Shelley Senkbeil

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since May 26, 2021
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Recent posts by Shelley Senkbeil

Debbie Ann wrote:, all my grandparents came to America individually after the 1st World War. They all grew up in Poland eating a poor Polish persons' diet which was mostly fats, sugar and lots of other stuff people wouldn't eat. It helped them survive a really tough reality at the time but I wouldn't recommend it. Not very healthy. So, have you lost your appetite now?

But my one grandmother made something very Polish that is perfectly healthy once every winter that was just wonderful! Pierogies! They are comfort food!!.

OMGoodness! We make pierogiat least 9th every a month if not more!

My maternal grandparents came to the US in 1913 and1916. Grandma came over by herself in steerage, at only 12 years old with $37.00 in cash. My paternal grandparents came over a few years ear,ire than that, but because my dad.died when I was 8, my brother 3, we grew up with thePolish family influence. Ironically in the last 15-20 years I’ve done some genealogy research on that side to discover that due to the fluid borders my “German” ancestry is most likely actually Prussian and Polish.

ANYWAY… my mom’s side began a tradition in the late 60s of getting together and making many hundreds if not thousands pierogi on Thanksgiving, then having a massive meal of them (potato with tons of sautéed onion and farmer cheese, and cabbage with onions and farmer cheese, and rarely a sauerkraut version) with homemade kielbasa and good rye bread. We’d pack all the extras to take home and freeze. YUM!!!

I’m unfortunately the last keeper of the recipes, and though my family gets together every few years and make some, I have to make the fillings ahead of time. None of the next generation are interested in something which can be such an investment in time to make. So sad.

While we do tend to make the dough from scratch specifically because the sour cream added makes the most lovely tender dough, I will share a cheat.

When we are in the mood for pierogi and don’t feel like the work... and frankly the MESS of making and rolling dough, we go to the freezer and pull out a package of store bought won ton or egg roll wrappers. The potato fill8ng is so simple and doesn’t take long to make. By the time it’s done the wrappers have thawed.

The other trick is to skip the boiling step plus sautéing - which always runs the risk of a portion of them opening in the boiling stage - and just cook them like pot stickers. Place the pierogi in a large frypan with lots of butter, sautéed them a few minutes on one side, flip and sautee that side, then add about 1/4 cup of water and put the cover on the pan. When the water is gone the dough should be translucent and  they are ready to eat.!

My BFF is 100% Italian, and we always laughed at the similarities btw pierogi and ravioli. Now I’d add potstickers and lumpia and pasties and so many other countries “dough filled with something” specialties. How she and I used to moan about all the work involved in making our meals!

Dolores is the keeper of her family recipes as well, despite having a HUGE family compared to mine. But we both find it sad our families rave about the meals but won’t learn to make it. Pierogi and ravioli and the rest have some practice involved. They are a thing you must do hands on a few times with someone who has experience. You must FEEL the dough.

Ok, I’ve rambled on enough.  I’m very much appreciating this thread. Hope it’s not too boring for others.

2 years ago

Anne Miller wrote:

Shelley Senkbeil wrote:Anne, with the exception of the first line I quoted above, I could have written that!  And the only reason not the first line is that we live way in the boonies and any restaurants worth going to are at least - no lie - a minimum 90 min drive each way. Actually, over 2 hours if I were to be honest.

Exactly, I didn't know anyone else on the forum was in this same situation.

I'm seven miles from the ranch road and my mailbox.

We love living in the boonies ... My neighbors are usually only here during hunting season.

Anne, we’re not that far from our road, and “town” is only 2.5 miles from our new farm, otherwise you are in Lake Huron but there’s very little worth going there into our town for.

The town we grocery shop in, where my Dr and my Dan’s closest VA clinic is located is a 50 minute drive on a good day. This time of year we usually allot at least an hour15 minutes.

But restaurants? HA!

Northern Michigan is gorgeous. I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else, and I’ve traveled enough to judge that for myself. But the roads can be challenging this time of year!


2 years ago

Anne Miller wrote:For most of 2020 and 2021, I dreamed (fantasized) about all the food that I love that was not available like Cracker Barrel Chicken Fried Steak or going to Red Lobster.

This year, all that food still sounds good though it just doesn't seem appetizing as I am not dreaming about those foods.  

I want to eat just whatever is quick, easiest, or handy.

Dear hubby has been on a cabbage and potato soup which we have about once every other week.  So quick and easy because I almost always have cabbage since it keeps a long time.

Anne, with the exception of the first line I quoted above, I could have written that!  And the only reason not the first line is that we live way in the boonies and any restaurants worth going to are at least - no lie - a minimum 90 min drive each way. Actually, over 2 hours if I were to be honest.

But full pantry, decently stocked freezer and fridges, and I’ve stopped agreeing to go shopping because we have wasted so much food lately. The barn cats look pregnant we’ve give them so many leftovers. I just can’t bring myself to invest time cook8ng. And I’m one of those people who doesn’t do junk food or prepped foods.

That said, today for a late lunch I made us some fabulous potato pancakes with lots of onion and had some of the very best grapes I’ve ever had for desert.

About twice a month I make a huge pot of cabbage soup, throw it in canning jars and deliver to family and friends who live about an hour drive away. 5 separate households, 4-6 quarts to each. Cabbage, onion, carrots, a few pea pods, some bean sprouts/mung beans in a chicken bone broth. Sometimes I throw in some egg to make it more like the egg drop soup at a Chinese restaurant I based the recipe upon.

I was talking about this thread with my hubby and he said he was in the mood for goulash. So I guess that’s on the menu for a few days starting tomorrow.after that I’m planning chicken divan crepes, though my hubby grimaced when I suggested crepes. LOL I’ll make enough of the filling that we can make potpies using some puff pastry I have in the freezer.

Thanks again for the suggestions! Keep them coming!
2 years ago
Thank you! We did do an intense search on that site which starts with P and concentrated on casseroles because we’re moving and those usually last 3 days or more for the 2 of us and only require cooking vs reheating for one day. But crepes sounds great!

We did do various quiches at the end of the garden season but had forgotten a theme option.

Appreciate the suggestion.

Shelley and Dan,
Northern Michigan
2 years ago
My husband of 22 yrs (we’re 62 and 72) and I have pretty much exhausted our favorite childhood/family recipes and are looking for inspiration. I get about 20 recipe blog emails per day. Dan has a MASSIVE - literally several thousand - cookbooks, and we are SO BORED!!!

I was raised vegetarian, Dan was a meat and potatoes guy raised in a military household with lots of kids in England until he was 14, so “meat” usually consisted of Spam and cheap tuna from the commissary.  I have introduced him to lots of yummy ways to eat veggies over the years, and finally JUST got him to eat broccoli a few weeks ago. It was his,last holdout from the cruciferous family.

My maternal grandfather opened a healthfood and vitamin store in 1960, then he added a vegetarian restaurant next door to that in 1963. It was the first/only vegetarian restaurant in the state for many years.

I don’t eat much meat still, but for sure don’t eat shellfish, game, veal, much pork. If I do have poultry it’s white meat only. I garden and preserve lots of our produce.  

Help! We need some inspiration!

2 years ago
I so envy all of you who live in areas where you have access to free chips! We live in Northern Michigan where we're a pretty decent 50/50 split of open farmland and forest. But there are also several factories in nearby areas which will pay anyone for their woodchips. The closest town to us, approximately 6 miles away is situated on a decent-sized river which ironically doesn't use it for hydropower - the old mill in town has its wheel raised and is just for decor now - but they buy woodchips from everyone and burn it for power.  ::sigh::

When we first moved here I called every local tree trimming company I could find.  I'd been spoiled at our former farm downstate living across the road from a tree trimming company. Up here we see huge logging semis every time we drive anywhere.  I was sure I'd be able to find someone who wanted to "dispose" of the chipped tree tops. I imagined the lovely combo of leaves and branches and pine needles we'd get downstate.  

No joy.
2 years ago
I'm not sure where I originally saw the citrus peels and vinegar trick, but I've been doing it at least 10 years as we've lived here for 9 and I did it at the farm we owned prior to this one.

I'm a lemon addict. I use 2 a day in my tea. I also eat a lot of tangerines and mandarins in the winter. I have 3 cut class 1/2 gallon canisters with tight sealing tops - 2 on my counter, 1 in a cupboard - which I use to make citrus cleaner. I have them at different levels of "doneness."

I also use cleaning vinegar which is a higher acidity. I can always water it down, but this works really well for tough jobs.

I love to make up gallon bottles of the cleaner, decorate them with ribbon with some dehydrated lemon and orange slices strung on, and give them to friends and family who comment on how clean my home is. ;o)

2 years ago
I'm the exact same way! Gain is a product of the devil! I've actually changed my shopping pattern in my grocery store because I'm near someone wearing clothes with that horrific smell.

I use unscented detergents when I buy them - my cousin makes soap so I tend to make detergent from her soaps - and I rinse with white vinegar as my "softener."

I think most of the suggestions I would make have already been made, with the exception of the new Oxyclean odor killer formula. I'm not sure the exact name.... Hanging stuff on the clothesline for several days and re-washing a few times seems to help most.

Shelley in Michigan
2 years ago
This is a super solution to an urban area garden where neighbors might object to the appearance of a less traditional garden. Great job!

We have 50 acres in an extremely rural farming community without neighbors within a mile, so appearance isn’t  an issue, but my being disabled impacts what I can do. My solution? Reuse damaged livestock water tanks, many of which I’ve gotten for very cheap if not free.

With my husband’s help, I set each tank up in a south exposure area of our “yard” - Southern being important a we”re in N Michigan above the 45 parallel and frequently have snow well into April and last frost dates into June. My husband helps by filling the bottom 1/3 with rotting wood, top off with compost and soil from here on the farm. After that he’s done. I plant, quite densely, rotating crops and topping off with new compost each year and periodically watering with manure tea. I get impressive yields, and the convenient height means I can sit on one of my walkers to plant, water, weed, mulch and harvest.

My wheeled walkers have been customized over the years with most of my hand tools in the bag under the seat and several canvas bags for harvested produce hung from the handles. On spring planting days I can place 2 flats on the seat to push everything out to my now 10 tanks.

The size of the 100-200 gallon tanks which are typically in the neighborhood of 2x4ft or 2x6ft makes working from one side easy until the plants grow so large I can no longer reach across, or a trellis impedes it. Then I begin working from either side.

Some of the tanks are galvanized metal, some grey fiberglass. I tried an experiment last year using heavy duty plastic garbage cans to try growing potatoes, but the red squirrels (who have left alone all my other crops with the exception of our walnuts and hazelnuts) dug up and decimated those the day before I’d planned on harvesting. 😢 I decided the effort + frustration factor + the fact that locally grown organic potatoes are quite inexpensive here = failed experiment! 🤨

I’ll try to find a few pics my husband took for me last year. A young man who came by to give us an estimate on a roofing job totally freaked out at the size of my tomato plants. Holding his thumb next to the base of the stem to show they were more than double the diameter.
OK I would love some input on that from other folks. The reason being this tree, unless it was grafted WAY below ground, sure looks like a tree grown from a nut or from a cutting.

It was two really large trees attached at about2-3 ft above ground level.  It seems to have rotted between the two trees.

The ice storm weighted the outside branches and it split the trunk at the

Then the two trunks sent up new branches? Suckers? Not sure what they’d be called.

We just got back from errands in town with spagnum moss to try to nick and wrap while still on the tree. AND I’m goino to trim a few and root with rooting compond.
2 years ago