Monthly Archives: July 2013

Okay, maybe I’ve flipped to the other side?

That is, maybe I’m becoming OCD? Wouldn’t that be kind of funny? My dad always said I went from one extreme to the other, then found my center. I mentioned this to DH the other day, who arched an eyebrow at me and said sarcastically, “Oh really?” Obviously, he’s learned that about me as well.

So, what makes me say this? Well, it’s a wax actually. A month or so ago I tried to make hand lotion from 4 simple ingredients, mostly a natural wax and oil. It didn’t work. I had a block of stuff that sat around and didn’t have anything to do with it.  I decided  use it as furniture polish. Why not?

Yesterday I tried it. Part of my weekly list of things to do includes cleaning doors. There’s wooden doors in the house, with wooden trim.  I started using the wax on two of the doors. The wood loved it and so did I. No nasty chemical smell I’m allergic to, no haze to breathe either. [Because I’m short, almost always spraying something means I end up in a cloud of whatever it is as I have to spray whatever above my head.] I ran the block in a line down the panels and rubbed it out. The doors got cleaner, look good, and as I said, NO chemical smell, no cloud to breathe! 😀

I liked that so much I did the three stairs I’d caulked Sunday. That looked great too! Today? Today I did the stringers on those stairs and part of the posts that support the stairs. I still like it.

So I confess: for the past two days I’ve been rubbing my house with wax. This is a post & beam, log house there is a LOT of wood here. It would take me a year or more to go over all the exposed wood and I have no intention of doing so.

But if you’d told me a month ago I’d be rubbing wax into the house, two days in a row I’d have said, “You must be talking about someone else!”

There are worse things I guess, but . . . it’s bizarre!

I have for a week now

done a new cleaning schedule and technique. Haven’t seen it before, or run into anything like it. Most of the cleaning/household books have you do things by room; I’m not.

It still has some tweaking needed, but I’m actually doing this, the house is getting cleaner AND I’m not spending all day at it or overwhelmed, although there’s still just as much stuff here as there was before.

It could be that the new (?) idea isn’t it, but what I’m doing in my psych. work. We’ve apparently finally gotten down to the last bit, and so should be dealt with in a fairly speedy manner. Whether that’s 2 weeks or 5 more years, I don’t know — we’ll see.

But what IS new and different is that the house is getting cleaner and I’m not panicking.

I wonder if it will last?


Do you have a cleaning schedule?

I’ve decided I need a new one, one that reduces my stress about cleaning as much as possible. I’m looking for ideas, techniques, etc. I have read the Aslett books, know about Flylady, etc.

If it’s something your family does and you’ve never heard of anyone else who set up their cleaning that way or it’s an unusual technique, tool or schedule — I’d be very interested in hearing about it.

Talk to me!

Lettuce Soup v 2

Well, this time it’s going to be a cold soup. It’s in the 90’s here, I’m not cooking anything!

I’ve pulled the first batch of peas, and have decided to put celery in that bed. I just have to get to the co-op to get organic celery to plant. (Even if I could grow it from seed, which I’ve never managed, it’s too late in the season.) The first bush beans are producing too, finally.

I’ve given away 2 bags of lettuce to neighbors & friends, I hope they enjoyed it!

Tonight’s soup is based on a soup that I love from a favorite cookbook: 10 Minute Cuisine – by Henrietta Green & M. Moine. Their soup uses 1 lb of spinach, juice of 1 lemon and 2 avocados. What sounds like would otherwise be weak is made substantial by the avocados’ fat content. The spinach is nicely enhanced and countered with the lemon. They also add stock, a few drops of hot sauce, salt and pepper. Washing the spinach, getting everything together and buzzing it takes very little time, as the book’s title implies.

I’m making it with the mixed leaf lettuces that are running amok in the garden. My only quandry about the soup is that much of the lettuce is red, which will make the soup an unattractive brown I’m afraid. The other lettuce soup was pale green and I chopped some of the red lettuce then put it in the bottom of the soup bowls and poured the soup over it. I also garnished the soup with a little minced on top, worked great.

I didn’t have enough green lettuce for the soup, so the red & green lettuces have to be mixed. Oh well. I’m sure it will be yummy, even if it looks more like onion soup than lettuce. (It didn’t, it was green with red flecks, different than normal, but not bad!)

So the soup was: about 1/2-1 lb mixed leaf lettuces, 1 quart stock, juice of 1 lemon, 2 avocados. Clean & chop the lettuces. (Because I was using med. size lettuce from the garden and I intended to buzz the soup, I included all but the toughest stems. When I make the soup with spinach, I always cut off the split ends but use the stems.) Put in a LARGE bowl. Add the stock and lemon juice. Pit the avocados and add the chunked flesh to the bowl as well. Use a stick blender to liquify until the avocados “disappear” and the lettuces are mostly liquified, or just small specks. Serve (if you’re me) with hot sauce salt & pepper.*

*I don’t cook with salt & pepper as my signifiant other likes a LOT more pepper than I do and I like a LOT more salt than he does.

Cooking on the fly, well, sort of

I’ve been doing my usual: finding dishes that use what I have, mostly, then modifying them. A couple of days ago I made a blueberry-peach cobbler from The modifications there were: 1)I used fresh peaches, since I had them and 2)I greased the pan with butter, as I don’t have cooking spray. That’s it, but it’s not the cobbler as advertised.

The other day  I made a rice pilaf with lemon (also from I think) but instead of using 1 1/2 cups of long grain rice, I used 1C jasmine rice and 1/2C Madagascar Pink Rice. Additionally, I also used twice as much broth as they did and added the juice of a lemon, rather than lemon peel, as I’m out of organic lemons.

It was good, I’ll make it again, but it needed water chestnuts, celery,  almonds or something for crunch. Not sure what I’ll add next time, but the changes I made and what I observed are noted on the printout.

When I was buying Martha Stewart organizing stuff last year,  I bought 2 paper organizer pockets, sort of  like that below (apparently they don’t sell what I actually bought anymore).

martha stewart pocket

[Image (c) Martha Stewart or Staples or  the photographer or Avery/Dennison — this is NOT my image!]

When I find a recipe I like, I print it out and put it in the “tryout” folder. After I try it, as I said, it gets written on, what went well, what didn’t, how I changed it, and if I intend to make it again, it goes in the Tried & True folder. If I had a kitchen computer (on the list — waaaaaaaay down the list) I’d not bother to print out the recipes at all, I’d just save the file and make comments there.

How do you organize new recipes that aren’t in books? Do you do something similar? Please tell me! I’m always looking for better ways, but so far, this one works!

P.S. We liked the cobbler enough that I stuck 4 bags of mixed fruits in the freezer. Midwinter this will seem truly decadent — if they last that long!

A decision about a problem!

I have (finally) figured out what to give my SIL as a house-warming gift. They just moved and she’s told me NOT to spend any money, so it’s been difficult to figure out what to send? But I’ve hit upon something which qualifies AND will be useful.

I have a stack of hot pads to give her,  we’ve talked about already, but that’s not enough — I want to do more. I could make her something for her home, but I’ve never been in this house and don’t know the colors, etc. so that’s out.

Since she reads this, the only hint I’ll provide is that I will not buy anything, except the postage to get it to her.

I’ll fill in more, after she receives the gift.

What would you give someone who didn’t live close by and not spend any money except for postage?

Too Much Lettuce and Other Good Things

It has been hot, so the lettuce — ALL of it, is growing like great guns out there. We’ve been eating salads, yes. And I’m pulling plants now, rather than simply cutting off leaves, as the plants are 8-10″ instead of 3-4″.

We had lettuce soup for dinner Monday. I imagine I’ll make lettuce soup base (lettuce simmered in stock) before long for the freezer. The lettuce hasn’t acquired flower stalks yet, but they’ll be there all too soon — and all of the (overplanted) beautiful yummy tender greenery will become bitter compost heap fodder instead.

There actually were a couple of leaves big enough to do wraps with, so those are going in the fridge for Tuesday rather than in the soup. The first bed of peas need to be removed and something else (more lettuce? spinach? radiccho?) planted in that raised bed.

Otherwise, my beefsteak tomato is thriving, the cherry tomato plant is dying for some reason, and one of the squash plants was eaten by the chipmunks (they ate every one last year).

Monday’s dinner of lettuce soup was delicious enough that yes, I’ll make “soup base” to go in the freezer. Can you imagine heating up a block of frozen, buzzed lettuce & stock and making lettuce soup in January? Sounds like watermelon jam, something I keep meaning to make, but we eat the watermelon too quickly! I don’t want to eat watermelon in December, but the idea of watermelon jam – – now that’s another thing altogether!