Showing posts from March, 2012

Cast Iron: A Seasoning Revelation

There are plenty of tutorials for cast iron care across the internet, I'm not going to re-invent the wheel here. I had a great system for caring for my cast iron pans, and they have lasted me for years, and will likely get passed onto my kids.

But when switching away from paper towels, I had a few hiccups in my system. I used to wipe the vegetable oil onto my cast iron with a paper towel, and though it gave me lint issues, it was how I was taught and I didn't know a better way. I tried to delegate one washcloth to being soaked in oil, but it got black and I put it in the pile with the dirty towels to get washed. Then before it got washed, I needed to season my pan again, and I ended up with three different cloths that were saturated in oil and nothing would clean it out. Worse, they had mingled with the rest of the towels and I have a bunch of towels that still don't absorb very well due to the grease content. (Cleaning those is a project for Future Heather.)

Insert some b…

Limiting disposable products in your home

I grew up in a house with paper towels, disposable napkins, disinfectant cleaners that were different for every project and every room, paper plates for busy weeks/camping/picnics, and lungs that burned for most of my childhood and early adult years.

Last year, Mr. Moon and I didn't buy a single roll of paper towel, didn't use disposable napkins in our home, and gave away most of our cleansers to Freecyclers and roommates as they moved. Our last move, the only cleaning products we took with us was a box of borax and a bottle of vinegar (though to be fair, we were out of baking soda and needed to pick up more). How did we do it?

Cloth Napkins: I had snagged a few from various restaurants through the years, and I picked up a few more at thrift stores because they matched my kitchen. With the kitchen on one floor and the TV room where we ate most of our dinners on another, we had a basket of cloth napkins in both locations for any time we needed them. Typically, we would use a nap…

Restaurant Review: Jefe, Lake Oswego, OR

Jefe is a Mexican-style-inspired restaurant in Lake Oswego, just south of Portland, OR. This is Mr. Moon's new job, and in support of their "soft opening"*, I went with one of our Boy Scout buddies and my Blog Buddy from (with her aforementioned twins and her hubby who is Mr. Moon's childhood best friend).

* A "soft opening" is when a restaurant opens their doors for the first time, but doesn't announce it. It usually means that they'll get a few tables in, usually family and friends of the owners and employees, and whatever neighborhood folks have noticed there are people being served inside. The purpose is to work out the kinks of service, try out recipes and test the Point of Sale system as well as the staff in action. It's usually followed within a couple of weeks to a month with an announced "GRAND OPENING," complete with banners and advertisements and the whole 9 yards.

Let me sum up: The owner is a local celebrity …

Food Storage: We Are Ready for the Zombie Apocalypse!

I admit with only a little shame that I am a food hoarder. I have, over the last year, increased my food storage supplies such that if I were to be unable to acquire new foods suddenly and had to live off what I currently own, we would be OK for a while. Fresh foods are currently limited, and we would have to start getting creative rather quickly, but the dry goods would last for weeks.

I'm not ashamed of it because we do actually USE all of the foods I have stored, in a First In/First Out method whenever possible, and with the exception that we have more of it than is reasonably easy to store it's not been an issue. Well OK, I also have stored the very foods I am trying to cut down from our menu plans, which means that the length of time these foods would be getting stored increases. And yet in the grand scheme of things, these are not "bad" foods--brown rice, dried beans, whole grains, and some canned goods that (ignoring the health implications of the cans themselv…

"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy;

for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." - Anatole France

First there was packing, then moving, and the last 10 days have been a trial as half the time I spent in New York and the other half I spent wishing I had moved some things and not others. The packing process got so crazy that I didn't quite think everything through, because every time someone came over to help I wanted to give them something to do. It resulted in a few things--like the cleaning towels!--getting moved and promptly LOST.

I am struggling with the fact that I didn't pack so many of my own belongings. Things got moved that weren't ours and had to be brought back. I have no idea what is in what boxes for half of what I own, so I can't even find a lot of things. It's making me very anxious. My first goal has been to just accept it as a state of being. I'm anxious. Recognize it, acknowledge it, accept it. I'm frustrated. Sa…

Moving meal plans, and being gentle with myself

The packing process is really testing my commitment to eating whole foods, and not eating out. I decided -- ahead of time! knowing this would happen! Yay forethought! -- to do the best I can, and not to beat myself up over my food choices between this past week and this next one. Also any time we are away from wherever our kitchen is set up. Once moved completely and not bouncing back and forth between Portland and Seattle, I will make an effort to do better.

In the meantime, I think I've been doing very well. We have a meal plan set up and all the dry ingredients necessary for the next few days' meals. The kitchen being trashed on Wednesday so that I couldn't even make myself lunch, I went to Chipotle--besides being a not-so-guilty pleasure, at least most of what they have there is natural and organic. The ingredients are identifiable, at the very least.

But we got back on the home-eating bandwagon as soon as that evening and have been doing very well since. I'm proud o…