Monday, October 31, 2011

Only once in a lifetime.....

Former apple tree muncher?

In Idaho you only get a moose tag once.  You are very lucky if they draw your name from the hat!



 








Trav got his moose Sunday afternoon in the Auxor Basin.  Although this is probably not the moose that ate my rhododendrons and crashed through my Christmas lights last winter, he looks like he could easily have done that. 






Travis is going to have some very tasty moose burgers soon.



The photos below courtesy of Neil Wimberley.


The "perfect shot".







Friday, October 28, 2011

Annie's Salsa Review

It's been a couple of weeks since I started making and canning this recipe.  I have been making various salsa recipes for at least ten years and this recipe is the best one I have ever made.  It is so good that I want to have quesadillas for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  If you happen to have some ripe tomatoes, this is the recipe to make!


 I have made 3 batches of this salsa.  I pressure can mine for 40 min. at 11 pounds of pressure.  I found that even though I am pressure canning it, I think it tastes better with the full cup of white vinegar.  I also add 1/3 c. of lime juice because I just like the taste.  I do not add cilantro. 

Annie's Salsa
(Source: GardenWeb's Harvest Forum)

8 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained
2 1/2 cups onion, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped green peppers or ancho peppers
3 – 5 chopped jalapeƱos   or you can you a mixture of serrano's, chilies, etc. to make it hotter
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons black pepper
1/8 cup canning salt (kosher will work, too, but you might need a little more of it--taste to be sure)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (this is optional if you don't like cilantro)
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar for water bath canning or 1/3 cup vinegar for a pressure canner, but you could use cider or red wine vinegar for extra sweetness
16 ounces tomato sauce
16 ounces tomato paste

Mix all ingredients, bring to a boil, and boil for 10 minutes. Pour into hot jars, process at 10 lbs of pressure for 30 minutes for pints. Or in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

My alterations:
Since cans of tomato sauce are no longer 16 oz.  I added a 15 oz. of tomato sauce and cans of tomato paste are now 12oz., that is what I added.  I also added 1/3 c. of lime juice and even though I process mine with a pressure canner, I added another 1/3 c. of vinegar for taste.  I used cider vinegar, but next time I may use the white vinegar as it seems a touch too sweet.
I also added 1 more t. cumin, 1/2 t. oregano and 1/2 t. thyme. I processed my salsa for 35 min. at 11 pounds of pressure for my altitude.  I always process my salsa for this amount of time as that's the required amount for peppers.  Yes, there's a lot of vinegar (acid) added to the recipe, but I always like to be on the safe side when I am canning. 

Grandkid Visit This Weekend

Our grandkids are coming to visit this weekend so it's time for something fun.  The last time they were here I taught them how to play Mexican Train Dominoes.  We are going to make a yummy Halloween snack to eat while we play the game.

My friend, Gail, gave me this recipe.  It is so easy.  If you get really impatient, you can take it out before baking for the full hour, but it's really better if you bake it for the full amount of time.



Oven Caramel Corn

I pop the corn first in my air popper.  You need 6-10 quarts of popped popcorn, kernels removed. I put my popped corn in a large enamel roaster and I grease it with a little butter or margarine.

1 cup margarine or butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup Karo syrup
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 T. vanilla
1/2 t. soda
1- 2 cups nuts (optional)

Melt butter, stir in syrup, sugar and salt.  Boil 5 minutes on lowest heat possible.  Remove from heat, sitr in soda and vanilla, stirring quickly.  Pour over popcorn and nuts.  Put in 250 degree oven for 1 hour.  Stir every 15 minutes.  As it cools the corn will crisp.


This is so good that I usually make two batches and use two enamel roasting pans to bake.  One batch does not last very long!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ruby Red and Classic Concord Blend

The wine labels are on the bottles and we are moving them to our wine cellar.


Comfort Food for the entire family!

Mollie and Maggie both went to the vet today.  Maggie got her stitches out and Mollie got her check-up.  Mollie weighs a whopping 61 pounds.  I think 10 pounds of it must be her coat!  The vet says she is doing ok for her age, but gave us a prescription for her arthritis in her knees.  (The prescription cost more than anything else today.  We are wondering if we could get the dogs on our prescription drug coverage).  Mollie is 13 years old which I think is about 74 in people years.  Maggie is holding her own at 41.3 pounds and has not gained any weight in two weeks.  






It was a very stressful trip to town for both dogs.  They were both very good dogs, but did not care for all the strange sounds and sights.  The only thing to do after all that stress is a comfort food reward.  What else could fill the bill?


Two large orders.  One for Mollie and Maggie and one for Retired Mountain Man and Lady.  Oh come on, we had some stress too! (Our vet doesn't read my blog)





 And just to spoil them a little more, a beef rib bone to chew on.  Maggie has to have all the meat and fat cut off the bone but she loves it anyway.  Molllie gets the whole thing. 




Manfred Mann - Fox On The Run

Manfred Mann-Fox On The Run

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zqFDRA1HY8
I don't know if this youtube thing will work so I am including a link. I like technology, I just never really can trust it to work.  You know, when you really need something to work, it doesn't. Hmm.  It looks like it did.  The Youtube is posted above, but not where I wanted it to be. 

Yesterday at our mandolin/guitar lesson, our instructor suggested that we give this song a try.  It sounded familiar and as it turns out it was a Manfed Mann hit in 1968.  Do you remember Manfred Mann?  Do Wah Diddy?  The Mighty Quinn?  It does have some nice harmonies so it is a possible song for the band chicks.


We have another beautiful fall day.  Sunshine and only a little frost this morning.    The leaf colors are gorgeous. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Dry, Medium Ruby Red Wine

Yesterday, Retired Mountain Man and I bottled the last two carboys of wine from last year's crop.  One carboy was the Burkhart Concord Grape and the other is Elderberry, Dark Cherry and Concord Grape.
 Both wines are dry, medium reds. 






Today I added the shrink-wrap and tomorrow I will create the labels and print them.





I spent the rest of the day giving the two dogs a bath.  Tomorrow is grooming day and a trip to the vet.
Here we have two wet dogs drying out and taking a nap.  Life is good but it smells like wet dogs.




Walmart Wood Furnace



 Another cold, frosty morning.  The wood furnace is going all the time now.  There's no warm like the heat from a wood stove.  Very nice.  Retired Mountain Man is finally done making firewood for the winter.  His last item on his "to do" list is to split some kindling to start the fires.



According to Retired Mountain Man, this is the "wood stove that would heat Walmart".  During the winter months he and I have many issues with temperature control.  He is always cold due to the fact that he doesn't have an ounce of extra fat on his body.  I am always too warm.  As you may know, menopausal women are usually very hot and at times somewhat crazed. During the winter months we spend many evenings with the Walmart furnace going full blast and all the windows in the livingroom wide open.  This is preventing a divorce. 




Retired Mountain Man has worked all summer on the firewood to keep us warm this winter and yes, in spite of our differences over the indoor temperature, I do appreciate it!  It is all stacked, covered with plastic to keep it dry and it looks beautiful.









 This is pine and not considered "good firewood", but we are burning it anyway - early in the season.



 This is another stack of  "not good wood" and the coolest firewood pickup in Hope.



 This is more of the good stuff.


As I am writing this the Walmart furnace is blasting away.  It is getting hot in here!  Time to open some windows.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Frost on the Pumpkin Today

28.2 degrees this morning.





Retired Mountain Man is working on drying out all of his Elk Camp gear and storing it away for next July.






Monday, October 24, 2011

Montana Elk Camp

Retired Mtn. Man drove to Montana on Friday to go to Elk Camp.  Elk Camp was approximately five miles from the east side of Skalkaho Pass in the Sand Basin.  The elevation was 6600'.  I am not sure why Retired Mountain Man wanted to go to Elk Camp, but he thought he did. 

The planning required several emails and phone calls to make sure that there was enough survival gear for four hunters.  (Three hunters and one camp supervisor)  Retired Mtn. Man took a zero degree sleeping bag plus another sleeping bag and blanket.  Air mattress and pump, several pairs of wool socks, wool pants, and enough food to survive for several weeks on the mountain. 

 The weather took a turn for the worse on Friday evening.  Rain and wind gusts to 23 mph.  It was not cold enough to snow but it was wet!  And cold.


Retired Mountain Man and Montana Mountain Man leaving to hunt last Thanksgiving.  Definitely dressed for the weather here.



A photo from last year's successful hunt.  They each got an elk and this photo is of Derek's elk.




It turns out that two wet, cold, rainy, windy, nights in the Sand Basin was enough for Retired Mountain Man.  He left camp at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday and was back in Hope at 4:00 p.m.  He said he was cold.

 He plans to go elk hunting again if the season is in July or August.

The hunters are still hunting and no word of success yet.  




Doggie Log Cabin

I finally got a photo of Maggie curled up in the new dog cabin.  Mollie still won't have anything to do with it.  I put dog treats in it to get her to go in, but she just takes the treats and moves somewhere else.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

New Digs!

Yes, it appears that Maggie is trying to dig her way to China underneath the front porch.  The hole is about 18" deep.  She is hardly ever dirty after she has been working on it.  Fortunately, she is not digging to China anywhere else in the yard or we would have a major issue.






This is Mollie and Maggie's new digs.  We will be lucky if we ever get Mollie to sleep in it.  Over the years she has resisted all dog houses, dog homes, or dog cover that we have tried to provide.  Maggie has already taken to it and sleeps in it.  When the snow arrives, we will have to move it to the side of the house, but for now it looks good on the porch.

It seems to be pretty sturdy, but I think I would like to add another sheet of plywood to the floor.  Eventually, the door will need a cover and maybe a warmer dog bed on the floor.  Right now Maggie spends her time dragging the rugs out of it and running around the yard with them.   I tried to get a photo of Maggie in the house but no luck.  She comes out the door before I can get a shot.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Another Green Tomato Recipe

Thanks to Montana Mama, for this recipe.
 
Green Tomato Chutney
2 lemons, seeded and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
10 c. chopped peeled firm green apples or green tomatoes
4 & 1/2 c. brown sugar
3 c. raisins (I used half raisins and half craisins)
6 oz. crystallized ginger or 1 & 1/2 c. diced ginger root
1 T. cayenne pepper
4 c. cider vinegar
4 c. chopped red peppers seeds & membranes removed (optional)  I added 
May add 2 c. chopped onion and 2 c. chopped nuts.  I added 1 c. of onion and 1 c. of slivered almonds.

Simmer all ingredients until fruit is tender.Put the chutney in sterile jars and process in BWB for 10 min.
(I used 8 c. of green grape tomatoes, chopped and 2 c. of green apples)



I had to use every jelly jar that I had, so this is it.  Tomorrow I will make another batch of salsa.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Time out!

I am taking a break for a couple of days before I start the next batch of salsa.  The salsa recipe is similar in taste to Pace Thick n' Chunky Salsa.  I am going to make it with the white vinegar next time. 

The frost is on the pumpkin today and as I am writing this the sun is peeking over the top of the mountains.  I am drinking a second cup of coffee (I think I am starting to get addicted to Monarch Mountain Coffee) and eating apple crisp for breakfast.  I tell myself it's healthy.  Apples, nuts, oatmeal, and I used Splenda for half of the sweetener.

Today is guitar lesson day which I really enjoy.  Don't tell my instructor that Retired Mountain Man is willing to pay three time the price for the lessons.  He says I am always happy when I come back home from the lesson.  This is true.  Playing music and singing is good for you!  If you think you might want to learn to play an instrument or take voice lessons, do it!






Sunday, October 16, 2011

What to do with all those green tomatoes.

Connie's Salsa based on a recipe for Annie's Salsa

Annie's Salsa
(Source: GardenWeb's Harvest Forum)

8 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained
2 1/2 cups onion, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped green peppers or ancho peppers
3 – 5 chopped jalapeƱos   or you can you a mixture of serrano's, chilies, etc. to make it hotter
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons black pepper
1/8 cup canning salt (kosher will work, too, but you might need a little more of it--taste to be sure)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (this is optional if you don't like cilantro)
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar for water bath canning or 1/3 cup vinegar for a pressure canner, but you could use cider or red wine vinegar for extra sweetness
16 ounces tomato sauce
16 ounces tomato paste

Mix all ingredients, bring to a boil, and boil for 10 minutes. Pour into hot jars, process at 10 lbs of pressure for 30 minutes for pints. Or in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

My alterations:
Since cans of tomato sauce are no longer 16 oz.  I added a 15 oz. of tomato sauce and cans of tomato paste are now 12oz., that is what I added.  I also added 1/3 c. of lime juice and even though I process mine with a pressure canner, I added another 1/3 c. of vinegar for taste.  I used cider vinegar, but next time I may use the white vinegar as it seems a touch too sweet.

I also added 1 more t. cumin, 1/2 t. oregano and 1/2 t. thyme. I processed my salsa for 35 min. at 11 pounds of pressure for my altitude.  I always process my salsa for this amount of time as that's the required amount for peppers.  Yes, there's a lot of vinegar (acid) added to the recipe, but I always like to be on the safe side when I am canning. 



Dilled Grape Tomatoes






Hot Red Pepper Jelly







There are Pickled Peppers in the back of this photo.  I didn't get a very good pic of them.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tomates-Cerises a l'Aigre-Doux

 Since I have so many cherry tomatoes, I decided to give this recipe a try.  
They look like they might taste good.  I have to wait three weeks to taste them.



Pickled Cherry Tomatoes (Tomates-Cerises a l'Aigre-Doux)
(Source: GardenWeb's Harvest Forum)
Makes 1 quart


1 quart water
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1 pound FIRM (almost under-ripe) cherry tomatoes (round and plum varieties of all colors can be used)
2 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar or more (to taste)
2 sprigs fresh summer savory or tarragon (or fresh herb of your choosing)
12 black peppercorns

In a large bowl, combine the water and salt, and stir to dissolve the salt. Prick the bottom of each tomato once with a clean needle. Place the tomatoes in the salt brine, cover and marinate for 24 hours at room temperature.

In a large saucepan, combine the vinegar and sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring just to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and cool thoroughly.

Remove the tomatoes from the salt brine and drain thoroughly. Discard the salt brine.
Carefully place the tomatoes in a 1-quart canning jar. Arrange the herbs and peppercorns around the edges of the jar. Pour the vinegar-sugar mixture over the tomatoes. Secure the jar tightly. Let sit in the refrigerator for 3 weeks before tasting.

Serve as a pickle, or as an appetizer, with toothpicks to spear.

Friday, October 14, 2011

It's all in the Q-butt!

Q-butt, Q-butt, Q-butt! Go Team! Rah! Rah! Rah!

It's Friday afternoon so I have just made my picks in the Hope Cougar's Pool for the upcoming weekend.  I have spent the last five days reading everything I can about each of the teams, checking the injury list, taking a look at the odds, looking at each team's win/loss record.  It is really a LOT of work making my picks!

Once I have all that information I take a look at the teams' uniforms, their color and style.  If I like them I add one point to their odds.  

 For instance, this team's uniform has a nice ice blue color, but I'm not too fond of the gold, so no points for them.



If it's a really close decision, then I take a look at the quarterback's butt.  The team with the cutest Q-butt gets another point.  

 Q-butt is kind of small but not bad.  I think I would give this team another point.

Last week I came in second place for the weekly win.  I gave the Arizona quarterback an extra point.  It turns out his butt is not quite as cute as it should be.  The AZ coaches butt must have been really ugly, they fired his butt. I still don't know how Oregon State won.  Their team colors are really awful.

I will have better luck this week!  I just realized I didn't compare Auburn and Florida Q-butts.  I've got to go!  I might need to change my pick.



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall sunset on Greens' Ridge

Jon took this photo of a beautiful sunset!  We are having some great fall weather.





We can both fit on the rug, at least for the moment!

Maggie is getting bigger, but still not as big as Mollie.  She weighs 41.5 pounds even though we decreased her food to 2 cups per day.   That means she gained 5 pounds in about two months.  She is going to have to go on a low-carb diet.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Enjoy them while you can!

It's a dark cloudy, rainy North Idaho day here.  It has been pouring rain and I love it!  I probably won't say that after about a week of it, but I love the fresh rain scent especially at night and I love the sound of the raindrops on our metal roof.

I am so glad I have most of my garden "put to bed".  We still haven't had a serious frost and I can't make myself cut down the flowers that are still blooming away!  The Black-eyed Susan's just keep on blooming.  They are an amazing flower.







Yesterday I froze the last 8 pints of green beans.  It was a green bean bonanza.  Then I spent some time in the greenhouse picking the rest of the Red Robin tomatoes and all of the peppers.  Many of the peppers are a beautiful dark red.  I haven't tested them yet to find out if they are really hot.  I am hoping for enough for a batch of red hot pepper jelly.




Sorry, more flowers:


I tasted the first vat of white wine which I started 10 days ago and I think it is time for it to go into a carboy.  That will be on today's list.




And more flowers:  Soon there will be snow and no flowers.  





















Bet you're not ready for this!