Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Today's Update - 8 Oct 2014

What kind of mojo does this respiratory stuff going around have?!  You think you are over it and go to bed feeling fairly decent and celebrating that the end is in sight.  You wake up the next morning and realize it was all just a dream and the virus has decided to make your body its permanent residence and you may never get a good night's sleep again.  I mean seriously.  It's like we weren't supposed to get any rain this week and that's about all it did yesterday.  No real logic to it.  Never seen anything like this stuff going around ... or at least since the last time I got crud like this and couldn't shake it.  Seems we always forget.  And I have a daughter that is living with this stuff too.  I think we may be passing it back and forth so I'm going to bomb the house with Lysol and scrub all services with a dilution of the liquid Lysol concentrate because I can't use or breathe chlorine bleach.  Need it to cool down so I an open up the house and air things out.

I haven't been able to stay at home as much as I should either but not wanting to give this crud to anyone else I've been wearing a mask while out in public.  Got a couple of silly questions about if I thought it was Halloween and a few that gave me a wide berth thinking I was just some weirdo.  But if it came up I explained and I had several people say thank you for being considerate because they wanted my germs even less than I do.  LOL.  Just doing my civic duty but boy does breathing behind one of those masks take practice and they make you hot too ... and not the good kind that turns your SO on.  No, just the crappy kind of hot that makes you feel worse than you already do.

To chirk me up my older daughter found the following book while out with some friends and brought it home to me as a surprise.

It is a board book of all things and that white plastic gizmo in the bottom right hand is the tab that the pages turn on.

I knew most of the stuff in the book could be pickled but I found some alternative recipes for the pickling process that I am going to try out in the not too distant future ... especially the one for sunchokes.  However, what caught my daughter's eye - she knows her mother's propensity to experiment all too well - was a recipe for making Orange and Cream Soda Vinegar.  Now tell me that wouldn't catch your eye too.  You know it would.  And while introducing the recipe the author speaks about a chef that makes vinegar from Mountain Dew ... the soda ... oh my attention was totally grabbed at that point.  I've done some ... er ... unusual things with soda in recipes but making vinegar with it was something I'd never even thought about.  Jelly, marinade, punches, sauces, breads, ice cream ... just lots of stuff but the idea of vinegar?  Wow.  What fun!  It must make amazing salad dressings.

I haven't found the directions for the Mountain Dew Vinegar yet.  I've seen it mentioned but the recipe might still be proprietary at this time until someone else figures out how to do it and make a good product.  However, while on the hunt I did find something else that I'll share with you.  It is called a Cheerwine Vinegar Pie.  For those of you who don't live in the South - think Georgia rather than Florida - you probably don't have a clue what Cheerwine is and trying to explain the flavor is difficult.  It is sorta like a black cherry soda but not quite, and there is just something special about Cheerwine.  I used to only get it every once in a while when my brother would think to bring me back a bottle or two when he was on a long haul but for the past year or so they've been selling it by the can and 2-liter bottle at all of my local grocery stores.  Boy do I get a kick out of having some when we have friends over. 

First you have to make the Cheerwine Vinegar and the directions for that can be found at  It is a long process, no less than six weeks and possibly as long as nine or ten depending on how the fermentation process works; however, once you make it you can have it on hand and make multiple items from it without having to start at the beginning each time.  And now for that pie recipe:
Cheerwine Vinegar Pie
From Travis Milton, Comfort, Richmond, Virginia 
Pie Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
½ cup cornmeal*
2 tbsp. lard
½ cup butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup chilled buttermilk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Combine flour, salt, sugar, and cornmeal together, and sift into a large mixing bowl. Add lard and work it into the dry ingredients with your fingers until it is well incorporated. Repeat with butter, and then transfer the contents of the bowl to a food processor.
Pulse the ingredients 3-4 times, or until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Return the mixture to the bowl, add buttermilk and cider vinegar, and stir until it begins to form a dough. Then knead the dough into a coherent shape, folding it over itself in order to give the crust a layered, flaky texture. 
Transfer the dough to a floured surface, and roll it into a circle 12-13 inches in diameter and about 1/8-inch thick. Lightly flour the top of the crust and carefully roll it onto the rolling pin. Unroll it over a 9-inch pie pan, crimp the edges, and dot the base with a knife 8-10 times. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Pie Filling
3 tbsp. cornmeal*
1/8 tsp. salt
1¾ cup sugar
3 whole eggs and 2 yolks, beaten together
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup
Cheerwine vinegar
1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sift cornmeal, salt, and sugar together into a large mixing bowl. Then gently whisk in eggs. Once the eggs are thoroughly incorporated, add buttermilk, vinegar, and butter.
Pour custard mixture into an unbaked pie crust and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a medium-brown crust has formed on top and the pie has slightly less jiggle than Jello. Let cool and enjoy.
And yes, I did manage to get some writing done; not a lot but definitely some.  I'm usually pooped at the end of the day so there are probably going to be a couple of bloopers in there.  You spot them just let me know and I'll fix them.  A couple stories have more than one new post.  I'll have more tomorrow.

Up On Hartford Ridge

A Bunch of Wild Thyme

Zombies Aren't Real Are They?!

Enduring on the Lake

When All Doors Close

Now for the videos.  Vinegar is a serious staple in my home.  I use it for cooking, preserving, cleaning, pest control, wood stain, and medicinally.  At all times I keep a minimum of six gallons of white distilled vinegar on hand, about the same in cider vinegar, and numerous batches of homemade flavored vinegars.  If I didn't have vinegar I would be in a world of hurt.  So, my question was how do I go about being self-sufficient if I run out of vinegar.  Short answer is I can't.  Long answer was to learn to make my own.  The following are some of the better videos that shows how it is done.



  1. Thank you Kathy for the updates! I'm feeling a little under the weather myself, so I'll read them a bit later, but the updates are truly appreciated. And YOU are truly appreciated! you spend huge chunks of your time on your fans and we are grateful.

    1. I enjoy writing. It is completely different than a lot of what I do for our business. In our business there are lots of rules and regs we have to follow ... round holes, round pegs, square holes, square pegs. Writing lets me break free and burn off stress. It is also a place that I can use to "virtually experiment" with different scenarios ... meal planning with limited resources, traveling, gardening in different climates, dealing with people of different personalities. Writing lets me exercise mental muscles that help to keep mother hen a healthier version of myself if that makes sense. I'm just glad that other people benefit and enjoy it as well.

  2. Woohoo, story time! Thanks Kathy! Seems like the crud is everywhere. I lost my voice for a little over a week at the beginning of the month. It just feels like the nasties are hitting everyone early.

    If I could ask one little favor? When you post videos, they don't show on my phone (which bums me out, they always seem interesting). Any chance you could post the actual link along with the video? I hate to make any extra work, or sound like I'm complaining, but there's been many times I've tried searching out the video, and couldn't seem to come up with what you were describing. :-/

    Thanks again for sharing with us, you truly have a gift. :-)

    1. Sure. I have the same problem on my apple products but I have multiple formats to view from and keep forgetting. I'll try and remember to do it from now on.

  3. Sorry to hear you and some of the family have been ill. Hope you can get rid of it in short order.