Tag Archive: kitchen



Several years back, I did quite a bit of babysitting for family members. It included some ‘Mom, I need some laundry done’ and a parent who worked night shifts.

In order to hang on to some small shreds of sanity, I developed this set of general rules.
We are having lot of guests here, this end of summer time, so I dug out the rules to make sure everyone is on the same page; that page being mine.

RULES

There are other rules enforced, respect for one another, a loose division of labor, (If you can open the bread, get it out and spread peanut butter, you may be on lunch duty.)

It worked quite well before, it will be interesting to see how it works now.

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If you read the recent post, “Green beans in a jar”, you know that I had some great help and fun with canning vegetables this summer.
Grandson Erick entered a jar of green beans and one of tomatoes in his local county fair last week.
I proudly add pictures of his blue ribbon winners.
green beans

Erick ribbon


Three gallons of green beans arrived in the kitchen on Sunrise Ridge.
I shanghaied one of he current resident teenagers this morning and demonstrated the fine art of tips, tails and snapping to a more or less willing apprentice. Before long, aid apprentice got the hang of things and we raced through the last half-gallon to see who was faster. 😉
The next part of the lesson involved jar and canner preparation.
While water was heating in the pressure canner, the assistant finished heating beans and getting them properly into the jars.
Soon we had 7 jars of beans in the canner and a respite of time while they cooked.
I regaled my young helper with tales of long ago July days when canning meant keeping the wood stove going, and how glad we were when another was procured and set outside under a big oak tree. There was still a wood fire to feed, but being out where there was a breeze sure beat doing it inside.
Now, I admit, I am pretty sure my helper still has no idea about the wood stove canning and I hope never as to learn how to do that particular thing.
We got the second canner load ready and all finished by 11:30.
That gave us plenty of time to fix dinner and prepare for the second lesson.
We did tomatoes this afternoon, and assistant was pleasantly surprised to find out by dipping the lovely red orbs in boiling water for a few minutes then into ice water, the skins slip right off.
So, now the pantry shelves are filling. A teenager has learned some new things and I have had a very good day. Yes, a very good day!


It has been a busy morning here on Sunrise Ridge.
Hubby rolled the teenagers out early (for them) on a fine Saturday morning and directed them to the cold cereal before heading to the garden and then to working on mechanical aspects of the riding mower.
Few breaks were to be had, things of an outdoor nature must be done today before a series of rain waves arrive later on.
About 11, I asked if they felt like sausage, eggs and biscuits might be appropriate to keep them going. Not surprisingly, the answer was yes, so I went to work.
As I mixed the biscuit dough, I remembered my maternal grandfather. He would get up about4, have a bowl of Cheerios or Wheaties and then head out to milk his dairy herd and take are of other morning chores.
Around 6:30 or 7, while the milk was cooling to be separated and bottled, he would come back to the kitchen, where Grandmother would be standing over the stove preparing ‘second breakfast’.
This was the big morning meal, eggs, bacon or sausage, biscuits, gravy and often some canned fruit or jelly. Always plenty of fresh whole milk and home churned butter.
My brother and I always thought we were greatly privileged when Grandfather would call us for that bowl of cereal and let us have a chance to help with the chores.
‘Second breakfast’ was the reward for rising early.


Yesterday, I mentioned that I was making chili because I was expecting a house full of company. There were some requests for the recipe, so here it is.
I cook up 4 cups of pinto beans, with no seasonings.
When the beans are tender and the broth still pretty thin, turn them off.
Fry 1 lb. hamburger meat and 1 cup chopped onion until meat is done and onions translucent.
Add to the beans along with a 28 oz. can of Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilis for mild chili or Rotel tomatoes with jalapenos for more kick, salt and chili powder to taste.
Add a cup of chunky salsa (optional).
Let that simmer slow until it is as thick as you like your chili.

If chili is too spicy for your taste topping with cheese helps to tone down the ‘bite’.
This made about a gallon of chili. Everyone except Hubby thought it was great, he thought it needed more chili powder. What does he know?


kids day at gramma's 007
I took this picture of my granddaughter helping in the kitchen.
When I looked at it, I was transported back about 60 years. There I was, standing on a chair in my parents kitchen, following directions from great-grandmother, grand-mother or my own mother. “Cooking”!
Then as my mind moved along the path of years, I could see my children and many nieces, nephews, family friends in my kitchen. All of them doing the same thing.
I don’t think anyone ever went on to become chefs, but we all came away with a basic set of skills and the concept that a kitchen is a great place to share thoughts, give comfort, and learn the blessing of ‘family’.


Fall is here, and that means it is time to make up a supply of tamales to stock the freezer. Hubby and I like them for a quick meal after hunting or hiking around outdoors.
I consider this labor and time intensive so I am glad it makes a good sized batch.
Since a couple of people asked about this, I am sharing
Bertie’s Tamales
This recipe was given to me by my sister in law, who is pretty famous in the family for her excellent tamales.
The recipe makes about 50 tamales. Any leftovers can be frozen and reheated in the microwave still frozen for a minute to a minute and a half.

1 3 lb boneless roast. Most often we use beef, but pork, deer or a combination of meat will work fine.
10 cups water
1 medium onion quartered
3 cloves garlic, minced
Cook this in a heavy pan or crock pot until meat is well done (falls apart) and tender.
If you use the crock pot, low for 6 hours is usually what I use. 2 1/2 -3 hours in a dutch oven seems about right.
Remove meat and allow to cool. Shred with fork, discard any fat.

Strain broth and save 6 cups. You will need to make the masa for the outside of the tamale.

Make red sauce: 2 ounces of dried chili peppers (you are on your own, these come from mild to scorching) I use a mix of anaheim and ancho.
3 cups water
¼ cup finely diced onion
½ tsp dried oregano
cumin, garlic, and salt to taste.

Break off stems and crack chili open, shake out the seeds, rinse well and drain.
Cover chilis with 3 cups water and let set 30 minutes to overnight. Drain.
Now, puree your chilis until they are about the consistency of tomato sauce. Keep smushing them with a spoon until all that is left of the peel is little flecks in the mixture an maybe a few seeds.
Add other ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.
Mix with the shredded meat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Your meat is ready and can be refrigerated or frozen or if you have the energy left made into tamales now.

For the tamales:
1 bag dried corn husks
6 cups masa harina
1 ½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt ( I use less)
¾ cups shortening (Do not try to use cooking oil)

Beat the shortening in a large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy, add masa, salt and baking powder, which you have stirred together alternately with the reserved broth.
Just add enough broth to make a creamy paste!

Soak the corn husks in warm water for 10 minutes, rinse to remove any remaining silk or debris. Drain well.
Assemble Tamales:
Spread 2 T. masa mixture on center of husk (husk should be about 6X8 inches) spread 2 T. filling on top then fold and roll up the husk and secure with toothpick or string.
Get steamer ready. Water does not touch the tamales! Set the basket up on custard cups or whatever, if you don’t have a steamer. I use a metal colander set on three 3 inch high custard cups. Water boiling just below basket, Stand tamales in your steamer. If you have an open end it obviously goes up.
Cover and reduce heat. Steam 40 minutes, adding more boiling water if necessary.


khloee in the kitchen 003
Along the paths of my Kitchen Memories are precious times spent with my great-grandmother, whose pies are still a legend and the recipes still baked today.
My grandmother, who lived with us as I was growing up and taught me how to make jelly and preserve food.
Then of course, my mother, she encouraged me in the kitchen with her skills. Feeding a good-sized family on a tight budget was something she did well.
Now we get to me, generation four, no longer the student, I have also become the teacher as the years have passed.
My daughters and their friends passed through the kitchen, learning all I could pass along. Most of them left with a hand written cookbook of favorites. Those that did not, call home from time to time. 🙂
The grand-kids, mostly their experience is with holidays. baking cookies, making candy and of course the twisting of the old hand grinder at Thanksgiving to make my mother’s cranberry relish.
Now a new generation begins the process. Great granddaughter joins me in the kitchen quite often these days. She lives not too far away and her parents. Yesterday we baked ‘granpa’s favorite cake’ and frosted it for dessert.
Maybe this has something to do with why I feel so comfortable in the kitchen. I think there may be a member or two of any of the seven generations there whenever I get ready to cook.

In a Stew


Don’t you love summer? All that beautiful fresh produce coming form the garden to the kitchen?
Tomatoes seem to be pretty plentiful right now here on Sunrise Ridge. I thought I had better get some into jars, we sure can’t eat them fast enough! I decided to make some stewed tomatoes for later on.
So it began. Half an ice cream bucket of tomatoes, peeled and chopped, a cup or so of chopped onions, some celery, garlic and salt all went into a pot to simmer for a bit. Oh, it smelled so good!
Washed up some jars and prepared the lids while that cooked.
Filled up the jars, and put them into the water bath canner. Nice to have a reasonably cool morning to do this so the kitchen is not so steamy hot.
It didn’t seem like nearly as hard a job as it sounds when I describe it! I enjoy the process, the results and the idea that once more, I have good food on the pantry shelf ready to use.


Growing up, in rural Missouri, a garden was pretty much a necessity for most homes.
Our family of 8, Gram, Mom, Dad and five noisy growing kids was no exception. The boys and dad did most of the growing work, plowing, planting, tilling, hoeing.
When things started coming off, it was up to the females in the family to pick and preserve. Some things went into the freezer but most into jars.
Hot steamy kitchen, washing, cooking, boiling, packing in July and August heat.
That did not matter much, the family had to eat, be it July or January and so it was done.
Now there was the problem of where to store all that food. Our family and any others did not have a big pantry or cellar, so jars went into boxes to be stashed under the beds.
Once the jars were emptied that’s where they went again to rest for the next use.
Yes, friends, I have boxes of jars, full and empty under the bed. It does keep the dust bunnies at bay!