A Symphony in Blue

These are the morning pills, plus seven more at night.   And five extras every Sunday morning!

 

But totally worth it!  ;->

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Sausages in the Instant Pot – Part 2

Not clear what happened to my picture of the sausages in the InstantPot in my last post, but here it is.  Operator error, no doubt!  ;->

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Sausage Links in the Instant Pot

There is a post to the Animals Spotted page today about Egyptian Geese.

Granted, this dish doesn’t look very exciting, but I can assure you that it was really a very satisfying and delicious lunch. I added sauerkraut and apples to the noodles as they heated, with a good sprinkling of caraway seeds (after I took the photo!).

I think I probably had a salad of field greens and tomatoes with it, since that was the “program” nearly every day last week.  I had a big box of the field greens, and we ate them at nearly every lunch.

I tried something entirely new – at least to me.  Instead of cooking the sausages in the usual way, I tried them out in the InstantPot.  Usually I put them in a big frying pan with some water to cook them through, and then, when the water had all evaporated, I would brown them by rolling them around for a while in the resulting grease that cooks out of them .  This produces a pretty dry sausage, and I was looking for a way to make them a bit more moist.

There are two kinds shown below.  There are ten of the beer brats in the bottom layers, and the five top ones are hot Italian links.  As you can see, I staggered them, but otherwise, just piled them up on a rack in the InstantPot and put about a cup of water in the bottom of the pan.

I set the cook time for twenty minutes, but by the time it had come up to pressure, and the pressure had dropped, about an hour had elapsed.  This seemed like a reasonable amount of time, especially since it could be done at any time, and the sausages reheated for serving forth.

Cook’s effort was equal to just about nil.  Open the packages and stick ’em in the pot.  Punch buttons.  Go away and do something fun.

As you can see, this produced fifteen sausages that were used in all sorts of dishes and pizzas.

BONUS:  The broth you see at the bottom was VERY flavorful, and I used it to make lentil/split pea/barley soup (1) that was very delicious.  I added some sautéed celery, carrots, and onion to the soup.  Coincidentally, I had made a loaf of Country Wheat Bread, and the combination was just perfect.

(1) I make this sort of soup in a Nissan-Thermos vacuum bottle, which takes almost no effort at all.  Briefly, you preheat the vacuum bottle with boiling water, pour it out, and then put in the grains/legumes.  Bring the water back to the boil and pour the appropriate amount into the vacuum bottle and cap it.  Put it on its side, slightly elevated, so that the water and legumes are evenly distributed.  Leave it alone for several hours.

When you are ready to make the soup, sauté the veggies and add the contents of the vacuum bottle.  A bit more cooking is sometimes required, but usually I’ve found that the legumes and barley are perfect at that point, retaining their shape, yet soft.  If you prefer the mushier consistency of canned “split pea soup”, then you may want to cook them a bit more.

If you have bits of meat leftover, now is the time to put them to good use.  This goes for any other bits of veggies that might be lurking in your refrigerator.

I usually serve it over rice, because we like rice, but the barley is sufficient grain, really.  Crispy herb bread is also very nice, but Triscuits or other crackers will do!

Note:  Although I use this “soak” method for a lot of grains and legumes, I have NEVER been successful in making white rice come out right.  Brown rice is perfect, but the white always comes out inedibly gummy.  Warning!

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How to Reheat Steak into Delicious Stir Fry

 

It takes only one pan and about ten minutes and you get to feast on the delicious stir fry that you saw yesterday.  This amount provided leftovers, but heartier eaters may find this exactly the right amount of food for a meal.

That is a 12-inch Calphalon frying pan.  It has become my favorite “pot” in the kitchen.  It happily sautéed the fresh veggies to perfection, and then I plopped the leftover angel hair and (purposely kept rare) steak on top, turned off the burner, and covered it to let the warmth sift through the new ingredients to warm them without really cooking them further.

If you have/like fresh ginger, that would be wonderful sautéed with the first round of veggies.  And, of course, garlic.  I always forget to mention garlic because I seldom use it.  But that should be done in the beginning with the ginger and onions.

I don’t remember if we put anything else on it, but slivered or sliced almonds, or a grated hard cheese would really make it sing an aria for you!  A sprinkle of soy sauce and/or sesame oil would be good, too.

The sesame oil addition always escapes me until after the fact, but it really is good sprinkled on at table.

Give it a try!  ;->

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Steak Stir Fry on Angel Hair

This is one of those ten-minute meals that utilizes fresh and leftover items to their best advantage.

The fresh items here were the pasilla peppers (green), the red bell pepper, mushrooms, and onion.  These items were quickly done while I pulled the other items out of the refrigerator and added them.  The herb toast with Romano cheese happily warmed itself in the Cuisinart Oven Central whilst I stirred on the stove.

We were eating in almost nothing flat.

Tune in tomorrow to see how this happened so quickly.

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Breakfast Brown Bread – with seeds

Inspired by all of the delicious-looking brown breads that I see at Schnippelboy, I ventured out.  I started with a recipe for Anadama Bread and added a lot of seeds, probably too many.

I look forward to having a slice this morning for my pre-breakfast!  ;->

I took a bazillion pictures of deer and roadrunners yesterday, and will post a few on the Animals Spotted page – maybe tomorrow.

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The Tale of Tippy Tail

Teenagers!  Once they get out of the nest, it’s hard to keep track of them.  This is the last portrait of all three baby roadrunners before they started abandoning their home for the great outdoors.  The third one is in the front center – all hunkered down with his beak pointed straight at the camera.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures of them – mostly because I couldn’t get to them without really invading their sanctity.  The parents seemed to tolerate our presence on the deck, but I didn’t want to overly concern them and have them abandon the nest at some point during the gestation, raising, and fledging.

The littlest one was, of course, the last to leave the nest.  His inexperience with the world gave him quite a disadvantage to getting out into the open area to join his family and learn the finer points of feeding himself.  His ability to hop up onto the fence, and thence to the other side to freedom, was just more than he could immediately muster.  The springs in his legs were not sufficiently developed for such activity.  It certainly wasn’t needed in the nest.  He needed to only open his mouth, and a tasty morsel was popped into it.

We were quite amazed at the amount and variety of food that was hauled in there by the parents.  We saw everything from crickets, to lizards, to snakes, to a baby bird – probably a quail, as they are everywhere around here, and they nest on the ground.  The size of the food seemed incongruous with the size of the babies’ mouths, but we did not see any sign of adult regurgitation of these foods.  Whatever they ate must have totally agreed with their needs, because they seemed to grow up right before our very eyes.

It’s been a couple of weeks now since they all abandoned the nest.  And our littlest one has a slight deformity of his tail, presumably from the overcrowding in the nest.  The very end of his tail tips up a bit, so we can tell which of the roadrunners he is.

We quite often see the whole family out there hunting about, but have not seen more than four at one time.  We saw Fledge #1 leave, and then conquer the fence.  And we saw #3 (with the tippy tail) do the same.  But we did not see #2 leave the nest.  So we are not certain if we just don’t ever see all five at once, or if somehow one was lost in the transition. It may be that we are seeing all three babies, but just one parent at a time.

The first two were robust, and Tippy Tail was the runt, and we expected maybe he wouldn’t make it, yet he persisted.  His tail seems to be flattening out a bit every day, so soon I won’t be able to tell which of our friends is which, but for now, it is fun to watch them grow up.  His persistence is still evident in the massive amount of fluttering he does when he sees another member of his family.

Yesterday afternoon he was out all alone in our yard, pecking at the fence for bugs.  He was feeling pretty grown up, when the quail who were marching on the water pond became aware of his presence, and scurried away in a noisy flurry.  But moments later, two of the other roadrunners appeared, and Tippy Tail turned into a quivering mass of shaking feather ruffling in an attempt to be fed.  The larger birds were having none of it as he went from one to the next in his quest for a free meal.

We’re not certain what they are up to, but there have been many repeat visits to the nest in the hedge.  A time or two, there was nest material in their beaks.  So we’re not sure if the original parents are starting a new brood (seems unlikely), or if the offspring are just practicing the Art of the Nest.

We are trying to recall the exact timing from our last batch three or four years ago, but at some point soon after total fledging, two additional eggs appeared in the nest, but were never tended.  Eventually other birds removed them for their own use as sustenance.

It’s so great to have Mother Nature provide us with such quality programming!

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