Sunday, January 4, 2009

All Is Quiet

Now that the holidays are over, things have slowed down to a calmer pace here at Twelve Acres. No more baking till the wee hours of night, no more wrapping and last minute trips to the store. Now I can slow down and focus on the pleasant activities that make me happy.

I have spent a considerable amount of time organizing and streamlining my kitchen this past week. I've also learned some time-saving tips and techniques by watching most of the cooking shows on the Food Network, which I pre-record and watch at night when everyone else is in bed (fast forwarding through the commercials of course). My favorite chef is Alton Brown, host of Good Eats. He's a talented technician and his multi-purpose gadgets really make me stop and think about the stuff in my kitchen drawers. I've changed my tool layout following his method and it's really made a difference in the way that I cook. What a relief! I am having a lot more fun in my kitchen now. I appreciate Ina Garten's and Tyler Florence's easy-going, practical approach to cooking as well. The best food comes from using simple ingredients cooked properly. No need for all that fuss! Fuggedaboutit!

I have invested in a 14 piece set of stainless steel Emerilware
. Emeril's stainless steel line is made by All Clad, which any cookware devotee will instantly drool over. I can't afford the All-Clad line, but I can afford the Emerilware version! It arrived today and I went through all of my Calphalon pieces and put the ones I've replaced into storage. When Derek moves out he'll inherit them. They're all very functional still and in great shape and he has experience cooking with them, so he knows how to handle them.

I made a turkey pot pie today using my new Taste Of Home cookbook and my brand-spankin'-new 3 quart stainless steel sauce pan. This cookware heats much more quickly than the hard-anodized aluminum I'm used to using, so I had to turn the heat down a bit while cooking the filling. It occurred to me that this new cookware will save me money because I use less propane when cooking! BONUS! My investment is going to save me money! I'm beside myself with glee!

The chooks have picked up egg laying this week. I think the extra hours of light provided by the light on a timer are starting to have an affect on them. Half of my Australorps are once again laying, albeit slower. I've been averaging 5 eggs a day, up from 3! Yay me! Now I can once again cook up some egg dishes for supper. I was really sweating it last month during all my holiday baking. There was more than one day when I used up all the eggs in the fridge. And then there were the customers who wanted eggs that I couldn't supply.

I'm enjoying all the wonderful gifts I received for Christmas. Everyone who knows me and loves me knows that I spend the majority of my day in one of two places: outside with my animals or in my kitchen. Everything I received can be used in either of those two places. Isn't that nice?


  1. We love Alton, he is the best! He is incredibly talented in teaching and understands that it does help to understand what is going on in order to be a better cook.

    I make my girls watch him all the time, well "make" isn't really the right word there.

    We have most of his stuff recorded, tivo is great!

  2. Wow, a big score on the cookware! I don't have a set of anything. I pick up a piece here and a piece there. I like all the ones I have though.

    Glad the girls are picking up the egg-laying pace. I don't even want to tell you how many I'm getting. Okay, I will. Got 12 today! One was squishy-shelled though, so it doesn't really count.

    I just checked out Ina Garten's new Back to Basics cookbook from the library and I really like it. It might become a future purchase.

  3. Glad to hear things are settling down, they are her too thankfully. I have been doing some organizing too but have a ways to go. I like to get it done now because come Spring we are so busy with outside stuff.
    I love that magazine taste of home.

  4. I'm a big fan of FoodNetwork. Also, I like Top Chef.

    I'll check our the EmerilWare. I've got the green Rachel Ray that I use.

  5. Lanny, I agree with what you said about Alton Brown. I learn much better when I understand WHY things work the way they do. So understanding why water boils is much more helpful to me than how to make it boil. Oh, and I love my DVR too!

    Susan, I got 11 eggs today! Hurray! I'm back in business! Tomorrow is omelet night for sure! Plus I want to try out a method for hash browns that I haven't tried before. Hey, when you get some time, could you explain your tried and true method for cooking on a cast iron skillet? Send me an E if you like.

    Kim, I agree, now is the best time of year to take care of indoor chores. It's too nice to do it during the growing season when I'd rather be out with my critters than trapped inside with work.

    Joanna, I have looked at Rachel Ray's stuff too. She has some very unique designs and colors. I am very drawn to the gleam of stainless steel and most of the items in my kitchen are stainless steel or white enamelware.

  6. I love Taste of Home magazine and cookbooks! So glad you are enjoying your Christmas gifts! My chickens are just now starting back up to laying. Blessings, Kathleen

  7. The best Christmas presents are from people who care enough to buy you things YOU like - as in your case, stuff to use outside with your animals or in the kitchen. Lucky you to get such gifts! Enjoy, enjoy!

  8. Kathleen, hurray for your girls! I am so glad mine are getting back into production too. Bring on the omelets!

    Rural Writer, so true. And I am very lucky to have people who love me choose such thoughtful gifts for me.


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