Monthly Archives: February 2019

Trying To Figure It Out

I want a way to track ingredients I’ve used up (a shopping list) and left over items going into the fridge or freezer. I’ve been fiddling with this for some time and haven’t quite gotten where I want it.

But while working on it, I came up with today’s menu. (Sunday is the only day we eat a formal breakfast.)

Breakfast: blueberry pancakes, which were supposed to use up the remaining container of blueberries (bought 2 yesterday).  We usually have pancakes, but nothing so high as blueberry pancakes, but we had the berries and they needed to be used. . . .  It used most of them, but not quite all. They’re out on the counter being eaten as hand food, and that should take care of the remainder.

Lunch: LO fried chicken in a chicken salad for lunch sandwiches, and the 3 pieces of lemon pepper chicken will be added to the freezer. I cooked 2 lbs of chicken during the week, 3 pieces as fried chicken and 3 more as lemon pepper chicken. The plain fried chicken I set aside the biggest of the 3 pieces so that I could use the meat for both of us.

Dinner: LO shepherd’s pie for dinner, with the remaining baby greens, sauteed. The pie was bought yesterday and we had 1/2 of it for dinner.

This will completely empty my LO shelf, which is the idea. My goal is to do that once weekly! But how do I make a system which will give me what I’m looking for? I don’t exactly know. Both of us think a spread sheet might help. It might, but it might not. And it won’t help at all if I don’t have some clarity about exactly WHAT I want to track. If I know that, then the rest is easy. But I’m still not exactly clear about how much info, for what period of time, or how I want it represented! That makes it difficult.

Of the forms I found online, this looks to be the most comprehesive and attractive, to me. Link

My New Thing

Well, it’s related to many of my old things. It’s food waste. Did you know that Americans on average throw out 40% of their food? Easy way to save $ eh? Just throw out less.

To that end, and because I believe that public libraries should be both paid for and used, I found a listing for a book which looked interesting:

The Kitchen Ecosystem – by Eugenia Bone.

I got a copy via inter-library loan to look at, so I wouldn’t just buy another book. (Also different than years past. I would have bought it with the least amount of provocation!)

And, because I am who I am, I was pleased to see on the title page two stamps: the top one reads: “Library of Congress, surplus duplicate” and the 2nd is the ownership stamp of the library where my library got it. Made me smile. I guess the publisher donated an extra copy to the LoC and it wound up in a small town’s library in rural New England. Must be the used bookseller in me, but I love books where you can trace their history!

Anyway, the book is sorted by ingredients, from Apples to Zucchini and each ingredient has a sort of flow chart.

  • Top level is the ingredient used fresh, and recipes listed which do that.
  • Preserve some: take whatever excess and put it aside in something.
  • Use the preserves.
  • Use the scraps.
  • Sometimes, there is a 5th level: Make more. Which I guess is what you do if the preserves and scraps still don’t use it all up!

Over the years, I have collected all sorts of left over cookbooks. Also have a small batch preserving book.  And of course other cook books.

That said? This is the only time I’ve ever seen anyone who, like me, talks about flowing ingredients from one dish to the next. It isn’t left overs or planned overs. It’s splitting the original ingredient into pieces which can be used in completely different recipes. Sometimes, I use all of something (especially with meat) in which case I will cook the bulk of it as plainly as possible so that it can be used for something entirely different down the road.

To that end? This week we had a potato “one pot” for dinner. I used a HM package of chopped onion, part of a HM package of chopped bell pepper, ditto celery leaves, 1/2 of an individual HM meat loaf, and about 2/3 of a commercial bag of thick cut hash browns.  Also used the end of a bar of cheddar.

I sauted the vegetables, crumbled the meat and added it. When that was hot, I turned off the heat, added the hash browns and some chunks of cheese. This mixture went into a Pyrex rectanglular pan and into a hot oven. I kept stirring it to brown the potatoes on all sides. When it was good and hot, I sprinkled some more cheese on top, grated this time, and broiled it until the cheese was light gold.

It was yummy, A one-pot meal, used what we had and essentially was free, or nearly so. The meatloaf, celery leaves, and bits and pieces of pepper would probably have been pitched. The cheese was an end I used up. The chopped onion was a whole onion, chopped because either I simply had too many for the pantry or it looked like it might go bad soon. The only “new” thing in the dish was the partial bag of potatoes. Everything else was the end of something bigger.

No recipe. No meal plan. I looked in the pantry, fridge and freezer and figured out what I needed to use up, and did. I do this or some variation of it almost every night. I use recipes for baked goods and preserving foods. I use other recipes usually as a guide, not instructions, if I use them at all.

There’s a quote in the book I might cross-stitch for my kitchen, I like it that much! Certainly it reflects my experience: “… while gizmos of cooking are very useful, I can tell you from experience that good cooking is not the result of stuff. It’s the result of practice.” (page 5)

No surprise  — I ordered the book! (And that’s a story, for another day.)

So (Status) and Konmari

Progress and not.

  • Progress  = I finished clearing out the bigger of the two storage units.
  • Not = I didn’t get all my tax info together like I wanted to. Should finish that up in the next few weeks.

I got a large amount moved in the storage on Valentine’s Day.

DH and I cleared out the antique store booth that Sunday. The following Tuesday (this Tuesday) I finished up that effort. I’ve paid for this in the resulting cramped muscles, sleepless nights due to twingey backs, etc. But it’s done. I have a backlog of boxes here at the house to go through before I’ll start pulling more from the new, smaller storage to go through. So definite progress.

That said, there are still two corners here stacked with boxes and the attic. There’s a few boxes slated to go to the dump buried in the woodshed, they won’t come out til spring.

There are two flea markets I’d do, but one of them is the day after a workshop I’ve already paid for, in the opposite direction. So, we may go and look, but we won’t be selling.

Because of all of this, I’ve asked myself, “How will I know when I’m done?” The answer I’ve come up with is:

  1. The book boxes here are the only books in boxes I’m responsible for.
  2. There’s enough room in the attic to store those (see #1) and the books I want to keep and use are shelved.

It’s another of those enough but not too much things.


 

boxes

(not my image, from Google images probably, I’ve used it previously)


 

Why I don’t do Konmari:

  1. I think it’s a fine idea, but it isn’t for me with the PTSD and panic attacks, that’s the first reason.
  2. The second reason is that my relationship with stuff and space where I live is so complicated that there are only 2 items in my home which fit her “keep it if it makes you happy” idea: a bench and a stained glass window. Everything else is stuff I like, or think/feel is okay, or haven’t really considered how I feel about it.
  3. Again, this is because of the PTSD and panic attacks.  You don’t get attached to things if everything you look at is a potential item for derision, theft, or being broken, which was the set up I had as a kid. I ended up being conditioned like one of Pavlov’s dogs.

So, do me a favor, please. Don’t ask me if I do Konmari. I bought the book when it was new, years ago now, looked at it and gave it to a friend within two weeks. If it works for you — that’s great.

As usual, my life is complicated!

 

Box of Books

is going to the dump’s swap shop and the I have an arrangement for someone to take the 3 boxes from me, for a bookstore, on Friday. Hurrah!

So that’s 4 more going away. Yay!

Tomorrow I go work on the storage again and pick up accounting info.

Then I’ll unload the boxes I bring home, put the 3 boxes in it and new books for the antique store booth (the books which are there have been there a month.)  The booth books will be entirely replaced. There’s not much there, but what is there will be gone. I need to get the book customers used to the idea that if they want it, they need to buy it. I have other ways to sell books, wholesale I admit. But wholesale is better than no sale and I’m getting out of the business, right? So, they’ll probably go to auction.

So, today I need to go through the end of the last load of books which came home in my car. (We loaded DH’s car up too, but there’s no way I can get through the end of what was in my car AND what was in his in the next 3 hours or so!)

Anyway, that’s the plan.

I may (or may not) take some books and donate them somewhere. We’ll see.

Yesterday’s Culls & Today’s Progress

The drawers from one of the kitchen cabinets we removed (the case will go Weds.) a small box of books and a box of tube and spring pans.

At one point, I had the crazy notion I would make a Christmas Tree display for cookie cutters from tube pans, with the spring pans as a base. I never did. I never use pans like that, so the entire box went to the dump’s swap shop! I hope someone who needs/wants such things finds them before they get recycled.

Today? Today I started setting up my organizer. I had bought a journal in December or early January for this, when I decided that I would never find another copy of my beloved 2018 organizer. I had been looking for something which I could convert into the format I liked. I found one, then kept forgetting to get it out of the car. I finally did that Sat. morning when I knew I was going to the storage and needed all the room in my car for other boxes coming home.

IMG_0168

What’s NOT in the house!

(This is still my image, but much of this is gone. Or I hope so!)

Anyway, I dug the blank journal I’d bought out this morning. Made up the monthly sections. Figured out the calendar design. Did January and February, and need to do the rest. But it’s in process instead of in a box, definite progress!

I had DH bring home food from one of our fav. restaurants today when he was working remotely. Dinner prep. for me will be making veggies, and that’s it. Easy.

I have another batch of books to go through, of course. There’s about 5 paperback boxes in the car, that’s another 250 books or more.

A bookstore (bless them!) may have someone who can take 3 boxes off my hands this weekend. That would be wonderful!

We’ll see.

Slog, slog, slog, same ol’, same ‘ol. Slog-slog-slog.

I will finish this before I die; right?

J

Delete Forever and Google

Google for a long time told me that I didn’t need to cull down my in mail boxes, because they had all the storage I’d need.

But lately, they’ve been bugging me to make the email file bigger on one of my portable devices. My reaction to that has been a serious deletion effort of my unread or unneeded emails. In the process, I’ve discovered there’s a few places which seem to go over the top sending email. (I’m beginning to hate Constant Contact, amongst other things), those companies I’ve unsubscribed from. I read about 1 email a week from these folks at the most, who needs the other 6?

The other category of email inbox fillers? Notifications. Notifications when someone likes a post here. Notifications when someone responds to a thread I was interested in. Comments by companies about products I looked at.

Also I belong to 4 local news sites. Much of the info on them is duplication, so I read one then scan the others. But it’s 4 emails, every day.

I have deleted literally 1,000s of emails in the past week. I’m still getting the request from google to increase the size of my email file on my portable device. If  when I get the email down to what I actually want to keep? If I’m still getting the requests, I’ll change email hosts. By that time, I will have cut my stored emails in 1/2 or less of what they were when I started this. If that’s not enough? I’ll find something other than gmail to use because I just don’t want to give them that much of my already limited storage on my portable device. Stubborn, I know. Contrary too.

That’s me!

chaos-to-order-image

(Don’t know where the image came from; I’ve used it here before, but it is NOT mine!)

Slog, slog, slog. . . .

There’s 75% of another book box dealt with. The box of used checkbooks has been gone through and I filed what I could — I ran out of supplies.

There’s 2 boxes of books to be donated at the swap shop Wednesday. A sealed box to go to the storage for the flea market, whenever. Two partial boxes in the living room also for the flea market, one books, one not.

Progress of a sort.

Did a little writing, a very little writing.

Have I mentioned that I hate winter? Everything, or nearly everything, gets put on hold, or feels like it should be.

DH on the other hand, got the 2nd set of new lights up in the kitchen. Hurrah! I can actually see in there when I’m cooking!!!  And we talked about my problem with the current kitchen cabinets. I want to paint them. Partly because to me they always look dirty; even when I’ve just cleaned them. I don’t mind cleaning things, but I purely HATE cleaning things which still look dirty afterwards!

Today I did laundry, dishes, the checks, and books. DH did dinner, we had leftovers, so it was just reheating. I was all prepared to cook, but he reminded me that we had pot pie to eat, so no cooking for me!

Slog, slog, slog . . . .

And so it continues. I’m tempted to quote Tolkien: “The road goes ever on . . . .”

end of road