2016 Projects!


I have exciting news! Our house, along with at least 3-4 others, will be on the Northeast Kansas City Historical Society Homes Tour this fall!

That's a rather holey wall there

That’s a rather holey wall there

NEKCHS truly represents ALL of Historic Northeast Kansas City – and this year they are focusing on Lykins. And while I listened to them reassure us, “Don’t worry about it being perfect, just open the doors and we will do the rest,” I couldn’t help but think of a multitude of projects we needed to finish in time for the tour.



I was so excited that I sat down and made these lace and burlap curtains for the main level bathroom.


They were sorely needed, believe me, and compliment the hand towels I had the other day with the same lace.


You know those “bath towels” which aren’t really bath towels that actually fit around your body unless you are a career anorexic or a child under 75 pounds in weight? I took one of them, cut it into three sections and made hand towels from it!


And isn’t this the prettiest lace? I had a whole bunch of it, but with three hand towels and four curtain panels, there isn’t much left now.

The back bedroom closet door after removing the moulding prior to wall demo

The back bedroom closet door after removing the moulding prior to wall demo

And upon returning home after the meeting, I made a list:

  • Finish painting hall downstairs and extend into upstairs
  • Clean, paint, re-wire and hang old light fixture in front hall
  • Widen front porch stairs
  • Print old newspaper stories and excerpts and put on boards on easels on the front porch
  • Fix stair banister piece DONE (Dave took care of this right away!)
  • Install portiere curtains in front parlor and upstairs library
  • Clean stairs and upstairs hallway carpet?
  • Hang pictures in front parlor
  • Eliminate clutter on the porch in order to use both front doors for incoming and outgoing traffic
  • Re-upholster old couch?  The couch is in the attic, I’ll work on it AFTER the tour!

And of course, we have our regular projects going on. These include continuing to work on tuckpointing inside the basement. We have begun work on the really bad wall – the north wall of the “dungeon.”

The back bedroom of The Cottage ready for demo

The back bedroom of The Cottage ready for demo

Also, although we cannot find financing for the renovation of the Cottage, we have begun demo’ing the interior walls so we can wire the house properly. We will take this on a room by room basis. We have the electrical wire we need, along with all of the electrical boxes, outlets and switches. Once we have power outlets upstairs, we can set in a window a/c unit to keep us cool during the summer as we continue to demo the walls and do what we can for a small amount of money and large amount of sweat!

My newest book - a sci-fi/dystopian novel now available on Amazon

My newest book – a sci-fi/dystopian novel now available on Amazon

Danielle and I are building the cleaning biz up, and when fall arrives and her classes begin, I’ll take over the clients she can’t work around her school schedule.

I’ve begun work again on the van, but it is limited due to my writing and marketing projects. My first science fiction book, Gliese 581: Departure is out and available on Kindle, and should be available soon in paperback as well. I’m busy marketing that while I flip back and forth from writing a non-fiction book and working on the beginning of a 12-13 book fantasy series.

I’ve got a busy life, but I do enjoy it!

Posted in DIY, Events/Tours | Leave a comment

Oh Boy…


This hole is directly below the fireplace in the front parlor

This hole is directly below the fireplace in the front parlor – see the cracks to the right of the picture? This mortar is hard on the outside but sand on the inside.

When we bought this property, the inspector told us, “Your foundation and your brickwork need tuckpointing.”

He meant “now” but with all of the other things on our plate, we didn’t start right away. There was a dog fence to build, family obligations, and a lot of getting used to in this big old house.

We have had stops and starts as well. About 18 months ago we managed to get the west wall inside the large middle room of the basement done. We also worked on an alcove on the east wall in the large middle room last summer.

Some of the area we have cleared of the crumbling mortar

Some of the area we have cleared of the crumbling mortar – those dark spots often go for a foot or more back

This past winter we managed to reinforce the limestone foundation on all three walls of the “front” room of the basement where the stairs are. This is actually at the back of the house. That was a biggie, we had some holes that were extending a full two feet to the outside of the house and blocking those icy cold drafts was huge!

In early spring we managed to finish most of the east wall in the large middle room. We still have some work to go in the little alcove which is directly below our living room, but the other day Dave asked, “Have you seen the dungeon’s walls? You are going to freak.”

A close up

A close up

The “dungeon” is the last room in the basement. It is under the front parlor and hallway. We call it the dungeon because it was creepy, full of old pipes from when the upstairs of the house was divided into apartments. Cobwebs hang from the ceiling and there is one lone lightbulb to light up an 12’x20′ space.

I walked into the dungeon with a extra-long standard screwdriver which I had been using to test the mortar, and discovered that the walls were horribly degraded.

How degraded?

The north and west wall - we haven't dug into this yet

The north and west wall – we haven’t dug into this yet – see how degraded parts of the north wall are? Wait until I dig out more!

Well, in some spots the mortar is a little better than the consistency of sand. Often there is a thin veneer of still intact mortar, which can be punched through with relative ease, then sending a shower of sandy mortar pouring onto the floor.

It’s bad.

Dave found a great deal on lights at Lowe’s. They were under $14 each. The nice thing about these is that we can easily move them if we need to, and they just plug into an outlet.

What a repaired wall looks like - it isn't pretty, but it will hold.

What a repaired wall looks like – it isn’t pretty, but it will hold.

Once we had light on the situation I felt better. It’s tough digging around in the dark. At least now I could really see what was happening. Some of the holes are at least a foot deep!

All of this section of the basement is nearly completely underground, so at least I don’t have to worry about breezes. However, some of these walls are scary in how bad they are.

Another patch of repaired wall

Another patch of repaired wall

So if I seem less than active here, there, or everywhere – it is because we are making it a priority. On top of these limestone rocks and now sand-that-was-once-mortar is a three-story building made of bricks. That’s a lot of weight.

Slowly we dig out patches, vacuum it out, then add the special mortar. Some of these holes are huge, folks. If we can get this done, completely, I have no doubt that our house will continue to be safe and shelter us well in the decades to come.

And if you are interested in learning how this is done, come on by and volunteer. I’m happy to put you to work!

The north wall of the "dungeon"

The north wall of the “dungeon” – we haven’t dug into this much, so right now it looks relatively intact, but most of this mortar is nothing better than sand

Posted in Challenges, DIY | Leave a comment

Our New Sign Is Up!


Last year, at the last minute, I asked my eldest to make a sign for our garden. It was the first time we were on the Urban Grown Tour and I wanted to make sure folks could easily find us.

She did a great job, but the sign, made in haste, employed a wood that was not well-prepared for outdoor exposure.


It quickly disintegrated and I winced every time I saw it, half peeling, wood sagging in places.

Dee mentioned it first, “I really need to re-do that sign for you.”


Life got busy, especially with the advent of spring. But we were determined to get a new sign in place. So we took down the old one, found some pressure-treated wood in the basement, and painted it white.


Dee spent hours on this and it was finally completed two days ago. I applied sealant to the lettering, and my husband, Dave, mounted it in the yard today. The white paint was outdoor paint, so I think we should be able to enjoy this sign for years to come.

Hooray for our new sign!


Posted in DIY | Leave a comment

Yessssss…My Precioussss…

It started before we ever moved into this house.


The only “modern” part I was cool with. It has an electric light!

The longing.

I wanted the versatility, the instant response, I was ready to “go pro.”

The original salt and pepper shakers. The timer doesn't work very well, but I had fun playing with it.

The original salt and pepper shakers. The timer doesn’t work very well, but I had fun playing with it.

I wanted….

The knobs, and removable drip trays

The knobs, and removable drip trays

A gas stove.

But I didn’t want a new one. Oh no. Not me. I had to get an old one. A real old one.

Dee, my pink-haired wunderkind re-attaching the hardware.

Dee, my pink-haired wunderkind re-attaching the hardware.

I didn’t want anything that would be considered electronic within it. No digital display, no computer controlled dealios. Just an old, OLD gas stove that I could use.

The "scientific cooking chart" on the oven door

The “scientific cooking chart” on the oven door

One that could handle my big old canning pots and also serve as a backup/secondary oven for bigger meals.

Yes, you heard that right – I wasn’t getting rid of the electric smoothtop range – I wanted a SECOND stove.


When J & S, our lovely neighbors who sold us the house, renovated everything, they decided to create a new kitchen out of what was originally a servant’s living/dining area. It had a door into a closet, and also a door into the main level bathroom (yes, the main level bathroom originally had TWO doors leading into it) that were both walled over.


Technically speaking, the room was probably two rooms at one time, a butler’s pantry occupied about 1/3 of it, but that was long after we or our neighbors had been introduced to it.

Storage on the left

Storage on the left

In any case, the old kitchen became our utility room. With the help of J, we created a bump out and ran pipes and electrical to one wall, creating a space for our washer and dryer.

A "scientific broiling chart"

A “scientific broiling chart”

Only the old farmhouse sink remained in the kitchen. It was here in the old kitchen that I decided I would put the second stove.

Second storage drawer

Second storage drawer

I began to haunt Craig’s List. And on Friday morning, I saw a stove that jumped out at me. It was priced at $145. We went to look at it, and I talked the guy down to $100 because we had absolutely NO idea whether it was functional or not.

How cool is this? The top folds down and covers the cooktop when not in use.

How cool is this? The top folds down and covers the cooktop when not in use.

Yeah, I paid $100 for a stove that may or may not work.

I’ve just spent the past two hours cleaning it and cooing over it.

I added a cookbook and this cool old juicer from the same era as the stove.

I added a cookbook and this cool old juicer from the same era as the stove.

There’s been a lot of cooing.

I’m figuring it is late 40’s early 50’s era. A Roper model.

Because everyone needs a little roast woodcock in their lives

Because everyone needs a little roast woodcock in their lives

Dave will be employed soon. After he is, I’ll be making some calls to find out what needs to happen to run a gas line and do a pressure test on it.

I’ll be crossing my fingers that I haven’t bought a dysfunctional stove!


I really love it. And if push comes to shove and it isn’t functional, well, I’ll try to re-sell it for what I paid for it. I think it is absolutely lovely.


Sir Maxwell inspects the cleaning job on the stove. He actually said I missed a spot!

Posted in Antiques, Baking/Cooking | Leave a comment

Quick and Easy Croutons


I don’t like store-bought croutons.

You know why?

I find them too big.

Way back when they had smaller croutons, and then for some odd reason, the powers that be decided that consumer liked these annoyingly large, occupy a majority of a mouthful of food in your mouth, monstrosities.

It was like, take a bite of salad, now have a CROUTON.

I prefer a balanced approach. A crouton delicately wedged with a bite of lettuce and dressing to go with it. A delicate blend, if you will.

And then of course there is the cost of said stale bread jackballs. And I’m paying over half of what I would for a loaf of bread for a few ounces of not so tasty dried bread thing…why?

I ran out of croutons last week and almost bought more, before stopping myself. This is how I end up making my own. If it isn’t in the house, and I want it, I’m forced to either go without, leave my house to go buy it, or make it myself.

I had a small heel of bread left over from last Friday. I had made a family favorite, Chile Cheese Bread, and there was this small sad piece resting on the counter. Far too stale to eat, I figured it would be perfect for making into croutons.

So I sliced and diced it into reasonable sized human portions, drizzled it with a bit of grapeseed oil and baked it in our toaster oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.


Tasty! No more store-bought croutons for me! And no more wasted somewhat stale bread!


Posted in Frugality, Recipes | Leave a comment

Liriope on Steroids


Okay, I’m exaggerating. To my knowledge the liriope I acquired today has taken no steroids. I could ask it, but I doubt it would answer, given it has no vocal cords.


I was a little loopy when I wrote the bit above. I was in for my second break in planting and still had about half of the plants to go.


In my usual daily “must check Craig’s List for free stuff” obsession I was rewarded for a bunch of free liriope. And when I sent my usual polite, friendly email, I was rewarded with a “come and get it all” response from Angeline G. in Overland Park.


Thank you soooo much, Angeline!


We literally filled  my van with liriope plants, along with a lovely lemon balm, sedum, peony, hosta, daisy, and more.


And ever since I returned I have been digging, planting, and sweating. I have also come to realize the sheer scope of the project in front of me. Because, you see, I want to fill nearly every damn square inch of my half acre space of five city lots with plants that are not grass.


I can see it when I gaze out of the window, the future of this enormous space.


Meandering paths of brick threading their way through clusters of iris, daylily, fruiting bushes and trees.


A large asparagus patch, and one of rhubarb. I imagine rows of vegetables in our main garden, along with perennial herbs everywhere I look.


If I must have grass it will be a tiny 20×20 space of green. And even then, I’d far prefer to have clover.


I told Angeline, “I want my farm to be a patchwork of love from gardens all over Kansas City, filled with beauty and plants to share with my neighbors and community.” She smiled at that, said she liked the image that brought to mind.


By 6:30 I was finishing up the last of it as Dave arrived home from a meeting. The last thing we did was pull these amazing wrought iron pieces out of the back.


These are amazing and so cool!


I put this one in the ground, just to see how it looked. Tomorrow I think I will spray it with a flat black outdoor paint so that it doesn’t degrade any further.

This wild violet is simply stunning

This wild violet is simply stunning

I’m looking forward to playing with these and seeing what I can create with them!


By 6:30 I had finished planting everything. I guess that means I’m ready for more free plants. Bring ’em on!

Posted in Frugality, Garden Planning | Leave a comment

Spring has Sprung at The Deadly Nightshade!


The birds are singing, the spring bulbs are blooming, and we are getting serious about this garden!

Last week I co-opted the husband and youngest child. “Give me one hour a day,” I asked. It tended to run a little longer than that, but thanks to four more helping hands, a lot has gotten done on the ole homestead.

Here are the highlights:


The Rest of Those Bricks

It took a couple of weeks, but we managed to get the rest of the bricks laid. I did a count as well and estimated that it will take me around 2,000 bricks to finish enclosing the garden and running pathways between the eight rows.


Our backs are going to be broken.


I’ve just set these directly on the earth. Within a few go-rounds of walking on them, they naturally sink into the earth and stop being wobbly.

One nice thing about having the bricks enclose the garden (mostly enclose it, that is) is that we can create more orderly rows now. A set of three bricks, two pointed one way and the third going across is a “set.” Two sets wide equals a walkway and four sets wide (or deep, depending on how you look at it) is a row. We marked the rows with PVC pipe and twine.


Tidying Up the Coop

I taught a Keeping Backyard Chickens class last Saturday through Communiversity. I was rather shocked, only three of the ten people signed up showed up. Folks who have paid tend to make sure they take the class since there aren’t any last-minute refunds.

Also a guy showed up at 5 p.m. (the class ran from 1-3) with a listing showing that the class was also listed from 5-7 p.m. in the Communiversity flyer. WHAT?! I had just returned from shopping at Savers and was hungry (low blood sugar = extremely grumpy Christine). I have no idea what happened, or if the poor guy was even registered in the first place, but I did my best, after shoving some food down my throat, to repeat the class I had taught earlier.

Wasp Season and Special Screams

Fact: My eldest is absolutely terrified of wasps.

Fact: Wasps can easily get into houses through old windows.

Fact: I have about 30 old windows that said wasps can get into.

Last year, as the wasps began looking for food, or shelter, or whatever the heck they were looking for when they came into my house. I learned just how terrified my daughter was of the creatures.

By July or so, after trying to combat them with regular flyswatters, I got out the big guns and bought an electric flyswatter, aptly titled The Executioner.

It is great, and still functional, but we have a big house. It becomes this panicked run, once I hear my daughter’s special wasp scream (this ululating freak out sound of fear) to not only find the electrified thing (it might upstairs, or it might be downstairs) and get back in time to kill a moving flying menace.

So I bought another, this one was only $9.99, half the price! I will get it tomorrow and then I’ll have one for the upstairs and one for the main level. Wasps, best find another house because you are going to die!


The Big Garden

Our big garden is quickly getting “dug” into shape. We marked off the walkways and planting rows (all eight rows) with twine and PVC pipe. This keeps us digging in the right spot as we remove weeds and turn over the dirt before planting seeds.

So far we have five rows planted. Starting at the south end of the garden, nearest the chicken coop, we have:

  • Row 1: Mixed lettuce and Vulcan chard
  • Row 2: Beets and bush beans
  • Row 3: Cucumbers and carrots
  • Row 4: Okra and acorn squash
  • Row 5: not planted yet, but it will be tomatoes
  • Row 6: Kale and elephant garlic

We still have two more rows to plant, well three, if you count the row that gets the tomato plants. I’ll just purchase starters, or ask folks very nicely if they have extras they don’t need. Our budget for the lawn/garden this year is pretty darn tight.

Today I finished re-planting the elephant garlic, spreading the kale seed and watering everything thoroughly after we put a dusting of dirt/leaves/shredded paper out of the coop on top of the kale seeds.


One of the things I love about living here is a lawn absolutely filled with wild violets. When we are clearing a row, I have been gently digging them up and relocating them to this corner where the dog fence and chicken coop connect.


More Bricks on the Horizon

I continue to look for more bricks. It will take just under 2,000 to finish enclosing the main garden and laying the pathways between the eight rows, but then I want to finish the path in the front over to the herb garden, and begin on some meandering paths through the yard.

I found this ad on Craig’s List the other day and sent the following email:

We could come pick these up this afternoon if they are still available.

My husband and I run an urban farm in Historic Northeast and I’m currently working on a path around our main garden (25×50) and pathways in between the rows. I love old bricks, they go well with our old house, an 1899 Victorian!

I would be happy to pick up any bricks you might have…I only need to collect about 6,000 more to complete all of our pathway projects!

I wasn’t kidding. I’m pretty sure I need at least 6,000. For some reason, when I utter that number, my husband turns pale and just walks away shaking his head. Why does he do that? I am mystified.

She responded, writing:

Hi Christine,

I have someone else who wants the bricks, if they are a “no-show,” I will let you know. I will also keep your information for next time. My backyard is completely bricked over, I am having a new patio laid (early to mid May) and will use some of the old bricks for edging. There will be surplus bricks in mixed condition. It would be great to have someone who could take everything and I would be thrilled if they were re-used.


A backyard entirely bricked over? I am so there! I dashed off an email back thanking her for replying and offering up a small gift of farm fresh eggs in exchange for wonderful bricks. And now I wait, dying quietly inside, jonesing for those bricks.


Enjoy the lovely spring weather…and the flowers…and so much more!

Posted in Frugality, Garden Planning, Pest Control | Leave a comment

Cold Day? Spend it in the Kitchen


Canning Obsessed

Just color me canning obsessed. When I looked out of the window and saw the rain slowly moving into snow, I decided I would not step one single foot outside of my door today. Instead, I would focus on canning, baking, and cooking. Along with some editing – this is now Round Four of edits on Gliese 581: The Departure.

I wrote down what I wanted to do, but things don’t always work out quite the way you plan. Or at least, they don’t for me. In any case, I’m still working my way through the “to-do’s” which may very well span into tomorrow, but here is what I have so far:

  • 3 quarts of chicken stock, along with 4 quarts of garbanzo beans cooling after being processed in the pressure canner.
  • 16 pints of a hot version of green enchilada sauce currently in the canner.
  • Around 4 quarts of pork stock plus one more pint of enchilada sauce waiting to be pressure canned
  • A crockpot full of chicken thighs cooking that will then be de-boned and hot-pack pressure canned into pints or quarts (probably tomorrow).


I’m also working on a few other things in between canning…


Homemade Thai Peanut Sauce

My husband and I love the Lemongrass Chicken Sticks from Trader Joe’s. And they taste even better when dipped in Thai peanut sauce.

And you know me, after I emptied two bottles within two weeks and had trouble finding a regular source for the sauce (sometimes the stores had it and sometimes not) I figured I could make it myself for less, have plenty of it on hand, and save some money.

So I Googled Thai peanut sauce recipes and found this recipe. I altered it a bit, here is what I whipped together. I think it tastes pretty darn good. So smooth!

  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp tabasco sauce
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Just gently mix the ingredients together and place in a jar in the fridge. Happy eating!


Taco Seasoning

Later in the week we have “Tacos and Tostadas” on the list as one of our planned dinners. We have plenty of the smaller flour tortillas for soft tacos, and I love deep-fried corn tortilla tostadas, hence the fusion.

We have our choice of canned chicken, leftover pork, or canned hamburger to use – so a little lettuce, cheese and sour cream, along with a side of refried beans, and we are in business.

I figured I would whip up some taco seasoning as well. I adapted a recipe I found on the internet so that I will have plenty ready and waiting to season the meat for 2-3 meals. Here is the recipe:

  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (fresh ground is best!)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

Mix it all up, store it in a spice jar.


Coconut Milk Ice Cream

And since I had the can of coconut milk open and only partially used, I figured it was time to learn how to make coconut milk ice cream for my eldest. She’s lactose-intolerant, so all of the ice creams I have been experimenting with lately she hasn’t been able to eat.

I’ve gotten some seriously sad looks as I enjoyed homemade Butter Pecan, Mint Chocolate Chip, my own version of Chunky Monkey as well as amazingly tasty coffee ice cream variants.


So this one is for Dee. She is off to help a friend move. Afterwards, she can kick back and enjoy this ice cream. I hope you like it my dear!

I Googled “coconut milk ice cream recipes” and found this recipe. And, as usual, altered it to fit our own needs. I made it the following way:

  • 1 1/2 cans of Thai Kitchen coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp homemade vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 3 oz of mini semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 oz of 85% caco dark chocolate, chopped
  • Green food coloring


When Danielle was a little girl, this was her favorite flavor of ice cream. I think it still might be. Unfortunately, finding a wide variety of flavors of dairy-free ice cream can be challenging. From the beginning of my ice cream making experimentations I wanted to find one that would suit her as well.


This ice cream set up well in the ice cream maker and I must say, it doesn’t scream “NON DAIRY” at me. It’s rather good!


I’ll be trying other recipes as well using coconut milk. Stay tuned for that.


Chile Cheese Bread

And while the stovetop and counters were filled with all of the canning and mixes – I added one that would take up room in the empty oven – chile cheese bread.

Super simple, super easy, and oh so tasty! Here is the link to that recipe.


Yesterday’s Pork Dinner

I had seen in a flyer for Save-A-Lot, a local grocery store I have only visited once, that they had pork picnic roast for just 99 cents per pound. We bought a huge piece for around $7 and cut off the fat and tossed it in a bag. When I get enough of it, I just might try rendering it into lard. There was a large bone in the meat, so after Dave cut off the fat, he carefully cut the meat off of the bone and handed it to me to deal with.

Dave browned the meat and then we added proscuitto, sage, rosemary, pepper and salt, rolling it up as we went, and added more of the sage, rosemary, pepper and salt to the outside of it.


We placed the roast into a pressure cooker, which already had a cup of white wine, and a tablespoon of bouillon in it, closed it up, and placed it on medium high heat. Once the regulator began to jiggle we turned it down to medium and cooked it for 70 minutes.

It was doggone good! We had our neighbors Kevin and Michelle over, they brought salad and fixings, and Dave had made a creamy gravy out of the drippings. Yum!

This morning I added the bone to a stockpot, along with a gallon of water, seasonings, garlic cloves, some carrots, onion ends and leftover cilantro (from the batch of salsa verde) and started it at a nice light boil. It’s been going for about four hours now. It was still a tiny bit bland, so I added some cajun seasoning to taste and will be prepping it for canning.


All in all, it looks like I have at least three separate rounds of canning to do, possibly four. Ai carumba!

If I need to, I can stretch this into tomorrow, because the day is blissfully free of appointments of any kind. But I also need to prep for a class on Tuesday, so I am trying to keep Monday’s schedule clear of too much.


Posted in Canning, Recipes | Leave a comment

Irish Cream Liqueur – Sort of


I ran across a recipe for making your own Irish Cream Liqueur – more popularly known by a well-known name brand Bailey’s.

The recipe seemed pretty simple and straightforward…

  • 1 1/2 cups Irish whiskey
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 Tbsp chocolate syrup
  • 2 tsp instant coffee
  • 1 1/2 cups cream


Cool, I thought, and went to the drink cabinet. Folks bring us booze for the parties, or apparently just because, and I had recently organized the drink station, putting all of the whiskey in one section – Scotch whiskey, bourbon whiskey, whiskey whiskey.


I’m not a connoisseur of alcohol. My drinking of libations is generally limited to once every couple of months, and includes a glass or two of wine (note: Cupcake Vineyards Moscato d’Asti is one of my favorites, just saying).

Our Fondue This party included a libation brought by another homebrewer – a hard pear cider – which was quite tasty!


In any case, my drink station did not include Irish whiskey. And I, being the typical “oh this will work” kind of gal, grabbed the Scotch whiskey.

After all, Scotland and Ireland aren’t that far apart.


I am now ignoring the collective internet scream of horror of Irishmen, Scotsman, and libation aficionados.

It turned out okay. It would probably be better with Irish whiskey, but I made do with what I had. I will be adding this to my fridge. I double-checked and homemade Irish (or Scotch) Cream Liqueur is best stored in the fridge in order to avoid the cream and condensed milk going bad.



Posted in DIY, Frugality | Leave a comment

White Bean Chicken Chili Rocks


A month or so ago, I went to a party hosted here in Old Northeast in Leslie’s gorgeous turn-of-the-century home. Between admiring the architecture, and falling in love with the exposed brick walls in the kitchen (I am so doing this!), I figured I had died and gone to heaven when I tasted another neighbor’s homemade White Bean Chicken Chili.

I am embarrassed to admit I went back for seconds, and then thirds, and at the end of the night ended up taking home a bag of it since they had plenty of leftovers.

With all of this canning, I had white beans, chicken, and even soup stock all in jars and ready to go. If I had been feeling better, this meal would have been perfect for yesterday’s mad weather.

Snow flurries and 31 degree weather was the last thing I expected after it being in the mid-70s the day before.

In any case, today was the day I was going to make White Bean Chicken Chili. I found this recipe online and thought to myself, Huh, those other ingredients sound a lot like what goes into salsa verde. Combine that with a startling lack of canned chiles (I figured I would sub them out for the jalapenos listed in the recipe) and I soon found myself putting together my own take on White Bean Chicken Chili.

Here is what I used:

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups (or 2  15 oz cans) cooked white beans
  • 2 pounds cooked and shredded chicken
  • 8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups salsa verde

So basically I used a quart of home-canned chicken broth, 2 pints of home-canned white beans, 1 quart of home-canned chicken, 1 pint of home-canned salsa verde, and a package of Monterey Jack from Aldi’s.


Pair that with homemade cornbread and I’m calling it the last salute to winter. It is now officially spring in the Shuck household and there will be NO MORE COLD DAYS.

So sayeth the General…

So sayeth the flock!

(You may only get this reference if you have heard the song Disgustipated from Tool. Feel free to listen to it now, it’s kind of an awesome song.

p.s. I have no idea WHAT happened to the cornbread. It was a recipe I grabbed off of the ‘net. Perhaps I missed a step. In any case, it tasted fine when immersed in the chili/soup.


Posted in Baking/Cooking, Recipes | Leave a comment