Has this ever happened to you?

Yesterday I was thinking of baked potatoes to go with the broiled lamb steak and broccoli I wanted to serve for dinner.  Usually we don’t get baked potatoes for dinner because I fail to prep in time to serve them.

So my reasoning for quick baked potato prep went like this:

Wash potatoes; put into cold oven; set heat for 375 degrees; set timer for one hour; go watch program on TV while they bake.

Easy-peasy-baked potatoes!

The timer went off and I went to the kitchen to check to see if the potatoes were done.  I gave the one on the right a quick squeeze and it appeared to be done.  I checked the one on the left and it still felt a bit hard.

“Odd.”  I thought

What happened next was stunning!  I began to pull my hand out of the oven, thinking to let it finish baking, and


It exploded covering the entire oven and the oven door with potato dust!

Now I am certain that we have all heard the admonishment to prick your potatoes before baking, but has any one of you ever actually experienced this event?  I would venture to guess that you, like me (until last evening) has not.  😉

I went looking to find some scientific explanation of how this works, and strangely no one learned speaks of such common science.  However, those of us with even limited exposure to scientific learning know that anything that builds up pressure without allowing it to vent will explode.  Ever had a balloon pop in your face when you tried to inflate it?

(Only in the 60s could they bring this to you with such verve… HA!)

In the case of my potato, it had built up steam and my little squeeze caused a weakening in the skin.  I am very grateful that the exploding potato waited for me to remove my hand and stand up before blowing up!

Potato-explosionOf all the potatoes I have ever baked this is the first to explode on me.  

Well, I guess it had to happen sooner or later.   My brand new oven has now been christened.   😯


There were two things I did differently this time:

  • I didn’t coat the skins with olive oil 
  • I put them in to cook while the oven came to temperature

This could have had something to do with it, or it could have been just a fluke.     One thing is certain;  from now on I will stab all my potatoes before baking!


Now there are some out there who think this can only happen in a microwave, and others who think this is just an old wives tale.  I am here to tell you that they are wrong.


Has anyone else out there been the victim of strange kitchen science?


ACCOLADES:  My husband Bob cleaned up the mess for me while I went out put the animals away, and when I came back in the mess was gone.  Isn’t he sweet!

First day

OK, were done with that one and it’s on to this year, 2012, and what a start!

Teacup version:

  • Polly ate something she shouldn’t have and she’s sick.
  • It is 57  and sunny for the moment, will reach 61 for a high with rain again later.   It was already raining like heck this morning when I went out to do my rounds.  Oh yes, and the (scary) wind turned my umbrella over when I set it down to water the chickens, and promptly filled it with water. Tonight will be 20 degrees and colder still tomorrow.  Well really we are just being plunged into the deep freeze for the whole week.
  • Took advantage of the sunshine and mucked out the chicken house before the rain leaks under and tonight’s freeze makes that job impossible.  (I’m brilliant that way sometimes.)
  • Read everyone’s New Year’s resolutions. . .

Which brings me to mine.  I’m not going there.  I just have to agree with DJ Lutz at Almost Out of Ink, when he penned this as his one and only resolution,

“I will simply resolve to try to be a better person each day. And if I can do something to make the world a better place, either through my writing or (gasp) by personal interaction, all the better.”

As regards myself, I will only add this to his statement,

I need to get my spiritual life back on track. 

NO, not to worry.  It’s not that I have given up my faith, nothing of the sort!  I’ve just been lazy about it, and that bothers me.

Something  I will do this year that is not really a resolution because I will do them regardless are:

  • Get my ETSY store up and running.  Now that all the home repairs are completed and I have a studio to work in.  * This makes me happy!
  • Continue my research for my book.

Why make it hard?  Why set myself up for failure?  This is simply the easiest and wisest choice.

*NOTE:  It is said that if you want to love your work, then work at something you love.  Now I won’t go into a whole treatise on the subject as this fellow already did that job HERE,  and its translatable into fourteen languages.  Why would I try to reinvent the wheel?   What I will say is this:   I love being a sewist/quilter/writer.  Better, it seems to come easily to me.   I could use more practice in design to get a handle on mixing patterns but that will come with practical experience and maybe a class or two.  The book could take longer.

Happy New Year Everyone!




Today I’ve been on my feet all day.

6:30  Feed and water the chickens and geese

8:00  Made Salsa


5 lbs fresh picked tomatoes

1 lb fresh picked jalapeno peppers

3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (or same volume white vinegar)

1 lb fresh picked cilantro

2 teaspoons Kosher Salt


Washed tomatoes and chop.  Seed and deveined one pound of Jalapeño peppers, chop.  Peeled and chopped one pound of onion.  Peeled and chopped 6 large garlic cloves.  Added all of the above to my large dutch oven with the lemon juice and  two teaspoons of Kosher Salt,    Simmered on the stove for 10 minutes.  Washed, patted dry and chopped  1/4 cup cilantro.

Meanwhile, I sterilized 6 pint jars and put them into the oven 175 degrees to keep warm.

When the salsa was done cooking for the recommended time, I quickly stirred in the chopped cilantro, and then packed the salsa into the jars.

Following good canning (or jarring) practice of course!  I then placed the jars into a hot water bath with two inches of water above the lids and boiled for 15 minutes to process.

When the timer went off I then carefully removed the jars to a wire rack to cool.  Listening with delight as each jar made that certain ‘pop’ which told me I was successfully sealed.

12:45 PM  WHERE DID THE TIME GO!!!  Realizing I need to be in downtown Huntsville for a Dr’s appointment at 2:10  I run for the shower, finish, jump out, get dressed, brush teeth, gargle, spritz hair and run my fingers through it briskly.

Looking in the mirror I realize I no longer look like the sophisticated and lovely Judi Dench

(My recent hair cut given to me with scissors, behind closed doors  by moi.)

And far too late to do aNyThInG about it I have suddenly realized I am the spitting image of…

(Christopher Walken Photo Credit linked to picture ~ click)

1:30  Shove dogs out door to pee.

1:40  Call dogs back in so I can go!

1:45  Jump in car drive like hell, get to Dr’s parking lot, ACTUALLY FIND A PARKING SPACE!  (Will miracles never cease!)  Fly into the building take elevator to second floor…

2:10  ON TIME,  OH YEAH!  Dr. ex-rays hand, finds that damage from large box of books that fell onto my hand (when moving three yrs ago) has caused the cartilage, in the joint that holds my thumb in place on my wrist, is gone.   Yeah, it hurts like  heck all the time.   Dr. gives me a shot that hurts way more than ‘Like HECK,’ then puts a band-aid on the injection site and sends me home.  (I am allowed three of these injection treatments by the way, and then it’s surgery)  Eh…

3:45  I leave Dr’s office and go to the Fresh Foods Market because, hey as long as I am here, I might as well get some of those awesome gluten free wraps I found there the last time I was in…  OH no! GONE!

I asked the supplier, who just happened to be there, “Where were they moved to?”

He replies in a very blasé voice, “Sorry, they’re discontinued.”


4:10  Hop in car, get on highway, drive home.

4:30  Waiting fourth in line to make the left hand turn that leads to the home stretch in HeAvY traffic.  The dude in front of me is just sitting there looking over his shoulder, and seriously, he’s trying to get back into the traffic lane!

What the…  Are we serious?  Now the light has turned red again and he jackrabbits into the car wash parking lot, blows through onto my road home, and follows the light through to continue north on the highway!  Seriously.

4:50  I am home.  I walk in, my kitchen is a hot mess because I didn’t have time to deal with it before I left and I realize I have a smile on my face.

Why you ask?

Because in spite of the hot mess, and the tired feet, and the shot of cortisone that hurt ‘way more than HECK,’ I am home.  I have 6 pints of summer put up for this winter, with more to come, Bob just walked through the door, and now it is the weekend!

No, your eyes do not deceive you, there really are only five jars… Bob couldn’t wait and opened one up!   😉

So what makes you smile on days like this?


Peggy, a good friend of mine, shared this little video and song on the topic of canning and a “little bit of summer.”  I liked it so much that I wanted to share it with all my dear readers.

It is simply and appropriately titled:

Canned Goods

Kitchen Sink Tomato Sandwich: gluten free style

Cover of "White Trash Cooking (Jargon)"

Cover of White Trash Cooking (Jargon)

It’s time for The Ritual of the First Tomato of the Season.   However, let me say right up front that this is not mine!  Oh no!  I comes from a little gem of a cookbook called White Trash Cooking by Ernest M. Mickler  (the recipe is to be found on page 74).

If you haven’t read White Trash Cooking, well then I know you haven’t discovered the delights of deep south white trash cookin’!

The recipe is simple enough, but I will tell you the authors version is more authentic and infinitely more entertaining!

Kitchen Sink Tomato Sandwich:  (my version)


~ 1 very ripe, fresh picked, still warm from the vine tomato sliced THICK (book says refrigerated, but I like mine warm)

~ 2 Slices of Udi’s whole grain Gluten Free Bread (or your favorite)

~ Enough Mayonnaise to slather onto both pieces of your bread

~ Salt and pepper to taste


Put the mayo onto your bread, add the tomato, salt and pepper, put the other slice on and press it down real good.  Grab it with both hands and eat it over the sink.

Why over the sink you ask?  Well, you don’t want to be wearing all that juice on your clothes do you?  I’m sure that the book references something about “…rolling up your sleeves and letting the juice run down your elbows into the sink.”

This is so simple.   If you haven’t had one, well, then I’m certain you will not believe how really good it tastes!


NOTE:  Other versions online use Wonder bread and Miracle Whip, but I leave those details to your personal taste.  😉  Oh, and do follow the link for Miracle Whip… I had no idea about its history.  An interesting read!

***  This is NOT a paid endorsement, though I wish it were, I just happen to love this cook book! ***