Friday, February 28, 2014

Potato peelings...who knew?

In the past, when ever I had to peel potatoes I'd always save the peelings for the compost pile.  Potato peels are great for this as long and they are thin and cut rather small.  Well, as long as you don't mind a raccoon or an opossum visiting on occasion.  

I mean, what else could you do with them?

Well, a couple of weeks ago a friend's Mom had something on her Facebook page about potato peelings.  Someone was eating them.  And I was told they were somewhat addictive.  I asked Helen about them and she said that you take the peelings and soak them in salt water for a bit to impart some flavor in them.  Then drain on paper towels to get the excess water off.  And then you fry them.  The peels.  Who knew?

Tonight, the hubby was helping me with dinner and I remembered this as he was peeling the potatoes.  The deep fryer was out.  Why not?

The husband was skeptical.  The kids thought I was nuts.  I figured I'm not out anything but a little compost material if it didn't work.

This was just the first batch.  With the peelings from 4 potatoes, I had the baskets of my fryer filled twice each.  

Out of 4 fryer baskets, this was all that was left.  Gone in under 15 minutes!  LOL.

As I do with all new recipes, I made these exactly as Helen told me too.  I think for my family, the next time, instead of soaking in salt water, I'll just soak in water to rinse the starch off and then after they're fried, I'll use a season salt on them.  You could use about any herb or seasoning on them...garlic, rosemary, Parmesan cheese...use your imagination.

In all my geekiness, I tried to research the origins of this and as suspected, it is thought to have came out of trying to not waste anything edible during lean times.  What was surprising was that I found a lot of suggestions of using not just potatoes but also sweet potatoes and carrots.  

I foresee us trying them all!  LOL


Helen shared with me that you can also do this with apple peelings.  Once they are fried, she said to sprinkle them with a mixture of Cinnamon & sugar.  I'll be trying this in the future!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Slow down!

Today, I drove back to Putnam County, where I used to live for a dear friend's Mother's funeral.  I have lived in the city now for almost 11 years but I so love getting back to the country.  I just need to make sure that I'm doing it more than just for funerals.

The farther I get from the city, the more I'm noticing the changes.  It's not just the scenery changing from the urban buildings to sprawling farm fields.  As I left the interstate, I noticed that people are moving at a slower pace.  They seem more relaxed.

In all honesty, I'm not sure if I noticed this more because I was allowing my mind to wander as I made the long drive out there or if I was just thinking and reminiscing about a wonderful woman and the laid back time we spent at her farm sledding down her hill in the winter or spending time at the ball fields with her while my daughters played softball with her granddaughters.  Opal was a truly wonderful, fun, adventurous woman whom I was fortunate to have the opportunity to know.

The service was very sweet and quite a tribute.  As we left the funeral home, we drove across Greencastle, a very quaint small town (although small, it is the biggest town in Putnam County) and continued out of town, each road we turned on more rural than the last.  It was probably about 20 minutes from the funeral home to the cemetery.  

What struck me most about the drive to the cemetery was the respect shown by random strangers on the road.  By that, I mean that as the procession headed to the cemetery, I saw NO moving vehicles other than those in the procession.  I was about three-fourths of the way back in the line and it was amazing to see the respect shown to the group.  The police blocked off ONE intersection right at the edge of town, otherwise, they didn't block streets. 
Why is that?  Because in the country, everyone stops for a funeral.  They get as far off the road as they can and they STOP.  This is done as a sign of respect for the dearly departed.  And it is something that I was shocked to see not being done in the city.  I do it but a lot of people honk at me, yell at me and worse but it was how I was raised.  

It brought tears to my eyes to be moving with the procession and as I crested each hill or rounded each corner to see cars, trucks, semi's, farm vehicles, everyone, pulled to the side of the road and stopped until the entire funeral procession passed.  No honking.  No yelling.  Just quiet respect.

Today, although I said good bye to a very lovely woman, I was able to reconnect with some dear old friends.  I also had a needed reminder to to slow down.  Appreciate those around us.  Appreciate taking the time to enjoy what is around us.  In the city, people tend to rush, rush, rush.  Everyone is in a hurry.  No one slows down to really see their surroundings let alone to enjoy them.

So to everyone out there, I hope that you will take a minute to slow down and appreciate the people and things that are around you.  Learn to really look at things.  There is beauty in the  city just as in the country if you take the time to see it!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sunshine. Finally!

The sun is finally shining today!  I really needed to see some sunshine.  I was telling a friend that I really need to see something besides white snow outside.  The sun is a welcome sight today!

If you are like we are, you're kinda over being stuck inside.  If you look you can find something unique to see in your area.  Here in Indy, some friends of mine kept talking about the "Ice Tree".  I had never heard of such a thing but we thought it was fairly close so we'd check it out.  

Here is what we found:

For those interested and on Facebook, here is the information on it.  

This is just something that a family builds in their backyard every year for the last 50 some years.  It's very impressive to see.

Keep in mind that if you're on Facebook, you can post asking your friends if there is something cool in your area to see.  Facebook can be more than just for playing games!  Ask friends, ask neighbors, ask co-workers about neat things off the beaten path to go see.  You might find your own colorful ice tree!

Get outside quickly, from what I hear, more snow is coming in a few days.  Sigh.  

It's almost Spring.  It's almost Spring.  It's almost Spring...

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Great Minds Think Alike!

I guess I'm not the only one dealing with snow but thinking about a beautiful, green garden!

It won't be long now.....

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I am over snow!

Indianapolis was hit with more snow again last night.  I know we should be used to this but it really is tiring.  This is how my husband's truck looked before the storm was even over.

This morning, since hubby was at work, the teen shoveled for us and the neighbor.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, I have shoveled my share of snow.  I used to like it but my health will no longer allow me to do it.  That's a little frustrating but we adjust.  

(((Quick PSA, check on your neighbors, the elderly and the shut-ins)))

I am choosing to think about my garden today.  It sure beats thinking about snow...UGH.  Garden time...warm, sunny, green.  Yes, that's what we're gonna do, think about the garden!  According to the stores, it is the time to think about it. This says, "Spring is almost here!"  Now I just need my Cox's Plant Farm catalog to come in...

Due to the above mentioned health problems, if I am going to have a garden this year, it needs to be done differently.  This is how I usually do my garden and have for years...

Although this is less intensive during the growing time and at the harvest end of the garden, it's quite intensive in the early spring when putting the garden out until things get some size on them.  In a previous post, I shared some gardening techniques for disabled gardeners and although, I'm not there yet, I still need to make some changes.

Part of the changes I am going to make is to spread the plants out some so that I can remove the outside tines off my tiller and use it to to the bulk of the weeding.  This means that I won't have as many plants in the actual garden shown above.  This is where we get creative!  

I've been thinking of ways to still have the things I want in my garden with less space.  I know there will be some things that I just won't have as much of but I can make this work.  You just have to think outside the box.

I'm going with containers.  I am going to re-purpose things so I'm not spending a ton of money to make this happen.  I looked around at what I had that would work.  I've come up with a few things.

This green tub was once used to store outdoor toddler toys.  Now it's going to grow carrots.  There are already holes in the bottom on the off chance that rain water got into the toy bucket.  

I have two of these metal wash tubs that I used to use for flowers.  I say "used to" because I can't grow flowers.  As much as I have tried....  I'm going to use these tubs for salad things, lettuces, radishes, spinach, celery, etc.  This will have an added bonus of me being able to put the tubs where the amount of sun hitting them can be controlled.  Too much sun will burn up lettuces.

I don't have a picture but we still have our old trash cans that we would set out for the weekly trash since the city switched us over to those ones that the truck picks up by itself.  I mean, how do you throw away a trash can?  I tried, they don't take it...LOL.  So, I think I can clean a couple of them out, put some serious holes in them and cut the bottoms out.  I can then use one for potatoes and one for sweet potatoes.  I don't know if this will work, but I'm gonna try it!

I also found some large flower pots for house plants in the garage that I am going to use for herbs & spices.  I have one already in use that has Mint in it because it spreads so badly that I want to contain it or it will take over the yard.  I can put the pots anywhere I need to.  

I will buy a load of compost, it's like $25 or so a yard.  That is more than enough to fill the tubs I have.  Any leftover will go to the small expansion area where I enlarged the strawberry bed last fall.  And if there is still some left, it's a great addition to the garden itself as it contains a lot of good nutrients.  I generally put a load of compost in the garden every year anyway.

It's going to be different than what I'm used too but I think it will work.  It is also the least expensive option to change my garden around.  It's a good place to start.  

I know this in particular isn't related to gardening, but I'm going to share it anyway.  A lot has happened to my health in the last couple of years, this last year in particular.  I had a lot of trouble in the beginning in wallowing in what I could no longer do.  It's one thing to say to someone else that "you can adjust" but it's harder to take when it is being said to you.  With the help of my wonderful husband and some very dear ladies, I'm learning to come to grips with my new limitations.  I'm learning that I can do things differently.  I am by no means saying that I'm adapting perfectly, because I'm not.  I'm just trying to take it one day at a time.  One task at a time.  And sometimes, like today, when I mentioned running the snow blower because my husband was called to work early, these dear ladies were right here with me to pretty much threaten me into compliance....LOL  I love them for it.  

Be safe out there!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

One year!

One year ago today, I made my first blog entry!  This is my 93rd entry in it and last week, I hit 5,000 view to this blog.  I'm amazed and astonished.  I love it!  Thank you so very much for thinking I have something to write that you all like to read!  WooHoo!

Again, on this first anniversary of my foray into blogging, THANK YOU so much for joining me on this journey!