Showing posts from January, 2013

Down the rabbit hole: Homemade sauerkraut

I've been peeking into the world of lacto-fermented veggies. One day I found myself with an abundance of chopped cabbage and no way to use it anytime soon. Since my brother and sister-in-law make their own, I called for directions.

I started out with about a pound and a half of cabbage. My brother told me to mix it with 2 tbsp sea salt, mix thoroughly and let it sit for about 15 minutes. It took a little longer to juice up, and I had some other things to do, so about half an hour later I dumped the greens and what little juice they'd released into a half gallon jar. I'd been sure to clean it very well, even sprayed it with a little vinegar. The bag that had been holding the cabbage I sprayed well inside and out with vinegar, filled with my clean cooking rocks to weigh the cabbage down, and secured to the top of the jar with a rubber band. This left the cabbage pretty well sealed, but the rocks open to the air.

I was a little concerned because my brother had stressed the im…

Quick & Dirty: Peeling Ginger & Hard-Boiled Eggs

When I was in culinary school, one of the other students showed the class a trick to peeling ginger without losing any of the flavorful fresh. She used a teaspoon to gently scrape off the papery peel, leaving all of the flesh in tact.

This is the same person who taught me to peel hard-boiled eggs. Crack the shell thoroughly on the counter, peel off the large end where the air bubble is, and stick a teaspoon between the shell and flesh. Move the spoon around the shell, separating the membrane from the egg white, and you may be able to pull the shell off completely, still attached to the membrane. Sometimes you have to break the membrane down the side and peel off in a flatter piece rather than an egg-shaped one, but that's ok. It saves your thumbs from little poke and slices peeling the shell by hand!

Tip: When rotating the egg, lift the lead edge of the spoon into the shell. You may break the membrane early and have to slip the spoon between the shell and egg again to get the rest…

Menu: Jan 27-Feb 3

It feels like spring cleaning around here. This is the weather that I'm used to having after months of bitter cold, snowstorms, and being cooped up inside. The cool yet crisp air beckons me to open the windows and blow the dust out. Even if it is still January. 

My asthma has been acting up in November, and aside from being exhausting, it's really cutting into my ability to do much around the house. I was lying in bed the other day, and realized there was a visible film of dust covering the curtains... the ones right next to my head. As it was midnight, it took every ounce of willpower not to take them down and wash them immediately, but it was the top of my priority list the next morning. 

We discovered when we took down the curtains that the windowsill was covered in mold. Gross. Not worth doing a whole blog entry about, because I sprayed it with vinegar and wiped it down, sprayed it again and let it sit, then wiped it down again. Washed the curtains, having made very sure to …

Menu: January 20-27

Still suffering the after-effects of three weeks of running around, over-medicating on pain killers, and pushing my anxiety to the limits. I'm ever so grateful that Past Me thought to make a monthly menu plan so that our weekly menus haven't been thinking in a vacuum. I'm definitely going to do that again for next month.

What's for Dinner?

Sunday: Stir Fry

Monday: Turkey & Dumplings

Tuesday: Spaghetti for the 'Rents, C-Bar for my birthday

Wednesday: Salmon burgers

Thursday: On Your Own (Birthday party!)

Friday: Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

Saturday: Pesto Shrimp Alfredo

Sunday: On Your Own

Monthly Menu Ideas:
Beef/Pork: Beef & Broccoli stir fry; corned beef

Bird: Roast Turkey; Turkey Stew & Dumplings; Chicken Cordon Bleu; Orange Rosemary Chicken; White Bean Chicken Chili

Fish:Pan Fried White; baked casserole with rice; salmon burgers; pesto shrimp Alfredo

Vegetarian:Tortilla soup; Split pea soup; Lasagna; Black Bean Burgers; Spaghetti; Lentil soup; Broccoli mac…

Down the Rabbit Hole: Whole wheat soaked grain Muffins (part one)

A couple weeks before Christmas, I tried my hand at baking some whole wheat soaked grain cranberry orange muffins. Not having planned very far ahead, the grains only soaked for a couple hours instead of overnight. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

One of the goals that I made for myself last year was to become better at baking. Of course, I decided to do so by delving into sourdough, which is largely recommended against. I am, you may have noticed, not one to shay away from things just because someone says it's not the easiest way to start. My tenth grade English teacher once told me that I was making a research paper a lot harder on myself than I needed it to be, and pointed out my tendency to do that in a lot of my endeavors. I believe at this point it is simply a personality trait that will at times be a hindrance. But at others it has been the same trait that has propelled me forward into projects that are just a little outside my reach, to take risks even when there was a …

Back to business as usual, and general rumination

Pulled together Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, and a little from my emergency fund to replace my dying (dead) computer. Managed to get it working just long enough to migrate the data to the new one, but it keeps randomly shutting down on me and not wanting to restart. Poor laptop, it served me well.

It seems there are times of the year that incur extra expenses. Winter holidays are notorious for their gift-giving traditions, the new year has incidentals like new planners and the expenses for starting any new habits and hobbies that come with the new year's resolutions. Sometimes it seems like these expenses should even up throughout the year, but they just never seem to. Like car insurance, I find it much easier to break the larger known expenses into smaller amounts that can be saved for throughout the year. Things like planners, though, are small enough they can come out of the "incidentals" fund for just such an occasion.

I like to wait until January to pick up plan…

Menu: Jan 6-13

Whew! What a whirlwind vacation! After taking a couple days to cycle through the returning jet lag, I found myself refreshed and ready to take life by the... horns. Yes, horns. Right! Looking at everything with a fresh set of eyes. Sadly, my computer immediately decided to be out of commission, which is why the menu is posted late, so while I remedy that situation I'm stuck with Mr. Moon's. Did I mention I'm not good with Windows? Well, suffice it to say, I'm unable to access my pictures for the moment. No picture-heavy posts for a little while. But that's ok! Because our menu plans don't really need pictures.

This week we took a complete inventory of the inside and outside freezers, and reorganized them into some semblance of order. The inside freezer, we removed a lot of stuff we wouldn't be using this week. Our goal is to use the inside freezer for snacks, breakfast and lunch foods, treats (some limited amount anyway) and the foods we have on the menu th…

Goals and Resolutions

Each year I make some sets of goals and resolutions with varying degrees of specificity. It helps that since my birthday is just three weeks after New Year's, these goals come at a time of reflection in a multitude of ways. Of course, I make goals throughout the year as well, and don't feel as if I need to tie myself to New Year's resolutions if I find they're not working for me (especially if I've made them too specific). 
Many New Year's resolutions pertain to bettering one's health and being better people. Always good projects! And having them start at a certain point in the year regularly certainly helps make them measurable, and to remind you to check back with your goals from year to year. The important thing is to forgive yourself for the ones you haven't accomplished; let go of the ones that needed to be changed after you made them; and congratulate yourself for any and all progress you've made on the rest, both those accomplished completel…