Category Archives: products

Self-Cleaning: Charts

Also available on the self-cleaning cooking page, see the menu, above, for a link to the page, all of these posts are there!

Ingredient, Tool, or Area Used  Used? Recycle trash or wash? Return to storage? New storage req’d?
Onion, basket Y+1
Onion 1/2 Scraps/T+1 scrap dish W +1 Y +2 (partial onion, scrap dish) Y +1
Knife W+1 Y+1
Counter Cutting Board W+1
Butter 1/2 Y+1
Butter Dish Y+1
Pan W+1 Y+1
Spoon W+1 Y+1
Stove W+1
Totals T 1, W 6 8 1

Above, ingredients are plain text, tools italic, areas bold, and storage containers underlined.

Total items requiring washing after cooking this two ingredient dish: 6, while there’s 7 items to put away, 1 item went to the trash, and a container added to storage. Grand total? 16 items!

Yes, there are frozen chopped onions. You’d have a container to return to the freezer or trash, depending on whether you used it all, or not. This would eliminate the onion basket, the knife, the scrap bowl, and the cutting board, their clean up of 4 items, still leaving 10 items. Not enough of a savings to me to make it worth taking up my (already inadequate) freezer space. If you use dried chopped onions? Add a bowl and water to the mix, you’ve only eliminated 2 items, so that doesn’t help much. I got 1/2 way through an edit here and realized I had to rewrite it. That’s why this makes no sense! It made sense before I mucked with it, honest!!!

I messed up. the problem with this is that it’s REALLY easy to do. I think I’ve covered it, and covered it accurately — and the next time I look at it, I realize I’ve forgotten x or y or z! Sorry.

Revision: Yes, there are frozen chopped onions. You’d have a container to return to the freezer or trash, depending on if you used it all, or not. This eliminates these pieces: onion basket, knife, scrap bowl, and cutting board. -4 And this clean up: knife, scrap bowl -2. You do still have to return the frozen onions to the freezer, if you don’t use them all, but you may or may not need a new package for them. If you take 6 items from the 16 above, that leaves 10, a fairly large savings. That said? I’m in the same boat I was before. I have no available freezer space. [Because of the insane power our old, big freezer uses, we’re eliminating it this year, so I have only a side by side fridge’s freezer.]

If you use dried chopped onions? Add a bowl and water to the mix, or 12 items total.

My solution has been the same for some time: I chop a lot of onions at once, add a stick of butter and then put the resulting quart of sauteed onions in the fridge in a quart jar.

Ingredient, Tool, or Area Used Used? Recycle trash or wash? Return to storage? New storage req’d?
Onion, basket Y+1
Onions Y Scraps T+1 +2 (new jar, lid)
Knife W+1 Y+1
Counter Cutting Board W+1
Butter Y Wrapper T +1
Butter Dish N
Pan W+1 Y+1
Spoon W+1 Y+1
Stove W+1
Totals T 2, W 5 4 2

There’s 13 items there. I’ve eliminated 3 things to clean or put away by using all the onion and butter and eliminating the scrap dish.

sauteed onion

(image via google images)

The real self-cleaning part of this is that then I use 1 spoon to get sauteed onions for about two weeks’ worth of cooking. And THAT certainly makes it worth doing!

Ingredient, Tool, or Area Used Used? Recycle trash or wash? Return to storage? New storage req’d?
Sautéed onions Part Y+1
Spoon W+1 Y+1
Totals W 1 2

I wonder what else I can cook in bulk, part way, so that I can do it ONCE for many meals?

The first thing I thought of was preparing lettuce, but that really won’t work, because cleaned lettuces turn brown and rot faster. (How many years did I work in a cafeteria? Too many!)

More thought required . . . .


One last chart, what’s probably the baseline.

Using part of an ingredient creates more clean up and steps than using all of an ingredient, not too surprising! I don’t think that I’d add a stick of butter to a recipe asking for 1 tablespoon because of this, but I might add a little more?

Ingredient, Tool, or Area Used Used? Recycle trash or wash? Return to storage? New storage req’d?
Cooking Tool or Utensil W+1 Y+1
Cooking Area W+1
Ingredient  100% Possible T+1
Ingredient pkg? 100% Possible R or T +1
Ingredient Part Possible T+1 Y+1 possible +1

The items which consistently make the most work are the cooking tools & utensils, which both need to be washed and put away. Cooking areas just have to be cleaned after use. Food I’ve dealt with above. So I suppose the next step is to figure out how I can use fewer tools: reuse more tools or eliminate them? That will take more thinking too.


I haven’t gotten into serving tools, etc. because my goal is to eliminate most of the prep clean up after a meal, not necessarily the serving or eating dishes.

 

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Stealing From Our Grandmothers

Because I make rugs from old clothes, I’m always looking at the cheapest clothing in thrift shops with the idea that I could maybe use the materials? A few weeks ago, I found a super heavy, dirt brown wool pullover sweater. Ugly color. Not an attractive shape, but it was WOOL and heavy….

One of my rarely used tools is my long-pole feather duster. It upsets me for three reasons.

  1. That although I got it used, it’s made with ostrich feathers. (If it was made of chicken feathers I don’t think I’d mind so much, hypocrite and happy chicken consumer that I am!)
  2. It doesn’t work all that well. It has a telescoping metal handle, which is handy when trying to clean the staircase fan/light. It gets the fan blades cleaner but NOT clean!
  3. It’s a single-use tool. I only use it on the fan, and as I said, it doesn’t work that well….

Accordingly, I hardly use the feather duster. I feel guilty every time I look at it thinking that some bird’s tail feathers (and likely nothing else) were used to make it.

Our grandmothers covered their brooms with cloth, by pinning it on, to make dusters.

When I cut the felted sweater into pieces today, I had the yoke with the neck separate, and thought, “WTF a I going to do with that?” And then it hit me — one arm was flattened out and wrapped around the bottom of my broom. The neck was threaded onto the handle of the broom, and wrapped around the first piece. Fastened with a kilt pin? I now have a “duster” with a thick, recycled wood pad — on the end of a pole.

When I need to use the broom as a broom, I’ll just unpin the yoke, remove the now dirty sleeve for washing and put away the yoke and pin with the other flattened sleeve.

The wool started out dirt colored, so I don’t have to worry that using it will stain it and it will need replacing.

I already had the pin.

The sweater yielded 2 small sheets heavy brown felt, two dusting pads, a method to connect them to my current broom,  and the ability to remove another single-use tool from my life. Whoopee! [The feather duster is in the discard bin.]

The only thing I don’t have? A way to clean the fan, but that’s not new.

Soup!

Okay, we’re sick, both of us. I have these packages of chicken “soup bones” I buy from the co-op we belong to, so I decided to make chicken soup from scratch.

The package was 3 carcasses, cost $1.59/lb for natural chicken, not quite $5, or maybe just $5 when you add in sales tax. The package was 2.91 lbs.

I regret that I put the scale in lbs and oz instead of grams, now. This was much more difficult than it would have been!

However,

  • carcass 1 = 8.25 oz wasted bones
  • carcass 2 = 8.78 oz wasted bones
  • carcass 3 = 8.25 oz wasted bones.
  • I skimmed the broth twice. 1.25 oz and .75 oz or 2 oz scum.

In general you’d think there was 1.5 lbs of bones, right? It actually was 1 lb, 9.28 oz. (These are wet from having been boiled too. I have no idea how much weight was added by the water.)

The usable meat is 6.25 oz. And I’ll have about a gallon of soup when I’m done. The soup cost approx. $5, plus fuel, veggies, and seasoners. A gallon of no salt, natural chicken broth online (without shipping or tax) is $6.98. So, I think that the cost of shipping and the other ingredients mean that mine will be cheaper, because for about the same amount of $ I get broth and nothing else (less shipping) if I buy it mail order say. But you know? I really have no idea. It’s real close, either way.

All that said, there’s no heavy metals (like BPAs) leached into my broth from the can, although I guess they could from the plastic the chicken was wrapped in, if I was stupid enough to heat it in the plastic!

Also, I can season it as I like, not salt free or overly salty, which seem to be the only options with canned broth.

I really don’t know. I haven’t used canned broth for years. I use demiglace, something I first learned about from Williams Sonoma, although who the heck can afford to buy their food there? I sure can’t make soup with something which costs $10-$30 a jar! I use Better Than Bullion, although these days I see other products in my supermarket’s soup aisle, since I like what I use I haven’t tried others. I might –sometime, maybe.

Did you know that soup was possibly the first “fast food?” There was a form of soup made oh long ago by boiling and boiling and boiling soup down to make “pocket soup.” A traveller could take the pocket soup, add it to water and have yummy broth. (Wiki article here.)

I have to go check on the soup. It has chicken, onions, celery, parsnip and carrots in it. I need to add tomato (if we have any) and some chopped greens which will go in not long before it’s served. And, if I could taste anything, I might add some herbs. The house should smell like chicken. DH tells me it does —  I can’t tell!

I will probably add herbs anyway. But cooking without smell and taste is not easy!

 

We Bought the New Domains Last Night

We started, this morning, updating the “main site” which at least in my mind is the “mother ship” of all the others. If you know that site, it was my old bookstore’s name, it’s broken right now!

  • The new sites will host a stream of the PTSD-related threads from here on one site and hopefully, in the future, memoir sales.
  • Links to book & author material, mine and others (one or more sites).
  • Link to a frugality content, some pulled from this blog and other unpublished work.
  • A “newsletter” with scheduling info for my friend authors, artists, etc.

It’s happening!

street signs

 

Monday 10/2 Six

Having finally gotten the wood pile work off the list, it really needs to be added again, daily for quite some time. However, that makes it a “to do” list item, rather than one of my daily 5 or 6!

Today’s list won’t be done first thing this morning, I have something else in process, and it will delay matters.

  1. I need to clear stuff from my car and run a vac through at least part of it! Deferred until Tuesday; it’s dark out there now!
  2. Work on the fabric storage again: cull and neaten it up.
  3. Harvest the kale. 7 p.m. There’s more, but the first batch has been cut.
  4. Move the paint as DH and I discussed. See #1
  5. Clean out the underdeck storage. See #1
  6. Work on the sewing table.

Lest you think I’m just goofing off here. . . this morning I had a variety of other household things which needed to be done. Then I met DH for lunch, something we rarely do, but we’ve been heads-down working so we wanted a break. Then I tried to go to antique stores, since I outside my normal circuit. I knew where one was, found another new to me, but both were closed.

Came home, worked on cleaning out my car (but didn’t get it clean enough to vac) and then went off to my tutoring job. Came home, helped DH, and harvested kale.

I have to make dinner yet and clean up breakfast/lunch remains, then whatever mess dinner creates too.

 

And Again. . .

The chimney people were here yesterday. We need a new connection to and chimney pipe, $xxxx money — again. Considering we heat mostly with wood, this isn’t optional,  it must get fixed, ASAP.

We figured out how we’d pay for it last night and have a few questions for the guys before we say “Do it.” But this is one disaster we sure weren’t anticipating! DH left them a message today, so we’re already in process.

My long-term lesson from this is that we need to change when we get our chimney inspected and cleaned. NOT at the end of summer, but at the beginning or middle. Much longer to recover from unforeseen issues! If it was June or the beginning of July, I wouldn’t have panicked as much as I did.

was diligent. I think I called for the appointment a month ago but they were busy with a large construction job. Just the same, next year the chimney gets inspected in MAY, not August.

Re coming up with the money, I took down my beloved 6 slot candle fixture. I love it and have since the day I found/bought it. However, a wall-mounted candle fixture is not practical in a LOG home. Especially a log home with only one place it might be safe to use it (the stairwell) and that’s impractical because, oh, it’s the wall facing the stairs and over 6′ off the ground. Soooo. . . . I’ve debated and thought about it and left it where it was, several times, until today. Today I took it to the antique shop.

Tomorrow I talk to the fellow who manages consignments for the high-end antique shop hereabouts. Assuming things go as expected, the marble/wrought iron table will go to them some time next week. (I’ve already talked to the delivery guy once, we’ll talk again the beginning of next week.)

At the antique store, I marked down (a lot!) the Hoosier. If it doesn’t sell for that price, I’m prepared to haul it to the auction house where we bought it, next Tuesday. I also took the Victrola horn I’d gotten at auction earlier this year. I fell in love with the images of pendant lights made from them, but hadn’t realized they were so BIG! Even looking at it at the auction preview didn’t really get that point across. But when we got it home? Yep, same problem as the six candle holder. Nowhere to put such a thing! (The image is from etsy, NOT mine!)

victrola horn lights from etsy

There’s one of our fave white elephants this weekend and although we’re up to our eyebrows in home improvements which require us to work like dogs to get them done ASAP, I still came up with ideas about how to sell at a flea market this weekend AND donate the unsold stuff to the white elephant.

If that doesn’t work because the home improvements take too long? We’ll go anyway, and there’s another white elephant in the town on the other side two weeks later we can donate things to! I’ve always planned that whatever unsold stuff I had left by Columbus Day would be donated, somewhere, or 90% of it anyway. I’ve already done major donations twice this summer of unsold stuff. I find things (mostly those we already own) put them in the booth for a while, mark them down if they don’t sell. If they still don’t sell? I pull some of them and just donate them to a thrift shop. Or, I pull the stuff and set it aside as flea market fodder. Then I do a flea market. If it doesn’t sell there? It’s usually donated. I pack the car so that one side of it is made up of things going to the dump’s swap shop.

Other news: the memoir is approx. 1/3 retyped and the reformatting is in process (Well, Word is winning the battle, but I’m determined!) The first third has always been my bugaboo, it’s the background, about the years of abuse. The middle section is about meeting my current husband and more healthy behavior slowly but surely becoming my norm.

Anyway, had two breakthroughs: got the first 1/3 of the memoir redone, again, and got through the first major headache in the reformatting. So, onward!

J

Favorite Foods

We have a new favorite yogurt, and, knowing us, that means it won’t last, alas.

DH bought two Yoplait yogurts this week, packaged in glass. The flavor is vanilla, the stuff is expensive, because of the packaging and no doubt because of the lack of preservatives. The ingredients are very simple, something like: milk, sugar, yogurt strain bacteria, and vanilla extract — that’s all.

It’s called “French style” yogurt and their website doesn’t even have a picture of it. We have decided we love it and need to buy a lot of it ASAP, because it no doubt won’t last. Simple foods which taste good, with no crap added to them tend to be short-lived.

Remember Haagen-Dazs Five ice creams? They were around for what, a year? Ice cream with 5 ingredients, milk, cream, sugar, flavoring. It was wonderful stuff — and it’s gone.

The other ice cream we fell in love with is almost impossible to find in New England, although it CAN be found, again it’s pricey. It’s Three Twins, organic ice creams.

vanila 3 twins image

Sigh. I long for the days when simpler meant cheaper and easier to find rather than the opposite. Ah well, we are food snobs and swimming upstream is something I’m used to, ‘eh?

J