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Monday, March 21, 2022

Catching Up

I'm catching up on life in general as well as catching up with you.

I'm not ready to deal in reality, so I may not talk much about my family members right now. But a quick update. One, though, looks like she will be okay. This was the possible stroke. Not a heart attack or major stroke, but perhaps a TIA or something else. But she's doing better. Another, I haven't heard yet. The third, cancer was caught relatively early. But the fourth is the saddest one for me. It's my stepmom. Her cancer has spread already. Thank you for prayers.

Let's see, I lost a couple of days of productivity. But you know, that's okay. Today I planted the potatoes. I'm growing both purple fingerling potatoes and a type of white potato that I no longer remember the name. These might be Kennebec, but I'm not sure. I also planted two very wrinkly and sprouting store-bought russet potatoes. At the end of each season I set aside some of my harvest for planting the next year. I keep them in a produce drawer in the spare fridge until just before planting. The purple and white potatoes that I planted today are descendants from seed potatoes that I bought over 15 years ago. I've never had an issue with blight or other diseases that affect home-grown potatoes. If that does happen at some point, I'll buy new seed potatoes and start over. This season, I'm hoping to harvest 30-40 pounds of potatoes.

I also finally got around to baking more bread for the family. I'd been rummaging through our freezers looking for remnants of various quick and yeast breads to tide us over until I baked again. Whatever works, right? My family has been enjoying French bread this winter. It's light and airy qualities have made it a favorite for us. However,  my French loaves tend to spread on the baking sheets. So for the past couple of bakings I've put my French bread into loaf pans. The result is a light and airy loaf that can be used for sandwiches and doesn't get lost in the toaster (slices falling over in the toaster slot then hard to get back out). I took a short-cut in greasing the pans today. The one thing I really dislike about baking bread is greasing the pans, especially loaf pans with their inside tight corners. So I use non-stick spray. Since this stuff is not cheap, I reserve it for recipes that specifically call for baking spray or for muffins without paper liners. But, I had much to do today and I decided to make this chore easier.

After we had devoured almost all of the bread scraps salvaged from the freezer, we still had a lone square of cornbread and all of the crusts from making finger sandwiches (from a week ago). With these bits I made a bread pudding to have for dessert Monday. In our house, leftover rice, bread scraps, and leftover cooked pasta is incorporated into a custard-based dessert. All of these different starch-based desserts come together in the same way, I beat an egg with sugar, milk, pinch salt, and vanilla, then pour over the cooked starch that I've spread out in a buttered casserole dish. I bake until a knife inserted comes out clean. These custard and starch desserts have a long history with frugal home-cooks. They can be dressed up with a variety of sauces, like sweetened cream, stewed fruit, English hard sauce, jam, lemon curd, pancake or ice cream syrup, coulis, or simply sliced fresh fruit. Monday afternoon, I made a fruit sauce using blackberries (foraged) and rhubarb (garden) from the freezer, some sugar, water, and almond extract, all simmered on the stove until thick. Delicious and economical. I'm working on keeping food waste to a minimum for the time being. With grocery prices going up and up, I want to make sure we use every last morsel.

That's about it for today. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. And again, thank you for praying for my family. I am so grateful for your prayers. Be back tomorrow! 

9 comments:

  1. Thank you, Lili, for the update. Will keep you in our prayers. We're still walking the path the mom's home going. Each day she is nearer.

    We also are scrounging around for bread and other edibles until I get back to baking. And we also have bits and pieces of bread that can't be used for a sandwich so I quickly threw together a breakfast casserole with those bread pieces. Served two things, one using the leftovers and second, giving us a breakfast option. My freezer has been my best friend right now as I grab something that just has to become our next meal. We don't have much in fresh fruits or veggies right now and I often see a gallon of milk that has only an inch or so left and I feel like I make a run for milk quite often.

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    1. Continuing to pray, Alice.

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    2. Hi Alice,
      Thank you for prayers. I continue to pray for your mom, you, and family. This is such a tough thing to go through. Although this is my stepmom and not my mom (my mom died young from cancer), my stepmom has been in my life for 2/3 of my life, has been a "mom" to me, and is the grandmother of my children. Sad times for your family and mine.

      I had thought of making a breakfast casserole for our dinner last night. I'm glad you could do that for your breakfast. Our minds were in sync on using scraps that weren't right for making sandwiches.

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  2. Lili, I'm so sorry to hear about your stepmother. Continued prayers for her and your family. Keeping busy with a purpose helps sometimes when things are weighing heavy on us. And nothing does that better than gardening. There's no shortage of that to do this time of year.

    I have just planted my first plants--broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts. I don't know if I will plant potatoes or not this year. I planted them in containers last year that became full of Japanese beetle grubs. They were really gross and that's the image I have when I think about growing potatoes.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Live and Learn.
      You're right. Continuing on with the things that I have to do, like get the garden planted, at least distracts me for a period. And it has to get done or we don't eat as much fresh produce come summer.

      Good for you! I'm still working on improving the soil in the other beds. I hope to get the cruciferous veggies planted soon. Big eeew! on the bugs in your potato containers! Yep, that would put me off of growing potatoes, too. I grew potatoes in a pot two years in a row. It went okay, but I think growing in the ground or raised bed is much easier. I did come across one weird, fat, green caterpillar when digging the potatoes in the fall, but fortunately, he didn't have friends. Good luck with the garden.

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  3. I'm so sorry to hear about your stepmom. Life is hard sometimes. Hugs and prayers to you.

    Funny that you mentioned bread pudding. I have ended up with some extra bread products that will need to be used (long story) and I was considering making that.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kris. I appreciate the prayers and kind words.

      Oh yum! Well, I'll tell you, our bread pudding was gobbled up quickly. Leftovers were had for breakfast this morning, even though we still have leftover chocolate chip pancakes (daughters were hungry for those late one night this weekend). The other possibilities for your bread scraps would be a breakfast casserole (like Alice did) or bread, cheese, egg, milk strata. I'm sure your family will be happy with whichever use you find for the bread scraps.

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  4. Thank you for sharing your prayer needs, Lili. I have been reminded often to pray for those you love.
    And a great, thought-provoking post today. I am really good about using leftovers and not wasting anything but your words caused me to rethink WHY I am always having them. For example, making linner for Man and I at noon: rather than use all of the ingredients into the dish I was making, I could see that if I held back some it was the makings of another different dish/meal, and I would not have leftover of the dish I was presently preparing. You’d think, after 55 years as a homemaker I’d have it ‘down’ but each season of life presents different opportunities!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your prayers, Conni. I really appreciate them.

      I agree, with each season of life come new possibilities and new challenges. As my family has all gotten older, I've had to adjust how I cook, too. One thing I've noticed is we don't eat as much bread as we once did. I used to bake 5 loaves of bread a week. Now I do 3 and some weeks we don't eat all of them. Also, I've noticed that my husband and I eat much, much smaller portions than we once did. It's easy for those leftovers to accumulate.

      Thank you again for praying for my family members, Conni. Have a good evening.

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