Floral Friday – 4

These colorful petunia flowers were photographed while we were visiting the city of Cobh in Cork County Ireland. I’m not sure if this was taken before or after I fell into the street. Yes, I stepped off the curb, tripped and fell face first into the street. (Disclaimer: Guinness was not a factor during this incident.) Landing on my knee first was very painful, but I survived the embarrassment. Several people ran to my assistance, one even stopped his car and came over to help me up and to make sure I was OK. A waitress from the pub across the street came over to see if she could do anything. I’ve not experienced that much concern from strangers since. In Ireland the people were so friendly! If this fall had happened here in the states I would have been on my own. Anyways…. I’ve loved this photo ever since.

Cobh, Ireland

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Thermal Cooking aka Hay Box Cooking

What is thermal cooking? Well it’s like a slow cooker, but it does not use electricity at all and all the magic happens inside the insulated pot. The short and sweet of it is that food is heated to boiling for a period of time 5, 10, 15 minutes and then put into an insulated structure. The interior covered pot will retain all the heat and the food will slowly continue cooking for several hours.This cooking concept is not new. While doing some research I found a newspaper article from the late 1890’s describing the same method. I also found a drawing in the book Experiment Station Work, XLI from 1907. If interested in reading the article it can be found over on the Internet Archive.

Well my cooker is not made from wood but the concept is the same. I was able to duplicate the method using a lidded pot and a cooler. Considering the cooler took up so much counter space and the hot pot warped the plastic on the inside of the cooler I finally decided to purchase a small crock pot sized thermal cooker.

It’s very simple to use and there is no worry from leaving an electric appliance plugged in all day. Continue reading

Cutting the Cellphone Cord

Disclosure: I purchased these products, all opinions are my own. Post contains affiliate links.

A year ago we decided to ditch Verizon since our contract had expired and we were just on a month to month relationship with them. It was nice to have unlimited data, but the monthly costs for the old phones was outrageous. Hello Straight Talk. That change on it’s own cut our monthly cellphone bill down to $100 per month for 2 phones with unlimited voice, text and data. Now I’ve decided to do a little test to see if I can cut it a little deeper. So last month I decided to try and downsize a little more on the expenses that we currently pay each month.
I have been using a product from FreedomPop that allowed me to use my laptop while traveling since I didn’t want to try and tether my phone to my work laptop. The server was great and it was affordable. Since I never used up all my data the left over rolled over to next month. So every time I had to travel for work there would always be plenty of data.

So I looked to Freedom Pop for a solution to my cellphone downsizing project. I signed into FreedomPop and began researching phones. After a couple of days I finally pulled the trigger on a refurbished Samsung Galaxy S4 (my old phone is a S3) and purchased a year of service. My total investment (including phone) is: $189. This includes a year of service for: $79, the phone and $9.99 shipping costs. The plan I chose includes unlimited talk, unlimited text, 1 GB of data each month. Since I’m not usually heavy on the data this seemed like a win for me. There is one catch that I found out later but wasn’t such a big deal. To send and receive multi-media text and group texts there was an extra cost of $ 19.79 per year. Over the past month the service has worked great for me. I live out in the country so I don’t get the 4g LTE, but do get 3g. I’ve noticed that texting works great and I tend to text more than I do voice.

Over all I love the service so far and look forward to seeing how things work out this coming year.

Total costs cellphone service if paid monthly: $8.34
Current savings for the coming year: $523.92
Since I do want to save from this experience so I’ll be putting the difference into savings each month, and paying myself. What a great way to save for that next Ireland trip!

Disclosure: I purchased these products, all opinions are my own. Post contains affiliate links.

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Forefathers’ Day, December 22nd – It’s about the Succotash!

It’s all about the Succotash, the succotash… 🙂

Plymouth Succotash. Credit: Courtesy of Culinary Historians of Boston

Plymouth Succotash. Credit: Courtesy of Culinary Historians of Boston

Found in the Mrs. Lincoln Boston Cook Book – 1884

”     Succotash is the great dish in Plymouth at every celebration of Forefathers’ Day, December 22.  Tradition says it has been made in that town ever since the Pilgrims raised their first corn and beans, and it is supposed they learned to make it from the Indians.
Strangers are rather shy of this peculiar mixture; but it is a favorite dish with the natives, and to this day is made by some families many times through the winter
season. Although the dish has never been made by the writer, it has been tested by her in that ancient town many times, and the excellence of the following receipt
is unquestionable. It is given in the name of Mrs.Barnabas Churchill of Plymouth, a lady who has made it for fifty years after the manner handed down through many generations.
One quart of large white beans (not the pea beans) ; six quarts of hulled corn, — the smutty white Southern corn; six to eight pounds of corned beef, from the second cut of
the rattle rand; one pound of salt pork, fat and lean; chicken weighing from four to six pounds; one large white French turnip; eight or ten medium-sized potatoes.
Wash the beans, and soak over night in cold water. In the morning put them on in cold soft water. When boiling, change the water, and simmer until soft enough to
mash to a pulp and the water is nearly all absorbed. Wash the salt pork and the corned beef, which should be corned only three or four days. Put them on about
eight o’clock, in cold water, in a very large kettle, and skim as they begin to boil. Clean, and truss the chicken as for boiling, and put it with the meat about an hour and
a quarter before dinner time. Allow a longer time if a fowl be used, and keep plenty of water in the kettle.
Two hours before dinner time, put the beans, mashed to a pulp, and the hulled corn into another kettle, with some of the fat from the meat in the bottom to keep them from
sticking. Take out enough liquor from the meat to cover the corn and beans, and let them simmer where they will not burn. Stir often, and add more liquor if needed.
The mixture should be like a thick soup, and the beans should absorb all the liquor, yet it must not be too dry.
Pare, and cut the turnip into inch slices; add it about eleven o’clock, and the potatoes (pared) half an hour later. Take up the chicken as soon as tender, that it
may be served whole. Serve the beef and pork together, the chicken, turnip, and potatoes each on separate dishes, and the beans and corn in a tureen. The meat usually
salts the mixture sufficiently, and no other seasoning is necessary. Save the water left from the meat, to use in warming the corn and beans the next day, serving the
meat cold. This will keep several day’s in cold weather ; and like many other dishes, it is better the oftener it is warmed over, so there is no objection to making a large quantity. The white Southern corn is considered the only kind suitable for this ancient dinner. ”

Here’s my interpretation of the recipe.

Succotash Recipe – pre 1884

  • 1 quart large white beans (not peas)
  • 6 quarts hulled corn (corn cut from the cob)
  • 6-8 pounds corned beef
  • 1 pound salt pork
  • 4-6 pound chicken whole
  • 1 large white turnip
  • 8-10 medium size potatoes

Wash beans and soak over night.  Boil beans, then change the water, and bring back to a simmer.  Simmer beans until soft enough to mash.  Wash salt port and corned beef.  Put both in a pot of water and bring to a boil.  Truss chicken and put in the meat to cook for an hour and 15 minutes.  Put the mashed beans and hulled corn into a pot with some fat (little oil to keep from sticking to the pot).  Take enough of the water from the meat pot to cover the corn.  Simmer.  The corn and bean mixture will be thick like soup. Pare and cut the turnip into slices and the potatoes into cubes.  Cook until tender and serve separate with the meal.

 

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