Saturday, April 26, 2014

Organizing: Daily checklists

We have been using outdated checklists since we moved into our new place, just because everything has been so dysfunctional in our lives. I think there is a point at which routine & organizing is impossible, and then a point at which routine & organizing will help you get the rest of the way to where you want to be. There's definitely a tipping point, just as there is with menu planning. I think we've finally hit that tipping point.

Finally today I've got our checklists updated and ready to be printed. One of the nice things about living in a place before updating the lists is that we can see what's been missed and make sure to get it on the list. So that's helpful. Bright side, right?

I have to tell you though, don't skip getting the shopping list white board up on the wall as soon as you move in. Forgetting that rice vinegar was on the list for over a month was torture when I kept re-discovering for three whole weeks that I was out. Or the day we forgot to pick up toilet paper. Oops.

Now I just need to figure out what to do with two giant boxes full of... boxes. After the last three moves being so urgent, thus not having time to spend on scouring liquor & grocery stores for boxes, we've spent money on the boxes that we have. They're still in good shape and I don't want to just recycle them, but they're hardly sellable. And frankly, I don't want to have to buy more again when we move. Some creative box-binding and storage is going to be in the works in our near-future. If I'd thought it it before just now, I'd have had Mr. Moon leave 4 inches of space behind the book shelves for a stash of boxes. I suppose it's not too late!

I'm so excited to get back to menu planning. But not as excited as I am about our daily checklists. It's a little chore-heavy right now, to accommodate the fact that everything is going to take a little more time than it will once we're actually finished unpacking. In the meantime, we set timers and use the time to finish unpacking whatever room is on our checklist, and hopefully get some actual cleaning done as well.

I've also got a built-in system to make sure our laundry and papers don't pile up. Those two are huge panic triggers for me, both in having to deal with them and in seeing them piling up. I've got the bedroom on our list 3 days a week, 2 of those are weekdays with a separate reminder to deal with any paperwork, and laundry day is a completely different day. Thus, if laundry doesn't get finished being folded or put away on laundry day, there are other days scheduled as times to do that with reminders on the checklist. It's all about building your systems in such a way they help you to succeed and lower your own stress levels in the process. Winner.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sad news

As I started this blog originally when moving down to live with and care for Mr. Moon's parents, even though I've avoided detailing his struggle with cancer it seems only right that I should post the sad news we received yesterday. Mr. Moon's father has passed on.

It certainly wasn't sudden, but there were sudden drastic declines in health along the way, almost like a flight of stairs. His children, wife, friends and family had lots of time with him before the final days were clearly upon us, and then those closest to him were given the chance to stop in and say their goodbyes. For Mr. Moon and I, our friends have been fantastically supportive, and for that we will always be grateful. It is a comfort to know that he was not in much pain until the very end, and that modern medical care was able to ease that pain for the most part so he never suffered. Not all terminally ill patients are afforded such an easy transition, and everyone who loved him is not taking that fact for granted.

Not a week before his death, he and his wife celebrated 37 happy years of marriage. It's a testament to commitment and yes, even stubbornness, and I only hope my marriage to their wonderful son lasts as long. May peace be with him.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Latest Dirt: Micro greens and herbs making their way to the sun!

The garden is really making progress! I'm pretty excited about it.

One of these is kale, the other is mustard greens. These and the lettuce below, I'm not sure at what point I start thinning and eating micro/baby greens.

It took a while, but the dill decided to come out to play! Plus a volunteer oregano there at the bottom left corner.

Marigolds! I'm pretty excited for these. When I was planting I was really disappointed in my lack of nasturtiums this year, but I've got more pots now! Hanging ones even. I don't think we get warm enough or enough sunlight around here for tomatoes, so maybe I will use my hanging pots for nasturtiums.

The scallions are so much happier outside in dirt with some sun than they were on my counter with no sun in a glass of water that we rarely remembered to change. However, they grow more slowly out here which makes me a little sad.

 My lavender did decide to grow back! Maybe I will cut off the silly stump now.

I wasn't sure if the cilantro was going to come out to play, but it did. I'm getting conflicting reports from reputable sources about whether cilantro grows back after being harvested or whether you have to keep re-seeding. I can't imagine that it's the only one that doesn't grow back, and I remember doing just fine with my last couple successes as long as I actually, you know, watered them. So I'm hoping for good results.

More greens! And you can see next to the orange stick there my celery greens starting to pop up. Tarragon and both basils didn't make it, so I'm going to try those again.

I've also got a nice sturdy glass jar that I'm hoping to make into a terrarium with some rocks and succulents. Foraged ones, if I do, since every spare penny is going to the wedding right now. I've also finally found the sprouts jar and am hoping that we can get those going again. Maybe I can keep myself in salad greens all summer this year, without fighting for farmers' market parking?

How does your garden grow?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Recipe: Cheeseburger Cobbler

A family-of-friends on Facebook posted that one of them had brought forth a family recipe and it was amazing. This family recipe such as it was came with some vague instructions (not unlike my own "recipes"), and I added it to my mental list of Things To Try At Some Point.

Of course, being me, I didn't need much more than the vague instructions to fly off in my own direction. And thus, this casserole was born. (I'm adjusting directions for better flavor than what I did, don't be alarmed that the layers are in a different order than the pics; you still get the idea.)

  • 3/4 lb or more ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • seasonings to taste
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, quartered (optional)
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced (unpictured, optional)
  • Pickle chips, or relish
  • ketchup
  • mustard
  • Cheese of your choice, separated (pictured: muenster sliced, cheddar shredded)
  • Raw biscuit dough, enough to feed 2 biscuits to everyone (canned is fine, as is Jiffy mix)
  • garlic bread seasoning, or granulated garlic, basil & oregano.

  1. Brown ground meat with onions, salt, pepper, and garlic -- add other seasonings as you like for your hamburgers. (This I did days ahead and may have contributed to a problem I had below. Directions will reflect both options.) If you're going to make your biscuit dough from scratch, do this while the meat is cooking, and I heartily recommend putting some seasonings into the dry mix before adding the wet ingredients. 
  2. Preheat oven to 375.
  3. If you did step 1 days ahead like me, your meat is cold. Dump it into your casserole dish and stick it in the oven as it preheats. If you browned your meat at the same time as you're cooking to eat this thing, skip this step. Once the meat is at least warmed and you have raw biscuits, continue: 
  4. Drizzle meat with ketchup and mustard. Top the meat with some quartered mushrooms and pickle chips.
  5. Place a layer of cheese of your choice on top; shredded or sliced is fine.
  6. Carefully construct a layer of biscuit dough. You might do this with biscuits from a can, as I did here, because I can't find half my kitchen still. However you might make some biscuits from scratch or a Jiffy mix, and that's great too, especially as it means you can put the seasonings and perhaps even some of the cheese inside. 
  7. Top the biscuit dough with the garlic bread seasoning, or your garlic & herbs. Then top with a light layer of shredded cheese, because garlic cheddar biscuits are amazing. 
  8. Pop in the oven at 375 for... probably 15 minutes? This is where it gets fuzzy. As you can see, my biscuits were a little goopy on the bottoms still at 15 minutes. However, I only baked at 350 and my meat was cold. Hence starting from hot meat. Anyway, cook until your biscuits are done to your liking. 
  9. When biscuits are browned and done through, remove from oven and serve. If you forgot your pickles inside (like me) or are using relish, put the pickles on top. 

So that's Cheeseburger Casserole!

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