Author: platefodder

DIY ~ Painting Plastic Wicker

The Backstory Some years ago we purchased a set of “natural” colored plastic wicker furniture for the back deck. It was fine for the purposes we intended. They all lived happily under a gazebo tent-like thing and rarely saw direct sunlight. Unfortunately, over the past several years, snowfall has been tremendous and the gazebo – tent~like thing gave up the ghost under the weight of all that snow. We replaced the tent-like thing twice. After the second full collapse we resigned ourselves to the fact that it was never going to be a permanent kind of structure, and left the plastic wicker stuff to fade and look unsightly under the oppressive summer sun. I considered replacing it. But, the thought of spending upwards of $700.00 for something no one was ever going to spend much time on was inconceivable. (Did tell you I was cheap? I believe I did… numerous times.) So… repainting it seemed like a good option. The Research There are a couple of options for painting plastic-like things. Krylon Maxx (around $4.00 per can) …

The Mayo Burger ~ with lettuce slaw

Travelling around in South Brazil I learned a very important thing – “Burger with Salad” on a menu description doesn’t mean lettuce, tomatoes and onion. …it means “Big ass burger patty topped with green peas, cooked carrots and corn“… yes, exactly like a can of Veg-All.  And, it didn’t matter where we traveled in the Southern part of the country, it was always the same. I really shouldn’t be surprised. Half of the hot dogs I ate there had mashed potatoes, corn and french fries smashed into the top; balancing on top of the wiener and bun like a drunken night at the all-you-can-eat buffet.. It’s like they didn’t grasp the whole idea of American Fast food…. they still wanted their “Meat & 2 Veg.” But if you got to have “Salad” on top of a burger… then make it a good salad. My all-time favorite burger topping is a lettuce slaw. There’s just something about a mound of sweet iceberg lettuce steaming on top of a burger that just makes my toes curl. And, once …

Bread Whore ~ School Rolls

Except for a brief period of time when Jane went to Marietta High (she still attests that the meals cooked in any one of the three – count’em, 3  dining rooms – were stellar food),  school lunches have always been a point of contention. We bitch about the pseudo protein nuggets they currently feed our kids and the layers upon layers of overly sweetened,  deep fried “easy way out” meals that most systems have allowed to overtake the meal program. Years ago, we weren’t any better. Even though we had real, actual, lunch ladies – that cooked real, actual  meals; we still found the fuel and energy to moan about the worm-like spaghetti with the sauce that congealed before you got it back to the table, or the odd, flat meatloaf that more resembled scouring pads than actual meat. Every generation has it’s pressure point. …Except when it came to the bread. Most schools made their own bread; ours was no different. I bet every person that when to school when I did can remember splitting …

English Seed Cake

Looking back, I guess the cake all started as a way to get the four of us to sit still while she read. During the summer break, Jane would spend an hour,  one afternoon a week,  reading to us. In part, to keep the house from being destroyed as we moved play inside to avoid the heat when afternoon summer temps arched to sweltering highs… but, more over to guide our reading interests to more adult literature. That summer in particular, she read The Hobbit.. As you know, the stories are full of multiple meals, Elevensies, teas, cakes and the such. As a way of getting us in the mood she researched a seed cake made with caraway (a typical tea cake). We noshed on it as they left the Shire and headed on their adventure. Truth be told, I never really cared for it. Caraway seeds in cake just never translated to delicious for me. Jane however, loved it and made it long after the story concluded and we moved on to more contemporary adventures. With the success …

All that Lemony Goodness ~ #10

The other day while Jane was doing a bit of research, she came across the little jewel of information that hazelnuts aren’t the same thing as other tree nuts. Meaning – supposedly, she should be able to eat them and not have to hop on the train to Crazytown. I bought a small (1 cup) pack of dry-roasted chopped nuts, gave her a teaspoon to eat… and waited…. Nada.. Encouraged..Elated…Excited… I decided to make her up a batch of Trisha Yearwood’s Pecan Pie Muffins (you know… using hazelnuts). Because you all know that with her particular food triggers, anything I can do to make her life suck a little less – I’m going to do. Well…. we were a bit premature in our assessment. Hazelnuts didn’t effect her cognitive functions, the problem was much further down the pike (if you get what I mean)…. I had to toss them out. So why am I talking nuts when this is about lemony goodness? Because lemon is my go to for her. She loves lemon almost as much as …

Garden Project 2015 – Celer-y… Celer-Ra!

We go through a lot of celery. That’s nearly 2 bunches a week. It goes in salads, soups, stews… the occasional ants on a log…and sometimes, just to munch. I mean, it’s like negative calories. The amount of jaw muscle work and digestive hoo haas going on far over-reach the measly 7 calories per stalk. But that leaves me with a bounty of these little celery stalk butts. Yes, I know it’s still celery… but the color is all wrong and to be completely honest, it doesn’t really taste like much of anything. You remember back in grade school when you stuck toothpicks in potatoes and suspended them over water to watch them grow leggy, useless plants? Or the carrot tops left rotting in jelly jar lids? I found out you can do pretty much the same thing with celery butts…. only instead of a pile of non-producing potato stems – you can get actual – edible – celery! And it only takes about 4 weeks. To do this, you have to understand a couple …

Wine Country Chicken

With Memorial Weekend fully upon us. it’s time to pull off that expensive grill cover, check your fire supplies, and give it a good ol’ cleaning… because you know you’re going to be spending a lot of time out there flipping burgers, rolling dogs, and gettin’ experimental. To be perfectly honest – I’ve never cooked “Beer Can Chicken“. Shoving a shiny can of Pabst up the southern-most end of a bird and grilling the bejeezus out of it, just doesn’t appeal to me. I’m dubious that it adds any real moisture, and even more doubtful that an unadulterated warm beer enema is suitable flavoring for…well, anything.   That being said… I watch a lot of PBS cooking shows. You always learn something new and you don’t have to contend with a lot of flappy patter from personalities trying to be …well, charming…. they just cook. I catch episodes of Steven Raichlen’s Primal Grill periodically. I find it to be one of the best grill-specific instructionals out there. I say instructional, because he is kinda hard to listen to. Stilted, monotone …

Wildflower Walkabout ~ Venus’ Looking Glass

Say hello to Triodanis perfoliata, Clasping Bellwort, or Venus’ Looking Glass. A wild member of the Campanula family which contains the more cultivated Bellflower. A mere 18″ tall, the Looking Glass is an extremely showy native with single stems tilting in the breeze adorned with clasping, shell-shaped leaves and a violet 5-petaled flower emerging from the center of the leaf. Looking Glasses bloom May through August and are found in more open and sunny locations. Our are growing among the gravel and rocks in the front walkways. Considered invasive in some parts of the country, the Triodanis perfoliata are self fertilizing (not really needing to be pollinated), but are huge attractants for moths, flying beetles, and other pollinators. Each seed pod produces multitudes of miniscule seeds which germinate in the fall and winter over as small leaf clusters close to the ground. Beginning in early Spring, the single ribbed stem emerges and begins flowering within a few short weeks. Bloom Time: May through August Description: Single ribbed stem with opposing single, rounded leaves clasping the stem at intervals Sun: Full sun …

Garden Project 2015 ~ Ebb & Flow

I’m taking a step back from the fervent gardening of the past. As with most living things, gardens need to grow, change, and evolve.   And while I’ve had immeasurable enjoyment experimenting with the hay bales, the potato cages and hanging beds, and all the different varieties of vegetables here at Turtle Creek,  I’ve decided it’s time for a change. Don’t worry, there will still be some unique vegetables, but I’m allowing the garden to slowly morph into what we intended for the space –  a restful spot and  flower garden for Jane. The wild strawberries I uncovered as part of the front forest clearing will be relocated to a permanent home in the garden, and the asparagus I planted last season are maturing nicely and will remain. However the bulk of the vegetable garden will move over to the Lodge property where there is more even / fully accessible ground for a workable Hay Bale garden. (The ground there is in the same condition as the rest of the property and will need several years of conditioning …

As Thick As Pea Soup

Our 3 year-old back up chest freezer gave up the ghost and died today. It’s an irritation. Not entirely because the thing stopped working… things happen. It is because A.) It wasn’t that old. and, B.) I have to replace it with another like kind of inexpensive machinery. and, C.) I have to go through all the stored bits and bags of veg, meat, stock bones, Parmesan rind, citrus zest, extra egg whites – and the like… and decide what I’m going to keep and what to trash. and then, D.) Do the same thing in the Main Freezer to make room for everything I can’t live without. I had 6 packages of frozen Green Peas in the freezer….. I don’t know why. Since I wasn’t going to throw them away… and I really needed that real estate in the working freezer for a large hen I bought on special (I wasn’t about to trash perfectly good protein, either), I figured it was time for some Spring Pea Soup When I was a kid, The Magic Pan …