Sunday, September 25, 2011

Versatile Make Ahead Meatballs

I just put a batch of meatballs in the oven. I love these meatballs because they are so versatile. The seasoning is mild, so they go well in a variety of dishes. Keep them in the freezer and take out as many as you need for a meal. They are great in spaghetti and meatballs, Swedish meatballs, meatball sandwiches, sweet and sour meatballs, cocktail meatballs, and served up plain alongside rice or mashed potatoes. I've included 2 of my recipes.

Make Ahead Meatballs

4 eggs
2 C dry bread crumbs or oatmeal, or a combination
1/2 C finely chopped onion
1 TB salt
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp pepper
4 pounds lean ground beef

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and add the next 5 ingredients. Mix well. Add ground beef and mix well with your hands. Shape into 1 inch meatballs, about 1 TB per meatball. Of course, if you like larger meatballs, make them bigger. Place on a baking sheet. I like to line mine with parchment to make clean up easier. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 min. until no longer pink. Drain on a paper towel lined pan and cool. This makes about 5 batches of 30 meatballs each. Today it yielded 5 1/2 batches.

Pack in freezer bags of 30 each. It is so easy to pull out what you need for a quick week night dinner, no need to thaw, but takes a little longer for them to heat up. Delicious!

Here is my Sweet and Sour Meatball recipe, adapted from Taste of Home.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

1- 20 oz. can pineapple chunks, drained, liquid reserved
water as needed
1/3 C water
3 TB vinegar
1 TB soy sauce
1/2 C packed brown sugar
3 TB cornstarch
1/2 green pepper, cut into chunks
1 C zucchini, quartered and cubed
1 batch of 30 meatballs (I usually use 24 meatballs)
Hot cooked rice

Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Add water to juice to make 1 cup and pour into a large skillet. Add 1/3 C water, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and cornstarch and stir until smooth. Cook over Med. heat stirring constantly. Add the pineapple and meatballs, green pepper and zucchini. Simmer, uncovered for 15min. or until heated through. Serve over rice. Serves 6.

My cocktail meatballs are popular and are an easy appetizer to serve at a gathering.

Cocktail Meatballs

2 batches of 30 meatballs
1-12 oz. bottle chili sauce
1- 12 oz. jar grape jelly
2 TB lemon juice.

Combine sauce ingredients in chafing dish or electric skillet. Add meatballs and simmer until heated through. Keep on warm and serve with toothpicks.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Transvestites Feeding Your School Children

The homosexual lobby has a new, sick and twisted tactic for exposing young children to the perverse lifestyle of homosexuality. Try to create a mental image of a kindergartner going through the lunch line at school and seeing a man dressed as a woman with make-up and exposed bra straps.serving up lunch. Now, spaghetti straps and exposed bra straps are banned in the school dress code, but the school is claiming that their hands are tied and they must give the man special treatment.

Cross dressing disrupts the educational environment and is disturbing for children. They are not to be indoctrinated into this lifestyle. They cannot process this kind of information and discern it in a meaningful way. It is a deliberate attempt to desensitize children by exposing them to it at an early age. The school is claiming that they cannot infringe on the "rights" of this mentally disturbed transgender, but they are perfectly okay with infringing on the rights of your children to a safe and sane education.

The school claims they have asked this person to dress professionally, but of course they are not enforcing it. The homosexual lobby is hell bent on disrupting the morals and values you are teaching your children. The younger the children are that they can work on the mental processes of developing minds, the better chance they have of confusing your child into accepting and adopting this destructive lifestylye. This is a serious concern for all of us.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Corn Lessons

We planted corn again this year. We are not quick learners, apparently. Once again, our corn was planted too close together because we did not thin the seedlings when we should have. Then, it is kind of too late because if you pull the shoots up when they have grown up a bit, you risk disrupting the root system of the corn you want to keep. Thus, we had crowded corn and the ears were small with many underdeveloped. Actually, many were pretty pitiful.

We kept waiting for the ears to get bigger. But they did not because the stalks were competing for nutrients and water, and the corn development suffered. Well, then in mid Augugst we got busy with a new job starting for me, Labor Day weekend, and back to school for our daughters. And the corn was neglected. What little ears of corn we did have, were ready for harvest. But I was not.

Finally, last week I took off a few ears of corn and my DH took one look and remarked how pathetic they looked. But, they were our pathetic corn, and I do not like food to go to waste. So I made chili and put the corn in and to go with it, I made cornbread muffins, adding some of the corn. It was pretty good really, just that the corn was more mature than we like.

Today, I went out and got most of the ears of corn and shucked them, blanched them and put up 4 quart bags in the freezer. There is more to do, but I was doing it all by myself and I was tired from a long week, and I had already grated a bunch of zucchini down at the church this morning. So, I was kind of tired of processing food. I probably have 3-4 more qts. I can put up, and I hope next weekend won't be too late and the corn too mature. The corn is at the point of not being very palatable if we let it go much longer. If so, I guess the chickens and horses will be getting an extra special treat.

Lessons learned: Don't crowd your corn, and check it regularly for readiness. We will see next year if we remember our corn lessons.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

University 101 Kool Aid

My oldest daughter wants to be a nurse. This field of choice does require a higher education degree. Many universities and colleges are requiring a course "designed for students to learn about the mission of the general education program and majors..." In reality, it is a bunch of bunk designed to confiscate your hard earned money while indoctrinating your child into social progressivism. This week before school starts, she is required to attend events designed to help her adopt liberal views. As you will see below, these activities have nothing to do with learning about the college's programs and majors. She already had to go to orientation sessions that wasted her time and money touring the campus that she has walked many times and attended events at. But last night infuriated me when she told me about the Keynote, and I am dying to see the syllabus. I am sure there is a diversity requirement.

A while back I read an article (which I am unable to locate) about a college that required their incoming freshman to attend a homosexuality skit that promoted homosexuality and promiscuity on campus. The skit addressed issues as to how and when to "do it" in your dorm room and "etiquette" for having sex when you have a roommate. Really? This is what freshman orientation has come to? When I find the article, I add an addendum at the bottom of this post.

Back to our local campus. After you attend an event, you earn a sticker and you cannot pass the course without the stickers to show you were at an event and indoctrinated. Here are a few of the required events that must be attended. First, at the Keynote address, students were told how to "socialize" on campus, and how they need to be involved in various groups and activities on campus. Today on the agenda is a social evening with games like basketball and tag. Well, okay, that doesn't sound so bad. But tomorrow is Personal Safety and Awareness, how to keep safe during an emergency. Okay, okay, I guess this isn't all bad.

But wait! "The Roles We Play, The Masks We Wear." What the heck is that about? Here is the overview, "Discovering the multiple layers of our identities empowers us to reach out and build community beyond labels, to better be our true selves. In collaboration with Naked Truth on Stereotypes, an innovative theater process and production, the Diversity Education Center features students and their stories in this original production, striving to expose and debunk socially constructed myths of identity and stereotypes and begin the healing of our fractured selves." I don't even like the sounds of it. Is this the skit I was referring to above? It sounds eerily like it could be.

And what about "Party Central- Exploring popular perceptions about partying and campus life." This is required for graduation?

I think the "Green Dot Campaign" has good intentions to raise awareness about violence against women and others. But when I read this overview- "Your individual choices, words, and behaviors influence others. Become a part of establishing what is acceptable on our campus. Be a part of an exciting nationwide movement to end violence and live the Green Dot," I am confused as to what their agenda really is as it makes me feel uncomfortable. Maybe I am reading too much into this.

After all this pressure to be left thinking, my child will be evaluated by MapWorks. "Map-works®, making achievement possible, is a comprehensive student retention and success program designed for first year students. Students are measured on a variety of research based factors including their academic and social integration to the campus, entering skills and abilities, and expectations of their college experience. Map-works® identifies students early in the term allowing for immediate support and intervention by faculty/staff." Did you read that? She will be evaluated on her social skills and integration on campus. So, what if you don't want to integrate on campus into all the liberal, left-wing lunacy? What "intervention" does she get? I can't even imagine, but I know it won't be good. What achievement score does she receive then? After all, this is research based, so it must be valid and will enhance her learning experience. Does she possess the appropriate entering skills and abilities? The social engineering is pretty blatant. It sounds like it is supposed to be helpful to your child, but really, it is to redirect their thinking and their activities. Get them going in a liberal direction. Get them involved in liberal activities. Let peer pressure help to mold their thinking and beliefs. Encourage them to not think for themselves and evaluate with discretion what is really happening. I fear for our future generations.

So, I am on a rant. I can't believe how much the socialist leftists have infiltrated our campuses so deeply. Can you even believe this MapWorks and the required activities? It is filtering down to younger grades, my friends.

I am glad she is opinionated and has conservative views. I know that even as a conservative, I left college with more liberal leanings. But once I started to raise a family, my Christian values and lucid thought processes quickly returned. I hope she has the strength and convictions to thoughtfully evaluate what she will be inundated with, and make the right choices without being easily influenced.

Found it! Update- Here is the link to Church college teaches sex-in-dorm etiquette. It does contain disturbing video. But, that's what your children are being required to watch at many campuses around the nation.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Diablo is Dead

Yes, we finally did it. On Monday, after our company had left, we gathered up a big pot, some bleach, a cutting board, good scissors and a knife, and a dull razor blade to rid our hen house of the dreaded Diablo. DH put up a killing cone made of metal sheeting and grabbed our largest fish net. He stood outside the chicken barn standing in wait with net in hand while I went into the barn to shoo out the chickens. "Now!" I shouted as the Barred Rock rooster stepped out of the barn and into the waiting net.

He was big! As DH reached into the net to try to get his feet to grab him to pull him out, one of his treacherously sharp talons got his hand. It was amazing how long and razor sharp his talons were. About 2 inches and sharp as a knife. I tried to take pictures of this whole affair but my camera is not cooperating and may be dead. I tried recharged batteries and all, but it would not turn on. So, I am sorry to say, I have no pictures of this momentous day.

We got him out of the net and upside down into the killing cone. I think he realized he was in for it and a goner. It was difficult pulling his head through the bottom because his comb and wattle were so large. Then DH set about with the razor to cut his throat and bleed him out. This is the preferred method, as you don't want to just lop off their head. Bleeding them out is less painful for them, more humane, and the heart pumps out their blood ensuring good meat to eat. The razor was so dull, it just scraped over his skin again and again. He finally had to pull out his knife and use it.

Next, it was into scalding water at 135 degrees. If it is hotter, the meat tends to toughen up and since he was 2 1/2 years old, we did not want to ruin good meat. Unfortunately, this was not hot enough because when we turned on the chicken plucker, which is a contraption hubby built, it would not pull off the feathers. The plucker is a drum that spins. It has rubber fingers on it that pull off the feathers. All you do is hold the chicken over the fingers while it is spinning and the feathers fly off. Well, at least they fly off when plucking young Cornish Cross chickens, but our older chicken proved to be a tough case. It was not working. Rather than heat the water to a higher temp. we decided to hand pluck. Yuck!

This was tedious and hard to do. The feathers just did not want to come out. Although we managed to get most of them, we decided to go ahead and eviscerate him, then skin him. So I cut into him and I either had the dullest knife and scissors in the world, or he was just tough. The membranes were hard to cut through. I finally got it done and started pulling out all the guts. We could not believe how huge his testicles were! Each was as big as a large egg. No wonder he was all pumped up all the time.

Then it was on to skinning. This was fairly easy and we got him skinned and into ice water with a drop of bleach to chill him quickly. He is in the freezer and my plan is to make Coq au Vin in the near future. I have found I much prefer the ease and quickness of plucking and eviscerating young chickens. It is just so much easier and goes quickly. I think this whole event took us an hour and fifteen minutes for one chicken. In the past, we've butchered 20 chickens in about two hours time. Of course, there was four of us and we just kind of had an assembly line going. We haven't done this in a while and we may have also been a little rusty.

The young Buff Orpington cock is settling in quite nicely and our yellow hen that was serviced to death is laying and her feathers are filling in. It is much more pleasant going out to feed and collect eggs. DH does not carry a golf club, I don't use the lid from the feed bin as a shield, and DD does not run around throwing feed through the screen in the door anymore.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Labor Day Weekend and Updates

Labor Day weekend is like the official end of summer weekend. Summer doesn't technically end until around September 22 or so, and we still can have hot and humid days. But it is back to school time and children are swarming the store with their parents buying back to school items. It is also the last time for many families to have an outing, go camping or be with friends and family for a while. Memorial Day weekend starts off the summer season, and Labor Day winds things down.

I don't know about you, but I am happy for this transition time. It is very hectic and busy in our household with back to school, and county wide events in our town that draw in thousands of people over the weekend. My sister-in-law and her family are coming to visit, a rare occasion, and we are going to have a nice visit, hang around the house and go to events and activities in town.

My garden is going ballistic all of a sudden. We had a week of warm (80-90 degrees) weather, and suddenly the weeds and our crops are growing like crazy! I have never even had butternut squash, but I planted 3 of them and they have grown so long, and now there are baby squashes growing all along the vines. My tomatoes are loaded, and potatoes are coming coming along as well. Does anyone need some rhubarb? I planted it last year and I have made rhubarb bread, rhubarb pudding, strawberry-rhubarb jam, and frozen some rhubarb. I still have stalk after stalk of this plant growing. I have even given some away to my rhubarb lover friends. It is like zucchini. It just keeps on coming. You always know who doesn't have any friends when you go to the grocery store in August and September and see someone actually paying money to buy zucchini. Really?

A friend offered for me to pick some plums at her house and I have made some plum jam. It is very light and refreshing as jams go. Don't you just love it when friends share their bounty? I am so blessed to have friends like that. Last year a friend gave me a bunch of strawberry starts that were creeping all over her garden. This year, I had enough strawberries to have some fresh for eating, making strawberry jam, and I have 4 quarts in the freezer. Give and it will be given back to you.

Creature update: Well, we haven't heard any noises in the garage, and we didn't trap anything but ants, so .. not sure what it was. But, today while I was watering our garden, Cooper, our golden retriever was chasing something all over the place. I didn't think much about it because he is a great mouser and is always catching mice, voles, and birds. Sometimes cute bunnies and he even caught and killed a marmot on Mother's Day this year. After watering I walked up to the front porch and there on the walkway was a weasel. Yikes! My husband has seen them in the shop on rare occasions, and we have seen one or two dead ones over the years, but we have never had Cooper catch one. Now, weasels are not a rodent (are they considered rodents?) you want around. Well, they are good at keeping the mouse population under control, but they are notorious for getting into things and can be very destructive. You don't want them taking up residence in or near your house. Our shop has not seen any destruction (that we have found up to this point), but my thought came back to our garage. I know we have had mice in there before because we have found them, but I do not want a weasel in my house! Has anyone dealt with weasels before?

Chickens: Our Barred Rock is as arrogant as ever. We isolated the one hen he kept servicing to the point that she wasn't laying and was bald on her back. She finally laid an egg today and I put her back in with the rest of the flock. Mistake. He didn't give her a break and she promptly went up on a roost out of his reach. The Buff Orpington is not being bothered by the rooster and continues to sow his oats. We got 3 "new" eggs this week from our pullets. One was in a box and two were on the ground. We haven't found any since. Cooper,though, did bring 3 eggs up to the front porch that he helped himself to. The shells were cracked so not usable. I'm not sure how to break him of this habit. He is just doing what retrievers do. I keep saying I'm going to stew that rooster but we just haven't got to it yet. I will let you know when his day has come.

That's about all that's going on here. I love my new job and hope to have a great year. Have a safe and fun weekend, my friends.