Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Oh my dear heavens. My poor neglected blog. I need to carve more time out for it. Between the kids, the house, and school, I often run out of energy before I manage to get anything blogged. Tomorrow is the end of January already and Liam turns NINE on Sunday.

Yesterday

  • The kids had a 2 hour delay for school. I was so happy they chose not to cancel. It was still frigid but I needed them both to be at school and separated from each other.
  • I went grocery shopping ALONE.
  • Jamie went to lunch with Granddad who picked him up at pre-school so I had a little extra time to devote to things around here.
  • I cleaned. A lot. It’s a recurring theme this week.
  • I studied Medical Terminology. I’ve got most of the musculoskeletal stuff down pat and am now working on the integumentary (skin) section. Skin diseases are gross. My text had a picture of a furuncle that squicked me out. Don’t google search that if you value keeping your last meal down.

Today

  • Cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning.
  • Hanging out with Jamie while Liam was at school (on time! no delay!).
  • Ran to the dollar store for wrapping paper and birthday decorations.
  • I took a nap.
  • Today was kind of a crappy day and the less said, the better.

Tomorrow

  • Finish the cleaning chores.
  • Bake, frost, and decorate a cake.
  • I have a parent-teacher conference with Jamie’s teacher.
  • Wrap Liam’s birthday gifts.
  • My parents arrive in the afternoon for a weekend visit.
  • Make pasties for dinner.
  • Collapse in a heap.

Over the weekend we’ll be hanging out with my parents and celebrating Liam’s birthday. My parents head home on Sunday. Then, next week, I REGISTER JAMIE FOR KINDERGARTEN. *throws confetti*

Cornish Pasties

That’s pronounced PAST-ees, for you folks with dirty minds, and it’s a food, not stripper gear.

In my last post I mentioned making pasties for dinner one night and I got questions. It’s not the first time someone has asked me about them or about the recipe so I figured it was time to finally break down and blog it. Most of the amounts for the filling will be approximate. This is another recipe that I’ve been making for so long that I eyeball the proportions for the most part.

I grew up with this recipe. If I recall rightly, my mother got the recipe from the newspaper and it came from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where lumber was important and people of Cornish descent were common. It’s fairly authentic as far as I know. Scot says it’s the best recipe I brought to our marriage.

Cornish Pasties  Yield: 6 pasties

For the crust

3 cups all purpose flour

1 cup shortening (I use Crisco; originally it was probably lard)

1 tbsp. onion powder

cold water (7-8 tbsp? This always varies depending on humidity and a bunch of other factors.)

Measure the flour and onion powder into a large bowl. Add the shortening in pieces and then cut in with a pastry cutter (or two knives if you’re feeling low tech) until the mixture takes on an evenly mealy texture. Add COLD water tablespoon by tablespoon until the dough begins to come together. (I end up using my hands for this part.) Being careful not to overwork the dough, bring it together into a ball. You’ll know it has the right amount of water when the ball of dough self-cleans the sides of the bowl. STOP WORKING AT THIS POINT. Turn the dough ball out on some plastic wrap. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

For the filling

1.5 pounds lean ground beef

2-3 peeled, shredded carrots

1 large peeled, shredded potato

1 large hunk rutabaga, peeled and shredded

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. Mrs. Dash

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

(A note on vegetable amounts: I don’t know what the original recipe called for so I just try to use an equal volume of all three once they’re shredded. Usually that’s the amounts listed above. I shoot for 1 c. – 1.5 c. I think. I’m eyeballing it.)

Dump the meat and vegetables into a bowl. Mix together with your hands until you get an even mixture. Add spices. Feel free to adjust the spices as you see fit; the amounts are flexible. Mix thoroughly.

Assembly

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Split dough into sixths. Take one sixth of dough and roll out on a floured surface making the dough about 5 inches wide and 8 inches long (basically, you’re looking for a wide strip). Place one sixth of the filling in a mound at one end of the strip. Bring the other end over the top and crimp the edges to seal. Cut two slits in the top for ventilation. Transfer to baking sheet. Repeat process for remaining 5 pasties. Bake for 45 minutes.

One pasty is a hearty meal for one person. Scot likes to eat them with hot sauce. I like them as is. I’ve seen them served with gravy. It’s really up to you. They’ll stay HOT for a long time once they come out of the oven which is why they were popular lumberjack food.

Once we’ve had dinner and the rest of the pasties have cooled completely, I vacuum save them individually with my FoodSaver and freeze them. It makes for another easy meal later on. To reheat, microwave a frozen pasty for about 5 min. Then bake at 350˚F for 10 – 15 minutes to crisp the crust and finish heating through. They taste just as good as the first time around!

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

So, I stole this writing prompt from Jen at Jayesel – right down to the post title. But I really like the prompt and isn’t the whole point of the internet to steal other people’s ideas? 😉

Yesterday:

  • Both boys were in school though they both had a two-hour delay due to the cold temperatures. I was grateful to see them go back. After a l-o-n-g Christmas vacation and then a cancelled school day when it was too cold move, I needed normalcy. Jamie only had his usual half day but it was still needed.
  • I dug back into my schoolwork. I registered for my cluster of classes on Monday and got the approval to begin on Tuesday but didn’t have time to get to it until yesterday. There will probably be a longer post on this subject at some point but suffice it to say that the hardest thing I’m going to face in this cluster is staying awake for the reading.
  • Since I spent most of the day concentrating on school, I ended the day with a crap headache. I threw pasties in the oven for dinner that I had made last week so all they had to do was heat up. Easiest dinner ever.

Today:

  • Thursday mornings are my favorite ones during the work week. Every other day of the week I have to be up, functional, and out doing something no later than 8:45 am. Thursdays are the one day I don’t have to do that so I get to wake up at my own pace, sip my coffee until I finish it (a rarity), and play on the internet until I’m damn good and ready to get moving.
  • I have a date tonight! Scot and I are going to Phipps to see the Winter Flower Show After Dark which is supposed to be great this year. I’m looking forward to it. Then we’re headed to The Pub Chip Shop and Piper’s Pub for dinner and drinks. Adult time, hooray!
  • Because we’re going out tonight, I cleaned so that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to let my mother-in-law watch the kids. I got most of the first floor cleaned up (the dining room is still a sty), cleaned up Jamie’s room, and even vacuumed.
  • I got on the treadmill. I’ve been SUCH A SLACKER since around early/mid-December. Crappy eating, no time for exercise. Terrible. So, I made myself do 30 minutes on the treadmill. My reward is date night. 🙂

Tomorrow:

  • It’s Jamie’s long day at school tomorrow so he’ll  be out of the house from 9 am to 3 pm. Liam has early dismissal and he’ll be home at 1:30 but he’s self-sufficient and if I have things to do I won’t get interrupted 80,000 times. I love Fridays.
  • I’m planning to do some more schoolwork now that I’ve plowed through some of the reading.
  • really need to make a Costco run tomorrow. It’s getting a little desperate.

SCIENCE!

With actual temps in the negative double digits and wind chills that don’t bear discussing, the only thing left to do was to attempt some science for shits and giggles. And to entertain the kids.  So, I boiled up some water, loaded it into a super soaker water gun, and shot it off outside.

Goodbye 2013, Welcome 2014

Last year, as I said goodbye to 2012, I was desperate for 2013 to be a better year. I couldn’t wait to see 2012 hit the history books and I was looking forward to a fresh start. I can’t say that 2013 was perfection but as I look back, things really were a lot better.

The Cons

  • We went through job loss again.  The job that Scot took in 2012 turned out to be a terrible fit.
  • We spent much of the beginning of the year dealing with depression issues and mental health crises.
  • Our budget was blown to smithereens.

The Pros

  • I started on Zoloft and it made an enormous difference to my overall quality of life.
  • Scot switched mental health professionals and got his meds and his moods stabilized.
  • He found a job he really likes working with people he really likes. He’s part of a real team again and he’s so much happier.
  • I organized my house, started to exercise on a regular basis, and went back to school.
  • The kids both excelled in school.  Liam got a gem of a third grade teacher and Jamie is going to be SO ready for Kindergarten in the fall.
  • We welcomed Molly to our family and she fit in perfectly.
  • We managed to get some long-needed home improvements done (with more to follow in 2014).

As you can see, the pros far outweighed the cons of this year.  It was a rough start but about half-way through things started to turn around and they’ve been steadily better ever since.  So, I greet 2014 with anticipation. There are big changes on the horizon; I hope they’re all as good I think they will be.