what’s in the fridge?

In the olden days, Grandma had an “icebox” — (sometimes oldtimers still call a refrigerator an icebox) which was literally a box with ice in it. In some areas, people could arrange for ice to be delivered on a regular basis, sort of like milk delivery. Before electricity, keeping things cold was a challenge. Folks would cut ice out of a lake in the winter and bury it in straw to insulate it, in hopes of keeping it a bit longer. A cold cellar was common — usually, a glorified hole in the ground. If they were lucky enough to live by a cold, running stream, a cellar was sometimes built over it. Or things were just put in the stream to keep cold. ...more

chocolate chips = frosting

Y’all know about this, right? Pretend you’ve baked a cake or some brownies, and you’re either too lazy to make frosting or you don’t have time to wait for the cake to cool. (Frosting a hot cake is a sad, sad thing to do…the frosting melts and runs and makes a mess. A hot mess.) It’s easy to picture not having time to wait for a cake to cool. People are always suddenly having birthdays, it seems. Birthdays always seem to sneak up on the unsuspecting Damsel. This works especially well for cakes served right out of the pan–like a Texas sheet cake. ...more

how to shorten jeans

People come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes, well, the jeans are too long. The Damsel takes note that length isn’t the only thing that can be wrong with jeans. Being a Child of the Seventies, the Damsel wears jeans a lot, mostly because they are comfortable. These, however, look painful. Will everything be okay if this person tries to sit down? ...more

backyard chicken adventures

To recap our story so far: ...more

Peanut Butter Balls

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on less than $10/day. My mother made these for us when we were kids. Happy sigh. I believe they're still a favorite treat of my littlest brother, but then maybe I just have the poor man frozen forever in childhood. ...more

The Food Journal

Today I have a quick question for you all: Does anybody care about "Jean's Food Journal"? In it, I keep a sometimes haphazard record of what I and my family eat each day. Lately it's been less fun for me to do. However, if people are interested in it, I will certainly do it, and I will try to do it more diligently and more often (I've started slacking a bit in the last month or two and have been skipping days). I expect, in fact, that if people really are interested in it or have suggestions for how to improve it, it might even become more fun again. And so, if you are interested in it or perhaps if you aren't, but you think you could be, please tell me what you'd really really like to see in it. Do you want it to be more specific?  Do you want portion sizes included?  ...more

Pizza with Garbanzo Sauce and Tomatoes

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on less than $10/day. Let me start off with a disclaimer: If you or someone you love hates beans, you or someone you love will hate this pizza.  ...more

Vegetable and Ricotta Stuffed Pepper Boats

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on less than $10/day. ...more

Balsamic Strawberries

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on less than $10/day. We had a refrigeration malfunction yesterday. Which is kind of a pain when you went big-shopping on Tuesday. As a result, I felt like we needed to get a bunch of that food into either usable condition or extended-life condition. What better way to do that than to add sugar? Oh, I know, let's add sugar and vinegar. ...more

Strawberry Sauce

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on less than $10/day. We still had more strawberries that needed to be used. And since our church has changed from starting at 9:00 to starting at 11:00, Sunday has become fun pancake day. Fun pancake day meet sketchy strawberries transformed. Of course ice cream, yogurt, pound cake, angel cake, and possibly oatmeal would welcome this as well. ...more