Nantucket Pork Chops

What a busy time it has been!  I have been working on exciting new things for the farm and my new soap business!  I have also been working on a very special article with a farming friend that is in the final stages of editing and it should be posting soon!

With so much activity and so much lousy weather (it has been a wonderfully warm February here in Michigan, but it has come with a lot of sloppy, muddy rain).  What is a busy lady supposed to cook her family on days like these?

I have been turning to an old family standby. Nantucket Pork Chops, they are so simple that they are deceptively delicious. With minimal ingredients and dishes it comes together quick and is hearty enough to satisfy on a cold, damp day.  No, I have no idea how they got their name!

This recipe can be adjusted slightly, but we have found that when trying to make it for more than six, it just doesn’t turn out as well.  Four chops is kind of the magic number, cooking for one or two?  It freezes great with a pat of butter on the top!

Nantuckets’

Serves 4-6

Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

4-6 pork chops

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp ground thyme (optional)

3 Tbsp Olive oil

5-7 peeled potatoes (figure 1 average potato per person plus one)

1 large onion (or two small ones)

salt & pepper

1/2-1 cup water

Butter (optional)

Directions:

In a large skillet with a cover, heat the olive oil (uncovered!) over medium heat.  Meanwhile, combine the flour, salt, pepper, thyme and mix well.  Coat the pork chops in the flour and allow them to rest for a couple minutes before placing in the hot oil.  Brown on both sides, but do not cook all the way through.

While the chops are browning, thinly slice the potatoes (about 1/4 inch thickness, too thin and they will stick the pan and too thick they will never cook).  Slice the onion into thick rounds.

Once the first side of the pork chops are browned, flip them over and top with the onions and then potatoes.  Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper, top with butter if desired. Reduce the heat to medium-low and carefully pour in about 1/2 cup of water.  The water should come up about half the thickness of the chop.  Cover and let cook another 20-25 minute or until potatoes are tender.  Remove lid and allow the liquid to thicken slightly before serving.

 

The butter process, according to me!

 

I have been making homemade butter from our farm fresh cream at least once a week for around five months now, so clearly this makes me an expert. OK, so maybe not an expert, but I definitely have made some observations that I wish someone would have pointed out to me when I started making butter.
You see, that prized cream will pass through many stages on its way to becoming glorious butter. Some of those stages make you swoon and others will make you cringe in horror. I have documented each of these stages for you and will provide my own running commentary on the process.

 

Stage 1: Selecting your cream. In my case, I am choosing to use farm fresh, home pasteurized heavy cream. In my experience, you must wait at overnight after pasteurizing your cream in order for it to turn into butter. The colder it is the better, but even after just 12 hours, I have failed to make butter and ended up with some strange hybrid of butter and whipped cream that never deflates. It’s interesting to be sure, but not what we are going for here. Raw cream works just fine if that is your preference and store bought cream should work well too if farm fresh isn’t available to you.

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Stage 2: Preparing to whip. I typically whip a quarts worth of cream at a time, this produces around eight ounces of delicious butter. Because this is a rather large amount of cream to work with I use my Kitchen Aid mixer to do the work for me. My preference is the paddle attachment, but the whisk attachment also works. Your bowl and paddle need to be as clean, dry and cool as possible.
Stage 3: The slow mix: Pour the heavy cream into your bowl and begin to mix/whip at a slow speed. You are dealing with a liquid here and it will splash everywhere if you turn your speed on too high right away. Don’t worry this stage takes forever when making a quart of cream, have a cup of coffee or unload the dishwasher.
Stage 4: Bubbles: After about 5-10 minutes or so of mixing at a slower speed you will notice some bubbles starting to foam up around the edges of the bowl and an ever so faint thickening of the cream, feel free to start gradually increasing the speed of the mixer.

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Stage 5: Thicker slop: Now you have what appears to be a sloppy thick mess of cream, it moves together like a semi-solid but is still clearly a liquid… does it really take this long to make whipped cream?

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Stage 6: Soft Whipped Cream: Aha! A change! Maybe it will work after all! This looks familiar, sort of like whipped cream left sitting on top of hot fudge sauce a little too long. Progress.


Stage 7: Heaven: You will want to stop here. Your bowl is now full of soft pillowy clouds of whipped cream goodness. You will want to run for the nearest strawberry to swipe through this beautiful fluff. But alas, to make butter we must keep going.

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Stage 8: GAH! This will be the sound you make moments after you check on that gorgeous whipping cream you saw only a minute ago. Now a lumpy mess there is no turning back.

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Stage 9: It’s hideous: That lumpy mess now looks like curdled milk, you know the stuff that has been floating around in a sippy cup for the last week under the couch? That’s where we are, don’t worry you haven’t messed anything up. Press on.

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Stage 10: Starting to show promise: Now that we have passed through the truly awful stages, and if you’re like me, you cranked up the mixer to speed through the nightmare, we are entering a stage that maybe looks a little like butter. We aren’t quite there yet, but the cream if definitely thick and more yellow and buttery looking, although not quite right. Stay close, it’s going to get intense.

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Stage 11: Coming together: Now you will see that not quite butter that was crumbled all over the bowl start to stick together and form into a mass. Don’t stop now, but you might want to slow things down…

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Stage 12: Is my butter bleeding?: Ok, so it’s most certainly not blood but you will start seeing milk appear in the bottom of your bowl. TURN THE MIXER WAY DOWN! Or else it will splash several feet across your counter top. The mass will start to form a nice solid lump in just a few more turns.

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Stage 13: I did it!: Congratulations, you have made butter! And as a by-product, you have also made fresh buttermilk! Which once poured off from the butter lump is delicious to drink on its own or culture into buttermilk or use for cooking. Whatever you do, don’t waste it! Find an old farmer and give it to them as a gift, they will love you and shower you with stories of turning butter with a churn by hand.


Stage 14: The washing: In order for your butter to stay rich and delicious for more than a day or two you need to wash all of the excess milk out of it. This is done by pouring off the buttermilk, and dousing the butter with clean cold water, then mashing it around with a spatula. Rinse and repeat until the water is clear. I personally take a second to dry my bowl out, add the butter back into it and give it a spin to make sure I get all the water off my butter.


Stage 15: Salting: Should you desire salted butter, I have found it easiest to add a little bit (about ¼ tsp give or take to your taste) into the mixer with my washed butter and let it spin for a few seconds.

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Stage 16: Store or eat!: You have successfully made homemade butter. You have conquered the kitchen and taken the dairy world by storm. Enjoy your reward on some fresh homemade bread, biscuits or mashed potatoes (and if you eat it right off the paddle I won’t judge). If you are storing your butter pack it into an airtight container and keep in the fridge for the longest shelf life (about 1-2 weeks). You can also freeze it if you have more than you can use quickly… That is never a problem in my house!

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Happy Birthday, Beth!

This week we had a small group, no extra benches parked in the living room for the kids this week!  In fact, the birthday girl didn’t even show up until dessert.  We did have a couple new faces this week, and a few we haven’t seen in a while!

In attendance, we had 1 new baby, 2-almost-one-year-olds, 1 two-year-old, two tweenagers, and 13 adults, so still a pretty big group, but not everyone was there at the same time, some showed up late and others left early.

On the menu was Roast Pork Loin, Mashed Butternut Squash, Mashed Potatoes, Honey Wheat Bread, and Asparagus.  For dessert, there was Strawberry Shortcake with farm fresh whipped cream!

With all of the comings and goings this week I really did not take the time to memorize each conversation.  I was enjoying watching the little ones literally do laps around the kitchen and living room, playing hide and seek with each other.  Listening to my two-year-old call “Where are you?” to her sisters.  Watching the kiddos in high chairs feed the dog as much as themselves and squirm anxiously to be on the floor and into mischief.

With new guests to the house, my Dad got to give his grand tour of the house that my parents have been remodeling the last two years, the tour pinnacles with the water boiling demonstration on the induction stove top.  Which if not impressive, since the tea kettle boils in less than two minutes, is at least short.

Discussions about which wine on the table is quite good and which will never be bought again.  Stories of lack of sleep from tiny night owls, and sales pitches for the latest horse riding fundraiser.  And having to turn the lights out so we could sing Happy Birthday because we were having cake (even though the birthday girl in question was not there yet), and clearly cake calls for candles and singing.

Dutiful Aunts reading the latest story written for criticism and a spoiler alert from someone who already knew how it ended in real life.  Fussy little girls ready for bed and time for pajamas before we head home.  Did you get your homework done? And I love you, have a good night sleep and Grandma’s.

Happy Valentines Day!

Hope you had a wonderful Valentines Day!  We, of course, did the completely romantic thing of gathering in our group including sugared up children and had dinner together!  Filling in around that table there were 15 adults, 4 tween-agers, 2- two-year-olds 1 toddler and 2 babies.

The table was beautifully decorated with festive tablecloths, roses, and rose petals.  Dinner was also lovely, Seafood Enchiladas (featuring shrimp, lobster, and crab with a light cheese sauce), a chicken version of the enchiladas, Spanish Rice, Bread, Salad and for dessert, Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake, and the showcase: Baked Alaska with English Toffee and Chocolate Ganache ice cream in the center.

So is he going to come hang out with us this summer?

Yeah, sure! If you’re sure you want him.

Yep, they can keep each other company and quite frankly they are old enough to help me with chores and in the garden!

Perfect.

Hi.

Hello.

Oh, I’ll take her from ya.

She’s getting awful big!

Could you teach her to sleep though the night?

Oh, she isn’t old enough to do that yet!

She hasn’t been sleeping at night at all.

You’ll have that.

Where’s the baby?

She got snatched almost directly from the car seat.

Aren’t you tired of holding these?

Well my last one was never this little!

How are you doing?

Good.

Hey, how’d you get the baby?

She walked over here with empty arms!

Hello! I hear she is eight pounds now!

Yes she is.

Wow, what are you feeding that girl?

Oh you know, a healthy diet of protein, carbs and the souls of our enemies.

Ah… yes, that’s the winner.

Hi!  I really like her outfit!

Oh, thank you.  We aren’t really big princess fans, but the dress was soo soft!

Too cute.  We are major princess fans at our house.  You know, after watching Cinderella as many million times as we have, you start to realize, she really has quite a bit of spunk, I mean she was gonna beat the cat with a broom for messing up her floor.  I get that!

Wow, look at the table! It’s beautiful!

Where did all the flowers come from?

We bought them.

I brought the petals, the florist I make soap for gave me a bunch for a rose soap I am going to try.

So are you guys doing anything romantic for Valentines?

Well, I did shave my legs yesterday…..

Give me five.

Ok kids, do you want chicken or seafood enchiladas?

Chicken

Chicken

Chicken/Seafood. Both?

Seafood

Ok, come get your plates. You guys can start getting ready to eat.

What do you want?

Apple juice?  Milk? Rice?

You want some juice too?

Hit it girl!

Bless this house, Lord we pray, keep us safe by night and day. Amen!

Amen!

Are these the chicken or seafood?

Chicken.

Oh, I’ll wait for the seafood.

Here girls, how about you split the chicken.

I would totally be a stay at home dad.

We talked about that, he wouldn’t do it.  Even though it makes more sense at the moment.

So is working at your job more lucrative?

Well, yes and no.  At the moment, yes, I make more than he does, but long term no, there isn’t much place for me to really advance around here.

So do you have to have a degree?

Yes, I have a degree and license.  My degree is very similar to what your wife’s will be as a nurse.  Maybe even a little broader because as a LVT I am also the radiologist, the anesthesiologist and a multitude of other jobs that usually you don’t see nurses doing in human medicine.  I have to know all of it to pass my boards.

Did you ever think about working in human medicine?

No not really.

She doesn’t like people that much.

No, I don’t.

Did you ever want to be a veterinarian?

Yes, and actually I was accepted to program at MSU, but because of a couple silly, young reasons I didn’t go.  One was when the showed me the closet of a room I would be sharing with five other girls, I panicked and the other was I chose to stay home for a boy.

That happens a lot.

It does, I was young and it happens, but life moves on.

… And you hear Valkyrei playing in the back ground…

…laughing…

Did you hear that?

No, I am laughing at him siging Valkkrei back there.

Oh good.

Oh yeah, we spank.

We never have, different things for different parents.

Spanking is saved for really bad things, like if they are going to really hurt themselves or are hurting someone else.

We just use a pit of bugs.

Haha!

Yeah, we feed the bugs every so often so there stays a lot of them for when the kids are really bad.

Are you stealing her worm garden?

I just need to be better at saying no.  Can you show me how to do that again?

(Dad looks at me with exaggerated example) NO!

Just like that huh?

Yep, he does it just like that!

Do eagles hunt ducks?

Yes!

Did you tell them about the time we had the two eagles fly up into are yard and all the ducks plastered themselves against the house?

That was the story I was just telling them!

It was crazy!

We’ve been seeing more eagles around here.

We have quite a few sharp shins around the house right now.

Those were always my favorite, although every once in a while I would find one dead in the barn.

Yeah, I remember the one that had gotten its head stuck and was froze all spread out.

(Making faces at my now out stretched arms and flopped over head)

It was really sad, but kind of neat to see it, I am pretty sure we donated it to the Nature Center since it was so well preserved.

You know crows are some of the most intelligent birds?

Really?

You know, I’ve heard that.

They, other than humans are one of only a few species that uses tools and is able to pass learned information down between generations?

I watched a show where they said crows actually morn as a group.

I heard that too.

They did this study, where they gave the crows puzzles, there was a berry in a box and in order to get the berry out they had to use a tool, there was no way to just pull it straight out.  So the crows, took a straw and bent it, then were able to pull the berry out to eat.

That’s amazing.

I also saw another study, where they had people go into the crows habitat with scary masks and harass the crows.  They did it for several weeks.  Then, years later when there were new crows there, they went back into the woods with the same masks, and sure enough the new generation of crows recognized the masks as being trouble.

Its amazing how nature works.

In the documentary they also talked about how this girl fed the crows for years, and after a while they started to bring her gifts.  Some of them were gross of course, but still gifts for feeding them.

Not just cats bringing nasty gifts anymore!

I remember one summer we had red-wing black birds that were so aggressive with their territory that they knocked a girl off her bike near our drive way and she came running to the house to get away from them.

What?!?

Yeah, they are really that territorial.  They left us alone, because they recognized us, but new people were a problem.

By the way, I’ve been using your Jersey soap, and I’ve gotta say my hands were so cracked…

Yeah…..

And now they aren’t! I love it!

Oh good, I totally thought you were going the other way with that and I was going to have to go home and dump all of it.

No!!! It’s wonderful!

Good, because I know my hands are much happier since I’ve been using it.

So, I have a question for you since you’re selling on Etsy. Kind of a general question I guess.

Ok, shoot.

So, the furniture that people sell on Etsy, does that come pre-assembled?

Well that’s not a very general questions, pretty specific really.

I honestly have no idea.  But I do know my soaps come fully assembled!

Haha! Here’s the oil and the milk, and watch out for the lye, it can be kinda tricky!

You can always contact the seller on the website, I know people can email me.

So, are you still making your wood burnings and knives?

Yeah, I just haven’t gotten very far, I am not really sure what will sell.

Well, get some stuff together.  In August I think we should split a booth at the fair.  It wouldn’t be too bad with at least three of us there.

Good idea.

Hey! There you are! We were just talking about splitting a booth at the fair to sell our wares in.

Oh really? I don’t know if people would pay what I am asking there.

I bet you would be surprised.

Are you talking about the art fair?

No, the county fair, you don’t’ have to be accepted there, just have money.

Ah.

Wow, she is really enjoying that dessert.

Well, if you’ll notice they are both full of sugar and neither one is crying for a change.

(The one year old literally has her face smashed into the Baked Alaska and is covered in icecream)

They weren’t crying last week were they?

Oh yeah.

Hey! Be nice to the dog! He is old!

Be careful! If you hurt him he might bite!

Poor old dog.  (This is Blake, we have had him since a puppy and he is now 14 years old.  He is very good with the kids, but usually keeps out of the traffic since he has a bad back)

How old is he?

I don’t know 34?

OH COME ON! I’m 33!

Really?  You’re only a year older than me?

Ha ha.  Come on! I am not that old?

Well, you know you were driving WAAAY before me it seemed like.

Well, that’s cause I had to do something to get away.  I got tired of riding my bike to escape.

So are you milking your cow to capacity?

Not even close, but I am at my capacity until the weather gets better.  Right now I leave her calf on her, and separate them during the day so I only have to milk at night.  In the summer when its nice, and really the calf is plenty old now to be weaned, I will be able to milk twice a day.

Really the calf is getting the best of both worlds, plenty of grain and still all that good fatty milk.

Oh yea, and she looks it too the pork-chop.  She loves going to day care.

You send the calf to day care?

Well, I started calling it that because the cow is like a nursing mom who goes to work for the day and the calf goes to day care.  So I started calling it that when I would lock her up in her section of the barn.  Now when I go out there I say “time for day care!” and she goes running in.

That’s crazy!

Yep, but she is getting a little big for it now, going to have to find a bigger day care.

I think the girls are ready to go.

 

Congratulations to the Winner!

Thank you, to everyone, who participated in my very first soap giveaway!  I am glad to see so many people excited about trying natural soaps!!!

A big congratulation to Carolyn Schwerin!!!  Carolyn was selected at random by the cutest non-partial judge I could find!

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I will be sending coupon links to everyone who participated and an extra bonus for those who signed up via email.  Thank you all again so much for making this giveaway a success, and I hope to see you over at my Etsy store soon!  (Or you can place an order via email TheTuesdayTable@gmail.com)

Happy Birthday, Pastor Josh!

Last week as you will recall had quite the crowd.  Among the new faces joining us, was the pastor from our church, along with his three children.  And even though the newest faces, less than a week old got the most attention, he had so much fun he decided to come back for his birthday.  Which of course means he got to choose what he wanted for his dinner this week.

In attendance, for the birthday feast, we had 2 itty bitty babies, 1 toddler, 2, 2-year-olds, 4 tweens and 12 adults.  On the menu was Lasagna, Meatballs, Italian Sausage, Asparagus, and a variation of White Bread (I didn’t catch exactly what kind).  Additionally Chef Neighbor brought Pork Tenderloin with a Mushroom Cream sauce.  For dessert, Carrot Cake.

Now, I would love to relate all of the conversation, because I know there were some good ones.  But to be honest, I can’t remember the details.  You see for the two days prior, my littles, who don’t sleep well as it is, had been keeping me up from 2:00 AM on.  The 2-year-old has been experiencing night terrors, which are so bad I can’t comfort her at all while she is having them.  Just about the time she finally relaxes and falls back to a restful sleep, the baby decides she is up for the day at 4:15 AM (who wouldn’t want to party then?)  They also don’t nap, not for any length of time anyway and certainly not together.  So, when we got home after dinner and they were both asleep, I did a swan dive directly into my pillow and stayed there until one of them started squawking in the night.

But, conversations around the table included talks about a city further north in Michigan, which had some common ties for a few people at the table, and a misadventure into a bar that oddly had ONLY men in it…

An update on the worm colony, they are doing well, but their habitat is in a constant state of upgrading and renovations still.  Which lead to some discussion about the benefits of composting for the non-plant grower, reduction of plastic wastes and the newer more decomposable plastic bags.

Our changing table is moving on to one of the new babies, which makes me happy since I have had it forever and wanted it to go to a good home.

Some very prettily decorated leather inspired conversation about going to craft shows as a group this summer (we actually have a lot of home- grown talent at this table!)

And somehow, the formerly elusive birthday candles, of which there have only ever been three on a dessert somehow not only became 4 but were also shaped like stars!

That is about all my poor sleep deprived brain could remember of dinner.  It was delicious, and I along with others ate far more than necessary, but everyone splurges once in a while right?

I leave you with pictures:

Soap Give Away!!

****This contest has ended.  Please check back in the future for more giveaways!**

I am ready to give away some soap!  I have put together a sampler pack for you of all my current scents, including an exclusive fancy bar of Lavender!  To enter please comment about which scent you are most excited to try and share this post!  The winner will be randomly selected from participants that complete these two simple tasks on, February 11th, 2017.

If you aren’t a regular follower, make sure to sign up with your email, a special coupon will be available for email followers after the contest.

 

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Prize includes; 1 -1oz bar each of; Rosemary & Lavender, Oatmeal & Honey, Citrus and Unscented Jersey Milk Soaps.  It also includes a larger decorative bar of Lavander Milk Soap.  The winner must be able to be contacted privately to obtain shipping information.

Can’t wait for the contest to end?  Visit my shop at Etsy to place an order today! https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheTuesdayTable?ref=search_shop_redirect

The winner must be able to be contacted privately to obtain shipping information.

Chili Con Queso

This recipe is my husbands’ favorite snack by far.  I often make a double batch if I am taking it to a party, and usually don’t bring home any leftovers.  The recipe also cuts in half very nicely as well.  The spice level is completely adjustable, depending on what salsa you use, you can even mix and match! Serve it warm, room temp or even chilled.

 

Chili Con Queso

Makes about 3 cups

Prep time: 20 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp butter

1 medium onion, minced

12 oz Salsa

1/2 tsp oregano (optional but highly recommended)

16 oz cream cheese

1/4-1/2 cup milk

 

In a large sauce-pan melt the butter.  Saute the onion and garlic over medium-low heat until tender (about 5-10 mintues, stirring often).  Stir in the remaining ingredients, until the cream cheese is completley blended.  Add milk as needed to reach a scoopable consistancy. (In some cases you might not need any addtional milk)

Serve with tortilla chips.  This also holds very well in a crock pot!

Soft pretzels and cheese

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Soft honey wheat pretzels

Soft Honey Wheat Pretzels

Have you ever started making dinner and ended up going so far off grid that when you look up from the flour and dishes and said “well that just happened”?  I did just that the other night. I had fully intended on making my husbands favorite chip dip a little heartier by adding some burger to it and calling it dinner. Then decided the dip and hamburgers would be better, it is really cold out after all. So I started making the pretzel buns and somewhere I channeled those little pretzel bites you get at the mall, but my friend was looking for healthy substitutions for ingredients….. BOOM these little gems were born.

Soft Honey Wheat Pretzels

1 1/3 cup warm water

2 tablespoons warm milk

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons honey

1 cup whole wheat flour

3 cups all purpose flour

kosher or pretzel salt

Par-boil liquid

2 quarts water

1/2 cup baking soda

Directions:

In a small bowl if using a bread machine, or in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the warm water (105-115 degrees) with the yeast and let stand until foamy.
Add the  milk, sugar & melted butter and swirl to dissolve the honey . (If using a bread machine add mixture to bread machine at this point and continue).
Add flour and mix on dough cycle or med-low speed.
Remove dough from bread machine once it forms a nice a firm, pliable dough ball.
Add more flour if necessary.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured table and knead for 2 minutes

Divide dough into quarters and roll each into a long thin rope (about 2 ft long). Cut into 1 inch pieces and place in a well floured surface, leaving plenty of space in between each section (they will rise and stick together!)
Cover dough with plastic and a damp cloth and let sit for 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°.
Oil 2 baking sheets.
In a large stockpot, bring the cold water to a rolling boil and add baking soda.
Drop a few pieces into the boiling water and boil for no more then 30 seconds, turning once.
Carefully remove with tongs or slotted spoon and hold above pot and let drain.
Sprinkle lightly with salt.
Repeat with the remaining pieces.
Arrange pieces on the oiled baking sheets and bake on the upper and middle racks of the oven for about 8-10 minutes, or until browned all over; shift pans from top to bottom and back to front halfway through, for even baking.
Let rolls cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cheese Sauce

1 cup shredded mild cheddar

1/4 cup cream cheese

3/4 tsp sugar

2-4 tbsp heavy cream

In a microwave safe bowl mix the first three ingredients add 2 tbsp heavy cream.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir adding more cream if needed  continue to microwave at 10 second intervals until cheddar is fully melted

January 31, 2017

It was certainly a busy night! Even though the main dish was a repeat, Tarragon Chicken (a favorite to be sure), egg noodles, spinach salad with orange vinaigrette, corn, and bread.  The place was packed with the two brand new babies, four tweens, 2-two-year-olds and an almost one toddler. Not to mention the 15 adults (24 in all for those counting). In a moment of wisdom, we made sure the big kids all had their snow gear and I brought sleds. Those four tore it up outside and weren’t quite ready to come in, but were definitely hungry when supper was called!!  The two-year-olds, for the most part, played well together, but the former youngest of the group was not happy about being unseated as the baby, and she let us all know about it (not to mention she was already miserable and crabby due to teething).  The background noise for the majority of the evening was this poor girl wailing at the slightest thing (she also had been doing this at home, so I really wasn’t torturing her, just everyone else).

The first of the babies to arrive managed to spit up profusely enough to require an entire wardrobe change and as her Aunt I was only too happy to help out.

Second to arrive the next little miss was insisting that she was, in fact, being starved, as the panicked look of the new Daddy tearing through the diaper bag indicated there was no nipple for the bottle (the new Mommy had a pretty good poker face).

Hello! Congratulations! She is beautiful!

Thank you, she is a little hungry right now.  (New daddy tearing through diaper bag at lightning speeds).  I wasn’t able to breastfeed like I hoped, so we had to switch to formula and everyone is much happier.

Well, that is why we have modern medicine and nutrition, healthy Mama and healthy baby.

Exactly.

I can’t find the bottle top anywhere, we must have left it at the store.

I am sure there is one here that will work.

(Looking through the diaper bag and trying to quietly devise a plan)

Here you go, this is a slow flow, it should even fit right on your bottle.

Oh my gosh, thank you!

Not a problem, been there!

The other kids are just heading outside to sled.

Ok!

Just so you know, that butter was amazing.

Haha! Isn’t it great?

Hey!

This soap is for you, I got the new labels done!

Awesome! Thanks!

Hello!  Is that the new baby? Oh! TWO new babies!

I’m sure Grandma will get lots of time to rock, hand her here.

Where is your husband coyote hunting?

Behind our house, his dad and brother and law came over.

Are they a problem around here?

Oh yeah, and these little jerks will come up right by the house.  If they stayed out in the back of the property I wouldn’t mind them so much, but not by my house.

Have you heard about the Coy-wolves?

Oh yea, they are around here.

Are they really?

I thought they were just up in the U.P?

No, they have been spotted in the lower too.

So they a wolf that crossed with a coyote, and they are big like a wolf but not scared of people like coyotes?

Right, they are not good.

Next time he goes, let me know I just built a gun I’d like to try out.

Will do, you can come try it out across the field anyway.

Dinner is about ready.

(pounding on the door to outside)

HEY! Time to come in!!!

AWWW…. Just 10 more minutes?

No, dinner is ready, get in here!

Can you give her some noodles? Maybe that will help.

I need to get here a little earlier, get pictures while they are cooking, that’s where its at!

That would be pretty awesome!

Why is she crying?

She wants the wine.  You can’t have wine, honey.

(Sobbing on the table)

You can have juice, do you want juice?

Nooo!

Can I just give her the wine? You can’t have wine.

Ok, can she say prayers?

OK EVERYONE!!! SHE’S GOING TO SAY PRAYERS NOW! Get it girl.

BLESS THIS HOUSE, LORD WE PRAY, KEEP US SAVE BY NIGHT AND DAY! AMEN!

AMEN!!

I like it, to the point.

That’s my girl, loud!

This looks amazing.

Can we get the bread down here?

No.

Aww

Where’s your husband?

He’ll be here, just getting out of work late again.  They are working on building a restaurant for the assisted living facility he works at rather than just another cafeteria.

Wow! That’s a great idea! I should do that! (One new daddy had covered the baby with his napkin so he didn’t drop food on her.  The second followed suit)

Did you eat?

Yeah, I ate mostly noodles, and bread and corn and a little chicken.

I’m done too, dinner was really good, but I didn’t like the salad.

That’s ok, I didn’t either.

What do I do with it?

There is a trash can under the sink, you can scrape it off in there and put your plate in the sink.  Thanks for trying it.

Save your fork!  Everyone has to save their forks tonight if they want dessert!

Congrats on the baby!  What is her name?

That’s unique, where did you come up with that?

Remember, from the woman I had met traveling?

Oh, that’s right.

I really thought someone would have guessed it, it was a name in a movie and its Wendy from Peter Pan’s middle name too.

It’s been quite a few years since I actually read Peter Pan.

Do you want to hold her?

No, I don’t hold babies, I just look.

Can you pass the wine?

There isn’t much left.

Maybe I can talk my wife into making a wine run?

Sure, I can do that.

Grab the other bottle too!

So, you’re about my age, do you like The Princess Bride?

You know, I can’t say I have watched the entire movie to make judgment call.  Hubby loves it though, and his buddy.

I think I’ve watched it enough to recite most of the lines.

Him too.

Anyway, I was reading this book:  The Princess Bride and Philosophy: Inconceivable! It’s pretty good.

Awesome.

Did you know Andre the Giant drank like a 5th or more everyday?

Wow! Why?

I guess just the weight of him caused him so much pain.

That’s kinda sad.

Hey, how do you decide what makes it into your blog?

Primarily what I can remember.

We’re having a pretty good discussion about Mexican food down here.

Well, I mean we’re talking about Princess Bride, c’mon.

Did the kids want dessert?

You guys raise bees?

Yeah, I just got done making lip balm with the wax.

That’s amazing, how much property do you have to have?

Not much.

So how does it work?

Well, our bee’s didn’t produce much honey this year, apparently, our queen isn’t mean enough.

Really?

Yeah, they have done research that more aggressive hives produce more honey.  The witchier the queen, the more honey gets made.

So, we need witchy bee’s to get lots of honey.

How do you get a new queen?

Do you know how bee’s mate?

No?

It should be like this in all species…..

So the worker bee’s lay drone eggs, which when the hatch are these great big male bee’s.  They’re kind of slow and not really good workers.  So the queen when she’s ready flies up to the top of the hive and flies around for like 9 days.  And the drones fly up there and do their thing.  At the end of the 9 days, the queen comes down and lays the fertilized eggs.  Those get the Royal Jelly, that’s what makes them become the new queens.  At the end of the season, the female worker bees kill all the males.

So who mates with the worker bee’s to hatch the drones?

No one, those eggs aren’t fertilized.

So how do they hatch?

It’s a type of A-sexual reproduction, they must not need the sperm to grow.  (side note, the geek in me had to look this up, the correct word is parthenogenesis)

So when the new eggs hatch, how do they decide who the new queen is?

Well, basically they hatch and fight it out, the winner takes all.  Then the old queen leaves with part of the colony and the new queen keeps the hive.

They can also swarm.

Right, if something happens to the hive or it gets to be to crowded they queen will leave and you’ll get a swarm.

Is that where you see the bee balls?

Right! It looks like there is a structure there, but it’s just all bees.

So is your honey raw or how do you process it?

We just filter ours through a bunch of layers of cheese cloth, we don’t heat it or anything.

So does yours crystalize?  Because I see some raw that crystallizes and some that doesn’t….

It depends on how much they filter it I think, how much debris gets left in it.  That’s what causes crystallization.

How are your worms by the way? Any babies?

I think so, I went and re-did a bunch of their stuff and there were more worms than I remembered.

I’m trying to do projects that promote sustainability and recycling that people can do even if they live in an apartment, like the worms, you can do that anywhere.

We know someone that has worms in her kitchen.

Awesome, and I read that they really like cardboard, so like the non-greasy half of a pizza box is perfect.

Oh! I remember I found a bunch of re-growable kitchen scraps on Pinterest!

Awesome.

So you’re selling your soaps online now?

Yes, on Etsy, I am hoping to try a Jewel weed soap this summer.

That’s what the Natives used for poison ivy, you know.

Yep, and you can make it into soap and it still works.

Isn’t that amazing you can preserve that into soap?

I think we are missing a kid?

I can find mine, but not sure where your’s went.

(hiding in the bathroom)

Do you have to go potty?

So is that a new dance?

No, this is an almost 10-year-old dance.

Is that the one that was crawling under the seats on Sunday?You know, I remember our kids were always perfect and quiet in church.

This is the one.You know, I remember our kids were always perfect and quiet in church.

You know, I remember our kids were always perfect and quiet in church.

(Laughing)

Right, I remember your son especially being quite!

Did she have to go potty?

She did, she actually went, I feel like I need to make an announcement or put a banner up or something.

You should, that one loved the attention when we were working on it.

Hey, everyone, she went potty!

YEAH!!! Good job!

You know it’s funny you were talking about her name being from a movie (I have now captured the other little baby for a bit).  If she was a boy, we were going to name her Luke… because I was sitting there all huge watching Star Wars, not that I’m a particular fan, but I just happened to like it at that moment.

I feel like I should say something Biblically profound for you to write down.  I have been studying the passage Proverbs 13:24, about sparing the rod and spoiling the child.

Ok.

So the author of those passages uses a lot of shepherd related theme, and the shepherd uses his staff to guide his flock right?

Right.

So by sparing the rod, sparing guidance you are essentially spoiling the future generation.  It’s not about physically disciplining, but about guidance.

Well, that certainly makes more sense.  Spoiling isn’t interpreted as the child being a brat, but about missed information.  I like it.

And at this point, the volume of my youngest had reached epic proportions, there were a lot of conversations all over the place and I couldn’t hear a one.  So we put on our jammies and packed it for home. Darn teeth anyway!