Showing posts from December, 2012

Gifts: Soup in a Jar

A few years ago, I made everyone in my family a gift basket for Christmas. This was the first time I'd ever given my own gifts to extended family, instead of letting my mom put my name on a tag of something she had bought for them. It felt very adult.

I'd originally intended to make my own hot cocoa mix, give it in jars or bags, but I ran out of time to do that myself and bought packets of mix instead. In a basket with paper stuffing (in case of small children or pets), I included baggies of marshmallows, some cookies, and a mug for each person in the house. For the couple people who don't drink cocoa, I gave them tea. I made gifts for 27 people by spending $73, and was very proud of myself.

This year, I wanted to do a reprisal of the hot cocoa baskets, though I was going to skip the mugs this time. I was going to make my own cocoa and perhaps help with the baking of the trays my dad and brother make for everyone in lieu of material gifts. However, looking at all the indul…

Dealing with Overindulgence

Mr. Moon and I have been waffling on whether we would spring for gingerbread houses, which is something I've enjoyed doing in the past but wasn't sure we had time to do this year. Eventually we decided just to embrace it, and invited a friend over to join us in making them. She didn't end up being able to make it, and we ended up getting wrapped up in other things, which is how we found ourselves, two days later than we'd planned, sitting down to start decorating at 10pm.

But this post isn't truly about the gingerbread houses, as much as it is about dealing with the overindulgence of the season. As is to be expected, decorating candy houses includes a bit of sampling, eating the ugly pieces, quality control, eating the oopsies, and guilt-free snacking. On candy. For someone who hasn't eaten that much sugar in YEARS, suffice it to say by the end I wasn't feeling so hot. By the time we finished cleaning up, I was already dreading the sleeplessness and morning…

Menu Plan: December 9-January 6, Monthly for January

Next week I embark on a three week vacation. I feel like we are completely on track for preparing for this, all the laundry is done (or is getting finished tonight) and most is even folded and put away. I'll be packing my suitcase tomorrow so I can't accidentally wear something I want to take with me--and subsequently if it does happen to be currently dirty, we have plenty of time to wash it.

I finished the to-do list for projects Mr. Moon can work on while I'm gone, all prioritized and everything. There's a menu plan for each of the three weeks I'm gone.

We're hoping after I get back to do a monthly menu plan system (at least as far as most of the grocery shopping is concerned), though we will still have to plan which meals are on which days weekly due to the nature of flexible scheduling.

Week of Dec 9-16:
Breakfasts: Cottage cheese & pineapple, smoothies, bagels with cream cheese.
Lunches: Grilled cheese, Bacon Chicken Cheddar Ranch pasta salad.
Sunday Brunc…

Making Our Own Pickles

My sister in law sent me on my move to Seattle with some spicy pickled cucumbers from her own garden. Three weeks before, the day I decided I was moving, I had been pigging out on pickled zucchini at a brewery in my hometown. Over the course of time, Mr. Moon came to learn of my love for all things briny, and one of our favorite snacks is what we call a "pickle plate." Thus dubbed because the only consistent thing is pickles.

Pickle plates usually have, besides pickled cucumbers, cheese and/or meat of some kind. Sometimes it's tinned herring, sometimes it's creamy Greek caviar (from the bargain bin at the discount store, isn't it always there that you find some of your favorite foods you'll never find again?), sometimes it's peppered salami. Sharp cheddar, a good gouda, any kind of cheese spread, you name it. Usually, though not always, it involves crackers of some kind. And recently more often than not, it's also included some other kind of pickled v…

Planning Ahead: How a little prep work before a big event can make it run more smoothly

My mom is a list-maker. She doesn't have any special paper that she uses, although more often than not her lists could be found on the backs of used envelopes. She makes lists for everything from a quick trip to the grocery store, to a 3-week cross-country vacation. Clothing to take, food to prepare, things to do before she leaves... These lists don't have any special place they live, either, we'd just find them lying around randomly and have no idea whether they were being used currently or not. But she always knew.

So when I say I'm a list-maker, you know I come by it honestly. I have gone through two notebooks that were specifically set aside for packing lists, and countless memo pads, blank sheets out of college notebooks, and yes even the backs of used envelopes. I definitely prefer the method I've perfected, using memo pads for grocery lists and a notebook in my planner for prepping for trips, everything from an overnight out of town to the three-week bender …

Chalica celebrations

This is my first year celebrating Chalica. I'd heard about it in 2008 in its second year, and been "meaning to" "get around to" celebrating since. When I first heard of it, I was so excited that my faith now has a holiday we can call our own!
I know a lot of my lackluster commitment has been related to this crisis of faith through which I've been suffering for years. I wasn't even sure if I wanted to include anything about my faith here in this blog, because I don't want to push anyone away. I decided that I'd rather dip into this a little bit occasionally than try to ignore it altogether. My faith is so much a part of why I started down the path of urban homesteading that it feels wrong not to honor that place in the process. But that's a topic for another day. Today I want to celebrate, in all its imperfection, my first year celebrating Chalica. 
I'd intended to ease myself into it. I put on some Celtic music, because it's the clo…

Menu Plan: Dec 2-9

In two weeks I will be leaving for the better part of a month, and only half the preparations have been done but I feel right on schedule. This is the week I expect to start freaking out about making sure to-do lists and menu plans are completely taken care of before I leave. I hate to contribute to the stereotypical sexist trope of the man who can't keep the house clean and himself (or his parents) fed without his woman around... But well, in this case it's at least partially true. In this partnership, he keeps me calm and sane and I organize the to-do lists. 
Breakfasts this week: Peppered eggs, a la Pinterest Home fried potatoes and eggs Smoothies and the last of the zucchini muffins
Lunches: Roast beef sandwiches Quesadillas Veggie snacks
Dinners: Monday: Pork ribs, green beans, and couscous. Testing out making couscous from bulk bins instead of a box with seasoning mix. [meat; freezer; bulk]
Tuesday: Clam Chowder in the crockpot, bumped from last week when the rice & beans…