Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Let Go Of That Draino!!

We don't have a garbage disposal (Sparky the WonderStomach doesn't count) but every now and then a drain will get clogged. I admit, I used to reach for the Draino, and then one day I got to wondering what was in it. According to the chemical warnings on it, pretty noxious stuff! That led me to wonder how the stuff gets treated and or filtered out of the sewers and so forth. The moment I thought, 'hmm, maybe it doesn't really ever break down...' was a huge eye-opener for me. So I went looking for something else that clears drains. Something I didn't need to keep under lock and key and wear a hazmat suit to use. As an asthmatic, I am always conscious of chemicals wafting in the air I'm trying to breathe. Here's what I found.

*Sprinkle  1/2 cup of baking soda into the clogged or slow running drain.
*Wash it down with  1/2 cup vinegar. Yes, it'll fuzz and bubble like a rabid animal. Put your stopper or plug into the drain. Leave for 15 minutes and go put the kettle on to boil.
*When the 15 minutes are up, pull the stopper out, pour the boiling water down the drain. Repeat if necessary.

If that doesn't work, or your sink is filled with water, plug any overflow holes with a rag and get out your extra plunger. You did buy an extra, right? If not, add that to your shopping list, they're invaluable. I have one that we use for off-the-grid clothes washing. Take the the plunge! Sorry...
 Take the plunger and plunge with a sharp motion until you think the obstruction may have cleared. Then repeat the baking soda and vinegar application above.

The baking soda/vinegar/boiling water application is  safe to use as often as you want. Ideally, you want to do this once a week to keep your drains clear, save frustration and hard earned cash on harsh chemicals.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Dirty Bird 'Sketti

I'm going to borrow an idea from a dear friend of mine over at Blether and post a recipe today. But not just any recipe...this is supper tonight! Hopefully I'll have the energy to make garlic bread too. The Dirty Bird 'Sketti idea came from Jacqueline and the garlic bread idea comes from Tammy.
So without further ado...

Guy Fieri's Dirty Bird 'Sketti
1/4 lb bacon, sliced into 1/4" pieces
1 tbls. ground ancho chili powder
1 tbls. ground cumin
1 tbls. ground garlic
2 tbls. dried thyme
1 tbls. dried oregano
1 teas. ground cinnamon
1 tbls. paprika
2 lbs boneless chicken, cut into 1/2" dice
3 tbls. butter
1 1/2 diced white onion (approx 2 med onions)
3 tbls. minced garlic
1/4 c. dry white wine
4 cups Marinara sauce
2 tbls. Worcestershire sauce
fresh black pepper
1 cup sliced green onion
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
2 tabls. finely shredded basil
1 lb. spaghetti

*In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and reserve the pan with the fat.
*In a small bowl, make a spice blend by mixing the cayenne, ancho chile, cumin, granulated garlic, thyme, oregano, cinnamon and paprika. Dust the mixture over the chicken pieces and toss to coat evenly. (Store the remaining blend in a tightly capped jar)
*Heat the bacon fat over medium-high heat. Add the chicken. Cook until browned on all sides, 10-12 minutes. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
*Melt the butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion and cook 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Stir in the wine, scraping up any brown bits. Add Marinara sauce, Worcestershire and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes.
*Add half the green onion, 1/4 cup of cilantro, the basil, chicken and bacon. Cook for 5 minutes to warm everything through.
*Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the spaghetti al dente. Serve the sauce over the spaghetti in a serving bowl and top with remaining green onions and cilantro.

We're having this tonight with garlic bread. The REAL kind, where I roast garlic, smush it into butter and coat bread with it. YUM!

For truly al dente pasta, Guy says everything else should be ready BEFORE the pasta, even your salad.


Sunday, February 05, 2012

A Peek At What's Coming

I'm working on a post that will talk about abandoned homesteads and gardens, and what one should look for, and how these might be a wealth of information for gardeners and survivalists alike. In the meantime, I share these profound words with you,
“A farm includes the passion of the farmer's heart, the interest of the farm's customers, the biological activity in the soil, the pleasantness of the air about the farm -- it's everything touching, emanating from, and supplying that piece of landscape. A farm is virtually a living organism. The tragedy of our time is that cultural philosophies and market realities are squeezing life's vitality out of most farms. And that is why the average farmer is now 60 years old. Serfdom just doesn't attract the best and brightest.”
― Joel Salatin, Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal