Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Answers to questions

I had a few questions asked on my post about Julia (my monitor top refrigerator), and the last post about the kitchen, so I thought I'd answer them here, even though I usually answer in the comments, by email, or in my comment on your blog.

I just figured that if someone asked, others might be interested too :)

While you read along, I threw in a few pictures of day to day life here.

So, first up is this comment from Diana:

"I, of course, love your kitchen, BUT, I am curious about your "every day, from scratch" cooking. Nobody does that much anymore and I would love to hear what you cook. Recipes not necessary, just a list. I love to read about your house and projects. Thank you for sharing! "

Here's the list of 5 dinners for this week:

Monday we had left over red beans and rice, which I had saved in the freezer.

Yesterday, we had a savory dutch baby with parmesan and mushrooms and a small salad w/ a homemade white balsamic vinaigrette.

Tonight I'm cooking a pork roast with acorn squash slices.

For the other two nights:

French onion soup

Steak with blue cheese, mashed potatoes and artichokes

I'll be going to the store Friday, as usual, to shop for the next 3 or 4 days, which is usually how long I plan out for dinners and then I'll go again on Tuesday. I've tried shopping once a week, but I would always end up not wanting what I chose 5 days in advance lol

Most of my recipes come from my cookbooks or family recipes, unless I find something on the internet that makes me drool.

For breakfast, I have steel cut oats with maple syrup and heavy cream, or granola, and John doesn't eat breakfast, except sometimes on Sundays, when he'll make something like french toast, eggs and home fries,

For lunch, I'll have something like cheese and fruit.

For dessert, I'll make a cake, cookies or pie, although we've been cutting down on sweets. Tonight though, I made a chocolate pudding cake from scratch. No cake mix for me!

Not chocolate pudding cake!

Just about everything is made from scratch. I make my own salad dressings, croutons, mock Bisquick, and broth, etc. 

making broth

The only already made things I buy once in awhile are crackers, bread (although I do make it occasionally), and sweets (in the hot summer months), but they're organic.

I do plan on learning how to can and hopefully, next year I'll have a vegetable and fruit garden.

I think I answered more than anyone wanted to know lol

Miss Merry asked:

"Can I ask the fragrance of your candle?"

It's just a candle I picked up at wallyworld, when I was in a hurry, called Banana Bread by Better Homes and Garden. Not too great, but not too bad either ;)

Dewena asked:

"Julia is beautiful and she should feel very loved after all your hard work! Congratulations on bringing her to a home I'm sure she feels very at home in. Does she keep cold? Does she have to be defrosted, a job I do not remember with pleasure? I know to you she would be worth it though. The next time I spot her sister in one of my old magazines I'll be thinking of her."

Yes, she keeps really cold! In fact, when we first tested her after bring her home, I put a glass of water on her top shelf and it froze within an hour. As far as defrosting, it's been almost a month and she barely has any buildup at all, so I'm not sure how often it'll have to be done yet, but I'm sure I will at some point. The other fridge had to be defrosted quite often, so I'm used to it :)

BJ asked where I got Julia:

We found her in an antique store down the street. At first she wasn't for sale, but one day she was and that's when she came to her new home!

Su asked:

"So the little freezer section on it, does it freeze? Some small refrigerators in Italy don't have a door on the freezer. Did he put a new motor in it?"

Yes, the freezer section works really well! This one had a door, but sadly it broke off. And no, we didn't need to put a new motor on it. We just needed to put a new seal around the door and paint it.

I think I answered everyone. If I missed someone or if anyone has any other questions, I'll be happy to answer them. 

Within reason of course ;)



  1. Your meals sound so delicious...we are trying to do much more from scratch now, too!

  2. Hello, dear girl!
    Oh if I lived close to you, I would be delighted to help you do some canning. I love to can, though being empty nesters, I don't do nearly as much canning as I once did. Do you remember when we lived in the "Cottage on Main"? I bottled over 500 jars of summer bounty one year!
    Anyhoo... I gave our youngest son and daughter in love all of our canning jars, and a ton of canning supplies. I just held back a few of my favorite jars for future use :)

    We too make the majority of our meals here at home. We like real food, and we are getting pretty picky about fillers that a lot of foods contain.. ie. soy and soy products.
    Kitchen arts are enjoyable to us, and we love to be in the kitchen puttering together...very romantic and old fashioned :)

    Smiles :)

    p.s. I loved your idea about placing Alexa behind your old radio; that's an idea that I am going to try out. I too have an old radio, and it does work, but only receives am channels and very few at that :)

  3. What a wonderful, artsy post! Thanks for all of the helpful information. I cook and bake from scratch, too. It's interesting to hear what other people are eating regularly for their meals. It's kind of like hearing how much they spend on their daily expenses. I find that stuff fascinating. I am drooling over your flagstone driveway. Wow! It is spectacular.

  4. I cook from scratch, too. It doesn't take that much longer, and I like knowing what we're putting into our bodies. As far as cake mixes go, how hard is it to measure sugar and flour? I never could figure out the point of buying a mix.
    OTOH, your meals sound so much more reasonable than ours. My husband wants a big piece of meat with potatoes, vegetable optional, every night. My kid and I are loosely vegetarian. We end up eating completely different things. I like your idea of a savory Dutch baby--will have to try that.

  5. Rue, thank you for answering my question and the others here! I loved this post and I'm sure many are fascinated by your life and are curious about just the things you wrote about here. I particularly enjoyed seeing pictures of your beautiful kitchen in action and reading about the meals you cook there. Well done, Rue!

  6. I love to think of your kitchen with a banana bread smell! Thank you for answering. Contact your area extension agent for the current information on canning. I bought my guide about 25 years ago and my son reminded me that things have changed. One thing I had not thought of when using those methods is that the produce grown today has been bred to reduce acidity which effects your canning methods. So while your mother was able to can somethings in a hot water bath (or even (don't do this) in an oven), tomato seeds and plants today do not have as much acid as the ones they used. The extension service can guide you as to what method is the safest for every fruit or vegetable. If you get a pressure canner (mine sits on my stove) you can even can meat. There is nothing as nice as lined up jars of roast beef. It cooks while it cans and makes the best sandwiches in the world.

  7. I make most everything from scratch too, Rue - no mixes or prepared foods for us either! Neither one of us is a junk food eater nor big sweets eaters (we mostly gave up processed sugar a few years ago), though like you said, I'm not the food police (or Hitler, lol) either! We do have some healthy-ish organic snacks (crackers, root veggie chips) for munching if we're in the mood. And I did make Brian oatmeal cookies with homemade butterscotch chips (I refused to buy the packaged ones that were nothing but a mass of chemicals - I was actually horrified looking at the label!) the other day because he was craving them. ;-)

  8. Thank you so much for answering the questions and providing more information! You can never give too much info! I love the "can" of maple syrup and the bottle of cream. Those details are the ones that I seem to gravitate to the most! I cook from scratch sometimes...depends on how much time I have. Unfortunately, I will never make a cake from scratch...just too easy for me to buy the mix and tweak it to what I want. I don't have a large pantry, which means there is not a lot of room for different cake flours, sugars, etc. Twinkies!! OMGOSH...wonderful! Especially the pumpkin spice flavored Twinkies...or deep friend Twinkies...or pink Twinkies (not snowballs..yuck)...well, you get the picture! ;-) Love and hugs sweet friend! PS...I have no idea who left the "I love you" message on my blog...too weird...I thought it was spam of some sort...LOL

  9. Thank you so much! Just what I was hoping for.
    I agree.... you can never give too many details!
    Diana in illinois

  10. Never heard of savory Dutch baby before. Thought for sure it was a typo til I consulted the internet. Looks delicious!

  11. Your meals sound good and not a lot of work. I love that you cook homemade foods for you and John. I have to look up and see what a Dutch baby is. Sounds yummy.
    Have a good rest of the week.

  12. I agree, dessert should always be made from scratch, I may cut corners with main meals (hats off to you for cooking everything from scratch), but never dessert. I loved your video tour (and soundtrack ) in your previous post.


  13. I try to cook most things from scratch also, but do give in to convenience foods sometimes...especially if there's a really good sale. They are handy to have in the pantry for busy nights, after an especially hellish day/week at work. I did some canning this summer, to preserve as much of the summer's bounty as I could. I also freeze a ton of stuff that we grow, either in the form of soups, sauces, or leftovers. I've been trying to do a big shopping once a month, to keep the budget low - I'll just pick up milk or bread in between as needed. But that would not work with your little Julia, unfortunately!

  14. Always love seeing a posting from you in my inbox:) I was thinking that maybe you could find a freezer door for Julia on ebay - the things you find . . .

  15. You really are a girl after my own heart. I do things from scratch because I have to keep a very low sodium, low carb diet and I hate boxed foods,store bought dressings, etc. I used to make my own mayo but the family ate it up by the spoonful! I even made my own homemade salami which was always a hit.
    Defrosting is not as difficult as some make it to be. I had a lovely 1940s refrigerator or icebox as my Dad would call them in my home in Utah. Held little but, did a great job.
    I am home from heart surgery today feeling like I was hit by a truck but glad to be home. Your post gave me smiles. Thank you sweetheart.

  16. That's amazing! A don't think a new refrigerator would not freeze an ice cube completely in an hour. Thanks for answering my question, Rue. I like your shopping plan. I may have to try it. Once a week doesn't work for me for the same reason, but it seems I have to run there every other day, though there is much less food waste since my daughter is at school. We cook mostly from scratch too, but not smooth cakes. They never come out right for me. I can make lots of different coffee cakes though. But I try to stick with healthy oatmeal cookies, because it is just me and my spouse except weekends. xoxo Su

  17. Rue,
    I loved this post! Your meals sound delicious! I like to make most of our meals from scratch as well! I too shop for 3 or 4 days worth rather than seven. Less spoilage that way. Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  18. Loved everything about this post - especially reading what u cook on a nightly basis. and any photo of your house i love.

  19. Love this post, Rue, as it clearly demonstrates that someone else cooks everything from scratch. I'm old enough to be your mother, if not quite old enough to be your grandmother, but cooking from scratch is how we used to cook before convenience foods came along and how I've always cooked. I did try dried Vesta curries in the 1960s, where you just add water and heat, but they were disgusting. I make my own soups, my own cakes and my own pies, quiches, etc. And if people say "well, she's retired, she has the time!" I would say that I have always done this, even when I was working and later when we had our family and I worked part-time. Love 'Julia' by the way!
    Margaret P


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