A place where I can share interesting ideas and maybe get a few things off my chest

I love my pressure cooker. It’s a Crockpot Multi-Cooker, but I call it the Instapot (and I really think Instant Pot missed the mark on that), and the internet agrees with me because whenever I search for new recipes, I put in Instapot as the main search term, and I am presented with exactly what I’m looking for. Sometimes many versions of exactly what I’m looking for. And then I usually pick two or three and do a recipe mash-up of what I think looks like the best from each one. Which is how I came up with the recipe for my New Year’s Day 2022 Lucky Black-Eyed Peas and Greens.

And this is also my first Yeet It or Eat It recipe post! No yeets here – I’ll have my pantry cleared out in no time!

Best-by date of July 7, 2021? Do these dates even count for dried peas and beans? I don’t think so.
Best-by date is March 20, 2018. I think I bought this to use for making black-eyed peas for New Year’s Day of 2018. Doesn’t matter; it’s been in the freezer the whole time.
These mixed greens are really tasty all on their own, but I think I’ll mix them right into the pot.
Best-by date of October 2021. Canned goods pretty much last forever, don’t they?

The recipe I started with was this one at Simply Happy Foodie, but I used the cured dried pork, which really looked a lot like thick bacon slices, so I guess it was pretty close, after all. I did not have a ham hock, but I did have half a bag of frozen baby okra. And then I mixed the can of greens in after it had finished cooking. My daughter in Texas made cornbread to go with her mess o’ peas, but I put mine over brown rice. And everyone in our households had their share to stock up on good luck for 2022 (even if some of them only ate a single pea and swallowed it whole while washing it down with grape drink so he wouldn’t taste it at all, but I’m not naming any names, Steve).

It’s been eight hours since we had our first helpings, and we’re feeling just fine, so it seems “Eat It” was the right choice here.

I hope everyone has a healthful, happy, wonderful, prosperous 2022. That’s certainly our plan.

Yeet It or Eat It?

I went through the pantry and pulled out all the foods with expired dates. For the most part, food expiration dates don’t really mean that much. They are more for retail stock rotation than anything else. While some things will go off after awhile, most of this stuff will be perfectly fine for a few more months or even years.

I did decide to toss the microwave popcorn that I bought three years ago to have at work for snacks. You remember, when we used to go to offices. And the taco shells that were way in the back. I think we’ve had taco night three times since these were safely placed behind, well, everything. And the older salad dressings are definitely on the iffy side.

The giant can of diced tomatoes is for gumbo that makes too much for just the two of us. The giant cans of tomato puree were bought by mistake because I thought I was reaching for a couple more giant cans of diced tomatoes. The salad dressings were bought BOGO when I greatly overestimated the amount of salad I would ultimately be willing to eat. And I know some of those condensed soups were bought with specific recipes in mind, but who knows which ones or how long ago.

Tonight, we had pork chops and made the Velveeta and Shells to go with them. I’ll cook up the black-eyed peas for New Year’s and enjoy them for several days after Steve chokes down his single good-luck spoonful. And with the giant recipe database that is the internet, who knows what yummy dishes some of these ingredients might eventually become a part of?

I’ll let y’all know how that works out.

The recipe came in the electric bill
Courtesy of Reddy Kilowatt and Texas Power and Light
When I was nine years old? Eleven years old?
So, fifty years ago, give or take
Half a century, good lord, how time flies
Mom made it for the next holiday – Christmas? Easter?
I don’t remember which
It was so wonderful
And it was at every holiday table after that
Still is, actually
Even though Mom hasn’t made one in years
But her descendants still make it
Ten grandchildren
Eighteen great-grandchildren
A dozen-and-counting great-great-grandchildren
Scattered across three to five states
Depending on the time of year
That pie shows up at every family holiday dinner
And is highly anticipated at a great many work potlucks
(The recipe makes two pies, but sometimes one is saved back at home)
Mom passed recently, almost 92 years old
Since then, her family has made it in homes across the South
A taste of childhood across four generations
In loving memory of Granny

(OctPoWriMo 2021 Day 4, recipe listed in “Family Recipes”, tab at the top of this page)

Getting (Re)Started

This is just a little test post, to see if I can publish from my tablet using a little bluetooth keyboard. If I can figure out the details, this might be a more portable way to do some writing, around town or maybe just around the house.

This photo of my coffee mug from a recent-ish morning journaling session was the easiest one to access. 

We’ll see how this goes.

(I really gotta clean that window….)

My first cookbook

When I graduated high school, Mom and Dad gave me a really nice sewing machine, and Aunt Helen, Mom’s sister, gave me my first cookbook.

Thank you, Aunt Helen and Frances!

She Cooks By Ear was written by my Uncle Buddy’s cousin, Frances S. James, and Aunt Helen got her to autograph it for me.

Our favorite recipe

There is great cooking advice and many great recipes between its covers, but, as you can see by all the stains, this is the family favorite. Most often it was made just as a chicken gumbo, but we did make the full recipe for company and special occasions. (Except for the oysters. Oysters are nasty.)

Just added the seafood and okra – still has another half-hour to cook.
Finished off with the secret of gumbo – powdered sassafras leaves – and ready to eat.
You can’t see the rice, but it’s under there.

Today I made the full recipe (with the previously noted exception) as a celebration for the bright-and-shiny New Year 2021. We had our requisite black-eyed peas yesterday, but this tastes way better.

Going To The Birds

Over the past year (or longer–time is always a little wibbly-wobbly for me, totally unrelated to current circumstances), I’ve read about how intelligent crows are and how people make friends with them and then the crows bring them bright-and-shiny presents.

I decided I want to make friends with crows so they can bring me bright-and-shiny presents.

I told Steve I wanted some kind of feeding platform in front of my writing window, so I would be able to see the crows when they come to eat the peanuts that I read would lure them. He kindly obliged.

Waiting for the crows

We did not get crows, but we did have blue jays visit.

Blue jays and crows are both corvids.

And squirrels.

Squirrels are not corvids. They are also very pushy.

What I didn’t consider was how interested Gracie would be in the peanuts. I thought she was just guarding the backyard from the squirrel invaders, until I saw her eating off the board when she thought I wasn’t looking.

Also not a corvid. Also very pushy.

Obviously, an alternate strategy was called for. So, I bought a hanging feeder.

Small dogs cannot reach this. Squirrels had no problem.

Steve dismantled the low platform, found the shepherd’s hook, and we were good to go. Except the birds stopped visiting. Back to the drawing board.

After some engineering and hard work on Steve’s part, we now have a new feeding platform.

New and improved!

Within a couple of days, we started having visitors!

A pair of titmouses – not corvids, but very cute.

This titmouse pair are now regulars at the feeder. I put out about ten peanuts when I first sit down for Morning Pages, and they almost always show up before I’m done.

This morning was especially exciting, because the jays have finally returned! Not only that, but in addition to my titmouses and the jays, a woodpecker stopped by, and I saw a cardinal pair watching the goings-on from across the yard. I may have to start buying more peanuts.

Pineapple (OctPoWriMo#21)

So, today I cut up my first fresh pineapple
And it really wasn’t all that hard to do
First cut off both ends, then trim away the sides, and slice as you like
Eventually, you’ll have a plate full of sweet, luscious, juicy bites

Watch out for the slippery juice, though
Or you’ll lose your heavenly ambrosia bits to the floor
Right where the dogs are waiting, waiting, waiting for any little morsel to

Still catching up with OctPoWriMo, I offer this playful acrostic based on prompts for the sense of taste: delectable, tantalizing, explosive, creamy, bitter, sour.

Just a little overwhelmed

Tags in clothes are scratchy
Wool is itchy
Socks choke my ankles
Shoes smother my feet
Turtlenecks try to strangle me
And don’t get me started on bras or shapeware
I really don’t like wearing clothes much at all

When I go out
All the people, at the store, at the mall, everywhere
They’re all trying to breathe my air
Or pollute it with their perfumes, colognes, aftershave
Getting too close, bumping into me
Don’t even say excuse me

And the big box stores, with all their stock jammed everywhere
Fifteen-foot shelves crammed with stuff
So many colors, shapes, sizes, choices
So overwhelming

I can maybe go to the mall, on a Tuesday afternoon
Except in November, December or early January
Or when there’s some big sale
I’d rather pay extra, thanks anyway

So, really, while I don’t like the idea of having to stay home all the time
Not having a choice in the matter
The truth is
Sheltering in place, keeping safe, minimal outside contact
I’ve kinda been training for this my whole life

Catching up some more. OctPoWriMo offering based on a prompt on exploring touch. Kinda free-verse, kinda prose, kinda Friday night free-for-all.

Sounds (OctPoWriMo #19)

I love the mockingbird’s bright tune
The fussing of the squirrels in my

Big band music gets me moving
With blues and swing, I find my own

Children laughing, puppies yipping
Church choirs singing, filling the air
With joy

Airplanes roaring overhead
Hot rods revving up their engines
So loud!

My lover’s voice, just a whisper
Caressing my heart strings, touching
My soul

All this, creation’s song of songs
The theme that fills our days with life
And love

Y’all have heard of tinnitis, right?
Ringing or buzzing in the ears

Mine is like a cicada’s song
At least I’ll never be lost in

Still playing OctPoWriMo catch-up! At least I’m not falling any further behind. Today, on the 22nd, I offer poem #19, in a form called Synchronicity, based on sensing your surroundings and the prompts: roar, dripping, rough, smooth, dark, putrid, sweet, stale

On Paper (OctPoWriMo #18)

Your tears
Or your fears
Pencil or pen
Clear the pain of the years
But where to start, where to begin
It doesn’t matter, you know where you’ve been
And you know that you want to escape from the night
To find yourself and your feelings again
Remember how you felt back then
The skies and your mind clear
Remember when
Grace appeared

More OctPoWriMo catching up. A Diatelle poem, based on an invitation to explore how you process your feelings, and the prompts: rejuvenate, reboot, breathe, meditation, process, healing

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