Thursday, June 12, 2014

Our Septic Is Good To Go

When you live in the country, you can't just rely on the city for some of your services.

When you live in the city, you just flush the toilet and that's the end of it.  When you live in the country, you flush the toilet and it travels to a holding tank and a drain field.   There is a requirement that households must have their septic inspected every three years and if necessary, have the sludge pumped out into a big stinky truck.  That's what we had done today.  It has been 2 1/2 years since we had it done.  During that time I have converted to using my homemade laundry detergent and soap nuts.

We also changed to the toilet paper Consumer Reports recommended for septic systems.  It is White Cloud 3 ply Ultra.  We were hoping it was a good choice because that is very important and the last thing we wanted was a septic problem.  We were pleased we made the changes.  The person who pumps out the septic tanks said we were in such good shape that we probably wouldn't need to be pumped out yet.  He was very impressed with how the toilet paper and the no suds detergent broke down.  As long as the truck was here, we decided to go ahead and have it done anyway.

So for the next three years we should be good to GO.  Although I think having a cute little decorative outhouse would be fun, but not for me.  I prefer indoor plumbing. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Salmon Patties and Creamed Peas

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but I really like Aldi's grocery store.  They have changed so much in later years.  The first time I went a long time ago, I thought it was a little tacky and didn't have very healthy food.  They always had good prices but I wasn't thrilled with it.  Fast forward years later.  They have come a long way, and it is my store of choice for many things.  Some of you may not know that Aldi is owned by Germany’s Albrecht family.  It is the same family that owns the very popular Trader Joe's.  Aldi now has gluten free items as well as organic fruits and vegetables.  I still don't buy meat there, but perhaps that will come in time.

For those who know that this is my recipe Tuesday and wonder where I'm going with this story, I will tell you.  Today I went to Aldi's.  I bought some groceries.  As usual, I don't know what to make for dinner.  Every night I manage to come up with a meal, but it isn't fun.  The food the men in my house like and what I like are two different things.  I thought today I was going to cook something I like.  I bought a can of pink salmon, a can of petite peas and a bag of frozen biscuits.  Some of you will read no further, but maybe a few will like my meal.

Salmon Patties

1 can of Pink Salmon (red salmon is good for sandwiches and salad, but pink is fine for this)
1 egg
1 small chopped onion
1/2 cup of bread crumbs (I make my own crumbs and keep them in a jar in the freezer)
Salt and pepper to taste

This isn't anyone's favorite part, but open the can of salmon.  Pour it out in a pie plate and carefully take off the skin and the bones.  My grandma just mashed up the bones, but I take them out.  Then crumble the meat in a bowl.  Add a slightly beaten egg, a finely chopped onion and the bread crumbs.  Mix completely and then salt and pepper the mixture.

Heat some oil in a frying pan.  I used about two tablespoons of grapeseed oil but any oil will do.
Form the meat mixture into patties and place into the pan.  Fry until brown on one side, turn over and brown the other side.  This doesn't take very much time.  Five minutes at the most.

I got seven medium sized patties from one can of salmon.

Creamed Peas

2 cups of milk
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter

Make a white sauce.  There are a couple ways to do this.  Some people melt the butter and stir in the flour.  This is called making a roux.  Then cook the flour and butter together a little and add in the milk.  Stir until the sauce is thickened and season it to taste.  I do it a little differently.  I just put the milk, flour and salt in the sauce pan and use the immersion blender to completely blend the flour lumps out.  Then I add the butter, bring to a boil and cook until thickened.  I'm not a chef, just a home cook so any way to get the job done is what I do.

When the white sauce is finished, I stir in a drained can of petite peas.

The peas can be put on top of the salmon patties or on mashed potatoes.  I made biscuits and put the peas on the biscuits.

I haven't heard anything from the guys as to how they liked this meal,  but it made me very happy.  I am sure my youngest daughter is very happy that she doesn't live at home any longer.  Canned peas and canned salmon are right on the bottom of her list of favorite foods.  There is a lesson here for all the parents who forced their children to eat certain foods.  Some kids have to sit at the table until they throw up or it is bedtime.  That won't make a person like certain foods.  Just ask my daughter. Although it never got to that point with her.  She thinks I didn't know she hid the peas in her napkin and pushed the other food around the plate until it looked finished. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Banana Peel Fertilizer

Lately I have been seeing a lot of posts about the value of banana peels for a natural plant fertilizer.  I don't really know if it works, but I thought I would try it for myself.  We eat a lot of bananas and a lot of eggs.  I started saving the banana peels and egg shells.  I put them on an old cookie sheet and set them outside in the sun.  In a couple days the peels turned brown and dried up.

When they were ready, I put everything into the blender.  They turned to a powder resembling dry dirt.

Banana peel and egg shell fertilizer

I sprinkled this mixture on some of my plants and now I have to wait to see how they grow.  I did buy a bare rooted rose bush at the home improvement store.  It had a super rebate and was very inexpensive.  If it doesn't make it, I'm not losing much.  I planted it and it started to slowly die.  One stem turned brown and then another.  The only stem left is green but it looks pretty sad.  I read that banana peel fertilizer is good for roses.  I took a whole peel and buried three sections around the perimeter of the bush.  I watered it and within a few days I was seeing new growth.  It might have happened anyway, but this is what it looks like today.

If anyone has any experience with this natural fertilizer, please let me know.  I will update this blog one way or the other.  Hopefully the rose bush will grow and bloom and be beautiful.  If not, it wouldn't be the first time I lost a planting.