Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Carrot Cake Pancakes?!?

I was reading a  cooking blog the other day and I grew intrigued by his carrot cake pancakes. 

I made a test batch, and as I mixed the batter I said, hmmm these proportions are missing something.  I made one wee test batch, and sure enough, they were tough or heavy, and a little oddly textured to my point of view.  I revised the recipe tonight  and made a very large, new and improved version.  They're still not light and fluffy buttermilk pancakes with this much shredded provider of betacarotene and other vitamins, but they're better.  They taste so good.. quick, go make some.

My critics occupy the dinenr table.  We're talking 7 people eating carrot pancakes.   And they devoured them. 

But wait, back up. I personally dislike cooked carrots. Oh I do like carrot cake, and thus carrot cake pancakes are a luscious thought.  But what if I ended up with surplus carrots? Then what? I would have to ::shudder:: use up a bunch of carrots as a moral necessity.  Necessity being the mother of invention - I opted to peel half a butternut squash and shred it quickly.  I love squash and I can imagine hundreds of squash use ideas. But the carrots would go to the goats.. no carrot salad for me.

The original recipe, when quadrupled for my crowd, produced heavy, but delicious lead weight pancakes. I opted to lighten them with a bit more leavening, add 1/4 cup of oil for the proper texture and to prevent unreasonable stickiness/gloppiness. These taste great!  I used an artificial sweetener Splenda, and a touch of molasses for the brown sugar flavor.  It reduced the carbs a little, and still tastes really yummy.  Please, feel free to try this on your crew for brunch, 'breakfast for dinner', or a weekend breakfast treat.  A dish of applesauce, some lean turkey sausage, or scrambled eggs makes a nice accompaniment, whatever time of the day you're serving these.

Carrot Cake Pancakes

But really, they're made with shredded butternut squash.  Did I mention they're low fat too?

1 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour (or use all white flour if you don't have whole wheat in the house)
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups milk (or buttermilk)
2 eggs
1/2 cup splenda sugar free sweetener or brown sugar
1 Tablespoon of molasses (omit if using real brown sugar)
1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter or margarine
2 cup shredded raw butternut squash

Optional Topping:
8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
6 tablespoons maple syrup
powdered sugar to taste

First take your average size butternut or other winter squash, and cut it in half.  The butternut confines its seeds to the bulbous, so for speed, avoid that part, and peel just the longer neck portion. See, speedy! Now toss into a food processor on shred, and Bzzt, you're done. Or like me, use your box grater and 5 minutes later you have 4 cups of shreds. That wasn't too time consuming. Watch those knuckles though. Now on to the batter.

1. Mix the flour, leavenings, and spices in a very large bowl. Not that one the larger one. Ok, thanks.

2. Mix the milk, egg, oil, sweetener and shreddy squash in another bowl.

3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients making sure to not over mix. Over mixing causes tough pancakes.

4. Heat your skillet or large griddle (we have a huge nonstick electric griddle that cooks 6 pancakes at a time).

5. Pour 1/4 cup of the mixture into the pan and heat until the surface starts to bubble and the bottom is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.

6. Flip the pancake and cook the other side until the bottom is golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.

We served these with margarine and sugar free or reduced sugar maple syrup or real maple syrup from our trees. There are diabetics at my dinner table each night.   The children are also sensitive to cream as in cream cheese, so we'll be making the topping another night, from goat cream cheese. But do try it, because the thought of cream cheese frosting on carrot cake pancakes makes you drool - doesn't it?

Optional:  Mix the cream cheese and maple syrup and add some powdered sugar to get it as sweet as you like. Then spread your cream cheese frosting onto your carrot cake pancakes.  I'd use it as filling and just sprinkle some powdered sugar on top, myself. 

The family reviews were unanimous.  WOW, good carrot cake. And that's with sugarfree syrup and diet margarine.  Imagine, if you made these with sugar and real maple syrup on top.. they'd be over the top FABULOUS.  Try them however you prefer. They're delicious.
Psst.. have you tried Butternut slaw?  That's right, you make coleslaw with shredded butternut squash, and it's sweet, and delicious and leaves you saying:  now why didn't I think of that?

Butternut Slaw

To one shredded butternut squash (about 4 cups), add 1/2 cup of dried cranberries, and 1/2 cup of toasted chopped walnuts.  Then toss with your family's favorite coleslaw dressing or try this  variation. 1/3 cup of mayonnaise, 1 1/2 tablespoons honey,  3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1-1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Taste and adjust it to your palate, then pour over the salad.  Or just substitute the shredded butternut squash in your favorite coleslaw recipe. It's really good.  Just try it. It's Autumn. It's good! 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Trim Healthy Mama! Cabrini Greenie Casserole

I revisited this recipe - Cabrini Greenie Casserole, after starting the Trim, Healthy, Mama Plan -- because it took just a little adaptation to be trimming and slimming and still delicious. I hope you give it a try. If you prefer, you can skip the pasta and make a side of Zucchini ribbon noodles and pour the sauce over the top rather than bake it, or you can use a Gluten Free option if your family is Gluten Intolerant, rather than following the THM plan. However you make it, I'm sure it's going to be a favorite. <3 KelliSue

I made this Greenie dinner tonight, after adapting it to my pantry and provisioning.  It is so delicious.  I'm posting the original Cabrini Spinach recipe, and then the alterations I made so you can make one or both or even your own version. I reduced the fat in this dish by cutting out one cup of cheese, switched up the frying fat to coconut oil which raises your body's ability to burn your energy, and used low fat sour cream.  Extra sharp cheese has reduced or no lactose, which gives us here a little dietary wiggle room here in using sour cream in a dish. You can substitute Greek Yogurt for 1 cup of the sour cream without affecting the flavor and you'll increase the protein. THIS is a One-Pot wonder!

KelliSue's Cabrini Greenie Casserole - with my apologies to the Junior League
1 16oz. or so box of rotini - I use Dreamfields brand rotini, (with 5 grams available carbs) cooked in well-salted water until barely tender, drained
1/2 cup butter or coconut oil
3 cups of chopped cooked swiss chard, stems finely chopped, or spinach, drained
2.5 to 3 cups of shredded extra sharp cheese or your favorite
1 diced onion
1 cup of diced mushrooms (I used foraged wild mushrooms)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed - sprinkled with season salt
2 cups of sour cream (low fat works perfect here) or Greek Yogurt for even less fat
6 grinds of freshly ground black pepper
For those following the THM plan please grind up some On Plan bread crumbs from Joseph's lavash bread or pitas, etc.,
For those not on this plan Panko style bread crumbs work well.

In a large bowl, stir together cheese, sour cream, pepper.  Pour the not fully cooked, hot drained pasta over the top, and gently combine. Meanwhile, saute  the onion, mushrooms, and chicken in 1/2 cup of coconut oil or  When the chicken is cooked through and the onions are softened, combine with the pasta mixture and place in a 9x13" casserole dish. Top with a layer of Panko style bread crumbs, and spray with butter flavored or coconut oil spray.   Bake uncovered at 400*F for 30 minutes.  The breadcrumbs get nice and crunchy and the casserole becomes one delicious pan of cheesey melty goodness.  Makes 8-10 servings.  The original calorie count is below. I'm sure my version was improved! You can keep this vegetarian by omitting the meat. 

My family's reaction to this casserole, which goes nicely with homemade bread by the way, was "make this one again Mom".  My husband liked how delicious it was, and was happy that the chard came from the garden.  As for me - I like one dish meals.  You might want to put in 1 lb. kielbasa, cut into coins, instead of the chicken breast, or use some leftover ham cubes another time.  This wasn't an expensive dish, using garden produce, 1 box of pasta, 1 lb. leftover or planned over meat, 3 cups of shredded cheese, and a .99 pint of low fat sour cream.  I'll be blanching swiss chard and putting it in the freezer so we can enjoy this one again in the deep freeze of the winter months in Upstate New York.

KelliSue Kolz

Cabrini Spinach
Recipe From: Creme de Colorado by The Junior League of Denver

9 oz spaghetti, broken into pieces, cooked al dente and drained
1/2 cup butter, melted
20 oz frozen spinach, cooked and drained (2 boxes cut-leaf spinach)
4 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
1/4 lb mushrooms, sliced
2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup diced onion
1 dash dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients. Place in a 9x13" casserole dish. Bake uncovered at 350oF for 45 minutes. Makes 8-10 servings.
Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 461 Calories; 33g Fat (63.8% calories from fat); 18g Protein; 24g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 85mg Cholesterol; 458mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1-1/2 Grain(Starch); 1-1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 5-1/2 Fat.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Opie Taylor goes to Iraq

With fourteen children in my family during my formative years, I'm surprised that it seemed like Robbie was the baby for the longest. Maybe it was because I was in high school when he was born and that makes all the difference. He was fun to play with, and of course more happy to see me at age 2 than my siblings who were within a year of age to me. I see that in Emma now. She runs to the door hugging and kissing her Andy, Gerard, Sarah and Merina when they return home from school.Robbie was born pretty bald like most of my birthed in siblings. The adopted ones all had dark hair. Robbie grew in the brightest head of redhair and with his big grin and freckley face he quickly resembled Opie Taylor of The Andy Griffith Show.

As my little children (12 and under) have grown I've been reminded of Robbie's childhood several times. Emma is redhaired and destined to be freckley some day. One morning she came to me in her blue footy pajamas and said Mama, I wet. As I changed her out of her soaked diaper and wet pajamas and put her into the shower I was flashed back to when I was a teen and Robbie was a wee toddler.All the children's rooms were upstairs, like in this old house we live in here. Robbie's room was down the hall from me, but Mom was way down the steep stairway, or so it seemed when we were small.

On the occasion when 2-3 year old Robbie would wet the bed, he'd shed his footed pajamas and soaked underclothing on the bathroom floor and make a speedy, dark, dash down the hall to my room. I slept on the bottom bunk of our bunkbeds shared by my sister and I, and I could reach the bottom drawer of my dresser without much stretching. When Robbie woke me up I'd reach over, grab an old Tshirt out of my bottom drawer and pop it over his head for a makeshirt night shirt, tuck him into the bottom of my bed and go back to sleep.That's what I remembered as I was changing Emma one morning.

Robbie called me with news a few mornings ago. He told me he loves me and that he is being shipped to Iraq with the U.S. Army. Oh sure, he likes the Army life, and he's a good cook keeping both his culinary skills sharp and the army soldiers well-fed, but he's my baby brother. This is not what I envisioned as I encouraged him during culinary school. There's no safe place in Iraq. Even Army cooks have to drive along those roads with those roadside bombs. Even Iraqi children fall prey to the sadistic terror of their countrymen gone wrong. War is Hell.I do not want my baby brother in Hell. I want him exchanging recipes for things we wish we made more regularly, and trying new techniques for things we do repetetively.

I want Robbie kissing my children and milking my goats and coming with surprises for holidays and asking for my prayers about things with which he's struggling. God bless our Troops. May God bless my baby brother who I love so much.

I would appreciate it if when you read this that you would pause and say a heartfelt prayer and ask God to please watch over Robert Brown, the freckle faced boy from Kent, Washington who really wants to make a difference in this world. And maybe one for his mother and his sister who cry over him and want him safe and home.I'll be praying for our president and other leaders who need to fix this situation and get the U.S. Army out of Iraq. Nevertheless, not my will, but God's be done. KelliSue Brown Kolz

Monday, October 5, 2009

Where did you hide the rabbit?

Ree, at Pioneer Woman made a beautiful blog about Welsh Rarebit, which we have always called Welsh Rabbit.  Growing up on Bunny Bee Farms in Ferndale, Washington, there was a little irony in that title.

"Where's the rabbit?  I can't find any rabbit. Moooooooom, I didn't get any rabbit in mine. "

Ahem. Ok, it was a family of 14 children, 15 and under, I kid you not. Since I'll get letters... yes, there were 7 adopted children.

This is a riff on my mom's version, in case you're hungry today.  Mom stirred in scrambled eggs to stretch the Welsh Rabbit.  You can do that, or like I do with my family of 7, try scrambling three whisked whole eggs into a 12.3 oz. box of extra firm or firm tofu that you've cubed. When the eggs are cooked, the tofu is hot, and then blend with the yummy cheese sauce that is Welsh Rarebit.

Mrs. Kolz Welsh Rabbit

6 Tablespoons butter or margarine
6 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt 
2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
 a few drops of hot pepper sauce or a hearty pinch of  ground cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard, right from the jar
1 cup of either apple juice or white grape juice
or 1 cup of chicken broth with 1teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice added into the broth - just trust me.
2 cups of milk of your choice (we use goat)
3 cups shredded sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese

Melt your butter in a large sauce pan on medium heat, just until no solids remain. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and stir with a wooden spoon, letting it bubble for a couple of minutes, nice and light golden. This removes any starchy flavor in the final sauce. Pour in either the juice or the acidified broth, and whisk until the sauce is completely combined and no lumps remain. Toss in the sauces and spice if you use it. Gradually add 2 cups of milk and stir over medium heat until the sauce thickens. 

Meanwhile, have one of your children or other cooking assistant toast up hearty slices of bread.  Get them nice and crunchy! This is a great place to use up hearty, grainy bread, or rustic artisan breads, homemade bread, whatever you have.

If you have a slicing tomato sitting on a sunny windowsill, now's the time to go slice it.  I love a crunchy slice of toast, a ladle full of Welsh Rabbit, and then a beautiful slice of ripe red tomato right on top.  Use a fork and knife and dig right in while it's hot.  Bliss!

But you know what's even better?  A Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich. Try this variation, and you can thank me later. 

For each Hot Brown sandwich, place two slices of toasted bread on a metal (or flameproof) dish. Cover the toast with a liberal amount of sliced, possibly leftover or deli sliced turkey. Pour a generous amount of sauce over the turkey. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan  or cheddar cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until the sauce is speckled brown and bubbly. Remove from broiler, top with a thin slice of tomato, cross two crispy pieces of bacon over the top into an X, and serve immediately. You eat these with a fork too.

Makes 4 servings of two open-faced Kentucky Hot Brown sandwiches each.  They're special. You are too, so try one soon!

Here Moosey Moosey!

I have a love affair with shelf-stable, ready when I want it, tofu. Truly. Stay with me, you might find yourself in my camp. Really - that chocolate pie at the very end is quick to make, and will make a convert of you.

That's right. 12.3 oz. of silken goodness, just waiting for me to add it's protein richness to something we eat. This little box costs about $1.50, give or take, and can also be bought in 24 pack cases, which is how I usually purchase it. Ideally I mix 12 of the the extra firm and 12 of the silken in the case pack, if the store manager is in the mood to be helpful. The two varieties are used quite differently at my house, so the firmness matters.

How convenient that they color code the boxes so I can send a 7 year old into the pantry with instructions to bring me a blue tofu box, or a pink tofu box.

Chocolate mousse makes a nice dessert on a Sunday afternoon after a big dinner, or a fluffy surprise for after school snackers at my house. It's kind of diet friendly, if you're counting carbohydrates or are diabetic. I also keep on hand a box of Whipped topping mix that I make with icy goat's milk, or a container of frozen Cool Whip in the freezer. This recipe calls for real whipping cream, so use that if you prefer.

Let's make something with the silken soft tofu first. How about a chocolate mousse that's sugar free and yummy? These are ingredients that sit on my pantry shelf just waiting for the mood to strike. And I heart it, because it has a good supply of protein, along with chocolatey goodness. Think about your favorite flavor of pudding and you might find a variation that flips your lid. My personal favorite is chocolate mint.

Sugar Free Chocolate Mousse
1 4 oz package Chocolate Sugar-Free Instant Jello Pudding
1 10 oz to 12.3 oz. package soft tofu (refrigerated tofu is sold in 10 oz. pkgs, and shelf stable in 12.3 oz. pkgs.)
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Optional: Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract to vanilla pudding or 1 tsp. peppermint extract to chocolate pudding or 1/2 tsp. butter pecan flavoring to butterscotch pudding
1 pint real whipping cream – whipped and divided

In a large mixing bowl, add the pudding mix, tofu, cocoa powder and optional extract. Beat with an electric mixer on medium high until very smooth. Or mix with a hand held blender until ultra-smooth. If you wish to make vanilla or butterscotch, omit the cocoa powder.

In separate bowl, mix the whipping cream until soft peaks form. If you are dairy intolerant - this is a good place to use a whipped nondairy topping. Just gently fold 2 cups of nondairy whip into your mousse, until barely combined. Then skip ahead to serving in the parfait dishes.

Gently fold 2 cups of whipped cream into the mousse mixture using a rubber spatula, just until it's softly combined. You don't want to deflate the cream.

Serve in parfait dishes and garnish with some of the remaining whipped cream, chocolate shavings, or a sprig of mint. Fluffy, sweet, and oh so nice.

But let's be real. Nothing beats a deep, dark, chocolate pie. Not even mousse.

Try this one with the extra firm or firm tofu. You'll need a blender or food processor for this recipe.

Can't Believe It's Tofu Chocolate Pie
1 pkg. 120z. pkg. or so of (2 cups) semi sweet or special dark chocolate chips (these are non-dairy)
1 Tablespoon of butter or margarine
1 pkg. (12.3 oz. ) extra firm tofu
1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract

Crumble or break up tofu into a high speed blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth. While it blends, melt butter and semisweet chips together in a microwave safe bowl, one minute on high power. Stir until smooth, heating an additional 10 seconds at a time if necessary. Pour the liquid melted chocolate mixture into the blender container of smooth silky tofu. Add vanilla extract and blend until completely and evenly mixed.

Immediately pour into dessert dishes, or a graham cracker or pre-baked pastry crust. Chill until firm. This cuts like a cheesecake without the lactose issues that affect my children. It's amazing and once it's cooled you'll not taste any tofu taste at all. Try it. If you use soybean margarine, this is an appropriately vegan recipe. My dad, the tofu hater, loves this pie and can't believe it's tofu.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Tale of Two Cookies

Two recipes for butterscotch no bake cookies. It's an experiment... two very delicious butterscotchy cookies, not to be confused with the candy-like haystacks, that obtain their butterscotch flavor from two different sources. The first is

Butterscotch No Bake Cookies
Using Butterscotch Morsels

3 Cups Butterscotch Morsels (that's 2 full 11 oz. packages Nestle butterscotch morsels, with 1/3 cup leftovers to feed your assistant.)
1 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Milk (we've used both soy and goat's milk with success)
3/4 Cup Butter
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 Cups Chunky Peanut Butter
3 1/2 Cups Of Quaker Rolled Oats
Cooks note: I have used both old fashioned and quick cooking oats.

Serving Size 15-30
125 Calories Per Serving
5 Grams Of Fat
Preparation Instructions:

In a large bowl, barely combine the peanut butter and rolled oats. Just mix a few times, you'll set them aside for later. In a medium sauce pan combine the sugar, milk and butter and bring to a boil. Boil for exactly 1 minute. Turn off the heat, then stir in the 3 cups of butterscotch morsels and add the vanilla extract. When they're melted and well incorporated, pour over the rolled oats and peanut butter. Mix well, and drop by tablespoon onto a well-greased cookie sheet or on a counter that is lined with was paper. Let the cookies sit at room temperature until hardened, or to expedite the process you can slide them into the refrigerator to chill. Excellent with a glass of cold goat's milk.
Cook's note: That's $5.00 for butterscotch chips alone, and I'm not feeling the love of my family budget in this recipe. They taste good, the peanut butter is a nice addition, but really, $5.00 for just one ingredient? These go fast, so the children aren't getting very many cookies for their budget dollar in my opinion. They're cute on an all no-bake cookie tray, alongside the vanilla and chocolate varieties.

Pantry Lover's Butterscotch No-Bakes
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup milk
1 (3 1/2 ounce) package instant butterscotch pudding mix (I have used both instant and the cook and serve variety - they both work here.
3 1/2 cups quick oats

1On stovetop in a 3 qt pan on medium heat: Combine first 3 ingredients and bring to boil, stirring frequently. If using cook and serve pudding mix, add here, mixing well. Boil hard exactly 2 minutes.
2Remove from heat and add oats and instant pudding mix here, if using.
3Mix thoroughly.
4.Drop spoonfuls onto waxed paper.
5. Let cool 15 minutes

These are called pantry lovers, because we can store all the ingredients in the pantry and at the last minute when we want a quick cookie treat, voila'. They're quite good, and pretty inexpensive. The butterscotch pudding was less than $1.00 which makes it a viable choice for sitting in the pantry as a last minute cookie go-to item. They're also simple enough that many children can manage the recipe on their own, with a little supervision at the stove top.

This one is a keeper.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Closure and Remembrance

I was about 7 weeks pregnant. The fertility center's protocol is that at 6 weeks you have an ultrasound. My friend Clare, who is my age (gasp, we're past our 40th birthdays) had been in to see her doctor at 6 weeks and was told there was no heartbeat on her ultrasound but there might be and she should come back in a few days. Later, at the return, she found that her embryo had already died. Remembering that experience, I delayed my own ultrasound for one week so there would be no dilly-dallying about growth of a fetus.

I flippantly and cheerfully gave my husband a pass and encouraged him to stay at work instead of coming to the second ultrasound. I had seen the embryo on a previous ultrasound, firmly implanted in my uterus at 5+ weeks, so we knew that the pregnancy was proceeding normally. I hopped in the minivan and dropped the children off at my parents and zoomed off for the hour drive to the Fertility Center.

As I drove, I was struck by a sudden sense of gloom, an almost tangible grey cloud, and I began to pray out loud for relief. I asked Heavenly Father to help this horrible feeling to leave me so that I could enjoy my pregnancy, and had the most immediate feelings and impressions. I felt comforted, but the gloom did not leave me.  My prayer changed and I asked Heavenly Father to help me to be cheerful and enjoy this experience for however the pregnancy lasted. I then saw in my mind's eye a fat little baby with a sweet baby face looking at me. I smiled at that baby, because the baby was a little smaller than my Andy and Sarah, who were 10+ and 12 lbs. each, and the baby was also bigger than Emma who was 5-11 when I brought her home from the hospital. I felt some relief to be seeing a live birthed baby because this feeling of gloom was so strong as I drove. And yet I felt comforted.  I put it all aside to cheerfully greet the receptionist.

I went in and got ready for my ultrasound and chatted with Dr. H who was there to perform it. She scanned my abdomen and a momentary flicker led me to say Oh There's the heartbeat, and she said no.. that's not.

Oh. A sick feeling of dread overwhelmed me. Shock and puzzlement filled my soul. How quickly I forget what I had been warned.

She scanned over to the actual fetus and said "I'm sorry Honey, the baby has no heartbeat". I sucked in air abruptly.

There's no heartbeat - how can that be? Oh.

She measured and recorded her medical information for my file, the baby made it from embryo to fetal stage, but had stopped growing one week previously.

I want my mama!

How am I going to tell my husband? He's at work, and this is going to hurt so bad.

She hugged me and left me to dress into my street clothes, indicating I was to meet her in the office across the hall from the ultrasound room. I texted my husband to call me. I sat in her office and heard the clinical explanations of what happened. Probably chromosomal damage. An incident of the interaction between one particular sperm and one particular egg. Not uncommon over age 35, but not a portent of everlasting doom either. That helped, somewhat. FarmBoy called as I sat listening, and I told her I'd take my husband's call. He took the information calmly, and Dr. H was able to answer his questions as she had mine.

How do you recover from that? How do you take that same rounding belly home, and wait for your body to recognize that the baby is dead and expell the fetus? Why does morning sickness make you barf on the way home, even though you just found out the baby is dead. Darn those hormones! How do you reconcile the joy you felt at having a new family member join your family with this sudden gloom? There are no simple answers. Here's where I found peace.

I was given three options. I could wait and see how my body handled a miscarriage within the next two weeks and it might take care of everything on its own. I could use misoprostol, a drug that dilates the cervix and gives one contractions which will encourage the expelling of a dead fetus - but with a risk of incomplete miscarriage. I could schedule surgery, a dilation and curretage which would scrape out my uterus and end this process quickly and surgically but with a risk of uterine damage or scarring.

I opted to wait at home with my family. It gave me days to ponder my family, my hopes and our dreams, and to feel and process my grief in privacy. I cried, I was comforted, and I continued through stages of grief. It was good for me. However, as the 2nd week approached without resolution, I opted to take misoprostol, hoping to avoid surgery. I received testing at the maternity ward at the hospital and the shot for my RH factor in my blood. I took the prescription drug Cytotec every 4 hours as prescribed by my OB/Gyn's backup Dr., with painkillers, and was stunned at how painful the contractions were. I had gory blood clots but didn't see anything that was what I expected a fetus to resemble. My OB/Gyn called regularly to monitor my progress at home. After the third day of this I saw my OB at his office, and I was barely able to walk due to contractions and pain. He examined my cervix and said he could see the fetal sac right there, and predicted I'd pass it in his office or on the way home. Making certain I had all the supplies I'd need, I opted to go home, a mere 15 minute drive. I was a little cheerful, hoping for a final resolution and end to this ordeal.

The next day, a Saturday, came and went, without resolution, and I decided to go back into the office on Monday to schedule a D&C and be done with the suffering. I woke up on Sunday morning shaking and shivvering in the recliner as I lay wrapped warmly in my quilt. July turned out cold and cruel, after all. I came to my senses and took my temperature and headed for a hot shower to warm up. It was 102*. That's enough to send a woman in my condition to the ER.

I called the OB who said he'd meet me there. I took my pain medication and ibuprofen for the fever, swallowed a glass of water, and got to work. It took me an hour to get the children awakened, showered, fed breakfast and ready for church and organized to meet Grandma who would keep them for the day. My fever dropped as I went along, as I knew it would.

Then, content that all was well in my little nest of chicks, I went with my husband to the hospital. The OB examined me after I'd received an IV, and said yes, you have a large blood clot at your cervix. I told him it had been there since Friday and we had no tissue pass at all. He asked if I was still feeling strongly about avoiding a D&C. I said not any more. I asked him if I had a UTI. We had tested for that when I arrived. The lab results said no. I was a little anemic though. He held up his hands to show how far I was dialated, and indicated it would be curretage (scraping) only, and would be done under general anesthesia. As I was 15 minutes from needing another pain pill, I told him that as long as it was within 15 minutes I would be fine. I felt calm and noticed that FarmBoy didn't even look like fainting this time. He has that vaso-vagal response which put him on the floor at the sight of blood or trauma, but he held up pretty well, seated safely at my head.

I was wheeled into surgery. The surgery was normal and uneventful, and I had no nausea afterwards. I'm reconciled and have grieved the loss of our child some two weeks as I waited, so I was just clinically noting my responses to each thing and determining that everything was okay with me. I was hungry. I wanted sushi. This amused the nurse and doctor.  I ate sushi on the way home from the hospital.

The surgeon-OB told me that most all of the fetal material was still internal when he did the surgery, so the d&c was a wise choice. A wide open cervix is like a wick to a uterine infection. I had avoided that. He gave me some IV antibiotics, but just one dose, feeling it was sufficient. I recovered well, noting that I felt much better immediately, compared to the previous week of laboring for nearly 5 days.

It was good to see my children at home and my toddler gleefully climbed in my lap and asked if my tummy was all better. I had very gingerly held her over the past week, asking her to avoid my really sore abdomen. She's glad that's past, as she takes flying leaps into my lap with her pink cheeked demand "Hold me, I tired". Grandma, my mother, brought over dinner Sunday night, as I vegetated, while my white faced self recovered from anesthesia.

I rested on Monday, just putting dinner into the crockpot to simmer while I read books and snoozed. The children went to Seabreeze, an amusement park with their Grandfather, and Grandmother kept the toddler with her. Yep, I milked it. Napped, nibbled, novels. A good day to recover. I skipped soccer practice that night, as a nod to my OB, but not because I needed to.

Ladies from church have apparently recieved word that an army has taken up residence, as they brought over trays and trays of food including enough pasta salad and artisanal bread for an encampment, and a turkey dinner for the neighborhood. Bless 'em all.
I had to hurry and put the food away as we had a soccer game for the 7 year old's team that we coach. I ran off and on the field with the kids and assigned positions, blew my whistle incessantly to oblivious 7 year old blue frogs and just generally had a good time. It's nice to feel my muscles again and stretch my back and use my abdominals as we warm up.

When we got home, I still had energy. It's amazing. I've been tired of feeling pathetic, so this is nice! I took half the turkey dinner to a friend undergoing chemotherapy,my excuse being that it just wouldn't fit into our refrigerator with the food of the day before. And she has cancer. I had minor surgery, that I've been expecting for weeks, and I filled my freezer and pantry with easy to prepare foods and crock pot essentials.

It felt good to do something good for someone else for a change. Now that's more like it.
This is in retrospection of my miscarriage in July. It's now the last day of September. One year ago today I gleefully noted that I was pregnant with a new baby after two long years of trying, and had a miscarriage a day or two before Halloween. Then in July, just a month after that baby's due date, I had another later miscarriage. I know that there is a chubby, pink, visibly healthy little boy child waiting to join our family. We eagerly await the news that he's on his way after these two false starts.

If you would like to join us, please pray for a healthy, strong, full term body for a baby to join the Kolz family. Grandma Kolz passed away September 11, and we'd really like to celebrate another one coming, after we noted one passing.  Baby Daniel, Mama longs to hold you in her arms.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

For Body and Soul

On our farm stand we have these huge hubbard squashes and huge butternut squashes. Any kind of squash will do. My husband, the saintly FarmBoy, peels gigantic squash on his lap tray while watching sports on TV. It's a guaranteed way to get no complaints about him watching sports during prime time. So I find ways all year long to use those cubes of squash that we froze. We do it simply - just peel and seed and cube the squash - then rinse, put in ziplock bags and toss in the freezer. No blanching, no whining, no problem. Try it, or find a harder way to store squash.

Then, when making macaroni and cheese, for example, I boil some of the frozen cubes with the macaroni. By the time I have added the sauce to the boiled macaroni, those cubes are orange and dissolving making it look like we added extra cheddar to the noddles. I've added the cubes to beef stew, and other long simmered soups and sauces, and they just disappear, leaving behind some good fiber, beta carotene and other nutrients. And my conscience is clear, because I can't stand a spoonful of orange goop, no matter what you call it. But I'll eat it in pie, breads, and Cheddar Cheese Soup with Broccoli, or potatoes, or cauliflower. Try it, you need the vitamins this winter.

My kiddos can't eat cream due to their milk-intolerance issues. We even use cheese sparingly. Interestingly enough, extra sharp cheddar cheese is almost or reportedly lactose free. We can eat that easily.

I make this soup, like most things, with goat milk, substituting at the asterisks to make it seem like the original. I use  a  few spoonfuls out of a jar of chicken soup base usually, and just add it to the hot milk. It sneaks in extra calcium for the kiddos and makes the soup more creamy and probably a little less fatty than with the cream. Last time I made this I added in 1 cup of diced zucchini and yellow squash when I fried the onions in the bacon drippings.

Hard Rock Cafe Potato Soup - scaled to 4 servings
4 slices bacon
1/2 cup Diced yellow onions
1/3 cup Flour
3 cups Hot chicken stock (*3 cups of hot goat milk and enough soup base for 3 cups)
2 cups Diced -- peeled baked Potatoes or leftovers.
1 cup Heavy cream *(1 cup goat milk)
1/8 cup Chopped parsley (I substitute chopped celery leaves from the tops)
3/4 teaspoon Granulated garlic
3/4 teaspoon Dried basil
3/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 teaspoon Red pepper sauce
3/4 teaspoon Coarse black pepper
1/2 cup Grated Cheddar cheese
1/8 cup Diced green onions -- white Part only

Additional chopped bacon --
Grated cheese and Chopped parsley for Garnish

Fry bacon until crisp. Chop bacon and reserve drippings. Cook onions and celery tops in remaining drippings over medium-high heat until transparent, about 3 minutes. Add flour, stirring to prevent lumps. Cook 3 - 5 minutes until mix just begins to run golden. Add chicken stock gradually, whisking to prevent lumps, until liquid thickens. Reduce heat to simmer and add potatoes, cream, chopped bacon, parsley, garlic, basil, salt, pepper sauce and black pepper. Simmer 10 minutes; DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL. Add grated cheese and green onions.
Heat until cheese melts smoothly. Garnish each serving as desired with chopped bacon, grated cheese.

It's a good recipe. It's also a good place to hide cubes of raw butternut squash. Just sautee in with the onions, and as the soup simmers the squash nearly dissolves and makes it a nice cheddar cheese color. I'm a veggie pusher I tell ya.  It's for sale on the farmstand - $1.00 each. Come on over.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Big Beautiful Muffin Top

This could very well be the most delicious and beautiful muffin or muffin loaf you have ever tasted.  Please have napkins ready to avoid drooling on your neighbor's muffin. That would be inappropriate.

Beautiful Blueberry Muffins

4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/4 cups white sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 cup milk or buttermilk
3 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 325*.  Prepare loaf pans by greasing with solid shortening and dusting with flour, then shaking off the excess. Line muffin pans with paper liners, or spray silicone muffin pans with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Mix flour and sugar, salt and baking powder together in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl whisk 3 eggs, the milk or buttermilk, and add the oil. Stir until combined.  Gently combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, stirring only until the flour is absorbed. Mix in 2 cups of the blueberries, and put batter into pans. The batter will be quite stiff.

I used 1/3 cup of batter for each muffin, then topped with about 5 additional blueberries, pressed gently into the top of the batter.  For muffin loaves, fill 3/4 way up the loaf pan, smooth the batter, then top with additional blueberries, patting down gently. I left them like this, naturally beautiful. You could add large crystals of sugar, or perhaps a streusel topping, but we liked them with the big juicy berries.

In my oven, the muffins took 25 minutes to cook through, and the loaf pans varied.  The larger loaves were 60 minutes, with the 5 inch long mini-loaf pans averaging 45 minutes.  How many loaves and how many muffins you will make depends tremendously on the muffin pan and the loaf pan size. Sorry, I know that's vague, but once you've made this, jot down how many you get based on your pan size.  I had 2 large loaves, 1 small and 6 muffins.

I cannot keep these muffin loaves and blueberry muffins stocked on my farmstand for more than a couple of hours.  A large loaf sells for $3.99 and a miniloaf for $1.99, with six muffins going for $1.99 too.

Zucchini Balls with Melted Cheese Centers

Zucchini Balls

Let's be real.. this is a labor intensive recipe by my estimation.  It's a good way to use up a lot of zucchini at once, and the zucchini balls can be fried, and then cooled and frozen, and reheated for later.  It's not low fat (but I do have an idea for a variation). But they taste delicious, and are high in fiber. I'm done justifying the fried zucchini balls.  Try them once.  Delish.

Start with 2 pounds of zucchini - which is 2-3 medium sized, or one really big one.  I cut the seeds out of the really big one after salting it and letting it sit, and aimed for 2 lbs on my kitchen scale.

Line a large colander with as many zucchini slices as possible and sprinkle the slices generously with salt. Lay another layer of slices on top of the first layer and sprinkle with salt. Continue until all of the zucchini slices are in the colander. Set the colander in a sink or over a large bowl and let sit for 15 minutes. The zucchini will release some liquid while resting. We're just removing some of the liquid, firming up the zucchini, and removing any bitterness there might be.  You can also substitute eggplant, but let sit for an additional 15 minutes to get the bitterness out on those purple guys.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.Pat the zucchini slices dry with a paper towel. At this point I cut out the big seed core of the larger zucchini.  Place the slices on a baking so that they lay in a single layer.

Set the baking sheet in the upper portion of the oven and bake until the zucchini slices are tender and dry, about 30 minutes.

Place the zucchini slices in a food processor and pulse a few time to chop. Be careful not to chop it too fine. This took 3-4 pulses in my processor. Of course, you can always chop the zucchini by hand.
Scrape the zucchini into a bowl and add 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1 egg, a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, and 1/4 cup bread crumbs.

Whisk a second egg in a medium bowl. Gradually beat in 1 1/2 tablespoons flour to form a smooth batter.

Pour 1 cup of dry bread crumbs onto a plate or shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.  It's unnecessary to add the salt and pepper if you use Italian seasoned bread crumbs.  Form the zucchini mixture into balls slightly smaller than ping pong balls. Insert a bocconcini (mini mozzarella ball) or 1-inch cube of fresh mozzarella into each eggplant ball. Roll again in your hands so that the mozzarella is no longer visible.  By the way, you can cut a cheese stick into small segments if you'd prefer. The cheese is firmer, but the cost is lower this way. Just shorter than 1 inch is preferred. You could use a small piece of homemade paneer or pressed ricotta here too.

Roll each cheese stuffed zucchini ball into the egg/flour batter and then roll in the breadcrumbs. You can prepare all of the balls up to 2 or 3 hours in advance of frying them.  I popped mine onto a cookie sheet and kept them cold in the refrigerator until I had time to fry them later.  Another time I plan to spray a batch of these yummy little nuggets with an olive oil spray, then bake them at 425* until crunchy.  I haven't had time to do that yet. But back to frying them.

In a large skillet, heat 1/2-inch vegetable or canola oil over medium-high heat to about 375 degrees F. When you drop some of the egg batter in the oil, the batter should sizzle and immediately float to the top.With a slotted spoon, lower the zucchini balls into the oil. You'll have to do this in several batches. Once the balls are golden brown all over, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with paper towel.  Keep an eye on your oil thermometer because if the temp is too high, the outside will get too dark before the cheese melts.

Repeat with remaining batches.These can be served hot or room temperature. I love flexible food! Top each ball with a small dollop of plain Greek yogurt and sprinkle with finely chopped parsley.  Or let's just say my children prefer them with a side of ranch dressing and lots of napkins.  We skip the parsley.

Maaaa Maaaa

Andy, our newly trained goat milker, went off to Boy Scouts of America camp this summer and these were the thoughts I had as he was gone.  I'm short a milker.  It gives me the chance to be hand to udder, and shoulder to hipbone with Kate and Ebony once again, which isn't a bad way to start the day and end the evening. They talk, and they nibble their goat chow, and we bond. I like goats, it turns out.

Kate Maaaa'ed at me quite vociferously this morning, especially after she saw the delectable weeds I had pulled for her out of our corn rows. The corn was tossed into the garden as an afterthought, and wasn't planted in black plastic like everything else. Hence, it needs weeding, regularly.

Goats are very thoughtful that way, being willing to eat the delicious flavors of weeds, whilst pointing out which ones taste bitter.  Incoming yucky weed..... patooey. They do have a way of picking up the offending weed and tossing it away that is kind of amusing.

I solved the mystery of the barn light coming on too. I knew the goats turned it on, but this time I caught our doeling Miss Heidi with the string pull in her mouth.  Such a precocious child, she turned and gave me a wry little goat smile.  She's one year old now, and will be bred with a registered Nigerian Dwarf  goat this winter to produce Mini-Alpine kids this spring.  The mini-alpine breed might be the most perfect ever to produce just a good amount of milk for a family living in a smaller place than one would presume to have a few dairy goats. 

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Not your Average Lasagne - this one Disapppears!

I was reading here, and I had to try out substituting zucchini for the asparagus in this delightful Asparagus and Ham lasagne.  Asparagus season is long gone here, but the zucchini is beating down a path to my door.

Kolz Kidz Riff on Ham & Cheddar & Zucchini Lasagne

9 uncooked lasagna noodles

2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 1/2 lb. zuchinni, cut into julienne strips, or half moon slices
1 (8-oz.) pkg. (3 cups) sliced fresh mushrooms
1 lb. cooked ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 3/4 cups)
2 cups milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon chicken-flavor instant bouillon
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
8 oz. (2 cups) shredded Cheddar-mozzarella cheese blend

1. Cook lasagna noodles to desired doneness (al dente - still a little undone) as directed on package.  Hey, don't get discouraged. This is as easy as boiling a big pot of water, putting in 9 large noodles into the boiling water, setting a kitchen timer, and then fishing them out with a pair of tongues a minute before you think you needed to.  Or pick up the big pot and Drain. You can do it. Continue reading. (Cook's note, you may not want to fall for the gimmick of no-cook lasagne noodles, just trust me on this. Or add 1/2 cup of chicken broth to the sauce so your no-cook noodles will cook in the lasagne and be sure and cover well with foil).

2. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Then do it again, just to be sure you're not sand blasting some yummy cheesiness stuck to your pan after dinner. Melt margarine in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini and mushrooms; cook and stir 5 to 7 minutes or until zucchini is taking on some color, and softening a bit. Now add the ham and warm through.  Pour into large bowl.. Set aside.

3. In same skillet, combine 1/2 cup of the milk, flour, bouillon, pepper and Dijon mustard; blend well with wire whisk. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups milk; blend well. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is bubbly and thickened. Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese until melted. See.. you just mastered a variation of the mother sauce, bechamel. Take a bow. Leave out the dijon another time and add a bit more cheddar and you have your basic cheese sauce suitable for well, most everything.

4. To assemble lasagna, spread 1/2 cup sauce evenly in bottom of sprayed baking dish. Reserve 1/2 cup sauce for topping. Add remaining sauce to ham mixture; mix well.

5. Arrange 3 cooked noodles over sauce in baking dish. Spoon and spread half of ham mixture over noodles; top with 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles and reserved 1/2 cup sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

6. Bake at 350°F. for 20 to 30 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Your tummy will thank you.  Really.  Just try the recipe, and listen carefully.
P.S. - Instead of Ham you can use leftover grilled chicken in this recipe.  Just do these little steps at your next cookout or grill session.  Make way too much grilled chicken, before letting the family eat it all, chill the extras in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator.  When you get around to it the next day, remove meat from the bones, or cube the boneless chicken, and remember this recipe.  See.  Easy Peasy. You're welcome. And remember.. sweet peas go nicely with zucchini, chicken and cheddar lasagne too.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Andybear

My eldest child is turning 12 at the end of the month. Andy is the first child of my infertility - a hard won battle at the end of three years of trying to conceive with medical intervention within our marriage. He was the child who I wept over, so grateful that God granted the wish of my heart. He should have had Clomid flowing through his veins, that son of mine. He weighed 10 lbs. 6 oz., and was the reason I was courageous enough, after months of trying, to finally inject myself with insulin the day before Mothers Day. His was the pregnancy that led to my diagnosis of diabetes. I promised the Lord, upon finding out that I was pregnant (with no fear of miscarriage because who ever has those?) that I would raise him to be a good boy and to serve the Lord and our community with all his heart to the best of my ability.

I've kept my end of the bargain.  Andy's gentle and courageous personality is the better part of his father and I.  I contributed my strong morals, personal courage and Andy's father, my first husband, contributed his  artistic, compassionate heart and voice like an angel.  Andy has made these traits his own, and continues to delight his whole family as his personality and talents unfold.

Yesterday we received by mail the results of the standardized testing for sixth graders.  Andy consistently scored in the high 95-98th percentile in mathematics and averaged 93% in english language arts.  I'm so proud of him. He had a substantial school workload last year as a new middle schooler and he kept his grades up.

Andy has show himself to be well-rounded in his hobbies and interests and how he spends his time. He plays the clarinet and is trying to learn the piano. He plays soccer and basketball at my request. When I began to falter a little in keeping up with all of our domestic chores while pregnant, Andy stepped up. He's 11 and nearly as tall as I am so I thought he might be good at milking.  It's a twice a day position, so I imagined he could help once a day, and make it possible for me to get other remodeling and canning and gardening jobs finished.  Sure enough, I made four batches of black raspberry jam and a couple of strawberry jam this week. Thanks Andy!

As scheduled, when school was out for the summer, I taught him to milk the goats. He took the job on and has diligently fulfilled the 10 minute milking job each morning and night without error or complaint. It took some time for the two dairy goats to get used to him and for him to feel assertive enough to back them down when they tried to bully him. He now notices when their water bucket is getting low and tosses hay in to them. It's nice to see him take on responsibility, as he turns 12.

As I went into the hospital this past Sunday for emergency surgery at the end of this pregnancy, I knew the goats were well taken care of, and that as Grandma watched the children, Andy was milking and filtering the milk. Then they all headed off to church.

July 30th is Andy's 12th birthday. In our religion he is eligible to become a member of the Aaronic priesthood and to be ordained a deacon. God gives priesthood authority to worthy male members of the Church so they can act in His name for the salvation of the human family. It is the priesthood authority by which John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus Christ, teaching faith, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins (Matthew 3:1-17; Mark 1:1-11). Aaronic Priesthood authority includes the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel, which is the gospel of repentance, baptism, and the remission of sins, and the administering of outward ordinances (D&C 84:26-27; 13:1; 107:14, 20).

You're probably wondering what a deacon is, or have a vision of older, stern looking men.  In the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints a deacon is young. Worthy brethren may be ordained deacons when they are at least 12 years old. A deacon follows counsel, sets a good example, and may (1) pass the sacrament, (2) collect fast offerings, (3) care for the poor and needy, (4) be a standing minister appointed to "watch over the church" (D&C 84:111), (5) assist the bishopric, (6) serve as a messenger, (7) participate in quorum instruction, (8) serve in quorum leadership positions, (9) fellowship quorum members and other young men, (10) be baptized and confirmed for the dead, (11) speak in meetings, (12) share the gospel, (13) bear testimony, and (14) care for the meetinghouse and grounds.

That's quite a bit of responsibility at 12, but Andy has his bonus dad Martin to assist him and the rest of his family encouraging him and supporting him in his activities. Which means we'll help care for the meetinghouse and grounds with him. I wield a duster as well as anyone.

As I ponder all the good things Andy does and Andy has become internally, I ponder wanting to fulfill his birthday wish.  Andy received a used Nintendo DS gaming system for his birthday last year. Being the oldest child and the one with the coolest electronics, he shared with his siblings. Despite their caution and his surveillance, the DS has broken. The games are now useless and he sweetly shared them with his sister Sarah who also received a DS from her father for her birthday in May.  He hasn't complained that his sharing with his siblings resulted in the stress fractures on the DS and the  left button  wearing out. I picture his Sims all walking in circles to the right, to the right, to the right. He didn't complain. He made it funny. He merely asked me for glue when the plastic case broke.

Andy's father, my first husband, called a couple of weeks ago to cancel his trip out for Andy's birthday. It's the only week that the children see their father all year long, and they were  emotionally distraught about it. A couple of weeks have passed and their emotions have eased, and my urge to headsmack an ex-husband has subsided. Mostly.

Martin had an idea, after seeing the children cry.  Why don't we pay for a railroad ticket to get their father here for a few days?  We're not a family of much means, but I figured with juggling things a bit and cutting back here and there I could do this. At the price of reducing what I have to spend on Andy's birthday. Martin's factory just ended Friday Furlough's two weeks ago. We're getting by very well, but frugally.

I was then reminded of the trip to Las Vegas that was taken from Chicago just last month. With stops in Utah and other parts for mini-family reunions. By the same father that now cannot afford a railroad trip of 12 hours to see his only children. Two hours after I returned from the hospital from having day surgery, that same ex-husband called me to get sympathy because he didn't feel very well. Which is why he doesn't work full-time, and hasn't for some 9 years now. Because he doesn't feel up to it. We will not be subsidizing his trip from Chicago to NY.  If he really wants to make the trip he can work extra hours, or get a part time job, or do odd jobs or any of the number of things I was considering in how to pay for his trip. The children will see, sooner than I had hoped, their father's sense of entitlement, love of immediate gratification, and lack of sacrifice for his children.  I'm sure none of it is his fault.

I'm off to the local Game Stop franchise to purchase a refurbished Nintendo DS, and an additional game, with the money I might have spent on a railroad ticket for a man who opts to work as little as possible. Our son will play his DS, share with his siblings again, and be rewarded for his hard work and diligence in his labors and responsibilities of this past year.  And who knows, maybe son's good example will someday influence his father to complete his personal growth.

I'm so blessed to have Martin as a husband. He is a good, hard working, fine example of service and diligence to all of our children. He's kind and considerate and praiseworthy. It was his idea to invite my first husband to come and stay with us the summer we married so Reed would  have an opportunity to see his children. Small wonder that Martin retains custody of his children from his first marriage. I'm still amazed by Martin's kindness.

 I feel richly rewarded by having a sweetheart who loves me and tenderly cares for me. I feel richly blessed by having a warm and wonderful son, Andy, who makes us so very proud of him because of his strength of character and his personal choices each day.  Happy 12th Birthday Andrew Reed. I promise not to come to Boy Scout Camp on your birthday and deliver your birthday kiss in front of your troop. Really. Nor call you my beloved Andybear in front of anyone wearing khaki. Pinkie promise.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

No Matter how Dark the Friday, Sunday will Come

It was a Friday, that dark day when we learned of the loss of our unborn child. Fittingly, today I re-read this message and was reminded, no matter how dark the Friday, Sunday will come. Please join me in this loving reminder, posted to Youtube, here.

Joseph B. Wirthlin, a widower in his 90s when he gave this talk, knew of what he spoke.  Please enjoy his words: " I think of how dark that Friday was when Christ was lifted up on the cross.
On that terrible Friday the earth shook and grew dark. Frightful storms lashed at the earth.

Those evil men who sought His life rejoiced. Now that Jesus was no more, surely those who followed Him would disperse. On that day they stood triumphant. On that day the veil of the temple was rent in twain.

Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were both overcome with grief and despair. The superb man they had loved and honored hung lifeless upon the cross. On that Friday the Apostles were devastated. Jesus, their Savior—the man who had walked on water and raised the dead—was Himself at the mercy of wicked men. They watched helplessly as He was overcome by His enemies.

On that Friday the Savior of mankind was humiliated and bruised, abused and reviled. It was a Friday filled with devastating, consuming sorrow that gnawed at the souls of those who loved and honored the Son of God. I think that of all the days since the beginning of this world’s history, that Friday was the darkest.
But the doom of that day did not endure.

The despair did not linger because on Sunday, the resurrected Lord burst the bonds of death. He ascended from the grave and appeared gloriously triumphant as the Savior of all mankind. And in an instant the eyes that had been filled with ever-flowing tears dried. The lips that had whispered prayers of distress and grief now filled the air with wondrous praise, for Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God, stood before them as the firstfruits of the Resurrection, the proof that death is merely the beginning of a new and wondrous existence.

Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.

But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.

No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come.
I felt Sunday dawn today.. misplaced as it may be in the middle of the week. I just want to share some of that with you, for when you find a Friday just smack you upside the head in the middle of another week. XoXo Kel.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Miscarriage - the word seems so neutral

The Kolz family mourns the loss of our baby due this winter. Today's routine ultrasound showed the fetus passed away last week. Please pray for us as we wait for a miscarriage to begin and mourn the baby we expected with such joy.

I have never felt such abject shock.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

1000 pounds of Beef or 100 pounds of Goat

The day after our fateful evening before the goat court proved fraught with a little tension. I was greeted by 9:30 a.m. by two neighbors who had been to the village offices to procure further information after the village meeting last night. They offered their support, and reported their morning experience in the office.

Two requested copies of the 1965 village rules that duly permit necessary farm animals. An additional two neighbors requested permits for their "livestock" which primarily are ... wait for it... small rabbits. Those cute fluffy bunnies in their small rabbit hutch are hardly in the same category as a manure accumulating 2000 lbs. horse. Imagine the impact of a couple of rabbits in a coop in a lot as big as football field. Or.. where do you keep the rabbits? I can't see them. Oh - are those the rabbits in that hutch out back by the willow tree?

I put into writing a request for either a permit for my barn to be occupied by two dairy goats, or for two goat permits, whichever they prefer. I offered to pay $5 for an annual permit. Of course, I asked for copies or to view the permit of the sheep farm that contains eleven sheep within the village limits. I just want one like they have.

I believe our town trustees need input that aids in drafting a more reasonable, modern approach to animal zoning. To that end I'm putting together some zoning ordinances that work in other areas, including New York City, Seattle, and Denver, Colorado. My proposed ordinance for the village will include reclassifying female sheep, goats, and neutered goats and sheep, miniature horses, miniature cattle of specified sizes, as small animals (under 150 lbs) rather than livestock on the order of a 800 lbs. or larger cow.

A village neighbor has a Harlequin Great Dane, a magnificent, beautiful dog who is great with children. He's also over 120 lbs. His bark, while seldom heard, is quite loud and intimidating, and he has been known to be the killer of another neighbor's pet ferret. He was not turned in to animal control, out of compassion for the children who own him. Yet, we have laws more restrictive of two sweet faced dairy goats who would rather munch on rose bushes than bite anyone, even provoked. Countless larger dogs, usually the popular labrador mixes, are seen escaped from their village yards, and send the neighbor's outdoor cats up trees for safety.

I'm disbelieving that dairy goats need more restriction than labradors, especially since my alpine goats have never retrieved the neighbor's pet rabbit and dropped it at my feet. Don't misunderstand, I grew up with labradors, and I own two dogs myself.

This is why we have the underground fencing system, because left to his own devices Speed Racer would suffer the fate of Wiley Coyote, without the magical ressurrection effects of animation.

Speed Racer is a pretty good traveler, and a sweet ambassador of canine friendliness, so he attended the children's soccer game last night. Other dogs are usually in attendance. Biscuits, a miniature dachshund was present on Monday night which prompted my children to bring Speedy last night. He lapped up the affection along with bowls of water in the sunshine.

Coincidentally our 7 year old kids' soccer team played the team our village mayor's daughter is on. I saw him and his family on the far end of the soccer field, and thought I should go over and shake his hand after we sparred across the village trustee table the day before. But frankly, I'm pregnant, it was over 80* and I was coaching, which involves much trotting up and down the soccer field, and I just didn't get over there.

The yellow shirted team we played averaged 6 inches taller than my team, which caught the eyes of my team parents. I explained that just by luck of the distribution of children, that team contained more second graders than first graders, and even a few early birthdayed third graders. And then if you add in our two developmentally disabled boys on our team of 9, we end up with slower, shorter, less coordinated children on our team. And I don't mind it one bit! We have great fun at our practices and all of the children who have tried soccer this year for the very first time are having positive experiences and indicate a wish to play again next year.

My husband, a typical protective husband, both carries the heavy net bag of a dozen soccer balls, and made a humorous but snarky comment about the opposing team as we saw their towering stature compared to our wee little team. "Seems the mayor's team is stacked against us here too".

We don't keep score, I reminded him. Not in soccer, not in the barn. Well, maybe just a chalk mark on the barn wall where the goats can read it: Goats 1 - Mayor of Rushville o.
Just a tiny little victory dance on behalf of my children who avoid the painful consequences of cow's milk for their digestion. For one more month, or one more year.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Save the goats! Save my Children!

A concerned neighbor approached my husband tonight. He brought with him a law numbered 5-2009. Our village, upon discovering we have no livestock laws, has issued a moratorium on permits for livestock. I wondered why. The neighbor wants to help. He gave me all the paperwork from the last, closed door, village trustee meeting.

I have a herd of 2 dairy goats, which provide milk for my family, my parents, and an additional 5 gallons of milk that is distributed to needy families by the food pantry that operates around the corner from us. This is a small village - 600.

I called my favorite village board trustee who informed me that a complaint has been lodged by a 'neighbor' about my goats. I'm quite surprised. I have really great neighbors, and the goats stay in the barn. They're quite happy with their feed of goat chow and hay and all the snacks (weeds and produce) the neighbors pick out of their garden for them. It's the neighbors I have to keep out of the goats, ha ha, not the goats out of the neighbors space. The barn is a magnet- but that's okay.

Goats aren't particularly smelly. We only have females, so there's no stinky rut cycle from a buck. They're not particularly noisy - they will call to the people who are out in their gardens and beg through the window of the barn for treats. And they do have their favorite people - like the adult neighbor ladies who live next door. These are my neighbors who put in a row of burdock because the goats really like it. Burdock is a weed, by the way. So clearly, it is not them.
I called several village trustees I'm acquainted with and urged them to consider compassion and wisdom as they discussed and voted. These economic times are challenging in the Northeast, and more gardens than ever are being dug and planted. More people are relying on their own industry and thrift, than ever.

Now is not the time in a small NY farm village, to limit the contents of one's barn and one's ability to feed their own family. Not to mention.. who is going to buy the large amount of specialty milk my family would require with our caseine and lactose intolerance problem? Should the village be able to limit, for no good reason, my children's access to safe food and drink?

They may be messing with the wrong mama. I will go door to door and campaign for my goats, the people's right to raise food for their own family without interference, and maybe it may help that my own mother is on the village planning board.  I doubt it, frankly, because she hadn't heard of the law when I approached Mom. I'm not sure who has juridstiction here.

It's not like the neighbor two doors down and their friendly labrador/poodle mix who they cannot keep on a leash. It's not like my goats go in their barn and bother them. And yet I have sweetly returned their pooprador home from my barn at least a dozen times without complaint, instead of calling the dog catcher (if we have one). Because Curly is a nice dog, and it's not his fault his parents just open the door and let him out to turn over people's trash cans and poke his head in my barn.

The next village board meeting is July 18. I'll have to skip soccer practice to rally the board in support of my goats. In the meantime, I am mentioning this to every family who drinks my goats milk, and to every friend of my goats, and every parent who loves their children and would do anything to help them grow up safely without diarrheal disease and other misery from drinking something harmful for them. Please consider calling my village hall in support of our goats.

As I asked the village board member tonight. What would you have me give my children for breakfast tomorrow if the village votes my goats out of the barn? Do you know of any place in the three county area which sells goat milk by the gallon? I cannot buy 1/2 pint cans of goats milk for $2.99. I urged the board members to act with compassion and wisdom, because my goats are no threat to the natural resources or happiness of my neighbors. But they are necessary for the welfare of my children.

If you read this, I encourage you to call, between the hours of 9a.m to 4p.m. Monday through Friday, and leave a message with the village clerk or leave a note for the village mayor of Rushville. The phone number is (585) 554-3415. Please call in support of Mrs. Kolz' dairy goats for her children. The goats live in a barn, and provide milk for the children, manure for the neighborhood gardens which supply families and the food pantry, and also provide free milk for needy families. And please be polite, this is a small, country village and we're polite. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tangy Key Lime Bars on a Sweet Butter Cookie Crust

My friend Lisa had to go and talk about her home away from home in Florida. Oh yea, that's all it took for me to start thinking of Key Lime Pie, but I just couldn't work myself up to making pastry crust, and well that's how new recipes are built. I didn't want a typical graham cracker crust - so try the butter cookie crust that I adapted from the Neely's. My filling is better!

Tangy Key Lime Bars on a sweet butter cookie crust

Sweet butter cookie crust
1 cup unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch kosher salt

Tangy Key Lime Filling
• 3 large egg yolks
• 1 1/2 tablespoons grated lime zest
• 2/3 of a cup of fresh squeezed lime juice (about 23 tiny key limes or 2/3 cup of regular Persian lime juice from the larger Persian limes
• 1 cup sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch cake pan with nonstick spray.
To make the crust, combine the butter and confectioner sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt, and mix another minute, until well combined.

Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and pat out to an even thickness over the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust for 20 minutes until it is just barely taking on color. It will be baked more later. Remove from the oven, and cool on a baking rack.

To make the Tangy Key Lime filling, whisk the egg yolks and lime zest together until the yolks have increased in volume and become thick and creamy looking, then add condensed milk and stir together until fully incorporated. Add key lime juice and mix well. Ok, you can do this with an electric mixer if you insist. But better biceps aren't just born ya know.

Carefully pour mixture onto cooled crust, smooth surface and bake for 20-25 minutes until the filling is set. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. When completely cool, refrigerate until ready to serve. We're talking four hours, for complete cooling and the filling setting up firmly.

You can serve each bar with a thin slice of lime if you'd like. Or a dollop of sweet whipped cream.

Pardon me while I go walk off my key lime bars.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Grey Duct Tape with Turquoise Uniforms

As the mother of a future six children, with Speck due in January, I feel such pangs of responsibility when soccer signups are passed around. I manage to stifle them most of the time. I almost always do.

I dutifully fill out four forms in 3 age groups and with a small inaudible whimper write out a check for soccer fees.  Then I ponder who has outgrown their cleats, shin guards, and soccer socks from last year. After that little task is sorted out, I begin praying that the teams will not have soccer practice all on the same night, on different fields.

Last year we were at the soccer fields Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings.  On the 100* days, I felt trapped in a humid purgatory, but on days with lovely weather, it was enjoyable to have an hour or two to sit outside and enjoy a little down time. Half- frozen Crystal Light, melting in my bottle, always supplying me with a fresh blast of chill... a Reader's Digest Condensed Books volume of 5 novels in my hand, a comfortable chair.  And lots of children to play with my irresistible toddler who wanted entertaining.  Who could ask for more on a sunny summer day?

Despite my strong powers of resistance to the requests for parents to sign up for coaching soccer, I powered through those application forms for all the children. But they got me, got me I tell you, when they sent email pleas for coaches for both my 7 and 9 year old daughter's teams.

I might have volunteered my husband, were I quicker on my feet. But that would end any chances of having ice cold Crystal Light brought to me.  And I'm pregnant.  In the summer.

So I took the only avenue available to me.  I volunteered myself as coach, as long as it was the youngest group available (they're less critical), and that it was my daughter's team.  Imagine, I might have accidentally signed myself up for the one night my children had off of soccer. That wouldn't do.

As a postscript, I told the soccer director that my husband would assist me.  When your husband jumps to the erroneous conclusion that he's coaching, alone, the older children's soccer team, he quickly is relieved to find out he's assisting for the 7 year old's team. Whew. He took that well.  He usually does.  And he did volunteer to coach 3rd and 4th grade basketball a few years ago, when in fact they called me on the telephone to discuss my team with me. He assumed they were calling for him and that I volunteered him.

We received the team uniforms recently. They should be a turquoise blue hit with the kids tonight.  They have white shoulders with black designs on them. Very cool looking for 7 year olds. Black drawstring soccer shorts and matching turquoise soccer socks rounds out the uniforms.  Nice. The kids will like them.

Somehow we ended up with 9 boys and 2 girls on our team. It's a nice mix, although a little light on estrogen.  But I really like playing soccer with a bunch of little kids, so this is going to be fun! We have such a variety of players on our team which warmed my heart.  We have a chubby boy with developmental disabilities who has such tremendous enthusiasm and just loves that he gets to play soccer for the first time this year.  We have a sweet, shy, blonde haired boy who has never played soccer before and is the first I've seen to fall all over himself, but I think he's coming back for more. We have several little David Beckham wannabees who keep telling me that they've been playing since they were 5, and now they're almost 9. But they still laugh and squeal as we play my version of Soccer monster with one of my 11 year old sons playing the attack monster, trying to steal their soccer ball. We have one tall soccer loving girl, and one tiny little pixie of a soccer playing girl (mine), and it's a good mix.  I just need to work on my crowd control techniques a little better. My husband, I may have mentioned, is hearing impaired and wears at least one hearing aid daily. So convenient to turn those puppies off!

There is one boy with a hyphenated first name (a testimony that his mother is indecisive?) who will not be quiet. Ever. Jonathan-Michael might entice me to bring duct tape so we can get through the game without me pointing to the time out bench. Just kidding.  But really, he talks as much as all six of my children. I know the one in the womb has things to say, I can just tell he has opinions on the Thai sweet chile garlic sauce I've been dowsing my food with. More. That must be it. But truly, I have to get Jonathan-Michael to be quiet so we can give directions to the team. Repeatedly.  I didn't find my whistle until after Tuesday's practice.

Besides having a great time playing soccer at my appropriate skill level, 2nd grade, I'm getting good exercise running up and down the field, and appreciating my own children a wee bit more. I mean, I knew they were usually good children, but the peace and quiet of only 5 children in the car on the way home makes me realize I don't have a child named Jonathan-Michael in my family.

Bring on the bruises! Bring on the gatorade.  Bring on the popsicles of defeat and the popsicles of victory. It's soccer season!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bulls Eye

Some days I think cats were put here, on the earth, to amuse me. The neighbor's cat, Kitty Boy, is a strikingly handsome black and white tuxedo cat. He's neutered, but because of his propensity to spraying indoors, has been somewhat banished to the out of doors.

He's a sweet natured cat, often seen being petted by the neighbor children from either side of his home. That's five at my house, alone. It's quite a life for him.

You may recall he loves to luxuriously stroll up and down the underground wire that will trigger a static bzzt in my two little dogs wearing their receiver collars if they fall for his lure. Kitty Boy often provokes barking from the little guys as he wanders over to our yard and waggles his lush tail at the dogs. Then retreats an inch, and lays rolling in the grass, taunting them. The dogs did once get a second of revenge, as documented in my blog here but it was shortlived.

Recently I saw Kitty Boy get a little justice, animal style.

It caught my eye out the window.  Kitty Boy was stalking a squirrel with a fat fluffy grey tail. Imagine how alluring that was to a cat. The squirrel was determined to get his big walnut up to a nest in the tale maple tree, soshe  ignored him and quickly scurried.  Kitty Boy took this as a sign of weekness, and began climbing the tree after the squirrel.  Apparently Mama Squirrel tossed that walnut in her nest, I imagine, right into Papa Squirrel's paws, and ran down the tree to slap Kitty Boy silly.

Kitty Boy was stretched up as high as his rear legs would reach him and was suddenly greeted with a face down, hissing snarling version of a squirrel. Mama Squirrel shook her tail in a fury and thumped her feet in a rage scaring Kitty Boy off the tree.

Higher up the grand old maple tree a bold blue jay had just about had enough.

As Kitty Boy retreated, he was goosed in the rear by a dive bombing blue jay who flew off with a bit of fur in his beak.

Poor Kitty Boy, he just can't catch a break. I think I heard the dogs laughing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


We planted new potatoes, baby peas and the sweetest of tiny little cherry tomatoes to herald the gestation of.. Baby Kolz #6. Baby Kolz is due towards the end of January, right about the time of the late Grandpa Kolz birthday - January 23. We're so excited to have a sweet new baby to join our family. I feel great, energetic and healthy. On occasion I've barfed after a delay in eating, or right after beginning to eat a meal that wasn't quick enough. I recover quickly and finish my meal. But other than that, I'm hale and hearty, and thinking maybe #7 is doable too. Just not at the same time. I may be singing a different tune after the delivery, but for today, 7 children doesn't seem so very impossible.

With our current sibling tally of 3 girls and 2 boys, the children have officially voted that this one should be a boy to even teams, of course. Our current ages are Mom & Dad (abstained) , two 11 year old boys, nine year old girl, seven year old girl, and a three year old girl.

On the way to church yesterday the children were discussing what we should name a girl. Danielle was toyed with, but I reminded them that we have a pattern going for girls names, so it should end with an a sound, like Sarah, Merina, and Emma. They each have Elizabeth as their middle names. Sarah and Merina were discovered to share that middle name when FarmBoy and I married. When Emma came along a year later we decided to continue the pretty trend.

Gerard, from the backseat, pipes up with, I know what goes with Sarah, Merina and Emma. Tortilla. Tortilla?!?

I've heard it all now. Tortilla Elizabeth. Does that come with guacamole on the side?

Speaking of food. Pregnancy has had a funny effect on me. I'm fascinated by food and recipes, even more than usual. I'm looking forward to trying several new recipes this week, including Brown Trout Au Gratin, Green beans in green coconut curry, and Maui Turkey Burgers with grilled pineapple.  We will also be eating Upstate NY BBQ chicken, and salt potatoes, recipes posted last week. Clearly I don't suffer from heartburn induced by food, nor hypertension issues.

I think my varied menus while pregnant debunk any connections between what you eat and appearance of the baby. My former mother in law reported that her son had dark brown eyes from her habit of eating a can of olives regularly through her pregnancy. I was quite relieved to see that none of my children resembled pickled vegetables with lean turkey sandwiches on whole wheat bread. Nor tortilla chips and fresh chopped pico de gallo salsa.

If you've been pregnant, what kinds of food did you find yourself gravitating toward?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Salt Rocks!

One of the best things about Upstate New York is my husband. He loves Chicken BBQ by the way. The ubiquitous accompaniement to the popular Upstate New York BBQ is the salt potato. They're non-descript in appearance, but don't let that fool you. Here in the Finger Lakes Region we can find cleverly pre-packaged 'salt potato' bags in the produce section next to the baking potatoes, but you can reproduce this at your home, regardless of where you live. Salt potatoes, it turns out, are a regional specialty in the Central New York area, specifically Syracuse - about an hour from here.

Syracuse is famous for its salt mines and is today home to the Salt Museum, which tells the story of the salt potato:

"In the 1700s & 1800s, perhaps even earlier, this Salt plant produced almost all of the nations salt. Add the salt production to the Erie Canal and you can see what a prosperous location Syracuse was during that time. Water taken from the Onondaga Lake was boiled down, or set out in the sun for evaporation in huge bowls. As most of the workers were Irish they brought along their potatoes for their meals and would place the potatoes in the boiling vats to cook giving you the famous salt potatoes. Syracuse is well known for its salt potatoes to this day! (Nowadays all they are, are very small potatoes boiled whole with the skins on in very salty water. 4 lbs potatoes to 1 lb of salt). Eat these dipped in melted butter and you have a great treat. By the 1870s this way of making salt was obsolete and the factory folded. "

Reportedly Hinderwadel's, a local company, began hosting big company clambakes, and helped salt potatoes catch on in the 1930s, long after the original Irish workers had long been out of work. Nowadays, you can boil 4 lbs. of new potatoes in a big pot of water with 1 cup of salt, and not have to haul Onondaga lake water. You can substitute little red potatoes, the taste is a little creamier, and you'll be delighted.

Salt potatoes are really great just drizzled with butter, in a bowl, eaten with your fingers. Ask my children, after I pass them a napkin. And while it is a large quantity of salt, the potatoes taste merely well seasoned, and not overly salty. Try them. They're really good alongside a clambake, bbq chicken, or anything you grill.

So let's go put on a big pot of water, sort through the new potatoes, and put on an Upstate New York treat for dinner.

Upstate New York Salt Potatoes

4 lbs. new potatoes (larger than fingerlings, smaller than a fist, sometimes called creamers)
About 5 quarts of water
1 cup of salt, iodized or not, kosher, whatever you have
A big stockpot.

Wash your potatoes, picking out any with bad spots. Put your potatoes in the pot, and cover with water, plus an inch. Pour 1 cup of salt over the top, and put the lid on the pot. Set on high heat. When it comes to a boil, turn to med. high and cook for approximately 25 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender, but not split.

Drain the potatoes, and add 1/2 cup of butter or margarine. These are typically dished up into a bowl, and the eaters spear them with a fork or eat them with their fingers at a bbq. Serves 8 adults and a couple of children.

I'm getting hungry just thinking about them. You have to try small potatoes this way. Leftovers make good fried potatoes at breakfast the next morning. Just don't add extra salt when you fry them.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chicken BBQ - No Hickory, No Tomato Sauce, All Yum!

Upstate New York has a phenomenal barbecue tradition that is both delightful and mysterious and fascinating to me.  It's as if the dawn of spring brings out Chicken BBQ signs, like little dandelions, popping up in the most unexpected places.

Church parking lots, high school fundraisers, fire stations, corner lots, even well-established restaurants put up signs touting Chicken BBQ Saturday 10 a.m. until sold out.

If all those signs advertising chicken bbq don't get your mouth drooling, you might not have the same BBQ gene I have.
Cornell University's Professor Baker invented this Cornell BBQ Sauce to help chicken farmers. The chicken with a college background! As a home and public schooling mom, I'm on the side of education.

This account is based on information posted by Wally Day in
"Cornell-style barbecue chicken, sometimes referred to as "State Fair chicken," traces its origins to a Cornell University professor of animal science, Dr. Robert C. Baker. Baker's original purpose was not necessarily to create a culinary delight, but to simply help New York poultry farmers sell more birds.

In the first half of the 20th Century, chickens were raised primarily as a source of eggs, and often they were not slaugthered until they reach a dressed weight of 4 or 5 pounds. Birds of this size were considered "fryers," any bird larger than this was a "roaster." Dr. Baker reasoned that if a market could be developed for a bird with a dressed weight of 2 3/4 to 3 pounds, poultry farmers could send their birds to market sooner, increasing their turnover. Thus the "broiler" with an optimum weight of 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds per half.

For Dr. Baker's scheme of sending chickens to slaughter sooner to work, he needed to come up with a use for the smaller birds. The chicken barbecue filled the bill nicely. All that was needed was a tasty barbecue sauce recipe"

Without further delay, try this!

Cornell University Chicken Barbecue aka
New York State Fair Chicken

In a bowl or blender container, mix

2 cups of vinegar, cider or white vinegar or other (not sweet balsamic)
1 cup of a neutral flavored vegetable oil (not extra virgin olive please)
1 egg
1-3 Tablespoons salt (We always use the 3 T, but for salt sensitive, you may use less) Try it first with 3.
1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Saving one cup in a 1/2 pint jar with a lid, I pour the rest of the marinade over split chicken quarters.  For the unfamiliar, these are the thigh/leg combo, or the split breast/wing combo.  It's frugal, because chicken hind quarters, the leg/thigh combo, are currently selling for about .89/lbs or less at Walmart Supercenters.   For best results, let the chicken soak for 24 hours to get that deep to the bone marinated taste. The salt and the vinegar combine to make for one seriously moist chicken piece.  It's finger linking for sure!

BBQ, grill, or bake this chicken slowly, over indirect heat, to avoid flare-ups.  In other words, keep the coals low, and the temperature med. low, or the grill rack raised higher, to avoid the chicken burning before it is cooked through.  It takes me about 35 minutes on my gas grill, turning the chicken every 8 minutes.  You can use large boneless, skinless chicken breasts in this recipe, but be sure to only marinate it for 12 hours.  The marinade will otherwise chemically cook the chicken breast, turning them white, from the enzymes in the vinegar interacting with the protein in the chicken.

Upstate New York Chicken BBQ's are usually accompanied by boiled salt potatoes with melted butter, coleslaw with mayonnaise dressing, and a roll. If you're really lucky, there's fresh corn on the cob too! 

Later - we'll talk Salt Potatoes.  I'm just saying... this may be the way to get your children to eat a vegetable, straight out of the pot, with their fingers, as fast as they can. Even before you add the butter.