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Monday, March 19, 2018

Munchie Monday: Carrot Onion Crackers!

Last week our food dehydrator arrived.  Not without some hassles but we now have it and IT WORKS!

For some time, maybe two years, I have been watching Tanny Raw on YouTube and her dehydrator crackers videos.  I made some once in our round dehydrator at home and thought they were okay.  Now we have a square dehydrator which is much easier to use.

First crackers were Carrot Onion crackers.

In the high speed blender I did a "wet chop" of 1 Vidalia onion and 2 cups celery then drained them in a colander while I prepared the other ingredients.  Into the blender went 2 cups orange bell peppers, 1 cup carrots, 1/2 cup tomatoes, 1/2 cup raisins and 1 Tablespoon paprika.  Tanny called for smoked paprika but I did not have any.  She also called for 1 Tablespoon garlic powder which I totally spaced out on and did not add.

After finely chopping this batch of ingredients I added the already-chopped onion/celery mixture and blended some more until the bits all were about the same size.  Tanny does not do it that way but I worried about chunks making the crackers fall apart.

At this point I brought out one dehydrator tray and put it on the counter then dumped the pulp onto the silicon-sheet-lined tray (these silicon sheets did not come with the dehydrator and were rather costly but the really work!).  I put it all on one tray and spread it around to make it a nice fat layer, probably thicker than one-half inch.  In retrospect, I should have made it on TWO trays, which I will do next time. And there will be a next time!

After making a nice even layer I slid the tray into the dehydrator and turned it on to 125 degrees F.  Tanny uses 105 degrees, I think, since she is rigidly raw. I am not there yet.  I just wanted something to munch on that isn't killing me slowly...though that seems to be speeding up lately...at least that is how I feel.  Anyway,  after twelve hours (I put the crackers dehydrating at 7:45 PM.  The next morning I pulled them out at 7:30) I pulled out the tray and found them dry enough that I could flip the cracker sheet over and pull off the silicon mat to let them dry more thoroughly.  We then went off to a family history conference.  Late in the afternoon I looked at the crackers again and found them more chewy than crisp so I set them going for another ten hours but dropped the temperature to 115 degrees F.  The next morning I pulled them out and, voilà: crackers! 

They taste good.  Sort of sweet.  Since they were so thick, when I "scored" them before cooking that did not take in a very uniform way so this is what I got.  Funny thing is that I ate a little bit of this first batch, really, a very little bit, and was not hungry all day.  Something else may have been going on, I guess, but I am going to attribute the lack of hunger to the crackers. 

Even funnier thing:  when we came home from Family Home Evening and Dear One was preparing to watch a little NetFlix, he went into the kitchen and got the box of crackers and brought it to the couch!  Funny!  I don't know if he actually ate some but the cover was off and he was chewing  when I came back from talking with Daughter on the phone, so I think I can safely assume he ate some for a snack.

As I mentioned before, I will make these again.
 You can see that the crackers are a little dark. I think that is from setting the dehydrator at 125 degrees F.  I probably won't dehydrate crackers at that temperature again.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Sauerkraut: Failure!

What a bust!  I started some sauerkraut "going" thirteen days ago intending to let it "work" for two weeks.  Thirty days is often recommended in recipes...but I didn't think I could wait that long.

Today I decided that it did not look very good and opened it up.  Yep.  Fail!  There was a nasty white bunch of glop on top.  Even with these supposedly foolproof covers, the vegetables spoiled.  Well, I did use a head of cabbage that had been in the refrigerator a LONG time, so I am not giving up.  I really really like sauerkraut.  In fact in the last week I have had Reuben sandwiches twice.  Yummy!

These are pictures of the sad facts in the matter:

Nasty looking business on top of one jar.  The other jar did not look bad...

...until I opened the second jar.  This is what I found on top of both of them, so out they went.  I pulled out the glass marbles I had used to hold down the cabbage and carrots, and rinsed them off.  (I put them in a can that had had sweetened condensed milk in it when I made some key lime pie that I will talk about soon!!!)

After removing the marbles I poured off the scum then started shaking the jar to move the cabbage into the garbage disposal since there are no ways to do composting around here as far as I have been able to ascertain.  About halfway through the jar I started pulling the sauerkraut out with my hand.  Huh!!!  It was not slimy.  It was firm and crisp.  Is it possible I was dumping some perfectly good sauerkraut?  I don't know. I was not brave enough (or maybe stupid enough) to try it.  

Now the jars have been scalded and are ready to try again with so fresh (though it is March) cabbage.  Maybe I will wait until harvest time then try again.  I will not give up the ship on this...

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Glorious Day for a Walk

Today since I did not wake up early enough to go swimming (need to be at the pool at 5 AM if I want to swim before the young swimmers show up for swim team) I decided to walk to work. It is only half a mile so it was not likely to wear me out too much to get any work done at the office afterwards.

There is a great bridge quite near our apartment complex.  As you can see, I stopped to take a picture of the bridge and got a shadow also!  Notice the moss beside the path.  There is moss EVERYWHERE out here! The trees are furry with it.  Even the parking lot pavement is covered with moss.  Every so often someone comes by and scrubs up the moss, I think, because all of a sudden there will be next to no moss left then over the period of a few weeks there is a green sheen visible again.

This half mile walk took me twenty minutes. I just had to stop and take pictures along the way!  The walk felt good physically and also mentally and now I feel so virtuous that I will have to do it again....

Monday, March 12, 2018

Munchie Monday: Kale Salad, a New Rub!

Kale salad is one of my favorites: kale, sweet onions, broccoli, and celery.  I had not made any in a while so was excited to get it together enough to make a big batch. I was rather in a hurry so, after chopping the kale and putting it in the bowl, I only massaged the kale for about a minute.  Two minutes at the most.  Bad idea!

When it came time to eat a bowl of salad, I found it to be bitter.  Well, kale really is a bitter herb, but this was the first time it had tasted bitter to me.  I had a LOT of it.  What to do...!

Well, this morning I put the cast iron skillet on the stove and started it heating on medium heat.  When it was sort of hot I added a tablespoon of olive oil then filled the pan with kale salad.  Sautéed salad here we come!  After stirring for a moment to get a tiny smidgeon of olive oil on as much of the salad as possible, I put on the cover and walked away to do something else.  In about five minutes I came back, stirred it again, then put the cover back on and shut off the electric burner.

In five more minutes this is what I found:

This is so good and the bitter is gone, or if not gone, at least manageable.  Love kale!  So good for our bodies.  So good for our souls!  I mean, after all, I don't know ANY healthy-eating expert who doesn't think we should be pouring kale down our gullets on a regular basis.  Sautéed kale may be the thing for us all!

Friday, March 9, 2018

More Fun Knitting and Paper Crafting

There is a baby shower tonight.  Not being a creative thinker, I just knit up several baby washcloths from some new cotton yarn I found at Joann.  I cast on 21 stitches and used US size 8 needles. I usually like firmly knit wash cloths but for a baby I thought loose and soft was a good idea.

The box is double-sided cardstock.  I liked it.  Same hinged box as before but I used 12 by 9 inch paper.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Quick and Easy Gift Bag

A dear  Church Service Missionary was concluding his service after working in the office for five years.  He wants to clean his garage so I knit him some cleaning cloths.

One of them was knit in seed stitch since he takes very good care of his roses.  The other is in garter stitch.  They are both rather thick cloths since I held two strands of worsted weight cotton yarn together and use a US 10.5 knitting needles. I think I cast on 15 stitches but it might've been 18.

Next I wanted a bag to give them in.  I took two pieces of 12 by 12 inch double-sided yardstick.  On three edges of both sheets I scored at 3 inches.  On the fourth side I scored at 1 1/2 inches.  I folded on the score lines then on the 1 1/2 inch side I folded the paper with desired inside folded to the outside. This becomes the top of the bag.  Next, on one of the pieces of yardstick I cut off the 3-inch squares at the bottom of the bag, the folded along the lines.  On the other  piece of scored paper, I cut horizontally into the middle making two 3" flaps and a six-inch by three-inch middle section.

Since I did not take any photos of the process, I can only say that you make folds then put the two halves of the bag together with glue.  I used Elmer's Extreme Glue Stick. I think a hot glue gun worth have been quicker but it also probably would have made lumpy parts.  It would have held together well, though.  You could go on YouTube and look for "Easy Gift Bags" or something like that.  This description will help you find it.

 If anyone really wants me to, I will look for it myself, just not tonight.

This is what it looked like:

One final thing I did with the bag was to pinch the tops of the two ends to give it more of a "bag" look.  I paper-punched holes for the ribbon handles.  Elder A was happy with the gift though I only signed my initials, something he had not seen before and did not know who it was from.  He is such a kind man.  We already miss him two days (the weekend) later...

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Attempt at Drawing From a Photograph

My dear friend E paints wonderful watercolors.  Many of them are the Savior, Jesus Christ. I love them.  She has told me I should, too, even though I mostly paint flowers and landscapes.  When I paint at all.

Today I was thinking about her at the same time I was scrolling through Facebook.  There in front of me was a picture of the Savior. I took of a pencil and drew what I saw on the corner of a sheet of instructions for the Referral Manager.  Well, it was the closest piece of paper at hand.

This is the picture.  It does not look like the Savior.  I, myself, do think it looks like a person, however.

There is no way anyone could figure out what picture I was drawing from.  It was kind of fun so maybe I will do it again.  I guess I really do want to learn to draw because for one of the watercolor classes offered by OSHER at Dartmouth the blurb about the class said prospective students needed to be very good at drawing before taking the watercolor class. That has been in my head for ages.  Maybe I will try again soon to draw something.