Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


January 4th...

The day started out dreary and dull... kind of melting off warm and sloggy wet almost snow falling. By early afternoon that changed to full on snow blustering and starting to accumulate. So much so I think I might have to figure out how to use the snow blower if this keeps up, lol.
Today was kind of puttering around the house sort of day. A little cleaning, a little sitting with mom... a little dinking around in the kitchen.

Today, I started a couple quart jars of vanilla sugar. Sounds oober fancy, costs a damn pretty penny in the stores... but really all it is is plain ole sugar and a couple vanilla beans. And thanks to the mum in law, I got vanilla beans in the house.
So, making it is stupidly easy. I used two wide mouth quart jars, to make it easier to spoon out sugar as needed. Fill the jar with sugar, then dump the sugar into a bowl. Then I split open and scraped out three beans per jar, chopped the pods into 3-4 pieces to make them easy to remove when needed, then stir, stir, stir till all those little bean seed clumps are totally broken up and mixed into the sugar. Then pour it back into the jar, cap it, label it with the date... and now the two jars are stowed in the pantry to seep up for a few weeks before I start using them. Since I can't always use my homemade extract because of my sisters alcohol allergy, I will be able to use some vanilla sugar in some recipes instead.

Got the 12 prepped litter jugs filled with dirt and lined up on the potting bench. Just 4 more jugs to prep and fill now. These won't see seeds just yet, but it's good to get them filled and accounted for so I got a good idea on just what I have on hand for other potting. I still got milk jugs to go too, lol. I know I will need to pick up dirt again for regular seed starting later this year, but if I can recycle what dirt I got on hand, I will :)

Tonights dinner is going to be cheese spinach souffle, thinly sliced smoked salmon, and roasted golden beets and cauliflower. Yum. I haven't made a souffle in a billion years, so I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to it or terrified about a failure of a dinner, heh.

January 5th...

More snow, even colder cold. Winter has graced us with a pretty white coat. The sump pump actually kicked on today, which was a nice surprise. Guess we really have been getting in some good precipitation.

Got the last 4 kitty litter jugs prepped and filled with dirt today. Now all 16 are ready to go. Milk jugs are next, and I still got a big ole heap of dirt to use, hooray! Still no peeping out of the patio tomato seed on top of the fridge :(

Got the upstairs door frame sealed up- there's daylight showing around one of the patio door frames, and I used metal tape to seal up the gap for now. Not be best solution, but better than the duct tape I used last year that fell off, and stops the wind from whistling in. Pushed a bit of paper into the other cracks between the door and frame too.

The souffle last night turned out perfect, my worries about handling egg foam were unnecessary. Going to have to remember that in the future, a little materials can go a long way in feeding us this way. And the beets were so damn good, it was hard to stop eating them. I so need to grow some successfully this spring.
Tonight's dinner is tater tot casserole- cept I'm using a tube of country sausage instead of hamburger. We are out of burger, and it was too dear to get more the other day while out shopping, while sausage was on sale for much less. Gonna stir in some peas to up the veggie factor too.

1 pound tube of country sausage
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can peas, drained
1 can mushrooms, drained
1 medium onion, diced
1 bag tater tots

Brown up the sausage, and remove from heat. Let sit for 10 minutes to cool a bit. Stir in the soup, peas, mushrooms, and onion. Smooth down the mixture flat. Line the top with the tater tots. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Made magic dust today, and realized I've never posted the recipe for it here- I only got in in a word doc. So I figured it would be nice to post it up for future refrence.

Magic Dust
1/2 c paprika
1/4 c kosher salt
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c chili powder
1/4 c cumin
1/4 c garlic powder
2 T black pepper
2 T mustard powder
2 T oregano
2 T cayenne pepper
1 T dried orange zest
1/3 c mushroom powder

Stir it all together. Zip all of it up together in a spice grinder- in batches if necessary. The only even remotely difficult ingredient is the mushroom powder, and that's just dehydrated mushrooms I grind up into a powder. I always have a jar of mushroom powder on the shelf.  And it's super easy to dehydrate fresh mushrooms in the oven if you don't have a dehydrator- mushrooms are one of the most foolproof things to dehydrate in my opinion.

January 7th....

Yet more snow, lol. I did some shoveling around the house yesterday. Tried to start the snowblower, and realized I suck with snloblowers- I couldn't get it to start and flooded it :(  The wind has been kicking butt all night, so you kind of can't tell I shoveled in some places now. And since it's a white-out out there, I'm not going to bother with more cleanup today. Pretty much my whole day yesterday was dicking around with all of that... and making squash soup.
I tend not to use butternut straight up, but rather a mix of 3-4 different kinds of squash. It's just 1 quart of stock, 2 quarts of squash pulp, some herbs and seasonings, and some gouda cheese. I opted to add a couple cans of chickpeas this time for a bit of a protein kick.

Today's big fuss around was making a candle. I use a lot of jar candles, and they always have some scrap left in the bottom of the jar. I cleaned out the jars and saved up scrap for a while, and today I figured I probably had enough to fill a jar up.
So I used a regular taper candle for the wick, took a couple empty cans and a pot to use as a double boiler. Filled the cans with scrap wax and kept adding till it was all melted up, then poured it right on into the jar.
Then I realized the hot melty wax would melt the taper and send my wick off, lol. So I stood out in my cold ass solarium holding the stupid thing center till the wax cooled enough so it didn't slope around anymore. Note to self, don't do that again, take the time to secure the candle in the center of the jar, hehehe.

Tonights dinner is going to be enchiladas. I had some leftover from the last time I made them, so I'm just going to defrost those for dinner. Since there's only 4 of them, I think I'm going to make something rice-ish and of course a heap of refries. Maybe I'll just pull a couple tortillas out of the freezer and make a couple more enchiladas, rice and mushroom maybe.

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