Thursday, September 24, 2020

Donna and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

OK, I ripped off the title for this entry:  It's from a children's book I've never read, but I guess I must have seen the title a few times; all I did was substitute my name for Alexander's.  It seems to describe my day yesterday.

"But Donna, you seemed to be so happy making pumpkin pie filling.  What happened?"

Yes.  Yes, I was happy and feeling like a character out of "Little House on the Prairie" making my own pumpkin pie filling from scratch.  I didn't mind that the crustless pie I baked was a little watery; I just knuckled down and learned how to reduce the liquid in the next batch of puree.  Well, I only got about four cups of puree made before my food processor breathed its last breath.  Not to worry, the instructions on processing pumpkin from it's natural state included the fact that you can also use a blender to get the fibrous strands broken down.  I don't have a blender, but I thought my daughter did.  I put the baked pumpkin flesh in a measuring cup and set it in the refrigerator, planning to borrow her blender when she was home from work.

Cliff's brother was here so so the two of them could work on their progress getting the loader to work with Phil's tractor, so I decided to make mashed potatoes and meat loaf and macaroni-and-tomatoes and corn (too much starch, but who's counting?  I know what those guys like.)  

Somewhere in the preparation of that meal, I stabbed my thumb with my granny knife.  Notice that sharp little stabbing tip.

I take a baby aspirin every day (doctor's orders), so when I cut myself, I bleed like crazy.  At the time it really didn't hurt that much, still doesn't when I can keep it wrapped, but I was busy and didn't realize I'd cut myself that badly.  By the time I realized it, there was blood on the counter and blood on the floor (Gabe, wanting to help, cleaned it off the floor for me).  There was even blood on the handle of one of the pans I was using.  I had to change the bandaid three times before it stopped pouring out of the bandaid.

So:  I was dealing with a bloodbath right after witnessing the demise of my twenty-year-old food processor.  I decided it was a bad day.  My spirit heard what I was thinking and said, "from your mouth to my ears" and decided to take it from there.  Don't ever do what I did here; I've seen it time after time:  you decide one bad incident has ruined your day, then you let yourself get in a mood that causes the rest of your day to go downhill.  So yes, everything that went wrong (after the blood-letting) was caused by my attitude.  I won't even tell you what the other "bad things" were, because they really weren't that bad... it just seemed like it to my gloomy self.  My inner "Little Donna" (oh yes, the spoiled little girl still lives) didn't get to play with the pumpkin exactly when and how she wanted to.  

My daughter brought her blender over yesterday evening.  I used it this morning.  I had to add extra water to get the blender to get the job done, but I'm reducing liquid in the stuff anyhow; another hour of cooking won't matter much.

Cliff wanted to take me to Oak Grove Walmart to buy a new food processor after Phil when home, but I'm on a crusade to stop making thirty-mile round trips to buy one item.  I will buy a food processor when I get find one for a reasonable price.  A lady in Blue Springs has one on Facebook marketplace that's never been used; she wants $25 for it.  I have a dentist appointment in Blue Springs next Tuesday, and if it's still on Marketplace, I'll offer her $20 since it's already been there for a week.  I don't use a food processor often, but I do need one around for those times when I need it.  And I still have two more pumpkins in the garage.  

On a different note, I've been letting my three chickens out every evening to enjoy freedom awhile.  Tuesday evening, only two hens came home.  They don't always stay in my yard, so it's hard to know what happened:  Somebody's dog?  A red-tail hawk?  Probably not a wild predator, not in broad daylight so close around people's homes.  She was one of my two tame chickens, so somebody may have just wanted to own a friendly, tame chicken.  And they had all just started laying eggs.  I've shed no tears about this like I would if it were Gabe or Blue or Mama Kitty, but it makes me a little sad.  She may have even heard the neighbors rooster crowing and wanted a love life!  If she is living elsewhere now, I'd love to know it.  I wouldn't even ask for her back; she was just so sweet and loving, I'd like to know she's OK.

That's your report for the day.  Watch your attitudes, dear Readers, and don't let one bad incident ruin your whole day.


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Adventures in eating

 We acquired some pumpkins recently.  So far I haven't found anyone who wants them for their kids, so I decided to make a pumpkin pie out of one of the white ones.  Years ago I baked a pumpkin and used it for pies; it seemed like the pumpkin had too much water in it, so it was far more watery than canned pumpkin.    I wasn't doing much of anything today except fixing our dinner and washing dishes, so today's the day.  I figured it it's too "wet", it'll just be pumpkin pudding.  I did not make a crust.  I have a recipe for crustless pumpkin pie I used to use all the time, but the one I found online was somewhat different.  My original recipe called for some flour to be mixed into the filling so it would thicken up.  I wish I had used my old recipe.

I baked the pumpkin in the oven for about 50 minutes, then easily spooned it off the skin after it cooled.  Next, I put it through the food processor, which gets those rid of those little fibery strands and makes the puree smooth.  Here's what it looked like afterward:

Looks like applesauce, doesn't it?

And then, I went ahead and made the crustless pie, knowing it wouldn't be quite right, but also knowing Cliff and I will eat it.

Those holes had water perking up through the top while it was cooking.  As you can see, I got a spoon and tasted it:  Yep, pumpkin pudding.  But it's very good!  I did a search on the pumpkin being water-y and found you can add an extra egg to firm it up, or you can reduce the liquid by cooking it on the stove till it's the proper consistency.  I may try the latter, but if I do, I'll use either a double boiler or my heat diffuser so it doesn't stick.  Notice the little what-not above the pie... my mother-in-law, who died years ago, once went to Nashville with her two daughters, and she brought me that for a keepsake.   It says "from Loretta Lynn's kitchen", and came from a restaurant by that name.  I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and I do use that souvenir to hold my messy spoons when I'm cooking; it makes me think of my mother-in-law.

I just went to take another bite; I'm telling you, it's delicious!  I might whip a little cream to put atop our pudding.  And yes, I'm going to try to reduce the moisture in the rest of the puree.  If that works, I may do one of those big orange pumpkins to put in the freezer.

Cliff had a doctor's appointment to take his annual physical this morning.  He's rather uncomfortable going to the doctor with Covid-19 going around; the numbers are really climbing in our county now.  I predict after this weekend it'll be above 500 cases since the beginning of the outbreak.  One kid in the Oak Grove school district was positive for Covid, but none in our small school so far, that I've heard.  I googled and found that so far, not one person has gotten Covid at a doctor's or dentist's office, although that was part of an article from August.  Cliff got his flu shot at the doctor's, then we went across the road to Walmart.  He stayed in the car reading his current book on his cell phone (Public Enemies, by Bryan Burrough).  He highly recommends it.  As I walked inside Walmart, there were two ladies giving flu shots, so now we've both had our flu shots.

I'll leave you with a photo of Blue the cat, who apparently intends to sail the high seas in his boat.  A friend of Arick's needed a place to store his boat, so it's out in the barn near where I feed the cats their dry food, and Blue has taken it over.  He naps there, but he woke up when I went to take a picture.  I'm sure a little cat hair will delight Arick's friend.
It's hilarious how cats think they can take over any territory they like.

Blue will lose his "jewels" next Tuesday.  I thought I could wait until he was eight months old to get that done, but Google tells me a male cat can be capable of impregnating a female cat at the age of four months!!!  If you don't neuter a tomcat, he'll end up dead meat in the middle of the road while searching for his next love interest.  Not to mention that stinking habit they have of spraying everything around them.

So long for now.  It's been a good day so far.  I hope you're having a good one also.