Self Restraint

restraint imposed by oneself on one’s own actions; self-control

I have none if certain food items are in the house. The solution has been to just not bring them in the house. Kettle cooked potato chips, chocolate, certain types of cookies. Hubby likes a sweet after dinner and chips with sandwiches, so what comes in the house is a variety that doesn’t tempt me. On Thanksgiving and Christmas, I bake him a pumpkin pie. He says my pies are delicious, but I don’t care for pumpkin pie, thus no temptation to me. I may be the only human in the world that actually dislikes Oreos, so another non temptation for me.

But, last year around Christmas, a friend from England, presented me with a small tin of Ginger Nut biscuits. That my friends was temptation that I couldn’t resist. Fortunately, there were only about a dozen. Hubby ate one or two, but preferred other options, so, yup, I ate them all. They did last a few days and each biscuit is small.

I haven’t baked cookies at the holidays since my children were small and wanted to “help.” And as we held an Open House for neighbors, friends, and coworkers, the dozens made were usually devoured without much damage to my health and waistline. But the receipt of the crispy, gingery nuggets sent me into “Google Search” land to find a recipe. The traditional Ginger Nut biscuits use Golden Syrup, not a product readily available in the USA. Yes it can be ordered online, in fairly large tins, but a large tin would not be used in a timely manner, so the idea was dropped. Until… the upcoming annual spinning group holiday gathering with snacks to share and a Yankee Swap game. My friend was contacted about the recipe she uses, which she gladly shared as it comes from a cookbook from the UK. I asked her if she had ever used Agave Syrup as she had said definitely not to use Maple Syrup and she had not, but she gifted me a small bottle of Golden Syrup from a recent order she had made from her supplier of traditional goods from her homeland.

Not wanting to wait until the last minute to try a new to me recipe, this morning, the simple appearing recipe was attempted. The rather small quantity of sticky dough is supposed to be divided into 16 equal pieces, rolled into a ball, slightly flattened and baked. I used a tablespoon to scoop out the first batch and ended up with 13. They were a success, so a second batch was tackled and this time, rolled out and cut into 16 pieces. There is now a tin of slightly more than 2 dozen Ginger Nut biscuits for the social on Thursday. I am going to have to hide them from myself so there are still enough for the party.

I admit to sampling the top right biscuit as it spread too much on one edge.

Now back to my self restraint tactic.


Though I don’t generally share food after it has been prepared, you often see the results of the garden harvest and canned for storage produce. The success with the three sisters’ garden this year was poor, better than last year, but definitely not successful. The corn part of the long bed was initially planted with Bloody Butcher dent corn on one end, a short season sweet corn on the other end, covered with a long run of welded wire fence several inches above the soil surface to keep the crows from eating more than their share. Since a dent corn field is planted to the east of us, I had hoped they would go for the easy meal. Very little of the corn germinated, so it was replanted and a third white dent corn added, and again, poor germination and the pumpkins never did come up until so late in the season that they had no chance to produce. We got a few, very few ears of sweet corn that was not very full and mature, and this is all of the dent corn that the patch produced.

Once dried on the stalk, shucked and placed in this window sill in the utility room to further dry, last night it was slated to be ground. Years ago, hubby gave me this grinder for a gift at my request.

Until last night, it has only been used to coarsely grind whole corn for chicken scratch and it gives the right arm quite a workout. I thought about taking my few ears of dent corn to the museum with me tomorrow and using the corn sheller, but instead stood over the hopper and hand shelled all but one ear of the corn I grew. Played with the grinder settings and got the grind finer, but not commercial meal fine.

And I cranked, took a break, did other chores, returned and cranked some more until all of the corn had been ground. To my amazement, it ended up being enough to fill two quart jars with a cup left to cook this morning.

Last night, that cup of hand ground corn was set to soak in water in the Instant Pot in preparations to cook it as grits this morning for Son 1’s and my breakfast. Knowing that it would take at least 90 minutes on the stove top, the presoaking and Instant Pot meant it would be ready in about 35-40 minutes instead, including the pressurizing, cooking, and depressurizing. Much to our delight, it made a very good addition to a couple of scrambled eggs from my hens.

We each had a bowlful of homegrown, hand ground, fresh grits with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and a good dollop of butter. Son 1 ate a second bowlful. The remaining two quarts of meal were put in the freezer to prevent them from turning rancid and more winter breakfasts of grits, and a few pans of cornbread will be enjoyed. So though I rarely show a finished meal, this one was homegrown (and enjoyed with a couple of slices of tomato purchased at the Farmer’s Market yesterday.)

Next year, more dent corn will be planted and hopefully produce more to grind. It is delicious.

Goodbye September and Don’t come back

This month has been an emotional roller coaster with hubby’s early month medical double whammy followed by 10 days in the hospital, home for a weekend then an overnight in the ER with an infection. He is weak as a newborn but slowly making his way back.

Between the days in the hospital with him, then caring for him at home, the garden was totally neglected. When Son 1 was here one week during the hospital stay, we at least picked some greens and peppers, turning a blind eye to the weeds and dead plants. Last night enough peas were harvested for dinner for two and a half gallon of Jalapenos picked. Today while the patient snoozed in his recliner, a mammoth effort was begun to get rid of the weeds and prepare the garden to overwinter. Some of the sunflowers were hacked down and the seed heads hung on the fence for the birds, the upper half of the garden was weeded and the compost pile is waist high. The Komastuma that survived the Harlequin bugs was thinned and the row of carrots sown in late summer was harvested. The asparagus are brown and need to be cut and burned, but it is too windy today to burn anything outdoors.

Yesterday, a basket of apple seconds from our orchard was made into another 6 pints of applesauce.

The fig finally produced fruit this year, two small bowls of figs have been harvested and enjoyed and if the weather holds for another couple of weeks, there are more on the tree.

The larder isn’t as well stocked as some years, but we have fruit sauces, tomato sauces, peppers, and some jam are stored for winter use.

The refrigerator has fermented pickles, a gallon of pickled jalapenos, and hot sauces. Pepper vinegar is sitting on a dark shelf until it is ready, and hot red peppers are being strung to dry for infused Olive Oil.

Late last week, the night time temperatures started dropping into the mid 40’s so the houseplants were returned to the shelve where they overwinter.

I am hopeful to get a few more greens in the ground, maybe more radishes and the mini greenhouse repaired and installed before our first frost. It went down to 39f last night, but I don’t see a freeze predicted for the next 10 days. Hurricane Ian will bring us 1 to 4″ of rain over the weekend.

The trees are losing leaves and gaining color. The summer is over, fall and winter on their way. I hope we never have a repeat of this past September. I need to make sugar cakes for the bees now that nights are so cold and move the orifice opening to the smallest one.