Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Family Christmas

Our family (except for two who couldn't make it) celebrated Christmas on the 23rd.  We had a great time visiting with kids and grandkids.

We enjoyed our usual Christmas meal of Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy, lefse, fruit salad (my Gram's recipe), plus a few other things.  It was very good.

Our daughter brought me a bottle of my favorite wine, which she dressed up in holiday style.

Here it is undressed.

This is a nice white wine from Germany; my favorite.

And our daughter-in-law brought Mr. M's favorite dessert:  pecan pie.

I didn't get a picture of it before we started eating it.

After we opened gifts, the two youngest grands and I went to look at our pigs and also the neighbor's sheep.  These two always enjoy looking at the various animals we have around here.

Oh, and the Packers won that day also.  Go, Pack!

Except for missing the two who couldn't come, it was a wonderful day.

Christmas day itself was mostly a quiet one for Mr. M and me.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, too.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Pictures

A couple of nights ago my sisters and I went to see the Christmas lights display in a park not too far from here.  This is the 25th year that the city has had this display, and every year they add to it.  We hadn't been to see it in a few years, so we were surprised at how many displays there were.

This is only a very small part of what is there.  There were a lot of cars driving through to look, so it was hard to stop and take pictures without holding up traffic.  And some of the pictures just didn't turn out the way we hoped.

It's a good thing we went when we did, because the next day there was a big storm and we got back the several inches of snow we lost over the previous few days.  My unofficial measurement shows we got at least 10-11 inches at our house.  Oh well, it is winter in the north after all

The birds were very busy at the feeders yesterday, which always happens just before and during snowstorms.

These birds were waiting for their turn at the feeders.

And so was this cardinal.  But he did finally manage to get a place there.

Today, the sky was clear and even though the temp was fairly low, it was a nice day because of the sunshine.  Mr. M got out and did some snowblowing this morning.  Here he's making a path out to the chicken coop.

And here a path to and around the woodpile.

Of course, this makes it much easier to move around outside.  He also made a path out through the front yard and down the slope to the road, so I can go out and get the mail without too much trouble.

Even though I am not a big fan of winter and cold and lots of snow, I do like a white Christmas.

Is it wintry where you are?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Canning Venison

We spent the past couple of days doing some "winter" canning.  Mr. M got a nice deer right at the end of doe season, which is after the regular season.  When he cut it up, we got several steaks (tenderloin, sirloin, and round) which we put in the freezer, and the rest we cut into chunks to be canned. 

These canned chunks work very well for stew, soup, or hotdishes.  It makes supper very quick and easy to do when the meat is already cooked.

Since I already had all the canning equipment out, I decided to thaw some packages of chicken broth and beef broth that I had put in the freezer earlier in the fall when I didn't have the time (or inclination) to can it.

I haven't kept or canned chicken or beef broth before, but I was interested in having broths that have no other ingredients except the broth itself.  Once the canning is done, these jars of broth are just as convenient to use as what you'd buy from the store, and much healthier.

This post was also shared on "Wildcrafting Wednesday."


Sunday, December 16, 2012

What a Difference a Week Makes!

Last Sunday we got 10 inches of snow, our first snow of the season.  Since it's now December, I figured that this snow would be with us until some time in March (with a few to many more snowstorms on top of it).  Wrong!!  Yesterday, it rained off and on most of the day with temps hovering in the mid-30's. 

So the same view from last week's post now looks like this:

What started out as 10 inches has been reduced to about 2 inches.  Snow can be lovely, but when it lingers for 3 or 4 months or more, that's just too much.  So when we get a reduction in snow cover, that's all right with me.

A few months ago I saw something my niece had made for her mother (my sister).  I thought it was beautiful and told my sister to tell her daughter I would buy one from her if she would be willing to make another one.  She did, and here it is.

She lives on the west coast, and I believe she got the driftwood somewhere along the ocean.  She put the rocks in a tumbler to make them smooth.  Then she twisted wires together to make them into a tree shape and added the rocks.  I love it!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Winter Wonderland

It's a winter wonderland at Meadowcreek today.  We have about 8 inches of snow so far, and it hasn't stopped yet. We're supposed to get up to 10 inches according to the forecast.

Late this afternoon, I shoveled a path out to the bird feeders and then went out to feed the chickens.  They stayed in the coop most of the day.  It's the first time they've seen snow.  They usually manage to get to the bird feeders and eat any sunflower seeds that fall on the ground, but they didn't venture over that way today. 

This is the first snow of the season, so people are re-learning how to drive in winter weather.  Just heard about a multi-car accident on the interstate about seven miles from here.  The temperature is just below freezing, so I imagine driving right now is rather dangerous.  I hope no one was hurt. 

With all this snow, I feel more motivated to get the Christmas tree set up and decorated.  Maybe I'll put on some Christmas music tomorrow and do just that.

Happy Winter!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Making Lefse

Since my ancestry is half Swedish and the other half mostly English with a bit of Norwegian, part of our holiday food traditions has always been lefse.  It is a must for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.  I don't think my kids would let me get by without serving it.

Normally, I buy lefse, but if you've been reading this blog, you know that I took a lefse making class about a year ago, and then a few months ago at an auction got an awesome buy on a lefse griddle.

Right before Thanksgiving, our daughter helped me make some.  As it turns out, she's a natural; it took her no time at all to learn how to roll the dough out properly and also to cook it on the griddle. 

The day before we were going to make it, I boiled a few potatoes--we love Yukon Gold's, and grow mostly that kind, but Russets are best for lefse. 


Next, I put the boiled potatoes through the ricer, and then into the refrigerator overnight.

The next morning, we put the potatoes through the ricer one more time.

Then they get mixed with flour, butter, salt, and a bit of sugar and rolled into balls a little bigger than a golf ball.  These are put into the refrigerator and taken out one at a time to roll out.  They are much easier to work with when they're cold.  They must be rolled very thin, so thin that you can read the writing on the pastry cloth through them.  I rolled out the first couple and cooked them on the griddle--at between 400 and 500 degrees.  Then my daughter did a few on the griddle while I rolled.  Then she wanted to learn how to roll them, so she did that.  We got so busy making them that I didn't get a picture of rolling them out or cooking them.  Sorry about that.

This is what they look like when finished.

We ended up with 19 pieces.  After Thanksgiving, there were some left over, which I put in the freezer for Christmas dinner, but I'll have to make another batch so that we have enough.
Some people only put butter on them, some put butter and honey.  I tend to butter them, put on some turkey, stuffing, and cranberries, then roll them up and eat them that way.  The warm turkey and stuffing melt the butter, and they are sooo good.  It's really all up to the individual as to what they want to put on a piece of lefse.  Some people eat lefse year-round, but we have always just saved it as a special part of our holiday dinners.