Kicking Off a New Project! #lostskills

Besides the gaming and being an avid reader and enjoying the fruits of motherhood I am embarking on a new journey which I hope will prove interesting but more importantly, be of help. Not everyone is familiar with the Foxfire Books. They started out as a high school project back in the 60’s under the direction of a teacher Mr. Eliot Wigginton.

The premise of the Foxfire project was that the distinctive ways of the Appalachian people were fast disappearing with modern times. Everything from folk lore and generations of knowledge in herb-lore and food preservation was fading out… dying out, truly, as the older generations passed away. Their children were products of a modern world now and had not taught their own children, the kids in this high school in Georgia, any of what had kept them alive all these many years.

From one class project sprang a magazine, a 12 volume set of best selling books, a play and a movie… All award winning. The foxfire project even continues today:

I only have a couple of the books but they are really awesome. Even the things I doubt I will ever do myself are fascinating to read about. I do especially love the stories and the lore and superstitions. The old timers used to even consider the phase of the moon then digging holes!

In the spirit of the Foxfire project I am starting my own #lostskills project. I would never give up my modern, easy lifestyle. I love my computer and internet, my car and the ease of having a grocery store in nearly every town. Electricity and indoor plumbing, yup, I like those too. My #lostskills project is not about going off grid or Amish or anything like that. It’s about maintaining a well rounded self. It is in the very spirit of Provident living to gain and maintain as much knowledge and as many skills as we can.

Men may cast themselves as the leaders and warriors, the scholars and keepers of history but; women are the very seat of civilization and I say, we are guardians of culture and etiquette.

Pursuant to that idea I want to do my part to retain what was good about things the way my grandmother did them and add to them with our greater base of knowledge we have available today. I want to understand why things are done a certain way. I want to learn how to apply old concepts to modern times. I want to relearn the bank of knowledge and wisdom that, until just a couple of generations ago, was passed down.

We used to grow gardens and make many of our own clothes. We used to treasure things made for us by craftsmen or our loved ones.

I’m not saying give up your trips to the grocery store or stop buying clothes at Walmart. But how much money could we save if we all did a little something? People are so concerned about our effect on the world around us and I say a large part of the problem is that we don’t even try to do things for ourselves. People are concerned about the minds of our youth playing games and being absorbed into social media. Maybe a lot of the world’s problems could, in fact, be helped if more kids grew up snapping peas from time to time on the back porch.

Want to reduce your waste? Raise a steer to be butchered. Spend 18 months feeding and cleaning and getting to know that unique individual before you take him to the butcher of your choice. Raise your own vegetables by the sweat of your brow and the blisters of your hands.

Everything we get from the store is labor and life and time given by someone. Just because it comes from a big corporation and is neatly and hygienically packaged in Styrofoam and plastic to be consumed facelessly by us does not make it any less true. Our disconnect from how we got here and from what it takes to keep us alive and healthy is part of what I believe causes so many of use to walk through like with this terrible feeling of dysphoria.

I’m going to fight it. I hope you will join me and find something here worth learning.

#lostskills #lds #providentliving

Chipotle Beef and Pan Fried Burritos

I love my crockpot. I make bone broths with it and render lard and tallow with it and stew meat to make lots of tasty things over the week. I don’t really like using the crock pot to make an end product, something that you pop the lid off and set it on the table. I prefer to use it to make a versatile base that allows me to trim the time for the weeks meals but not be stuck with the same old ever time.

Also, I dislike how cooking in the crockpot impacts seasoning. There is little to no evaporation and, as such, how you season is different. I can’t really explain to you the precise nature of the differences. I just know that the amount of salt I add to stew on the stove is going to be different from what I need to add to it when I crock it.

Since I learned stove top and oven cooking before I taught myself how to use the crockpot, it just isn’t second nature to me.

So, what I like to do with random, or tough cuts of beef that otherwise would just set in my deep freezer:

I crack a large can of chipotle peppers and a couple of cans of diced tomatoes and fill the crock up with things like short ribs and chuck roasts. I have not mastered the potential awesomeness of short ribs. I want very badly to but, I am still mastering the necessary techniques. So, a batch of short ribs, dumped in the crockpot becomes my base for a week in what I can Mexican-ish meals. I always make sure to top off the crock with enough water for it to hit the ‘max’ line on the pot.

After crocking the chosen meat for a good, solid 24 hours, I pour everything through a strainer and separate out the broth from the meat and bones.

Mmm… Beefy mess

I bought these really neat storage containers from Amazon: here’s my review of them.

I use these to pour the broth, really it’s more like a meat liquor at this point, into. Then I refrigerate them and separate out the tallow (from beef) or lard (from pork) that has accumulated on the top. The fat that comes off that broth I use to do things like make pan fried burritos. Or, to add back into the meat, as necessary, to enhance the flavor.

Two things are really important for flavor: Fats and Oxygen.

Without those two things in adequate quantity, you just will never have things that taste really and truly good. And, if you aren’t filling yourself with the cardboard fiber and refined sugar enhanced pre-packaged garbage peddled as food these days, these fats are not harmful. They not only enhance flavor but they help trigger the release of hormones that let your brain know that your stomach is full. Ergo: Good fat content equals portion control.

So to make these really tasty pan fried burritos I separate the meat from the bones and the other various and nasty sinews that have not broken down in the crockpot. These I give to my dogs, who are happy to tend these scraps for me. Once I have the meat clean of the gunk that’s when the fun begins.

Ew… the inedibles

I rarely season the beef all at once. Usually I end up putting the bulk of it away in the refrigerator or the freezer and just keep out what I think will make one meal. I have watered down some broth and added beans and corn and chopped tomato and once it’s seasoned up right, it makes a wonderful beef tortilla soup. Or I add some cumin and oregano, garlic and various peppers and end up with some killer meat for tacos or burritos or tostadas. Alter the amount of liquid and what else I add and this meat makes a great chili.

Now it’s starting to look good.

The possibilities are limitless… as long as it’s beef you’re looking to eat.

Last night I made some pan friend burritos. They aren’t exactly chimichangas but they are really good.

Before folding…

I put some re-fried beans and the meat onto a large size tortilla. I added salsa, cheese and, a bit of sour cream. For myself, I also put some home made guacamole. Then I rolled them up Taco Bell style, so both short ends are neatly rolled in and I popped them into a skillet on medium heat.

Now, I’m not very careful. I just dig a chunk of the tallow (turned a nice orange color from the peppers) and plop it into the skillet. There is a lot of popping and snapping because I wasn’t careful to get the fat really separate from the broth. You can either use a nice spatter screen or be more careful getting the fat away from the water than I did.

Not a chimichanga... Sorry Wade.

Watch carefully, because it can be easy to scorch these… especially if you have two toddlers running around in the kitchen like I do. It really doesn’t take long to get some good color and texture on the tortilla and make sure everything is heated through.

A word of caution: Work with hot ingredients. Maybe not the cheese and the sour cream but; the meat and the beans should definitely have been heated before you put these babies together. If you don’t then you’ll end up with a hot and crunch tortilla with icky cold innards.

It’s the same as with anything. Room temp or heated ingredients make the best end product. Don’t pull sausage straight from the fridge and dump it in your omelet and expect it to be good. Either nuke your ingredients, if they take well to that, or dump them in pans and bring them up to a good steaming temperature.

Our final product.

Besides producing a lot of beef that can be flavored in slightly different ways and turned in to many things over a busy week, making up burritos like this can make for good home frozen fare. A couple of these in a neat freezer container can make the trek to work or school and heat well in the microwave for something hearty and home made and cheap for the frugal minded.

An Unpopular Opinion on Suicide Rates and Gun Control

I am going to say something controversial. I’m good at that though… I have opinions that are not the norm or; even when they seem like they fit into one certain category my reasons for holding a particular opinion may be 180 degrees out from what is expected. Anyway, bear with me here.

Many people for further gun control quote suicide statistics and claim that less firearms mean less suicides.

I wonder what the hidden numbers are here. The suicide rate does not include attempted suicides. It does not figure in the failure rate of other methods of suicide. And it, likely does not sort the cries for attention and the attempts to deflect blame from truly suicidal behavior.

I think that if a person aims to kill themselves that doing so with a firearm of some kind is likely to be the most effective and have the highest level of success. No argument there.

What happens to a person who fails to kill themselves via hanging? Have you truly saved someone from suicide if they come to be committed and lose themselves in a facility? Why are we looking at the method instead of the reasons?

The same people who will argue that any and everything must be done to prevent the loss of lives to firearms will argue for a person’s right to terminate a pregnancy. They will argue until blue in the face that it’s nothing but a lump of tissue, a parasite, not a human at all until it is actually born. Some extremists will argue that even a newly born baby is only nominally human and can be discarded if desired.

They will argue for euthanasia and the ‘right to dignity’ to end one’s life on their own terms when they are terminally ill. I’ll let you in on a secret:

We are, all of us, terminally ill. Not a one of us has made it out of here alive yet. Maybe Enoch… but barring being taken straight from Earth to Heaven, let’s go ahead and admit to our mortality.

Lastly, I would ask if you have seen someone who is truly determined to kill themselves? Have you ever wondered if it is cruel to keep stopping them, to try and force them into what you or I would consider a normal life? Have you allowed yourself to get swept up in the despair and the worthlessness… the inability to hope or to cope which some people are so afflicted?

Is it cruel to keep them here at all costs? If life that is yet to be born may be sacrificed without consideration and if life that seems to have run its course can be taken, then why do we stop people who are arguably mentally ill from carrying out their wishes? Is a person’s life their own or does it belong to society?

Suicide prevention is not a reason for more gun control. It is an inconsistent philosophy that at once demands protection for all people no matter what and denies that protection to other people because of their circumstances.

Instead of knee-jerking whenever one (maybe two) person supposedly goes off their rocker and starts a killing spree perhaps we can look at the inconsistencies in our own philosophies and do a little introspection. At least then, maybe, you can come up with a more cogent argument for the things you want to have happen.

Scotch Eggs; Not Just an Excellent Song by MrWeebl

Deviled Scotch Eggs

Eggs are still a relatively cheap source of protein and as I have found out by dabbling in raising chickens, frighteningly plentiful at certain times of the year. It can be difficult to keep things ‘fresh’ when one has a dozen eggs a day to feed the family. One of the ways I’ve found to keep eggs interesting is my version of Scotch Eggs.

I’d say Scotch Eggs are an English dish but its origins are shrouded in mystery just as its form is shrouded in delicious sausage meat and bread crumbs in my version of the recipe. Some sources claim it comes from an Indian dish called Nargisi Kofta. Others contend it comes from a North African dish and still others claim it used to be a Yorkshire delicacy wrapped in fish paste. These days they are common pub fare, oft times served cold with relishes, pickles and salads.

I recommend either using a steam based method for making the hard boiled eggs or having the water boiling and then adding the eggs to the hot water. Cook for about 13 minutes then chill in an ice bath for about 15 minutes. As you might have read in an issue of Cooks Illustrated, both of those methods produce reliably easy to peel eggs.

I also, to hasten peeling… an onerous task to be sure, pop the chilled eggs into a resealable plastic container with about an inch of water. I close it up tight with its lid and shake it all vigorously for half a minute. This little trick speeds the process considerably.

Next I take my sausage and slice it up and make thin patties. I used a run of the mill hot breakfast sausage that was on sale last time I was at the grocery store. I highly recommend some kind of spicy sausage for this recipe, it just goes so much better with the deviled yolks than sage sausage or any kind of maple sausage would.

One at a time I place a hard boiled egg on a thin sausage patty and cup the sausage around the egg. Then I put a second patty on the other side and gently roll it in my hands until I have a large round ball. Do your best not to leave seems as this is where the sausage will break apart if it shrinks too much when we fry it up in the pan.

I did not wet the sausage covered egg in either egg or milk before rolling it in the panko style bread crumbs. They stick just fine to the surface with a little patting here and there.

Once the eggs are assembled, I pulled out my largest deep sided frying pan and because I’m decadent I put bacon fat in the pan, enough to cover the whole bottom of the pan evenly. You can use whatever fat you prefer for pan frying but bacon fat does the job just fine and if your pan is hot very little is absorbed but the flavor.

Totally edible at this stage.

Heat the oil until flicking a drop or two of water into the pan produces a vigorous amount of popping. Carefully set a couple of your Scotch Eggs into the pan, being sure not to over crowd them. You will need room to roll them around ever couple of minutes until they are thoroughly browned on all sides. Don’t worry if you get a little bit of splitting as you cook them, you’ll be slicing them in half anyway so just slice them there and no one will no the difference!

Drain the fully cooked eggs on some paper towels to absorb any excess grease. And just a warning based on my experience… wait a couple of minutes before deciding it’s time to slice them in half to retrieve the yolks. Those puppies are hot!

Once they have adequately cooled, use a very sharp knife to carefully slice the eggs in half. Now, you are dealing with spheres instead of egg shapes and yet, without giving it much thought I managed to cut them all lengthwise. Maybe I’m just lucky and maybe someone out there who makes this recipe is going to contact me and be very irritated that they cut every single one of their eggs in some fashion that made it impossible to to continue without great difficulty. I’ll let you know.

Also, absolutely consumable at this stage.

Once the eggs are all sliced, pop out their yolks and place them in a bowl. I use a fork to mash them up before adding the two kinds of mustard, mayonnaise and paprika. I will give you the measurements I used for my filling but I am going to stress the need to taste test. Some mustards have more salt than others. And while I want something with enough zing to cut through the richness of the yolks and the sausage, my personal tastes might not be compatible with your palate. Always taste test before adding any additional salt at the very least.
Slightly less attractive for consuming with their tasty yolk bits missing.

I simply used a spoon to put the deviled yolk mixture back into the Scotch Eggs. I didn’t pipe them for two reasons. One: I’m lazy. Two: The more rustic appearance of the spooned yolks just appealed to me more.

Now at long last you are ready to consume! They can be eaten straight away or served cold at a later time. I store them in a resealable plastic container in the refrigerator and dole them out as needed. They rarely last more than a day.

Our delicious end product.


12 eggs
1.5lbs spicy breakfast sausage
Panko style breadcrumbs, plain

1 tbs prepared Coleman’s mustard
1 tbs regular yellow mustard
2 tbs mayonnaise
½ tsp paprika
salt to taste

And lastly I leave you with the indomitable MrWeebl:

Another new video up!

I am trying to get as much time in this next week on my Grimnir seed in 7 Days to Die. That way when the news Alpha comes out I can start over in this seed and compare, especially to see if they have fixed the terrain.

I also talk about cleaning out my deep freezer which means lots of bone broths and fat rendering happening in preparation for a new cow in the freezer!

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Because sometimes the only time a gamer mama gets to play is after midnight.


A Special Post for National Donut Day.

Donuts are surprisingly easy to make. It does take time, especially if you decide to do a yeast based dough, but; they are definitely worth the time and effort. My favorite varieties have always been the quick rise or cake donuts, except when they are home made. When those fried and golden chunks of heaven are made at home then both kinds are delectable.

With this post I am not going to get into all the many fillings and glazes or toppings one can put on their donuts. I am simply going to share with you a really decent recipe I came across. This version of quick donut holes comes from Sam, on her site Sugar Spun Run. I enjoyed not only her end product but reading through and perusing her website. A recipe is always better knowing a little about the person relating it to you. Somehow a personal connection feels like it is established when one talks about food and life together. For what is life without food? Short. In a nutshell.

This recipe I will link to on her site is fast and easy, perfect for beginners or for one wishing to let their kids get involved with the making.

I never ‘cut’ butter into my recipes. I pull out the tools I was born with, my hands, and use them. You’ll come to find I’m not much of a gadget person. Partly because for such a long time I simply did not have the tools or the means to obtain the shiny tools. Our family has moved so often and often enough in times of strife that things like having a sifter or a pastry cutter or a sharp knife that cost more than 2 dollars was just not in the cards for me. I always have my hands and gods willing will have them for a very long time. So; if I can use my hands I do.

Instead of using a pot on the stove top I used my hand dandy little deep fryer. (Didn’t I just get done saying I wasn’t a gadget girl in the kitchen? Oh well.) I have a Presto, Cool Daddy Elite and for what it is, it’s pretty darned good. We have seven people in the house and that’s not counting any guests. So, potentially I am working to serve a pretty big crowd. What I do like about it is the unit is pretty much plug and play. Connect the chord and plug it in, wait for the little light to go out and you’re at temperature. It’s easy but it lacks control. I don’t set the temperature and it has no built in timer. The basket is circular in shape and has done us well for most things. I have not tried frying fresh fish in it yet but it completely failed to handle fresh made corn dogs. The oil was no where hot enough and the batter just absorbed oil and tasted awful and under cooked.

That said, for doing a double batch of these donut holes or any other donuts or beignets or quarter cut Monte Cristo sandwiches the Cool Daddy has served me well. So I made up two batches of Miss Sam’s donut hole recipe. (Which promises it can be made into cinnamon rolls too! We’ll have to give it a whirl.) I did not double it. Unless you have experimented or it says specifically in a baking recipe that you can double it, don’t. Just make two batches. Especially with leaveners involved, sometimes things don’t work out well, either perfectly in half or when doubled. This is simply my experience, I have nothing but that to back up my warning.

I modified the recipe on Sugar Spun Run because I wanted a buttermilk tang to the dough. When I simulate buttermilk in a recipe I just pop a tablespoon of vinegar, plain white vinegar, into the measuring cup that I am measuring the milk into and, ideally, allow the augmented milk to sit for ten or so minutes and let the acid work on the milk a little. Next time I use this recipe, and I will, I’ll add a little vanilla into the mix as well. Then it will be exactly how I want it for a cake donut base.

Please follow the link below and give this website a visit:

Fried Donut Holes (No Yeast)

First Video Up and Running!

I was able to find the time to record and post up a video to YouTube finally. It’s probably about what one would think a first video by someone with no really innate talent might be like. I found I could not just start talking… it just did not work. So I wrote a couple of paragraphs to start myself off.

Because of my admiration of the orderly I began with the training mission of one of my favorite games. It’s dead dull. It really is. The only thing that could have made it interesting would have been some sparkling, insightful commentary. Unfortunately; none was to be had. Not from me at any rate.

Let’s see, other sins: I completely lost my train of thought at one point. Too many ‘um’s. I think the game volume might be too loud in the recording too.

I hope to give it another go really soon. To kind of gain some momentum, having at leas been successful at creating a video and getting it up on YouTube, regardless of actual entertainment value or potential for popularity.

Anyone out there in the Aether with some advice for a newling like me, give a comment. Tell to me your thoughts.

Greetings and Felicitations!

Who am I? What is my purpose here?

Pretty hefty questions. How best to answer?

I am no one. I could be anyone. To some people, I guess I am someone. For the most part though, I am no one.

If the word average had a ‘T’ in it that would be me. Average to a ‘T’.

To you, I hope to be Mabd, The Midnight Mama, mother of five, gaming since I can remember and chronically spending too much time in my own head for anyone else’s good. My kids ranging in age from 7 months to 15 years old, three boys and two girls. I live on the ass side of somewhere and the front side of nowhere… strategically positioned to at once not worry about anyone seeing when the husband decides to take a piss off the back porch but close enough to ‘civilization’ to be glad I’m not there more often in 20 minutes.

I am up often in the middle of the night… the baby was restless and now, so too, am I. Someone lost their stuffty and we had to mount a search and rescue effort at 2 am. Or, sometimes it is just the only time when all is still and quiet and I have better than a 15% chance of making it through a Youtube video or kicking The Bunker’s ass without being interrupted.

So, I have decided to share my dead of night antics to invite you to share my small thoughts in the small hours and otherwise commemorate my life after midnight.