Sunday Dinner, No Big Deal
Such a great Sunday we had in the Food It Yourself house today! There were no animal related emergencies; Agnes Featherduster is back in the chicken coop where she belongs. Neither Mr. Food It Yourself nor I had any pressing errands to run. Nothing broke. Nobody was sick. It was an easy, relaxing, rainy day. We spent a few hours in the early afternoon with my parents during which my mom and I selected our garden seeds for the year. I’ll give you the details on that another day.
Tonight, I made a scrumptious Sunday dinner with some of my favorite foods: broiled pork chops with mushroom gravy, sautéed Brussels sprouts, and muffins. Gravy is not my strongest cooking subject, but I made it because I had a 12 ounce pack of mushrooms that was going to go bad if I did not use it soon. Food waste is bad. I try to avoid it at all costs.
Here’s how it all went down:
I love to cook, obviously. How else could I keep my DIYet? The last few weekends have been pretty draining, th0ugh. Tonight, I had fun making a super tasty DIY dinner for Mr. Food It Yourself and I.
Yes, it was a little work. However, I used up some food that might have otherwise gone to waste, and made a delicious, nutritionally balanced meal. I even practiced my less-than-perfect gravy skills and it worked out okay. It was totally worth it! What is your favorite “worth the work” dish? Share in the comments!
BONUS: Here is my tip for amazing Brussels sprouts. When you sauté Brussels sprouts place them into the pan with the cut side down for 15-ish minutes over medium heat. Look how pretty!
BONUS BONUS: Here is my muffin recipe. I adapted it from about half a dozen or so that I liked. Muffins are really easy. I like making them a lot.
Whatcha Got Muffins (Makes 12)
- 1 ¼ cup quick oats
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 cup milk (cow, goat, camel, soy, almond, whatever)
- 1 egg
- ¼ oil
- 1 cup whatever you got- berries (fresh or frozen), shredded apple, shredded carrot, drained crushed pineapple…
- Preheat the oven to 425˚F
- Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in a different bowl.
- Grease the cups of a muffin tin- I use cooking spray for this.
- When the oven has preheated, combine the wet and dry bowls until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
- Fill the muffin tin cups 2/3 full, bake for 20-25 minutes.
Let’s Get Rotten
We are on back half of winter here in New England, at least as far as the calendar shows. I have received about half a dozen seed catalogs, not counting the ones Mr. Food It Yourself disposed of before I could get to them. We had a very welcome thaw after weeks of record-breaking cold. The sun is peeping over the horizon when I am driving to work. Every day feels a little less gray and a little more green. And that is a very good thing, because I have a compost problem.
Let me back up a step. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept compost is simply decomposed stuff that makes really good, inexpensive fertilizer. A compost heap is a gardener’s best friend. Go ahead and do a quick internet search and you will find all kinds of structures to help contain your compost while it rots. You can make a quick three-sided box of shipping pallets or invest in a gear-driven tumbler- it is you call- but I highly recommend you start a compost pile if you have a garden.
- The Environmental Protection Agency has an excellent page about composting at home. They even have a great list of what you should and should not compost!
- DIY Network has a very helpful page discussing the pros and cons of different types of compost repositories.
- Short on space for composting? According to Cornell University creating a worm box to break down your scraps is super easy. I think they are correct!
So, my problem? We have stopped dumping egg shells and kitchen craps on our heap, but the chickens are still producing used coop litter.
Chicken manure is an excellent addition to compost- once it has thoroughly decayed. Things do not really decompose during New England winters, though, and I am running out of places to put the litter!
What is to be done? Not much, unfortunately. The internet is full of products that claim to jump-start the composting action. They are usually made of enzymes, microbes, nitrogen, or some combination of these. However, most of the information I found from sites that were not selling something is that compost starters/activators are not worth the money. After all, most compostables are full of microbes, and chicken poop is high in nitrogen.
For now, the plan is to start turning my heap(s)frequently as the warm weather hits, and in the meantime-starting a new heap. I might sneak a few worms into the piles, too. Many sources recommend adding worms. The fact is, like all good things, compost takes time. I guess I just need to stop being so impatient.
What are you impatient about during the off-season? Share in the comments section!