October 15, 2010

A little bit of this and that

Won't be seeing these flowers til next spring.
Our son and daughter in law closed on their home today so we are helping them move.  This week I have been continuing the saga of painting all 400 feet of our picket fence and am nearing the end. 

While painting I have a lot of time to think about anything and everything.  A lot of times I think about recipes and things to make over the next few weeks.  Last month I made a recipe of pastry dough that called for butter.  I bake pies all the time so I am not afraid to handle pastry.  The recipe called for 2 1/4 cups of butter, 6 cups of flour, salt and water.  I mixed it up but when I went to roll it out it crumbled and no matter what I tried it fell apart.  I grabbed the entire bowl of that pastry and formed it into one large ball, wrapped it in plastic wrap and threw it in the freezer.  I was really mad as that was a lot of butter, over a lb., that I had just "wasted."  I threw it in the freezer to buy me some time to figure out what to do with it.

This week while painting I started thinking about that ball of rich pastry dough in the freezer and I came up with an idea.  I can take that mixture and turn it into cookie dough.  So I got out my recipe for Snickerdoodle cookies and modified it.  I added baking soda, cream of tartar, eggs and sugar to the pastry dough and I turned it into cookie dough.  I formed the dough into teaspoon sized balls and rolled them in a cinnamon and sugar mixture and baked them and I had Snickerdoodle cookies.  They turned out great and I was able to resurrect that baking disaster into a baking triumph.

One week ago when I was at the grocery store, I was picking up some sale items in the frozen food section.  I stopped to visit with the manager of the frozen food section.  She asked me if I had noticed the big unadvertised half price sale that was in one of the freezer bins.  The manager explained that at the distribution center when a box is opened because a fork lift pushes over a box of frozen food or if they open up a box and a few of the packages are damaged, they take all the undamaged assortment of frozen food from those boxes and mix them together, divide them up and ship to several of their stores to be sold at a greatly reduced price.  Wow.  I went over to that frozen food bin and I was able to get packages of 5 count blueberry bagels for 50 cents, Green Giant Broccoli Steamers for 75 cents and I had coupons for 50 cents off two packages, whipped topping for 50 cents, 5 lb. bag of french fries for $2.00 and 10 pack of chicken breast patties for $2.00.  My freezer was stuffed before, but now it is gorged.  So, it looks like I need to make a run to that grocery store on Thursdays to see if there is an unadvertised frozen food sale like this.  It doesn't happen every week, but it is worth checking into on a weekly basis - at least after I use up a lot of the food I already have in the freezer that is.

This week I have come into contact with two individuals that both use the homemade powdered laundry soap recipe.  Both had complained that while they do like it, they don't like that it doesn't entirely dissolve in the wash and sometimes remnants of the soap can be found on their dark clothing.  When I used the powdered recipe, I always kept a clean glass jar on top of the washer. I filled it with hot water from the washing machine and poured the powdered soap into the jar and shook it up until it was dissolved and poured it into the washing machine.  The result was that the soap was always dissolved even when I washed everything in cold water. 

Tomorrow we will continue to help our son and daughter in law with moving but I am also hoping I will be able to have some time to paint. I should be able to have the fence done by Sunday.  It has taken me a long time because I have a bad back and I suffer with a lot of back pain.  Yesterday I painted for 6 hours and last night I had a lot of pain and it was hard to move around.  I took the day off today to recuperate.  So, hopefully tomorrow I will be almost pain free and ready to paint again.

My freezer and pantry are "gorged" with food and it is my goal over the next few months to eat out of the freezer and pantry.  We can use the extra money for Christmas and to pay down bills.  I will only be purchasing perishables from the store each week and some holiday baking supplies when they go on sale. 

It has been an incredible week as the weather has been perfect - in the 70's and 80's.  This week it will be more likely in the upper 60's which is still perfect for this time of year.  I may get all my outside jobs done before winter arrives after all.


Maureen said...

Martha you are an inspiration, so organised and so articulate at describing your achievements. It looks like, thanks to your efforts, as if you will have reasonably priced Grocery bills for a while, congratulations.

Winter said...

Martha, Great idea turning "ruined" pastry dough into cookies! Another idea for next time, sprinkle the dough with vodka untill it is pliable. i know it sounds strange but trust me. Vodka can be used liberally to moisten pie dough. Unlike water, it doesn't toughen the crust. The alcohol evaporates during baking