to-do list.  Sigh.  I have decided to write a book, and its working title is, "Do as I Say! (Not as I Do)".  It will have chapters such as, "Don't Overdo the Ducks", "Don't Raise Livestock Unless You Want to Give Up Your Life", "Be Sure to Make Room for You Time".

This was one of those weekends where all I wanted to do was to hit the rewind button - or step into the Wayback Machine (Professor Peabody, anyone?).  Since none of those options were available to me, it was Pull Up the BGPs and Full Steam Ahead. 

The roof is finished.  Except for one vent cap that went missing, it is screwed on tight and looks marvelous.  The roofer returned last night with the errant cap and to get his money.  The dogs and I survived, although the cats are still jumpy.  The Pepperoni managed to slip out numerous times so that he could waylay the roofers at every turn and pop up like a meerkat.  They were very nice about Mr. Nuisance.  I'd be looking out and I'd see one of the guys stop, put down his tools and bend down to the ground.  After the third escape, I put him in his crate under house arrest.

On Friday, as I cooked and cleaned like a fiend for the Girlz (more about this in a separate post), popping outside occasionally to do a chore or two, I discovered that Juno was getting edema again. She and I have been battling parasites since early spring - she's older and does not have a lot of resistance under the best circumstances.  Saturday morning she was down - but bright-eyed and with an appetite.  As things stand now, she is still bright-eyed, eating everything but not able to stand.  I had been moving her legs and trying to get her up every few hours, but now, stuck in my damn office, I cannot do anything but worry and think about it.  I am afraid that she will not be able to stand again if she goes on like this much longer, and then yet another tough decision must be made.

Over this weekend Hopalong, the lame duck, lost the good fight.  She was a tough little thing, but she was too lame to sustain herself and got weaker and weaker.  I had to help her along to her next big life.  It's a tough way to downsize.

Saturday and Sunday nights the temperatures plummeted to the freezing/frost point and I had a mad scramble to get the avocado and lemon trees inside, and then did a sweep through the basil.  Other than a cover on the geraniums, everything else was on its own.  Next weekend is plant-the-garlic-and-shallots time, and yoink the tomato plants.  The kale is amazing this year - thank goodness for that.

Aromatic Bouquet in a Bucket
There goes my dining room.
I am trying not to bake for the sake of baking - I am a baking fool.  I LOVE to bake.  However, I am a family of one human and nothing I bake is a single serving.  I think I have found the solution.  I may also have three dirigibles on legs in the house.

Dog Bicuits
Note here - Am I the last person on Earth to realize that you can make little treat blobs and not spend hours rolling out and cutting individual little neat, square treats?  Save me from myself!


Sunday, September 25, 2016

I guess this means summer is over.

This was not the low.  We hit 34* at bottom.  Forgive the blurry pic.  My trigger finger was frozen from outside chores.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

There are days

when the only thing standing between me and a precipitous drop into total chaos is a neatly made bed.

Such as today.

Do you only venture into your day after making your bed, or are you of the "I'll only have to unmake it to sleep in it" school?

Monday, September 19, 2016


The roof is half-done.  I got half my weekend list done.  It was one of those half-baked weekends.  Thanks to the weather forecast this weekend, only Saturday was a dry day.  The finished half of the roof looks great and the roof is supposed to be finished next Saturday.   My confidence in whatever the roofer utters has been slightly diminished.  Turns out I am two metal panels short - the receipt has 'disappeared' and I don't know whether the guy who ordered them made a mistake, the order was shorted or the roofer mis-measured.  In any event, there will probably be two different green stripes on the back.  I declaring it a decorating statement.  I am also 24 firring (sp?) strips short and 800 screws short (well, we knew that, didn't we?).  These two shortages are rankling.  But screws, panels and boards will be bought and the damn roof will be put on.  Geez.

We had a lovely birthday picnic for my mother and mice had once more invaded my car filters.  It also rained most of Sunday and the roof didn't leak.  So, all is not lost.  Not that any of these things is related to the other.

Something that was fully baked - another new recipe, "Savory Zucchini and Ricotta Cheesecake".  I am happy to report that it was DELISH!

Excuse the 'well-used' baking sheet.
I have the girlz over for dinner this Friday and I am wavering.  I found a recipe for tomato and ricotta pie on a brown rice crust (I seem to be fixated on ricotta lately) and then another tempting recipe was picked up by my food radar and now I am torn.  Fall Vege and Ricotta Galette sounds awfully tempting....with a GF crust.  Oy.

Why I never venture through my house unshod - yesterday morning, the anxious tip-tapping of toenails woke me at the usual early hour of 4A.  I threw on my robe and slippers and slogged out through the kitchen and to the back door.  When you have an ancient dog, it's best not to tax his flabby bladder.  I let Lovey and Scrappy out, then turned around and went back into the kitchen to make coffee.  There was a suspicious 'slurk', 'slurk' about my right slipper sole.  The lights went on and I discovered that The Pepperoni had decided to use the indoor facilities.  I said some bad words.  Loudly.  Then I slipped off  and cleaned the offending shoe, made coffee and swept and washed the dining room and kitchen floors.  At 4:30 in the morning.  Needless to say, The Pepperoni went treat-less and was under lockdown for most of the day.  I always relent, but I held firm for hours, I was that ticked-off.  I did spend a inordinate amount of time yesterday wondering what life would be like - petless.  It would be too bleak.

Saturday night, the new rooster was delivered by the whole family.  In the dark.  Pecito (Peck-eeto) is...a bantam.  Sigh.  He looks remarkably like Bunny, but with some subtle differences.  You will have to take my word for it, for the time being.  While he is not one to stand down in the face of Big Bully Hens, he has found that spending the day in the high weeds is a safe bet.  I haven't had a photo op yet.  Last night he was a little confused as to where he was supposed to bed down for the night.  He started with the Anconas - who were displeased; then hopped the fence to the Cayugas - who were confused; then hopped another fence to the Babes - who were alarmed.  I finally scooted him out of the gate and into the coop.  He's a cute little bugger, but I am always afraid that bantams will be hawk bait.  I practically had to sign an agreement with these people that, not only would I look out for his physical well-being, but be on the line for his psychological development and spiritual growth.  I'll do my best.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Subtle shift.

There has been a subtle shift in the air, my thoughts, my words, my lists.  Things like "before winter" have entered into my thinking.  Never mind that my spring and summer lists still have lots of items unchecked.  Those have become "next" spring and summer lists.  We are nothing if not flexible, right?  The maple across the road is beginning to show red highlights.  There were raspberries in my breakfast granola this morning - blueberries are no longer fresh, but frozen.  The tomato plants are shuddering to a halt.  Thank goodness.  Even with one cherry tomato plant and one grape tomato plant, they keep on giving by the armful.  I will be doing some selective yoinking in the garden this weekend.  Bean plants were out a few weeks ago, same with the cukes (with the exception of my "special" cukes, which have yet to produce ONE cucumber of any size for seeds...) and zucchini.  I have one yellow squash plant still cranking out and the pepper plants are FINALLY producing ripe peppers.  The kale is magnificent!  I am getting more than my daily needs of leafy greens.  My lone eggplant plant has 

Breakfast on the go.
My roofer sent me a text this morning (we, apparently, are both early risers) asking if it would be okay to drop off some equipment this morning.  Oh, yes, Sweet Louise, it's okay.  He came around 7 with the scaffolding and other bits and said that he is bringing extra help so that they can try to finish it in one day.  That is good news, as Sunday's forecast is for showers and thunderstorms.  Once the roof is on, I can wash the front of the house, which gets little light and grows an nice, moldy finish every other year.  I also need to wash down the gutters, clean them out and finally - after 10 years - take down the Christmas lights that the last owner left as permanent decoration.  You know how it is - you mean to take them down, but they slip your mind and only slide back into your consciousness when it is inconvenient to take them down.  Those are things that only make it onto the Mental List.  The Mental List does not count.

This weekend is my mother's 93rd birthday and we are celebrating (such as she will let us) by making a picnic lunch and having it in their gazebo.  This means that I will have to leave the dogs in the house without parental guidance.  With a bevy of roofers, on scaffolding, no less, whacking away at their house.  I hope my living room holds up under the assault.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


A new, young rooster is headed to the LLF this coming weekend.  A friend's niece got chicks from Murray McMurray and fell under the spell of the "Free Exotic Chick" offer that we all know is ad-speak for extra-male-chicks-that-we-can't-sell.  Speaking of EMCTWCS, Bunny is now pretty much as full-sized as he will get.  This does not stop him from strutting around like he is The Man.  It should be interesting to see how well he shares the stage with the newcomer.
Other than being a bantam, I have no idea what breed of bantam he is.  I am guessing some Asian breed, given the fancy-schmancy tail, but I was unable to find him on the MMcM site.  Does anyone have any ideas?
On a completely separate note, I discovered another way to use up my zucchini!  I was researching how to steam the perfect brown rice, when I came across a recipe for brown rice/zucchini squares.  And it takes three cups of shredded zucchini!  What is not to like?  It's basically an eggy-quichy kind of dish, with brown rice, shallots, garlic, oregano, squash, egg and a little milk.  I added some shredded cheese (there is a topping of bread crumbs and cheese) to the base because you can never have too much cheese in my book.
Topped with GF panko crumbs
and a Parm/Asiago/Romano mix.
I still have a ton of zucchini - I will shred and freeze some, but would love to hear from you if you have some tried-and-true recipes to share!