Monday, October 31, 2011

Quote of the Week: October 31, 2011

"You can do anything - - but not everything."

David Allen
Productivity Consultant

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

FEED YOUR FACE: Spaghetti Sauce from Roma Tomatoes

Jim made some yummy spaghetti sauce when we bought a couple flats of Roma tomatoes a couple weeks ago for just $5 each. Here's what he did.

First, he washed, then cut about 50 Roma tomatoes in half lengthwise and scooped the seeds out with a spoon.

Then he roasted the tomatoes on his smoker grill just long enough for them to get where their skins were ready to just fall off. You can do them on your grill or put them on a cookie sheet in your oven (which will take a little longer).

Next, he put them in the crockpot (or Jim would say, "pile them in your crock pot.")
He added:
1/3 cup Jack Daniels
5 cloves of crushed garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 whole medium onion, diced

You can add more stuff to it if you like. He made a basic sauce that he will add additional things to when he uses it.

Then let it cook down for quite awhile. Jim left our in the slow cooker for about 18 hours.

It smelled really, really good while he was cooking it.

He then took the stick blender to the pot of sauce, and got any remaining chunks blended out.

This made about 3 quarts of sauce. I canned it into three quart jars, and there was enough left that he had it on an omelet one morning, and over some noodles for lunch.

As Jim would say, "Get out your spaghetti fork and the spinkle cheese, and get ready to feed your face!"

Monday, October 24, 2011

A COUPLE OF COWBOY QUOTES, And a little word from me.

"You can't tell how good a man or a watermelon is, 'til they get thumped."

"When you lose, don't lose the lesson."

I'm off to the hills for a few days. So, keep them home fires burning. My better half will do some posts until I get back. Later!

Friday, October 21, 2011


Holy moly. I've been busier than a one legged man at a butt kickin' contest. It has been a lot of running from here to there and everywhere.

We got my Dad and Mom to go to the flea market last weekend. We pushed him around in a wheelchair, so several of us got a good workout. Dad, on the other hand, just kicked back and enjoyed the ride. He directed whomever was pushing, saying "Take me over to that table." "Cross over to that table, he has tools!" "Look at them kerosine heaters over there." "Find out what he wants for that generator." "Push me over to that table, it has tools." (I guess you can never have to many tools.) "What in the world?! Is that a old GI stove over there? Yep. Well, the whole damn thing is rusted on the inside."

And Mom just kind of followed along. I'm glad that Kathi went with. It gave Mom someone to talk to. Then we got to the fruit and veggie vendors. It was a little hard to to follow the conversation when trying to buy some fruit or veggies, but thanks to Kathi and her Spanish.

In Spanish, aout all I can do is ask for beer and count to 10. And maybe enough to get myself in trouble or get my face slapped.

We bought some tomatoes and some poblano peppers. My sister bought some corn, 25 ears for $6. So we loaded up everything on Dad's lap. It was kind of hard for him to see over everything there at the end. But, what the heck -- he had seen it all when we first got there!

After the weekend, Kathi had Monday off from work and I ran amok. Plenty to do. We roasted tomatoes and peppers. We took one flat of Roma tomatoes, smoked and roasted them in our smoker, along with the peppers. We then put the tomatoes in our slow cooker, and made spaghetti sauce. (Recipe to come later.)

We took the other flat of tomatoes and sliced them up, sprinkled garlic powder on some, oregano on some others, and a little bit of salt on some others. Then we thew them in our dehydrator.

The tomatoes took 23 hours at 140 degrees. Man, oh man, did they ever come out good! So, we may head back to the flea market this Saturday and see about getting some more. The sauce also came out great. There were about 50 some Romas to a flat.

I promise to post the sauce recipe next week. Yum. So, get ready to Feed Your Face!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Quote of the Week: 10/17/11

"When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny"

--Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


It is about time for some scary stories, since Halloween is just around the corner. And just so you know, the mouse in this story was not hurt, though I did try really hard to do the little bugger in.

This takes place on the same hunting trip, that the Cactus Butt story came from.(Check it out from a while ago on this blog.) Just a different day.

So, it started out to be a pretty good day. It had snowed the night before, and we had about 5 more inches of snow. Now, like most people, the first thing you do in the morning is to make a call on Mother Nature. But since it had snowed, I was hoping that some one else would be the first to run out and use the toilet we had set up, so that the seat would not be all that cold. I mean, there were 5 of us in camp and we all had just gotten up. You would think that at least one of them could not wait, and they would run out and do their business so that the rest of us would kind of have a warm seat to set on.

But, alas, it was not to be. I mean, it is nothing to do number one. Just step out away from camp and go. But for doing number two, we brought a portable john. You know, the type that has short legs and has the toilet seat attached? It folds up like a TV tray? You attach a plastic bag to the bottom and do your paperwork. Well the one we had was not the sturdiest, and it didn't have a lid to put down when you were done.

So, when using this thing, you can't really put the full weight of your butt on it. And we just had a chunk of wood as a lid. So, as I'm waiting for someone else to go first, I'm kinda doing a little dance in place. I'm given a nice hot cup of coffee. There I was, trying to drink hot coffee, doing a little pee-pee dance, standing in the middle of our big tent in my union suit.

And I GOTTA GO! I couldn't stand it anymore.

So, out the tent I went. I set my coffee down on a log next to our john, and had paper in hand. Our make shift seat cover and toilet seat are under 5 inches of new snow. I swept the snow off as fast as I could, threw off the makeshift lid, looked around real quick, and didn't see anyone. I proceeded to drop my drawers, and lightly set down. Man, was it cold!

The next thing I knew, the bag below rustled and this damn mouse ran up between my legs and jumped off my lap! The mouse went one way, and I let out a girly scream like you never heard, and I went the other way! Down.

'Course, I'm sure every body in the whole valley heard that scream. My campmates came flying out of the tent, one or two of them had their sidearms out. There I was, butt sticking out, practically had frostbitten butt checks, the toilet seat stuck to my butt, and my drawers around my ankles. Thankfully, the stuff that was in the bag was frozen solid.

My campmates just stood there, mouths open. My Dad finally said that they thought that I had been attacked by a bear or a mountain lion. Yeah, right, like a bear was going to be out this time of year. The bears were all snug and sleeping the winter away.

I'm was still trying to get up off the ground, toilet seat still frozen to my butt, and I was trying to get my drawers up.

They laughed their heads off. They laughed while we ate breakfast. One had coffee come out his nose. I thought another was going to choke on his bacon. They laughed while we tried to hunt. I could pinpoint them all, just from their laughing.

And that toilet? Well, it ended up being used as a target holder. That's what we should have used it for in the first place.

As for that damn mouse? I tried, I don't know how many times, to get that little booger. But to no avail. He got away.

None of us got to fill out our tags that season. Between cactus butt and renegade mice and everyone laughing so much, I think that we pretty much scared off everything within 30 miles or more.

So, a warning and advice: check before you sit!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin bread. Or cake. It's just good.

Kathi here. I LOVE pumpkin stuff. Pretty much anything pumpkin. We have a neighborhood restaurant that always makes a really good pumpkin gnochi when it's pumpkin season. That reminds me that we need to go there so I can eat it!

I make this pumpkin bread/cake a lot because it is tasty and has a good texture. Oh! And because it uses just two ingredients: a cake mix and a can of pumpkin puree.

Seriously, just take the cake mix and add the can of pumpkin, then blend until it's combined. Bake it in a pan in the oven on 350 degrees for 50 minutes to and hour, and you have pumpkin bread. Or cake. Whatever.

Sometimes I make it in a bundt pan, but most of the time I just do it in a loaf pan. And sometimes I use frosting, sometimes I sprinkle it with powdered sugar, and sometimes I leave it plain.

Jim would say it's good to Feed Your Face with. My tongue just gets happy. Make one and see for yourself!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quote of the Week: 10/10/11

"Procrastination is opportunity's assassin."

Victor Kiam
American businessman

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Grapes, grapes, grapes. . .

Hi, Kathi here. Some very nice friends have a beautiful fountain in their backyard. It is under a metal gazebo/pergola, and it is just a gorgeous place to sit.

They planted a concord grape vine on the outside of each of the four corners, and the vines grow up the sides and cover the top, which adds a beautiful, leafy element. The grapes grow fat and juicy, and our friends generously allowed us to come over and pick the grapes, since they know we make jelly from this.

This year it was especially kind, as our vine had NO grapes. I guess it was a vacation year for our vine.

Last time we went, we cut a little under two five-gallon buckets of grapes. Then, my mom (who had helped us) took about a half of one of those buckets with her.

THIS time, we took home four five-gallon buckets. We weighed it, because it just seemed like SO much, and we had a little over 100 pounds of grapes. Oh. My.

Jim did the bulk of the de-stemming himself. It took him two full days. Then it was my turn to turn those grapes into juice, so I could later turn the juice into jelly.

I did not get it all done. Instead, I froze a huge bag of the grapes to turn into juice later. Wimpy, huh?

Here's how to turn your grapes into juice for future drinking or jelly-making.

De-stem the grapes. Just get all the grapes off the stems and into a bowl. It's sticky work. But plop some of the fattest, juiciest ones into your mouth as you work. Your tongue will thank you.

Take the bowl of grapes into the kitchen, and get out a kettle. I used an 8-quart stockpot. Put the grapes about 1 to 2 cups at a time into the stockpot, then mush them with a potato masher. Once you have about half a pot, put enough water into the kettle to just barely cover them. Then, turn on the heat, stir periodically, and let them come to a boil. Then, simmer the grapes about 10 minutes.

Pour the hot grapes into a sieve positioned over a large glass bowl. I use a nice, vintage canning sieve, with a wooden pestle. (You can look on ebay to see what I mean, 'cause I forgot to take a picture of mine for you. Or maybe you remember what your grandma used.)

Let it set for about an hour until the juice filters into the bowl. At this point, if you want crystal clear juice and/or jelly, you will want to pour it into a jelly bag positioned over a second bowl. That will keep out the majority of the solids. Or you can put the juice into the refrigerator in a pitcher overnight, and the solids will settle to the bottom. Then you can just pour the clarified juice off of the top and into the pan.

We kinda like the unfiltered kind, so we just use the juice that way.

Put the juice into the stockpot on medium-high.

Prepare your water bath canner, jars, and lids. If you need a good, basic tutorial on that, visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation Web site at:

It's a good source for all things home-canned.

Okay, so then you heat the juice until it just starts to bubble. At that point you can ladle it into the prepared hot jars, wipe the rims with a clean, damp paper towel, add the lids, and then into the boiling waterbath canner. Process them for the time required at your altitute (it's 10 minutes for us here in the Denver area), then remove the jars to a kitchen towel on the counter, and let them cool overnight without messing with them.

Then you can keep the jars on your shelf until you are ready to make jelly or something.

Last night, we made a grape barbecue sauce, using some of the juice, for the porkchops we had for dinner. It was really good. I'll share that recipe soon.

It took me an evening for each gallon of juice, which I then canned into quarts. So, I took the chilled juice from the previous day's grapes and canned it into juice, then took the next batch of grapes and made a gallon of juice to chill overnight, then I canned that juice the next day. We have had a refrigerator shelf full of juice for the past couple of weeks.

It was time-consuming, but it's great to see all those quart jars of juice lined up waiting for the next step. The good news is that because it is canned, I can do it when I have time. Thanks for the grapes, Mike & Joni!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Quote of the Week: 10/3/2011

"An unhatched egg, is to me the greatest challenge in life."

E.B. White
American writer