hollysmokes

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About hollysmokes

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  • Location
    nashville,tn
  • Interests
    in no particular order: smokin' meat, fermenting, cooking, preserving food, music, hiking, gardening, biodynamics

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  1. hollysmokes

    Start Date: December 1st

    How are the cravings? Have you been able to quiet them down with some sleep and good food? I guess it's not surprising that you were hungry and it's great that you had no adverse physical issues. Some things are worth it and the great connections, conversations and healing are definitely some of those things. "Deliriously wonderful" -YES! It's funny that it's only July and we're looking at our one year anniversary but it will be here in a flash! FLA in August, then October is our friend's music festival where we feed all of the musicians & volunteers and then it's December! I'm with your husband on Christmas but I miss the family connection part of it since we are separated geographically. Since my parents split up when I was 11, holidays were a power struggle between each side and the kids were the prize- not much to celebrate there. Since I'm in health care, there have been lots of holidays that I've had to work and tried to get my husband to spend it with his kids but he refuses to leave me alone. I appreciate the sentiment very much but it would have been fine and it would have made me happy that he was forging relationships with them. Did you have a chance to read Melissa's email yesterday? I know you're crazy busy and recovering and it was long but it was a good one about not being a Food Freedom Failure. I'm still really struggling with committing to an exercise/workout plan and keep sabotaging myself with wine so I feel like I've totally failed on that level. I've gained and lost the same 2-3 lbs a dozen times since the end of my W60 in Feb and just feel gross. You'd think that would be motivation, wouldn't you? And then I went clothes shopping... "Food freedom isn’t just about food—it’s about how you think about yourself, and go about your life." Yes, it is.
  2. hollysmokes

    Start Date: December 1st

    It's so nice to see you, too! And, yes, "NO CHIPS" made me laugh; you can totally do it! How did your food flexibility treat you? Nothing beats a great loaf of bread as long as it doesn't wreck you afterwards. At least the fermentation process of making sourdough helps mitigate the phytates and increases Vit B-something. We were going to splurge on a really great slice of pizza while my mom was here but hubby was sick the whole time (still is) so we decided to save it for the next trip. We did check out Zoe's Kitchen after seeing it in one of Melissa's emails and it was really good; I was surprised that we had one here. Going out to eat can be such a chore sometimes that it's just not worth it but they're all set up for W30 and don't bat an eye over special requests. We did get their baked feta but drew the line at pita chips and asked for cucumber slices for dipping. Staying on track has gotten to be so normal that, hopefully, recovering from your food trip will be a smooth transition back to your normal. Good plan to keep it simple and it's great that you have week to recover. It warmed my heart and made me sigh to read about your "family group" - very much how I felt after getting to spend so much time with my family last Oct/Nov and then again this spring. I pushed for the trip in August to celebrate my mom's birthday so we wouldn't lose all of that. I know it was our choice to move so far away and every now and then I wonder if it was a mistake but even when we were much closer geographically, we didn't take that much advantage of it. Everyone is busy and you know they're just a couple of hours away and can visit anytime but then "anytime" turns into a few months before you know it. I think the trick for me is to stay focused on how joyful it was to be together and make it happen more often. This time of year gets to be challenging for us (me) to plan good meals. Working the garden isn't even half of it because then you have to DO something with all of it. Tomatoes are just starting to ripen but I'm up to my eyeballs in cukes, onions and garlic. My cook-up this weekend mostly consisted of "putting up" veggies. One of the few kitchen prep chores that I really hate is cleaning garlic so, of course, that's what I did all weekend. I have one pint jar of garlic cloves doing a regular ferment in brine and another is filled with honey to do a different ferment. I've never had either but I've heard that they're both delicious and the garlic honey doubles as a tonic for cold/flu season. Neither of them needs to be stored in the fridge ever so that's nice, too. I ran a big pile of them through the food processor with just a touch of olive oil so I can keep a garlic "berg" in the freezer and just shave off a little when I need it- no sticky fingers and garlic paper everywhere. Two more gallons of pickles are motivating me to pick every day so the little boogers don't get so big. Pickling 20-30 cornichons is way easier than dealing with a giant bag of the big Kosher dill-sized cukes. I'm running out of air locks, jar lids and wide-mouth quart jars! I had to juggle stuff out of one type of jar and into another just to try to make room and turned the last gallon jar into a long refrigerator ferment because I was out of lids that could accommodate an airlock. I'm going to taste my first batch of Kosher dills this afternoon and I hope they're good because I've made a second batch already. Going to look up Polish Wedding- gotta like a movie with pickles! Pork chops, chicken breasts and veg to go with them- my "keep it simple" plan. I have the potatoes to make holy mackerel cakes so that's on my list this week even though I didn't get to it yesterday and I'm going to repeat a new roasted cauli dish that was a giant hit last week. I just eyeballed the amount but the original recipe called for 1C mayo:12 oz cauli florets. I probably used about 3/4 C mayo but you just need enough to generously coat it then add curry powder, some extra turmeric and salt to taste. Toss it all together and roast at 400 until it's golden brown, crispy goodness. I tried something new-ish for breakfast and it has room for improvement. My dad had a recipe for an eggplant tomato casserole that has a cheesy layer in it and it's really delicious even though veg cooked down in tomato is usually not my thing. I though it would be good with a couple of fried eggs on top for breakfast but it has no texture; it's very tasty mush! Can't win 'em all and at least I have breakfast done for the week. I think if I had added some ground meat and cooked it so it was a little drier, it would have been better. Next time. I'll work on getting some pics of the garden. I promised my mom that I would send her some, too. I wanted to cut some zinnias to put on my desk but I was almost running late this morning so I'll have to get them tomorrow. That and the butterflies are the perks of planting a hundred or so flowers. I tried to take a close-up of a giant mauve zinnia the other day but the pic didn't do it justice. It was the first time I had seen that color and it was so pretty! Welcome home!
  3. hollysmokes

    Start Date: December 1st

    That zooming sound you just heard was June!! There's so much to tell and I've been wildly busy. I keep telling myself that you're out adventuring and won't see any posts for a while but I'm thinking you might be back now? How were the volcanoes? And how did the non-plan for food work out? We try to do too much out of a sense that it's the"right" thing to do but sometimes giving ourselves a break is the right thing to do. My Mom's visit was a blur of activity. We cooked, we worked out, we scrubbed the deck (def not a planned activity!) and planted flowers. We always make a gigantic list of everything we want to do when we're together and most of the time don't even come close to finishing it- not this time! The only thing we didn't get to was the Holy Mackerel Cakes but we'll just add to the top of the list for next time. First of all, the butter chicken was AMAZING!!!! I used Floyd Cardoz' recipe from Serious Eats and I thought it was going to be a pain in the patooty but it wasn't really. There was a lot of the yogurt marinade left so I froze it to reuse on a couple of chicken breasts later. It also made about 3-4 cups extra gravy so I froze that as well. I used a whole cut up chicken instead of the thighs the recipe called for but, other than that, followed it to the letter (except where I screwed up and put the fenugreek leaves in with everything else instead of waiting until the end). I think it would be really easy to W30 this recipe: ghee instead of butter, coconut milk instead of cream and some other kind of yogurt for the marinade. I don't think that would "healthify" it too much! We also made a fermented slaw that I've been wanting to try for a couple of years. It's a quick ferment and a mix of cabbage, peppers, onions, carrots, apple and celery root. This was my first experience with celery root and we loved the slaw. It fermented about a week then we used the "juice" from it to make a gingery dressing with olive oil and it was great! Since it's fermented, the slaw doesn't get soggy & wilted like fresh slaws do so I'm still eating it and it's still delicious. Next time I'm going to try using regular celery since the celery root was $4/lb and I only needed 1/4 lb- seems silly. I tried to roast the rest of it w veggies for hash and it got weird, spongy and hard. I finally found the chicken and apple sausage; that's what we used in our hash. I didn't dislike it but my W30 palate found it to be pretty sweet so I think I'll save it for an occasional change of pace but not put it in the regular rotation. On the fermentation front, I've had to dive DEEP into pickles. Our cucumber plants are producing at an insane rate and all I could think to do with that many cucumbers was to give away as many as possible and pickle the rest. On the 1st, I put up 3 gallons of pickles in various sizes and flavors! So far, so good but my biggest experiment is to try to make a hot & sweet pickle. I have a stevia plant so I pulled a couple of big sprigs from it and added a few jalapenos to the jar. I know the stevia isn't fermentable but I'm hoping it will lend a little sweetness without having to add sugar. If it's successful, I'm going to try it with spiced beets. On the gardening front, we harvested all of the garlic last week, the zinnias are in full bloom and look fabulous and everything else is growing like crazy. I was able to use our cucumbers, mint, garlic, onions, dill, stevia and tarragon in the pickles plus grape leaves from the side of the hill to add tannins and keep them crispy. New upcoming adventure: we're heading to Perdido Key, FLA to join my brother and his fam to celebrate my Mom's 80th birthday. My husband's daughter and grandkids live nearby so we get to see them as an added bonus. If my Dad's wife joins us, and I hope she does, there will be 7 adults and 3 voracious teenage boys to feed. I can't quite wrap my head around the amount of food that's going to be necessary but after everything running so smoothly in Big Bend, I think it will work out just fine. We'll have a long weekend in the middle of August and I know it will be here in a flash. Egads, I have to find a bathing suit!!! I'm having a great day so I think I'll ruin it and go bathing suit shopping this afternoon I can't wait to hear from you and hear about your trips! I hope the trip to your brother's was everything you hoped it would be.
  4. hollysmokes

    Start Date: December 1st

    I'm always picking up something new from you! I had never heard of butter chicken and it looks.so.good. I love all of those warm spices. After perusing a couple of recipes from my google search, I have a couple of questions. Do you marinate your chicken in yogurt and spices first? And do you use fenugreek leaves? I saw that as an ingredient in a couple of recipes and then I saw one without it but an Indian cook gave them a tongue lashing for being really, really NOT authentic and that was one of several things she cited. I have fenugreek but not fenugreek leaves. I think that would be a fun dish to do while my mom is visiting. She'll be here Tuesday and I have some beautiful chickens in the freezer. I've never eaten or seen an Armenian cucumber but I've heard of them. Are they very different? I picked our first 3 cucumbers a couple of days ago and it looks like there's a bunch more coming! Yep, the pole beans are nice and tender when they're fresh and have that sweetness about them like haricot vert. I'm seriously thinking about going downtown to get more even though I set everything up so I wouldn't have to make that trip this Saturday. The plan for this weekend is to apply some spit and polish to the house. So glad your knee is in a good place but foot problems are awful, too. I battled plantar fasciitis a while back and I have one joint that gets whiny but I've found that as long as I'm either barefoot or wearing barefoot shoes, my feet are pretty happy. Anything with an arch that pushes up on my foot is a no-go for me. Unfortunately the barefoot shoes are not cheap and a lot of them are not pretty either. I found some good information, foot exercises and such from the sock-doc's web site. Joint issues were one of my big motivating factors to re-do a W30 to decrease inflammation- yeah, poundage, too! I did 2 really good weight work outs this week and have another planned for tomorrow. My weight hasn't budged but that's because my workouts came to a grinding halt in the face of adversity. That's when I should have put more effort into it instead of less. That cat really threw me! He's getting to be more of his usual self- brought in a critter to dine on one day, woke me up in the middle of the night for a purr-fest another night. He's gaining weight and looking less frail so all is good on the kitty front. Your meal plan sounds good and well thought out. I didn't eat dinner until 8 last night and was hungry but not ravenous even though M2 had been at noon. Maybe it's the fat-adapted part that's letting us be more mindful and thoughtful with our eating? I had a burger patty with sauteed 'shrooms and sishedo peppers so I didn't have a very big meal but it was enough and it was delicious. Hash on the menu for next week for me too. Not sure what else I need to cook-up this weekend. Maybe more cauli tortillas; it's nice to have a stash of them in the freezer and I have some cauli that needs to get used up. Have a lovely weekend!
  5. hollysmokes

    Start Date: December 1st

    MacGourmet is what I use and I really like it (if you are into Apple products)- love my Macbook and don't care that it's 9 years old. My husband says it's fruit; not a computer- he's not allowed to touch it It's a program that lets you enter and categorize recipes. It's super easy to cut and paste things into it but also not terribly painful to enter recipes from scratch. It comes with some preset categories but you can add your own (like Fermentation or Charcuterie) and then drag & drop the recipes into as many categories as you like. Not sure why I've never built a W30 category-duh! I guess I'll put that on my to-do list. It's a life saver for me because I'm too much of a ditz to remember where I've seen recipes AND I tend to modify them anyway so I can enter the source and be able to give credit where it's due. It's also easy-peasy to email recipes out of it. I've never messaged anyone directly from these forums but I just looked at your profile and it's as easy as clicking "message". As soon as I get that recipe entered into my computer, I'll send it to you. That hash sounds so good! I got some mushrooms to make it but got sidetracked with all of the bits and pieces I needed to use up. I would love to have a big pan of that hiding in my fridge right now. I love cold chicken so I bet I'd like it cold as well. At first I wasn't too sure about the mayo but the more I thought about it the better it sounded. I have an egg out on the counter right now to make more mayo; we're almost out. I cooked some beets this weekend and that always means I'll have to make another batch of mayo. My husband tends to have a big pile of beets to go with his bigger pile of mayo. Speaking of big piles, I have a giant pile of pole beans- the long flat green beans. That's what they call them here but in NO they were called Italian green beans. Whatever the name, I love them so I went nuts at the farmer's market and bought 4 lbs!! There's a bbq place here that puts them in a disposable pan with chicken broth, onions and bacon and SMOKES them. I tried it once and they took about 6 hours and were still tough so yesterday I decided to blanch them first. I brought them up to a boil and cooked them for 2 minutes but now they're cooked- def not what I intended! They are so good I can't bear to cook them any more so I think I'm going to saute some onions in bacon grease, add chicken stock and reduce it until it's a little thick then just add it to the beans. You typically just eat 2 meals? I mostly adhere to W30 guidelines but I'm never sure what to do in the afternoons. I get up at 530 and eat M1 about 7 and M2 about 1130 or 12 but we don't usually eat dinner until about 7 so I have that long gap in the afternoon that used to be my snacking downfall. That's when I work out or garden now but sometimes I'm hungry before dinner is ready and I don't want add a bunch of calories and definitely don't want to start the snack dragon up again. Not sure how to handle that. I don't have a regular workout schedule right now and I really need one. I'm a creature of habit. I did a big weight workout yesterday and we need to get in the garden today so I'll combine that with a few trips up and down our driveway. Do I get extra brownie points if it's a billion degrees outside? We've got a good support system going; I bet we could expand it! Graduation? No worries! Take it easy and have a great week!
  6. hollysmokes

    Start Date: December 1st

    I like your work out plan! Again, we're on the same page! I hadn't gotten on the scale in a while but felt like it was starting to head in the wrong direction. I've been eating well (mostly) but haven't been very mindful in the way W30 makes you plus I slacked off on my work outs and have been imbibing in a few too many adult beverages of late. So bloated and flabby-feeling has been it for the last little while but this morning I felt pretty great. I weighed myself this weekend. My weight was right where I left it (in more ways than one!!) but, for some reason, I felt strong and in control so I'm going to fly with that. Maybe it was just good to know that I was able to maintain even when I wasn't trying consciously. I had a good cook-up this weekend. I think I mentioned a while back that my mom has a good braised brisket recipe that she got years ago but it was really labor intensive. I made it once and was able to pare down some of the steps that I deemed to be unnecessary. This time I used a chuck roast (because it was available and cheaper then brisket) and pared it down even more so it's still a little time consuming but not difficult. The time is spent caramelizing onions like you would for onion soup but, other than that, it gets thrown together in a pot and baked until tender. The onion, carrots and celery all get pureed into the sauce it cooks in to make the gravy- no flour needed. I even made notes as I made it so I can get it entered into my recipe software- finally.I made some cauli puree for me to have with it and my hubbie can have rice or potatoes, his choice. I got another radish/fennel ferment going and a half gallon jar of gardiniera. Breakfast this week is another clean-out-the-fridge casserole- do I really need to hang on to daikons and turnips that I picked out of the garden in November, for pete's sake? I even took the dregs from a jar of salsa and put it on my breakfast. My treat to myself was to buy extra eggs and meat so I don't have to go to the farmer's market this coming weekend-yaaaay! I like going but it sucks up my whole morning and the parking is atrocious so I have to be there when they open. I like lounging around on Saturdays & Sundays with a couple of cups of coffee and don't want to have to rush out of the house- that's something to look forward to! I'm ready for a few good weeks as well. No drama. No broken things needing repairs. No marathon dental appointments. In a week I'll be off of work for a week so I want to amp up my workouts to take advantage of the free time. Time to get back in a nice routine.
  7. hollysmokes

    Start Date: December 1st

    That sounds like a crock pot full of deliciousness! Let me know how it comes out; I think I even have some Marsala. I usually don't listen to music when I exercise. I guess from doing yoga I've gotten used to being mindful during my practice and like the peace and quiet of just paying attention to my body- except for when my muscles are screaming and I have to hold a plank or lunge or something for 30 more seconds. Then it's not so peaceful and some music as a distraction would be great. I've only spiralized turnips and that was pretty recently when I made sauerruben but I love daikon radish so I bet it would be good. Maybe some faux pho? My husband flat out refused to eat cauli mash because it didn't taste like mashed potatoes. I finally convinced him that it wasn't supposed to; it was just delicious in its own right. So, yeah, I agree it's def not pasta but it's its own entity. I've learned not to call it cauli "rice" but rather shredded up cauli seasoned with whatever. Can't pull the wool over his eyes! I am so sad about Anthony Bourdain. I have all of his books, see him as a judge on Top Chef and have watched a lot of his shows and poor Eric Ripert who found his good friend dead. Funny, he was in Big Bend at the same time I was and I almost met him in a very uncool, but typical for me, way. My canoeing partner and I were navigationally challenged and pretty much went up the river in a big zig-zag pattern. Our theory was that we had twice as much fun as everybody else because we went twice as far. On one of our bigger zigs (or it might have been a zag) I looked at the two guys we were about to T-bone and it was him!! We missed him by about two inches and he just laughed and kept paddling. I've been trying to keep an eye out for that episode but now I wonder if they'll ever show it. Now I wished we'd smacked right into him so I could have said hi; I was in the bow so I probably would have wound up in his lap!
  8. hollysmokes

    Start Date: December 1st

    Well I wouldn't call it a work out but I did some stretching and moving in between putting dinner together. We've gotten a bit of a break in the weather and it's been just gorgeous outside. We finally got a basket to make grilling veggies easier so I cleaned out the grill and got it ready to go. Cauli, onions and red bells tossed in harissa and olive oil and grilled chicken breasts seasoned with a butt rub I usually use on pork but I will definitely use on chicken from now on. Here's the link to the recipe and I just leave out all of that sugar in spite of his plea not to https://amazingribs.com/tested-recipes/spice-rubs-and-pastes/meatheads-memphis-dust-rub-recipe. I had a little container in the freezer that said "Mel Joulwan's green sauce" but I can't find any such thing on her web site. I'm going to have to look in my recipe software and see if I put it there because it was really good on my leftover grilled chicken. I have a feeling I might have mislabeled it and it's really Michelle's https://nomnompaleo.com/post/7486821187/my-sisters-phenomenal-grilled-green-chicken. Sometimes even when it's labeled it's a mystery! Yummmm real pizza. Good for you for having pizza, enjoying it and getting right back on track! It has to be worth it. Someone was having a party at work yesterday and smelled up the entire place with pizza. It was from an OK pizza place nearby so it didn't tempt me but it sure put the idea in my head to go get a great slice (or 2). My husband would be ecstatic if I suggested pizza but I'm afraid I'd be heading down a slippery slope if I did it. Except for an accidental nibble on St. Patty's day, it's been 6 months since I've had any flour! Work towards! I like it.
  9. hollysmokes

    Start Date: December 1st

    Once again I am not getting notifications of these posts- so frustrating but glad I checked! Those EPIC pork rinds sound so good but I'm afraid to try them. I love pork rinds anyway and those sound even more delicious. When we were in BB, my sister-in-law brought an artichoke something something dip and we used pork rinds as the dipper-YUM! I enjoyed my peanut butter cup, I've moved on and I have not repeated! I didn't have a big cook-up this weekend but I got enough done to keep my head above water. I'm feeling very frugal with my breakfasts this week; I think it almost all scraps! Broccoli stems, Swiss chard stems, green onion tops that were a little tired sauteed in the bacon grease left over from Sunday breakfast. I used a can of coconut milk for some additional fat and holding power because I couldn't make up my mind about adding a protein. Are you familiar with garlic scapes? I wasn't until a couple of years ago and now we have them in our garden. It is the stalk with a flower bud on it that the garlic puts out but if you're trying to get your garlic to form bulbs, you don't want it expending all of its energy into a flower so you cut them off when they're about 10 inches long. Only hardneck garlic puts them out and I couldn't remember what we planted and bought a small bunch of them. I should have known better! We now have a lot of garlic scapes and some of them are a little bigger than they should be. Since they can get fibrous when they get big, I've been slicing them thinly and adding them to my onion saute for various things. I made the BEST Swiss chard Sunday w onions & garlic scapes sauteed in bacon grease then just wilted down the chard in all of that delicousness. I have two enormous bunches of Russian red kale so I might do the same thing with that. Garlic scape pesto is the next experiment with them. I got a little housework done Saturday while my hubby was off getting 17 bales of straw to mulch the garden and got a little cooking done when he went back to get 11 more on Sunday! We weeded the whole garden (11x50 foot rows) and we spread the first batch of straw so that pretty much took over our whole weekend. It looks so good, though. When I leave in the mornings, I slow down to admire the garden and it's only a matter of time until I take out our neighbor's mail box! It's brick; I really shouldn't do that Bob Dylan has a song called "Everything's Broken" and that's where we are right now. After 3 trips, the A/C guys finally got their act together and finished servicing our units. Hub's truck took two trips to the garage to get fixed, we're waiting on an electrician to come replace a motor in a ceiling fan and the clutch quit on the vacuum cleaner beater bar thingy (my husband said I can still use I just can't beat anything ). In a couple of weeks, we'll start the really big project- replacing the siding on the house! Yaaay! Rest and play? What's that? Truthfully, though, I love working in the garden but I don't know if I can call it play! We got plums this year! They're tiny but they're there. We planted pairs of fruit trees up the driveway about 5 years ago and this is the first year we've had plums. It sounds like June is going to fly by for both of us. My Mom will be here in two weeks and it'll be nice to take some time off to spend with her. One of our projects will be to pick out the new color for the house plus we always have a bunch of cooking projects. I haven't cured any bacon in ages and she loves my bacon so I'm getting a pork belly Saturday so it'll be ready before she gets here. I NEEDED another project! Oh- the radish/fennel ferment is delicious! I think I'm going to get another batch going while I can still get local fennel & radishes. It only took a week to get where I wanted it and just a few minutes to put together. Yeah my elves are slackers so I hope yours are being more productive than mine. How is the new employee shaping up? I hope, for your sake, that she's one that catches on quickly. I AM going to work out this afternoon. I AM.
  10. hollysmokes

    Start Date: December 1st

    I was so disappointed to find out how much yuck was in the Costco rotisserie chickens! I just look at them longingly as I go by but, truthfully, we had a couple of them that were a little weird texturally- kinda squishy- so that makes them a little easier to pass on. Unfortunately that's what we'll be using in October to do the backstage food for our friends' music festival. We're trying to serve tasty food on a shoestring budget and it doesn't get much cheaper than those chickens. It takes 8 of them to make a 50 qt (!!!) pot of gumbo. I'd like to say that I'll be strong and won't eat it but I know better. It also has ham and, of course, some flour to make the roux so it's definitely an off-road thing. Wow, a X4 batch of mackerel cakes; good for you! Your bright orange Kashmiri chili sounds fun! I can't find ground chicken at any of the farmer's markets so I've never used it. I saw organic ground turkey at Costco but it was really unappealing to look at and I was afraid I'd get 3 lbs of it home and hate it so I passed. I thought about getting some of their organic chicken thighs but they're skinless so I wasn't sure if it would be fatty enough to be tasty and I had a bad experience with their chicken and am a little leery about its quality. Agonizing over chicken I hear you on the stress-related off-roading. I had a Reese's cup yesterday and not even an organic dark chocolate Justin's one. It was delicious, I'm sad to say. I also had a big snack of peanuts one day and pistachios another. I haven't snacked in ages even though my husband essentially has a 4th meal in the afternoon. I haven't worked out in over a week and I'm feeling all of it. I don't have a cook-up plan. My house needs some TLC desperately. And on and on... I need to put on my big girl panties, suck it up and get back on my bike. I'm going looking for the momentum and sense of hope you found. I know it's here somewhere...
  11. hollysmokes

    Start Date: December 1st

    So many changes for you! I think you hit the nail on the head. Resistance to change is like a form of inertia. After it's all over I always regret the angst that I inflicted on myself and try to learn from the experience. One of the biggest changes I've ever made was to move up here after Katrina. Looking back, I wonder how I did it and even took it in stride instead of trying to plan and control it like I typically do. We bought our house when we moved here but still technically owned our house in New Orleans even though we had given the keys to our friend that was buying it. Two houses and no jobs is not the most ideal set-up but it was such a "right" move for us that I had no doubt that it would work out. Let me tell you, that is NOT typical for me! It sounds like you have a good plan and have thought it out well. I hope you are as happy with your changes as I am. Ahhh, is there ever "enough" domestic goddess time? Your acupressure work sounds wonderful- actually more like a calling than a job. It's so rewarding to be able to contribute something so meaningful at a point in people's lives when there isn't a lot of good things happening. A friend of ours passed away this weekend and had been in hospice care for several weeks and the hospice nurse that took care of my Dad last fall was wonderful and made everything so much easier. We had some nice down time this weekend, got in the garden between rain days and tried to maintain a sense of normalcy for both cats. Things are calming down a bit and our big boy is starting to get back into his old habits but I think the whole experience has aged him quite a bit. I'm only hovering over him a little The little girl is hissing less but is still confused so I've been trying to make sure she gets lots of attention. We made a nice run to the farmer's market and got some beautiful chard and kale. I haven't decided what I'm going to do with it but I'll come up with something. I'll probably just sauté the chard with some garlic and olive oil; it has such a nice texture like that. I save the stems and add them to my breakfast-y stuff so they don't go to waste. We weren't going to fire up the grill this weekend because of the weather but it was barely drizzling yesterday evening and we were both craving buffalo wings. My husband decided that we should grill them so he stood out in the drizzle and I made some ranch dressing for dipping. They were so good and now I have leftovers for lunch along with some broccoli and cherry tomatoes to dip in the ranch. I had grand plans about how much I could accomplish in the house with a three-day weekend and now I just want to know where it went!
  12. hollysmokes

    Start Date: December 1st

    Oh! You have more drama than I do! I've never had a boil order except after a hurricane or flood. We had a massive 500-year flood here in 2010 and the first thing we did was fill up our bathtubs with water- SOP before a hurricane. Ha! What we didn't know was that neither tub held water very efficiently and it all went down the drain. Do they know what the contaminant is and where it came from? Would your gravity-feed purifier that ya'll take hiking help? Even if you still boil afterwards, it helps with the ick factor. We've had massive cat drama. Yesterday was six weeks since our big boy went missing. We've called the county animal rescue before when he's been gone but never had any luck. Because we're so rural, I guess we figured he'll wind up being taken out by a predator. Well, yesterday my husband decided to give them a call and they recognized his description but said he had been adopted. They explained that whoever adopted him had no legal requirement to give him back so we might not be able to have him. We understood but figured that as long as we knew he was OK and had a good home, it was OK and better than him being dead. It turned out that a local cat rescue group had him and had brought him to PetSmart waaaay on the other side of town. He was still there so I left work and went to see if it was him. It was (holy crap!!!) and they let me take him for the price of a cardboard cat carrier. He's not acting like himself so I'm still really worried about him and our little girl cat keeps hissing at him so I guess he doesn't smell like himself either. We're going to get him chipped Saturday and are trying to keep him inside but that's hard to do; he goes outside to go to the bathroom. I was planning taco night for last night but realized that I had let us run out of cheese. Pre W30 that would have been a crisis! I really didn't want to cook last night and it's supposed to rain for days (but they always say that!) so my husband took off for a motorcycle ride before the deluge starts and came home with a rack of ribs. I made some slaw and baked beans (for him)- lucky man got potato salad and baked beans all in one week! And a cat. I guess that was our Memorial Day BBQ and we have lots of leftovers. My hubbie likes the mackerel cakes, too. I wasn't sure if he would. 100 might be a few too many but next time I'll make a double batch so I can stash some in the freezer. Good luck with your HR issues. It's so hard to find good employees and then you get close to them and it's hard to part on a personal level so that makes the change even harder. I really need this three-day weekend. I hope it pours down rain all weekend and I can just hole up in the house and let everything get back to normal- or at least as normal as we ever get! I'm fried. Hope you are better.
  13. hollysmokes

    Start Date: December 1st

    What a lovely NSV! I too wear my grandmother's wedding rings. I have to wear them on my right hand now because of all of the problems on the left but at least I can wear them again. I have problems with nickel also so only gold or surgical stainless steel works. The funny thing is that I allergy tested positive for frankincense & myrrh so my husband always says I'm allergic to wise men! I have a really cool seed pearl necklace that he gave me but it gives me a rash if I wear it too long and makes me itch within an hour or so. I started putting prescription cortisone cream on my neck before I put it in and try not to wear it for a long period of time and that seems to help. I use napa cabbage in kimchi and either regular or savoy in kraut. The regular is easier to find so that's what I tend to use. I saw a recipe for a coleslaw that did a quick ferment like you did then dressed it to turn it into slaw and I've been wanting to try that- maybe when my Mom's here. Length of fermentation is totally a personal thing. Some like it crunchy and not too sour and some like it super soft and tart; there is no wrong way. That's one of the cool things about it. Sandor Katz, the fermentation god, told a story about a series of presentations he was doing over several weeks. He had his crock of kraut in his car so people could taste it and by the end of his journey he was embarrassed because it was so soft. An old German lady tasted it and said it was OK but called it coleslaw not kraut; she was used to it being fermented for a couple of years and being really soft. I'm going to do a radish & fennel combo this week. It's a little different with hard veggies because you have to make the brine and pour it over but it's still easy. I love fermented radishes even if they do smell a bit farty and I think the fennel will be a really nice addition. Thanks for the shrimp cake link; I already forwarded to home and to my Mom. Now I just need to get some shrimp! My shakshuka wasn't a total fail! The eggs did soften a bit as they sat in the tomato sauce. When I took them out of the oven, you could tap on them and it sounded like you were tapping on the countertop! I need to look for ground chicken. I saw a recipe yesterday for chicken apple sausage and it looked really easy. I thought it might make a good base for my breakfasts next week.
  14. hollysmokes

    Start Date: December 1st

    Argh! I'm still having email issues. I didn't get the notification of your last post until this morning and, even then, it had been flagged as spam. I adjusted a couple of things so hopefully it won't happen again. SPAM isn't compliant! Holy Mackerel Cakes are a winner! I had them with some leftover grilled veggies and half of an avocado. I finally just smashed the avocado on top and ate them like a tostada. I just sent the link to my Mom so she can try them out, too. I stuck to Mel's recipe but I didn't have Old Bay so I added a little diced celery and used creole seasoning as a sub for the OB, paprika and black pepper. I will definitely keep those in my regular rotation. I'm definitely interested in those shrimp cakes. I have cilantro and mint in the garden so I'd just have to get some basil. It sounds so deliciously summery and fresh! I haven't run across her Cleopatra book but several years ago I read Mary Queen of Scotland And the Isles and enjoyed it. It, too, was a tome. The concept of artificial doesn't seem like it would have existed in Cleopatra's lifetime so maybe some artistic license was utilized? Late 1400's is what I ran across but its use as "anything made in imitation of or as a substitute for" wasn't in use until 1600's. Our etymology trivia of the day! Simple ferments are super easy but there are a couple of things that make them almost mindlessly easy: fermentation weights and an airlock and both are inexpensive. Other than that, all you need is a mason jar, veg & salt. To make sauerkraut you just thinly slice your cabbage and start massaging salt into it to let it start releasing water so it creates it's own brine. Add salt and keep massaging and tasting it until it is pleasantly salty. Unless it as an old, storage cabbage it should make enough brine so the cabbage is completely submerged when you pack it into the jar. Tuck a big piece of a cabbage leaf on top to hold all of the little bits down then put your weight on top to make sure it doesn't float up. Some people use a zip bag filled with brine (not water in case of leakage) as a weight. Let it ferment for 2-6 weeks or more depending on your taste preference. The longer it ferment, the softer and sourer it gets. I usually let my kraut go 2-3 months. I have a workout rest day today and am not sure I want to rest. Maybe I'll do some yoga and stretching. I rowed 3 miles in 30 minutes yesterday and was doing fine until the last 5 minutes when I started really feeling it. The last 2 minutes almost killed me but I did it. I was afraid to walk up or down the stairs for a little while because my legs felt so rubbery but I recovered pretty quickly and made Cuban meatballs, the kimchi cauli fried rice and cauli tortillas. I was pretty much done after that! Happy hiking!
  15. hollysmokes

    Start Date: December 1st

    Yeah, gotta have balls you can count on! The new workout sequence is good but needs a couple of tweaks and the rain dance worked! Thanks to you, I've had a pleasantly fishy weekend. Saturday I sautéed the kippers in a little brown butter ghee then scrambled some eggs to go with them. I was very surprised that they weren't salted but the were pretty good. Costco had smoked salmon on sale so I got some even though it has a little added sugar. I love smoked salmon and it makes a nice change of pace for breakfast but it's almost impossible to find any without sugar. I had some this morning with eggs scrambled with arugula and onions. I made Holy Mackerel Cakes yesterday but haven't tasted them yet. They smelled great and looked gorgeous when I pulled them out of the oven. I'm having them for lunch with left over grilled veggies. Can't wait! My husband was thrilled that I made a big bowl of potato salad for him when I cooked the potatoes for the cakes. It's funny but I was totally not expecting whole pieces of fish to come out of the can, though. I'm OK with it but it was surprising. Love the $2 price tag on the mackerel. I also found a can of smoked sardines but haven't tried them yet. I don't have any of Mel's cookbooks; I just use what she posts on the blog. My sauce came out really good but I messed up the eggs. Instead of leaving the sauce in the skillet, I put it in individual baking dishes, put the eggs on top and baked them. The eggs are hard as a rock now. I was worried about them being undercooked and I turned them into concrete Hopefully they'll still taste good because I'm not throwing them away. I didn't get the kung pao chicken made and went off on a different tangent. iHeart had a recipe for a quick gochuchang (Korean chile paste) and kimchi fried cauli rice to use it on. I've been wanting to make real gochuchang but it has a lot of rice flour in it so I decided to give hers a whirl. I was a little disappointed in the way it came out. She called for 6 dates and I decreased it to 5 but still found the predominant flavor to be sweet. I added a little more vinegar and chile flakes to it and I'm hoping that it mellows out a bit. Real gochuchang is fermented so I left it out last night but by this morning I got nervous about it and stuck it in the fridge. We'll see! By the time I did the fish cakes, 'tater salad, shakshuka and gochuchang plus laundry and miscellaneous house work I was too tired to start the kimchi "rice". Tomorrow is a workout rest day so I think I'll make it then and also make a batch of cauli tortillas since I'll be running cauli through the food processor anyway. Tacos on the menu this week. Now I just need to think of something for dinner tonight- maybe Mel's Cuban meatballs. It sounds like you had a good and productive weekend. Glad your hubbie made it out of the creek without injury. Mine tends to barrel off at times without thinking as well. I can't say my house is clean but it's on it's way. The last couple of weekends spent in the garden racing incoming weather was no bueno for housekeeping but the kitchen is clean, laundry done and the basement got vacuumed. It's such a relief to see the to-do list get shorter and have a good cook-up for the upcoming week. Your sister's house in Greece sounds divine. Greece is the only country in Europe I've visited and it was amazing. It was a million years ago but the food was terrific, the people were kind and generous and it was so beautiful. My Mom's coming for a visit next month and I want to make moussaka while she's here. Now that white potatoes are acceptable, I'll make the béchamel with arrowroot instead of flour and will just plan for a bit of off-roading so I can have some dairy that day. I'm really surprised how much I've decreased my dairy consumption and I really don't miss it. Yaaay!