Thursday, September 29, 2011

Momentum



Our Momentum is coming back, and we are feeling a little more like normal.  I should probably say "I" am beginning to feel a little more like normal.  I am sure Steve doesn't.  I saw him looking wistfully out the back door yesterday, while sitting in his wheel chair.  Now that is a sad picture isn't it.  But, in spite of a little cabin fever on Steve's part, we are developing a type of normal routine, and he is able to do a little business during the day.  I have been able to catch up on garden and house next door.  I am getting things ready in anticipation of Elizabeth and Winston coming to visit.  They fly in from Florida on Monday. I am searching out the old box of family toys, the "Pak and Play"  and high chair, planning who will sleep where and when (I think I had mentioned on a previous post that the other kids are coming; in increments).

 I am trying to cook a few meals ahead, and use up some of our garden surplus (I am considering a roadside sign for passer-byers to help themselves to our Zucchini which is still going strong).  Our chard, spinach, spaghetti squash, green onions and tomatoes are all ready to be used and I have had to just leave them alone these last  2 weeks.  I was wanting to post recipes of each veggie as they were being  used up through each season.... I have had a passion to cook and create veggie recipes this last couple of months (I'm sure you haven't noticed), and probably won't dry up until the veggies do... so stay tuned for a few more recipes... provided I don't get pre-occupied with children and grandchildren that are coming to visit.... and did I tell you that my children and grandchildren are coming to visit... well, they are... they are coming to visit.  You can't tell that I am excited that my children and grandchildren are coming to visit can you.  I can't wait!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Cottage


It is Sunday, and we are home instead of in Church today.  It has been a long week, and very exhausting. We are settled in now... I think.  Emotional exhaustion is subsiding... I think.  We got Steve home from the hospital  4 nights ago.  We decided our best approach to surviving the next 6 weeks was to move into our little house next door ;  It is a mobile home, and we call it "The Cottage" now.  It is  a quarter mile from our house and is the house my Mom used to live in before she moved out to Nevada to be close to my brother and his girls while they are growing up.

The house has all flat surfaces, wider doors into the bathrooms for wheel chair access, and a bath tub and shower that is much more accessible than our own at home.  We had furniture already in The Cottage; some left from my Mom, some of our own extra odds and ends, some of Steve's Mom's odds and ends, so we are already set up pretty well.   We do have to haul water, because we are only set up on a cistern.  Between Luke and Eddie and our neighbor, they got the water tank on the back of the truck again, then Luke  and I got the water loaded and into the cistern. I am trying to learn some of the tasks that Steve has always done, and I am a little slow.  Thankfully the boys are helping.

There have been all kinds of other little tasks that  keep life running smoothly, such as can openers and other kitchen utensils,  washing machines,  sheets, towels, clothes, and personals which have all kept me running back and forth between houses through the week, as well as taking care of Steve and running errands for wheel chairs, medications, supplements and so on.   We have had the most amazing help from family, friends, neighbors and church.  I don't think you can truly realize the love and goodness in peoples hearts until you are the recipient of such kindness and generosity.  What would we do without our loved ones who have given to us in every way conceivable.  Thank you all; family, friends, neighbors, blogging friends, for the help, prayers, meals, love, words of encouragement,  and more... Wow... such amazing blessings.  Some very dear friends came here yesterday, and brought food, encouragement, and built us a ramp from our porch so I could get Steve and wheelchair out the door and into the van and to his doctor's appointment on Monday. Phew.  Thank you guys.  It is very difficult to express the emotion I have felt over all these things, but gratitude and love just over flow.

Eddie and Luke are holding down the fort at the other house.  Yes, what a strange family we are.  We now live in two houses.  The boys have been wonderful at keeping things clean for me.  I told them "this house is like a sinking ship... we have to keep bailing water (pick up and keep the dishes clean), and if we stop, it will start sinking again".  That is truly the way it feels to me (keeping up with house work)... it never just floats along clean and lovely for a while, it must be constantly bailed or we are sunk.  So they have  kept it going.  I pop in and help out, and do laundry and cook up a meal, etc... but they are doing great.

Eddie wanted to go to all the "Homecoming" activities at school this weekend (bonfire, game, formal etc..) So between Luke, Grandma Jo and I, we were all able to get him there and back at all the various hours for all the various activities.  He looked very handsome in his blackshirt and tie, and came and chatted with us before and after yesterday.  Incidently, I have loved seeing the personalities of the boys during these difficult times.  Luke, with his quiet, cooking and cleaning and worried looks wanting to help all he can, but never much of a conversationalist.   Eddie,  fluctuating between normal teenage concerns of "how am I gonna get to  my game" to "Pam, I 'm kinda worried about Steve... no one is up there with him... Grandma Jo just left, and you gotta get back up there..." on the phone to me when I went to do an errand the other day.  I have had to leave Steve for an hour or two here and there; with phone and walkie talkie in hand, knowing my mother in law and neighbors were right here to pop in if needed, but Eddie didn't like that.  So Sweet.   As a side note, Our last three kids came to us at the ages of 10, 14 and 15... (now 20, 19 and 15) and have always called us "Pam" and "Steve"... something we have grown very used to. To their friends and others, they speak of us as My Mom, or My Dad, but at home it is as I said.

My other kids are setting dates for those visits coming up; starting with Elizabeth who will arrive with little Winston  a week from tomorrow.  A little after that will be Nathan and family, and a little after that, will be Marie and family.  All we need is Russell and Benjamin, who are out on deployments with the Navy, then we would have all our chickies under our wings.  Such delightful prospects.

So today is truly a day of rest for us.  We are feeling fairly caught up on urgent things. Steve has felt much more himself yesterday and today.  I put on a pot of coffee and can hear it brewing; such a comforting sound to me.  One of the luxuries I treasure in my life is sipping coffee in bed early on a Saturday morning with Steve and  dreaming dreams together.  We skim the  computer looking at houses, motorcycles, airplanes, vacation spots,  goats, horses, cows, chickens,  and barns.  How is that for eclectic.  It is our cozy wake up moment before the world creeps in and responsibilities start hammering at the door.  I love those moments.  Perhaps we will have a moment like that  this morning; peaceful, quiet rest.  I realize this is a long post, but it has been very relaxing to me to just sit and type and re-cap the week, so I hope it hasn't been too much for you all at one time.  Blessings to you all this week.  I will be popping in for a visit with you as the moments open up.

Have a lovely week,
Pam


My Scripture for today

Psalm 23

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
her restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they are a comfort to me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. 
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surly goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life 
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mama Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys


Well, We have had a little trouble around here.  Yesterday morning, I was awakened by a neighbor who is a nurse, and was called in by our small town ambulance service on a call from our other neighbors about one of their cowboy crew who had been thrown from a horse.  The cowboy was my husband.  They were moving cows up on the mountain, and my husband's horse got himself in a strange situation with hoof and reins... the horse proceeded to quickly back up to try to untangle himself,  stumbled and fell, rolling on Steve in the process; at least this is the story I have pieced together by those who have tried to tell me about it.   Steve had to be helicoptered out, because of the difficulty in getting him out any other way.  He broke an ankle and arm.  We are thanking the Lord that was all.  No back, head or neck injuries.  He was in surgery for about 6 hours yesterday.  They put plates and pins in both breaks.  The ankle was a compound fracture.  Phew.  What an ordeal.

So  It has been a rough couple of days for us; yet we  feel such a peace of the Lord.  He does go before us, and is with us through all things, and His presence is amazing.  We have had such an outpouring of prayers, and kindness from our family and friends, which alone has been a balm to our hearts.

Tomorrow I will be trying to get our house ready for Steve, which isn't super easy, considering we have several levels and our bedroom is up a flight of stairs.  We are not very wheel chair friendly at our house.   It sure makes you think differently when all of a sudden you need to consider wheel chair access.  I have a few Ideas; so I will keep you posted.  I wanted to share with my blogging friends, and of course I am so grateful for your prayers.

The picture above is my little grandson Elon, who really does want to grow up to be a cowboy like his grandpa. With five little grandsons, all adorable little cowboys, there's probably not much point in my post title, but, well,  you get the idea :)

Much Love,
Pam

Psalm 91

 Max McLean Audio Bible, English Standard Version

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.

9 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge —
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Zucchini Bisque

It has been a nice Labor Day weekend.  We celebrated Lukes 29th birthday Saturday night, and our Grandson Elon celebrated his 5th birthday.   If you could have heard the phone conversation we had with him, it would have just melted your heart.  He wondered if we were coming for his birthday.  We told him we couldn't be there, because it was so far away for us, but that he could come to us in several weeks, and we would have a party with him then.  He said "How will I get there if it is so far".   I said, his Daddy and Mommy will drive him on a long drive and then he will be here, and his cousins will come too, and we will have a wonderful time"   He liked that, and wanted to have a cowboy birthday party; and so of course... we will.

We had a wonderful breakfast at my Mother in Law's house yesterday morning, and had some old friends over to visit and have barbecued chicken and a veggie feast with us last night.   It was a very nice
day through and through.

We were able to find a nice little chicken coop on Craig's list for half of what we would have paid for the material to build it, and so Steve, Luke and Eddie went and got that this week end.  They had to take it apart to get it over the fence of the man that we bought it from, and onto the flatbed trailer and then home.  The guys will put it back together when time allows... at least we have it... "thank you Lord".

Today is quiet and peaceful.  I haven't had one of those kinds of days in a little while.  It is overcast and cool, and it feels lovely out.  I worked in the garden this morning, and am having a peaceful   afternoon.

I have one more zucchini recipe to add to the collection.  It is a real yummy one as well... otherwise, of course, I wouldn't  post it.   I am still  up to my ears in Zucchini, and have had a fun time treating the abundance with experimentation in stretching the budget, and making use of that abundance when we have it.   My Mom fixed this soup for us when we were visiting her in June.  I loved it.  I had seen another recipe very similar to hers which added potatoes, and tried that one as well.  I loved it also.  I will add the potatoes to this recipe, and feel free to put them in or leave them out.  They don't change the flavor of the soup too much, but they do add a little more substance to the soup if you want to serve it as a main dish rather than a starting dish.

Zucchini Bisque


Ingredients
I medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup butter or olive oil
2 1/2 cups zucchini shredded (I chunked it and used more)
2- 3 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon basil 
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (if you think nutmeg seems odd, add it anyway, you will be delightfully surprised at the subtle flavor it adds).
1 cup light cream

Instructions
Saute onion, garlic, zucchini lightly in butter or oil.  Add remaining ingredients except cream and simmer about 20 to 30 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.   Remove from heat.  spoon soup into a blender  and blend thoroughly;  I have been doubling this recipe, and when I blend it, I do it a portion at a time and then pour it into another pan from the blender until all is blended.  If you have a hand held blender, you can use that directly  in the soup pan, with no need to use another pan... I don't have one, so I just blend in blender.  You may add the cream or even a little sour cream at this time.  It is very good even without the cream.  Serve with croutons and french bread.

Thanks Mom

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Zucchini, Strawberry Jam


I have a few more zucchini recipes to post before I wrap up with zucchini and move on to some other veggie recipes.  Hope you find one or two you can use.


Here is a fun one that I tried this year for the first time.  It is great on the budget, using Zucchini to stretch or replace your strawberries, you only need Zucchini, Strawberry Jello, pectin and a little lemon juice or citric acid  I made two recipes, one with strawberries and one without.  They were both really good.  My favorite was for sure the one with strawberries, it was more than jam, almost like dessert, but the one without strawberries makes a great jam as well, and considering there is very little invested into, it is a great way to give Eddie inexpensive peanut butter and jellies after school everyday... since that is one of the things he loves;  Shhhh don't mention that zucchini is the main ingredient  I will wait till the jam is all gone and then pass on the "by the way".  You can tell we have food issues at this house.   Just as a note, from what I can tell there are 3 different ways to prepare the zucchini for the jam: shredded, pureed or chunked.  I have tried the shredded and chunked so far.  I liked the shredded the better of the two, because it seemed to blend and look like wonderful preserves.  With the chunked, the pieces floated to the top of the jam jar, and looked decidedly suspicious to any child with a question about ingredients.  I think pureed may be a great way to do it, and it is on my list for the next batch.  Also, I wanted to mention that the jams came out slightly soft/loose, but once refrigerated jelled up wonderfully (probably due to the jello).

Update Note:  Water bath canning this recipe is questionable, because the zucchini is a low acid food, and therefore could present a problem when worrying about botulism growth.  I do personally believe that the addition of citric acid, lemon juice and sugar would prevent this problem, but  I am not a scientist and I don't have my degree in Home Economics.  As I have read about the potential problems in this area, I have decided it is easier to  store the jam in the refrigerator or freezer.  I have frozen quite a few things in freezer jars with no problems.  I usually leave a 1 1/2 inches headspace, and freeze initially with the lid off, and then once it has frozen and expanded, I put the lid on.
You can see that it is a pretty jam (sorry about the poor picture) It is nice over rice pudding don't you think?
Note:  Since I first posted this recipe, I have made it several times, and still really like it when I have an abundance of zucchini, and not strawberries.  I have updated a few things, so look for my notes and
if you notice that the picture is different than what you originally pinned, it is because I have updated the picture.. (I've been wanting to do that for some time, and since I made another batch this year, I also took another picture :) ).


Zucchini and Strawberry Jam



Ingredients
8 cups Zucchini peeled,  and pureed or shredded
4 cups sliced strawberries
1/4 cup water
8 cups sugar
3 Tbs lemon juice or 1 tsp citric acid
6 oz package Strawberry Jello

Instructions
Place zucchini, strawberries and water in stock pot bring to boil.  Simmer about twenty minutes until  are tender and then mash together.   Add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Boil another 12 minutes.   Makes about 6 pints.  Store in refrigerator or freezer.

Note to Self: Try "Better Bowls" Gelatin next time, it does not contain Red Dye, but uses Beet juice for nice red coloring.

Zucchini Strawberry Jam (No fruit added)


Ingredients
12 cups  Zucchini skinned and pureed, shredded or chunked  
1/4 cup water
8 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons Lemon juice, or 2 teaspoons citric acid 
6 oz Strawberry Jello (or any flavor... I hear apricot is good, haven't tried it yet)
1 package pectin


Instructions

Follow instructions above without the strawberries, adding the pectin with the sugar.  Almost every recipe I looked at used shredded pineapple in their recipe.  I am sure that is a good addition, but I wanted to create a very inexpensive jam using what I had on hand (I did have to buy the jello, and don't usually keep it on hand but you get the picture).  This worked  and tasted great.

Spread a little "Better Butter" and then your Jam for a healthy treat.





Enjoy