Saturday, June 21, 2014


Forget about GONE FISHING: We will be GONE CAMPING soon for an entire week so I figured I needed to give my loyal fans a little story before we head out in nature you know so they don't forget about us or have withdrawals. Yes, you won't hear from me for about a week because we will be completely disconnected from technology!

I am so EXCITED about this:  No television, no phones and no video games for an entire week! Heavenly.   Remember I got my start during the year of no TV  If it were left to me we would sell our televisions and phones (although to be completely honest they are quite outdated so I may have to pay someone to take them!) and our family would go technology free other than an occasional trip to the library, but it's not my decision to make so at least I get camping week to look forward to every year!  One week without the noise or distraction of modern technology!  BRILLIANT!

So anyways we are still mostly not shopping. And by "mostly not shopping" I mean not shopping or cooking much regular stuff for day-to-day living.  I buy a lot of produce and an occasional gallon of milk or loaf of bread but other than that not much shopping action going on here.  But once again we did a big shopping trip today to prepare for our camping trip so it is a bit of a weird situation that I find myself in right now. I would be hard pressed to create a traditional family meal for dinner tonight, yet we have enough traditional camping food that we could probably survive for at least a month eating nothing else.  Sure we might have high cholesterol and weigh a few pounds more at the end of the month, but we would not die and we would not have to live off Ramen noodles!

Speaking of Ramen noodles, we ate the final pack of Ramen noodles with lunch today. It was somewhat anti-climactic too: no balloons fell from the sky and no famous person stopped by to congratulate us so I was kind of disappointed. I mean it was such a big deal to me, but apparently not to the rest of the universe. SIGH. I think my family thought I'd lost my mind when I took a picture of the final pack too.  They really should be used to me photographing random food related stuff by now, but I still got a few strange looks and a few unnecessary negative comments when I busted out the camera to capture the moment. 
 "The Last (Ramen) Supper"
 The gang camping 2013; I have learned that the best memories are made with loved ones when everyone is dirty and out in nature!
So soon we will head out on our annual camping trip to create some new memories!  I can hardly wait!  To accompany common camp foods like hot dogs, sausage, cheese, crackers, chips and vegetables (or any other food in my opinon because I am yet to dip something into this recipe without enhancing the taste of the dipped food). My mother-in-law makes the best home-made mustard and she taught me hot to create it so I have a fresh batch cooling in the fridge.

Karla's Famous Mustard

4 tablespoons dry mustard                                 combine dry ingredients. blend milk and eggs together
1/2 Cup sugar                                                     in a sauce pan and add the milk and eggs to the dry
1/8 teaspoon paprika                                          ingredients. keep on low heat and stir often.
1/4 teaspoon salt                                                 add vinegar slowly
a pinch curry powder                                          and continue stirring until thick

2 eggs
small can evaporated milk
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Ingredients line up.  I had them all on hand except for the evaporated milk so that was a splurge. 

 This stuff is so darn YUMMY!
In order to stay focused (because I am really known for my consistent focus with all things) I removed some lady fingers from Chester this morning so I can continue on with my goal to empty him out!
And making up a new dessert is so FUN!

   Pudding and lady fingers and cool whip OH MY!
Vern Out

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Riddle me this

What do a fish fry, healthy chocolate bread (made from two year old goop that my cousin gave me), a flock of  happy, free-range chickens and a package of jalapeno cheddar cheese smoked sausages have in common?  Not a darn thing. Yep absolutely nothing; other than they all happen to be on the premises as I write this particular story.

Anyhow this will be short.  At least I intend for it to be short.  But I guess saying that it will be short has already made it longer than I intended for it to be...Anyhow, I continue on my ambitious pursuit to use up what meager food particles remain in our homestead.  And as I work tirelessly on this mission I am reminded of my purpose for being on this grand and splendid earth...and it tis to... do laundry...

and since I do so much God awful laundry, I hate when the dryer is broken (aka it rains like a sonofab*tch and therefore the clothesline doesn't work out so well and I have to either A. not do laundry or B. put the laundry in the dark, energy sucking abyss that is my real bonafide dryer).  Yes all this rain has really started to interrupt my laundry patterns which is more disturbing to me than interrupted sleep patterns so I hope the rain is over for awhile.  But this really has nothing to do with my story and I am trying to be quick so I am going to move right along....

My husband went ice-fishing a lot this winter (partly because he enjoys fishing, partly because he likes to avoid being around me and partly because this winter was so stinking long) and Chester therefore has a large number of fish stored within him.  A lot of fish!  So last week Jeff finally fired up the old fry daddy and made us a good old fashioned fish fry for dinner!!!  All joking aside, it was AWESOME! The BEST part, was this time I didn't choke on any bones!
 We take care of Mother Nature by reducing, reusing and recycling!

A bowl of cold water: The highly sophisticated thawing process that was developed by my main squeeze!

The mess created when my husband cooks can only be matched by a nuclear bomb or possibly a young child with uncontrollable diarrhea or a sharpie marker!

 The latest stash of hand-me-down foods...breakfast sausage, burritos and jalapeno cheddar sausages!

 Stan the Man competed in the "best dressed" contest at the Spring Lake Heritage Festival! 

 Yes the date reads 11-30-12 as in 2012 

This bag of goop (picture above) had been living in my cousin's freezer for over two years: A freezer that lacks a name I might add because she too doesn't believe in naming household appliances.  When will people ever learn?  Do they really think their appliances will perform at their best if they are not even on a first name basis with them?  Oh and yes I just used that two and a half year old goop tonight to make the AMAZING chocolate Amish Friendship bread pictured below!!
Wipe the drool off your face and get back to reading my story...

So not long after the Fish Fry, I had to evacuate Wally (remember he is the upstairs freezer who shares a duplex with our fridge!) Anyhow a few days ago Wally was much too warm as our ice cream was very soft when we were making our breakfast (yes we were having ice cream for breakfast, but there is a good explanation for that so please don't judge) the interest of keeping this short, I won't share the lengthy explanation with you, but rest assured that it was actually frozen yogurt which is basically a health food so my kids were being well cared for on this particular day in question when we were eating ice cream (I mean frozen yogurt) for breakfast.  And more importantly you do not need to report me to the authorities. Since the ice cream resembled milk instead of cream, I decided that swift action was required so at lightening speed I moved all of the food from Wally down to our beloved Chester.  I am proud to say that all of our frozen foods are now safe and sound under his jurisdiction and should we decide to dine on ice cream or frozen yogurt for breakfast it will be the proper consistency. 

P.S. Remember cute dogs help increase viewership and clearly my blog needs all the help it can get so please share my cute dog pictures with your friends!

That is all.

Vern Out

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Introducing Chester

Remember back when I wrote the story about Irma? Or how about the one about Victor?  If you have been following my adventures for awhile (and if your memory is better than mine because honestly I would never remember such trivial details like this about someone else's blog), then you realize that Irma and Victor are not people;  rather they are appliances of mine. Irma is my iron with whom I share a passionate love (and mostly hate) relationship while Victor is my zombie vacuum cleaner.  I know life here in Nunica is all kinds of wild and crazy especially when dealing with household appliances.  Well after a follower recently asked about my freezer and how it is possible that I am not done emptying it after more than four months of attempting to do just that, it dawned on me that you really should've met Chester first before Irma or Victor so here is the story of Chester. Slightly delayed, but I have always believed in the "better late than never" adage!

Chester is our chest freezer and he and I are roughly the same age, 29 (haha).  He immigrated here from Holland, MI back during the early seventies and he has been making an honest living here in Nunica since.  Yes Chester is a true Nunican through and through.  He has been around a good long while (In Nunica longer than I)  According to my husband and father-in-law and brother-in-law and any other male qualified to rate freezers... you just can't buy a reliable, industrious and long-lasting chest freezer, like Chester, nowadays.  So Chester is an important member of our family as he takes care of our food...oftentimes for a very long time (Case in point: halibut 11 years, goose 7 plus years and the list does go on and on).  He takes his job very seriously too and never sways from his role as Bouncer to our frozen food items.  He often goes without sleep, in order to assure our food is safe to eat!  Now that's commitment!

And in this corner weighing in at 230 solid pounds on an impressive, boxy frame and in amazingly great shape given his advanced age, from Nunica MI introducing...
"CHESTER the Molester Constantine"
 Chester showing off his innermost contents! This is personal people!

The rotten banana and the bread batter from my most recent attempt at
Amish Friendship Bread!

We freed up a lot of space removing that HUGE banana from Wally!
 The latest attempt at perfecting Amish Friendship Bread. 
The healthy version recipe with Chocolate Chips. It's the best of both worlds!

***Added Bonus:  I got to use up a rotten banana out of Wally, who is Chester's younger brother and who happens to be attached to our upstairs fridge!  Wally claims that Chester is somewhat of a bully of an older brother; however I have been monitoring the situation and so far I believe Wally is just a wimp and a whining little "brat"!  
 Johnsonville Brats I bought for a recipe that I actually followed! We combined them with ground venison, spinach, spices, cannelini beans and cheese for a casserole dinner a few nights ago!

The finished casserole was a huge hit; everyone was a clean plate ranger!

 Totally unrelated, but important breaking news here in Nunica:
It is officially dirty feet season! 

My kid's feet are at least this dirty at the end of each and every day.  I LOVE IT because it means they are playing outside in nature and not watching television, playing video games or otherwise "plugged in".  Everyone knows getting dirty is half the fun and that staying clean and germ free is NO FUN!

We are doing our part to lighten Chester's load by using stuff up from his overloaded interior! 
Vern Out 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Guess who or what?

Since I discoverd nearly an entire case of ramen noodles in the basement a couple months ago, I have become determined to use them up; I am committed to polishing them off in order to reach my goal of emptying our pantry. So I have been experimenting... with ramen noodles and amish friendship bread.  What can I say other than I hate to follow recipes and I want to get rid of these damn ramen noodles!

This experimental process kind of reminds me of the children's book by Thomas Rockwell called "How To Eat Fried Worms".  If you haven't read it, the book is about Billy, a boy, who is challenged to eat 15 worms for 15 days.  I don't remember what the prize is in the book, but I do remember that Billy kept experimenting with different ways to make the worms taste better.  Not unlike Billy, I keep trying to improve ramen noodles in order to make them more palatable for me so that we can use the blooming things up.  However, unlike Billy, I am doing this for no good reason; there is no prize!  The kids seem to love them and are not sick of eating them...yet.  It is likely just a matter of time though.  Me I am beyond sick of ramen noodles; I despise them.  At least I did until the other day when I stumbled across #53 (52 failures before I figured this one out).  Yes good old, lucky number 53 has got me drooling over noodles!  Just cook them as the instructions read but add a couple cups of fresh asparagus and only use half of the flavor packet so that you do not die from sodium poisoning.  It is delightful.  Now my Ramen Noodles are of the chicken variety, but I imagine the asparagus would be just as delightful in any of the other flavors so I encourage you to apply this recipe liberally to all things ramen.

 Asparagus Ramen Soup!
 Seriously I know it sounds gross, but it is sooo good!
Then today the guilt of not cooking for my family in a very long time caught up with me and I went on a fun little "vay cay" all  "guilt trip style" and this little trip led me to become very motivated.  Oh it also helped that my 4-year old slept until 9:30!  So on my little impromtu guilt trip, I returned to land of the chest freezer and discovered some quite aged (although it's all relative because compared to the Halibut it was very fresh!) Goose cerca 2007 and 2008 so tonight's dinner was all retro!  By 9:30 this morning I had filled the crockpot with all the fixings for goose stroganoff, washed (and hung out to dry) two loads of laundry, cleaned two cabinets in my kitchen and given birth to an octopus with nine arms!  Just kidding, I just wanted to see if you were still paying attention.

 The goose duo 2007, 2008
Up close and personal and aged to perfection!
I have also been busy trying to perfect the Amish Friendship Bread recipe(you know without actually following a recipe). It's the recipe that starts with babysitting a bag of goop for 10 days!  Well one thing you should know about me is that I dont really like to follow recipes exactly, or honestly, much at all.  I think of recipes as vague guidelines and use them primarily for new ideas when cooking.  So I have taken the liberty of messing with this bread recipe for the past couple of weeks and so far this chocolate version, is the favorite among our clan! I tried making a healthy version and it was not nearly as loved, but it wasn't chocolate flavored so I plan to make a healthy chocolate version later this week.
Hazel says YUMMY!
Bake more of this kind MOM!
Vern Out