That same night Brian came home from work and announced he'd been given 2 days paid vacation (that don't count against his vacation bank) as reward for working so hard! Woot! We made some hasty plans to dig in the garden/yard for Thursday and Friday, travel to a new state park on Saturday, and do absolutely nothing on Sunday. Then, just as quick as we made all those plans, they evaporated into a pile of septic sewage.
1 day after our anniversary our septic tank began acting-up again. Brian pumped it with his own engineered system and got us working again. Since then, though, it's been needing to get pumped every other day because it was just filling and filling and filling with rainwater or not emptying into the dossage tank. After picking up our home's file at the health department environmental division, we learned that our home's leach field (where all the stuff drains safely into the clay soil) is actually in our front yard, not in the backyard as we'd previously been told. In fact, in 1995 the homeowner had the health department out and basically learned that the leach field (backyard) was non-functioning and created HUGE drainage problems (um yes, we know).
They fixed the tank by installing the dossage tank system and the new leach field in the front yard, but also put a splitter valve in, which gave the homeowner the option of routing the septic tank to the dossage tank and new leach system, or from the septic straight to the old, non-functioning leach field. I have no idea why this was a good idea, but apparently the homeowner's before us liked this "perk" quite a lot, and before the home was foreclosed on set the splitter valve to open to the abandoned, non-functioning leach field. Which also is RIGHT under our garden. *sighs*
Days of digging in the yard finally found us locating an old tobacco can hiding the splitter valve, and with the sturdy pliers and a turn to "close" our septic nightmares were over. Water began rushing to the dossage tank as it should. Now we're just left with the uncertainty of the soil in our garden, but that's really a whole other story. For now, suffice to say we're planting some spring crops in our front yard to get us growing while we figure it out.
My husband, on his vacation in all of this, actually climbed down into the septic tank for 40 minutes to flush out the dossage tank pipe, which we thought must be clogged (and that being why water wasn't flowing into it). He literally waded in sh*t for his family. That's one dedicated man. :)
So, I'm sure you really needed all that septic tank talk on a blog that also talks food. You're welcome. :) Moving on to less icky matters, I've photographed a few dinners I'd like to talk about, then also have the new weekly menu to post with a recipe that will be coming later in the week. Here we go!!
|This is some General Tso's chicken I made as a special "date night" meal for Brian and I. (Basically I feed the kids, we put them to sleep, then we're supposed to sit and sip a cocktail while chatting like adults, but usually wind up plowing the food into our mouths as quickly as possible before falling asleep.) :) I used this recipe as my template and only varied it slightly. I used dried chile flakes in place of the more expensive dried whole pepper. I added more green onions, too, and a touch more soy sauce. We were very happy with it, though this version was pretty spicy, I'll warn you. :)|
|Photo courtesy of A Small Snippet blog, where I found this delightful summer dinner recipe. I'm always on the lookout for more pallet-pleasing vegetarian options, and this one was a real pleasure. It was super simple to put together (less than 15 minutes), and then it just sits in the fridge getting cold and yummy until you're ready for it. It's cool temperature makes it perfect for hot days, and the spicy/sweet thai flavor is spot-on. I did pretty much exactly as the blogger says and was thrilled with the results. This will get made again!|
|This is a rollover meal I made after our St. Patrick's Day corned beef and cabbage. This was a nice summery spin on the St. Patrick's Day classic, and very appropriate to the weather we were having that day. Recipe below!|
Rollover Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner Salad
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1/2 C leftover glazed corned beef, diced
1/4 C leftover boiled potatoes, diced
1/4 C leftover boiled cabbage, sliced
1/4 C flat-leaf italian parsley, chopped
1/4 C green onions, diced
homemade rye bread croutons
1 handful of shredded swiss cheese
homemade spiced honey mustard dressing
1 head romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
2 pieces rye bread
1/4 C butter
2 T olive oil
sea salt and pepper
Spiced Honey Mustard:
2 T yellow mustard
1/3 C apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 t ground cloves
about 1/2 to 3/4 C brown sugar (to your taste, really)
sea salt and pepper
1/4 to 1/2 C olive oil
Croutons: Dice the bread into pieces. Combine the melted butter with the olive oil and toss the bread in it. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and bake in a 300 degree oven for a good 30 minutes or so, until they are very hard. (Note: I actually didn't have any rye bread on hand when I made this salad. I used wheat bread and ground some caraway seeds to sprinkle over the pieces before they baked.)
Honey Mustard: Combine the mustard, vinegar, cloves, brown sugar, salt, and pepper with a whisk. Then, while whisking vigorously, drizzle in olive oil in a thin steady stream to reach your desire consistency. I left mine on the thin side, so erred closer to 1/4 C.
Salad: Chop everything and combine in a serving bowl. Add the croutons and dressing and toss. This salad may be served hot or cold. For mine I heated the corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes, then left everything else cold.
Lastly, here's what's for dinner this week! I made the corn and tomato pie last night, a recipe which can be found here. Brian really liked it as is, I will, however, be tweaking this before I make it again. My impression was that it should have been cheesier and creamier, and my tomatoes did that mealy "I've been baked and I'm not happy about it) texture thing I just cannot stand. Of course, it's early for tomatoes yet, so it could have just been the tomatoes and not the recipe, so I'm definitely going to give this another stab because the idea of it is absolutely divine!
The buffalo chicken enchiladas are coming tonight and I am super excited about it, so look for that recipe later this week. There's a couple other things that I hope turn out delicious so I can share them, too. This week is largely a vegetarian week because we're just heading into that season. Winter I feel like a hungry bear trying to fatten myself for survival, spring and summer I feel rather like eating light, fresh, and simple things that taste more like the season around me, which to me means vegetables everywhere!
Chloe and I are also going to make homemade oreos today, which also has me excited. :) So yeah. That's it. A bit of catch-up and now we're back on track. For now, I need to get crackin', so TTFN (ta ta for now - Tigger says it). :)