When I was a little girl my mother used to make a beef dish that I loved. I never knew what it was until I became an adult and learned it was called brisket of beef. I liked that the meat was tender, and full of flavor. Finding it in the market, however, was a chore. I would only see Corned Beef, which I like very much, but it’s not the same thing.
While I was thinking about that brisket I had as a little girl growing up in Germany, I realized that my mother never made it after we moved back to the United States. Maybe it wasn’t my mother’s dish after all, maybe it was our German maid, Elfrida’s brisket I remember so fondly.
Either way, when I found brisket at the local butcher shop, I knew I had to try making it. I figured I would do something similar to Oxen Shvantz Suppe – Braised Oxtails, which also takes a long time to cook. It’s hot and I didn’t want to be in a hot kitchen all day, so I used my 4 quart Nesco to slowly braise the brisket. It was delicious!
Today, I was a The Americana at Brand’s Lost and Found trying to get Spane’s scooter that he may have left there. I was really surprised that the base-boards, door jams, and kick plates were so dirty. I told the security guard it was disgusting and told him about the Secret Formula.
A while back I had a plastic spray bottle on the counter, and when my friend asked me what it was, I said “It’s my secret formula”. It became a joke among my friends because they were always surprised at how well it worked, and when they found out what it was, were amazed at how cost-effective it was as well.
The Secret Formula is very inexpensive to make, about $0.25 per bottle, compared with paying $3-$4 for another spray. It kills germs on contact, and it leaves a fresh, just cleaned scent. I’ve been using it for years, and it’s never failed me.
I told the guard what the Secret Formula is, so I guess I should share it with you, too.
So, Spane comes home and says that he has to make a diorama for his third grade class to be shown at Open House. I’ve never made a diorama before, but I love crafts, and I’m very interested in renewable energy.
When I asked Spane what his diorama was going to be, he said, a farm. His farm has corn, a house, a river, and a cherry tree. He’s actually right on target, there are a lot of things on his farm that can use or create renewable energy.
Part of the project was the diorama itself, the other was research that I did for the project. I have included sources for my research in this post, so you can find more about it.
Update: Parents were treated to all the wonderful dioramas on Open House on Thursday, May 31, 2012. The children got to see other classrooms the next day, Friday, so the diorama had to be up for one more day. I got to do a little repair work at Open House as the kids had been spinning the windmill, and touching the cherry tree. I quickly glued the “leaves” back on the tree, sadly only one of the “cherries” were left, I guess the rest got eaten! The good thing about this diorama is when Spane went to take it home, everything collapsed, he closed up the box, and put it in his backpack.
I am including this recipe because it makes life in kitchen a lot simpler. Simple syrup is just a mixture of water and sugar, that you can keep in the refrigerator to use to sweeten beverages, and other liquids where you do not want to have to deal with sugar crystals.
Making it is very simple. I use a 1:1 ratio, sugar to water. After boiling it, I keep it in the refrigerator, and can sweeten any number of things. I keep mine in an old pint sour cream container with “Simple Syrup” written on top. When I need more, I just make more.
Recipe: Simple Syruo
1 cup pure cane sugar
1 cup water
Put the water and sugar into a heavy bottomed pot, and heat it. When the pot gets ready to start to boil, stir until the sugar is dissolved. You will know when the mixture is completely clear. Don’t let it boil too long, or you will have candy!
Remove from the heat, and cool before storing.
I prefer the raw cane sugar to the pure white sugar, so mine has a little color. Do not try to use brown sugar or powdered sugar.