Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Removing Bottle Labels

I am on a real tear in my house this week.  I am trying desperately to do 'summer' cleaning.  You know, the kind of cleaning that hurts...both physically and emotionally.  We live in small space.  There are 5 of us sharing approximately 1000 square feet and between my milking equipment, my craft stash and my homeschooling books, there is very little room for my kids!  And, tomorrow we are heading south to my mother's home for the very last time....ever.  My mother passed away a little over two years ago and we finally got it together to sell her house and move forward.  I will post about that over the weekend, as I am sure it will be an emotional trip, which I would be happy to share with you.  But, for today I thought I would share something fun and simple.  Matter of fact, I had no idea how simple it really was.   I am a sucker for western themed wine bottles and jump at the chance to try them, even if they are a robust red wine that makes me gag as I swallow it...it's all about the label, Baby.  Feel free to share the names of any and I will be happy to rush out and make the bottle disappear in order to attain the bless-ed label!  So, I have had these two bottles, one being the Purple Cowboy, which I will have you know that my hubby actually sampled!  Doesn't matter if he immediately gagged, choked and spit it at me.  It was a VERY strong red wine which forced me to commit wine tasting sins of great magnitudes...I put ice in it to choke it down.  I am of a frugal sort, so pouring it down the drain and wasting $11 wasn't happening.  In hind site, perhaps cooking with it would have been less traumatic.  Hind site is always 20/20.  Back to the bottles which had been moving from place to place in my kitchen.  Once they lived on the little shelf over my stove, another time the lived on top of the refrigerator and most recently they sat on my antique dresser next to the coffee pots.  I think I knew at that point that they were doomed.  They, in no way, were necessary.  So, today, during spring cleaning I looked at them...then, they looked at me....then I looked at them and immediately googled on my phone how to remove wine labels.  Who knew there were so many websites dedicated to this sort of thing.  Easy peasy....watch this.

Place your bottle (or bottles for those lushes out there) on your oven rack label side up.  Turn your oven on and set your timer for 5-7 minutes.  Of course, more is better is the motto in our family, so I let 'em go to 9 minutes.  I am such a rebel.   Then, remove a bottle with a pot holder and place it standing up on a dish towel.  Take a razor blade or exacto knife and gently lift the edge of one corner of the label.  When you have lifted enough, use your fingers to gently peel it the rest of the way off. 

The glue will be very tacky so try not to lean over and inspect your
accomplishment.   Your hair will fall over your shoulder, get stuck and leave you spinning in circles like a dog chasing it's tail trying to get the blasted thing out.  Finally, you will sit on the floor and ask your 4 year old to rescue you and you might end up with a bald spot.  To prevent all this, just turn the little label right side down and place on your counter or a cookie sheet and move on to the next step. 

At this point you can either adhere the little goody directly onto paper (for you crafters out there, some other trinket that you wish to decopage with wine labels) or you can dust with a light coat of baby powder.  This is the route I went as I have no immediate plans for them, but given time, I will.... 

On a final note, the strangest thing happened to me today.  Being that I blogged about the Fisher & Paykel Wonder Washer yesterday, I received an email today that 'Fisher Paykel' requested to follow me on Twitter.  I was intrigued so I accepted their request.  Immediately, it took me to their home page where I found this Tweet...

"Kerri from Texas, wrote this awesome blog post!  Her encompassing story to find the washer of her dreams." 

.....with a link to my blog!  Oh, my stars, am I famous?  I mean they have 729 followers!  And, how in tarnation did these folks find my blog post....so quickly to boot.  Whatever computer program they have scouring the internet needs to be acquired by the US government to monitor all illegal activites.  Maybe Fisher & Paykel could contract it out to them....the next movement in National Security?

Prairie Kerri

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Porsche of Washing Machines

Yesterday, July 4th, so many Americans were celebrating our nation's independence, but I selfishly was celebrating mine.  You see, about 5 months ago, my dryer went out and being the prairie-girl that I am, I embraced that challenge to it's fullest.  No, ma'am, I did not complain when I had to hang out my laundry in sub-zero temperatures and snow....

but the Lord knows my heart.....I wanted to.  And, I would like to say that to date I didn't complain....often.  And, in my final days of a dryer-less life, I would like to note that it wasn't me that complained the loudest.  I did learn that you can, in fact, freeze dry clothes. Who knew, right?  However, with the changing of the seasons and  the sudden, and quite unexpected monsoon season brought on with Hurricane Alex, I found myself making statements to my son, innocently looking for a pair of jeans, like...."I don't know what to tell you...do chores in your undewear, we live in the country, boy!"  I tried that on my husband and that's when the axe fell.  Okay, not really, but it was getting down to the wire on his clean clothes inventory. 
So, this is the story of how we acquired a new, or not new, dryer (and washer)...

For those of you that know our family intimately, you know that any "major" purchase is excruciating for me.  It feeds an ongoing inner-struggle of do we 'want' or 'need' said item.  And, with this particular issue, the pendulum swung between 'want' and 'need' depending on the weather.  And given the length of time one needs to research every reasonably priced laundry appliance thoroughly, there has been many a change in weather.  So, yesterday morning I slept in until 6:08 and was greeted with a cheery phone call from Hye Country Heather who chirped , "Goooood Morning!"  She was clearly dillusional and had lost track of her days.  It is an unspoken rule that Sunday is a day of rest and should be considered sacred.  So, I quickly assessed that she must have lost Sunday and had moved on to Monday."Heather, what in tarnation are you doing up this early on a Sunday?".   Her family had purchased a rather large quantity of some of the Texas Hillcountry's finest peaches and she was dutifully going to her mom's house to peel, slice, dice and chop those babies to turn them into the nectar of the gods....her prize winning Peach Preserves (I am hoping she will share that recipe on her blog at a later date...if not, because you all need it, I will do what any good blogger does and steal the secret family recipe and blog it for all the world to read!).  She later confessed that she was trying to "get" me since I routinely call her...daily...as her morning wake up call. You know the one, "IT'S TIME TO GET UP! THE DAYS AWASTIN'! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, A PRINCESS OR SOMETHING?" **Note to all of you who also provide, as a service to your friends, morning wake up calls....make sure it is the intended person that actually answers the phone before battering them with a barrage of loud verbal assualts. I am quite convinced that only the intended person will truly appreciate being woke from their slumber this way.

So, for the next 6 hours at my home, the great search was on for THE perfect dryer.  We scanned craigslist and researched and looked online at Independence Day sales.  In the beginning, I was excited, hoping to find 'THE ONE'.  But, somewhere between hour 4 and hour 5 of the research, I began to lose my enthusiasm.  I am not sure if it was hunger or the nagging feeling like we should be putting up the chicken yard and planting honeysuckle around it, but something caused me to have a change of heart.  Oh, I remember now, it was the fact that the sun was shining at this point and I didn't need a dryer (did you see the pendulum swing right before your very eyes?).  After all was said and done, we had decided on a Fisher & Paykel dryer.  Mainly because the consumer reviews on both the washer, which sounded amazing, and the dryer were almost unanimously good.  Lowe's had them and were running a special that all major appliances were 10% off....all, that is, except Fisher & Paykel!  WHAT?!?! 

The end of all to the day was we found a Fisher Paykel washer and a Kenmore Elite dryer (which had terrible reviews) both which were 4 years old for $250.  That price for the washer alone would have been a great deal in itself.  You see this magical washer does amazing things to your laundry; things like spinning at 1000 rpm's during the spin cycle and starting every load with a 5-10 minutes intense wash with a minimal amount of water and your detergent.  Oh, and the major selling point to my husband (and almost a foreign language to me), it has a direct drive motor.  Girls, this means something like... there is no belt and it's more like a power tool, I think.  Now, the pendulum flat broke because at this point, I definitely no longer need a dryer, but I NEEDED that washer.  So, we merrily drove 2 hours away to pick this set up and I resigned to using the (terribly reviewed) Kenmore Elite dryer to its death all the while enjoying the awesomeness of the Fisher & Paykel washer.  It definitely will make up for the junky dryer, right? Oh, I shouldn't be so hard on the poor ol' Kenmore dryer.  It's a Mr. Fancy Pants, too.  He is all digital and fancy and even has a moisture sensor, but no matter how I look at him, he will never be a Fisher & Paykel.  Non-the-less, he is mine and I will use him. 

So, on a side note, Hye Country Heather called as we were on our way to pick them up.  I hadn't talked to her all day to let her know of our adventure.  I immediately tell her of the F&P washing machines greatness and this was her response:

      It sure is hard to be your friend sometimes.  Here I am sitting here at home, perfectly content with my washer and dryer and you have to go out and find the Porsche of all washers and dryers....

I reply...."Yep!"

So, I am off to finish up driving my Porsche....errr....washing anything and everything I can find.  My laundry today has been unusually clean and that is a miracle.  Between my farm-schooled kids and my hubby who is a farrier (does anyone out there know how bad stinky horse feet mixed with sweat smell),  it is truly a testament for the cleaning power of the Fisher & Paykel Ecosmart washing machine!  Oh, just to quell your curiosity and to help you be efficient of your time, here is a pic of the little beauty.  I don't want you to go off wastin' more time looking around for one on the internet.  I mean, I am sure you have laundry to do or somethin', right?

Prairie Kerri

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Peach Salsa

My first attempt at this was six summers ago, with Hye Country Heather and her our dear mother, Oma.  If I haven't already shared with you, I adopted Oma many years back.  She's mine for the keeping and I have already told Heather that if I ever have to fight her for Oma, I'll do it....and I am meaner than Heather....she knows it.  But, for now, there is peace....we will share Oma.  But, in the summer of 2004, Heather and I met at her mother's for a weekend of canning and kolache making.  I jokingly called it our own 'Jamboree'.  We made kolaches, peach preserves, peach chutney, tomato preserves, grape jelly (we both got chiggers from that little adventure) and the bless-ed (you must say it like that....two words, people) PEACH SALSA! 

It has been many years, obviously, since we made it (for those of you who are bad at math, that's 6).  I was blessed this year by a friend to go pick all the peaches I wanted - immediately I heard the voice in my head whisper softly....Peach Salsa.  However, I became a little over-whelmed with the 75+ pounds I picked, and ended up freezing all of those all doused in sugar.  But, still I heard the voice chiming in when I laid my eyes upon our loaded tomato plants.  You see, when we planted our garden this spring, I dreamed at night of all the tomatoes I would have.  I would can them whole, diced, Rotel style and even make spaghetti sauce.  Oh, how I dreamed.  Pshaw!  I haven't picked a ripe one yet.  They set tons, but it got so hot they never turned.  Then, in the still of the night just 2 weeks back, some lowly scoundrel came and plucked off every last one of my green tomatoes.  To date, I still cannot explain what happened to them.  Was it the great Tomato Horn Worm (whom I have come to love feeding to my chickens) or was it Little Peter Cottontail?  I may never know, but since then, I have been babysitting my tomato plants...checking them morning, noon and night.  All this trauma aside, there was still a nagging for me to make the Peach Salsa.  So, what does any good prairiegirl do?  She goes into her local, small town grocery store and squeals with excitement when both peaches and tomatoes are on sale, loads up and heads back home to start a cookin' (only to find out that she forgot after 6 years that she needed apples, too).  Lucky for her, her darling husband calls and asks if she needs anything before he heads home that evening.  He truly is my knight in shining armor! 

Before I get on with sharing the recipe, I thought I would share a tutorial video on how to slip the skins off of tomatoes.  If you don't heed the advice of this video, I am done with you.  There is nothing left to say....we will sever this relationship and part ways.  Okay, maybe a little dramatic, but seriously, you hard-headed folks that attempt to just peel them with your purty little paring knife will come around after 2 or 3 tomatoes.  Ask me how I know.  On a side note, I have heard that you can do this with the peaches, too.  I am too hard-headed for that nonsense, plus the peaches I got at the store were more like softball texture, so I could actually peel them with my handy-dandy Pampered Chef vegetable peeler (did you like that little plug there?). 

So, watch this short clip on peeling tomatoes, then proceed to recipe.....


15 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
5 fresh peaches (preferably ripe and sweet), peeled, pitted and chopped
5 red apples, peeled, cored and diced
4 medium onions, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 Tbs. salt
1 cup pickling spice (not to be confused with pickling salt), wrapped in cheesecloth

Combine all in a large stock pot.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer for ~ 2 hours or until thickened.  Transfer to sterile jars.

**My note on this recipe was this:  'Almost botched the frist time when Heather came home with pickling SALT instead of pickling SPICE! 

This is super yummy over cream cheese!  Enjoy!

Prairie Kerri

P.S.  For a little garden education I thought I would share a picture of the Great Tomato Horn Worm and the moth it turns into.  They both are in my sites and I will kill them all....

Bad Blogger...

I have to first say that I am sorry.  I am sorry to all the masses of people that read my blog, or rather don't read my blog because I haven't posted in months.  This is such a busy season for us.  We've been busy planting, weeding, harvesting, preserving and mixed in with all of that we had our county fair and the last of our 4-H events.  However, all that whining aside, it has been brought to my attention (on numerous occassions) that I am a bad blogger.  Last night, I received an email that made me truly realize the consequences of my actions, or lack thereof.  Here is the email:


From: Hye Country Heather

To: Prairie Kerri

You should make a note to try Dr. Pepper Cake as an idea for your fair next year.

I'm also getting board with the 100+ days of cornmeal cookies on your blog. I have the placement of your ornaments on that section of the tree burned into my memory.

This was preceded by other emails.  One demanding me to blog about our recent trip to SeaWorld and the Alamo with her and her family.....

And, another desperate attempt trying to get me to blog about my kitchen after a day in my life.  This was spurred when Pioneer Woman blogged about the state of her kitchen after a day of cooking.  It made me laugh because her kitchen still looked like she had a clean up crew.  If it were me, the camera lens would have had flour haze across it making the onlooker wonder if they were suffering from a sudden onset of cataracts. Not to mention, I often try to create a small scale replica of the leaning tower of Pisa with stacks of dishes. But, I wasn't about to fall into her trap.  No siree!  Seriously, take a look at PW's kitchen! Pshaw!

So, here you have it.  I will try desperately to get back on the train and blog again.  I know y'all have been sitting on the edge of your seats, barely able to get on with your daily lives.  I just can't keep you hanging any longer!

Prairie Kerri

P.S.  Oh, my stars!  When I previewed this post, I learned that it has been 147 since I tweeted, too!  Stay tuned...