Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hey Lucy! What's for Dinner?

My husband certainly isn't Ricky Ricardo, but some days FarmBoy and the Kolz Kidz come home from their busy activities with precisely the same thing on their minds. Lucy! What's for dinner?

We're working as a family toward establishing a full year's supply, and keeping it up, while rotating things that we enjoy first, and secondly are useable in an emergency, and thirdly will keep long term. Some things simply will not, but we'll be glad to eat those up and rotate them quarterly if need be. In case of emergency, come to the Kolz home for bacon, bacon, bacon. We've got recipes we can use that bacon up without any second thoughts toward the cholesterol about to be burned off in active, physical labor chopping wood or something. Yeah, that's how I'm justifying it.

My first very do-able goal is to have 3 months of easy to fix dinners from the pantry. I have a huge garden most years, as I stock a farmstand and sell surplus produce (and Olde Order Mennonite produce). That gives us a lot to bottle and preserve, but you can find most things I bottle at your grocery store, Aldis discount grocers or International markets (Asian or Hispanic or Indian subcontinent). Then we also store bulk grains, flour, vegetable oil and shortening, legumes, sugar, baking supplies like cocoa, and even chocolate chips.

We end up with a huge variety of canned staples, including vegetables, soup, fruit, some stews, ravioli, tamales, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. How on earth does one keep them all organized, without the store room becoming as big as Walmart? Here's one really good option. And it's free. Free is good. Here's what it looks like and free drawings.

Some good resources for all pantry supplies dinners include: She includes shopping lists she uses, and recipes for different pantry meals.

Here's one we tried for the first time today. I felt rather daring, having never even eaten mackerel fish before. All we knew was the saying "holy mackerel". I figured, how bad could it be with tartar sauce? People eat those fishsticks, this had to be much better. And it was. Even the children thought so, and they're not big fans of salmon, yet.

Fish Patties, or Fish Croquettes
1 can of mackerel (about 16 oz), drained into a cup, with broth reserved.
1 small onion, finely grated or 1T dried onions rehydrated with fish broth
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or use fresh herbs of your choice (try basil, dill, etc)
ground black pepper, to taste
2 large eggs, well beaten
1 to 1 1/2 cups fine dry bread crumbs (or you can try potato flakes!)
3 tablespoons oil for frying, or you make spray with spray and cook without oil


Turn fish into a medium mixing bowl. Flake with a fork, mashing any bones (they are soft, and very edible). Mix in grated onion, parsley and pepper. Mix beaten eggs with salmon. Add enough bread crumbs, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup, to make thick enough to shape into 12 small patties or six bun sized patties. If it's too stiff, add some of the reserved broth so the patties will stay together. Roll patties in another 1/2 cup bread crumbs. In a large heavy skillet over low heat, add oil; add patties. Fry patties slowly on one side; add remaining oil, turn patties and fry until brown on the other side. Another time I may use the mackerel in seafood alfredo. I think it would be good used in tuna or salmon recipes interchangeably. Did I mention how inexpensive of a protein source mackerel is? One approximately 16 oz. can was purchased recently for .79 cents, and I see it quite regularly for $1.49 at Aldis. While I wouldn't want to eat fish everyday, here in landlocked Upstate New York, I think we may include it as one dinner in our two week menu rotation.

We served this with tartar sauce on hamburger buns, with a large salad as an accompaniment. French fries wouldn't be bad either, and we do have some 400 lbs. of stored potatoes in the root cellar. But that's enough fat for one day, so we had salad. If you have a garden, this is a food storage friendly salad during garden season. Our produce came from the grocery store today. Coleslaw would be another nice side dish in lieu of salad. But our second favorite salad is the BLT Salad with Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing. Our absolute FAVE salad is here.

BLT Salad with Parmesan Peppercorn dressing
Feeds 7 (with 5 small children)

Parmesan Peppercorn dressing
1/2 -3/4 cup of real mayonaise - reduced fat works fine here as well
1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 tsp. sugar or splenda sugar substitute
1/2 tsp. steak seasoning (or salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste)
cracked black pepper to taste
Mix in a small bowl, adding parmesan to your taste. It will be diluted by the salad, so strong is good.

1/2 pkg. of ~2.5 oz. shelf stable chopped ready to eat bacon
6 hearty slices of whole grain bread, cubed, and drizzled with 1 T of olive oil, sprinkled with garlic salt, and baked until crunchy - or croutons
Medium salad bowl of chopped romaine or variety lettuce mix
2 garden tomatoes or 1-2 cups of halved sweet grape tomatoes - to taste

Combine the bacon, lettuce and tomatoes with the salad dressing. Add toasted bread cubes right before serving, toss well, and accept compliments. Sprinkle with extra bacon if desired. Rumor is that you should keep the croutons separate for storing leftovers so they won't get soggy, but the salad has had any leftovers.

Tomorrow is boy scouts, and Achievement day girls, and sap boiling for hours and hours which just begs for - a busy day dinner, from my food storage. What's your busy day dinner?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Maple Syrup Weekend - and What's for Lunch?

It was Maple Syrup Weekend in Upstate New York.  Don't worry, it comes again for the final weekend, March 28-29 too. For the Kolz Kidz that means all you can eat pancakes at the local fire hall.  For those who don't live in a tiny village or hamlet in the Northeast, you should know the fire hall is often a hub of social busy-ness.  There are the once a winter Saturday Roast Beef dinner fundraiser, the several summer Saturday chicken bbq's with a special Cornell University chicken bbq recipe that gently imprints itself in your DNA as you like the drumstick bone. Don't forget the wedding reception of that one peculiar brother in law to his first wife was held there too. Which works out quite well when the fool lights himself on fire fooling around over the unity candles. Volunteer firefighters rock! 

Anyway, back to the mapley goodness of all you can eat pancakes. Oh it's not just pancakes, it's delicious sausage patties, and fluffy scrambled eggs, and then all you can eat pancakes. They meant it too, as I watched my 11 year old sons put away more pancakes than their Papa. The girls ate like birds, pecking a little eggs, a bite of sausage, and dipping it all into a puddle of real New York maple syrup. Then they ate bites of pancakes before calling themselves full. Funny little birds.

As you know, the Kolz family taps maple trees here in our tiny village. After having a hearty breakfast, we returned home to feed the fire of our Franklin stove and keep our own sap evaporating down to thick, rich, slightly smokey syrup. Delicious.

Enough about breakfast, we've been discussing Frugality, and ways to endure the economic decline in our country/region/household.  I've had a hearty, job search fortifying breakfast now, what's for lunch?

We like tuna sandwiches, the occasional turkey or chicken salad sandwich, salad during the greens season,  leftover soup and muffins, chicken and dumplings, chili, macaroni and cheese, leftover spaghetti and meatballs, hearty stews of the rib sticking variety.  My children would eat spaghettios, unceremoniously dumped into a bowl and heated in a microwave. While it makes me nearly wretch to type that, they still talk about the one time they had a can of ravioli. And plead for me to buy them another. Maybe for food storage, eventually. Hmm, this is giving me some ideas of things I can purchase a few cans or a case of, to add to my lunchtime or dinner food storage. Canned chili, plus home bottled tomatoes, plus Jiffy Corn Bread mix equals Tamale Pie for lunch. Now those are things I can sink my teeth into. And store for the future.

How about you? What kinds of things can you add to your food storage, for that proverbial rainy (paycheckless) day?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

How to Endure Economic Downturn and still Eat

My husband has worked for his benevolent employer*, Maco Bag, for a good sixteen plus years. Their boom and bust cycle hasn't been hard to adjust to. Periodically over the last few summers (we've been married 4 years soon), we've taken a day off, unpaid a few times a summer, which really FarmBoy just used a day of vacation to cover. Maco Bag Group packages and assemble items, as I understand it, and FarmBoy works in their warehouse, keeping it organized and correct in the inventory system. His favorite part is driving a forklift as necessary, and doing inventory at the end of the month. Or that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. You know, over-sized Tonka toys, and over-sized cute boy driving one. Yes, I see you do understand.

This winter the employees were called in and informed that sales and orders were down a bit and most employees were given one day a week furlough. I think this is benevolent, as opposed to laying off a bunch of workers, then retraining a new crew in a few months when orders pick up again. They will pick up again, won't they President Obama?

How does a family of seven get through the inevitable ebb and flow of orders in a factory job? We'll discuss some tactics we use over the next few days. I've compiled some resources and websites that may be of use to you in your quest to endure the downturn in the economy too. My thanks to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for making so much information available to everyone.

My first principle was to pare down our needs, from our wants. We have resources for some wants, but the key is separating which is necessary from which becomes expendable. Your choices may vary from mine, so adjust as necessary. Our priority is paying our mortgage, fuel bill for heat and two automobiles, and providing food and clothing to our children, maintaining our goat herd, and providing adequate clothing and food for ourselves. We have good dental, and RX, and health insurance through FarmBoy's employer, a flexible savings account for vision and eyeglass and hearing aid expenses, and a 401k we invest in weekly. That said, we feel very blessed, recognizing how quickly most of this could disappear.

To that end, we have heeded the counsel of a living prophet (see Amos 3:7, Holy Bible).  It's important, much like Noah's warning to get in the ark, and our family began a 1 month, then 3 month, then one year supply of basics for our family. Why should you do this? You might consider that it will absorb the impact of reduction in force at your employer, it will help insure your family's survival in case of death of a parent (and income loss), it will provide your family with comforting and familiar foods in times of stress and economic trial (like an ARM housepayment going through the roof because unemployment didn't pay enough to make the full payment). If you didn't have to buy food for a month, or three, how much cash would you then have? $500, $1500 maybe. Things to ponder. What could you pay off, if you freed that cash up for a payment? What debt could you reduce and free yourself from if you or your spouse lost your job, and you could still go to the pantry and prepare meals without a trip to the grocery store.

I don't have all the answers, but I have some good questions. Let's explore some of the options together. One thing I do is store whole grain. It doesn't go rancid like flour will, eventually. I retrieve a 5 gallon bucket from the closet, spin it open, and scoop out a #10 can of wheat berries and pop it into my electric grinder (with emergency hand crank available). That's fresh, fiber and vitamin filled whole grain flour, in 10 minutes or less. I don't make bread - but I do make muffins, biscuits, pancakes, cookies, brownies, and apple and other fruit crisps. You could make bread too, if you like. Save me the heel, with lots of butter, please.

I started with the information found at May I suggest a 1 month surplus of the things that your family eats each week? For example, make a list of two weeks worth of meals. What are your common breakfasts, lunches, and dinners? Real ones, that you eat now.

My children like Oatmeal for breakfast in the winter. I have #10 cans of rolled oats stored, which I can also use for apple crisp, oatmeal for breakfast, and oatmeal cookies. We also have boxes of instant oatmeal, just add water type, in cardboard boxes, with individual paper bags inside. For long term storage, these would have to be kept in something secure, like a 5 gallon bucket with a lid, because they'd be susceptible to moisture, or rodents, or a teething Jack Russell Terrier Puppy on a quest. If you have one like this. On alternating days we might have some high fiber cold cereal, like GoLean Crunch, and a small handful of raisins or other dried fruit. So I store some boxes of cereal (calculate how many servings your box actually feeds, and how many people are eating this.) Of course you'll need milk on your cereal, so I suggest storing either vacuum packed milk like Parmalat, or shelf-stable soy milk that you rotate, or powdered milk. Occasionally we have sweet rolls and bacon strips, so you could try canning pumpkin bread in a jar, and storing some ready to eat fully cooked bacon, that you can find in the produce section in some stores. I presume so you put it on a Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato sandwich. Granted, the shelf life
is only about 150 days, so that's less than six months storage time. I'm a bacon lover, so I'd be willing to take one for the team and heat up a package and make bacon tomato spinach sandwiches. Just to keep the food storage rotated and everything fresh, of course. I'm good like that.  For this purpose I followed the advice of Wendy Wittt and began a food storage inventory notebook.  Now I know that in 4 months, the height of tomato season here, we will eat and replace into our food storage, 2 lbs. of ready to eat bacon.

You can store bottles of juice for a year, without any loss of quality, and rotate them and work them into regular use before they go past expiration date. So there are four breakfast possibilities: instant oatmeal, boiled oatmeal, cold cereal with milk, fruit juice, banana bread slices and bacon. Considering you could also store pancake mix for a year,a few bottles of maple flavored syrup, (just the dry ingredients for a thriftier approach,) you could have better breakfasts in a downturn than you enjoy now.  That will be a good start for a day of job hunting and resume polishing, no?
Tomorrow - What's for lunch anyway?

*Any time they'd like to return his hours to a full 40 per week, I'd write a lovely, glowing blogpost about how they were voted into Rochester's Top 100.  Truly. With their logo and hyperlinks to their website. Nope, not a link yet. Alrighty then, pancakes and bacon and eggs it is for breakfast!

Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm not Giving Up the Chocolate

It's not necessary. Really. What lunch is complete without a little taste of chocolate? Ok, most of them. But a day is made brighter by a little bite of brownie, c'mon, unless you're like my dear friend who shall remain nameless that thinks chocolate tastes like soap.

I have the coolest Aunt in the world, Fay DeBoer.  It's her birthday, 29 AGAIN! If you knew her, you'd be nodding your head up and down with me, ayep. Some of her cool things she does is make dresses for little orphan girls.  Cute, cute dresses for cute little orphan girls. In fact, I coveted a couple of her dresses when she brought them to my parent's home when we lived in Washington state.  She told us that these two dresses needed to be worn by a little country girl. And gave them to my only daughter. Nifty thing is, that those two dresses were so well made, and so beautifully done, that they are now beloved by my third daughter. Still loving the dresses! Still loving the Aunt Fay! Happy Birthday sweetie.

Aunt Fay likes chocolate brownies now and then. In fact, I imagine she probably has a little cocoa in her food storage too. My favorite brownies had to be tweaked a little for my emergency preparedness recipe. Here's the original recipe, and the notes for how to eat out of your food storage, follow.

Chewy Gooey Cocoa Brownies

1-2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted (or other fat)
2 T water
2 Large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla flavoring
1-1/3 cups flour (I have used 100% whole wheat, 1/2 all purpose flour, and other variations)
3/4 cup Baking cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt (optional if you use salted butter)
3/4 cup chopped nuts (completely optional)
Preheat oven to 350*. Grease 13x9 baking pan. Combine sugar, butter and water in large bowl. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl; stir into sugar mixture. Add nuts if desired. Spread into prepared baking pan. Bake for 18-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely, then cut into bars. Makes 2 dozen brownies, depending on how you divide the pan. Needs no frosting.
Food storage substitutes:
How to substitute for 1 egg :

1 teaspoon dry unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons cold water
7 teaspoons of hot water
Combine gelatin with cold water. Let sit for a moment to hydrate the granules.
Add hot water, stir well. Use in place of 1 egg.
***For baking*** reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup per egg replacement used. Experiment with this to see how to adjust your favorite recipe. In my case, I used one real egg in the brownies, and one egg substitute and the recipe is perfect! Another day... I'll use two egg substitute measures. Just for you gentle reader, because we have 30 dozen eggs in the cool cellar.

I use whole wheat flour, ground from the whole wheat kernels I store in some #10 cans, and some 5 gallon buckets. I have vegetable oil stored, and usually have 20 dozen eggs at any given point in a very cool cellar. It wouldn't be fun if I didn't have bulk baking cocoa stored. Baking powder is stored in very small cans, because it begins to go flat once they're opened. Do not store baking powder in #10 cans unless you have some wicked large group of people to bake biscuits for, within the next six months. I have a few #10 cans and some large canisters of Hershey's baking cocoa, and a few jars of vacuum sealed chocolate chips. They'll keep quite a while, not that we'd ever let them get old.

Back to lunch. Write down 2 weeks of lunches you'd be willing to eat, and then tally up the ingredients you can use to make them. Double it, and you have a month supply of lunches. Here are some ideas. Biscuits and creamed chicken cream of chicken soup, canned chicken, a can of peas, a bottle of peaches, and a brownie for dessert. You can store homemade biscuit mix for a year. With it you can make strawberry shortcake, chicken and dumplings, chicken ala king over a biscuit, sausage gravy over biscuits, Sausage cheddar balls, a quick biscuit pizza crust, chicken pot pie, and more.
Here's just one variation to get you started thinking.

Easy Biscuit Mix
6 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/4 cups butter flavored shortening
Directions:Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse corn meal. Store in a container with tight-fitting lid. For a healthier mix, make with 3 cups white flour and 3 cups whole wheat flour. For Buttermilk Mix, add 9 tablespoons dry buttermilk powder to the basic mix.

To use this mix, take 3 cups of Easy Biscuit mix, add 3/4 cup of milk, or yogurt, or buttermilk etc., and mix gently. After adding your liquid mix only until a soft dough forms. Dough may be slightly sticky but that is normal.
Generously flour counter or board and transfer dough on top dusting with a small amount of flour if dough is sticky. Pat dough out with hands till about 1 inch thick and cut with biscuit cutter or large glass dipped in flour. Place on baking sheet about 1 1/2 inch apart. Bake 425 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Brush tops with melted butter if you like.

You could roll with rolling pin but that will make for tougher biscuits. Not good, no no no.

To make dumpings, you stir as above, then drop into gently boiling stew. Turn down to a simmering boil, cook for 10 minutes uncovered, and then cover tightly for 10 more minutes. This would perk up your every day chicken soup considerably, wouldn't it? You can store canned carrots, canned peas, bottled chicken you canned yourself when chicken legs & thighs were on sale for .49 cents a pound, and voila' gourmet goodness in a pinch. Living frugally doesn't have to be living on top ramen noodles and generic box brand of macaroni and cheese powder.

What's a Mattar Paneer?

It sounds like a joke, What's a matter Paneer? Economy got you down? This cozy, gently spiced vegetarian recipe of Indian continent origin will warm you from the inside out, and help you forget the end of a dreary winter and your declining house value. Mr. Green's Social Studies class is studying India, and this recipe is posted for them. Hello!! Mr. Green's six grade class.

Are your feet cold? My feet are cold today. I've just entered myself in a Blogger giveaway of a beautiful pair of hand knit socks. Socks like this are just too beautiful to be covered in shoes! Take a look at
and see those cute socks! Tell her KelliSue sent you. It will warm your feet this winter.

Speaking of winter, I'm planting spinach seeds today, maybe tomorrow. Then peas. They do well in the cooler weather we're having here in Upstate New York. It's no coincidence that yesterday's recipe is spinach and today's is peas.

I have a good six inches of mulch sitting on the garden just waiting for me to mess about with it. Thanks FarmBoy for removing the hay from the bottom of the goat's pen where it has made nice deep piles to keep them warm all winter. The goats are perking up just like the little tips of the daffodil bulbs I saw emerging yesterday. Spring can't be far away! And after spring, comes chocolate brownies from my favorite recipe. No really it does. See tomorrow's blog post. It's chocolate!

Mattar Paneer
serves 4 -6
2 cups paneer cheese, cubed

2 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced ginger or about 1/2 inch of ginger - no need to peel
1 tablespoon garlic, pureed or several cloves, depending on size
2 teaspoons whole coriander seed
1 teaspoon cumin seed
3 Tablespoons of oil or melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne or other chile pepper *omit if you wish

1 cup diced raw or canned tomato, measure after you have pressed to remove juice
1/2 cup tomato juice you pressed, above
1 1/2 cups or 1 pound pkg. of frozen sweet peas, thawed
1/2 cup chopped coriander leaf, or cilantro

Heat 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil in a large skillet and saute' the paneer in batches (add more oil if necessary), until lightly browned, and drain on paper toweling. Alternately, you may broil it until speckled on a sprayed pan, turning once. This firms the paneer and adds carmelization, and depth of flavor.
In blender container, add onion, ginger, whole coriander seed, cumin seed, and oil. Pulse until smooth. Heat a large frying pan on medium high until a drop of water dances across. Add the fragrant onion, spice mixture from the blender. Cook for 5 minutes until it begins to take on a little color, stirring often. Add the rest of the spices, and the salt. You should begin to see the oil separate from the vegetable spice puree. Do not let the onions brown. Add the tomatoes and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring once or twice to allow some carmelization.
Add the tomato juice, and and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 8-10 minutes or until the sauce is thick and smooth. Add the thawed peas and paneer and gently warm them through.
Garnish with chopped cilantro before serving. This is a terrific side dish when served with dal (lentil stew), or chicken, and warmed naan (Indian bread) or tortillas or whole wheat flat bread. Of course a bottle of home canned peaches is lovely alongside. Some mattar paneer recipes have cream added, at the end, but we prefer the vegetable taste shining through.

Variations include adding cubes of boiled potatoes or cauliflower for a low carb version.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Homemade Saag Paneer or How to Enjoy Spinach

Yesterday we made Paneer from goat milk graciously provided by the Alpine goats Katie and Ebony. Here's one of our favorite dinner recipes for using it. It's a mild recipe, but if you like your Indian food spicy, please feel free to add the optional cayenne pepper or use hot chiles instead of the mild ones. Saag Paneer is high in iron, an added benefit to it's deliciousity!

Indian Paneer with Spinach or Saag Paneer
This recipe serves 4-6:
1 lb. cooled paneer (about 2 cupes of cubed Paneer )
2 lbs. frozen spinach (thawed, then pressed dry)
2 Indian green finger chillies (or use 1/8 cup canned mild green chiles, 1/2 bell pepper, or 1/2 chopped pasilla chile or other mild green chiles)
2 tsp coriander , ground
2 tsp cumin ground
1 tsp mild chili powder
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3 Tablespoons of vegetable oil, divided use
2 Tablespoons of all purpose flour
1/2 cup evaporated milk, light cream, goat or soy milk, or suitable substitute
1/2 tsp garam masala
Juice of half a lemon

Into a blender, measure 1 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 medium onion, halved, 4 garlic cloves and 1 inch ginger piece. If you have ginger puree you may use 1.5 T instead. Blend until coarse.
Cut the paneer into even, 1" x 1/2 " cubes. Sprinkle the paneer cubes with a dry marinade of turmeric powder, half the chili powder and half a teaspoon of salt. Just toss lightly, and set aside.
Now heat 2 Tablespoons of oil in a thick bottomed frying pan over a high flame. When it is hot, fry the paneer pieces until pale brown on two opposite sides. Remove from the oil, draining them carefully. Now add the onion, garlic and ginger puree into the same oil and fry until they are a pale toffee brown. Then add all the spice powders, except the garam masala which is added at the end. Stir vigorously for about 10 minutes on a medium heat until the pungent, individual smell of the spices change to a more melded aroma.
Now mix in the spinach evenly, alternating with 2 Tablespoons of flour, adding salt to taste. It takes quite a bit of salt, so start with 1 tsp. and continue tasting as you go. Lower the flame to a gentle simmer and let the spices work their magic through the spinach for five minutes. Blend with a stick mixer, to reduce the spinach into a puree, adding the 1/2 cup of milk of your choice or cream, a few tablespoons at a time. Simmer 2-3 more minutes. Finally stir in the garam masala, gently fold in the paneer cubes and the lemon juice. Let the ingredients simmer together for another five minutes and serve hot. It should be the consistency of a thick stew, so adjust your liquid as necessary depending on your simmering time, humidity of your flour, etc.
As a final tip, the flavors meld quite lovely if it’s left sitting in the fridge for a couple of hours before being reheated.
If served as a main dish, this is typically served with Indian bread - naan, but can be scooped up with a warm whole wheat tortilla, flat bread, or greek pita bread as an alternative. My children like it served over steamed rice too. As a side dish, it goes well with lots of little dishes, like dal, and tandoori chicken, or chicken makhani.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Go Speed Racer, Go!

We fostered a pitbull named Juno, or Junie B. Jonesdog as she became quickly, for three weeks with a houseful of little children. She was quite a sweet natured puppy, and great fun to throw a kong to, but had very big always muddy paws. When Junie found her adoptive home, we spread the word that we wanted to adopt a dog of our own. A goat raising family heard of our dilemma and mentioned that she had a goat raising friend who had a stray wander up- a long haired dachshund. I was excited about the size of that dog! I grew up with a red shorthaired dachshund named Gretchen. She was hilarious and good with children. The possibilities were exciting. Stacy, one of the good folks at SM 3Pines Farm

Speed Racer standing guard
said she'd call the family who had the dog, and see if he was adopted yet. Speedy was soon ours. His foster family showed us his delightful trick. In addition to being an escape artist, he will stand up on his hind feet and wave at you for attention. We brought him home, put him with his favorite blanket into his crate, and let the children all get a good look at him, from behind bars. He's so fast, it might be their only chance.

What a character he is! Recently we repaired his underground fence which had stopped working with a foot of snow and ice on the ground. This returns him to the great out of doors for as he enjoys running paths around the house, keeping the chipmunks and squirrels in line. He's a great herd dog, pushing his cats around the yard, and playing crossing guard to the neighbors' cumulative 14 cats who deign to transverse our 1/2 acre.

You would never know from watching him boss them around outside, that the cats rule the house. I have followed the sounds of whimpering dog to find Speedy standing in the hallway, pinned between two cats who have each staked out a doorway, daring him to try and cross past them. But the yard is his domain. He is limited in range by the collar, which warns him with a tone, that he is near the end of his boundary. Kitty Boy senses this range, I'm unsure how, and sits just outside the perimeter and mocks him, taunting Speedy with his ample tail. He strolls back and forth like a sentry, tempting the dog to venture too far and receive a static shock.
Today, Speed Racer wore his electric receiver on his collar after a lengthy absence and roamed the yard at his leisure. Kitty Boy, the neighbor's neutered black and white tuxedo kitty must not have received the memorandum. He has grown accustomed to Speed Racer being confined to a 20 foot line since his electric fence went down in December. But not any more.

Kitty, blissfully unaware of Speed Racer's return to freedom, spied a couple of squirrels raiding our bird feeder, and trotted across to see if he could at least touch the tail of a fleeing tree rodent. Speedy seized the moment and gaining great momentum tackled Kitty Boy, rolling him, and then trotted off triumphantly with his tail flagged in victory. Just because he could.
Kitty Boy returned to his safe perch outside of the perimeter of the electric fence and climbed his favorite tree to survey the horrific scene of his attack, tongue-combing his coat in an effort to remove eau de dog from his ruffled black fur.

I immediately snatched up my camera to take photos of what I had witnessed through the window. I do think Speed Racer was grinning. That's why we love this dog. Notice to cats - he's back!

Speed Racer, gloating over rolling the neighbor's cat after a 4 month hiatus. You'll see Cricket, our Jack Russell fox terrier pup learning the ropes of cat herding in the upper corner.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tie-Dye Eye?

Emma, the 2 year old caboose in our train of children , has a penchant for following. It shouldn't come as a surprise then that when the longhaired dachshund Speed Racer went racing out of the family room door, chasing Socks the tuxedo cat that Emma jumped up in her footy pajamas, and ran after them.

Sadly, she did not clear the heavy, 1840s era oak door that they so lithely slid around. Her left cheek smacked right into the edge of the door and split right open. I will spare you the slasher film description of the after effects of this collision. It was heart-rending. Suffice it to say that your stereocilia have also been spared permanent auditory damage. Clearly her lungs operate well.
Emma cheerfully shows off her tie-dye eye and cheek, day 2.

Poor Emma. I grabbed her up, clutched her to my chest while applying direct pressure to stop the blood spray, and ran to the kitchen. That's where we keep the paper towels and ice packs, of course. I called a Kolz Kidz Round up, which brings all the children at once to locate their mama and ask how they can help. We've established this call for precisely this purpose.

It went kind of like this. Gerard, the second son, grabbed a soft gel cold pack to reduce the rapid swelling we were seeing. I heartily recommend the blue packs that Becton-Dickinson makes. Merina, my six year old, stopped when she saw the blood all over me and the baby, and immediately went to get some tissues to help. I had my attention focused on getting an ice pack on Emma's face, with some protest, so I didn't thank her for her tissue delivery. She continued, like the enchanted broom in the Sorcerer's Apprentice, bringing pile after pile after pile of crumpled tissues to my aid, while I was attending to the baby's needs. Finally I spied the foot high pile of facial tissues and urged her to stop. Poor Merina, she was rather frantic upon seeing the blood, and did what she thought would help. I thanked her and redirected her nervous energy toward a more useful path. She went to get the baby's winter coat and mittens, and her winter boots.

Sarah got a lime green otterpop out of the freezer for Emma to suck on, and to reduce the swelling on her split lip. Andy the elder called Grandma who lives up the street, and requested she come down to watch the children for the inevitable Emergency Department (ED) trip. I phoned my MD, who is 3 minutes from our home, but he referred us to the ED. Grandma saved the day! Even better, my brother, the Army soldier, Robert, was home on leave! We couldn't have timed our accident any better if we'd have planned it. I think our Cub Scout first aid training paid dividends.

Uncle Robert saved the day by coming over with Grandma and milking my two dairy goats so I could leave without delay for the Emergency. While hardly the same as life on a farm, having dairy goats in our barn does embue me with a grave sense of responsibility for their comfort and well-being, as well as a respect for their ability to provide my family with an ever growing amount of cheese and our daily milk.
"I'm ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille" - Liesl the Alpine Goat.
Little did Robert know that the lengthy milking tutorial I had given him the day before was his one and only shot at learning to milk before being drafted under combat conditions. And he thought the Army was rugged. My camo clad hero.

I babysit for a nurse who works at the hospital that I was headed to. Throwing caution to the wind, I wrestled the screaming toddler into her car seat, buckled her in under protest, and gave her an icepop to suck on as I drove to the hospital. I phoned Ken, the nurse, who I knew was on shift that day, and advised him where I was headed. His son was due to be dropped off into my care in a few hours.

I arrived in the ED with a slumbering toddler, worn out from her screaming. We were seen within a few minutes, but not before every potential mother or grandmother in the waiting area had cringed upon seeing Emma's swelling face. She was doubled wrapped, papoose-like in blankets, held down by two nurses, and after having her face suitably numbed, was stitched up.

Her plaintive pleas for freedom from the wrap-up tugged at my heart and I had tears trickle down my cheek as she became increasingly resourceful. "Mama- I hold you. Mama - want OUT! Out NOW pwease. Pwease. Mama - all done! Mama - milkies pwease, pwease milkies? ."

A nurse offered to go get her a carton of milk after hearing her milk plea. I thanked her and explained Emma wanted to be free to breastfeed, being a nursing toddler and all. The nurse, bless her heart, didn't bat an eye. Emma's quite lactose intolerant, so a mini-carton of milk would result in the dear nurse cleaning up vomit off the floor in short order. Not pleasant. That's my motivation to keep goats. Toddler breastfeeding is just what we do in our family. It works well for us to allow them to wean themselves.

In due time, Emma was the proud owner of about 4 stitches to her cheek, and was snuggled up in my arms with a blanket thrown over us, quietly nursing while I filled out insurance paperwork to pay for this expedition to the hospital. Nurse Ken popped in and checked on us and walked us to the door. We chuckled over the comments of the MD who stitched Emma's face with a needle she could clearly see. "Emma you need to hold your head still". I wonder which two year old that has worked with? Ken was surprised that it was Emma who had the emergency hospital visit. It's quite predictably Merina who is our resident monkey hanging from all heights and climbing up higher than most would attempt. If insurance companies weighed risk accurately, Merina's health insurance would be ridiculously high. Emma's would be free. But not after today.

Ahh Emma, our little coppertopped caboose to the family train. Each day is an adventure, made more delightful for you having chosen to make it with us.

A kiss and a hug from each of her siblings when she returned home, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a warm chocolate chip cookie, and Emma was ready for her afternoon nap. Because even little cabooses need a little recuperation time. Soon she'll be up following after everybody and everything.

Now tell me, what sent your child to the Emergency Department most recently? Any one else have a tie-dye eye?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time (DST) isn't very popular on blogs. Facebook updates show whining about sleep deprivation and winter doldrums, as if that particular one hour update was the root cause of all wicked in the world. Perhaps it is, and therefore there is less wickedness in Arizona and parts of Indiana - or so I'm told.

Apparently DST is unpopular in my barn. That's right, the goats have registered an inaudible, but very loud complaint. No, I'm not suddenly translating the Maa-Maa's of the goat's into English.

The goats have learned to turn on the barn light. I kid you not.

I blamed my husband. I fingerpointed toward the sleeping children in the upstairs bedrooms. But no, clearly, the goats have learned to turn on the barn light.

That's certainly one way to register a complaint.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pi Day

Pi, as in the oft remembered 3.14. Tomorrow is Pi day 3.14.09. It is also Albert Einstein's birthday as I'm reminded by the due any day now, redheaded Amy Anne.

Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. :::yawn::: There goes my readership of two. But it's pretty useful stuff if you're an engineer. Growing up in a 2nd generation Boeing family, with Dad and my brother, as well as my career being predominately at Boeing, I've never let the fact that I personally wasn't an engineer, ever rain on my parade. I adore engineers. Especially Boeing engineers. Hey Seattle!

So let's all celebrate Pi day. Why let the engineers have all the fun? ::Shout out to my aeronautical and electric engineering friends at Boeing!:::

You could do the homeschooling option of "Hey, let's measure the circumference of everything circular and discover it's radius." But my homeschooler nixed that one, thankyouverymuch.

How about bake a pie? It has a circumference, and kiddo#2 said he'd be glad to eat a piece of pie, which involved cutting a radius across it, of course.

It's also Albert Einstein's birthday tomorrow. I feel almost morally obligated to put a birthday candle in that pie and sing.. but I'll resist. In case you cannot, you may still have a slice of pie in his honor. Since I was raised mostly in Washington state and now reside in the other apple state, New York, only apple pie will do for Pi Day.

Use your favorite apple variety and add sugar according to its sweetness. If you're new to baking apple pies, then add 1/2 cup of sugar, taste the filling, and go up from there to 1 cup if your apples are granny smith apple tart.

It's Pi day Apple Pie
a variation by KelliSue Kolz

1½ hours 35 min prep
7 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 to 1 cup of sugar or Splenda Sweetener for diabetics -see directions below
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest, just the yellow, finely zested
2 tablespoons butter or vegan margarine

Pastry for double crust pie
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup lard or butter or vegan shortening - very very cold
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ice cold water (you'll not need more than 1/2 cup depending on the flour's humidity)

Pastry for double crust pie-------------.
Combine flour, lard and salt with a pastry blender or fork until balls are the size of a large pea.
Add cold water by the tablespoonful and blend until the bowl starts to clean itself as you work the dough. Pat into two nice round discs about as big as your hand, then wrap in plastic wrap or put in a zipper plastic bag, and put in the refrigerator while you mix the filling.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine sliced apples with 1/2 cup of sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon rind. Taste, and see if you desire more sugar, up to an additional 1/2 cup more. Less is better, really. When you're happy with the sweetening, remove the pastry discs from the refrigerator.

On a floured surface, roll out the pie crust about 1/2 larger than the circumference of the pie. It's pie day after all, so remember, that's 3.14 x the radius of the pie plate.

Line pie plate with unbaked pie crust, trim pastry, crimp (or press with a fork) to edge of pie plate. Trim excess. Repeat rolling directions for the top crust, cut out a cute little apple shape in the middle, saving the apple insert for a treat for the children or your room-mate and cover with a towel briefly while you fill the pie. The little apple bit can be baked on a little cake pan, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. This is what memories are made of, on Pi day.

Fill pie crust with apple mixture and dot with softened butter.

Brush crust edge with water and place pie crust top on top of pie, crimp to the bottom crust.

Make some slits in the top crust for steam to escape. Bake for 55 minutes. Cooking time may be vary somewhat according to how thick you sliced your apples, as well as what variety they are.

If you find your pie crust edges are turning shockingly brown at minute 30, please feel free to cover them with a piece of aluminum foil hastily fastened around the perimeter of the pie pan. There's no shame in that. Be careful, that's when you might accidentally knock of the edge of some crust, so proceed with caution.

When your pie is presumed to be finished baking, very carefully, with a sharp knife, pierce through that apple shaped cutout, and test an apple slice with the tip of the knife. You're looking for little to no resistance, you want tender apples, not crunchy ones.

Let cool a little bit, then serve warm with either a slice of sharp cheddar cheese, or a scoop of icecream. That will be soydelicious frozen dessert for my lactose intolerant Andy.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Yours, Mine, and Not Mine

You thought I'd say ours, didn't you? There's a bit of stress in combining a family from two previously small families, and quite a bit of humor. We each had two children, a manageable lot for a divorced, custodial parent. Then overnight, we were a bonus family of six. Sometimes we really have to emphasize the humor, as we work the kinks out. Somedays, frankly, one of the children is 'not mine'. It's not birth-order or birth-family discrimination. Its what led my mother to say to me, her spitting image, "you I must have found under a cabbage patch". Frustration and humor, now that's my favorite combination.

For example, have you ever tried to make a dinner menu for two weeks for a family comprised of two boys, 6 & 7, two girls, 3 & 4, a Polish-American New Yorker (read Pizza & wings), and a first-trimester pregnant Navy Brat raised with Pacific Rim influenced tastes?

Yeah, whatever you thought should be on the menu, the answer was: Nope, not that.

Andy, the 7 year old, is primarily vegetarian. Oh, he eats meat, just not 'that' meat. Pick one, oops you're wrong. He cheerfully devours beans, tofu, nuts, soy in any form, and is sometimes horribly lactose intolerant. He'll eat hot dogs, hamburgers sometimes, sausage without any discernible chew to it, and meat without any texture variations. Boneless skinless chicken breast will do, as long as there is no accidental texture change, anywhere. Ever. He would prefer to eat take-out from a Washington State Teriyaki joint, found on every corner in the greater metropolitan Seattle area. A nice serving of grilled boneless teriyaki, topped with a sweet teriyaki sauce, served with stir fried vegetables and a large portion of rice. No need to vary the menu.

Gerard, age 6, had significant food rules. The food must not touch each other. Nor have been rumored to have touched. There will be no legumes in his meal, nor shall it be acquainted with beans in this life or any other. Pizza may not contain pepperoni, for a child once told him that pepperoni was terrible and he is not taking any chances with that rumor. Please, do not try and pass off anything green as food, because he has seen grass and knows that it is not edible, therefore anything of that color is not edible either. Forget the sauce too. No dressing please, oh wait, can I have ranch to dip that in? And can I have a bite of what you're having?

Sarah, age 4, would eat anything that she can outrun, as long as she's in the mood, hungry, and not overtired. She runs, a lot. Therefore she will always either be tired, or hungry. Or both. Oy.

Merina, age 3, would not sit still long enough to eat, and cannot understand why we adjourn to a dinner table at regularly scheduled intervals because she is not hungry. But now, 15 minutes later, she's starving, and must eat immediately. If not sooner. She does feel much better if she is sitting on someone's lap and eating off of their plate, because the food is significantly better there. It's a good thing she is as cute as a button, our monkey girl.

FarmBoy is a sweet, gentle-natured man accustomed to his own cooking, which often came in a flat box marked Pizza Hut. It fit well with his car racing hobby, and the schedule that went with that. He liked potatoes and roast beef and roast chicken, and he had eaten canned corn before too. He remembers that his first wife made hamburger helper, and his mom made shake-n-bake pork chops. He liked his good old American classics, such as those. Poor FarmBoy. Nevertheless I had retained hope for his culinary derring-do. On our honeymoon cruise to the Bahamas Farmboy went to the sushi bar several days, at 4 p.m., to get a sushi snack to tide him over to our 8:30 dinner seating. I avoided the raw fish, but FarmBoy tried all kinds of sushi rolls. My hero!

I grew up overseas, spending some time in Europe, the Guam in the South Pacific, then Washington state, Southern California, back to Washington with its Pacific Rim influences. That's a lot of pasta or rice influences, where FarmBoy had a potato influenced childhood.

I tried asian influenced noodle and vegetable combinations for that family. Those tactics showed roadblocks from the "it has green vegetables" and the "can't eat that it feels like meat" contingent. FarmBoy looked a little uncomfortable but ate cheerfully. It was carefully whispered one day that with four little children watching his every move that this was his responsibility - I might add. Otherwise it was going to suddenly be his job to make meals for our crowd. Because I was pregnant and hormonal, of course. He was smart, and politely ate every meal I made.

I found success one day, and we developed a recipe that all the family could eat and enjoy. We've made many variations on this theme, and we hope that your family enjoys this and alters it to fit your family tastes too.

Farmboy reports that he still doesn't really like goat cheese, does like sushi, and won't eat clams unless they're frittered. He occasionally enjoys rice with eggs for breakfast, and Lo Mein, and butternut squash casserole and other things he had never heard of previously. I have cheerfully overheard him telling friends what a great cook I am. I like his enthusiasm, even if his accuracy is a little off.

While pregnant, I craved sushi. I was overjoyed when I found that my favorite cucumber or avocado rolls were being made fresh daily at Wegman's market, just a 13 minute jaunt from our former home on the family farm. Domestic bliss was restored once again.

I might add, that now, 4 years later, Andy eats lots of beans and still has his meat texture issue, Gerard eats lots of beans and forgot that his food couldn't touch, and pepperoni pizza became his occasional favorite. Sarah and Merina can often be found poking each other at dinner time, but Merina is not sitting on anyone's lap, and with patient redirection, she can eat a complete meal. Sarah eats quickly to get back to the book she is reading.

Here's the salad that unified our family at dinner time. I was overjoyed when I found one thing that everyone would eat quietly, and joyfully, at the same time. Yes, that's right, it was a miracle.

Cowboy Chopped Salad - influenced by Cheesecake Factory

12 cups packed moderately finely chopped romaine lettuce (use two 9-ounce bags cut-up romaine lettuce, chopped finer than in bag) or the equivalent approx. 3 heads of romaine lettuce
2 cups diced grilled chicken breast or grilled beef, or substitute diced ham,
or seasoned pressed tofu
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced fine - or garden tomatoes, seeded, chopped
8 baby carrots or 2 grown up ones, cut into small rounds
1 cup fresh raw from the garden OR frozen, thawed corn kernels
1/2 cup chopped crisp-cooked bacon or soy baco-bits or substitute smokehouse almonds
3/4 cup shredded or diced cheese of your choice - I prefer cheddar or colby
2 cups of black, kidney, pinto, black eyed peas or other cooked beans of your choice

Crunchy topping of your choice: BBQ corn nuts, corn chips, or tortilla strips
2 medium avocados, pitted and chopped - when in season

BBQ Ranch Dressing (recipe below)

Feel free to add cucumbers, boiled eggs, diced vegetables from your garden, or whatever you would like to add to this recipe.

Combine in a small bowl, 1 cup Ranch Salad Dressing or homemade buttermilk dressing.
1/4 cup BBQ sauce (or to taste) We like Sweet Baby Ray's or KC Masterpiece. Stir.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except avocado, and crunchy topper. Toss until mixed. Drizzle with salad dressing, mix again. Taste, and add more dressing if needed. Add avocado and crunchy topper of your choice to each portion and serve immediately.

Serves 2 adults and 4 children

This recipe made for quiet, cheerfully chomping children, whom I was eager to claim as all mine! It took a while to find 13 other dinner meals that everyone would eat, but now, 4 years later, we're successfully navigating dinner with fewer ripples. Who knows what effect Cowboy Salad will have on your family. Do try it and let me know.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Sap is Running

It's not an old fashioned jab at my husband - the beloved FarmBoy Kolz.

In Upstate New York it's maple sugaring season. Cold nights and warmer days make the sap rise in the sugar maple trees. My industrious husband drills the tree, places a spile,

and gathers sap into large barrels which he then boils down to maple syrup. It sounds easy, doesn't it?

When you figure that 40 gallons of maple sap yields 1 gallon of maple syrup, the illusion of easy, tasty syrup evaporates like so much H2O boiling off the sap. Don't be discouraged, if you're a Noreasterner yourself, and have access to sugar maples, this might be a really fun winter project for you. You can find more information here:
We found that with the trees we have on our property, along with the ones the neighbors donated to the cause, we produce enough maple syrup for a family of 7 for most of the year, along with the half pints we give to the neighbor-tree owners, and our close family. There never could be a surplus.. could there?

Why tap a maple tree? There are several historic reasons according to a state of Vermont historical site. Maple sugar became the colonists own sweetener ending their dependence on foreign sugar. They boiled the sap from their own trees into syrup, then further reduced it to sugar crystals, often stored in a lump. It kept all year without spoiling. Also, it was never tinctured with the sweat of the southern slave as was cane sugar before the civil war. And if that's not enough motivation - how about pure maple syrup was seen on sale at Wegman's market for $22.69 a quart last week?

There is a lesson there of self-sufficiency from our colonial ancestors. How could we extrapolate this to reducing our independence on foreign oil of a petroleum variety? Polly put the kettle on - we'll all have tea, and ponder this one.

I digress. Besides, I feel a kindred spirit with colonial and pioneering American women as I tie on my bright yellow print apron with ample pockets. I come from solid, plump, British stock, and I imagine my ancestors each had the same sweet tooth I enjoy. Just a little tangible touchstone with my ancestors, boiling down the maple sap from trees planted in front of my 1840s Greek Revival home. They would have stored lumps of maple sugar, carefully meted out for special occasions or to sweeten their winter food. I'm putting up pints of maple syrup, hygienically canned in mason jars for us to miserly drizzle over pancakes, waffles, and french toast. And every so often I make a special treat where maple syrup is a guest star.

What blogpost about maple syrup would be complete without a little recipe?

An ordinary baked good takes on new levels of deliciousness with Maple Icing made from *our very own trees*. If you purchase maple syrup, my recommendation is buying the Grade B darker maple syrup for baking and such, because the flavor has more depth. You won't fail if your store sells only the Grade A, you'll just not have quite the richer slightly smokey maple flavor of a darker syrup.

This frosting has a pure and simple flavor blend of real butter and subtle maple syrup. The nuts are optional - and I usually skip them unless our English walnut trees had a bumper crop.

Maple Butter Frosting

1/2 cup butter
3 cups confectioners sugar
4-6 T. pure maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Thoroughly cream butter and sugar, adding maple syrup until light and spreadable, a smidgen more if you're pouring as a glaze. Add nuts if you like and frost. This frosting tastes so good you'll start dreaming up places to use it. May I recommend glazing an English scone?

Proper English Scones - yields about 18

2 cups sifted all purpose flour (256gm)
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup margarine or butter (I use 4 tbsp on an American butter stick)
1 cup milk (If you don't have your own goat herd, cow or soy milk will do)
Optional: 3/4 cup raisins or sultanas (miniature raisins)

1. Preheat oven to 425°F or 220°C. Grease a cookie sheet or baking pan.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.

3. Cut in the margarine or butter till mixture resembles cornmeal, then stir in the raisins.

4. Add the milk and mix to make a smooth dough. (Add a little more milk if necessary. The dough should not be too dry - very much like an American biscuit dough).

5. Knead very lightly for ten seconds on a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat to about 3/4" thick (2 cm) and cut into individual scones. I prefer triangles. My mother insists they're to be in circles, cut with a biscuit cutter. May be that's why triangles feel so right.

6. Bake for approximately 12 minutes, at which point they will be lightly golden brown.

They can be served with clotted cream and loads of strawberry jam, for a proper English tea snack, but in our American household, it's usually sliced, given a schmear of butter (we are New Yorkers now, after all), and a big dollop of whatever jam jar we've retrieved from our summer berry picking stash. For your purposes today, let the scone cool, and then frost the top with maple frosting. It's deliciousness will amaze you. Brilliant served with Red Zinger herbal tea, I might add.

Nibble on one whilst you ponder how to reduce our dependence on foreign petroleum, will you?