Sunday, January 30, 2011

Project 365, Week 5

While most of our friends in the U.S. contend with freezing cold temperatures, we're sweltering in the heat. No kidding, yesterday and today I've kept a bowl of ice water in the fridge, taking it out every 10 minutes or so to re-wet my washcloth which I then ring out and wrap around my neck. Still waiting for the storm that was supposed to hit yesterday. So far the only action we're seeing is a few gray clouds.

But on to the purpose of this post: Project 365.

Monday Ivan picked up a cheap cut of pork and then ground it (twice) for me so I could make some Italian sausage. He uses mom's old hand-cranked food processor that has fittings to grind meat, grate cheese or slice whatever. Ever seen one of these before?

Earlier this week I mentioned that Tuesday Ivan was at the lot when a storm hit. He took this photo of the street:
That wall of water careening down the road is rather scary, isn't it? We'll have to be careful how we grade our site and build so we don't end up with water in the house every time we get a rain storm.

Back at the house the frogs kept us entertained. I counted at least nine hopping around -- our backyard always turns into a swamp whenever it rains really hard and the frogs were just lovin' all that water to play in!
In case you're interested, within a couple hours the yard is usually back to normal.

Whenever we have guests I try to keep treats on hand. I had made brownies and Joe was trying really hard to get one out of the cookie jar -- but his hands are too big :)
He kept saying, "It's not fair!" LOL  After taking a photo, Gail relented and got him one.

Wednesday after merienda we went to visit friends and other friends stopped in too, so we enjoyed the cooler evening temperatures out on their patio and watched the girls play.

I may have mentioned our preoccupation with houses, and that I snap photos of ones I really, really like. Here's one under construction a block over from where my Spanish teacher lives. Love all the angles and windows!

Friday Ivan had to go to Cordoba and that gave me a few hours to sew. I'd had an idea for a book bag using a particular fabric. It took some sketching and measuring and figuring since the piece wasn't very large AND it was oddly shaped due to me cutting bits off for other projects, but I was able to make it with what I had (and there were even a few 1"x4" pieces left when I was done). Woot! 
I did, however, run up against a brick wall with the origami flowers I wanted to make. My book on fabric origami (you can see it tucked under the bag in the photo) doesn't have the greatest instructions so although I have successfully made other flowers from it, for some reason the 12-petal flower "defeated" me. I finally just went with a completely different tutorial I found online that also required some minor sewing and gluing in addition to the folding. Since I want the bag to be washable, these flowers will be pinned on for easy removal. I also had trouble figuring out which colors I preferred. The flowers that "matched" the best sort of faded into the background. I think the bright yellow pops a little better, don't you? I still have to make and insert the lining to finish off the bag. I'll be giving it to a friend whose birthday is just around the corner.

I continued working on the flowers Saturday, between baking projects in the kitchen. Even though I was using the toaster oven (which we have stashed in the garage so it doesn't heat up the kitchen), the kitchen was still HOTTER THAN BLAZES. I was only boiling water and melting butter in there, but the day itself was just flat out hot and humid. I had the ceiling fan going full blast and a floor fan we usually have in the living room turned around so it was facing into the kitchen. And then there was all the dipping-of-the-washcloth-into-the-bowl-of-icy-water-and-wrapping-around-my-neck action. Even though I spent all of Saturday cooking, I ran out of time and had to finish this morning. Here's the result of some of my labors:
The complete list of what I made (and not just what's in the photo) includes:
chocolate scones
no bake cookies
granola bars
Mexican cornbread
3 plain pizza crusts
1 pizza with homemade Italian sausage, mushrooms, roasted red peppers and olives
roasted and de-boned chicken
4 batches yogurt
homemade granola

It took all day yesterday and this morning because I was using the toaster oven and it isn't very big. I can't fit my 9"x13" Pyrex dish or cookie sheets in it, so my recipes for granola, pizza crusts, brownies and granola bars have to be split in two, effectively doubling the baking time for each.

I'm tuckered out from all the cooking. But I needed to get it done because we're heading to Sta. Rosa for a few days and hopefully taking a couple of the kids with us -- and you KNOW how teenage boys can pack it away! Not using the oven (here or there) is one of my summer survival techniques which I refuse to budge on, and it's not real practical to haul the toaster oven back and forth. So the menu will consist of things I either made ahead of time, can serve cold, or cook quickly on the stove top.

The original purpose of the trip was to paint the main living area but Ivan put his back out this morning so not sure we'll be able to accomplish much on that project -- he has to be able to do the ceiling before I can tackle the walls. But, if nothing else, we'll clean out the storeroom so I can paint and put up new shelves and then we can store things in a more accessible manner. Right now I have to dig through piles of boxes and containers stacked on the floor.

And that concludes my week. Nothing extraordinarily exciting; just the every day stuff that goes on.


Nel said...

How interesting! I am so glad I found your blog again. To answer your question about the grinder, yes I have seen those. I actually have 2 that was my mom's, a small one and a large one. They are so handy. Come to think of it I think my son in law has that. Amazing how things don't make it home when kids borrow them. Oh well at least I know where it is. lol Hope you are staying cool, they said Wed night it will be -5 here. That is cold! Have a great week.
until next time... nel

Mari said...

We had the same meat grinder when I was growing up. I saw my Dad using it many times!
What a rain storm - love the frogs though!
The cookies look so good. :)

Lori: Teacher Turned Mommy said...

looks like a good week. that rain picture was crazy. and who doesn't love a day to bake?

SusanD said...

My grinder clamps to the counter. It works fantastic. I've used it to grind my veggies to make zucchini relish. Now I use the attachment to my Kitchen Aid. PTL. Such a time saver.

Love all your baking. That's quite an accomplishment in that heat while only using a toaster oven.

Thanks for sharing. Have a fabulous week.

The Cyber Hermit said...

And yet another really cool art/fabric project! I look forward to your pics of those each week.

And I remember those grinders. My mom had one and I remember clipping it to the pull-out cutting board and using it when we made hash.

Mimi said...

I have a meat grinder like that that belonged to my grandmother. It's cast iron & heavy as all get out. It's buried in my basement somewhere & I had forgotten about it. Now I'm off to find it.

Sending you wintery winds,

sara said...

that was a lot of water!!!

ok, again you have brought me a little perspective and made me realize the little things I take for my oven and my A/C. I can't imagine making all that in a toaster oven!!!


Wow you had a busy week and that rain picture was amazing.

RaD said...

I have seen one of those meat grinders before, but I can't exactly remember where.

Mmmm... no bake cookies...

The little frogs are so cute!

Tiffany said...

Looks like a great week, other than that rain storm. I have, actually, seen one of those meat grinders. My dad has one that he drags out, despite my mother's agitation. He makes such a mess:) And actually, we have been having very pleasant weather, 70 and sunny, here - love it! Hope you have a great week!

He & Me + 3 said...

Omgosh your list of food sounds so good. I had to laugh so hard at the cookie jar. LOL Too funny.

rita said...

I remember the meat grinder very well. We have one that Mike used for processing one of the deer, a lot of work. Since then he found an electric one and bought it.
Cool rain photo and I love the frog one.
The bag is so cute, and all that 'baking'!
You are increible!
It was fun to see Tina's place. So much space a and so organized and tastefully decorated.

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

Wow, rain, frogs, chocolate and a book bag project..I'd call that an interesting week!


Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

oh and home made sausage...I have a meat grinder that attaches to my kitchenaid but I never use it!


Oldfangled said...

We have a meat grinder like that -- tried to process a deer with it one year. It was terrible. Never again. We won't process a deer at home again until we get some proper equipment!

Also, do you use a crock pot when it's so hot down there? There's a great crock pot recipe site: Yummy stuff on there, and maybe that would help you cook without heaing up the kitchen.

The Bug said...

I think my grandmother had a food processor like that, although I don't know why I remember it :)

Those no bake cookies look so yummy! They're one of my favorite kinds of cookie.

LOVE the bag - so bright & cheerful!

Betty said...

You are so efficient! Good for you, for baking all that stuff on Saturday. The cookies and brownies look good!
I still have one of those meat grinders too, but rarely use it anymore. I know people though, that use them as a cookie cutter too. There are extra "add on´s" you can get, that will press out the cookies in different shapes.

Lhoyt said...

I guess Ivan is too young to remember Mom's "old" meat grinder. I have seen them here in the States, and they are still in production, but it was made of cast iron and I believe its trade mark was Universal. I do remember it was a No. 5, and we had used it so much that the thread on the main shaft had finally stripped out, and we had it shimmed so that we could keep it tight. I do remember this one, also, but can't remember exactly when it actually, officially replaced the "old" one.