Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A bounty crop from a home garden

I recently had a large crop from my backyard okra plants and looked for something to do with them.

I found three different recipes for various okra soups that were tasty, easy to put together, and freezable. And they cover a wide variation in tastes.

Curried Turkey Okra Soup
(I used chicken).
Okra soup (added canned corn and went heavy on the black pepper)
Chicken and shrimp gumbo (I added a roux as a base)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Buy a house in foreclosure

I bought a house 2 years ago which was in foreclosure.

This was before the "buying a foreclosed home" became commonplace.

I didn't set out to buy a foreclosed home, what I wanted was something cheap which needed a rehab.

When you are looking for a home, these are the things to think about.

1) Buy something you can live in for 10 years.

Don't count on being able to sell it in 3-5 years if you want to move. You may not be able to recoup your investment if there is a downturn (like we just experienced).
I bought a house in New Jersey in 1991. It did not increase in value for the first 5 years I owned it. Then in the late 90's it started increasing, and by the time I sold it, the value had almost doubled.

2) Know the traffic.

When I bought in New Jersey, I looked for one year before I bought, going out every Sunday, looking at various towns which were within a good commuting distance. I concentrated looking in one particular town because I knew the traffic backed up on the highway, and I if I lived in Hasbrouck Heights, I could exit before I got stuck in traffic.

I knew someone who bought a house because it was on the front cover of a realtor magazine. It was a beautiful house, but only after they moved in did they realize the road it was on was a short cut to avoid the main road. Therefore they had much more, and noisy, traffic than they expected.

3) Think about flooding.

When I bought my house in New Jersey I didn't really think about this, but my house was on a hill so I did not have a problem.

I was lucky. One year there was a lot of rain, with a town a few miles away flooding quite badly. Looking at that town one would never have suspected could flood as it did. I think it was one of those 100 year floods - but, they do occur.

4) Think about your neighbors

Good neighbors are the best thing to have. Sometimes I am not always the best neighbor. I don't have the perfect lawn, and I even got a complaint from my neighbor in New Jersey because I had an old beat up trash can that she had to look at outside her kitchen window.

That is probably one reason I bought my next house in more of a "bohemian" area.
The only problem is once in a while there is loud music, and some loud cars, but not so much.

5) Buy a house you don't have the urge to knock down walls

This became my motto when I was house hunting. I have been through some remodelling, and I really enjoy many aspects.

However, I have learned, once you start knocking down walls, the remodelling never ends. It's always "well as long as we are doing this.... let's do that".

I am trying to keep my cost in my new "bungalow" as low as possible. I am learning to live with things I might prefer to have changed. It's possible.

I absolutely hated the upstairs bath in my New Jersey house. But, after a few years, it grew on me, and I kind of started liking it - at least a little bit.
Well, let's just say I didn't hate it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Shopping at "Mom's"

My Mother is bedridden. She is still at home, and I am her caregiver.

One of these days we will have to clean out this house and get rid of everything.

Even though my mother downsized from a much larger house 7 years ago, it's amazing how much "stuff" she kept.

So, we all kind of go "shopping" at Mom's.

In the beginning I felt bad about taking her things, but once she was bedridden and could no longer see the rest of the house, I don't worry about it so much.

Not only am I shopping, I am giving away things. Like a typewriter, which someone said they could use.

Get rid of it now, because it probably won't sell at the estate sale, and then you just have to haul it off to Goodwill.

I have learned how to "release" my stuff to other people, knowing it will give them enjoyment. There is no point in something sitting in a closet gathering dust, when someone can be using it.

So, in case any of my siblings are reading this, I took the saw horses to my "bungalow", along with a few shovels. If anyone else wants them, just let me know.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Recipe - Easiest Barbecue Brisket

This is an e-mail from my sister. Seriously, if you are hungry for bar-b-que, but don't want to spend money to eat out, fix this.

The instructions assume you know how to cook - and how long you cook it will depend on the piece of meat.

Brisket has gotten a bit expensive in the store, so I am thinking about trying this recipe on a cheap piece of roast. However, since I just bought 1/2 a beef (at 2.25 per pound, thank you very much) I won't be buying meat at a store for quite some time.

Recipe – Barbecue Brisket

On beef brisket, sprinkle garlic powder, onion salt, celery salt and 3 Tablespoons liquid smoke. Wrap in foil and refrigerate overnight. Next morning, sprinkle with black pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Wrap in the same foil and bake at 250°F to 275°F for several hours until tender. Let it cool, then slice and arrange in baking dish. Cover with barbecue sauce. Cover and bake so the sauce will cook into the brisket.

I see that there isn’t any temperature or time listed for the last step and I can’t remember what I did last time. It probably depends on how long it needs to be “held” while getting the rest of the meal ready.