Saturday, October 30, 2010

Just what's up is all

Haven't put anything on here for a while mostly because it's just been really busy. There is a lot to do with winter coming on and we've had to get a lot of things done. We got four truckloads of alfalfa put up in the hay barn this week and I am so stinking sore from all that! We had two of Steve's friends come to help with it all but it was still a lot of hard work to get it all done.
It's in the 30's at night now so we towed the chicken coop into the barn and got them set up for the winter. They can still get outside to play and all but they will be safer in the barn with the weather coming. My big surprise yesterday was finding a silver lace hen with TWELVE chicks hiding under the steps on the side of the house. Not all the chicks are silvaer lace so I am thinking some of the chickens were laying there and the momma hen just sat on all those eggs. This puts us around 220 chickens now and we're making some good money from the eggs which is really helping out.

Christie is gone on work and I miss her a lot. Macy and Steve are home and so are the girls and all the babies but having Christie gone the place is so quiet! Steve is off work now for the winter but says he might get some work clearing roads if there's any landslides or whatever that happens. It feels weird to not want anything bad to happen anywhere but then to know we need the money when it does.

Both of my girls are crawling now and Patty is doing a little standing when she pulls herself up on things. Patty is 100% Steve's girl and you can tell she will be really strong when she gets older. My Laura is doing nice and she is so happy all the time! Macy calls her "Pigeon" because she coos so much! The girls are calling her that too so I am wondering if it will be a nickname for her. Laura did get a bad bruise from her vaccinations last week but will be okay. It just looks like she got kicked is all.

The economy is not good and that is hurting a lot of families. At church on Sunday the pastor told us that aid had to be given to four families in the church to save their homes and there will be a meeting tomorrow after church to talk about the church buying their homes so they can stay there. It's really bad right now. Everyone talks about how they have less money than last year and then taxes go up in January and people are just wondering how they are going to get by. I got an email from my friend Carmen who said her family got their foreclosure notice and have to be out by the end of November. She will have to quit school and go get a job to help pay rent because her father got laid off from his job making lights. It's not looking good and I keep hearing on the news about a recovery but everywhere I look I see things getting worse. It's really scary.

One of the older men in the church has pancreatic cancer and they think he will be gone by Christmas and that has a lot of people really sad. He was a soldier in the Korean War and his kids got him to move here after his wife died and he is the nicest man.

I need to go work on lunch but wanted to get on here.

I hope all of you are safe, warm, fed, and have good jobs.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Cooking Tips part Two

There isn't one brand of knives for everything. I have a sashimi knife that I love to use for filets and for trimming beef and the knife I have for that probably won't need to be sharpened for a very long time. My boning knife is a six inch Forschner and it works really well. I also use a Forschner offset knife for bread and it does a really good job but if I want to make really perfect cuts with bread I use my sashimi knife. I use a six inch Shun usuba for prep instead of a cleaver. The brands are not as important as what knives you like. I started school with a Wusthof set and then traded and bought knives from my classmates until I had my own thing going on. They all did the same thing.

Sharpening a good knife means using a whetstone with oil and if you don't know how to do this don't learn how on an expensive knife! If you think that means I messed up a good knife you're right!

Pots and pans don't have to be some expensive brand. Just go to a restaurant supply place and go look at their stuff. What you want are thick bottoms for good heat distribution and none of the non-stick stuff on them. Cast itron pans are awesome but you can't use them on a lot of cook tops so be sure to read the manual for your cook top before you use on. If you have a gas cook top you can use any pot or pan you want.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Cooking Tips

I'm taking a moment from making bread right now to post some tips because people have asked and because it is on my mind. I'm making sourdough bread with the starter I mentioned last week. It's sweet and bitter in the right way (I hope!) and it's supposed to be on the side for dinner tonight.

#1. This is pretty easy: Keep a clean and organized kitchen. A good chef/cook uses a kitchen the same way most people use their hands. It's part of you when you do it right. You can just reach for stuff without really looking and you know it will be there. When you're in a hurry a organized kitchen can save you up to an hour prepping for a big dinner. It was the first lesson we had to learn in school when we set up our labs.

#2. Get some good knives and then get good with them. Buy some radishes or potatoes and practice making things. Practice dicing. Practice peeling. And then practice sharpening them. There are a lot of good knives and the best ones fit your hand, they don't rust, they keep an edge, and they don't bend unless it's a boning knife and you want that to flex a little.

#3. Get a food thermometer. You need it for making bread to start out. A good yeast bread starts by getting the yeast going and that means using 105-115 degree water. Too cool and it won't rise because the yeast isn't alive enough and too hot and you killed the yeast. You also need it for cooking roasts. I put one in a roast when I start cooking it and when the core of the roast hits 135 I pull the roast our and let it temper and while it tempers the core warms up to 140 or so which is perfect.

#4. Cutting boards. Plastic for meat and then wood for breads. The wood board needs to be wide enough to work your bread and hold some extra flour for the board and it should be a hard enough wood that it doesn't dent. I oil my boards with vegetable oil and once a year you should clean them really good. We have a steam cleaner and I used that when we moved up here and it got all the old oil off the boards and now they look really good.

#5. Kitchen Bouquet. It's this kind of gravy stuff you can get at the store. It makes awesome gravy and I use it instead of keeping reductions in the freezer for everything. I still use some reductions for some stuff, but Kitchen Bouquet is better than some of the things I could scratch make.

#6. Butter. Use butter whenever you're told to use a butter substitute. That's because there's no substitute for butter! Olive oil and vegetable oils are great for some things but when it comes to frying, making a glaze, making a decent English muffin you just have to use butter. I know there are health issues for some people so just use less or just have it once in a while but it has got to be part of your cooking supply.

#7. Pans with thick bottoms and none of that stupid nonstick stuff. When that nonstick stuff starts to come off your pans it goes in your food and you're eating it. A thick bottom pan helps evenly distribute heat and that prevents your food from scorching. If you LIKE that burnt taste just ignore this. You don't need a $3,000 set of pans, just good thick pans that hold heat.

I'll post more another time but this is enough for now. (-:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

To Helene

Helene, I wasn't going to write anything tonight because I don't have a lot of time but I wanted to write back to you.

When I said that SHari's daughters were enjoying the new peace I really meant it. Lauren and Hannah have said that a lot. I'm not sure how to explain it but I get it. I was so used to a family meaning fights all the time that it was weird to be with this family where no one fights. The thing was that what I had at home was so bad that I didn't notice that as nice it was here it was still stressed all the time with drama from Shari.

When Shari left things got rough for a while and then they got better. We are not doing so well with money anymore but it is soooo calm here now. Shari was not like some awful person but she was always saying...shit to everyone and you'd just feel like crap after she said this things to you that were not so bad you could just tell her off but they were bad enough you felt it. Does that make sense?

She always said shit to her girls that made them feel like they were failing in some ways and she did it to everyone else too. It doesn't mean she was bad all the time but she was the unhappy person in the family and without her around it just got better is all. Lauren and Hannah are pretty honest with us (me, Macy, and Christie) and if they were not happy they would say so. It still upsets them their mom left like she did and they miss her. I do too! But now that her stress is not in the house we all noticed it being gone. If she was to come back that stress would have to stay gone. I don't think she is coming back but still.

One thing I REALLY hate about women is how some of them make shitty comments to people but they do it in a way that if you say something back YOU are the one everyone thinks is wrong. )-:

I don't know what you think of all that but what I think is that I didn't see the problems with Shari before but when the problems went away is when I noticed them. Same with everyone else. And all that doesn't mean we don't miss Shari, we just don't miss the drama.

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Sister Wives" stuff

For my family and for our church this has been big news this week watching this to see what happens. Part of the problem is the people on the TV show live in Utah and the Mormons probably feel like they are supposed to 'prove' something to the rest of the country by prosecuting the Browns. I'm glad we don't live in Utah but it's still a worry because if a big deal is made out of this then that will make it harder on our family I am sure.

Someone emailed me and asked if we knew the Browns and we don't. But they do seem like some of the families we know so it's not like they are so strange. The one big house is pretty normal but the husband with the fancy car is not normal for us at all. Most families don't like to attract attention so their cars are pretty normal. Christie has her Volvo and I think that is the fanciest car anyone I know has. Where we live now it's mostly pick up trucks and 4WD SUVs and that's what most families have.

I saw the show with the 4th wife and the jealousy and I totally understand. It's hard and it isn't like it is so much jealousy against the person it's more like it's the situation. Macy coming into the family was a good and Godly thing to do instead of telling her to leave but that led to Shari leaving in some way so I have mixed feelings about it. I love Macy but if she had not had her problems that made her come to us we would not have had a 4th wife and then lost Shari I think.

Losing Shari messed us up with money so there is no way we would have a 4th now so that is not a worry. Everyone is happier without Shari being so serious and upset around the house and even her daughters are pretty happy now and loving the new peace in the house. I read one article about the Browns that said the life was a fantasy land and I think that sometimes it is. It's kind of weird sometimes when you go like weeks without an argument with anyone. I mean it is good but I was so used to fights with my mom all the time that now it is kind of weird sometimes. I can understand why this life would look so weird or even fake to someone who is used to a lot more drama in their life.

I think part of it is we keep quiet anyway so our lives are not that exciting with bad things happening. There are no fights over money, the bills are always paid first, we have food on the table, the house is warm or cool when it needs to be, we have nice clothes, cars are not a problem, and we all have some private time and our own space when we want it. There is just nothing to really get upset about.

New topic: Cooking

Steve was out hunting and he and his friends came back with 22 geese. I volunteered to clean them and prep them and the men all jumped and said yes. Yay! That meant I got 22 goose livers to make foie gras with! They were pretty lean so I added two sticks of butter and then a little broth reduction and it came out pretty good. It was funny some of the men had never had goose liver before and they acted like it was something awful until they tried it. We roasted three of the geese and they came out pretty good. Wild geese are more lean than the ones you can get in the store so they are not so greasy and I liked that.

I'm trying to do sourdough bread and I am growing a starter right now. It's three days old and I am going to try some on Sunday for dinner and see how it goes. I have tried before and they don't do too well but this time I am using brewing yeast we got from a home beer making friend and I like the smell! It has the right bitter scent to it so I am hoping it comes out okay.

It is almost 8:30 and time for our movie. We are going to watch "The Book of Eli". It is supposed to be a good story but lots of violence. I'm not so much on the violence but it is supposed to be a good movie anyway.

Have a nice weekend!